Top Ten Tuesday: YA Novels I’ve Added to My TBR

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was books I’ve recently added to my TBR, but since I don’t normally read young adult novels, I decided to list fifteen titles that I’ve added to my TBR within the last six months!


Asking for It by Louise O’Neill

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

The End of Fun by Sean McGinty

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig


Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando


The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Thoughts On: Revisiting a Book Ten Years Later

“Thoughts On” is a monthly feature on thewasofshall where I give my (often rambling) thoughts on a topic relevant to reading, literature, or the book business. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

thepenaltyboxWhen I was a sophomore in high school, I discovered romance novels. (As you do.) Most of them came from a tiny corner of my town’s library, tucked into the paperback section and surrounded by mysteries and Harlequin-esque mass market paperbacks. I was a cover snob even at fifteen, and I was either so appalled by the aesthetics of about 80% of the collection or just couldn’t yet admit that I actually might like romance as a genre that I gravitated to only a couple of authors by the time I’d made it to senior year: Carly Phillips, author of the Hot Zone series (which was then not even a trilogy); Rachel Gibson and her Chinooks Hockey Team series (which was then only a trilogy); and Deirdre Martin, who’s novel The Penalty Box was the latest in her New York Blades series. (I know… I feel old thinking about the good old days of the early aughts.) What drew me to these books remains a mystery. The cover font? The minimal graphics? The tantalizing hint of grown-up relationships? And why this one specific book that I still remember reading more than a decade later?

The Penalty Box revolves around 28-year-old Katie, back in her small town to a) attend her ten-year high school reunion and b) help take care of her nephew while her sister’s in rehab. The conflict (and a memorable first scene with a little black dress) arises because Katie’s lost a lot of weight and wants to show up the girls who picked on her in high school – but also show off to her high school crush, who has had one too many concussions from playing hockey and now runs the townie bar called – you guessed it – The Penalty Box. Hijinks ensue.

What kills me about this book – and why I’m so focused on it now, in 2016 – is that I’m 28 and my ten-year high school reunion is just around the corner (like, literally this month). In high school, I was fat, a nerd, and had a serious crush on someone starting in the middle of my junior year. (Katie and I could be twins, y’all.) I always (ALWAYS) assumed that, if I didn’t attend my five-year reunion, I would at least show up at my tenth – thin and confident and ready to flirt with Crush and somehow, I don’t know, do something about my ten years of pining (#ugh)… but then two things happened in quick succession:

  1. I received Facebook notifications from my graduating class about our impending ten-year reunion (OMG I’M ALMOST THIRTY STAPH)
  2. I did a little bit of digging and found Crush’s Facebook profile and it is very clear that he’s dating someone and also very clear that staring into his digital face does nothing for me anymore (when did that happen??)

Somewhere along the way, I realized that thin does not always mean confident – nor does confident have to mean thin – but sitting in the back of my brain was The Penalty Box, one of the first novels I read that I felt might actually happen to me – the perfect end to a “what if?” a decade in the making. Expect that, in less than four weeks, it will no longer be my future. I don’t want to go to my high school reunion, nor, really, do I want to spend any more time thinking about what could have been – at fifteen or at 28.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to re-read The Penalty Box. Not yet, anyway. I’m not ready to revisit something that might not hold up to my own expectations. Nor, though, am I willing to say goodbye to that fifteen-year-old who saw her own future as something very, very bright.

Have your own thoughts on revisiting a book after a long absence? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

New to the Queue #4

Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner started this and I love it so I’m (politely) stealing it!

I add a lot of stuff to my TBR list, my Netflix queue, and my library holds list. Here’s stuff I want to actually seek out and consume right now.

Stuff I Want to Read


The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement by Andi Zeisler

Stuff I Want to Watch


Doctor Strange

The Girl on the Train

Kevin Hart: What Now?

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Stuff I Want to Listen To


Joanne by Lady Gaga

We Move by James Vincent McMorrow

Wild World by Bastille

What did YOU add to your queue?? Let me know!

Five Favorite: Travel Books that Made Great Films

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

Today’s Five Favorite is a guest post from Caroline over at Culture Coverage! She’s been a bookworm all her life and loves talking about her reads with like-minded people. She always has a recommendation on hand, no matter the topic or situation.

Summer is officially over, and if you’re one of the many people who didn’t have the chance to get away this year — be it due to work commitments, lack of funds, or something else — I’m sure you’ll be mourning the season’s end.

If you’re anything like me, when actual travel can’t happen, you whisk yourself away into the stories and adventures of characters from your favorite books and films. These five titles are my top picks and will have you vicariously wandering the world, whether you’re in the mood to curl up with a good book or just crash in front of the screen.

intothewild So many travel lovers know the bite of wanderlust, the urge to escape to the farthest and most remote reaches of our humble planet. The subject of Jon Krakauer’s biographical best-selling novel Into the Wild took this lust to an extreme reality. Christopher McCandless was an overachiever from suburban Virginia. After graduating college, he abandoned his life and family to travel solo across America. Both book and film provide a chilling tale of “never enough.” McCandless was never fully satisfied with his latest adventure and always wanted to go farther, faster, and wilder. He eventually found his way to the Alaskan wilderness, where his tragic tale took a turn for the worst. Epic both on page and screen, it’s a harrowing tale and one that makes you glad to be curled up in the warmth of your own home.

eatprayloveI must confess that I haven’t actually read Eat, Pray, Love, but the film is one of my favorites when I want to indulge in a bit of travel action. Liz Gilbert is a successful writer with a great husband and a flashy life. However, something just doesn’t feel right. When her marriage begins to break down and she’s forced to file for divorce, she tries to solve her problems by dating a handsome, charming young actor. Still, Liz is unhappy, and it isn’t until she embarks on a round-the-world adventure that she begins to get to the bottom of her dissatisfaction. It’s cheesy and overdone, but the traveling-to-find yourself storyline is one to which every adventure lover can relate. Both film and book showcase three wonderful cultures — Italy, India, and Indonesia — and take readers and viewers on the adventure of a lifetime. The book is definitely one that’s on my list to grab soon!

chocolatEvocative and indulgent, this wonderful tale by author Joanna Harris is as delicious as its namesake. Set in a quiet and sleepy French village, Chocolat documents the arrival of mysterious mother-daughter duo, long-time drifters who plan to open a controversial chocolate shop just as the town prepares for Lent. However, Vianne, the mother, provides so much more for the town’s people than merely sweet treats. Her insightful observations, loving character and gentle nature win many of the townsfolk to her cause, but she creates a rift in the village. The film is probably most well known for the casting of Johnny Depp as the river gypsy Roux; however, many of the books biggest fans claim this actor choice was a mistake. After you’ve read the book and watched its film adaptation, you can decide for yourself.

tracksThis astounding tale is a memoir of Robyn Davidson’s trip hiking 1,700 miles across the Australian desert. Tracks follows her journey from the point she moves out to Alice Springs, learns to train camels, finds her own caravan of the animals to take with her, and embarks on the long and challenging walk. The tale has everything you could want from a rural Australian adventure: wildlife, bush tucker, run-ins with the Aborigines, and, of course, vast plains of endless sands. By far one of my favorite parts is Davidson’s constant reflection on her trip. She notes how she isn’t trying to prove anything or for the fame and recognition; it’s just simply an idea that took her fancy. This refreshing mindset is something unique to travel sagas, which usually have a more profound motive, and gives the story its own individual feel. Personally, I prefer the book because it goes into more detail about the trials of surviving alone in the desert. However, the film showcases the beautiful and impacting terrain of the outback, so for a visual experience, it’s definitely the format of choice.

thebeachAlex Garland’s epic travel novel The Beach brought a young Leonardo DiCaprio into the limelight in its film adaptation released in 2000. It follows an eager backpacker to one of the world’s greatest travel spots: the mighty Thailand. He soon hears of a remote island located just a short boat ride off the main coast. Like all in his situation, he is intrigued and sets off in search of the hidden paradise. What he finds on the island appears to be a dream come true, and it isn’t long before he decides to set up camp for good. However, there’s also a dark side to paradise, as Leo’s character, Richard, soon learns. This story holds one of my favorites twists ever, which is why I don’t want to give away too much detail. It’s a poignant commentary on a very niche segment of society and presented perfectly to audiences in both formats.

Have your own five favorite travel books? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

New to the Queue #3

Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner started this and I love it so I’m (politely) stealing it!

I add a lot of stuff to my TBR list, my Netflix queue, and my library holds list. Here’s stuff I want to actually seek out and consume right now.

Stuff I Want to Read


The Anatomical Venus: Wax / Sex / God / Death by Joanna Ebenstein

Arcadia by Iain Pears

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Sex Object by Jessica Valenti

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Stuff I Want to Watch


Black Mirror

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Dirty 30

The Magnificent Seven

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Stuff I Want to Listen To


Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande

I Am a Nightmare” by Brand New

“Rise” by SUPERFRUIT ft. Mary Lambert, Brian Justin Crum, & Mario Jose


Sooo Many White Guys


x Infinity by Watsky

What did YOU add to your queue?? Let me know!

Five Favorite: TV I Want to Be Books

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

I already did a top ten Tuesday post on books I want to see as a TV series or film, but there are sooo many shows I watch (and with which I am OBSESSED) that would work really well as a stand-alone or multi-book series. Here are my five favorite!


12 Monkeys: This series has quickly become one of my favorite shows, and it makes me think of a trilogy filled with time travel and romance and time travel and a high-stakes end-of-the-world plot and, oh yeah, TIME TRAVEL. (Inspiration: The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin)

agentcarterAgent Cater: I know that Peggy Carter is part of the MCU, but even ignoring her connection to Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D., I envision a visually muted series of comic issues highlighting her intelligence amid the sexism and misogyny of post-World War II New York. (Inspiration: Lady Killer by Joëlle Jones)

Caitlin Fitzgerald as Libby Masters, Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex (season 3, Key Art) - Photo: Liz Von Hoene/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: MastersofSex_S3_KeyArt_300Masters of Sex: The life of William Masters and Virginia Johnson was technically adapted from their biography of the same name, but I want a lush work of literary fiction filled to the brim with both criticism of and nostalgia for the mid twentieth century. (Inspiration: I Went to Vassar for This? by Naomi Neale & The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides )

mrrobotMr. Robot: This show just begs for a stand-alone atmospheric thriller filled with tech jargon, an unreliable narrator, and the Hack Of The Century – which only happens half way through so you read into the middle of the night because WHY ARE THERE SO MANY PAGES LEFT??? (Inspiration: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk)

orphanblackOrphan Black: Even good things have to end, so this would be a well-plotted, multi-arc series with kick-ass lady protagonists; multiple, intersecting plots; and an ever-widening conspiracy you just HAVE to figure out. (Inspiration: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown)

Have your own five favorite TV shows you want as books? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!

Top Ten: TV Series Premiering in 2016 I Want to Watch

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was a fall TV freebie, so I chose ten fifteen series premiering in fall 2016 or winter 2017 for which I am most definitely setting a series recording on my DVR.


Atlanta, September 6 on FX
Two cousins with different views on art versus commerce on their way up through the Atlanta rap scene.

Queen Sugar, September 6 on USA
Two sisters move to the heart of Louisiana to claim an 800-acre sugarcane farm inheritance from their recently departed father.

Quarry, September 9 on USA
A Marine returns home from Vietnam in 1972 only to find himself being shunned by those he loves and demonized by the public.

Pitch, September 22 on Fox
A young pitcher becomes the first woman to play in the Major Leagues.

Luke Cage, September 30 on Netflix
Given super strength and durability by a sabotaged experiment, a wrongly accused man escapes prison to become a superhero for hire.

TimelessConviction, October 3 on ABC
A brilliant young attorney is blackmailed to head up NYC’s new Conviction Integrity Unit and investigate cases where people may have been wrongly convicted.

Timeless, October 3 on NBC
An unlikely trio travels through time to battle unknown criminals in order to protect history as we know it.

FrequencyFrequency, October 5 on CW
A police detective discovers that she can speak via a ham radio with her estranged father who died twenty years prior, and the two decide to work together to change the history of tragic events to come while also getting the chance to heal their complicated relationship.

Insecure, October 9 on HBO
The awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman.

TheCrownThe Crown, November 4 on Netflix
Queen Elizabeth II is a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Making History, 2017 on Fox
Three friends from two different centuries try to balance the thrill of time travel with the mundane concerns of their present-day lives.

PowerlessPowerless, 2017 on USA
An insurance company deals with the destruction left by DC Superheros.

Still Star-Crossed, 2017 on ABC
A period drama that picks up where Romeo and Juliet left off, charting the treachery, palace intrigue, and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.

RiverdaleRiverdale, 2017 on CW
A subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life – the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.

Time After Time, 2017 on USA
The adventures of young H.G. Wells and his time machine.