Young Adult Novelist

Author’s Bookshelf 2013

If you enjoy reading and are not on Goodreads yet, you are missing out on a wonderful place to connect with your fellow bibliophiles. I love the cozy feel of this online library that allows me to track the books I’ve read, the ones I want to read and the ones others have recommended for my cyber bookshelf. I also love the exposure to books I otherwise might not read if not for the word of mouth of my fellow library members.

In the past year, I’ve stocked my shelves with romance–a rare read for me–super heroes–a never read for me–and dozens of YA novels that I never would have heard about without Goodreads. For the most part, I enjoyed every written word, though a few left me less than satisfied. And that’s the other cool thing about a writing community–as a writer, it helps you understand more fully that while every book has an audience, not every audience treasures every book.

And that’s okay. 100%.

I knew when I wrote WHISPERING MINDS that it was a gritty story that not everyone would love. Just like I don’t love every novel I crack open.

And that’s okay. 100%.

As a writer, it is my job to write the best novel I can. As a reader, it is my job to respect every book I read–whether I love it or hate it. Writing takes time. Writing is hard work. Writing is the imperfect collection of thoughts and feelings and experiences of its author. It is never wrong.

And so I give you the rundown of e-books I read in 2013–in no particular order except how they are shelved on my kindle.

  • ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill: I sobbed. Driving up to the lake for Christmas found me in the passenger’s seat painfully reading the ending of a novel I knew would break my heart.
  • DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth: the characters moved me and the world intrigued me.
  • INSURGENT by Veronica Roth: the second novel in the series.
  • COLD SPELL by Jackson Pearce: LOVE Ms. Pearce. I didn’t think I was a fan of retold fairy tales until I read her debut SISTERS RED. Since then, I’ve devoured every one of her novels like they’re my favorite dessert.
  • CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein: I read it three times in seven months. I think that speaks for itself.
  • WHISPERING MINDS by A.T. O’Connor: I might be a bit biased, but I do love this book!
  • THE MOTH IN THE MIRROR by A.G. Howard: I personally think Ms. Howard is a literary genius. But that’s just me.
  • SUMMER’S EDGE anthology: Short stories are a dying art form that I love to read and write. Quick reads that stick with you can be just as satisfying as a series.
  • SUMMER’S DOUBLE EDGE anthology: ditto the above sentiment, though this one is a bit more edgy than its sister book.
  • TEMPTING THE COWBOY by Elizabeth Otto: romance usually leaves me less than thrilled, but I LOVE cowboys and Ms. Otto’s portrayal of them and their lifestyle. I have passed on her name to other readers in my life.
  • THE COLLECTOR by Victoria Scott: yummy. That’s all I have to say. Just yummy.
  • SPEAK EASY by Melanie Harlow: after hearing many comments about this story, I broke down and read this edgy romance bordering on erotica. I’m glad I did. Ms. Harlow’s world of bootleggers and gangsters and unflappable flappers was satisfying on many levels.
  • UNWIND by Neal Shusterman: this is a reread for me that has found its way onto my perennial shelf. Gut wrenching, gritty and abhorrent on many levels, Mr. Shusterman hits readers hard with a look at the ramifications of our choices. You will never be the same after perusing this novel.
  • UNWHOLLY by Neal Shusterman: though Mr. Shusterman never intended to write a sequel to UNWIND, I’m glad he did–even though it took him years to be convinced to do so.
  • NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis: survival takes on a whole new meaning in this debut novel. Ms. McGinnis forces readers to evolve along with her main character in a futuristic story so real it’s scary. You’ll think twice before wasting water after reading this.
  • THE LIBERATOR by Victoria Scott: yummy squared. The sequel to THE COLLECTOR is just as fun as the first.
  • THE SECRET RESCUE by Cate Lineberry: I love WWII survival stories. This little known one is interesting, though I’m not a huge fan of nonfic biography type novels.
  • BREATH by Donna Jo Napoli: I met Ms. Napoli at a writer’s conference and make a point of reading her books when I come across them. Who could resist a book written about a boy with Cystic Fibrosis in medieval times? While this story isn’t jam packed with action, I enjoyed her take on the Pied Piper myth.
  • ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell: yep, she’s a literary sensation this year for many reasons (psst, think challenged books). Her fun, flirty writing style makes for a quick yet honest read.
  • THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green: I finished this novel (sobbing like a big baby) and turned from the back cover to the first page and started reading it all over again. Magical. Gut wrenching.
  • PAPER TOWNS by John Green: do you see a pattern? When I love a novel by an author, I immediately buy another one. Not quite as moving as TFIOS, but well worth the read.
  • COME BACK TO ME by Melissa Foster: a fictional account of life at war.
  • BLACK HELLEBORE by Nicole Zoltack: a comic book hero, paranormal romance mash-up far outside my realm of reading that I enjoyed in a way I never thought possible. I enjoy expanding my reading experiences and appreciate the opportunity to do so with novels like this.
  • SPIRIT AND DUST by Rosemary Clement-Moore: I love RCM. I think she’s amazing. I love her books. I love her online personality and I love supporting her by buying her novels. Up for a little kitchen style witchcraft? Then Ms. Clement-Moore is your gal.
  • PURITY by Jackson Pearce: contemporary novel about death, dying and living amidst promises we can’t always keep.
  • SWEETLY by Jackson Pearce: Hansel and Gretel taken to a whole new level. LOVED it.
  • SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce: the novel that started my girl crush on retold fairy tales–read for the third time.
  • FATHOMLESS by Jackson Pearce: the Little Mermaid retold. (Note just how often Jackson Pearce landed on my bookshelf this year.)
  • GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols: contemporary teen romance. Not my favorite genre, but I did enjoy this novel for its realism and characterization. I’d recommend it as a quick, yet heart-strings read.
  • THE GOOD NURSE by Charles Graeber: icky in topic. This nonfic provides insight into a sick mind. I read it for a speech student to see if it would make a compelling speech. While interesting, we ultimately passed on using it.
  • A MATTER OF TIME by Nancy Rae: another speech story that I would have passed on if perusing on my own.
  • BLOOD OF ISIS by Elizabeth Otto: outside my typical reading realm, but I LOVED this. Glad I gave her a try–and the perfect example of how Goodreads can help you stretch your reading repertoire.
  • CHAMPAGNE AND LEMON DROPS by Jean Oram: Small town life, big time problems. Realistic romance that straddles the line of chick lit and romance–in a good way.
  • FAR FROM THE TREE by Andrew Solomon: compelling, lovely, heart-hurting look at the way we isolate those different from us. It was right up my psychology-loving alley.
  • SEX AT DAWN by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha: an interesting psychological, physical and social look at the way our lives play out from an evolutionary stand point. Intriguing on many levels.
  • WANT TO GO PRIVATE? by Sarah Darer Littman: a must read for every human on the planet. Sickening and sad and very pertinent to the cyber lives we lead. Get it. Read it. Share it. It might save a life. A reread.
  • CREWEL by Gennifer Albin: a fascinating new dystopian to rival Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. Great characters, great story line.

Other books that intrigued me this year can be found in piles on my night stands, in bags I carry to and fro, in the car, in my closets and in baskets set out around the house. I’m a bibliophile to the extreme and only regret that I don’t have more time to immerse myself in the worlds and words of other authors.

If I had to pick a top fave for 2013, I think it would be THE FAULT IN OUR STARS because it hurt so much, yet left me with a sense of hope and the motivation to really examine and appreciate my life. Not to mention, my daughter was going through some tough medical times right after I read this and her strength and poise regarding her potential future were humbling–just like the main characters in TFIOS.

May you have a blessed year of reading in 2014. I know I will.



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Any and all content on this blog is copyrighted by A.T. O'Connor and cannot be used without her express permission.

Speechies and Speech Coaches: It would be an honor for you to use my writing in competition. I simply ask that you send me an email so I can cheer you on.

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Parting Words

"You don't become great just because you desire it; you become great because you listened and learned and earned it." Susan Sukosky~ aspiring writer who taught me to dig deep, work hard and always strive to reach your potential. After all, even onions bloom!

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