Tag Archives: YA Book recommendations

Summer Reading Recommendations from the Dauntless

I love book recommendations. I especially love YA book recommendations. And I REALLY especially love YA book recommendations from my writing friends. What’s more, I’m at the beach this week, and I needed to load up my kindle with lots of good reading.

So who better to ask than the Dauntless, my fellow YA Golden Heart finalists from this year?

Here’s what they had to say:



I am crazy about the Sweet Evil series by Wendy Higgins! If you haven’t picked up these books yet, now is the perfect time to start, because the third book in the trilogy, Sweet Reckoning, was just recently released and shot right onto the bestseller list. The series features the sons and daughters of fallen angels, whose lives literally depend on being bad influences. Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna is fighting her fate until she meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe and her willpower is put to the test– he’s the son of the fallen angel responsible for Lust– like father like son? I am telling you, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a YA book this much fun, this well-written, and featuring a truly hot bad boy hero even a slightly “older” (ahem) YA fan can appreciate.

— Amy DeLuca/Amy Patrick, FOUR BULLETS, 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist; CHANNEL 20SOMETHING, debuts August 12, 2014.




Obsidian_cover1600I’d recommend Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout, which was published a couple years ago, to anyone who likes stories with a bit of a speculative twist.  Obsidian was the first book in a long time where I didn’t skim any parts—at all. (I have this really bad habit of skimming the slow parts and then missing something and having to backtrack…not at all a recommended way to read books!)  Obsidian’s plot was unique and interesting, the voice was fun and engaging, and the guy (Daemon) was hot.  A recipe for success!

More recently, I read Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg and would recommend this to anyone who likes contemporary stories. The81kWl5PEFqL._SL1500_ story switches POVs between a teen boy and girl, best friends. I normally don’t books with two different narrators because many times, they read choppy.  This one did not. It was a cute story, and again, no skipping!

— Barbara Gerry, MACHA AND THE RIVER BLUE, 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist.






I recommend the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. The heroine is kick-butt and feisty–she 81EP-oUzgaLsaves herself instead of waiting around for a guy to save her. There is a love story through the series that will break your heart at times (it literally brought me to tears), but stick with it! It’s worth it in the end. Make sure you carve out a chunk of time for these books–you won’t want to put them down!

— Jessica Ruddick, LETTING GO, 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist.





EleanorPark_cover2-300x450 I’ve read a bunch of fabulous YAs recently, but I loved this book because the characters aren’t your typical ones.  Eleanor is on the fatter side of chunky with unruly red hair while Park is half Korean.  Their romance is sweet and sarcastic and completely real.  It’s about acceptance and love and putting yourself out there.  I found this book refreshing, and it stands out even in the midst of this fabulous genre.

— Kimberly MacCarron, CHASING FIREWORKS and TO FEEL OR NOT TO FEEL, 2014 double GOLDEN HEART® Finalist.



9781442416895_email-1-265x400I’d love to recommend The City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare.  I loved the conclusion to this portion of the Shadowhunter story.  I loved seeing how Jace and Clary got together and worked all the problems out.  And I think Clary is a real kickass heroine.

— Marnee Bailey, ALTERED, 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist.





6. MEANT TO BE. mtb-final-cover
Looking for a fun summer read? Meant to Be, by Lauren Morrill is a spring break romance set in London. The romantic comedy between by-the-books, Shakespeare quoting Julia and her class clown nemesis Jason is entertaining and hard to resist. It’s quick, laugh-out-loud hilarious, and a nice little vacation from some of the darker YA that’s currently so popular.





MMD final cover hi-resThe Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd caught my eye because of its haunting premise. A book written from the point of view of Dr. Moreau’s daughter? Yes, please. The character’s voice drew me in from page one, and the world-building was gorgeous. Her Dark Curiosity, the sequel, was just as brilliant. I’m counting the minutes until the third book in this trilogy arrives.

–Stephanie Winklehake, CARMA ALWAYS, 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist.




8. WHISPER FALLS.Whisper_Falls
One of the last books I read that stuck in my mind is Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston. It’s a YA time-travel romance — I do have a soft spot for those! A 21st-century boy meets an 18th-century indentured servant girl thanks to a waterfall portal. If you love history blended with a bit of mystery, you’ll love this book!

–Vanessa Barneveld, THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist, Fall, debuts Fall 2014 by Bloomsbury Spark.



Wow! Don’t all those books sound awesome? Looks like I’m going to be busy reading this summer!

jpegAs for me, I’d recommend DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas. After I read that someone had described it as a GONE GIRL for the YA genre, I downloaded it that very night and finished it in one sitting. This novel is about a spring break vacation in Aruba gone awry, in the worst imaginable way. Anna’s best friend Elise is brutally murdered — and the prime suspects are Anna and her boyfriend, Tate! Each chapter alternates among the trial, the few days leading up to Elise’s murder, and the previous year. I could not stop turning pages, and the ending left me thinking about the story all night long. In fact, a couple days later, I had to go back and reread parts of the novel in order to glean a new understanding of the whole story. This is a fun, fast-paced read, perfect for a sunny day at the beach — not unlike the idyllic Aruba setting!

What about you, mermaids & friends? What recommendations do you have for summer reading? (Does not necessarily have to be YA!) Please share — my kindle can never have too many books!