Monday, December 28, 2015

Best Books of December

It's time once again for my best books of the month...and this is my final version of the year. It's been a year of amazing books. I can't wait to see what I get to read in 2016!



My first book this month is from my own publisher, Aladdin M!x. Golden Girl is Mari Mancusi's first book with Aladdin M!x, but it is not her first book overall. In fact, she's an award-winning young adult novelist and an Emmy award-winning TV producer. After reading this book, I can also say she's a phenomenal middle-grade author!




Golden Girl has something I love in a book: unpredictability. The directions she took this book in were so unexpected, yet it all came together in a perfect way. This is what great fiction is about! Lexi is the most promising young snowboarder in her snowboarding school...until an accident sidelines her. But it wasn't an accident at all...it was sabotage. The book chronicles her return to the slopes after the accident, including how she finds her way and figures out who her true friends are. Children (and adults) can learn a lot from Lexi's kind heart and inner strength.

My next book is from a very talented author named Alison Cherry whose middle grade, The Classy Crooks Club, comes out from my publisher in late March. More about that one next year! But this month, I learned about Alison's phenomenal talent by reading one of her young adult novels, For Real.




I've never been able to get into The Amazing Race as a TV show...but if it were as interesting as it is in Alison's book, I'd be hooked! In For Real, two sisters go on a race around the world for live TV, only to find out at the last minute that it's a dating show version of the reality show. There's a little romance but the most important storyline is the relationship between the sisters. Alison really dug deep on this one and the result is a fun, adventurous story with a winning character arc.

I also read two anthologies--the first was a compilation that included our blogging friend Leandra J. Wallace



Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets celebrates women and technology. Many of the stories are futuristic but they all revolve around smart, tough, kick-butt heroines who are brilliant with tech. Leandra's story, The Mad Scientist's Daughter, is about a young inventor who works hard to hide the fact that her father is a much-hated inventor. My other favorites included Blink, a story about a young girl and a time machine; Lyra, a futuristic take on Cinderella about an artificial-intelligence system that goes awry, and Panic, an all-too-realistic story about being trapped in a crowded room where shooting is taking place.

The holidays are here, so I had to read this one, which features our very own Medeia Sharif. It was co-edited by another blogging friend of mine, Kelly Hashway, so double reason to read it!



Fright Before Christmas: 13 Tales of Holiday Horrors has 13 great horror stories with a Christmas theme. While I was reading these stories, I couldn't help but think that many of them represented a child's worst nightmares. My favorites were Medeia's story about a video game that evokes a very evil Santa, Ally Matthews' story about two brothers who venture into the cold forest to test out a legend, and Patrick Hueller's story about a little boy who gets coal in his stocking...and learns he's lucky--really bad boys don't get to see Christmas morning. Every one of these stories was a true page turner. I found that I couldn't wait to read the next story.


What's the best book you read in 2015?

43 comments:

  1. kids would certainly love them! I know you read middle grade because of your own work, do you like to read other genres too?
    My best book of 2015 was probably Pierce Brown's GOLDEN SUN, but probably because I'm about to start translating the third part MORNING STAR which isn't out yet :) He has an ingenious knowledge of novel structure and settings

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    1. Sounds great! I do read adult books--I'm reading one now. But yes, when you write children's books, research is part of it. YA books really aren't that different from adult books these days.

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  2. If I have to choose, I will pick Fright Before Christmas as the first book to read. Have a lovely new week!

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    1. Fright Before Christmas was amazing. I'm still thinking about some of those stories!

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  3. I'm so glad you liked Fright Before Christmas. I've read a couple of Aladdin M!x books and would like to read some more. I like the fun covers and middle grade story lines.

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    1. I do love our fun covers! Fright Before Christmas helped make December one of the best reading months of the year for me.

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  4. Goodness, I'm a fan of The Amazing Race on tv, but I have to admit For Real sounds totally fun! I hope you and your family have a super New Year and looking forward to more fab posts in 2016! Hugs...RO

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    1. If you like The Amazing Race, you'll REALLY love the book!

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  5. I know I would choose the Fright before Christmas too. It sounds like kids would really love it too. It's been fun following your blog in 2015 and looking forward to 2016.
    Happy New Year Stephanie.
    Hugs
    JB

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    1. Thanks, Julia. And happy New Year to you, too!

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  6. Brave new girls grabs my attention.

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    1. It was a great read, especially if you're a big fan of sci-fi!

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  7. I love the cover of the first book and the Fright before Christmas sounds great, dear Stephanie. :)

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    1. M!x covers are always so fun and beautiful. You would enjoy The Fright Before Christmas any time of year if you like scary stories.

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  8. Wow, those covers are beautiful !
    Good post :)

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    1. I love covers. I'd rather look at book covers than art in a museum.

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  9. Definitely interested in checking out Brave New Girls, and Fright Before Christmas got trapped in my TBR shelf. Pulling it out this week! :) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!!

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    1. I have that problem, too--books go on the TBR list and stay on there far too long!

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  10. Love all the covers, but that Golden Girl cover is the bomb! :)

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  11. What colorful covers! I envy the illustrators who can do this work as much as the great writers. Have a wonderful Happy New Year Stephanie

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    1. I know. I'm so in awe of the talent illustrators have!

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  12. If I had to choose, I'd read "Fright Before Christmas." As for the best books I've read in 2015, they are "Divorced, Desperate and Delicious," "Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes," "The Temporary Detective," "The Hunger Games" series and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

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    1. "Divorced, Desperate, and Delicious." I just love that title. It has to be a super-fun read with a title like that.

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    2. Loved the title too. It was that and the cover that made me interested in reading it. Glad I did too.

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  13. I haven't read any of these yet- but Fright Before Christmas is on my TBR list. I have been very busy lately, but I am hoping to have more time for reading soon. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. The end of the year is always a challenging reading time.

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  14. Yikes that last book would have given me nightmares. I hate that.

    You're so kind to other authors. That rocks.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  15. You have, yet again, incited my bookie lust. Thank you. Not certain what my favourite book for the year has been, but I have a post about some of them up today.

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  16. Fright Before Christmas sounds like a good one. Glad you found some great books to read.

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  17. Fright was a lot of fun to edit. :)

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  18. I liked the only Mari Mancusi book I read. This one looks good, too.

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  19. I wish I took the time to read more but you have been a good influence, I'm doing better at finding time!

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  20. Thanks so much for the mention, Stephanie! And I always love getting to see new Aladdin M!x covers. They combine the best colors!

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  21. A nice shout out to all the authors. The last book would give me the shivers especially since it is about Christmas. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New year!

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  22. So, now you have to go through and tell us the best books of the year. Just kidding.

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  23. Making notes here. So far my favorite story was The Martian -- movie and book. Of course that is the last one I've seen or read. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  24. I love amazing race. All the different locations they visit are cool. The book For Real might be interesting but I'm not a big fan of romance, if that's what it's about. If not exactly, I'd certainly want to read that book. Ironically enough, the Amazing Race did do a dating season. Where all the contestants were matched together with a partner. It was an interesting season as you got to see a few of these couples hit it off, a few who couldn't stand each other, and other teams who just put up with who they were partnered with. It made for an interesting season.

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  25. Added Golden Girl to my TBD wishlist, it sounds like a great read. Nice of you to give these authors a good old shout out. I bought over 100 paperbacks this year and I plan to get even more next year. I want a library house!

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  26. I have both of those anthologies on my list--I just need a few weeks to lounge and read :) 2015 has been filled with some awesome novels, that's for sure!

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  27. Golden Girl looks promising - my little girls are always looking for something new to read. :)

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  28. Fright Before Christmas is the only one of these books I've read, and the stories in it are deliciously spooky. The others all sound awesome, which means, of course, my TBR stack, which was beginning to grow smaller will now grow taller. Oh, well. Happy reading to all.

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  29. Hey Stephanie, I read 120 books in '15. So many favourites. But I really dug Robert Gilbraith (JKR)'s crime thrillers. Love her detective! Happy New Year!

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