Top 10 Books of 2016

Top 10 Books of 2016In 2016, I set out with a goal of reading 100 books. Ten of those books would be re-reads for me, another 12 to be contemporary, and 5 to be non-fiction. My Top 10 bOOKS OF 2016 ARE A NICE MIX OF ALL OF THOSE GOALS.

Not long into the year, I knew that reading 2 books a week would be difficult, if not impossible and the goal of 100 books was cut in half.  That was a much more manageable goal. I reached and surpassed 50 books easily.

I read a total of 73 books in 2016!

  • 12 of them were contemporary novels (goal achieved!)
  • 8 of them were re-reads (goal not quite achieved, but close!)
  •  2 were non-fiction (wah wahhhh– fail)

But so many of them were incredible. Here are my top 10 books of 2016 (in no particular order)!

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Banned Books Week- Celebrate your right to read

Banned Books Week

www.ala.org/bbooks

This week, Sept 27 – October 3 is Banned Books Week 2015.

This week on Amanda’s Nose in a Book we will be celebrating our right to read during Banned Books Week. I for one was always the child who became more curious about a book as soon as I found out it was challenged or banned. I sought out those books and devoured them, often loving them and recommending them to my friends.

It might surprise you, as it does me every single year that books written for Young Adults continue to be censored and banned or challenged by adults who believe that they are not appropriate for children.

Yes. This is still happening. In 2015.

Mind blown, right? Shouldn’t we be past this?

Books are banned for many reasons, but most are banned due to the subject material being seen as inappropriate for children or teenagers by other adults. See reasons why books are banned here and here.

That brings us to the question: what is appropriate or inappropriate for students to read?

Answer, it depends on the child. Some kids might be able to handle certain topics or subjects better than others. Most books that are published today have an age group in mind and while they talk about difficult subjects, they are done so with the experiences many children face every day in mind.

Authors don’t just talk about sex, assault, racism, poverty, or other tough subjects without the age level and the maturity of the audience that will be reading that book in mind. Think about it. Kids today see and go through a lot of terrible things. Talking about these topics in books not only tell kids that they are not alone, but they help to educate kids about what their peers might be going through.

So should books be banned at all?

No. Not even the crappiest of all crappy books. Censoring books because a  parent or group thinks they’re “bad” due to the content is wrong. Don’t get me wrong– if a parent doesn’t want their child to read a book, that’s fine and dandy. But trying to make it so that book isn’t accessible to a school, district, or kids in any school is B.S.

And I can almost guarantee that children will seek out the book that parents/teachers/school districts are so up in arms about. Telling a child a book/show/movie is forbidden will only make them want it more.

Learn more about Banned Books Week from the American Library Association

If I Taught YA Fantasy 101!!!

I missed last week’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and The Bookish. But it was such a fun topic, that I thought, hey let’s do that post anyway!

YA Fantasy is one of my favorite genres. And as a teacher, I feel like YA fantasy would be a fun class for students. So here are the top ten books that would be on my YA Fantasy 101 Syllabus for both high school and college students.

Let’s get to it!

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

hp1This is a given for me. I feel like it is something that everyone is familiar with and I could use it to teach different archetypes that we’d see in other fantasy novels. Continue reading

What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday

whatimreadingandwritingwednesdayHappy Wednesday! Sorry that this is posted a little late in the day, but I figured since I didn’t post last week that I should fill all of you in on what I’ve been up to! What I’m Reading & Writing Wednesday my take on WWW Wednesday, brought to us by Taking on a World of Words.

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What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday

Woah! It’s been a while again (whoops). But things have been pretty productive, which is positive! And it’s time for What I’m Reading & Writing Wednesday so I can catch all of you up on what I’ve been up to lately. This feature is my spin on WWW Wednesday, originally started by Miz B at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Taking on a World of Words.tumblr_lsio63zudZ1qbl11oo1_500Basically my life is being eaten by adult things, no matter how much I want to do other things. Ick.

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Why I Love the YA Genre- Guest Post by Sherry Soule, author of Lost in Starlight

“Why I Love the Young Adult Genre”

Guest post by author, Sherry Soule

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Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She will be publishing a brand new Upper YA / Sci-Fi Romance series: the “Starlight Saga” with scorching-hot character chemistry, exciting suspense, and epic romance on June 26, 2014.

To help promote this amazing interstellar love story, “LOST IN STARLIGHT,” Sherry is doing this guest post to share the news with fellow bibliophiles. So without further, ado, please welcome Sherry Soule to Amanda’s Nose in a Book!!!

 

Hi everybody, I’m author, Sherry Soule—waving from the SF Bay Area. Thanks for letting me visit today, it’s an honor to be a guest here and meet fellow booklovers.

Ever since I was a child, I have recognized that books are a way to travel to other places and have incredible adventures. Even though I am older than the average teen reader, I’ve always loved reading Young Adult books and strongly believe you’re NEVER too old to read them.

One reason that I enjoy reading YA Lit is because most novels in this genre are fast-paced and thrilling. And teenage characters tend to have a more hopeful perspective, which draws me in—plus the fact that I’m really a big kid at heart. I also adore that there are so many books created into a series nowadays, so that you can continue to have additional adventures with your favorite characters.

Could my love of YA Lit be simply because I’m still stuck at age sixteen, just a teenager-at-heart in disguise?

Could be. And like many of you, I’ve read hundreds of YA books and I can actually say that I enjoyed almost all of them. Some I genuinely loved, and these books became like good friends that I didn’t want to part with, so they adorn my bookshelves and wait patiently to be reread again one day. Other novels were simply read and then disregarded with a contented smile.

Although I buy many of my books through Amazon, I am never embarrassed to buy YA novels in bookstores, or carry them around with me. I love the genre and always have and always will.

We all have diverse tastes in literature. Most of you will have various genres that you love to read, and probably some of my favorite books are simply your forgotten reads. That is what makes the world of YA Lit, and reading as a whole, so fascinating. Each one of us will enjoy different types of characters, plots, and, of course, a writer’s voice, the way only they can tell a story.

At its core my new novel, LOST IN STARLIGHT, is basically a love story about two lonely hearts finding each other and how their “forbidden” friendship changes both of their lives. Sure, there is an element of danger regarding this star-crossed romance, but they are both young and reckless. Who isn’t at that age?

And I don’t know about you, but I need some romance in almost every book I read. Even in YA! And if you’re a hopeless romantic at heart, then you’ll enjoy reading my new book.

Thus, LOST IN STARLIGHT is the first book that I’ve ever written that focuses mostly on romance rather than any paranormal baddies trying to kill the heroine or having the plot center around a supernatural mystery to solve. And I think the heroine of my new series, Sloane, is rather unique. To me, she’s not your average “Mary Sue” or flawless heroine. She has some self-esteem issues, but she’s also headstrong and gutsy, with an eccentric fashion sense.

Thank you for letting me chat about my love of young adult literature. I hope you enjoyed this post. Now go feed your mind and read a book! Preferably one of mine  🙂

 

Please mark your calendars to buy your copy of LOST IN STARLIGHT on June 26th 2014!

Read the first five chapters for free on wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/14214838-lost-in-starlight-syfy-romance

BookCover_Lost_in_StarlightVOLUME ONE of the Starlight Saga- Synopsis

 

High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.

Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heatrises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien.

They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.

Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobbY extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life….

About Sherry Soule

Sherry Soule lives with her family and one very spoiled black cat in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the bestselling author of the adult novel, “Immortal Eclipse” and the popular YAunnamed series: Spellbound. Sherry writes thrilling tales of romance and suspense, often mingled with a dash of the mystical and a splash of trendy fashion. Her love of literature began when she was a young girl and it has continued throughout her life.

Her published novels do not include any graphic sex scenes or explicit violence, nor excessive profanity, so that all of her novels can be read and enjoyed by both teens and adults.

Sherry’s debut novel, “Beautifully Broken” was nominated for Best Paranormal Romance in the 2011 Wizard and Witch/Sorcery category by The Romance Reviews (TRR). Her adult novel, “Immortal Eclipse” is a *TOP PICK* by Night Owl Reviews.

Places you can find Sherry Soule:

Official Blog

Twitter @SherrySoule

Please add LOST IN STARLIGHT to your TBR on goodreads

 

The awesome book cover was designed by the talented, Kristen Thompson-Oh of KCT Designs at www.kctdesigns.com

Eager to read a sneak peek on your Kindle? FREE every Friday from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hdo6Oh

 

 

 

 

 

5 Books that have Completely Changed my World View

Since last weekend’s article telling adult fans of YA that they should be ashamed, the community of YA lovers have risen up in defense of what they enjoy reading and in support of YA readers and writers everywhere. This week, Epic Reads talked about books that have changed the way they view the world and invited viewers to chime in with books that have done the same for them.

It’s no secret to many of us that YA books change the way that teens and adults view the world around them. This post is dedicated to 5 very special books that opened my eyes, mind, and heart.

 

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

tokillamockingbirdWhile this will always be one of my favorite books for many different reasons, To Kill a Mockingbird was a wonderful insight into the innocence of children and brought into play issues of race, social economic status, and ability/disability. While Scout will always remind me of myself at her age, Atticus Finch is such an amazing character and is a stand up guy who always tries to do what is right by others, especially his children.

2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak_1st_Edition_CoverSpeak has been such a powerful influence on my life in many different ways, as it has for many teens and adults alike. It encourages victims of sexual assault to speak out and urges them to stay strong. It deals with the topic of bullying in such powerful and heart-wrenching ways and is one of those books that can help save the lives of so many people.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the book thiefThe Book Thief is one of the only books i have read that takes place in Nazi Germany during World War II, this book shows a glimpse into the lives of a family who hides a Jewish man in their basement. It also teaches wonderful lessons about family, friendship, and love.

4. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

messengerI am the Messenger taught me that even the most ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things and it taught me this at a time when i definitely needed it the most. it shows how even doing simple things to brighten someone’s day or help them can completely change their life.

5. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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TFioS is such a heartbreaking story but teaches a wonderful lesson about life and living. It also features very sick people who don’t allow themselves to become their illness.

Confessions of a Book Blogger: I have no shame for my love of YA.

bloggraphicNo. Shame.

I-have-no-shameAnd I don’t think I really should either.

(And neither should you.)

 

So yes, like many of you I read that condescending article. I had many, many choice words to say about the author, and then I thought— this person is embarrassed of what they like to read and is trying to pass that embarrassment on to all of us.tumblr_lq2jwtE5SV1qht847I am 27 years old and I read YA. Sure, I read some books written for adults, I read some books that are considered cross-over books, but I mainly read YA.

Let me explain. When I was in high school, I didn’t even know what YA really was, but I read and devoured it at a voracious pace. My love of reading and writing lead me to go to college to be a middle and high school English teacher and further my education to be a reading and literacy teacher. It was there in my education classes and working with students that I truly discovered the power of YA lit and I finally saw it from the other side— how a wonderful YA book can turn teens reluctant to read into readers. I began buying YA books and reading them, intending to put them in my future classroom. And even after I graduated, I kept buying and reading YA (even when the idea of me teaching seemed like a far-off dream.)

I might not ever teach teens and I still read (and love) YA!

I have teaching to credit for my love of YA, but wonderful books and authors to credit for my continued love of YA.

 

Why I’m not ashamed (and you shouldn’t be either).

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  1. Universal Themes– Yes, the characters in these books are usually mostly teenagers, but the things that they face and the themes in these books can be found in books written for adults as well (and sometimes not written as well or realistically). These themes transcend the audience that the book was originally written for. They make it so that teens and adults alike can read, enjoy, and benefit from reading a YA book. Messages of love, loss, friendship, family, good vs. evil, etc. can be applicable to all readers.
  2. These books are actually good Sure there are some YA books out there that aren’t the greatest, but there are some equally bad adult books out there as well. YA authors work hard to make sure that teens (and adults) can actually relate to these books. So many are beautifully written with strong characters and great themes and story arcs. Some of these books can change or even save the lives of those who read them. If that’s not powerful, I don’t know what is.
  3. Imagination. Some of the imagination that it takes to write these books and create the amazing world within them takes some impressive talent. Few books written for adults have swept me away into fantastical worlds like YA books have.
  4. You’re reading, that is good in and of itself. In an age where so many people are proud to say that they “don’t read” it’s amazing to see people who read and enjoy books, no matter what books they may be.
  5. Marketing and publishing companies generally determine if a book is YA or not. Yes, some authors write books with an audience in mind, but many don’t. They just want to tell a good story. Did you know that the US is one of the only countries that markets The Book Thief as a YA book?

Overall, just because you don’t like a genre, author, or even the audience a book is written for doesn’t mean that the people who read them are stupid or that they should be ashamed for reading something that they enjoy. Leave them alone.

Read, and let read.

I don’t judge anyone for what they read or don’t read. If people want to judge you for liking YA, let them.

SOPVrMy message to them: thanks friend— but you are the one missing out on some amazing books.

 

 

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Synopsis:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Review:

I have heard mixed reviews about Shatter Me by YA author, Tahereh Mafi. Many people either loved it or they hated. Honestly, I can see how people would feel either way. I really enjoyed Shatter Me for the most part.  Throughout most of the novel I was incredibly drawn into what was happening. However, there were some instances where I wanted to throw the book across the room.

I’ve seen many complaints about Mafi’s writing style. In the beginning of the novel Juliette was imprisoned and she hadn’t spoken to anyone in 264 days and hadn’t touched someone in years. So, I could see the reason for the use of metaphors/similes, stike-through text, and repeating the same word or phrase 3 times. It made sense for me with the mindset of the character at that point in the novel. But after she left the institution, I felt that when it happened, it bogged down the action and plot of the book, making it move slower than it needed to.  Sometimes they made sense, but more often than not it pulled me out of what was going on in the novel.

Juliette’s abilities (or “super power” I guess) was intriguing for me. I loved that she had the ability to hurt or kill someone simply by touching them. I don’t think that this was explored to it’s full potential in this book but I genuinely hope that it will be explored and explained more in the sequels.

One thing that I was extremely disappointed with in Shatter Me was the lack of character development that Juliette had over the course of the book. I feel that once her relationship with Adam begun, Juliette became boring. There was too much romance and not enough action or story. There were a couple of points where I was thinking “You go, Juliette.” But more often than not I was thinking— making out/leg touching again… Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed some of the “fan myself” moments, but there came a point where I was looking for story.

I didn’t hate Juliette, not at all actually. I just hope that her character grows in the next two books. And I loved Adam. He was quite swoon worthy and he was pretty brave and bad ass. I’m not going to go into more details because *spoilers*.

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And Kenji was in the book so little, but I loved him. He brought some humor and seems like a great character that I can’t wait to read more about.

One last comment (and if this happens, please don’t tell me)… I hope that in the next few books that there isn’t a love triangle that includes Warner. But I spoiled this for myself I think and read some other people’s reviews. Ugh.

Overall I enjoyed Shatter Me and I am intrigued and curious as to what will happen in the next two books. It had it’s faults, but I will give Unravel Me a shot.

4 / 5 Stars