Tag Archives: middle grade

My Favorite Books of 2018

15 Dec

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 160 books this year. I read more so than usual, not going to lie, mainly because it was one of the only activities I could do between my job changes and the move. I also started working in a library, which helped my ability to find new books, try more genres, and just explore overall. (This generally happened during “processing,” which is when we check all the books that patrons turn in for damages and such. I saw all kinds of books I wouldn’t have seen if it weren’t for processing.) So this year I wanted to share more of my favorites than I did last year, and in more categories. Just like last year, though, these are books I read this year, not necessarily books that released this year. If you want a complete list of books I read, check out my Goodreads challenge.

I hope you find a read to check out!

Favorite Adult Romance

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient is a diverse romance, full of plenty of fun twists and hilarious interactions between Stella (an algorithm experiment, who also has Asperger’s) and Michael, an escort. Think Pretty Woman, but gender-swapped, more diverse, and a lot more sexy. Even better? There’s a sequel releasing next year! I believe it’s also being made into a movie.

Adult Thriller

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

Not for the faint of heart, this unique thriller connects a suicide in a book store with Lydia’s dark, twisted past, including an interaction with a serial killer. I don’t want to say much more, because this book deserves to be read without any prior knowledge. You’ll figure out many of the twists, only to realize the author wanted you to figure it out just so that he could surprise you with ones you weren’t considering. If you love thrillers full of strange puzzles and family secrets, this is well worth the read.

Choose Your Own Adventure

My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran

Choose your own adventure is on the rise in publishing, even for adults, which is why I had to check out one this year. And it didn’t disappoint. Another romance, this novel allows you to choose who the main character falls in love with, and it takes you on a wild ride across countries (and gives many possibilities). It’s such a hoot to go back and change your mind, too. If you like romance, definitely check this one out.

Favorite Graphic Novel

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

This is basically the cutest graphic novel ever. Staring a dressmaker who secretly makes dresses for a prince in disguise, this graphic novel is about discovering yourself and being kind to others, not to mention following your passion. And the artwork is beautiful.

Middle Grade

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

This spooky middle grade about a girl who sees ghosts brings a unique twist to the horror genre, especially for kids. It’s refreshing, creepy, funny, and action-packed. Not to mention that it’s set in Scotland!

Favorite Picture Book

Unicorn (And Horse) by David W Miles

I read a ton of picture books this year, trying to find books for storytime at the library, and I honestly never realized how fun they can be, not to mention how beautiful the artwork is. This was my favorite, both for the artwork and the hilarious story. It’s about a preppy unicorn and a grumpy horse, total opposites, and how their lives intertwine.

YOUNG ADULT SECTION

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Sci-Fi

Wildcard by Marie Lu

This is the sequel of Warcross, my favorite novel that was published in 2017 last year. If you’re into near-futurism, definitely check out this series. The plot twists are to die for.

Fantasy

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Confession time: I’m not a huge fan of fairytale retellings. This one, however, is a huge exception. It’s every bit brutal and monstrous that I’ve always wanted from a dark fantasy retelling.

Historical

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

The prose in this historical is to die for. And it covers a time period rarely explored in young adult fiction. If you like puzzles, journeys, and secret identities, I recommend this one.

Contemporary

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

I’ve been reading Ally Carter since I was a preteen. She is one of my ultimate favs, so it comes to no surprise that her latest stole my heart, crushed it, and put it back together again. This save-the-president’s-son book takes place in Alaska, and it’s badass. Also, super clean for those parents and educators out there looking for that perfect transitional book between MG and YA.

Humor

Kill The Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

I wish we had more humor books in general. (They’re so hard to find!) While I know everyone’s humor is different, I really loved this book. It’s about fangirls getting together, accidentally kidnapping a member of a boyband, and the following chaos. It’s absolutely ridiculous to the point that it’s believable, and I couldn’t stop giggling throughout.

Biggest Surprise

The Loneliest Girl in The Universe by Lauren James

This book is about a girl on a spaceship heading for a new earth, but everyone else is gone. She’s all by herself. And the following story is really surprising. I don’t want to say much, because it’ll ruin it, and this book deserves to be read without prior knowledge. I absolutely loved it.

Debut

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This African-inspired fantasy is super lush and exciting! Not only is the plot adventurous, but the cast is also fresh. It’s a big book, so give yourself time to really sink your teeth into it, because it’s quite the start to a new series.

Continuing Series

Giant Days by John Allison

Okay, okay, so I’m cheating a little bit since Giant Days is a graphic novel series (and get this: it’s shelved in the Adult section in a our library, while the novelization is shelved in the Young Adult section), so I’m not sure if this is perfect category, but it deserves major recognition. I love this graphic novel series. It’s about three girls going through college, and it’s priceless.

Series Conclusion

This Towering Sky by Katharine McGee

It’s over! The Thousandth Floor trilogy has ended, and my heart just couldn’t take it. Not only is this series’ ending exciting, it’s perfect. All the characters’ conclusions make sense and give you this “of course” feeling that is so satisfying and rare.

Top Three Honorable Mentions

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland is about a girl stalked by Death, literally. (Or is it literally?) You’ll have to read and make that conclusion for yourself.

Winner Take All by Laurie Devore is about two very intelligent (and destructively competitive) teenagers who accidentally fall in love. It’s not a rosy-romance, but rather an honest portrayal of examining your strengths, weaknesses, and toxicity, even to those that you love.

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett almost won the “Biggest Surprise” for me, mainly for the last few pages. Not only is the book unsettling, it’s also exciting, and quite the examination of “tradition” in regards to high society education. And those last few pages! EEK. I wish there was a sequel. 

My Ultimate Favorite!

The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas

You know those horror movies about exorcisms? Well, this is what happens afterward—except Clare never wanted her demon exorcised. She loves Her, and she will do anything to get Her back. This book is incredible. It’s one of the most atmospheric reads I’ve ever had the pleasure of stumbling across, and it sucked me in from page one. Clare’s voice is maddening, delicate, and brutally honest. I cheered her on and also became incredibly frustrated with her, but most of all, I always believed she was real, flaws and all. And I haven’t even mentioned the unique subject matter of this book. I’m normally one that avoids religious-type books altogether. (Yes, including exorcisms.) But this one felt explorative and emotional, even in its small town setting. I highly recommend this book to anyone, if not for the seductive pull of the demon’s presence, then for the plot twists, atmosphere, and prose.

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#SATurdate: Signed Books, Cherry Cookies, Everything Everything, & The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

20 Feb

The book signing in Barnes & Noble went so well! I met so many great readers, and I was able to share that experience with amazing authors. If you would like a signed copy of The Timely Death Trilogy, e-mail me at shannonathompson@aol.com. The Barnes & Noble has a few copies left, and they will ship the books to you! To those of you I had the joy of meeting, thank you for coming out!

What I’m Writing:

Bogart judged me harshly this week.

Bogart judged me harshly this week.

I’m 30,000 words into Take Me Yesterday, and yes, I’m still handwriting this entire novel, which has been quite fun. I handwrote enough this week that I was able to start typing more onto my computer, so I did that—which of course has me changing and shifting things and driving myself mad. This was a delight to me. I like driving myself mad. This was the first week in a LONG time that I was able to go to my favorite coffee house and really type it all out. Well worth the trip.

What I’m Publishing:

This week’s #1lineWed preview theme was “texture.”

Shadows dripped off the bumpy texture and pooled into the center of the living room.

Fun story about this #1lineWed preview. For all you fans of The Timely Death Trilogy there is actually a “shade” in Bad Bloods. Her original name was Kati, but it was changed to Violet or simply Vi in the editing process. This is a description of her coming down from the ceiling as a shadow. I like to connect all of my novels, so keep your eyes open! You might see something from previous works that new readers won’t.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

currentI started to read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon…and then I finished it in one sitting. I literally never put it down. I knew I had to buy this book when a Barnes & Noble employee passed me and said, “You’re really enjoying that, huh?” Apparently, I was blissing out. Everything, Everything is an intimate, insane, and intricate exploration of love and life and all of the fear and joy in between. It is a heartbreaking exploration of family, friendship, health, and identity. Oh, and humuhumunukunukuapuaa. It is…everything. Read my full 5-star review by clicking here. My favorite quote was, “Sometimes you do things for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrongs ones and sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference.”

I am also reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, and I love it so far! This novel was actually recommended to me by the Barnes & Noble event coordinator in Wichita, Kansas, and I always love recommendations. I thought I’d also share the other two books I bought while in Wichita: Dreamthief by Tamara Grantham (a CTP novel) and The Republic of Pirates: Behind the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard (because who doesn’t want to know more about pirates?)

What I’m Listening To:

Railroad Track by Willy Moon is still my inspiration for my writing life right now, so that’s about all I’m listening to.

What I’m Watching:

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles! I know, I know. It’s totally speculative and fiction, but I loved this show. It’s twisted, dark, and filled with horror and delight. (Can I say horror and delight in the same sentence?) Well, it’s on Netflix right now, and I have Netflix again. (Eep.) I must resist watching too much, but I definitely recommend this show if you love horror and loving the villains.

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I also watched The Way of the Gunbecause going back to the year 2000 can be fun sometimes. And bloody. Really, really bloody.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I made dark chocolate chip cherry fill-in cookies for Valentine’s Day! NOM. 

What I’m Wearing:

PINK. I wore a lot of pink for Valentine’s Day. I actually like the color pink, but I don’t like wearing the color pink. It feels too bold and bright for my vampire lifestyle, but I am trying to be more…shall I say, colorful?

What I’m Wanting:

I mean, who wouldn’t want a bunch of Sailor Moon collectibles? I’d be happy with Luna, Artemis, and Tuxedo Mask…and Saturn…and Jupiter…and oh wait. I want them all. Look at them here.

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What I’m Dreaming Of:

I had this really strange—very realistic—dream that someone broke into my house…and started making espresso. They even brought it upstairs and gave it to my roommate in the dark, and I was VERY confused. I wanted to scream, but I also wanted some espresso, so when they started to hand me something, I was excited. But they handed me a bunny. An adorable, fuzzy, kicking bunny. That was it. (I swear, there is no way dreams ALWAYS mean something. I mean, sure, I think they can symbolically mean something some of the time, but my dreams are too consistent and crazy…unless that means I’m consistently crazy, which is a possibility.)

What Else Is Going On:

At the Barnes & Noble book signing, I’m pretty sure there was a glitch in the Matrix. We had SIX Sarahs (all spelt with H) come up in a row. I believe all the authors had a great giggle over that…so thank you, Sarahs!

~SAT

Have you checked out this amazing gift basket Clean Teen Publishing is giving away this month? It has over $130 worth of goodies including a Kindle Fire, several print novels, sweets, swag, and more! Enter to win here.

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If you would like a signed copy of any book in The Timely Death Trilogy, e-mail me at shannonathompson.com. Barnes & Noble in Wichita has a few copies left, and they will ship you one.

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1: FREE 

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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