Top 10 books I read in 2016: mini-reviews


I’ll be honest. I read a lot less this year than I usually do. It’s been a rough year all the way around, and I’ll probably talk about that later. Meanwhile, I’m writing this annual mini-review post because it brings me joy and also, there’s little I love more than telling people what to read and how to live their lives.


10. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

ravenboysAlso known as the book I was supposed to read four years ago when it debuted and didn’t and now I regret my choices.

In The Raven Boys, Blue (our heroine) is the only non-seer in her psychic family. But when she has a vision on St. Mark’s Eve of a boy who will soon die, her clairvoyant mother tells her that the only reason Blue would see him is either that she is his true love, or she killed him herself. The boy – Gansley – goes to Aglionby Academy (infamous for its privileged “Raven Boys”) and when he and Blue accidentally cross paths, she gets swept up in a mystery that she knows will lead to a tragic end for both of them.

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How to Bookfest Pt. 2: YALLWEST 2016

(Check out part 1 of the “How to Bookfest” series on the LA Times Festival of Books.)

This past weekend marked the end of book festival season with YALLWEST, the only dedicated Young Adult bookfest in southern California. After I got home, my roommate said, “And now you hibernate for another year in preparation for 2017 book festival season.” Which is, I have to say, like 99% accurate.

Early Saturday morning, I drove out to Santa Monica and totally forgot how to get to Santa Monica High School (SAMOHI). Then, magically, I spotted a Saturn on Olympic Blvd. that had a Twilight sticker in her window, so naturally, I tailgated her for two miles until she led me directly to the public parking lot across from SAMOHI campus. Never doubt the commitment of the Twihards.

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Brown Paper Packages: Edition With All The Mugs

Image: What Laura Did

Last year, I started a series on the blog to feature a few of my favorite things on the first Monday of every month. And most people who know me also know that I have a slight (very slight) problem with buying mugs. Yes, mugs. As in, for coffee and tea and other such… beverages… What. 

…so anyway, this month’s edition of Brown Paper Packages is a list of my favorite mugs because I really just want an excuse to buy more (click here to see all past editions!). 

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Top 10 books I read in 2015: mini-reviews

This is my third annual Top 10 round-up in which I mini-review my favorite reads from 2015 because I am a huge freaking fangirl.

I was totally supposed to read 55 books this year, and I didn’t. Of the 40-some books I did read, I largely reread old favorites, but here are ten new ones I fell in love with this year.

10. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

magonia‘Kay guys. This book is so weird. Probably one of the weirdest debut YA novels I’ve ever read, and that’s also the reason why I loved it.

The main character Aza, snark queen of the universe, is seeing ships in the sky. Her family thinks she’s hallucinating (plausible, considering she’s on meds for some mysterious lung disease she’s had her entire life), but she’s actually just caught a glimpse of Magonia, the world that exists beyond the clouds. And when she’s whisked away by the skyship she’s heard calling her name, she can breathe for the first time – literally. But when Aza discovers that Magonia and Earth are on the brink of war, she must decide where her loyalties lie.

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