YA Deep Cuts

If you spend any time at all on YA social media (Twitter, Instagram, and sometimes Facebook), chances are you’re inundated with book recommendations. And because everything is so of the moment, they’re probably things that either JUST came out, or worse (if you want to read them now right now) won’t be out for another couple months or (gasp!) years. In fact, everything is so RIGHT NOW or COMING SOON, that often stuff that just came out a couple months ago is long since forgotten. But I need some new book recommendations other than what’s staring out at me from the bookstagram every day. So yesterday on Twitter I asked this question:

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And boy did I get some great responses. So many, that I wanted to share them with you!  (I probably got a lot of YA contemporary because people know it’s my favorite;  sorry for the imbalance!) If you’d like to add to the list, have at the comments below!

YA Contemporary

You Don’t Know Me by David Klass
The Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block
All The Rage by Courtney Summers
Willow by Julia Hoban
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
King of the Screwups by KL Going
Endangered and Threated by Eliot Schrefer
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Millions by Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Play On by Michelle Smith
These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Kissing in America by Margo Robb
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
White Lines by Jennifer Banash
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Trafficked by Kim Purcell

YA Adventure/Fantasy/Mystery

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Every Breath by Ellie Marney
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin
The Art of Wishing and The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar
The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Are You Experienced by Jordan Sonnenblick
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Adult

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly Creight
What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose (nonfiction/memoir)
Columbine by Dave Cullen (narrative nonfiction)

The Love List: Announcements! Updates! Excitement!

Oh today is just chock full of love, because I have some really exciting bookish announcements!

Decatur Book Festival

DBF has long been my favorite book event since the first time I attended in 2012, but something tells me the 2015 festival is going to be my very favorite because … I’ll be in conversation with Sarah Dessen! Yup, that’s right, Saturday at 10am at the Teen Stage I’m moderating the Queen of Contemporary YA herself, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I met Sarah for the first time in 2011 when I was visiting Cape Cod and she happened to be at Eight Cousins in Falmouth. She could not have been nicer when I told her Meant to Be was getting published (I’m SURE I was a trembling, giggling fan girl, but she thoroughly ignored it). Then then THEN I got to be on a panel at Southern Festival of Books in Nashville along with Jennifer E. Smith, which was a blast. So I absolutely can’t wait to be on stage with her asking her all kinds of questions about books, writing, and Twitter. Speaking of, if you’ve got questions you think I should ask Sarah, leave ’em in the comments. I might use them!

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Meeting Sarah Dessen for the first time in 2011 at Eight Cousins in Falmouth, MA

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Jennifer E Smith, Sarah Dessen, and ME at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville 2013

Signed Preorders!

More excitement? We’re less than 4 months away from the release of The Trouble With Destiny, my 3rd novel (no, I can’t believe it either). I’ll be doing my launch party at my very favorite indie (who also happens to run the Children’s and Teen stages at DBF), The Little Shop of Stories on December 11th at 7pm. You guys are ALL invited, but that’s not even the best part. For those of you who can’t make the party, you can order a signed, personalized copy of The Trouble With Destiny (as well as my first two books, Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs), by calling Little Shop and preordering a copy. All orders placed by December 11th will be signed, and the first 25 preorders will get swag, including this set of  super awesome TWD buttons.

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Give Little Shop a call at (404)373-6300 to order your signed copy today, before we run out!

 

The Love List: #ShelfTour Edition

Are you guys following me on Instagram? Because if you’re not, you should! This week I’m sharing photos of my bookshelves (and my wonky organizational system that’s half genre/half whim-of-Lauren). I’ve already showed off some of my fave contemporary romance picks

 

And what I’m calling my Modern Classics.

 

See any favorites? Got any to add? Comment below or over on Instagram, and join in by sharing your shelfies with the hashtag #ShelfTour.

The Love List: Vacation Reading Edition

Last week we were off visiting my husband’s parents in Key West, which meant lots of swimming time for my little water baby. We had a great trip (though the return flight was the closest I’ve ever come to vomiting on an airplane … holy turbulence!). So I’m just getting around to a new post for the newly named “Love List,” aka things I think that are awesome.

Infinite In Between
by Carolyn Mackler

I snagged an ARC of this one from Little Shop of Stories (thanks LSoS!) and decided to bring it for some vacation reading. Yes, I had to wrangle a tiny person for the first time ever on vacation, but I figured there would be plenty of time the grandparents would want to wrangle the tiny person. And thankfully that turned out to be true, because I sped through Infinite In Between. The novel follows 5 students from the first day of their freshman year of high school all the way through graduation. It really reads like a beautiful collection of vignettes, with lots of interwoven narratives as the characters bump into each other and just generally rotate through one another’s orbits. I really REALLY loved it. The perfect book to read for back-to-school, it’s out September 1st from HarperTeen. Get a copy!

 

 

Endorsements: Episode 2 (yeah, I need a snazzier title)

Parnassus Books
Nashville, TN

Last week I had the opportunity to do a YA panel at one of my very favorite indie bookstores, Parnassus. I’ve been DYING to get there since it first opened, so when I was invited, I jumped at the chance. Also, it meant my very first night sans kiddo in a hotel room, where I watched a whole lot of Real Housewives with a side of HGTV. But really the highlight of the trip was the panel with Rachael Allen (The Revenge Playbook), Katie Stout (Hello, I Love You) and Jenny Martin (Tracked). Courtney Stevens moderated for us, and she was incredible. So many great questions (and some real stumpers, like “If you books could be a band, what band would they be and why?”). We had a lot of laughs (and I might have uttered the phrase, “sometimes you gotta hit a bitch”), and afterwards I bought books! Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (which I’m reading now and loving), Skippyjon Jones for my lil kiddo (my favorite books to read aloud), and …

Writen in the Stars
by Aisha Saeed

Aisha is a fellow Georgia author, and I was really bummed I couldn’t make her launch party at Little Shop of Stories. I’d heard such great things about her and her debut novel, so when I saw it on the shelf at Parnassus, I snatched it up immediately. Like I said, I heard it was great, but I didn’t realize what a serious page-turner it was! I did NOT want to put it down. Aisha is also one of the founders of the We Need Diverse Books campaign, which is really making waves in the publishing world (and also expanding my own reading list). Definitely get a copy of this incredible book, both because it’s awesome, and because we want to make sure more like it get published!

 

YA panel @parnassusbooks! @katiemstout @laurenmorrill

A photo posted by Sarah Anna (@sarberry) on

I’m no Oprah, but these are some of my favorite things

Yup, I’m back! After nearly three years of neglect, I’m going to give this blogging thing a whirl. Don’t get too excited, we’ll see if it sticks. But for now, I’m back with a new feature where I’ll share with you the things I’m loving these days. There will probably almost always be a bookish thing featured, because DUH, but I also want to use this space to just randomly evangelize for awesomeness. Partly because I want to share those things with you, and partly because I think we could all use more corners of the internet devoted to thumbs up, don’t you?

So with that, here are my inaugural endorsements…

Devoted
by Jennifer Mathieu

I read (and loved) Jennifer’s debut The Truth About Alice, a few months ago, but I didn’t know she had another book out until I saw a roundup of cult/religion books on Stacked. Devoted is about a girl in a Duggar-type family, very faithful and modest, who finds herself questioning the tenets of her faith that make her who she is. It’s a book that deals so delicately with the idea of what faith means and the ways it can manifest itself. I love the way Mathieu deals with Rachel’s questioning of her faith and the hard decisions she has to make. I read it in two days, a major feat for me these days, because on top of being gorgeous, it was a total page turner.

The Royal We
by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Oh. My. God. This book is 500 pages, and yet I pretty much neglected my entire life (and the revision I was supposed to be working on!) to read it in a weekend. It was utterly un-put-downable, incredibly swoony, so so dishy, and laugh-out-loud hysterical. As soon as I finished the e-book on my iPad, I raced over to Barnes and Noble to buy the hardcover, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read it again pretty soon. Seriously, go read this. It’s the perfect beach book, or for any long plane/train/car ride you’ve got coming up.

Rainwater Farm Bug Repellant

It’s summer, and if you’re anything like me, that means you’re frequently raising your fist to the heavens and asking WHY MOSQUITOES?! WHAT ARE THEY FOR?! I must be extra sweet (cold comfort when I’m itching my skin off), because the damn things love me. I can go outside to water the plants or pick the ripe tomatoes, and in five minutes I’ve got more than ten bites swelling and itchy on my legs. I hate it. But I also hate coating myself in deet for a ten minute trip outside, then smelling like a chemical factory all day and worrying about my kid (who loves to lick EVERYTHING) ingesting it. Enter Rainwater Farm, a company from my hometown, that specializes in all natural soap and other skincare products. You guys, this stuff is all-natural, smells good, isn’t greasy, and IT WORKS. I’ve avoided even a single bite with this stuff. If you’re prone to bites like I am, get some like, yesterday.

What about you?

Now here’s the fun part. Share your endorsement! Bop on down to the comments and let me know what you’re loving right now. Frequent posters may find themselves the recipient of fun bookish things!

BEING SLOANE JACOBS summer paperback giveaway!

After the long hard winter we endured (ok, not so much down here in Georgia, but it did get kind of a cold a for a few days!), I know we’re all really excited for summer. Whether you’re headed to the beach, cooling your heels by the pool, lounging on a porch, pausing on a park bench, or simply sweating it out waiting for fall, we all need a good summer read. Which is why I’m so excited that my second book, BEING SLOANE JACOBS, comes out in paperback on June 23rd! It’s compact and perfect for your summer tote. And to celebrate, I’m launching a massive giveaway! Here are the prizes:

Grand Prize Pack of Summer Fun

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Have the perfect summer day with the complete Lauren Morrill collection, including paperback copies of Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs, and an ARC of my next book, The Trouble With Destiny (out December 8!). Mark your place with the Scrabble tile bookmarks, jot down your summer plans in these cute notebooks, and have some nail art fun with 3 Essie polishes that match the Sloane Jacobs cover!

But that’s not all! I’m also giving away

  • 5 signed copies of Being Sloane Jacobs in paperback
  • 2 signed copies of Meant to Be in paperback
  • 20 signed bookplates and some fun swag for The Trouble With Destiny (buttons? stickers? stay tuned!)

Pretty great, huh? So here’s how to enter:

Head on over to Instagram and like this post, follow me, then tag two friends in the comments. Just like, follow, tag! That’s it! I’ll draw a winner on June 20th, which gives you three whole weeks to enter! This contest is US only, sorry international friends! Check back for an international giveaway in December when The Trouble With Destiny drops.

My Year in Reading 2013

This was a ridiculous year of reading … I set an initial goal of 75 books, and as I write this on December 11th, I’ve blown past that to 105. I’ll probably add another 3-4 books before New Year’s (we’re doing Christmas in Key West this year, which means plenty of sunny, poolside reading!), but spoiler alert: most of those will probably be Jill Shalvis books, because I’m addicted.

At the bottom, you’ll see a gallery of all the books I’ve read (thanks, Goodreads, for making this easy to aggregate!). I’m a major book quitter, so every book listed is one I enjoyed in some way or another, so I’d recommend pretty much everything pictured below. But before we get there …

Favorite Books of 2013

Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman is the very best at writing realistic and yet still swoon-worthy dudes. I like Just One Day, but Just One Year was where the duology really shined. I love reading about and rooting for Willem. And Just One Year made me go back and reread the If I Stay/Where She Went duology … which I think we all know is freaking fantastic.

Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty
Glory hallelujah, Jessica Darling is back! Middle grade isn’t usually my bag (she says as she realizes THREE  of the books on this list are MG), but I’ll read anything staring good old JD, even a picture book. After five books and all that waiting, I was so pleased that this middle grade prequel lived up to everything I love about that series. McCafferty did an amazing job of letting us see the origin of Jessica’s snark, while also revealing her sweet middle school roots. I’m gonna go ahead and say that Jessica Darling is the most fully realized character in literature.

Doll Bones by Holly Black
This was my first Holly Black book, snagged off the shelf at my local library. Another middle grade, and this one was beautifully written. It captured everything that is great and terrible about being twelve and straddling the childhood-teenagerhood divide. There’s such a sense of childlike wonder here.

The Rainbow Rowell Collection: Attachments, Eleanor and Park, and Fangirl
Ok, this is cheating, but I read Attachments, Eleanor and Park, and Fangirl all this year, and fell completely in love with Rainbow Rowell. Her writing is so honest. I’ll admit, I think Attachments is my favorite (read it, picture Alexander Skarsgard as Lincoln, then write an email and thank me), which is why I’m really looking forward to her next book, Landline. I’ll cash in all my author mojo just to get a galley of that one.

Starstruck by Rachel Shukert
This is the book I’ve been evangelizing to everyone I know, because I think this book is criminally underrated. The writing is fabulous, and the world is so fun. Set in 1930s Hollywood and following three young starlets (and the wild band of crazies that surrounds them), this is like a period Gossip Girl but with way more class and even more intrigue. I was lucky enough to get a galley of the sequel, Love Me, and whoa … I’m all in on this trilogy. Give me third one please!

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
The third middle grade on this list, Nate had me laughing out loud. This read like a middle grade David Sedaris, and I can’t wait for the follow-up, Five, Six, Seven, Nate! I’ll read anything Tim Federle writes, because the guy brings it with the comedy.

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
Penguin did a bang-up job on the promo for this one, because those book trailers, excerpts, and ad campaigns made me buy this book on release day and then spend the next 24 hours devouring it. I love that even though it’s the start of a series, it feels like a complete story with a satisfying ending. But I’m still clamoring for the next one!

Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
I was going to read this one no matter what, because hello, Lorelai Gilmore wrote it! But this is not your typical celebrity novel. Lauren is a talented writer, and I could hear her voice pouring off of every page. It was hilarious and heartfelt, which is probably why she’s writing a follow-up, and also a pilot script for Ellen Degeneres’s production company! This brought back everything I loved about quality chick lit like Bridget Jones, Devil Wears Prada, and Something Borrowed.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
File this under “Why did it take me so long to read this?!” It absolutely lived up to the hype. I will say, if you’re diving in for the first time, just know that the first 75 pages or so are going to be strange, but power through. It’ll start to slowly come together, and you’ll be so glad you stayed for the show.

Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan
Another criminally underrated book, probably because the main characters are NOT nice dudes and the language is frank and honest. Which, if you’ve spent any time with teenage boys, you know is not always pleasant. But the storytelling is masterful, and I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I read part of this book while standing next to Ian Somerhalder on the Vampire Diaries set because OH MY GOD GO AWAY IAN I WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THIS BOOK!

And now for the superlatives

Favorite Character: Roux, Going Rogue by Robin Benway
Yep, she won last year, and in the hilarious follow-up to Also Known As, Robin brings back everything I loved about Roux and more. Also, this time she gets an Irish love interest, so YUP YES PLEASE.

Swooniest Dude: tie between Willem and Adam, from the Gayle Forman books
I guess Adam shouldn’t be included, because If I Stay/Where She Went was a reread, but I can’t help it. The boy is HOT. And so is Willem, oh he of the multilingualism and the Bollywood film credits.

Biggest Book Addiction: The Lucky Harbor Series by Jill Shalvis
Holy hotness … I’m on a romance novel kick these days, and these are my crack. No shame, no apologizes.

Book that Scared the Bejeezus Out of Me: Cain’s Blood by Geoffrey Girard
Cloned serial killers who escape and go on a killing spree? Yeah, it had me double checking the locks on my doors.

Biggest OMG Moment: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I’d tell you about it, but I’d probably be lying.

Character I Most Want to See In Another Book: Morris, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Sarah’s forever bringing back former characters to make cameo appearances, and I’d love to see Morris again. In fact, if she were ever going to attempt to write from a dude’s perspective, I’d love to see a whole Morris book. Something about him was mysterious and interesting and magnetic. More please!

Book Series That Left Me Wanting More: The Disappearance of Lizzy Ross by Jessica Schein
The e-novella series definitely left me with lots of questions, so I can’t wait for the next one. Honorable mention to All Our Yesterdays, because I want to see what she plans to do next.

Best Cover: Giving it to Jennifer E. Smith again, this time for This is What Happy Looks like and The Geography of You and Me
Not to mention that what’s inside those books? AWESOME. Wait, why didn’t I include these on my best books above? Because they were awesome. Read them, now.

Most Feel-Good Read: The Mother Daughter Book Club Series by Heather Vogel Frederick
Maybe it’s that these books take place in New England (Concord, MA, to be precise), maybe it’s that they’re sweet middle grade reads, or maybe it’s just that Heather Vogel Frederick captures all the good parts of being a tween. I haven’t yet finished the series, but every time I need a sigh and a smile kind of a read, I reach for one of these. I only have 3 left, so I’ve got to save ’em!

Best Rereads: If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Even knowing exactly what was coming, I bawled like a baby. Honorable mention to Sloppy Firsts, because MARCUS FLUTIE.

Books Sitting on TBR Shelf That I Can’t Wait to Read:
Also known as the WHAT AM I WAITING FOR?!?! Award, these are sitting on my shelf waiting for the perfect moment to be enjoyed, because let’s be honest, every last one of them is going to be fabulous.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Fire With Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
Never Fade by Alex Bracken
September Girls by Bennett Madison
Winger by Andrew Smith
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

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I’m such a deadbeat blogger…

No seriously, I am. But if you saw my panel at Decatur Book Festival with Leigh Bardugo and David Levithan (yeah, THAT HAPPENED!) where we talked about social media, you’ll know that I take the Ron Swanson view of all things Internet:

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So I choose to whole ass Twitter, because that’s like the unicorn of the Internet in my mind. I love chatting about books and writing and food and tv (seriously, it’s finally fall tv time, so come chat with me!) and all the other fun and not-so-fun things about my life. Seriously, go follow me on Twitter and we’ll have funtimes.

Which means I choose to really not ass blogging at all (that was a weird sentence). I do, however, keep things fun over on Tumblr, sometimes with just fun and funny posts, bits of inspiration, and sometimes short blogs. So if you don’t follow me on Tumblr, get on over and take care of that, ok??? Why would you possibly want to miss all my Gilmore Girls gifsets?!

And finally, we’re just over three months until Being Sloane Jacobs hits shelves. You can preorder it pretty much anywhere books are sold, and if you’re a blogger or reviewer, you can find it on NetGalley. Eep! Can’t believe it’s getting so close!

The Friday Five

1. As I mentioned in my previous posts, my writing life is currently getting a serious spit ‘n polish thanks to a reading of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Which brings me to my first story … my dog has serious thunder anxiety. She paces and whines and drools and claws at all the doors in our house. And if you don’t pay attention to her, it escalates into barking and more clawing. If there’s a storm in the forecast, it basically means either my husband or I is staying up all night with her (and it’s often me, because I’m not the one who has to get up and go to work in the morning). We basically have to dope her up on valium during storms, and even that doesn’t always work. But last night was one of the nights where it (sort of) did, and somewhere around 1am I found myself sitting on the couch with  a panting, drooling, very very stoned dog while a thunder storm raged outside. And my first thought wasn’t “I’m so tired!” or “Dear God, please take her hearing so we can move on from this!” Nope, it was “oh man, my main character needs an anxious dog. And then I could do this great scene during a storm in her bedroom, and then…” So yeah, don’t be surprised if a version of lil Lucy appears in my next book!

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Lucy and I enjoying better weather last weekend

2. Tomorrow, 1pm-3pm at the Macon Barnes & Noble on Riverside Drive, will be my very first author event (not counting my launch party). And I’ll be ALL BY MYSELF! I’m really excited about it, especially after stopping by the store and seeing all the awesome displays. So if you’re in the Middle Georgia area, or want to take a road trip, I definitely recommend coming to this one. And if you’re not in the Middle Georgia area, check my events page, because I might be coming to a city near you! Houston, New York, Chicago, Nashville, Chattanooga, Asheville, Atlanta … I’m coming for you all!

Macon B&N event

3. Yesterday I got to return to Mystic Falls! Yep, I’m going to be an extra on Vampire Diaries again, this time for my fourth episode! (read about my other visits here and here). I can’t tell you anything about it other than it was the season finale, I got to fake eat some french fries outside the Mystic Grill, and then something REALLY COOL happens. Since this is the season finale, I won’t have any more cool TVD stories again until probably August (when they start shooting the fall season), but hopefully then I’ll also have some cool Originals stories, since they’re likely filming the spinoff here as well! More Klauss (yes yes yes).

4. Next weekend, all your Houstonites can find me at Teen Book Con, which I’m so freaking excited about. Not only do I get to meet a ton of readers and talk about books, but some of my very favorite authors are going to be there! First of all, Barry Lyga’s sequel to I HUNT KILLERS comes out on Tuesday, so I will most certainly be devouring that book (and the constantly checking over my shoulder … ). Plus I’ll be on a panel with Amy McNamara, and I absolutely loved her YA contemp LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP.

5. And finally, big congrats to my author friend (and fellow Maryville High School alumna!) Kathryn Holmes, who got an agent for her awesome YA contemp, The Creation of Hallelujah Calhoun. I got to beta read this one, and it’s so great. Definitely keep your eye out, because I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it’s coming to a shelf near you!

And now, for my most prolific extra work, in TVD Season 4, Episode 7: My Brother’s Keeper (aka, The Miss Mystic Falls Pageant).

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Yep, who knew I was such a competent bartender … oh, and Dave Alpay, who plays Professor Shane? Super nice guy! He follows me on Twitter now.

TVD3

Yes, I got to spend A LOT of time standing next to Klaus while filming this scene, and yes his accent is just that dashing in real life.

TVD2

I’m actually all over this episode. As a waiter, I got to walk around a lot, which mean in and out of the shots. There’s about 4 more times you’ll see me if you really look hard…

TVD 1

That tray of champagne glasses was HEAVY, and I carried it for 12 hours. And yes, the glasses are glued to the tray (thank god)