Goodreads Blog
Goodreads Blog posts (showing 1-10 of 1,003)
The Creative Journey: S. Jae-Jones on Finding Your Artistic Voice
Posted by Marie on February 20, 2018

S. Jae-Jones is the author of Wintersong, a darkly compelling young adult fantasy about magic, music, and destiny. This 2017 Goodreads Choice Award nominee and its spellbinding sequel, Shadowsong, follows the young composer Leisl, as she struggles to hone her talent while trying to forget the Goblin King who inspired her. Here, Jae-Jones shares her insights on creativity and craftsmanship.



Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating
I am not a composer.

Because the protagonist of Wintersong lives, breathes, and dreams music, I'm often asked if I compose or write songs. While I am both a student and an appreciator of music, I do not create.

I write novels instead.

So I wrote what I felt, and I wrote what I wanted to be—a character who had a mission to make the world better for the people she loves.

We are often told to "write what [we] know" by craft books and sage advisers, and while I believe that is true, I also believe that our understanding of the old adage is incomplete. Writing what we know is writing what we know to be true.

And what is true about Wintersong? The impulse, the drive, and the process of artistic creation. If I did not hear melodies in my head, then I nevertheless had an idea that I was trying to execute on the page: a story and an emotional journey of a young woman striving to find her artistic voice amid pressures both internal and external. If the medium was different, then the method was not.

Writing was not the only artistic outlet I had growing up. In fact, for most of my life, I was known to my peers as "the one who could draw." (The illustrations and hand lettering in the North American edition of my book are mine.) I was part of a visual arts conservatory in high school, and it was there that I learned how to draft, revise, and execute an idea. For me, the process of creation—genesis—is the same whether I am taking a photograph, painting a portrait, or writing a novel. I have an idea. I take notes. I make sketches. I start a draft: color, composition, characterization, setting. I receive critique. I take more notes. I revise. I work and I work and I work and I work until I can get as close to the vision in my head.

This was the process I gave my protagonist. Liesl heard a piece of music in her head, then she sat down and worked through it until she got something close to a first draft. And then she continued to work on it, over and over and over. As Michelangelo is quoted as saying, "I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." There is the romantic notion that artists are moved by Muses and that works of art emerge fully formed. But that notion is incomplete; it glosses over the blood, sweat, and tears that are the actual labor of creating art. Legend says that Mozart was so struck by divine inspiration, all his music arrived perfect from his mind to the page. The truth is, after Mozart's death, his widow, Constanze, destroyed most evidence of his process to protect that romantic idea.

There is talent, and there is craftsmanship. One is innate, the other is learned. Ninety percent of finding your artistic voice is work—practicing, refining, revising, rewriting. But I would also caution against perfecting your craft at the expense of your art. A work can be technically perfect and devoid of feeling. Conversely, art can be "bad" and still evoke emotion in its audience. Pablo Picasso was a pioneer of Cubism, a style of visual art eschewing ideas of perspective or a single point of view that lends itself to dimensionality or "realism." But this is not to say that Picasso was a "bad" artist; his earlier works evince the technical skill and realistic figures many people expect in paintings. Balancing artistry and craftsmanship is a delicate process that will likely continue for the rest of your career. Sometimes you'll succeed. Many more times you will fail.

Write what you know to be true—true to your own vision. There is no universal "good" in art. People will praise and deride the exact same things in your work. Some will love what you do; others will not. Write what you know to be true, which is all any artist can demand of themselves.


S. Jae-Jones' Shadowsong is now available at a bookstore near you. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf! And let us know in the comments about your own journey to finding your artistic voice.


Tomi Adeyemi's Diverse Must-Reads to Rock Your World
Posted by Marie on February 20, 2018

Black History Month coverage is sponsored by One World Books.

Tomi Adeyemi's upcoming debut Children of Blood and Bone is one of 2018's most anticipated young adult novels. This West African-inspired fantasy introduces readers to the world of Orïsha, where magic once thrived but is now persecuted. The title has already been optioned for a film. In celebration of Black History Month, Adeyemi recommends diverse books that inspire empathy and change.



Rate this book
Clear rating
I remember the exact moment it happened.

I was lying in bed, cuddled up with my copy of Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older. After a long day of work at a job I wasn't crazy about, I was ready to get lost in Sierra Santiago's world and forget everything about my own.

But instead of losing myself in someone else's life, I stumbled across two paragraphs so intimate to my world that I felt like I was reading a diary entry.

In two paragraphs, Daniel gave me a mirror of my existence that I'd never had, and that mirror changed my life.

In that mirror Sierra discussed the self-esteem issues you have as a woman of color. She talked about how hard it was to grow up in a society that always tells you that your skin needs to be lighter, your hair needs to be straighter, and your existence needs to be whiter.

This was the story of my life in so many ways, but never did I expect to see that reflected in an awesome urban fantasy because I never got to be in awesome fantasies. Seeing myself intimately represented on the page was a feeling so incredible, I couldn't contain it, but after the excitement passed, I realized Daniel hadn't only created a mirror.

He'd created a window.

With this window, he made it possible for any person of any background to understand what it's like to be me. Something I had struggled to explain for so long was now something I could easily reference and discuss.

The mirror he created made me feel seen and heard. But the window he created changed me and my writing forever.

The ability to create windows and mirrors is the true power of literature. It allows us to walk in another person's shoes, see the world through their eyes, and be changed for the better because of it.

In a time where it constantly feels like the world is on fire, we need literature more than ever. I truly believe that books can bridge whatever's broken that causes us to see people who are different as less than human.

For this Black History Month, relive the greats. Celebrate all the awesome things George Washington Carver did with the peanut. Snap at how Madam C.J. Walker was the first black Bill Gates in the making.

But also celebrate the history that is being made right now by the incredible individuals of all colors working in publishing today. Whatever it is you like to read, gather around because I have some awesome recommendations for you to dive into or preorder!

Happy Black History Month!


Do you want to have your entire world rocked and learn more about what it's like to live in another person's shoes? Check out...

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Do you want to have your entire world rocked and have your ears rocked by language so beautiful, you could cry? Check out...

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Do you want to have your entire world rocked and fall in love? Check out...

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Do you want to have your entire world rocked and live through some heart-wrenching experiences? Check out...

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Do you want to have your entire world rocked and go on a kick-ass magical adventure for teens and adults? Check out...

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Do you want to have your entire world rocked and go on a wonderful magical adventure for younger kids? Check out...

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Do you want to have your entire world rocked and go into space or play with really awesome technology? Check out...

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


7 Buzzy Books Hitting Shelves Today
Posted by Hayley on February 20, 2018

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered. These are the top new books Goodreads members have added to their Want to Read shelves.


Rate this book
Clear rating



You should read this book if you like: Mystery, small towns with big secrets, blackmail and betrayal, relationships as steamy as they are deadly



Rate this book
Clear rating



You should read this book if you like: YA horror, space scavengers, pulse-pounding action, mutant aliens who use sound to kill their prey




Rate this book
Clear rating



You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, coming-of-age stories, survivalist families, tenacious quests for knowledge, struggle for self-invention


Rate this book
Clear rating



You should read this book if you like: Fiction, heartbreaking family dramas, love and its limitations, honest depictions of mental illness, divorce, and addiction

Check out our interview with Wolfson here.



Rate this book
Clear rating



You should read this book if you like: Science fiction, space colonization, missing spaceships, desperate heroes, bizarre death-cult rituals




Rate this book
Clear rating



You should read this book if you like: Nonfiction, Scissor Sisters, living a double life, New York City's electrifying music scene, misfits, glam rock




Rate this book
Clear rating



You should read this book if you like: Short stories, powerful debuts, epic struggles with fate, small miracles with haunting consequences





8 Fascinating Books About Americans Who Really, Really Wanted To Be President
Posted by Hayley on February 19, 2018


Today is Presidents Day in the United States—and you know us. We love any excuse (even Groundhog Day) to dig up interesting book recommendations.

Some backstory for anyone who skipped U.S. history class: Presidents Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February. Congress established the holiday in 1879 to honor George Washington, but by the 1980s, Americans were using the day to recognize all presidents. Many businesses and schools close for the day, and if you own a television, you know your nearby car dealership is having an excessively patriotic sale.

If you want to read about the presidents, that's cool; there's a Listopia for that! However, we thought we'd turn our attention to what might have been, to the men and women who ran for president…and failed (plus Alexander Hamilton, who had his political dreams dashed by scandal and an infamous duel). We searched for the best-reviewed books, only selecting books that earned a 4.0+ average rating from your fellow Goodreads members. Take a look! Would any of these presidential hopefuls have had your vote?

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating



Raise a glass to our presidents and would-be presidents! And share your own favorite historical books with us in the comments.

Check out more recent blogs:
The Novelists That Made TV's The Wire a Classic
16 Author Birthdays to Celebrate in February
Here Are Books to Read for Every Groundhog Day Forecast

(Top image and GIF credit: Hamilton)


Romance Week 2018
Posted by Marie on February 12, 2018

Find your happily ever after with irresistible book recommendations, tempting reading challenges, our romance pen name generator, and much more!











What will you be reading for Romance Week?

Let us know in the comments!


Reading Prompts to Fall in Love With
Posted by Marie on February 12, 2018

The romance genre is a billion-dollar-a-year industry that makes up more than 30 percent of the U.S. fiction market, according to the Romance Writers of America. So not only are romance readers ardent fans, but they’re also prolific readers. For those of you looking to add more guilty pleasures to your Reading Challenge this year, here are seven romance-themed reading prompts to stir those hidden desires.





Spies, assassins, detectives, secret agents… When the stakes are high, the sexual tension is higher. These undercover lovers are here to serve, protect, and raise those adrenaline levels in any way they can.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Gazes full of longing, letters penned with fervor, witty repartee exchanged in drawing rooms… The classic romance may not be as explicit as today’s contemporaries, but their underlying passion still smolders hundreds of years later.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Billionaire bad boys may be a dime a dozen, but they’re always willing to share their wealth, love, and power with those they deem worthy.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

You can always trust your heart with a professional—no matter what that profession is. Whether it’s in a conference room, an emergency room, a dressing room, or a locker room, sparks fly when business meets pleasure.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

If you’re a laird or lady who prefers a good old-fashioned bodice-ripper, a Highlander, Western, or Regency-era romance might do.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

From ghosts to dragons to naughty Nosferatus, these paranormal paramours are looking to possess and be possessed. Whatever form they take, their claim on you is eternal.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Love has no boundaries—not even on maps. And the best part about reading a romance set in a different part of the world is that there’s no passport or ticket required.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

What recommendations do you have for the prompts above? Share them with us in the comments!

Check out the complete coverage of Romance Week:
Seven Seductive Types of Romance Book Covers
You Know You're a Romance Reader When...
50 Romance Books to Read Based on Beloved Favorites

We Asked! You Answered: You Know You're a Romance Reader When...
Posted by Cybil on February 12, 2018

In honor of Romance Week, we asked the genre's biggest fans on our Twitter and Facebook pages to complete this sentence: You know you're a romance reader when… You'll find some of our favorite answers below. Check them out and then tell us what makes you a romance reader.


1. "You know you're a romance reader when you acknowledge that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife," says Catherine.

2. "When you are annoyed by people who both a) have never read a recently published romance novel and b) label the entire genre as bodice-ripping garbage," says Sarah.

3. "The thought of not getting an HEA [Happily Ever After] ending makes you want to flip a table," says Elia.

4. "You’re too shy to carry the book in public, so you read from an ebook instead," says ThatGirlWithTheGlasses.

5. "You know you're a romance reader when…you can read a romance novel in a day no matter how many pages are in the book," says Mary Ann.

6. "When you have a home library of over a thousand romance novels," says Megan.

7. "You enjoy reading them, refusing to be shamed and looked down on by people who think they are 'trash' reading," says Janet.

8. "Most of the ebooks on your Kindle feature shirtless men," says Andrea.

9. "When you judge every man you see by who was on the cover of the last book you read," says Chrisie.

10. "You're constantly DEFENDING the fact that you're a romance reader!" says Steve.

11. "You make up stories about the people in front of you in the coffee shop queue," says Book Blogger.

12. "When you see the 'consumption' meter in a hybrid car and think the car has a fatal disease," says Christine.

13. "Your friends ask you for romance book recommendations and you go, 'Which sub-genre?'" says Emily K.

14. "Your Kindle is loaded with over 600 romance novels and you would die if your grandchildren got hold of it!!!" says Regina.

15. "You start ranking your book boyfriends," says Gina.

16. "You say you want a romantic relationship like *insert fictional romance couple* and no one gets the reference," says Tigeress129.

Be sure to tell us why you love reading romance novels!


Seven Seductive Types of Romance Book Covers
Posted by Marie on February 12, 2018

Romance book covers are meant to intrigue and attract. Whether they’re chaste or steamy, there’s no doubt the designs are intended to make a reader (or a bystander) blush.

And while they’ve evolved since the days of Fabio, the need for flair and drama certainly hasn’t diminished. So if you're ready to have your hearts race, bosoms heave, and knees tremble with weakness, check out the seven common types of romance covers—along with highly rated examples to add to your Want to Read shelf!

Baby Got Bustle

These Vogue-worthy vixens would fall into the arms of a duke, baron, or pirate lord in nothing less than their haute couture.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

The Magic Mike

We also call this The Six-Pack Special. Because when these washboard assets are on full display, the effect can be intoxicating.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

The Prom Photo

This one's sweet enough to send a copy to your mom, even though the passion still simmers underneath.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Armed and Dangerously Hot

Lethal weapons come in all shapes and sizes. But remember, it’s not the size that counts...
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

The Clark Kent

A close cousin of The Magic Mike, The Clark Kent typically features a flash of skin with just a hint of scandal.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

The Illicit Snapchat

The more sensuous counterpart to The Prom Photo. The candid moment it captures should probably be deleted later.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

The Sex Symbol

Seduction relies on the power of suggestion—and these mysterious and alluring objects aim to tease and please.
Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Do you have a favorite type of romance cover? Share it with us in the comments!

Check out the complete coverage of Romance Week:
The Ultimate Romance Pen Name Generator
Inclusive Love Stories: Becky Albertalli’s Must-Reads
Romantic Reading Challenge Prompts

Falling for Inclusive Love Stories: Becky Albertalli’s Must-Read List
Posted by Hayley on February 12, 2018

Becky Albertalli is the author of The Upside of Unrequited and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the basis for the upcoming teen comedy-drama Love, Simon, which hits theaters this March. Her next book, Leah on the Offbeat, lets Simon's best friend take center stage as she tackles her own bisexuality, senior-year angst, and one big crush. For Romance Week, we asked Albertalli to share some of her favorite books that champion LGBTQIAP+ love.

I am such a sucker for love stories. I love writing them, I love reading them—and most of all, I love seeing love stories become more inclusive. I'm so excited to have this chance to celebrate Romance Week with Goodreads by recommending a few recent young adult LGBTQIAP+ books.

(Note: This list doesn't even scratch the surface of the books I consider my favorites. You should visit Dahlia Adler's LGBTQ Reads for more comprehensive recommendations!)


Rate this book
Clear rating
"This book is so charming and funny and bighearted. Kann's Alice (who is biromantic ace) is one of my new favorite YA heroines. I recommend this one for fans of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl and Sandhya Menon's When Dimple Met Rishi."


Rate this book
Clear rating
"Raw, devastating, and almost achingly sweet at times, this book is about two boys named Mateo and Rufus who fall for each other on the last day of their lives. I recommend this one to fans of Nicola Yoon's The Sun Is Also a Star and Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe."


Rate this book
Clear rating
"This is a gorgeously fantastical story about inspiration, creativity, and romantic longing, following teen painter Mercedes who is in love with her best friend. I'd recommend it to fans of Anna-Marie McLemore (whose entire body of work is also unmissable)."


Rate this book
Clear rating
"I'm not even big on superheroes, but I fell head over heels for this story. Wannabe hero Jessica is so funny and endearing, and her quirky adventure story is unputdownable. I'd recommend this for readers who can't get enough of the recent slate of YA DC adaptations."


Rate this book
Clear rating
"This is such an honest, heartfelt, pitch-perfect coming-of-age story about a gay athlete named James. Highly recommended for readers who loved Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Tim Federle's The Great American Whatever."


Rate this book
Clear rating
"Amanda is a trans girl at a new school, and she's grappling with lots of hard memories. Still, I can't describe how special it is to live in her head while she falls in love for the first time. I recommend this book to fans of Julie Murphy's Dumplin' and Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give."


Rate this book
Clear rating
"This is the cutest, most butterfly-inducing enemies-to-lovers story in the entire universe. Ava and Barrie are musical rivals turned collaborators, and they are hilarious, adorable, and vividly real. Also make sure you read How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, which is set earlier in the same universe. J.C. Lillis is probably the author I most frequently recommend to my own readers!"



Becky Albertalli's Leah on the Offbeat hits bookshelves on April 24. Check out all of Albertalli's books below.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating


The Ultimate Romance Pen Name Generator
Posted by Cybil on February 12, 2018

Sure, a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but would it endear you to a romance author? We love romance novelists (and, oftentimes, their noms de plume), so we thought it might be a fun game to suggest what your romance author name could be!

To play along, match your name's initials to the chart below. You never know. Maybe this will inspire you to become the next Colleen Hoover. We're looking at you, Flauvia le Fay!




« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 100 101