Tuesday Top Ten – Underrated YA Book Series

So I was  browsing around Facebook yesterday when I came across a Buzzfeed article about the 29 Underrated YA Book Series. Of course I had to click on it.

And while I love several of the choices on that list, no rx I thought, try I should do my own list. There are GREAT series on there, but a lot of them aren’t what I would call underrated or unnoticed. Percy Jackson? Huge. HUGE. And they got two movies. Infernal Devices? Again. HUGE. All Souls? Incredibly popular and not YA right? I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t read them. I know they aren’t shelved with YA. The Chicken Soup series? Didn’t everyone have those when I was in middle school/high school? And so on.

So that brings us to today’s Tuesday Top Ten…my favorite YA series that just don’t get enough attention. Which is why I’m talking about them. So they get more attention. Because I’m just awesome that way.

Let’s do this.

Oh, I’ll add one more thing. All of these get GREAT reviews, and have received an abundance of praise and accolades and all the huge reviewers and all that love them. By “underrated” I mean, by the masses that tend to enjoy YA. The people that don’t much more than Hunger Games and Divergent and that sort of thing.

Moving on…

10. The Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

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I love love love this series. Beth Revis takes humanity, sticks them on a space ship and gets them lost for centuries. Humanity has basically all but disappeared on this ship until one of the humans who was supposed to be frozen until they arrive at this “new” earth awakes…and chaos and romance and all sorts of things erupt. Its fantastic. There is just SO much about this series that is so good. I have a hard time finding people who have read it and I get so excited when I do!

9. The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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So JLA was on this BuzzFeed list, but with the Lux series. That series, the Wait for You series and the Dark Elements series…they’re all fairly popular. They are the ones that I feel like people talk about when it comes to JLA. But my absolute favorite of her series is hands down The Covenant series. SO freakin good! Alex and Aidan are hot as hell, they have a steamy and intense and fun romance, and their world is chaotic and full of action and drama and …more intensity. And its Greek mythology with a new twist and I love every single bit of it.

8. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot is not exactly underrated but she has so many series that often times some of them get lost underneath the ones she’s really known for like The Princess Diaries. This is one of my absolute favorites by her. It has ghosts! And a girl who likes to beat them up when they don’t want to cooperate. And a super hot Spanish ghost that’s a really great kisser. Its just awesome. The entire series is just SO flippin good. Meg manages to write this amazing paranormal romance that also makes you laugh again and again and again.

7. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

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This series was actually on the list and it was one of the few that I really agreed should be on this list. I first picked up this list when my ex told me to pick out a book and I thought the cover was beautiful and then I proceeded to consume the entire series in a matter of days. Its so beautifully written and it has everything you could want in a book. It has romance and action and politics and action and humor and discovery and uncertainty and god…everything. I can’t speak highly enough of this series. Its legitimately one of my favorites ever.

6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

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UGH. God. This series. I’m meeting Libba for the first time this weekend at YALL West, and I legit can’t handle that kind of pressure. I’m going to cry or something. I actually accidentally picked up the second book first (whoops) but rectified and continued on to enjoy this beautiful trilogy. It takes place in Victorian English countryside at a boarding school that is hiding all sorts of secrets. Its so dark but funny at the same time and its full of a new kind of magic and I love every bit of it. I need a re-read of this soon actually…

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson

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Let’s put it this way: I would not drive all the way to Vegas (about a 4 to 5 hour drive) just to meet her for one day if I didn’t think this series was that amazing. What makes this great is that its this sort of Chosen One story but the Chosen One is the last person you’d expect. Elisa is fat and uncertain and unsure and you kind sit there and think, her? Really? But its just so great. And the world building and the magic and the evolution of the main character throughout the three books…my little book loving heart just can’t handle the beauty of this trilogy.

4. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

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There WAS a series by Tammy on the list but I chose this one for a huge reason: its the first series of the epicness of the Tortall world. The one they chose is the third one and kind of…spoils the first two series for sure. haha. Plus let’s face it…Tammy has a handle on this YA fantasy since the early 80s and just not enough people are reading her. She’s amazing. Her writing, the characters she creates, the way she manages to keep the world of Tortall alive after so many decades…its impossible not to absolutely love her. This series is about a girl who disguises her gender for YEARS in order to become a knight, and then basically does whatever the hell she wants once everyone finds out. YES. I want to shove all of her books down all of your throats. Sorry. Not really.

3. The Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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Why, yes, I did pick two Meg Cabot series. This is another one that kind of disappears when it comes to Meg. But its legitimately my favorite. Besides Princess Diaries. Because its just SO weird and bizarre and I love it. Em Watts dies…but not really. At the same time as her body dies, supermodel Nikki Howard as a brain aneurysm. Doctors save her life by implanting her brain into Nikki’s body, but she has to live her life as Nikki and no one can know that she was once Em. Its seriously the most bizarre thing ever, especially once you realize there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. And its just straight up hilarious.

2. The Unremembered Trilogy by Jessica Brody

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The finale of this trilogy just released less than two months ago and I’m still reeling from it. I can barely express my emotions about it. Sigh. Anyway. This is a series that’s absolutely incredible and seriously does NOT get enough credit. I want to see more of those purple books in people’s hands. Seriously. I can’t even explain how great this trilogy is. Its like…Bourne Identity but with a super badass girl instead of Matt Damon and it has superhumans called Ex-Gens and time travel and cool technology and romance and action and its just amazing. There are not nearly enough people reading it and you guys need to be reading it. Now. Go.

1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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I love Leigh from the bottom of my heart to the tip top of my head all the way to my little toes. She’s AMAZING and her series just proves that. She has had SUCH success with it, but its nothing to the extend that a ton of people know about it and I want to change that. Her trilogy is perfection and its such a great example of how AMAZING YA fantasy…and YA in general…can be. She’s a terrific writer and a fabulous storyteller. This is another series that needs a re-read soon because now all I can think about is how much I love these books!

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Tuesday Top Ten-Best YA High Fantasy Series

I was browsing around Tumblr this morning, medical like I do (because how do you start a day without spending some time on Tumblr) and I saw a post talking about YA high fantasy and it had SO many of my favorites. I was trying to think of something to write for the Tuesday Top Ten today and it just presented itself to me so easily.

I must admit, thumb as I wrote this list, I discovered TWO things: One, I really need to read more high fantasy (recommend some, please!) and two, I am majorly biased on one particular author…but that’s okay.

10. The Beka Cooper Trilogy 

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Books: Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff

Beka Cooper is the ancestor of George Cooper (who is massively important in Pierce’s first series, which, duh, is on the list), and she joins the Provost Dogs, which is basically like a police force. As the books go on, she becomes one of the most prominent and well trusted of the Dogs, solving crimes and taking down criminals. The story is told in diary form, which was a new thing for Tamora Pierce.

Its awesome. Anything Tammy does is basically magic, but what I love about this is you know how history plays out after this already. Her first four Tortall series all take place years after this so you know the direction its going in, but its still so fun. I think that Tamora Pierce has a wonderful way of writing fantastically strong characters but sometimes we convince ourselves that Daine and Kel and Aly are only able to have their stories because of all the things Alanna accomplished in the first series. But telling Beka’s story really tells us that women had a lot more power, and possibility in the past until obviously something went wrong. Plus these stories are so different than the others. Beka has to prove herself, not really as a capable woman, like the others, but just a capable person in general. And the crimes she solves, the mysteries that unravel are all so fun.

9. The Immortals Quartet 

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Books: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, The Realms of the Gods

Daine is trying to escape her home country of Galla, where she was treated as a pariah, an abomination for the “sickness” she believes is inside her. When she is brought on as an assistant horse handler on the way to Tortall, she discovers that she’s not crazy, but she has a rare bit of magic in here called wild magic, which gives her the ability to communicate with animals, heal them and even shape shift. Under the tutelage of the realms most powerful mage, Numair, she learns to control her magic and when her new home in Tortall is threatened by immortal creatures, she must learn to use her powers to help save her home and her friends.

I mean, can you really go wrong with this book? There’s magic and animals and cute boys and kissing and battles and its a GREAT series. Tammy blew my MIND with this one. I love Daine because before Daine, we had Alanna, who was great but didn’t get to be a girl as often because she was pretending to be a boy, so Daine was awesome. I loved when she was able to give up her dresses for breeches, and when she discovered she could heal animals. I love that we see old characters from Alanna’s series and I love the whole idea of these immortal creatures like spidrens and centaurs and stormwings. Daine’s story is absolutely fantastic.

8. The Protector of the Small Quartet 

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Books: First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight

In Kel’s book, the law has been changed and girls can go out for their knighthood, instead of hiding their sex the way Alanna does in her series. This is the moment that Kel has been waiting for but its tainted when the king grants her permission to come to the palace to try, under the condition that she have a probationary year, something no boy has. Not only does Kel have to prove herself as a knight, but that she belongs there amongst the boys.

What I love about Kel’s story is that it seems like it could be a repeat of Alanna’s story but it most definitely is not. Kel has a whole new adventure to go through. Alanna had to prove herself, yes, but everyone thought she was a boy. Kel is a girl, and on probation and has to work even harder than all the boys do. On top of that, her page master treats her differently and her fellow pages tease her, and play jokes on her, all to try and get her kicked out. I think Kel’s story is sometimes easier to relate to than Alanna’s. I like how it starts off with Kel being bullied and being angry that she and others are getting bullied and turns into a larger story when Scanra comes chopping at the Tortall borders. Kel always wants to take down the bullies, no matter how big or small, and I love her story.

7. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy 

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Books: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, The Bitter Kingdom

Elisa was born with a godstone in her belly button, marking her as a chosen one, to do amazing things in the world. However, Elisa feels so much less than a chosen one. She’s massively overweight, not pretty, and constantly in the shadow of her older sister. When she is married off to a neighboring kingdom’s king, who is devastatingly handsome, she doubts she’ll ever reach her supposed amazing potential. Then she is kidnapped, by revolutionaries, and she suddenly sees how much more she is capable of and what she really could accomplish.

The first thing that caught me about this book is that Elisa is fat. Straight up, Elisa is fat. I love that. Do you know how often we get YA heroines who are fat, especially in novels like this? We just don’t. Even though Elisa loses weight through out the series, she remains a bigger girl and I think that’s important. Elisa is a strong, strong, incredible female character but its more than a physical strength. She’s incredibly smart, clever and she figures out exactly what she needs to do, with bumps all the way. Its all about coming into yourself, and coming into what people expect of you, and just doing the best that you can with what you are given and its just incredible. I dragged my dad, boyfriend and brother four hours to Las Vegas just so I could meet Rae Carson.

6. The Throne of Glass Series 

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Books (so far): Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire 

Celaena is a former deadly assassin, sent into the dark work prisons. She is caught trying to escape and is chosen by a stranger to be a contestant, part of a tournament to choose the next King’s Champion. If she succeeds in winning, she will have to work for the King, whom she hates, for a period of time and then she can earn her freedom. She agrees and comes to the palace to compete but then people start disappearing, dying, being sabotaged in the contest and Celaena fears that she could be next. Add in the handsome and charming prince Dorian and the equally handsome and strong captain of the guard, Chaol, and you have a recipe for trouble.

 Sarah J. Maas blew my mind with this series. I had seen it all over the place for so long and I finally purchased it and was so incredibly glad when I did. The one thing that really jumps out at me of this series is the incredible world building of it. It is deep and complex and has a whole history to it, which is beautiful. A really good high fantasy novel will have that, and this book definitely accomplishes that. Add in the fact that there’s Dorian and Chaol and its so hard to figure out which one you like more, because they’re both so different…and you’re just so addicted to the story. But the kicker of the series is Celaena, who is a fantastic main character. I love that she can kill a person easily, almost in her sleep, but also loves to curl up with a good book and is so incredibly loving and caring.

5. The Song of the Lioness Quartet 

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Books: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hands of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant

Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, are unhappy with their futures. Thom is all set to go to the palace to train as a knight, when he wants to go and learn to hone his magical Gift and become a powerful sorcerer. Alanna is to be sent to the convent, to be trained as a lady, to return home and find a husband, when she wants to become a knight. They switch places, and Alanna heads to the palace as Alan, disguised as a boy in order to earn her shield. Alanna has to work hard, doing all that she can to earn her shield, while trying to hide the fact that she is a girl.

This book series is incredible and what truly blows my mind about it is that it was written back in the 1980s. People think that the idea of a strong female character is a new phenomenon because of Hermione and Katniss and Tris but the original strong YA female character is definitely Alanna. She disguises herself as a boy for YEARS. Do you know how hard that would be? Not only does she have to work hard to become a knight, which is a trial all in itself, but she has to do it pretending to be a boy. She has to pretend that she doesn’t get her period, or breasts, and that she doesn’t having feelings for boys. She can’t undress herself in front of them. Its all so hard. But she fights hard and earns everything that she gains and its just SUCH a great series. Its a must, an absolute must for any lover of YA.

4. The Grisha Trilogy 

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Books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

Alina Starkov is an orphan, earning her way through life, and struggling to find where she fits in. She’s working as a mapmaker, getting by and trying to ignore that her best friend, Mal, is handsome, popular with the ladies, and an incredibly good tracker. One day, as their crossing the Fold, a desolate bit of land, she saves Mal’s life, by using a power that she never knew she had. She has been labeled the Sun Summoner, a rare Grisha classification, able to produce light from within her. Suddenly, she is whisked away by The Darkling, the most powerful of the Grisha, and her power becomes the center of her existence.

The first I met Leigh Bardugo was at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. She was on a panel and the moderator said something about strong female characters not existing when the authors were younger and Leigh immediately says “Uh, duh, Alanna?” and I knew immediately that I needed to read her book. I bought Shadow and Bone that day and I’ve been massively in love with the Grisha trilogy since then. I just read the last one a few weeks ago when it was released and I’m just so in love. Leigh is an incredible writer and a beautiful storyteller. She has magic, and power, and politics and romance and humor and so much all in one series and its just brilliant. I really haven’t read a series like this before and I doubt I will ever read one like it again.

3. The Seven Realms Series

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Books: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Grey Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Raisa is the princess of her queendom, being bred every day to be the queen. She is royal by blood on her mother’s side, and has tribal blood from her father’s side and after spending time with her father and his people, she returns to the castle, restless and ready to do more. Her mother, on the other hand, has been taken in by the High Wizard, in a world where wizards are not to be trusted, and Raisa begins to fear what her mother will do. She starts sneaking out of the palace, getting to know her queendom, hoping to become the best queen that she can be. Han is a former thief, turning away from his criminal ways, in order to support his mother and younger sister. When he steals a wizard’s amulet one day, trouble begins to follow him and leads him into finding the truth about where he came from and what sort of powers he holds in himself.

THIS SERIES. I picked it up on a whim, really, just out of nowhere, and coincidentally, a few days before the final book was released. I literally read the four of them in a period of about five or six days and I have no regrets. Cinda Chima is absolutely brilliant. She reminds of Tamora Pierce a bit, and she just builds a great world. The Seven Realms is just so incredibly real and I love both the main characters so much and I couldn’t wait until the two of them met up together. Raisa is fun, and brave, and sassy, and strong and Han is sarcastic and fearless and reckless and caring and I just love the both of them so much. There’s mystery and intrigue and magic and you can never really figure out who the bad guy is and the books are full of surprises until the very end. There’s action one moment and then steamy makeout scenes the next and I seriously canNOT get enough of these books.

2. The Daughter of the Lioness Duology 

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Books: Trickster’s Choice, Trickster’s Queen

Aly has lived in the shadow of her parents for her entire life. Her father is the King’s spymaster and her mother is King’s champion, and the first female knight in over a century. Her godparents are the king and queen, the wildmage and the realm’s most powerful mage, the captain of the King’s Guard and more. Her brother is studying to be a sorcerer and her twin has gone for his knighthood. What Aly wants more than anything is to be a spy,  but her parents do not approve. She is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles, to the Balitang family. There she discovers a rebellion brewing, the dark skinned raka wanting to take their country back from the light skinned luarin. Before she knows it, she’s wrapped up in it, doing everything she can to protect the Balitang girls, who could become the countries’ future rulers.

I’m rare in liking this series by Tammy the most but I must admit that I am quite biased. This is the first series that I actually read by Tammy. I picked it up when I was about 15 years old because it mentioned pirates and I was obsessed with pirates at the time. Obviously pirates were NOT essential to the story but I legitimately found one of my favorite books of all time. Aly is incredible and so different than Alanna, Daine and Kel. She doesn’t have magical powers like Daine, though she has the Sight. She isn’t a fighter like Alanna and Kel, though she can fight. Instead she’s absolutely clever. She knows the way of politics and the underground spy world. She knows the minds of people and how to trick them and how to get them to do the things she wants them to. Plus I loved the rebellion of it, of the people rising up. Its…easily my favorite book (tied with Goblet of Fire).

1. The Harry Potter Series 

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Books: You know

I’m not going to do a summary for this one because, duh. I’m pretty sure most people know what this is about and if you don’t…have you been living under a rock for all these years? Seriously?

I know this one is weird on this list because its kind of…is it full fantasy? Its kind of contemporary at the same time? I consider it high fantasy though. Also, is it YA? I’ve always sort of considered it YA but a lot of people say it’s children. SO that’s weird. But either way, its my favorite of all time. I do not have five HP tattoos, a personalized HP license plate and much more for nothing. This series is one of the most incredible series to ever be written and there is literally no other book that can make me feel the way these do. They have everything I could possibly need. They provide escape. They have taught me so many lessons of life. They make me laugh and cry. They make me question everything. They have brought me friends. They have an incredible world built and the story is beautiful and complex and exciting from the first page to the last.

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Cinda Williams Chima and Marlene Perez at Mysterious Galaxy!

You guys all KNOW that I’m obsessed with the author, information pills Cinda Williams Chima, drug and I basically spend some time each week trying to convince you all to read her books.

One, that will literally not stopping happening. Cinda Chima is an absolutely wonderful author, and I won’t stop until every single one of you have read at least one of her books, because I swear, that’s all it will take to be addicted.

Two, I was finally able to meet her yesterday, and hopefully discover a new author, Marlene Perez!

They both did a presentation/signing at Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach. If you live in the Southern California area, you definitely want to go either locations (Redondo and San Dieg0). They have some of the BEST signings, their stores are awesome, and the bring the best authors to their stores and to events like WonderCon and Comic Con. I wish they were closer to me, because I would shop there ALL the time.

But to the authors!

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When they walked in, Cinda immediately came up to me, and gave me a huge hug, and introduced me to Marlene Perez. I had to admit, I had mini fireworks in my stomach while this was going on because I was SO excited that she knew me from online!

Both of these authors were super fun to meet, and super enthusiastic. The turnout was…less than ideal (which is why I’m STILL pushing) but their enthusiasm was there, and it was super personal, being able to talk and meet with them.

They both really had a lot to say about writing and that was really fantastic for me, as an aspiring writer, especially since I’ve been thinking of taking that dip into science fiction or fantasy, and stepping away from always, always contemporary.

They also talked about balancing writing, and life, since they both have kids, and getting out of those abysses where your writing gets so bad that you think you’re the worst writer ever. They both were really adamant about setting goals, and setting aside time to write, and to make sure you write, because even if its awful, its something that you can fix. Marlene Perez quoted Nora Roberts’, “You can fix anything but a blank page.” That was awesome.

Cinda and Marlene talked a bit about the whole book to movies option thing, which was super enlightening, especially since it seems like everyone’s book nowadays has been optioned by somebody.

Lastly, they really are starting to convince me of using Scrivener. I got to get on board with this thing…

I got a HUGE kick out of the fact that Cinda is a Cassandra Clare fan, and both enjoyed the books and liked the movies. I felt like saying, SEE! Older, educated women liked the movie too! And I just love the Mortal Instruments so much, but you guys all knew that already!

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Myself with author, Marlene Perez. I picked up her first two books of her YA series, Dead is the New Black and Dead is a State of Mind. I can’t wait to dive in and read them, especially since I’ll be seeing Marlene again next week at the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest (more on that later!)

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Me and the wonderful, amazing, hilarious, inspiring, addicting author Cinda Williams Chima, who was gracious enough to sign all the books I brought, and talk to me and just be awesome. I feel SO lucky that I was able to meet her, and under awesome circumstances.

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They also signed by Writing Advice poster. I had this idea a few months ago to have authors signed this poster with writing advice. Once its all filled up, I’m going to frame it and hopefully hang it over where I write so I can feel a little better during the not-so-good writing days :)

YALL Fest Interview: Cinda Williams Chima

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In a little less than two months, approved an amazing event is taking place in Charleston, South Carolina called YALL Fest. A ton of wonderful young adult authors are descending upon Charleston for this one day, FREE event, and I am envious of any and all people who are attending the event. There are going to be some seriously amazing authors going to be there like:

Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Rae Carson, Cinda Chima, Rachel Cohn, Ally Condie, Melissa de la Cruz, Gayle Forman, Kami Garcia, Lev Grossman, Shannon Hale, Michelle Hodkin, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Lisa McMann, Alyson Noel, Lauren Oliver, Stephanie Perkins, Ransom Riggs, Veronica Rossi, Veronica Roth, and so many more.

This is sure to be an absolutely incredible event.

I am lucky enough to be part of the blog team to promote this as much as possible. Over the next few weeks, there will be a couple dozen of us posting interviews with some of these authors, and telling you more about this seriously awesome event.

Just a note: these interviews are all the same, and they will be on several websites. These are NOT exclusive interviews, and I did not copy this from other sites. We are all working together to promote this!

Now, I am excited about this first interview because the author is someone that I admire greatly, greatly, greatly…Cinda Williams Chima.

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She is a young adult fantasy writer, with two series under her belt. Her completed Seven Realms series is an epic fantasy, taking place in a beautifully built world and following the story of a headstrong princess Raisa and her efforts to keep her queendom together and the quick and clever Han, who discovers a secret about himself and has to conquer it. Her Heir Chronicles series contains, so far, three novels that are contemporary fantasy, following various characters like Jack and Ellen, Seph, Madison, and more on their adventures to discover their different powers and to take down the tyrannical leaders that rule over them all. Her fourth installment in the series, The Enchanter Heir, will hit bookstores on October 1st, 2013, and she’ll embark on a tour for this book (and she’s coming to California!). The Enchanter Heir can be read as the fourth book or it can be read as the first book.

You can find her at her website here.

Enjoy this short interview!

Q: What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Cinda: A computer

Q: Describe your book in 5 words

Cinda: Wizards misbehave, magic goes mutant.

Q: What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

Cinda: Usually the lines in between.

 Q: Best writing tip you ever received?

Cinda: Give yourself permission to write badly.

 Q: Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

Cinda: 1.       I am a twin.

2.       I am named after a character in a novel.

3.       I didn’t really start driving until I was 27.

4.       I am descended from Puritans and scoundrels.

5.       I used to be in a folk music band.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

Cinda: On a balcony overlooking the ocean.

Q: What are you working on now?

Cinda: I’m writing The Sorcerer Heir, the fifth book in a trilogy.

Q: At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

Cinda: When I’m finished with a full-length novel.

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I hope you enjoyed that short and sweet interview and come back for more coming soon!

Don’t forget to check out my interview with Cinda Williams Chima, from back in June, and also don’t forget to enter my current giveaway, where you can win a SIGNED Advanced Readers Copy of The Enchanter Heir!

Happy Reading!

Book of the Week-The Enchanter Heir ARC Review

I absolutely adore Cinda Williams Chima. In the year that I have been reading her books, thumb she has easily become one of my favorite authors. Her Seven Realms series literally blew me out of the water, and her Heir Chronicles proved that it had the contemporary fantasy genre in the palm of its hands. She is a brilliant writer, and she has great world building and fantasy stories and fantastic characters. She is an author that I have fell in love with, and I am addicted to the world that she created.

I am constantly trying to recommend her books to people. Because I run a book blog, because people know me as a person who loves to read, I am constantly asked for recommendations on books and in the past year, both the Seven Realms and the Heir Chronicles have been some of the first books to come out of my mouth. I’ve told Cinda herself a million times that I absolutely love her books, and the awesome, awesome lady send me an advanced copy of the book, signed personally to me.

What is even BETTER is that she sent me an extra signed copy for YOU guys :)

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Now before you run away because this is the fourth book of the Heir Chronicles, let me stress this! While this is the fourth book of the series, it is NOT necessary to read the first three to read this. So if you enjoy this review, please definitely check it out and keep an eye out for the giveaway coming VERY soon!

The Enchanter Heir ARC by Cinda Williams Chima 

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GoodReads / Amazon Barnes and Noble

This book will hit bookstores on October 1st, 2013. 

Genre:

young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?

Yes. This is the fourth installment of the Heir Chronicles.

HOWEVER, this book can be read without reading the previous three books. There are familiar faces from the first three, but this is an entirely new story.

You May Like if You Liked:

Books by OR Melling, Joseph Delaney, Tamora Pierce, Sarah J Maas, Michael Scott, etc.

Plot Summary:

Now, normally I do plot summaries on my own because I really love doing that. But I started doing it and realized I was not giving this book and story the credit it deserved and I really like the summary that is on GoodReads and therefore that is what I decided to put here!

Direct from GoodReads, and word-for-word from the back cover:

They called it the Thorn Hill Massacre—the brutal attack on a once-thriving Weir community. Though Jonah Kinlock lived through it, he did not emerge unscathed: like the other survivors, Jonah possesses unique magical gifts that set him apart from members of the mainline guilds. At seventeen, Jonah has become the deadliest assassin in Nightshade, a global network that hunts the undead. He is being groomed to succeed Gabriel Mandrake, the sorcerer, philanthropist, and ruthless music promoter who established the Thorn Hill Foundation, the public face of Nightshade. More and more, Jonah’s at odds with Gabriel’s tactics and choice of targets. Desperate to help his dying brother Kenzie, Jonah opens doors that Gabriel prefers to keep closed.

Emma Claire Greenwood grew up worlds away, raised by a grandfather who taught her music rather than magic. An unschooled wild child, she runs the streets until the night she finds her grandfather dying, gripping a note warning Emma that she might be in danger. The clue he leaves behind leads Emma into Jonah’s life—and a shared legacy of secrets and lingering questions.

Was Thorn Hill really a peaceful commune? Or was it, as the Wizard Guild claims, a hotbed of underguild terrorists? The Wizards’ suspicions grow when members of the mainline guilds start turning up dead. They blame Madison Moss and the Interguild Council, threatening the fragile peace brokered at Trinity.

Racing against time, Jonah and Emma work to uncover the truth about Thorn Hill, amid growing suspicion that whoever planned the Thorn Hill Massacre might strike again.

The Bad:

That it ended? Seriously, when it ended, I almost felt my heart break into two pieces because I realized that it would be such a long wait until I get to read the next one. I already got this book about a month early as it is, and I’m not sure when the sequel is going to come out, or even what the title is. Its been rumored that The Sorcerer Heir is the possible title but there is NOTHING confirmed, at least according to her website. I hope that we hear something soon because this book was GOOD, and I can’t wait to read more about Jonah and Emma.

The Good:

I love all the characters of the Heir Chronicles. I love Jack and Ellen and Seph and Linda and Madison and all of them, and I’ve enjoyed the three previous books. However, there is something about both Jonah and Emma that had me hooked almost immediately. These characters felt so real and so likable right away. I didn’t stop for a second to give them more thought than just “I need to know what happens to these two characters”. Emma and Jonah are two very different characters. Jonah wants to care so much but its hard for him to get close to people because of his dangerous power. He is also aware of what he is, and where he came from. Emma, on the other hand, is unaware of her own background at first, and when she does realize it, she has a much easier time letting people in, even though she has every right to have grudges against. They both have the same sort of mysteries on their hands, they both have such similar backgrounds and yet they tend to push each other away and not trust each other, even when everything is screaming at them to be together, to work together, to figure things out together.

The story is so beautiful, too. Its not what I expected at all. With everything that had happened in the previous three books, it was almost difficult to see how the story could continue and yet not at the same time. This book takes place in the same universe as the first three books but its a new story, new characters, new situation. This made me incredibly wary. I have a sort of caution when it comes to series that go longer than a trilogy. I feel like there are very few authors that can accomplish this, and accomplish this well. I was immensely disappointed in Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels, and so I’ve been very wary of continuing stories, when the series has technically been wrapped up.

However, I was proven very wrong, and my fears dissipated very quickly. I should have known that the woman who could write the absolutely brilliant four book Seven Realms series would have no problem writing a fourth story in this realm. This was a fresh, fun, adventurous and addicting story. From the very beginning, when we first meet young Jonah amidst the chaos of Thorn Hill, I was invested. I was attracted to the characters, and their different stories and I was curious to see how they would eventually collide. I liked that they started off so differently but that their worlds eventually connected, their stories started to intertwine. It takes a lot of talent to create a story in two different perspectives that seemingly are on two different paths and make them come together, and in a way that you don’t see until its suddenly in your face. I love that. I love that I’m hanging on the edge of my seat, wondering at the mysteries of both of their lives and wondering how they’re going to meet and what is going to happen between them. She is an addicting storyteller than is able to weave a picture of adventure, mystery, action, drama, humor and romance. She is able to accomplish all of that in one book.

I also think that Cinda is an incredible world builder. It is the one skill of writers that I admire more than anything else, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I am really incapable of that kind of writing. Cinda has a great example of world building in her full fantasy, the Seven Realms, but I think an even better example of this is in these novels, and even more so in this novel. You would think maybe its easier to create a new world inside of a world that we already recognize but I think its harder. You have to create this entirely new world, a full world with all of its past, present, future, its laws and rules, its people while trying to keep consistent with the actual world that we know. I think that’s incredibly difficult and yet she does it with finesse, without flaw. There isn’t a moment while reading when you think, “this doesn’t seem real to me”. It is believable from page one to the very last page.

Speaking of the last page, without spoiling anything for those of you who haven’t read it (which is a lot, considering it hasn’t been released yet), HOW DARE YOU CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA? How dare you? I’ve had my fair share of cliffhangers. I read a lot, more than an average person does in a year, and so I’m used to the concept of a cliffhanger. However, this was still a cliffhanger that smacked me in the face and left me wanting to throw the book across the room. Of course I didn’t because it is precious to me and its signed to me! But I was frustrated, in that wonderful way that you can be frustrated. Cinda has created these characters that I absolutely love and that I want to keep on reading about, and then she leaves off the story like that and it was almost painful to not be able to continue reading, to find out what happens next. These characters will be living in my mind for a very long time, as I wait incredibly impatiently for the next book. Emma and Jonah. I am forever in love with these characters and these books.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?

Yes! Please, please, please! Someone needs to read these books. Read the Seven Realms series (The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown), and read the Heir Chronicles (The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir), and read this book! Cinda Williams Chima is an underrated author who deserves all your praise and your support. She is one of the best authors that I’ve read in this genre, in this reading level of young adult literature and just books in general and I will push her books on you until the end of time!

If you are a fan of Cinda’s already, you won’t be disappointed in this book. Cinda takes what she’s already proven that she can do and she makes it that much better. This is a book worth waiting for and I can’t wait til it releases so I can talk about it with all of you!

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I hope you enjoyed this edition of this week’s Book of the Week, because it is a special one! Look out in the next couple days to try your chance at winning a SIGNED advanced copy of this book! It also comes with some swag too, which is always nice, so keep your eye out!

Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday Top Ten-Books I’d Like to See as a TV Show/Movie

One thing that I have noticed in the past few years, stuff especially in the last year, pill is that so many of the books that I enjoy to read have either been made into the movie or TV show, advice especially in the young adult genre. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, Hunger Games and Beautiful Creatures have already been made into movies. The Vampire Diaries is a very successful TV show. CIty of Bones, Divergent, Catching Fire, Ender’s Game and more are coming out in the coming months, and even more movies are being filmed and being written for the big screen.

Now, I was thinking, even though most movie and book adaptations aren’t perfect and they don’t turn out the way you wish they would, its still fun to see the characters and worlds you’ve come to love come to life on screen.

So I made a list of the top ten books I’d like to see as a TV show or movie. Some of these have been signed on, but we haven’t seen much more than that. So some are “Oh, I wish it would happen” and some are “please I hope this happens some day SOON!”

Here we go!

10. A Little Less than Famous

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Yeah, yeah I’m seriously talking about my own book right now and I know that this is super selfish and a little bit conceited but I do think it would make a really good…hmm, I think TV show rather movie but either way. I was going through the process of editing and adding and all that sort of things when I was like, this would make a great movie. I created this book as sort of a glimpse into a celebrity life and what a better way to adapt that then to show it on a big screen. McKinley Evans is just a regular girl, who starts dating superstar, Jake Kennedy, and gets wrapped up in that celebrity world. I started to self cast people for McKinley and Jake, like people fan cast. The biggest one that I really liked was Chase Crawford, of Gossip Girl fame, as Jake Kennedy…but with black hair. I just think a book that is wrapped up in the life of movies and TV shows would translate well into the actual real world of movies and TV shows.

9. Legend

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This movie is actually already been picked up for a movie, by CBS Films, but its a really slow process, or so I am learning now that I actually pay attention to things like this. Its been a long process to create a script, and now that the script is written, its time to find a director. But I hold out hope that it will eventually hit the big screen. Though I love both Hunger Games and Divergent, I really think that Legend is so much more both and can attract both a female and male audience. In the books, there is a back and forth point of view between June and Day, and both characters are so real. The thing that really brings you in is the fact that they are two completely different point of views but the same story. June and Day are literally living the same story but they come from two different worlds so they see it so different and to see those two stories coinciding on screen, to crash together towards the end would be absolutely amazing, and I hope very much that CBS Films will be able to make this happen.

8. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

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This is one of my favorite books of all time, and Morgan Matson has created such a beautiful, memorable story. I think a lot of the YA adaptations (besides The Fault in Our Stars) has really been in that sort of fantasy/paranormal/dystopian genre, and while I am way into that, I do think there are a lot of contemporary novels that would do well in a movie translation as well. Amy and Roger embark on a road trip across country, Amy to Connecticut and Roger to Philadelphia, both to confront fears that they’ve been avoiding for so long. Its a real and raw novel, a novel that takes on what it is like to be a young adult, faced with the kind of things that both Amy and Roger have faced, and puts it in a fun, and addicting adventure, such as crossing the country and experiencing new things and meeting new people. I think it would be an absolutely wonderful movie to make, and to watch.

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty

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As far as I’m aware, this movie WAS signed on, but it fell apart and it never actually happened, which isn’t surprising because not every book that gets optioned to be a movie actually makes it to the big screen and that’s okay. However, I do really think this would make a great movie. Its a fun, and dark and the sort of issues that the girls tackle are incredible. I think Libba makes a ton of good points in this movie that would translate amazingly into a movie. The girls in this book struggle with the idea of power and how powerless they are in the Victorian age where everything is decided for them before they can even open their mouth. In a time like now, when things should be better and different, and they aren’t, I think it would really connect with a lot of girls. I would have been very excited to see a series that focuses more on the four main characters and their struggles, especially with finding out who they are and less on love stories, and I’m sad that this never came to be.

6. Before I Fall

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This is another book that has definitely also been optioned for a movie, and back in March, when I met Lauren Oliver, she assured me that its still in the works and hopefully will be one that actually happens. Her Delirium series filmed a pilot for FOX and didn’t picked up for a fall season, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the Delirium series so I’m not surprised. Before I Fall, however, is a brilliant novel and I really think Lauren Oliver hits her mark here. I think it would make a great movie because you don’t often have a main character that you honestly hate from the beginning of the book, which is exactly the way I felt about Samantha. But after Samantha dies and she’s forced to relive the last day of her life seven times, you slowly sort of fall in love with her as a character and its such an addicting and fast moving, emotional story, and I think it would make an absolutely beautiful movie, if done right. I know that Lauren Oliver said its a work in progress and I so hope she means that.

5. The Lost Hero

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So far, we have seen The Lightning Thief on the big screen, and we’ll see The Sea of Monsters in about a week but I would really like to see The Heroes of Olympus come to life. I am excited for Monsters next week but the changes they made, especially when concerning the age difference between the actors and the characters in the novel. I think if you took Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario and the rest, and then cast Piper, Jason, Hazel, Leo, etc. for The Lost Hero, you would create a perfect movie. The characters in these books are hitting their late teens and its more fitting to the story, and the actors would make SO much more sense than they do in the ones they are making now when they are supposed to be, like, eleven years old. I super love Percy Jackson and the Olympians but I really have this addicted to The Heroes of Olympus and I really do think they would make the best movies of the entire saga that Rick Riordan has created.

Literally was watching a Sea of Monsters trailer while writing this. So awesome.

4. The Demon King

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Okay, so I am totally biased when it comes to this. I honestly think Cinda Williams Chima has created an absolutely wonderful fantasy saga and I think there should be more pure fantasy novels being adapted into tv shows and movies, at least in the YA genre. We have Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Game of Thrones but we really don’t see that much in the YA. I can understand it, mostly because creating fantasy on film is really hard and really expensive. But I think doing a fantasy, a pure epic fantasy movie with a girl as the main character, one who becomes the ruler and has to rule a country in chaos at such a young age. Its a beautiful story, and it has magic and hot guys, and political strife, and racial clashes. Cinda creates such real stories, that you can mirror them to things you see in every day and Raisa, the main character, is someone you can really relate to, even if you’re not a teen girl thrust into an authority position you are not ready for. I think if you put this in the hands of the right director, in people willing to really make a beautiful fantasy film, and not go cheap on it, you could see this as an awesome movie.

3. Wicked

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Make no mistake here, I think this book is absolutely wonderful but its way too dark and gritty to be a movie. Its…its very dark, and I always kind of laugh when people see the musical first and then read the book, unaware of how very, very different they are. I read the book first so I was surprised, though pleasantly so, when I saw the music. I like both of them a lot, but just in different ways, and as different entities. What I would really like to see is the musical, either recorded the way they recorded Cats all those years ago, or doing a movie version of it, like with Hairspray and Rent, etc. I think its an amazing musical, and even my anti-musical boyfriend enjoyed it when we saw it together nearly six years ago. Its so funny, and the music is just so…emotional and amazing, and even the happy songs of that musical make me cry. I would love to see this as movie, simply so I could buy a Blu-Ray copy of it and watch it ALLLLLLLLL the time.

2. Clockwork Angel

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This is also currently being worked as a movie as well, probably with the success that City of Bones has already enjoyed and the movie doesn’t even come out for about a month. I just see all the awesomeness of City of Bones (again, I know, only through trailers so I don’t really know yet) and I think, oh my god, let’s do all of that, but in the Victorian age! Which would be beautiful, and then I start fan casting (Sarah Bolger for Tessa Gray!) and I just think it would be amazing. I would love to see book loving, shape shifting Tessa Gray battling automatons and the evil Mortmain alongside the mysterious and cruel but so hot Will Herondale and the beautiful, fragile Jem Carstairs. I would love to see Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane but in Victorian times. I really would love to see that. Its just more Shadowhunter kickass-ness but in a time where the girls were wearing corsets so its only THAT much better. Please make this happen. I’m just saying.

1. Trickster’s Choice

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This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time, tied up with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which was a horrible movie adaptation, but meh, to each their own). To go along with the things I said about The Demon King, I think we need more fantasy in the YA books-to-movies. So many of the books that are being adapted are dystopian and while I seriously love dystopian, I’m ready for some super awesome fantasy adaptations. I am so excited for The Hobbit, but that book isn’t as accessible to teens as this book is, and Aly is a brilliant character. I also think that Tammy uses a lot of real world parallels in this novel, the idea of the dark skinned raka, living under the tyranny of the white skinned luarin, war, rebellion, growing up, losing your virginity, slavery, self-identity and so much more. Plus the dynamic character of Aly. I really think we could use some more strong female characters, but equally awesome and strong male characters and this novel has both, and it’d make a great, great movie.

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Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten, and don’t forget to check out last week’s, where I counted down my Top Ten Favorite Romantic Scenes!

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What are some of the books that you’ve read that you’d like to see become movies or TV shows? Share in the comments!