Tag: Goodreads

Book covers for Two Can Keep a Secret, Shout and Lets Go Swimming on Doomsday

This Week’s Top Genre Must-Reads: Young Adult

Each week, Bookstr will be offering a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list. Today, we’ll be recommending five recent young adult books for your reading pleasure. Young adult novels are generally written with an 12-18 age bracket in mind but over half of the audience for YA novels is adults (as our audience can attest!) Young adult novels are often just as sophisticated as their adult contemporaries, with a lot of themes about growing up into adulthood and dealing with the perils of being a teenager mixed in. Below, are some of our favorite recently published YA must-reads!


5. Let’s Go swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson


A young African boy stands amidst a raging sea, backlit by a city

Image Via Goodreads

Let’s Go Swimming On Doomsday is a harrowing novel that is nevertheless a great (if stressful) read. Written by Natalie C. Anderson, the story tells of a Somali refugee called Abdi whose family is kidnapped by a ruthless jihadi terrorist group. In order to save his family, he’s forced to become a spy for the American CIA and infiltrate the organization, witnessing horrific acts while trying not to blow his cover. He eventually escapes but is caught for petty theft and forced to reckon with his past. Horrifying and deeply touching in equal measure, the novel touches on themes of redemption and family, making it a must read. Just bring a box of Kleenex.


4. Two Can Keep a secret by Karen M. McManus 


Two photographs of two young women are stitched together via tape

Image Via Amazon

A gripping YA thriller, Two Can Keep A Secret is about an isolated town called Echo Ridge, where Ellery’s her aunt went missing many years ago, and just five years before Ellery moves there, a homecoming queen also vanished. Ellery has just moved in with her grandmother who she barely knows when another girl goes missing. Now Ellery has to solve the mystery of Echo Ridge, suspecting her grandmother and mother may be keeping dark secrets from her. Captivating and exciting, this new thriller from the author of bestseller One of Us Is Lying is one you’ll want to pick this one up and watch out for the plot twists!


3. Four Dead Queens By Astrid Scholte 


Four golden crowns lie on the ground amidst a black. void

Image Via Goodreads

Four Dead Queens takes place in the fictional world of Quadara, focusing on master thief Keralie Corrington and upstanding citizen Varin. When their paths cross, Varin accidentally foils Keralie’s latest theft and the bungled thievery attempt leaves them caught in a conspiracy game that leaves four queens of Quadara dead. With no other choice, the two join forces to find who killed the queens and form an uneasy alliance in their quest. Fast paced and with a building mystery, this is a great novel to get sucked into.


2. Field Notes on Love by Jennifer Smith


A young couple standing front of a train, with a heart between them

Image Via Amazon

Field Notes On Love by Jennifer Smith tells the story of two young teenagers, Mae and Hugo, who decide to ride cross-country via train. Hugo’s girlfriend dumps him, while Mae has been rejected from USC’s film school. The two happen to find each other on the train and grow close inside of the train. But can they stay together as the real world infringes on their idyllic train adventure? This is a fun, romantic, and sweet coming-of-age story of two strangers finding love.


1. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson


The cover to Shout featuring a tree growing in a black void

Image Via Goodreads

SHOUT  by Laurie Halse Anderson is a young adult novel for our time. Anderson, author of the groundbreaking Speak, recounts her own upbringing via verse, creating angry, yet hopeful portraits of her life. It is a call to action for survivors of sexual abuse and advocating for them.  It is a novel that will tear you down yet make you feel energized to make real change in what the author calls a failure of society to help survivors of sexual assault. It is a great read and one that everyone should pick up.



Featured Image Via Goodreads 

Top Genre Picks: Crime/Thrillers

Each week, Bookstr will be offering a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list. Today, we’ll be recommending five recent crime/thrillers for your reading pleasure. Thrillers and crime novels often overlap, containing equal amounts of suspense, anxiety, anticipation, and shock. These novels will certainly set you on edge and leave you guessing until the very end.


The cover to the Boy by Tami Hoag, featuring numerous reeds against a blue set sky

Image Via Goodreads

1. ‘The Boy’ by Tami Hoag

The Boy by Tami Hoag has quickly shot up the New York Times bestsellers list and it’s easy to see why. The premise of the novel is that a detective, Nick Fourcade, enters into a home in Louisiana to discover a young boy of seven murdered by an alleged intruder, yet his mother appears to be unhurt and there is no sign of forced entry. The waters are further muddled when the boy’s babysitter goes missing. All fingers begin to point to the mother as the murderer of her own child but Nick thinks there may be more to the case than meets the eye. With a premise like that, this is a must read that will keep you guessing until the very end.

The cover to the Drowning by J.P. Smith, featuring a ladder descending into a shallow lake

Image Via Goodreads

2. ‘The Drowning’ by J.p. Smith

The Drowning by J.P. Smith isn’t an easy read but it’s a great one. Alex Mason, a camp counselor, leaves a young boy in the middle of the lake to teach him a lesson but the boy vanishes. Alex doesn’t tell the truth, leaving the death to be forgotten, until twenty years later he begins receiving threatening notes from the boy, Joey Proctor. But Joey is dead. Or is he? With a strong prose, an excellent hook for its creepy plot, The Drowning is a book that’ll keep you guessing until the very end. Alex Mason is a multilayered protagonist, at once unsympathetic yet showing enough humanity for the audience to be on his side. Check this one out for sure.


The cover of My Lovely Wife featuring a woman looking at herself in the mirror of a knife

Image Via Amazon

3. ‘My Lovely Wife’ by Samantha Downing

This one isn’t technically out yet, but it’s received excellent early reviews and features a wild as hell premise that’s impossible to ignore. My Lovely Wife is about a married couple who engages in a new activity to keep their marriage alive. One catch: the activity in question is murder. The book is described as deliciously wicked, dark, and ‘completely crazy’ but in a good way! This one is suggested to just go in blind, so we won’t give in anything away, so pick this one up when it hits shelves March 26th.

The cover to the Stranger Diaries, featuring a house being carved in half in a cozy suburb

Image Via Goodreads

4. ‘The Stranger Diaries’ by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths is a modern gothic fantasy, themed around literary killings. Clare Cassidy specializes in a course revolving around gothic writer R.M. Holland. But when a dead body turns up with a quote from Holland’s story, ‘The Stranger’, Elly Griffiths is drawn into a dark murder mystery, as more murders begin to pop up themed around Clare’s beloved book. To make matters worse, Clare receives a note in her personal diary, from the killer that says ‘Hello, Clare. You don’t know me.” This should be a must read for literature fans, especially since the killings are themed around literature!

A young woman walking in a snow drenched filed in a red coat Image Via Goodreads

5. ‘The Reckoning’ by Yrsa Sigurdardottir 

The second novel in the Children’s House series, a series of psychological thrillers that examines police procedurals in Scandinavia. This novel deals with series characters Huldar and Freyja, a detective and a child psychologist respectively. In the present time dismembered limbs begin popping all over town, while flashbacks deal with a young girl who went to use the phone at her friend’s house and didn’t return. The mystery gets quite dark, but leaves readers invested in seeing it through to the end, thanks to the author’s strong sense of characterization and excellent atmosphere. Its not an easy read but well worth the ride.

Will you be picking up any of these thrillers? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Via Deadline


A woman in binoculars looks like a stalker

This Author Stalked a Negative Reviewer… and Got a Book Deal?

Common sense should tell any writer never to Google themselves… but compulsion is usually both meaner and louder. When author Kathleen Hale received a one-star rating and harsh review, she did what anyone would do and absolutely freaked out. Then she did something few others would do—she tracked down the blogger’s home address.


Kathleen Hale superimposed over a series of bad reviews

Image Via Salon.com


Hale has since revealed the full review that began her spiral into panic and obsession: “Fuck this. I think this book is awfully written and offensive; its execution in regards to all aspects is horrible and honestly, nonexistent. I can say with utmost certainty that this is one of the worst books I’ve read this year, maybe my life.” Hale claims this negative Goodreads review was followed by extensive cyber-bulling from blogger Blythe Harris, including endless Tweets ridiculing her work. Hale’s conundrum was clear:


Confronting [Blythe] would mean publicly acknowledging that I searched my name on Twitter, which is about as socially attractive as setting up a Google alert for your name (which I also did).



Kathleen Hale's negative review


But Hale did publicly acknowledge searching her name on Twitter. She did so inadvertently when, while “good-naturedly drunk on bourbon and after watching Blythe tweet about her in-progress manuscript, I sub-tweeted that, while weird, derivative reviews could be irritating, it was a relief to remember that all bloggers were also aspiring authors.” This, like the rest of the story, did not end well. Fellow readers tweeted her what she might have already known: reviews are for readers, not authors. Hale responded as a victim, tweeting: “Sorry. Didn’t mean all bloggers, just the ones who talk shit then tweet about their in-progress manuscripts.”


Kathleen Hale's drunken tweets



With her public image tarnished, Hale opted for a more anonymous approach—spending so much time searching the reviewer’s social media profiles that she noticed the inconsistencies. On one profile, Blythe Harris claimed to be an 8th grade teacher. On another, she taught the 10th grade. Hale became obsessed with the accumulation of these details, noting that many of Blythe’s Instagram photos appeared generic and impersonal, as if they had been Google searched. And they had been Google searched—by Hale, and repeatedly.


Things had clearly already taken a turn for the worse. Then it took a turn for the much, much worse. Hale used her connections with a book club to obtain Blythe Harris’ address—and when she paid for a background check, she discovered what felt like the lynchpin of the whole mystery: Blythe Harris was a pseudonym, and her story was a lie. According to Hale’s own article, the real mystery seems to be why Hale felt that, when she rented a car to drive to Harris’ house, she believed she was standing up for herself. Though she backed out of actually knocking on Blythe Harris’ doorstep, she continued to confirm the reviewer’s identity by calling her at work.


Kathleen Hale

Image Via Buzzfeed.com


Hale describes “feeling like the biggest creep in the world, but also that [she] might be talking to a slightly bigger creep.” The title of her article, “‘Am I Being Catfished?’ An Author Confronts Her Number One Online Critic,” shows her readers who she think the real creep is: the woman who concealed her real identity online. And Hale does not seem to consider that she had given Blythe a reason to hide it. Blythe Harris has since retreated from social media, setting all profiles to private.


Blythe's goodreads account, set to private



Authors and celebrities tweeted both their support and dissent, with names as big as Neil Gaiman and John Mulaney getting in on the discourse.


John Mulaney tweets his support



Neil Gaiman tweets his response


Though this is Kathleen Hale’s most notorious instance of stalking, it’s also not her first. That came when she was fourteen—came in the form of a perhaps more morally nebulous circumstance. After a fellow student made criminal allegations about Hale’s mother, Hale called the girl fat and poured isopropyl alcohol over her head. Hale recollects this situation in an earlier article, published before any of her novels.


While the stalking incident happened several years ago, there’s been a new development: Kathleen Hale has a book deal… and she’s set to make money off the stalking. Slated for June publication, Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker is a collection of essays including one piece, “Catfish,” which directly addresses the incident. Critics say that Hale doesn’t know what catfishing actually is—and some of them have even made an online campaign to stop Hale’s publication. Grove Press, Kathleen’s publishers, express support: “We stand by our publication. There are six essays in this collection which have been revised and expanded since online publication, including the essay “Catfish.” We would encourage people to read the collection before passing judgement.”


Consider the collection. What do you think?


'Kathleen Hale is a Crazy Stalker'

Image Via Groveatlantic.com


Kathleen Hale has been known to stalk people from time to time. Not recently, of course, and only online. Well, mostly online. She once tracked a mountain lion running loose in the Hollywood Hills, while pregnant with her daughter. And then there was that time she hunted eight-foot, three-hundred-pound feral hogs in Florida–all for the good of mankind, of course.

In these six extraordinary essays, Hale proves herself to be an exhilarating new voice whose commentaries on womanhood, obsession, and the Internet are both hilarious and profound. In “Catfish,” she recounts a standoff with a caustic Goodreads reviewer who writes under an alias, spurring Hale on a treacherous Instagram investigation that ends badly at the reviewer’s house. In “Prey,” she tells the troubling story of her assault at a massage parlor in the days before her fresh-man year at Harvard, sending her to seek shelter in the library, where she spends hours researching and memorizing the weak spots of various dangerous animals. Whether she’s visiting a colony of misfits in the desert who claim to suffer from undiagnosable environmental illnesses or watching the Miss America pageant at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Hale wields razor-sharp wit, uncommon levels of empathy, and fearless honesty, especially when turned upon herself.

Hilarious, candid, and sometimes unsettling, Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker examines the many forms that trauma can take, revises our ideas of who or what a predator can be, and introduces an arresting and madcap new voice for this strange American century.



Featured Image Via Thedailydot.com


Khloe Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian Deserves Better, So Here are 10 Goodreads Lists About Healthy Relationships

I’m going to start this off by saying that Khloe Kardashian does not deserve all the shit that’s been happening to her. Say what you want about the family, but Khloe has always been my favorite. She’s the HBIC. She’s the realest, most likable “character” on the show. Maybe it’s because she’s the black sheep; never really fitting in because she’s too big, too tall, maybe she’s OJ’s daughter, maybe she’s someone else’s daughter, maybe she’s not even a Kardashian! Khloe has to deal with a whole different ball game of bullshit in the media, and she’s better for it.


Seriously, convince me otherwise that Khloe has gotten the short end of the stick. She deserves to be happy, damn it.


After E! hits like Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami, or whatever else they put on TV, Khloe finally got her own show, Revenge Body, but when you realize how totally messed up the whole thing is, you really feel for her. 


Khloe Kardashian’s family asked her to lose weight because they believed it was ruining their brand, the star has revealed.


So is Revenge Body revenge on who, your bitch-ass family for being assholes? I’ve never seen the show, so that’s what I’m choosing to believe. 


Not only is she the whipping boy for her famous family, or so it seems, but her struggle in love is relatable if anything could ever be. Woman is hot as hell, entertaining, provocative, hilarious, and doing her best despite being “The Ugly Kardashian”, which I don’t agree with. Because none of them are ugly. It’s their job to be stunning. 


Girl can’t get a break. She marries who she thinks is the man of her dreams, only to have that not work out, then a series of crap relationships (same, girl), before finally getting what she’s always wanted – a baby. The love the tallest Kardashian received when she announced her pregnancy was outstanding. I contributed to it. We were all rooting for you, girl. All of us. Because you deserve it. 


But then this shit,





Are you kidding me with this shit? Can a girl not get a break?


So in support of Khloe, here are some user-created lists from Goodreads that do not condone those cheating bastards and biddies out there.


1. So you love a Bad Boy or Tortured Hero


Girl, join the club. There are so many sob stories out there for good (or at a minimum, decent) women falling for idiots who treat them like how you treat your iPhone after you’ve decided that you’re not going to replace that broken screen. 


2. Low Angst Romance Books


This is one of my favorite list titles on this listicle of list titles, because it’s beautifully specific. Angst in romance novels might as well be oxygen, because the air is usually so tense you can cut it with a knife. I have enough angst in my life as it is, so I’m down for anything low-angst.


3. Honorable Heros-No Rakes & No Cheaters!


I’m not gunna lie, finding lists to fill out this article was difficult. Most of the romance novel lists on Goodreads have titles like Best Dirty Talker in Romance and Stalkerific Romance Novel Heroes. People really fetishize terrible relationships, and I don’t get it. There are enough crap relationships in real life, why is reading about disfunction so fantastic? Let’s give an all around honorable mention to honorable people.


4. Perfect books with NO CHEATING


“No cheating” hardly makes a book perfect, but hey, it’s a start.


5. New Adult – No Cheating Heroes




6. MF only Romance safe from triangles, cheating of any kind between hero and heroine emotional or physical.


No love triangles, no cheating, no emotional or physical abuse, so basically it’s a list of healthy relationships, which is apparently a huge minority in romance novels. 


7. Jerk Whose Heart Only Beats For Her!


Isn’t that a trope we can all relate to. The asshole who’s an asshole to everyone except his girl. Reminds me of this meme, honestly.


Kim and Kanye meme

Image via Love this Pic


8. No cheating Hero Romance Novels


Shout it from the rooftops, y’all. No cheating heroes!


9. INSTA-Love Romance- NO CHEATING


This one’s a little more niche, while there is, once again, NO CHEATING, these are tales about “instalove”, which is apparently what today’s youth is calling “love at first sight”.


10. Best Book Boyfriends


Fifty Shades of Grey is on this list, so take it with a grain of salt.


Featured Image via Entertainment Tonight. 


Top Ten Most Hilariously Specific Lists on Goodreads

Goodreads is the bookworm’s paradise, allowing you to keep track of what you’re reading, compile your bookshelf, rate, review and compartmentalize the books you have already read because Lord knows, the bookworm loves to organize. Another great feature of Goodreads is the Lists system, which allows you to file the books you’ve read not only under genre, but under headings you create yourself, which has led to some hilariously specific list titles, such as “Books I Kind of Wanted to Physically Snuggle After Reading.”


Here are ten of my favorites. 


1. Books I Kind of Wanted to Physically Snuggle After Reading.


Via WordPress

Via WordPress


I mentioned this in the opening paragraph because it’s adorable and I love the slightly bemused tone implied by the inclusion of ‘kind of.’ You almost feel there should be a question mark at the end. The description reads:


Have you ever read a book that left you with a big smile on your face and a warm, sort of fuzzy feeling in your heart? A book that made you want to contact the author and tell them how much you enjoyed their work and then spend the evening spooning the book in a gentle, loving-yet-platonic embrace? Then add that book to this list so other people might get that feeling too.


2. Best Accidentally Pregnant in Romance Novels


Via Giphy

Via Giphy

The description for this list reads:


also happy to include secret planned pregnancies and secret miscarriages that ruined the relationship 
*my sister said the title should have been SECRET PREGNANCIES AND BABIES 
*also feel free to add any book that has the hint of an accidental pregnancy if it has a follow up book…


3.  Maybe Just the Idea of Silicon Valley is Enough


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


You wouldn’t want your novel to be resting on this list. The cutting descriptions is as follows: 


Who needs good writing, interesting characters, or creative science fiction concepts when the San Francisco Bay Area is probably enough? The Dot Com Boom of literature.


3. Best Gay Romance Books with Tattooed Characters


Via Beauty

 Via Beauty


Why specifically tattooed, you ask? Well…


Ink on a muscular, well – defined male – what could be sexier? Skin marks, worn proudly even though they hint at something dark, skin marks shamefully hidden because they indicate past pain or skin marks that protect and hide the bearer – colorful is the world of inked men.


4. The Groom Wore White: Contemporary Male Virgins of Romance


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The description says:


Virgin heroes in contemporary romance novels. No paranormal or historical. Bring on those sexy men.



5. Scarred Heroes and Heroines in Paranormal Romance


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


The maker of this list states:


As in scarring due to an operation, fire, torture, or accident. These physical scars should matter to the plot. Paranormal, Science Fiction and Fantasy Romance


6. A List for Those Who Want to Run Screaming at the Mention of Sparkly Vampires, Fifty Shades of Abusive Relationships, or Other Assorted Mass Marketed Crap


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


I was reading through the recommendation requests..and if I had a dollar for everytime Twilight or Fifty Shades was mentioned, I’d be wealthy. Repulsed, but wealthy. This list is for GOOD books that don’t make one worry about the future of lit. That don’t make 40 year old women act like prepubescent morons. That are actually..wait for it..well written. No glittery vampires, no fairies, no quasi-BDSM…basically NO to anything in which the cover looks like a cross between cheesy horror and seventeen magazine.


7. Best Romances With Spinsters, Wallflowers, Or Old Maids


Via Imgur

Via Imgur


She might be on the shelf, but love doesn’t pass her by in the end. These are romances where the heroine is a spinster, is on the shelf, or is considered an old maid by society (even if it’s by choice). Also included are heroines who have limited marital prospects because they are wallflowers.


8. Hero hurts heroine so much that she withdraws into herself or…


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


Please recommend romance novels in which the hero hurts the heroine so much that she withdraws into herself (in some cases) so much that she almost dies or loses the will to live.

I want her to distance herself from him and I want the hero doing everything in his power to reach her.


9. Dark Twisted but OhSoGood Erotic Books


Via Tumblr

Via Tumblr


These are the dark ones. The books you start to read, and fall into. The books you inhale rather than read. The books that when you catch a glimpse of yourself reading you find you’re breathing just that bit faster, deeper…harder. The ones where the reader advisory comment is an understatement


10. Would you two just please talk to each other?


Via Popsugar

Via Popsugar


Serious ‘now kiss’ vibes from this list maker, who writes: 


Romance fans know the pain of a never-ending Big Misunderstanding that should have been resolved with some honest discourse. Name your most hated favorites here.



Featured Image Via Disney.