Friday, February 13, 2015

My Favorite YA Romances

In honor of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought I'd put together a list of my favoritest favorite YA romances. Because really, who doesn't love a good ship?!

While I have lots of favorite books and favorite characters, these are my favorite romances. That doesn't mean that the book is a romance itself, just that it has some romance in it that's freakin' amazing.


(Oh, but before I start, don't forget to enter my giveaway for an ARC of Hello, I Love You, which for sure has some swoons IMHO.)

Cricket and Lola
Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

THE CUTEEEE I CAN'T EVEN TAKE IT OMGGGG!!! Cricket Bell is one of my favorite YA book boyfriends for sure, and I just loved the romance in Lola. This book gave me an absurd amount of feels, y'all. Awkward cute is the best cute.

Perry and Aria
Under the Never Sky trilogy, by Veronica Rossi

This was a ship that sort of surprised me. I didn't love it at first, but as the series progressed, this relationship really grew on me. By the end, I was flailing every time these two were even in a scene together; it didn't even matter if it was romance-y or not.

(And on a side note: the Aria/Roar and Roar/Perry platonic friend-ships are THE BEST!)

Ismae and Duval
Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers

This was another one that surprised me. I was sort of ambivalent about the romance at first; I was more interested in the plot and how much I loved Ismae. But as the story progressed, I found myself totally in love with these two as what I was hoping would become a couple. And even though they're not in much of the other two books, I loved seeing them together in those too.

Scarlet and Wolf
Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

Oh my goshhhh these two are adorable. I love how he basically pines over her the entire time. It's freakin' adorable. I especially felt the shippy feels in Cress, when we all knew he wanted to be with her and she was still hesitant. Like, my heart couldn't take it. It was just. so. cute.

Cress and Thorne
Cress, by Marissa Meyer

TALK ABOUT CUTE! These two. I can't even. This relationship is basically the opposite of Scarlet and Wolf's in that Cress is the one going around pining after Thorne. I couldn't get over how precious they were together. I'm pretty sure I said "aww" audibly multiple times.

Hector and Elisa
Fire and Thorns trilogy, by Rae Carson

Oh, this ship. I spent many an hour angsting over these two. This is a slow burn romance at its finest, folks. And let's just say it: Hector is absurdly swoony. I think if I could reach into any YA book and pick me out a man, it would be this one. Just saying.

Juliette and Warner
Shatter Me trilogy, by Tahereh Mafi

Everybody who's Team Adam, GET OUT! (JK. Sorta...) This isn't my typical favorite type of romance, as it's pretty steamy. (I tend to go for cute instead.) But holy hotness, Batman, these two totally got me. Right. In. The. Feels.

Cassie and Evan
The 5th Wave trilogy, by Rick Yancey

This is one of the very few times that instalove really worked for me. I'm obsessed with these books, and one of the things I love about them is the relationship between Cassie and Evan. It totally plays into my romance-loving-heart that he's willing to give up his entire people group for her. Like whaaaaa I love it.

Lock and Mori
Lock & Mori, by Heather W. Petty

This ship, y'all. THIS SHIPPPPP!!!! Basically, if you love the TV show Sherlock, you're going to love this book. And you're going to love this ship. It's everything Sherlock fans have ever wanted, and Heather does it masterfully. My emotions were Play-Doh in her hands, that's all I'm gonna say.

Ren and Kelsey
Tiger Saga, by Colleen Houck

This is a series I was straight addicted to, mostly because I couldn't get enough of the epic romance. I know that some people might not have liked how detailed everything was in this book (including the romance), but I was obsessed. I recently did a re-read of these, and I have to say I shipped it just as hard the second time around.

Tessa and Jem
The Infernal Devices, by Cassandra Clare


All the feels.

All. The. Feels.

Me, reading that epilogue in Clockwork Princess:

So those are my favorite YA romances!
Hope you find some swoony books to read this weekend!

Monday, February 2, 2015

ARC Giveaway!!!

You don't even know how long I've waited to post this: my first giveaway!

I'm not going to bore you with all my authory feels, blubbering about how OMG MY BOOK IS A REAL BOOK NOW AND I CAN HOLD IT AND STROKE IT AND IT'S SO PRETTYYYYY.


Yes, none of that.

Let's just say that this was me when they came in the mail:

But let's talk about the important part of the post (and the whole reason you came a-visiting my corner of the internets):


Here are the deets:

I'm giving away 1 ARC of my book, Hello, I Love You, which is going on sale June 9. It's an international giveaway, which means you can enter whether you live in America, Australia, Siberia, or the Sahara desert.

(I used to be one of those people who always got left out in giveaways because I lived in the UK, so I feel your pain, international peeps.)

All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below and tell me your favorite KPOP singer/band/song/whatever somewhere on social media with the hashtag #helloilovekpop. So tweet me or Instagram me or write a blog post or whatever you want; just share some KPOP love.

Because the world needs more KPOP. Amiright?!

And I promise no judgment on anyone's favorites. Maybe your post will have...



Or maybe you're like me, and your favorites are...


Whoever is your favorite, just let the world know! And don't forget to hashtag #helloilovekpop!

And if you don't win, have no fear! You can preorder a copy from the following retailers:

+ Your favorite bookseller!

Also, look for more giveaways coming soon!


Monday, January 5, 2015

How I Feel about It Being 2015 (and My Debut Year)

This is a little late coming, but I wasn't really sure how to put my thoughts together.

The idea that my first book is hitting shelves in six months is kind of terrifying. But exciting too. There are just lots of emotions.

I'm one of those writers that has wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I gave my mom a book I wrote for her birthday when I was seven, and it's been downhill ever since.

When I started writing HELLO, I LOVE YOU (then called FROM CHINA, WITH LOVE - and, you might have guessed, set in China), I had no hopes of it ever being published. I was finishing my last semester of college and about to hit my "young life crisis," as I fondly call it. I just wanted something to do that would distract me from the fact that I was about to enter real adulthood.

But as I edited and connected with other writers (and soon to be friends), I started to want more. I wrote a query letter. I sent out that query. I got an agent! And it suddenly all felt real.

I got a call from my agent that two editors had offered on the manuscript three days before I was scheduled to move to the UK. It was stressful and exhilarating, and it literally felt like my dreams were coming true.

Now, more than a year later, it still hasn't hit me that real people I don't even know will be reading my book. It's sort of a terrifying idea, that my story about love and forgiveness (and, yes, KPOP) will be read by strangers. They'll judge its merit (and its writer), and a story that's actually very personal will be shared with the world (or at least the U.S.).

Writers know pretty quickly what the hopes are for their books. You can gauge how many "most anticipated books" lists you're on and how much your publisher thinks you're going to succeed...or not. It can get frustrating or disheartening when you're not on lists or you feel like your publisher isn't expecting much from you and your book.

But I'm learning something.

I'm learning that, ultimately, none of that matters. I didn't start writing books to get on lists or even to sell well. I started writing because I love words and stories. I started writing because I felt like I had things to share with people.

I have no idea how well my book will sell. ARCs haven't even gone out yet. I have no idea if anyone will like it. I can't control any of that. But through this process of releasing control, I'm being reminded that the reason I wrote HELLO, I LOVE YOU was because I wanted to give people hope - hope that you can move past grief and hurt and guilt, hope that you can find love, hope that your life doesn't end when hard times hit.

And if one person reads my book and is touched in some way, it would be worth it. I can't say I wont. Care about how the book sells, because that would be a lie. But remembering why I write helps it to matter less.

I'm excited for people to read my little book. I'm also anxious. But I can rest in the fact that it's happening - it's being published. This is what I've wanted to do since I was seven years old, and I know how blessed I am to be seeing something I wrote actually be published.

But every day, I have to remind myself why I write. I think every writer feels that, the insecurity. We all get caught up in the business and comparing ourselves to other writers. We get jealous and anxious, but also hopeful. Grateful.

That's what I'm mostly feeling as 2015 begins: grateful. Grateful that I'm seeing a dream come to life, grateful that there were both an agent and editor who believed in my story. Grateful that friends have already read the book.

And this year, my goal is to expand that gratefulness, to enjoy the process, to be a little less anxious, and to find happiness in all the blessings I already have, rather than striving so hard for more.

2015 will be a tough year, I think. But it'll also be a great year.

I'm ready for it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Favorite Reads of 2014

It's that time of year again: for the best-of-the-year posts in the book blogosphere! This is always my favorite post to write all year. And even though I'm no longer a book blogger, I still wanted to put together my list of favorite books I read this year.

I'm not restricting myself to books published in 2014. I'm just going to list my favorites of the books I read, some of which were published in previous years and some forthcoming.

Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers

I'd heard so many great things about this book, but I just hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. I have no idea how or why I held out so long, because this book is epic. It's my favorite in the series for sure. Not only is it exciting and original, but it has a great ship. Ismae + Duval 4evah

On the Fence, by Kasie West

Holy cuteness, Batman! I discovered Kasie West this year, and I don't know how my reading life survived without her novels. Seriously, she's become one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. Love, love, love her books! I've loved all the books of hers I've read (three this year), but this was my favorite, so I just decided to put only it on here.

The Winner's Curse, by Marie Rutkoski

AHH!! THIS BOOK! It's so amazing. I wasn't expecting it to be half as awesome as it was. I couldn't put it down. I loved the worldbuilding, the characters, everything. (And side note: this was my favorite cover of 2014. I mean, JUST LOOK AT IT!)

The Conspiracy of Us, by Maggie Hall

Y'all, this book is epic. It's so fun and exciting and full of gorgeous settings. Talk about armchair travel! Also, there's a delicious love triangle that's not really a triangle yet but that I'm hoping will form. Everything about this book was perfect for me, and I can't wait to bug Maggie until she gives me the sequel. *evil laugh*

Exquisite Captive, by Heather Demetrios

A SHIP TO END ALL SHIPS! Oh man. I know he's the villain, but dude, I loved Malek. So. Much. And I shipped him so hard with Nala, even though she's his slave. It was twisted. I know. But seriously. Whoa. This book was so dark and amazing.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters, by Laini Taylor

This series basically slaughtered me. And I can't believe she ended it like that. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS! Surely this isn't the end of this world. SURELY.

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness

I was really behind the times with this one, as it originally published in 2010. I honestly wasn't expecting to love it, but I totally did. It's beautiful and heartbreaking, and I'm totally going to force my nine-year-old niece to read it.

Cress, by Marissa Meyer

If this isn't on your favorites list and you read it this year, you're insane. Seriously. Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series is masterful, and this is probably the best so far. The way that she weaves all the stories together is so amazing. And seriously, if you don't love Cress and Carswell, there's legitimately something wrong with you.

Stolen Songbird, by Danielle L. Jensen

Danielle's debut really blew me away. I loved this concept so much, and the worldbuilding is amazing. Oh, and did I mention the characters? I want a Tristan of my own, even if he is a troll.

Vicious, by V.E. Schwab

This was one of the first books I read in 2014, and it was definitely one of my favorites. It's so dark and twisted and amazing. These characters are epic. Seriously. I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that this film goes through into production. It would be amazing.

Ignite Me, by Tahereh Mafi

This was one of my most anticipated 2014 releases, and it totally delivered. What an amazing end to one of my favorite YA series! THAT ROMANCE THO! Omg. I can't even. She totally surprised me, in a totally amazing way. And her words. I just want to crawl into Tahereh Mafi's head and sit there for a while, just to watch the words flow through it.

*And I'd like to make a note that Heather Petty's Lock & Mori was also a favorite this year, but it doesn't have a cover yet. So just imagine its soon-to-be-revealed-cover-that-I'm-sure-is-gorgeous right here. :)

And my favorite book of 2014 was...

Hostage Three, by Nick Lake

I'd never read a Nick Lake before this one, and I devoured it in one day. I was camping in South Africa, and I couldn't put this book down to even enjoy travel. I was so engrossed in this story and these characters. I don't think I've ever read a YA book that so wonderfully captures the meeting (and conflict) of first and third world and makes both characters so sympathetic. I was really moved by this story. It will totally make you rethink how you see crime in the third world, especially in places like North Africa. Such a powerful read!

Honorable Mentions
I read a lot of other great books this year. Some others that I really loved but didn't quite make my list were...

There Will Be Lies, by Nick Lake
The Storyspinner, by Becky Wallace
Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee
Falling into Place, by Amy Zhang
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
Fire & Flood, by Victoria Scott
Panic, by Lauren Oliver

What were your favorite reads of 2014?