Tag Archives: Sharon Cameron

My Favorite YA Books of 2017

23 Dec

I’m judging this based on what I read in 2017, not necessarily books that released in 2017, and I’m only focusing on YA. If you want a complete list of books I read, check out my Goodreads challenge. A lot of these books could fall into more than one category, but I didn’t want repeats, so I tried to stick with a new book each time.

I hope you find some recs you’ll enjoy!

Fantasy

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Labeling fantasy and science fiction can get a little strange, and this novel is a perfect example of that. I honestly can’t say a lot about this book, because, if I did, it would ruin the craziest surprises. Surprises that blew me away. I totally loved how bizarre and brutal and lovely and strange this book is. If you’re okay going in blind into a strange new world with little to no explanation, you will love this novel, because by the time you get answers, it’s a million times worth it.

Sci-Fi

Warcross by Marie Lu

If you’ve ever spoken to me about the types of books I love, then you know I love future tech. (There’s something so much fun about exploring possibilities.) Marie Lu hit the nail on the head with this book that features a futuristic video game and a craze overtaking the world. Her plot twists have me DYING for book 2. (And we need more gamer girls in fiction.)

Historical

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

Technically a historical fantasy, My Lady Jane is easily the funniest book I read all year. (And I definitely need more laughter in my laugh.) If you’re willing to let your imagination stretch past the point of believability (especially since most of the characters are real historical figures), and you don’t mind the authors breaking the fourth wall, this book is the one you didn’t know you absolutely needed. It’s unique, hilarious, and un-put-downable. Also, My Plain Jane, a sequel following a different time period, releases in 2018. It’s one of my most anticipated reads.

Contemporary

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

At first, I wasn’t sure how this book would play out. I mean, it takes place over one weekend at a convention. What could happen? SO MUCH. If you’re a geek like me, the love for geek culture just seeps out of this quirky story. It really captures how much a fictional character can save a person. The cast is full of diversity, including a female protagonist on the spectrum, and the book features a lot of important discussions more people need to have. A quick, fun, but important read.

Horror

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

So this novel takes place in Nebraska, which automatically gets points from me, because we do not have enough books set in the Midwest. Despite a lot of Midwest clichés, I really enjoyed this story. I read it one setting. I didn’t see the killer coming. It’s super gory in a way a horror book should be. And I couldn’t stop thinking about when all was said and done. Love, love, loved this spine-tingling mystery.

Debut

Body Parts by Jessica Kapp

Yay for more future tech! This book discusses lots of relevant issues about body autonomy and the power of pharmaceutical companies. It has just the right amount of gore (can you tell I enjoy gore?), and the action is both nonstop and believable. Add a dash of romance, and you’re in for a wild ride. Also, I think this is a standalone, so if you need a great standalone (and want to support a debut author), pick this one up.

Sequel

These Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

If you haven’t read The Thousandth Floor (#1), then go get it right now, especially if you’re an old-school Gossip Girl fan. This is another fantastic futuristic novel with believable tech and lots of guilty pleasure drama. The novel does not get enough credit for showing a lot of socio-economic situations that are happening now. I absolutely love this series. It’s uncomfortable and devious in such a flawless way that allows you to enjoy every little moment, even the ones you should feel guilty about enjoying.

 

Series

Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

I can’t believe I didn’t pick up these books sooner. Competitive ballet + real-life issues = I wish there was a book 3. (Why isn’t there a book 3???) I went from loving certain characters in the first book, to hating them in the second, and it was perfection. Also a series for Gossip Girl fans, this duology keeps you on your toes with betrayal in highly competitive ballet. This diverse duology is written by two diverse authors and published by Cake Literary, a diverse company.

Biggest Surprise:

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

I hesitated to include this category, because it makes me sound like I expected a book to be awful, but that’s not what I mean by “Biggest Surprise.” Biggest Surprise, to me, means I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book, and then it blew me away. The Love Interest definitely takes YA tropes and turns them on their head in the most glorious (and often hilarious) ways. I’m also a fan of spies, and there’s more future tech, so…

Manga

Jigoku no Enra

If you took a peek at my Goodreads challenge, you might have noticed that I read A LOT of manga this year. In fact, I normally read a lot of manga, but this was the first year I recorded it. Why? I used to hide how much manga I read, because there’s this weird stigma about it, but when I started sharing it, I began to connect to other readers who loved some of my favorites, so I’m recording it from now on. Anyway. Jigoku no Enra has everything I love in a paranormal shoujo: demons, cursed princes of hell, and one unfortunate girl wrapped up in it all. Definitely recommended.

Top Three Honorable Mentions:

The Speaker, Daughter of the Pirate King, and Our Dark Duet.

The Speaker by Traci Chee is book 2 in a Sea of Ink and Gold series. Her prose drips off the pages. A complex, yet brutally beautiful fantasy.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller has pirates and magic. Need I say more?

Our Dark Duet concludes the Monsters of Verity, and it was a fitting ending for a twisted tale about monsters, music, and mayhem.

But what was my all-time favorite read?

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

It was my first time reading Shusterman, and he blew me away. I LOVED Scythe so much I never put it down. It’s brilliant, morally gray, and gory as hell. Scythe answers the question, What happens when everyone begins to live forever? Well, we hire Scythes, of course. You know, people trained to decide who will die. The book follows two scythe apprentices, and everything they go through—including their first deaths and some pretty horrible plot twists—will keep your head spinning. After every chapter, I kept bothering my roommate because I HAD to talk to someone about each and every scene. This book is also a near-future scenario. Scythe released at the end of 2016, so if you’re talking about 2017 releases only, my favorite book was Warcross by Marie Lu.

What were your favorites?

~SAT

 

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#SATurdate: Sequel Sneak Peeks, The Light Between Oceans, Rook, & Cupcakes.

10 Sep

What I’m Writing:

Bad Bloods: July Thunder Sneak Peek

Bad Bloods: July Thunder Sneak Peek

I’m back on the Bad Bloods train with a brand-new outline and a continued plan after getting stuck in writing quicksand 38,000 words in. I actually have an article about WHAT was wrong with it coming out on Wednesday, so look out for that. It has something to do with my female lead—Violet—and I’m really excited she’s telling the first chapter. In fact, I released the first-ever sneak peek of July Thunder! The picture is to the right, but since it’s hard to read, you can read it below. (Be sure to read the “What I’m Publishing” section, because more sneak peeks are coming.) I’m officially 24,549 into the new version.

July 1, 2090

Violet

I’d learned two rules since President Henderson declared bad bloods the right to live again.

  1. Freedom came with rules attached.
  2. Breaking rules was in my blood.

Rebelling was how I survived, after all. And nothing screamed rebellion more than the color black.

I put my best black boot forward to make my entrance at Western Elementary. As I stepped out of the shadows into the halls, I changed from a ghost to a girl. The same girl that gave Shadow Alley its name. The same girl that lived on the streets, then lived in the Northern Flock, then survived them both. And now, that girl was expected to be anyone but herself.

My name was Violet Wilson, and I was a citizen now.

This isn’t to say this will be the final opening, but I thought I’d keep you updated as I move along. I’m also going to start sharing #1lineWed from July Thunder! This week’s preview was school.

What I’m Publishing:

The Seconds Before Sunrise paperback is back up! And it's 20% off.

The Seconds Before Sunrise paperback is back up! And it’s 20% off.

So here’s the deal. The paperback release of Bad Bloods: November Snow is September 19. I keep thinking about how to celebrate this the right way, and I finally settled on more sneak peeks of July Thunder, since it’s taking me longer to write than I hoped. So sign up for my newsletter and be sure to visit my blog on September 19 to see more excerpts, an inspirational Pinterest board, and more!

Also, speaking of paperbacks, I know a lot of you have been trying to order the paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy! Thanks for reading and making the book sell out! My publisher fixed the issue, and now, the paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise is back in stock everywhere! (And it’s only $7.00, which is 20% off the usual price.)

This week, I also got more news on Penned Con! Author Natasha Hanova and I will be at booth 35 in the Breckenridge Ballroom during Penned Con St. Louis on September 23 & 24. Here is the complete map of booths. Come out and see us!

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

What I’m Reading:

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Rook by Sharon Cameron

I finished Rook by Sharon Cameron! A homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel, Rook is sophisticated, intimate, and philosophical. It is reminiscent of the French Revolution and all the tension that comes along with it, but it doesn’t take place during the French Revolution. Instead, it takes place in the far-off future set back to the Dark Ages after a world disaster and reconstruction. What would happen to us after a polar shift and how would life continue on? Well, that’s what type of world Rook by Sharon Cameron takes place in. It’s definitely a book to remember. It’s unique, lively, and treacherous. For those of you looking for an awesome, intimate standalone, read this book right meow. Recommend to those looking for a satisfying standalone, reminiscent of the French Revolution, homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel, romantic, mysterious, past a dystopian time, vivid descriptions, romantic. Strong female lead. Humorous philosophy. Betrayal and religion. Favorite Quote: “To be eclipsed by you, Miss Bellamy, could only be an honor.” Read my full four-star review by clicking here.

I also started The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele.

What I’m Listening To:

What I’m Watching: 

I saw The Light Between Oceans over Labor Day weekend, and it was beautiful! The cinematography was astounding. So beautiful and breath-taking. And the story will tear your heart apart. One thing I thought I loved the most about this movie was how much I didn’t like the characters (like, not at all), but I still sympathized with them, and I was still moved by their story. I think that’s really rare, to be able to get an audience to love the story, even though the characters make terrible, selfish decisions. Seriously, go see it. If not for the story, for the oceanic scenes captured. It’s brilliant. 

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

My oven finally got fixed, so I baked cupcakes! I made banana chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream icing. They were amazing. (And I’m afraid of how many more sweets I’m going to eat now that my oven is fixed and I have new recipe cookbooks.)

What I’m Wearing:

My Sailor Moon sweater! I need some extra pep in my step.

What I’m Wanting:

Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series is being made into a TV series?!? I mean, yes! I cannot wait. You can read my five-star review of Throne of Glass here. Read this article about the TV show right here. It’ll be on Hulu and called Queen of Shadows.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So, I have no idea what type of society this dream took place in, but it was very desert-like, and a band of masked kids commit all these Robin Hood type crimes. Naturally, the government is chasing them, but the child telling the dream is a little genius, and he chases them down during one of their crimes. Though, he happens to stumble upon a dying one first. (Shot. By the government.) The kid stays with the dying one until he’s gone, then climbs a series of wooden ladders to the lair. When he finds them, they decide to let him stay, but he realizes he’s number 72. And there’s only 13 in this room. All of the others have passed. But he wants to be a part of this group, because he believes in their cause. (What their cause is, I have no clue. Yay, dreams plot holes!) But after the first night, a chick shows up, and she’s apparently one of the originals who left on her own accord. But now she’s back, and drama ensues. Then, I woke up. Potential book idea? Maybe. This is the type of dream I’d probably base a novel off of (once I fill in plot holes, of course), but it was quite fun!

What Else Is Going On:

I slept through a 5.3 magnitude earthquake this week! No joke. I’m a bit infamous for sleeping through strange things. In the 90’s, I slept through a Packers game in Lambeau Field. In Puerto Rico, I fell asleep in a rooftop hot tub. What can I say? I’m just staying true to my reputation.

~SAT

#SATurdate: Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Jane Got a Gun, Sausage Party, & Galaktaboreko

3 Sep

What I’m Writing:

I worked with some awesome writers this week on various projects! I’m keeping my fingers crossed about the future, because I love, love, love where everything is going. All that being said, I work with a lot of writers from all kinds of backgrounds every day. So many of us are not full-time writers, and I know how it feels to work numerous jobs and still try to find time to write. When I finished my first novel, I was a full-time student with a full-time job, so most of my writing time happened in fifteen-minute breaks behind a hostess stand at a sports bar. I still work a full-time job now. 😀 So, please don’t give up hope.

What I’m Publishing:

Sue’s Reading Corner reviewed Bad Bloods this week, and said, “November Snow was amazing!” I’m still working on the Bad Bloods sequel, so once I know more information, I’ll post it! I will say this, though. I worked on it extensively. I know I sort of froze at 38,000 words two weeks back, but it’s a good thing. Trust me. I need to rework it, and it’s coming along beautifully.

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads 

What I’m Reading:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I laughed, I cried, and I was terrified! The third novel in The Raven Cycle is even bigger and better than the first two (which is saying a lot)! These books are amazing. In particular, I enjoyed the creepy depths of the caves juxtaposed against the new (sometimes obnoxious, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes psychotic) characters we met. What a great continuation! I cannot wait to read The Raven King. Recommend to fans of magical realism, paranormal romance, and fantasy. Readers who want their imagination stretched and their fears confronted. Oh, and a little psychic fun. Favorite Quote? Weapons and poetry go hand in hand.

I also started Rook by Sharon Cameron, and I couldn’t help myself from buying more books. I went to the bookstore and bought The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele. I read the first chapter of that and The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, and I cannot wait to read those in the near future!

What I’m Listening To:

Melanie Martinez’s double feature music video released! I love her.

What I’m Watching:

Jane Got A Gun

Jane Got A Gun

I saw Sausage Party and Jane Got a Gun this week. Jane Got a Gun is on Netflix, much to my surprise, because it’s fairly new. But that movie is fantastic, albeit a bit difficult to watch at times due to violence. But I loved the well-structured plot, the old Western feel, and the dusty, dirty imagery. I grew up watching old Westerns, because of my father (who still watches them all the time). One thing I never liked about those old Westerns was how all the women (or almost all of them) seemed like damsels in distress. I highly doubt women of that time period were weak at all. So, it was nice to see a tougher, believable chick, even though bad things definitely still happen to her. (I also love Natalie Portman.)

So, now Sausage Party. Not going to lie, it was just not my thing. It basically makes fun of some pretty offensive stereotypes, so if you’re into that, you’ll enjoy the movie. But it just made me uncomfortable.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Galaktaboreko! Granted, I did not make this lovely dessert. (A lovely lady did.) But it is basically the best dessert ever. Between that and a collection of baklava, I have wayyyy too many sweets in my house right now. (Yay, for roommate birthdays.) That being said, I also sort of promised I would stop baking desserts for a little while, because I’ve been giving away too much sugary desserts to everyone I know. Guess it’s time to pull out the veggie plates and hummus.

What I’m Wearing:

 Boo Boo the cat

Boo Boo the cat

Blue! Boo Boo the cat was all over my writing gig this week. We went out on the rooftops with a notebook and imagined new worlds and new characters and new everything. We had a pretty blue day. And by blue, I mean awesome. I’ve missed climbing rooftops. I’m glad the rooftop weather is back!

What I’m Wanting:

American Horror Story! (Come on, tell us what this season is about before it starts!) All of these teasers are killing me! I mean, did you see that doll? I think the teaser that freaked me out the most was the spider in the mouth. I mean, I know that’s probably someone’s super trained pet that loves them dearly…but spiders. ::shudders:: I am terrified of them.

American Horror Story Season 6

American Horror Story Season 6

What I’m Dreaming Of:

It rained a lot this week, so I’m assuming this is why I had a flood dream where I risked my life to save all of the kittens in Kansas City. I was successful, too! Yay, kittens!

What Else Is Going On:

My oven is finally fixed! Which means you can expect more baking posts in the near future. I even got my hands on a dessert book for this purpose. Nom nom nom.

~SAT

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