This is one of my favorite posts to write because I get to talk about the thing that inspires me most: Books! I don't have a lot of time these days so when I pick up a book, I do not waste my time. Life is too short for bad books! Lately, I've had a run of really good luck in reading some great books and I wanted to share a bit of them with you. 

Young Adult books are one of my favorite genres to read, but I'm VERY picky about them. I used to read them all the time and truth be told, got burnt out on them. For me to really love a YA book these days is rare, so when I went into Red Rising, I was understandably a little hesitant. But this book BLEW. ME. AWAY. I love love love the world Pierce Brown built. I love that it was sci-fi and dystopian with a gritty male character. This book reminded me of Hunger Games (in a good way) and I appreciated that the author didn't shy away from the violence that would naturally occur in the world. And I just loved the whole premise. I haven't gotten around to reading the rest of the trilogy but it's on my winter break list!

One of my favorite parts of being an author is that I get to read advance reader copies of books and I get to read books by authors that I actually KNOW and LOVE. Whitney Barbetti is one of my dearest friends, but she is also a fantastic writer and I loved Into the Tomorrows. It was actually JUST the book I needed at the time when I read it. I had been reading lots of cheery romance and mystery... I needed a palate cleanser and this was perfect. Whitney writes books that seem to reach inside your chest and squeeze your heart. You FEEL all the THINGS with her books and this was no exception. I loved Trista because she was so realistic in her sadness. In her desire to become untangled from the girl she thought she was. The girl everyone else thought she was. I loved watching her come to life again after her tragedies. If you love deep, thought-provoking books - this is one you should try!

This is another author and book that are dear to my heart because Emerald O'Brien is one of my best friends and I'm always in awe of the stories she writes. She weaves suspense, mystery and heart together so seamlessly and I have to say that Closer is by far my favorite of all her novels. I love it when authors branch out and try something a little different and I love when they stretch their writing muscles which is so evident in Closer. There's always a great theme that underlies all of Emerald's books and everything is not always what it seems. I love trying to figure out the mystery because she does such a great job with it (and those twists)! If you're a fan of mystery/suspense and even a little romance - I urge you to try this one, I think you'll love it!

This one should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me and my obsession with Harry Potter. I ordered it the day it came out and I was admittedly a little nervous to read it knowing that it wasn't going to be exactly as I imagined since it wasn't actually written by J.K. Rowling. But after a few pages, I was thrust back into magical world with my favorite cast of characters and it felt as if I'd never left. I think going into it with lower expectations actually helped me enjoy it more. I found myself whizzing through it and really enjoying the way the author took some liberties but kept so much of the characters the same. All in all - I was impressed with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and I would recommend that any Harry Potter lover read it.

I'll admit it - my favorite kind of book is a psychological mind-fuck kind of book and I'm telling you -- I haven't read one quite like this since You & Gone Girl. This book! Ugh. It was perfection to me. I love how the main character is 50 shades of messed up and you know it right from the beginning. You know from the very first chapter that you're in for a creepy ride with the main character, but still, you cannot prepare for the kind of cray-cray he is. I loved it. Each mistep breeds another mistep until you're on the edge of your seat wondering (and for me, slightly hoping) that something big is going to happen to the main character. His psychopathic tendencies were written so well, I literally felt my skin itch at times. If you love psychological thrillers that turn you inside-out - this is the one you absolutely HAVE to read. 

This was one of those weird reads for me where I loved 90% of the book but even though 10% wasn't great -- the good far outweighed the bad. I found the narrative of the main character (once you figure out who it actually is...) compelling but her background is even more compelling. And the depictions of domestic abuse were SO well done, I commend the author on it. It's one thing I strived for when I wrote Whiskey and a Gun and to have found another author who did it so well made me fall a bit in love with her. Plus, she wrote from the POV of the domestic abuser which is brave and hard to do (I would know.. LOL). So I found her depiction of the abuser so well done that I cringed and winced at some of the passages. It was painful and heartbreaking to read, but the overall story is one of hope and redemption. If you like a good mystery/thriller with a bit deeper of a story line - this one is for you!

So there you have it! Six of the great books I've read recently. I love sharing what I've read and why I loved it - so you can expect to see more of these down the line (you know, once I actually have more than a few to share with you!) Let me know in the comments what books you've read and loved lately!