I’m just gonna say it: I like my books with pictures.  If kids can have awesome illustrations throughout their books, why can’t we?!  Luckily, there are lots of books out there for grown-ups that incorporate art in fun and exciting ways.  Here are some of my favorite books to read—and look at the pictures.

Forest Hills Bootleg Society cover image
Forest Hills Bootleg Society by Dave Baker and Nicole Goux
Set in 2005, this gorgeously illustrated, funny, and honest graphic novel follows four teens who stumble into an illicit anime DVD-burning business that shakes up their conservative small town…and their friendship. This quirky tale about a hilarious cast of characters and their bootleg anime business is a must-read!
Draw the Line cover image
Draw the Line by Laurent Linn

Adrian Piper is used to blending into the background at his Texas high school.  He feels most comfortable expressing himself through art, crafting a secret world for his own Renaissance-art-inspired superhero, Graphite.  But in real life, when a shocking hate crime flips his world upside down, Adrian must decide what kind of person he wants to be.

The book features sections that are Adrian’s Graphite comics.  BTW, Graphite lives in a giant palace on the moon.  Seriously what could be cooler than that. (Go check out the extended excerpt of Draw the Line now!) 

There are few things I love more than sitting down with a good book and a steaming mug of tea.  If you’re a tea-loving bookworm like me, here are some tea and book pairings that will have you sipping and turning pages for many cozy hours.

11 Perfect Book + Tea Pairings

1. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman and black tea with citrus

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

I’m so excited to read Thunderhead, the sequel to Scythe in which Citra and Rowan take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom.  It’s sure to be as intense and chilling as the first book, so a warm black tea is in order.  In honor of Citra’s name, try a black tea blend with citrus flavors, like Harney and Sons’ Citrus Blend Tea.

2. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson and chai

Ok, well first off, this book is about BOOKS! Need I say more? No – but I will.  Books of magic are dangerous and can transform into terrible monsters, and she’s spent her entire live protecting the kingdom from their power. When the library’s most dangerous book is released, Elisabeth finds herself framed for the crime. Now the only person she can turn to for help is her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. This book has a little bit of everything and you’ll love enjoying a nice chai while reading this.

3. Compulsion by Martina Boone and sweet tea

Compulsion by Martina Boone

While you read Compulsion, a spellbinding Southern family saga full of secrets, magic, and romance, sip some classic Southern iced sweet tea with plenty of lemon.

4. Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius and Earl Grey

Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

Drink some Earl Grey tea while reading Anne & Henry, a sizzling modern-day reimigining of the love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII.  Even though the novel is set in the US, drinking a British tea blend while you read it will give you a taste of the history the book is based on.

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han and green tea with fruit flavors, sweetened

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control when her secret letters to all of her crushes are accidentally mailed to them.  While you read this lighthearted, charming romantic story, sip on a light and refreshing green tea with some fruit flavors and sugar for sweetness.

6. Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick and lapsang souchong

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Lapsang souchong is a unique and bold tea with a smoky flavor that reminds me of campfires and the outdoors.  It’s the perfect beverage for reading this outdoorsy psychological thriller about Britt, whose backpacking trip to the Teton Range goes terribly wrong when a blizzard separates her from her boyfriend and strands her in a remote cabin with two strangers.

7. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and chamomile

Artistotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

To me, it’s always comforting to return to a favorite book—it’s like visiting with an old friend.  One of my very favorite books is this moving and thought-provoking story about two loners who form a friendship that will change both of their lives forever.  What better tea to go with a favorite book than a soothing chamomile?

8. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and black tea with caramel

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

While you’re reading about Tash Zelenka, producer of an amateur web series based on Anna Karenina that goes viral, drink a Russian-inspired tea in honor of Tolstoy.  I especially love Kusmi Tea’s St. Petersburg blend.

9. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and matcha

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Taking place over the course of sixty intense seconds, Long Way Down follows Will as he takes the elevator on his way out to get revenge on the person who killed his brother, but on each floor he’s joined by people from his past who have things to tell him that may change his mind.  Some highly-caffeinated matcha tea is the perfect companion for this blazing-fast, thought-provoking read, since it’s impossible to put down and you’ll need to read it in one sitting.

10. This Mortal Coil  by Emily Suvada and rooibos

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

This gripping debut novel is about Cat, a teen hacker who needs to use her skills to decode a message from her late father that could save humanity from the brink of extinction after much of the population is wiped out by a plague.  I am obsessed with this bold red cover, so a bright red rooibos herbal tea is the perfect companion for the book.

11. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and iced coffee

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I do acknowledge that some people out there prefer coffee to tea.  If you’re a coffee drinker, grab an iced coffee and sit down with When Dimple Met Rishi.  Make sure it’s a strong, bold coffee blend, to go with strong, bold Dimple, who is pursuing her dream of being a web developer at a summer program and does not want to be distracted by Rishi, a hopeless romantic that their parents hope will be her future “Ideal Indian Husband.”

A new book by Jason Reynolds is always exciting—it’s well established that he’s up there with our favorite authors. So when I heard that he had a new novel coming out—in verse—I knew that I had to get my hands on it immediately.

Long Way Down is about fifteen-year-old Will, whose brother Shawn has just been murdered. Will is overwhelmed with grief, but he knows the rules his brother taught him: No crying. No snitching. Get revenge. So Will takes his brother’s gun and gets in the elevator, going out to find and kill the person he thinks killed his brother. But this is no ordinary elevator ride—as the door opens on each floor, a new person steps in; all of them are people from Will’s life who have been victims of gun violence and they have things to tell Will that will change everything he thinks he knows.

If you haven’t left this page yet to go read the extended excerpt, here are five reasons to read LONG WAY DOWN right now.

1.Lightening fast read

Be prepared to read this entire book in one sitting—once you get started, it’s impossible to put down.


2. Novel in verse

Jason Reynolds is an incredible writer of prose (and he’s got the awards to prove it!), but he’s been a writer of poetry for longer and even has his own poetry blog. So an entire book in verse from him is an event. His poetry in LONG WAY DOWN is visceral and immediate, staccato and full of symbolism. Some pages only have a couple of words on them, but they speak volumes.


3. 60 Seconds

I love it when a writer takes a risk and does something different or experimental in a book. In LONG WAY DOWN, Jason Reynolds decided to take on writing an entire novel in a compressed amount of time. I’m not talking like a week or a day—I’m talking one minute. That’s right—a 304 page novel spanning sixty seconds. And not one of them is wasted.


4. Timely and Intense

The novel gives a heartwrenching, emotional, intense look at teenage gun violence and how cycles of violence can tear apart families and communities. Will’s feelings in the wake of his brother’s murder—sorrow, anger, confusion, and the obligation he feels to get revenge—are so complex and honest. This is a timely, important, and impactful book.


5. The Ending

This is the kind of ending where you’ll read it, pause, re-read it, and then just sit silently staring at the page for a while, processing it. And then you’ll want to get someone else to read the book immediately, so you can discuss it with them. So….everyone read it immediately! And tell us what you think.


6. Jason narrated the Audiobook

I’m a firm believer that listening to a book counts as reading it, and there is no experience quite as impactful as listening to Jason’s soothing voice!

If the zombie apocalypse hits, you’ll need to know what to call the undead creatures that have taken over your neighborhood. You wouldn’t want to be the clueless person running around shouting, “Please, someone help me, there’s a…thing…after me!”  To that end, here is a helpful glossary of the wide range of zombie monikers used by our favorite characters.

1. Rot & Ruin Series: Zoms. The abbreviated term for the undead menace, because who has time to say the whole word when you’re running from them?
rot and ruin

2. The Walking Dead: While the prevalent name used by our main characters is walker, other characters on the show have used a wide variety of terms including biter, creeper, dead one, geek, and roamer.

3. The Girl with All the Gifts: The infected in this book are called hungries. Pretty descriptive.

4. Game of Thrones: White Walkers. Makes sense, because they’re kind of like ice-ghost zombies. *shivers*

5. iZombie: Good old plain “zombie.”

6. Warm Bodies: In this world, the Dead are separated into two categories—Fleshies, zombies that still have flesh, and Bonies, zombies that…don’t.

7. World War Z: Zombies have a wide range of names including the living dead, the undead, ghouls, saifu, zack, zed heads, and g’s.

8. 28 Days Later: The infected. Yuck.

Maine is one of my favorite places—the intense natural beauty, the tranquility, the lighthouses, the lobster! But somehow, in literature, Maine often winds up being the setting for creepy situations. Maybe it’s because with all of that nature (and lots of small, far-away islands) comes a sense of isolation, a quiet that tugs at the edge of the imagination. After all, Maine is home to Stephen King himself.

As the summer winds down, if you’re looking for one last get-away, crack open a book set in the state they call “Vacationland”…and prepare to be thoroughly creeped out.

The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker


When Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae’s father dies suddenly, she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow–until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.

Savage by Tom Sniegoski


The future is looking bright for Sidney Moore as she gets ready to leave the small island of Benediction, Maine behind for one of Boston’s top veterinary schools. Only two small bumps in the road to navigate before she can go—her father’s recovery from a debilitating stroke and her own guilt for ending her relationship with her high school sweetheart. Now a storm is bearing down on Benediction, a hurricane that will bring devastating winds and rain, rising tides…and something else. Something deadly; something that will transform all the things that creep, crawl, and flutter into instruments of terror and death.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Trisha McFarland and her family are hiking the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail together, trekking through thick wilderness. When Trisha gets tired of family drama, she wanders off and quickly becomes lost in the woods. As night falls and the isolation and terror set in, she turns to her portable radio for comfort, listening to Red Sox games featuring her favorite player, Tom Gordon. Eventually Trisha starts to imagine that Tom Gordon is there with her, protecting her from something in the woods that she is certain is after her…

Dead River by Cyn Balog

Dead River

Kiandra has stayed away from bodies of water ever since her mom killed herself in a river. But that doesn’t stop Ki from skipping prom and going on a white water rafting trip to a river in Maine called The Dead River with friends. The quiet weekend in a cabin in the woods takes a creepy turn when Ki starts hearing voices on the Dead River.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Nothing exciting ever rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside Maine town . . . until River comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Need by Carrie Jones


Zara has had a pretty rough life. Her father left when she was a baby, and her stepfather just died. Her mother’s sent her to live with her grandmother in cold and sleepy Maine to “keep Zara safe.” Whatever that means. Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother just can’t deal.

Zara’s wrong. The man she sees everywhere–the tall creepy guy who points at her from the side of the road—is not a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie. And not the cute, sweet kind with little wings. Maine’s got a whole assortment of unbelievable creatures. And they seem to need something from Zara…

As soon as I heard about Laurent Linn’s debut novel, I knew it was a must-read.  The main character Adrian is an artistic sci-fi geek with a superhero alter ego…sounds like my kind of guy. He mostly keeps to himself and lays low at his Texas High School, but when he witnesses a brutal hate crime, Adrian has to decide whether he can keep silent or if this is his time to take a stand.  Where will he draw the line?

I could not put this book down—it’s gripping, moving, relatable, and full of incredible art that mashes up comics and the Renaissance.  Not to mention, the book has multiple gay characters in starring roles.  Are you really still reading this instead of clicking over to read Draw the Line?  Well, okay.  Then here are seven more reasons to get on it.

1. Awesome epigraphs!

I’ve always thought of epigraphs as little windows into the book before it’s even started.  A good epigraph—or a couple—will totally grab me.  Draw the Line starts with three super intriguing quotes, including from Nietzche and the one and only Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Okay, yes.  I am on board.  I am ready.  Let’s go.

2. Basically the coolest superhero ever.

I love comics, especially superheroes.  Draw the Line is a novel wrapped around a comic book.  Adrian’s superhero alter ego is the amazing, gay, Renaissance-inspired Graphite.  So basically, a hero unlike any other.  He has the power of creation—he can make anything he wants with his magic paintbrush, from a pile of delicious pancakes to his sprawling, fantastical palace on the moon.  I repeat: he lives on the dark side of the moon.

3. Also MINOR SPOILER ALERT: The Villain!

The villain’s sidekick is literally a wiener dog mixed with a rattlesnake who wears tiny cowboy boots.  It is 100% as awesome as it sounds.

4. Squeeee worthy romantic sparks.

Truly, I am so not a romance person.  I usually don’t like to read anything that could be described as heartwarming or adorable.  BUT the first date and romance in this book melted my cold, icy heart and I did indeed squee.

5. Complex characters who surprise you.

The wonderful thing about the characters in Draw the Line is that they’re so multidimensional.  From Adrian’s friends to his classmates to the bullies at school, everyone is more than meets the eye.  In the immortal words of Shrek, they’re like onions—they have lots of layers.

An extended excerpt of Draw the Line is available until July 31st, go over and read it ASAP!

Prepare for the perfect storm!

If you like:


Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge or Storm of the Century by Stephen King



Savage by Thomas E. Sniegoski


In Savage, a small New England island is hit by a devastating storm that has a violent effect on its animals. If James Patterson’s Zoo and Stephen King’s Storm of the Century had a creepy, action-packed young adult child, it would be this book. Sidney Moore’s small island community is battening down the hatches for a violent storm that is coming their way, like the citizens of Little Tall Island in Storm of the Century. She is also dealing with a love triangle involving her ex-boyfriend, Cody, and her best friend Rich, who hate each other but are both into her. On top of all that, the storm brings *something* that turns all of the critters on the island, from house pets to insects, into vicious killers, like in Zoo. Sniegoski combines the pulse-pounding animal attack and survival action of Patterson and Ledwidge’s novel/TV show with the costal small-town feel of King’s screenplay/miniseries to create a (really) wild ride you won’t want to miss!

What do you think, are you tempted to read Savage? It’s a free read until June 12th, so start reading now!

It’s an age-old question: are we alone in the universe? Is there intelligent life out there? While some might scoff at the idea, even astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has mused that perhaps we are all just pets in an elaborate alien zoo. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, the thought of alien beings is a fascinating one that only breeds more questions. If they are real…what would happen if they came here? What would they be like? What would they do? What would we do? And how would we prepare?

Here are some out-of-this-world reads about our friendly and not-so-friendly neighbors in the cosmos. Read them, and prepare yourselves accordingly…you know…in case aliens are real.

Did I miss your favorite alien book? Let me know in the comments!

We Are the Ants cover image
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button. Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

Happy Princess Week, Riveted readers! I love having this as an excuse to write about Cinderella (not that I really need much of an excuse to ramble on about how wonderful Cinderella is). I watched Disney’s Cinderella countless times as a child. It was so easy to get swept up in the enchantment—when life is at its toughest, a magical benefactor shows up and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, you’re in a gorgeous gown on the way to a ball!

I wish that was how life worked in the real world. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished a fairy godmother would come and save me from having to continue adulting. But as some of my favorite Cinderella re-tellings show, life before and after the ball isn’t always so easy! Don’t believe me? Here are five imaginative takes on the Cinderella tale, including Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Just Ella, one of our featured reads this week (Available until March 8!). Check them out for yourself and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Robert Frost famously wrote, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler.” But what if we could travel both? It’s fascinating to think about how your life might be different if you’d made different decisions. It’s mind-blowing to think about how each individual decision has shaped you and changed you into the person you are. But it’s also scary to think about all the possibilities you could have missed out on. What if the other decisions you made had better outcomes? What if you were only one different decision away from making all your dreams come true? How would you handle that if you knew?

There have been so many books, movies, tv shows, etc. that deal with this concept because it’s so intriguing and the possibilities are endless. Personally, I could spend hours dissecting my choices and thinking about where they could have led. So as not to drive myself crazy thinking of my OWN “what ifs,” I’ve put together a quick list of books, movie, and a musical that examine the infinite possibilities of split paths.

1. Just Like Fate by Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick

Just like fate

*Read this for free on Riveted through May 1st!*

Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick and, like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been at Gram’s beside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape—both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. So when Caroline’s best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram’s side, or go to the party for a few hours.

The consequences of this one decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths—and she is about to live them both.

2. If/Then the Musical

if then

Elizabeth is newly divorced and moves to New York City for a fresh start.  She meets up with her friends Kate and Lucas at the park and they each have suggestions for her: Kate advises her to start going by “Liz” and try to have new and exciting experiences.  Lucas says she should go by “Beth” and focus on professional networking.  Whose advice will Elizabeth take?  The audience gets to see both, as both “Liz” and “Beth” leave the pursue their own paths.  Listen to the original cast recording—Elizabeth was played by Idina Menzel!

3.  The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us

It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. When Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present.

4.  Sliding Doors the movie


This drama starring Gwyneth Paltrow follows Helen Quilley, who had just been fired from her job. As she leaves her office building, she drops her earring in the elevator and a man picks it up for her. She rushes to catch a train and her narrative splits: in one reality, she just makes the train and in the other, she misses it.  The results of that one moment will take her life in dramatically different directions.

5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

before i fall

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.


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