Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Fandom Labels

Hey guys, treat how is it going everyone? I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far.

I want to warn you! Its five days into NaNoWriMo, order and both myself and Christina Marie are participating, this web in our different ways. Well, because of this, there may be less posts. We are going to do our best this month to keep up as best as possible, and that you’re incredibly patient with us.

This week’s Tuesday Top Ten is the top Ten Fandom Identifiers that I love. You know, when you meet Harry Potter fan and they immediately ask what house you are in? Or a Percy Jackson fan will ask you what god you’re a child of? You know what I’m talking about!

So here are ten groups that I am proudly a part of and why! Share with me what yours are!

10. Mage from the Tortall Series

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Here’s the thing about the Tortall series: its like a YA version of Game of Thrones, except that Tortall came out first. But who is keeping track? Anyway, the point is that there are knights and soldiers and noble ladies and merchants and all of that fun stuff. And all I can think of is, do you really want to put ME of all people near a sword? I tripped and twisted my foot when walking down Main Street in Disneyland. I’d probably chop my own head off, no lie. But the one thing that always stood out to me was the mages. I loved that they were born with this magic and it was deep within them and they had to learn to wield it and control. I also love that your Gift would be a certain color. I’d like to think mine would be pink. Because that would be SERIOUSLY awesome. But yeah, I would be a mage if I lived in Tortall. I would make it so that I was born that way. Somehow.

9. Elf from Lord of the Rings

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I’m not going to lie, a huge reason why I want to be an elf is not even about the immortality or the beauty or even the sexy sexy Orlando Bloom as Legolas. Those are all great reasons as well but my main reason is…do you see where they live? Its like a beautiful Impressionist painting. I remember seeing it the first time in The Fellowship of the Ring and dying of happiness at how incredibly beautiful it is. If I lived forever, Rivendell is definitely on the list of places to spend that forever. Plus, like I said before, they are incredibly beautiful and full of a ton of wisdom, which, you know, totally describes me. And hair…its like a damn shampoo commercial up in there!

8. Pokemon Trainer from Pokemon

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Okay, is there anything else to be in that world? Seriously? Like, the people who work in the Poke Mart or who are working in the casino or Safari Zone and that…why would you do that! Why would you not be a Pokemon master? Or trainer? Or something? I just want to own all the Pokemon and have a Pokemon party, and dress them up in a little costumes and name them all after book characters…and…okay I’m slightly obsessed with Pokemon. Its fun. I first got into it when I was a kid and I’ve continued to love it. I think it was just kind of a fun concept as a kid, going out into the world, on an adventure, and catching these amazing creatures.

7. Amity from Divergent

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It was really hard for me to pick a faction in Divergent because I want to be Divergent! I think, legitimately, everyone is divergent and embodies multiple characteristics. But in the spirit of the book, I eventually thought Amity fit kind of well, and I took a test and I was mostly Amity with a splash of Erudite. The Erudite value wisdom and knowledge, which seems to go hand in hand with some of the other ones you’ll see on this list. But Amity really fits me too. Amity is the peaceful and the friendly. They created the peace serum. They grow food and love to eat awesome foods, and they were bright colors and they just kind of sound like hippies. I am a very peaceful person, really, I hate drama and fights and confrontation, and I love food. Plus do you see their symbol? Its absolutely beautiful!

6. District 4 from The Hunger Games

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I realize that no matter what district you live in, it pretty much sucks because everyone is hungry and poor and could possibly compete-and die-in the Hunger Games. But even so, I choose District 4. I wanted to pick whatever district that was California since this is future-USA but when I saw a map of Panem, it was under water…you know, like most dystopian novels. So the next best thing was district 4 because its the fishing district, which equals ocean! Gotta have my ocean. And I only eat fish when it comes to meat so that works out too! Plus is Finnick Odair is my favorite character of the entire series so I’ll hang out with him in that district.

5. Huntress of Artemis from Percy Jackson

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Yeah, I wouldn’t be a child of god or goddess. Mostly because since I was a kid, I was obsessed with Artemis. I got really involved with feminism and women’s rights when I was young and Artemis was like a badass Greek feminist, and she had her cool pack of hounds, and her silver bow, and denounced men. Its all just awesome. I do realize that if I actually became a Huntress, I would have to give up my boyfriend and that really sucks, and that part is kind of lame. Boys are awesome, at times. At least to look at, if nothing else. But I like the idea of having a bow, and working with Artemis. She has the best stories and she’s the goddess of hunting (which makes no sense as a vegetarian but whatever) and the moon, and I love her. I would follow her for sure.

4. Companion of the Doctor from Doctor Who

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Come on! I could be MYSELF! I could literally be myself! I want the Doctor to show up on my doorstep, and open the door and say “Allons-y” or “Fantastic!” or “Geronimo!” and I would shout back “YES!” and run right down into the TARDIS, in pajamas, most likely. I would be so excited. I wouldn’t even know where to go first, but I would let the Doctor get us lost through time and space, and do amazing things. The best part of Doctor Who is the beauty of the impossible and the encouragement of imagination and creativity, and it would be amazing to be a part of that. Being with the Doctor is like having your wildest dreams come true, and so much more. Plus I could spend lots of time exploring the TARDIS, which would be super fun, and maybe visit the ginormous library, or take a dip in the swimming pool. Sigh.

3. Shadowhunter from The Mortal Instruments

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I would KILL to be a Shadowhunter. Its such a cool thing to be. I mean, sure, werewolves, and vampires and warlocks and faeries are all really cool. There are a lot of really cool things in The Mortal Instruments but being a Shadowhunter is top dog. They are badass, they get to wear black all the time and no one says they’re stupid or a mall goth or anything. They have the Runes, which are beautiful and make them fast or agile or help with their precision, and things like that. They get use all kinds of cool weapons like daggers and knives and long seraph blades and bows and whips, and they keep the world safe from demons. They live in beautiful churches, and travel around the world, and the homeland, Idris, is beautiful and perfect. Plus they have cool names like Herondale and Lightwood, Fairchild, Morgenstern, Penhallow, and such. Its so beautiful. I also think I could be myself if I was a Shadowhunter. Sara Shadowhunter.

2. Jedi Knight from Star Wars

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What I really want to be is Princess Leia but that’s not really a category in Star Wars to be so….a Jedi Knight is really awesome. Plus, Leia eventually gets Jedi training, and can use a lightsaber and such so THAT is awesome. I’ve been watching Star Wars since I was a child, and I always thought Jedis were so great. They were warriors but peaceful warriors. Warriors that are in control, and wield these awesome weapons, made of LIGHT, like lightsabers. They have the power of the Force. They get to navigate the coolest vehicles, like X-Wing fighters and such. And their costumes are pretty awesome too. I would also like to think that I’d be part of the Rebel Alliance, a hidden Jedi come to save the Galaxy from the evil Galactic empire.

1. Ravenclaw from Harry Potter

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My ultimate identifier. I have a Doctor Who tattoo and a Star Wars tattoo but I have a Ravenclaw tattoo. This is one that I embrace all the time. I represent it all the time. I try to put blue and silver into my every day outfits. I tend to pick out blue when it comes to choosing colors. When I get married, my colors are going to be blue and silver. I feel like I represent Ravenclaw in so many ways. Smart, always reading, wanting to learn, keeping to themselves, because they’re wrapped in learning and books. Its so me. They live in the highest tower, facing the mountains and little professor Flitwick is the head of House. I have so many amazing friends, from different walks of life and with different talents and careers, that are all Ravenclaw. We are unique and awesome. Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Tuesday Top Ten!

Share with me your own houses and such!

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday Top Ten-Top Authors that Deserve More Recognition

One thing that I’ve really appreciated about being a book blogger is coming to expand my bookshelf immensely. In the last year, ask I have discovered so many new authors, I can’t even begin to think of all the authors I’ve discovered. I’ve immersed myself so deeply into the world of books that those authors that you may not notice right off the bat are coming out of the woodwork for me, and I’m discovering authors that are truly truly wonderful.

And I feel like, as a book blogger, it is one of my jobs to tell you all about these! One of the questions that I probably get more than anything is, “what do you recommend?”

Now you guys know some of my favorite books are Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices and Percy Jackson and Divergent and Hunger Games…but these authors, they don’t need more help really in finding readers. Most of those have movies and they’re bestsellers and they just don’t really need me talking about them all the time.

So I spend most of my time recommending the authors that I believe are absolutely brilliant and just don’t get enough attention or readers, and so that was the inspiration for this week’s Top Ten.

Each and every single one of these authors are absolutely brilliant, and I find most people that I meet do NOT know who they are, and I find that to be very disappointing. I’m hoping this week’s Top Ten encourages you try some of these authors out and to explore new authors when you go to the book store.

So here we go.

11. Neal Shusterman

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Yes I realize this is a top eleven and not a top 12. You can just deal with it haha.

I first discovered Neal Shusterman a couple months ago, and I recognize that he isn’t an unknown author. However, now that I’ve discovered his Unwind series, I want to share it with everyone and it doesn’t seem to be a ton of people out there who know him and this series. So that is why he makes it on to this list. I absolutely love this series and I think it is due to the fact that it makes me think. The Unwind trilogy takes an issue that is very highly debated right now (pro-life vs pro-choice) and he makes it so real, and he makes us really take the time to look at it. In the book, a second civil war has occurred between the pro-life and the pro-choice, and a compromise is reached: abortion in the womb is illegal, but a parent can have the option to have their child between the ages of 12 and 18 “unwound”, and all of their parts harvested to be donated to other bodies. In this compromise, it is said that there is no death, because the child continues to live, in a “divided state”. It is heartbreaking and raw and beautiful and its an addicting book series that makes me laugh and cry and it makes me think more than a lot of other books have. I think there would be a ton of people that would avoid this book because its not like other YA books, but that is EXACTLY the reason that you should read it. Do it.

You can read my review of Unwind here.

10. Jennifer Bosworth

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I had no idea who Jennifer Bosworth was until I attended the Ontario Teen Book Fest back in May (which you can read about here). She was part of the panel with authors like Jessica Brody, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu and Leigh Bardugo, which ended up being one of the best panels I’ve ever been to. This is where I really discovered Jennifer. One, she is SO pretty, and two, she really caught my interest with her book, and sort of the back story behind it. Struck is about a girl named Mia who lives in Los Angeles after it was hit with a huge earthquake disaster, and she has this addiction to lightning. The only problem is, in the wake of this disaster, there have been several religious cults, one in particular, that have sprung up and would do anything to have  Mia on their side. Again, like with Neal, it really causes you to think and to question some of the things you know. I think that Jennifer tends not to get a lot of notice because her books are not your “typical” YA novels. She really makes you think, and her book has an anti-religion message in there and I think most people would avoid that, instead of reading it, and taking it as a book that challenges the way you think. She’s not trying to CHANGE the way you think, but she does want you to question, question, question and I think that’s beautiful. She writes a beautiful book, with a great story but she really makes me think, and I can’t wait for her novel, The Killing Jar, to come out.

You can read my review of her book, Struck, here.

9. Jessica Brody

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Jessica Brody is one of the FUNNEST authors that I’ve had a chance to meet this year, and discover, and I seriously get all fangirlish every time she recognizes me. (She saw me in the Cassandra Clare CBS interview and tweeted me. I nearly died). I saw her book, Unremembered at Barnes and Noble, read the inside cover, and decided to buy it. Then at WonderCon, I wanted to go to the panel “Writing for Teens and Tweens” because, well, that’s what I want to do, and she was there. She made me laugh, and she really impressed me with the things she said. I stopped by her signing booth and talked to her for a bit, and when I told her I was trying to be a writer, she said, “Don’t try to be a writer, just be one.” That really stuck with me, and I raced home to finish this book. I’ve since then met her several more times, and have read more books by her, and I seriously love her. She has a great sense of humor, and her book Unremembered (which is the first in a planned trilogy) is a real action packed book that was so different than anything else I had read in YA so far. Seriously, think The Bourne Identity but with a teenage girl instead of Matt Damon. I really love this book, not only because of the characters and story, but because of the uniqueness of it. I LOVE Jessica, and its hardly ever that I find someone who has read her books, which is why I’m telling you, please please read Unremembered. SO good.

You can read my review of Unremembered here.

8. Marie Lu

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Marie Lu is NOT an unknown author. Her book series has already exploded onto the scene, and the first book of her Legend trilogy, Legend, was optioned as a movie before it was even published. It is a brilliant series. The reason that I have her on here as an author that deserves more recognition is because I think she gets shuffled under the rug because of series like The Hunger Games and Divergent. I am a HUGE fan of both of those series, definitely, but I can say, with confidence, that Legend is, in my personal opinion, better than both of those. The thing about Marie Lu’s dystopian trilogy is that its so believable and its almost scary in that its so believable. I also think its better because its dual point of view, and the two different points of view are SO different. You have someone completely enveloped in this society, and believes it to the very core, and then you have someone who has been fighting against it, to keep himself and his family alive, for so long, and the clash of those two people together really is awesome. In Hunger Games and Divergent, you always know who the “bad guy” is, but in Legend, you’re always questioning because you get these two points of views. I also admire Marie a lot because she’s one of the only series I’ve read, dysptopian wise, who talks of other countries outside of the United States. She recognizes the rest of the world, which causes an even more solid story, in my opinion. Its an amazing series, and I can’t wait for the third and last book in November.

You can read my review of Legend here.

7. Rae Carson

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In a little more than a week, I’ll be heading to Las Vegas to meet this author…which is roughly about a four hour drive away from my suburb town in Orange County, California. That is how much I love this author. This will be the farthest I’ve driven to meet an author and I honestly don’t think that I’ll regret it in the slightest. When I first read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I couldn’t get into it; I was really confused at first. But I think it was about 50 or so pages in when it just hit me and it grabbed me and I raced through it, and then immediately bought A Crown of Embers on my Kindle, because I couldn’t wait until the book store opened the next day. I felt VERY lucky to be able to receive an ARC of the last book of the series, The Bitter Kingdom. Its an amazing series. I think that maybe people avoid this series because of the epic fantasy that it is. I think fantasy tends to be really popular…when its recognizable, which is why all the urban, contemporary fantasies seem to do better than epic fantasies. But I’m an epic fantasy lover more than anything and I think Rae Carson is a fantastic story teller and a great world builder. And my absolute favorite part of her novels? Her main character, Elisa? She’s fat. Over the course of the books, she becomes less fat but she’s not a perfect, beautiful, skinny character and I absolutely love that.

You can read my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns here.

6. Jen Calonita

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I absolutely adore Jen Calonita, because she writes very realistically without having to be ridiculously tragic. Not that I don’t like books with tragedies but sometimes I think people forget the trivial problems we had as teenagers that felt like the absolute end of the world. I like Jen Calonita because she’s fun, and because her books are extremely sweet and because they remind me that we don’t always have to be setting the weight of the world on our shoulders and its okay to worry about how we look that day, or whether we’re going to pass our math test. I love that there are books out there that make me think, and that make me more aware of the economy or history, or world affairs but sometimes I just need a break from the world, and Jen’s books are great for that. Her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series is about Kaitlin Burke, a young Hollywood star on a hit TV show, who wishes nothing more than to find a balance between the job she loves doing and her desire to be a normal girl. Her Belles series follows Izzy, a girl who grows up in a small community until her grandmother gets too sick to take care of her anymore, and she goes to live with family she never knew existed in the ridiculously rich town of Emerald Cove. She also has two standalone novels, Reality Check and Sleepaway Girls. I love these books because they are the kind of YA that you don’t have to question, because there’s sort of younger YA and older YA. I think you can enjoy this at any age. They’re funny and cute and I think they’re really enjoyable books to read. I wish more people would notice her, and I think because she tends to have happy endings, without any tragedies, she doesn’t get a lot of notice, and that makes me incredibly sad. Her books are great, and you should definitely check them out. Also, her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series was incredible help for my book, A Little Less than Famous!

I unfortunately have not reviewed any of her books for this site yet!

5. Andrew Smith

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I had no idea who Andrew Smith was until the Ontario Teen Book Fest, and even then, I still had no idea who he was or any of that. Carrie Arcos (author of Out of Reach) actually pointed him out to me, and said that his book, Winger, was coming out that Tuesday and that it was already going to be featured in the New York Times. That caught my interest quickly. After talking to him throughout the day, and learning what a really cool guy he was, I added it to my “To-Read” list, and hoped to read it soon. I’ve only read Winger, I haven’t had a chance to read his other books YET, but I already think that he is an absolutely amazing author. I read Winger in the span of a few hours and was immediately sold on the book and on Andrew Smith. There was so many layers to this novel. Part school story, part coming of age, part humor, part tragedy, even part comic book, it tells the story of Ryan Dean and his adventures at boarding school. There is just so much about the book that is great. Like I said, its funny and sad, and its full of adventure and romance and its just a great book, and it keeps popping up everywhere, earning recognition and recommendations, but I don’t know of many people who have actually READ it, in my circle of readers and bloggers. Lately, when people ask for a recommendation, this is one of the ones I say right off the bat. I will push this on anyone and everyone and I think its an essential read. I am happy every time I do see someone reading it. Let’s just say this: CNN made a list of must-read books for the summer, and Winger was the only YA book to make it on the list. That shows you how good it is.

You can read my review of Winger here.

4. Tammara Webber

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I discovered Tammara Webber when I first purchased a Kindle a few years ago. I was looking for something new to read, and Amazon suggested the book, Between the Lines, which was fairly inexpensive, maybe only 5 dollars. I decided to give it a try, and I was hooked so fast. I was blazing through the next two books in the series, eating it up. Then I decided I needed them in actual hard copy. That’s when I really discovered the awesomeness that is Tammara Webber. Because most people tend to consider her books “new adult”, which is kind of a wacky age group/classification that is still not quite found its place, she was having a really hard time selling her novel. So she has worked her butt off, self-publishing her novels in ebook format, and her Between the Lines series has garnered her a bunch of attention. Then Tammara wrote her standalone novel, Easy, which highlights the dangers of rape, especially acquaintance rape, and that too has garnered a lot of attention and a lot of high praise for it. Her series and her standalone novel are both fantastic, and I admire her immensely because of her drive, her determination and her ability to make herself successful because of those.

You can read an interview between me and Tammara here.

3. Morgan Matson

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Morgan Matson is one of the more brilliant authors in contemporary young adult fiction and the fact that I have gotten to meet her three times this year has made me incredibly happy. She has written two novels: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. And while I’ve noticed a TON of Morgan Matson love on the interwebs and on most blogs about books (because we knows whats up!), I don’t see a lot of book readers outside of blogs that really know who she is. That makes me incredibly sad. Her two novels that have been published so far easily would make my top list of books, especially Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. As a debut novel, it just shines. Its a beautiful work of contemporary YA lit; it recalls Sarah Dessen, for sure, but Morgan Matson has a voice on her own and it seeps into her characters, Amy and Taylor. Plus her novels are SO summer, and I just love summer. Okay, maybe not the ridiculous temperatures that we can get here in Southern California but I adore everything else about summer, especially that I get to curl up and read, read, read, and I always make sure to read Amy and Roger’s, because its so worth a summer read and more. I’ve been able to meet her a bunch this year, and I *think* she recognizes me now and I seriously get SUCH a kick out of that. She is such a sweetheart and she helps me to believe that I can be a writer too. Seriously, read her books.

You can read a review of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour here.

2. Tamora Pierce

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Tamora Pierce has been writing books since the 1980s, the EARLY 1980s, and she hardly needs help getting recognition. So why do I have her on here? Because its all fine and dandy that she has a strong fan base and that she’s been recognized in several different countries, and a TON of different associations and had honors bestowed upon and she CONTINUES to write magnificent books, BUT, I think its time to introduce her to the new generation: you guys. I have found that most of my followers tend to be younger than me, and have absolutely no idea who she is and that saddens me! In this world where young adult literature is at the highest I’ve ever seen it, and where fantasy is HUGE, and young, strong, smart, amazing female characters are incredibly popular, why isn’t she? Because her books are older, shorter, what? I can’t understand it so I continue to talk about her all the time, to rebuild her and her absolutely wonderful books. Her first series? About a girl who hides her gender in order to become a knight, as good as the boys. Her second series? A girl who discovers she has the rare power of wild (animal) magic and she can use it for so much, and to help the kingdom. Her third series? About a girl who tries for her knighthood after its legalized that a girl CAN do so, but is it any easier? Her fourth series? About a girl kidnapped to a foreign country who finds her niche, and helps a group of oppressed people take back their country. I mean, I could go on and on. She’s a brilliant writer, a brilliant storyteller and her world building is flawless. Please, read her; you won’t be disappointed in the SLIGHTEST.

You can read my review for her very first book, Alanna: The First Adventure here. You can also check out my Fandom Friday about Tamora Pierce, as well, here.

1. Cinda Williams Chima

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This is one of my more recent discoveries and it is a discovery that I made so gladly. I somehow randomly came across Cinda’s book, The Demon King, last fall and immediately went sprinting through the rest of the series. Its absolutely brilliant, an epic fantasy that has great characters, from the main characters of Han and Raisa, to the smaller characters as well, and a great world that you find yourself immersed in. Raisa is a princess struggling to become a better ruler, for the day that she takes over as queen, and Han is a former criminal, who discovers a secret about himself, and its a secret that is going to change his life forever. The two of them are so far apart, and yet their lives start to intersect and they both become so instrumental to the well-being of the queendom. Her Heir Chronicles series is a contemporary urban fantasy, following different people but the first book follows Jack, who discovers he has special powers after he stops taking his medicine one day, and he finds out he is a warrior in a society full of enchanters and sorcerers, wizards and more. Wizards are in control and they need a warrior for their tournament, a tournament that includes a fight to the death. She creates beautiful fantasy worlds, with great characters, a ton of action with a nice balance of the romantic and steamy and her books are written SO well. I’m meeting her in a couple weeks and I have to make sure that I don’t faint in excitement!

You can check out a review of The Demon King here, my exclusive interview with Cinda here, and also a full post on my urging you to read her books here.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tuesday Top Ten!

Don’t forget that you can always check out previous lists here.

And definitely don’t forget to check out these ELEVEN amazing authors! You won’t regret reading any of them.

Who are some authors that you love to read that you wish more people would read? Is there a particular book that you’re always recommending to people? As always, share in the comments!

My Reading Journey

So i was doing my daily journey through the blogs that I follow and I came to one of my favorites, no rx The Perpetual Page Turner, there run by the lovely and awesome, Jamie. Her most recent blog entry talks about her Reading History (which you can read here) and the different books that shaped her life.

I loved it. It was so cute, and it was nostalgic and it really brought to my mind my own reading history.

See, the one thing I’ve noticed in my journeys as a reader, as a writer, and as a blogger is that so many people that I’ve met have that “moment” or that “one book/book series” that just does IT for them. It brings them into the world of reading. You have no idea how many times I’ve heard, “Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/Mortal Instruments/Divergent/Hunger Games/John Green/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants/etc got me into reading”. Which I think is absolutely wonderful and is a testament to how wonderful YA literature can be.

And I get that question a lot. “What book got you into reading?” because people know how insane I am with books and reading. And I always feel really perplexed when I get that question. Like…”Um, Green Eggs and Ham? Go Dog Go? The Polar Express? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?”

Because, the thing is, reading has exploded over the past decade, and I do think that it is in LARGE part to do with the young adult literature boom. So many people are picking up these books, loving them and becoming readers, and picking up more  YA books.

But for me? I’ve ALWAYS been a reader. I can’t pinpoint a moment in which I discovered reading because its long before my memory can remember. I’ve been reading since I was a small child, three, maybe four years old. Reading has always, always, always been a part of my life. I can’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t reading. But I am seriously curious about the different books that I’ve read through out my life and so this is where I talk about my reading journey.

Thanks Jamie for an awesome post, and I hope you don’t mind that I’m borrowing it!

Childhood (3-10 years old)

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In my childhood days, I spent most of my time reading probably what most kids read: LOTS of Doctor Seuss, lots of Berenstein Bears, lots of Shel Silverstein. However, those books got really easy and really “boring” super fast. So I was already moving on to chapter books, formula books, by the time I was about five or six and I stuck with those for quite a many years. I’m talking Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals, Boxcar Children and the various Sweet Valley series (Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Jr HighSweet Valley College). I ate these books up SO fast, and they probably were way below my potential but I could read a couple Baby-Sitters Club books a day and I loved that. I also read a lot of Judy Blume books in those days too.

I also realize now that reading all those Sweet Valley Books as a nine-year-old was probably unbelievably inappropriate. The high school and university series TOTALLY has sex in it and I was so cavalier about it, when I was a child. Interesting.

But those were the books I loved as a kid. They weren’t challenging and they were easy reads and I could bust through those books so fast, making me seem like a better reader than I probably was because I wasn’t challenging myself!

Preteen/Middle School (10-14 years old)

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I was 10 years old when I discovered Harry Potter, and this seriously changed my life in so many ways, I couldn’t even begin to write about it. That is a whole ‘nother blog post. But it changed the way I read books. Books didn’t have to be short, and they could be so different and interesting and challenging and wonderful. Harry Potter was the first book that I read that wasn’t a formula book, really, and I just loved it. I ate that up so fast and it was the first step I took into a whole different world.

Also when I was in middle school, I discovered both Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot, both of whom are still some of my absolute favorite authors. This is where I discovered YA literature, and this is why I’m still obsessed with YA and I”m writing this blog. A friend of mine gave me Dessen’s Someone Like You and I loved it so much and went out and bought That Summer, Keeping the Moon and Dreamland and I’ve bought every book since then on the day its come out. For Meg Cabot, I went and saw the movie The Princess Diaries and realized it was a book. Then I read the book and realized how much better it was than the movie and I’ve consumed every single Meg Cabot book to come out since then.

This was the beginning of my foray into young adult literature. I had dipped a toe in, in the contemporary world of YA lit. I think this is also when I sort of discovered that I liked to write too, at about 10 years old. I think that’s when I realized that I liked the way these YA authors wrote, so relatable and so real, like you were stepping into the messy minds of teenagers.

High School (15-18 years old)

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This is what I am going to call my exploring years. I read a LOT during high school, and a lot of that was classics because of school. And I’ll tell you: Shakespeare? Steinbeck? I get they were great guys and all and changed literature and all that…but ugh, ugh, ugh. I can’t read either one without wanting to drown myself.

But I did discover a lot of classics I did like. I loved The Great Gatsby. Gone with the Wind. Poisonwood Bible (okay, which isn’t a classic, but is a great book). Brave New World. Huckleberry Finn. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD! (Hey, I named my dog Scout for a reason).

This was also the time that I was really getting into fantasy, especially young adult fantasy. It hadn’t QUITE broken out yet but it was definitely getting there. I had consumed the Lord of the Rings books with fervor, because I just loved the movies so much. (I had read The Hobbit as a kid). I was still reading Harry Potter like crazy, and I had discovered two of my still favorite authors, Tamora Pierce and Libba Bray. Tamora Pierce introduced me to a world of pure fantasy and it still is one of my absolute favorite fictional worlds to be in. Libba Bray gave me the sort of urban fantasy that I didn’t really know existed. I didn’t know that you could read fantasy books in a world you recognized, even if it was a Victorian England you never actually lived there. This is where I think my obsession with the supernatural, the fantasy, and all that started. I was full on 100% obsessed with Harry Potter and my reading habits were growing and growing by the minute.

I will also say that it was during this time that I discovered Twilight. Now as much as I don’t think its a well written book and all that, it was also very instrumental into the books that I enjoy now.

Young Adult (19-now)

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And this is where the trouble started :) This is where all the build up, all the YA I’d been obsessed with like Sarah Dessen, and Meg Cabot, Tamora Pierce, Libba Bray, Harry Potter just escalated.

Now, as you guys now, I read YA by the stacks and stacks of books. I consume YA so fast and so easily. I have discovered The Mortal Instruments (and in turn, the Infernal Devices), Percy Jackson and The Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, Seven Realms series, The Hunger Games, Divergent, John Green, The Lux Series, the Legend trilogy, the Grisha trilogy, and so so so so so many more that I couldn’t even begin to tell you them all.

But I’ve also continued my love of contemporary YA as well, as that is what started the journey. I still love Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot to no end. I read John Green now and David Levithan, Morgan Matson (!!!), Jessica Brody, and so many more. And this love of young adult books and what motivates me to do this blog and its what I read most of. I still read adult books but for the most part, its YA all day.

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So that’s my journey through books. Its been a long journey but an enjoyable one and I know its going to continue because my love for books only strengthens every day. I discover new authors and new books every day. I’m so grateful to my parents for pushing me so hard to read as a young child because I’ve been reading for longer than I can remember and books are magic to me, they are therapy, they are entertainment, they are escape.

So what was your reading journey? Did it start early like mine, or was there certain books or series that helped you to become a reader? As always, let me know in the comments!

And if you write a post as well, let me know and I’ll link it in this one :)

Tuesday Top Ten-Fictional Places to Live

Hello everyone! How’s it going? I hope you are all fantastic and happy and all that.

I’m pretty happy. Things have been…just really good lately. I’ve been really working my butt off to do things that I want to do. I am almost done with this semester of school and I feel that I did well in both of my classes. I am working on this blog harder than ever, store working on getting it out there, ed getting my hands on ARCs and getting interviews with authors, doctor and making it as awesome as possible for you guys that read it. I’m also working hard on my third novel, the novel that I really want to be good and successful, because I want to look for an agent this summer and maybe get my book sold :)

Its also going to be my blog’s one year birthday on Thursday, which is SO exciting and I can’t wait to share the super AWESOME giveaway that will be coming your way in celebration of it all.

I also have a really cool interview with Unremembered author, Jessica Brody, coming VERY soon :)

So things are doing good.

But now on to the purpose of this blog post: The Tuesday Top Ten!

One thing that is really great about books is the worlds that they create. Authors have a way of creating worlds that are so real and so believable and you can’t help but just want to be a part of them. You wish these worlds were real because in your mind, they are real. You can pick up a book and escape into these fantastic worlds and these fantastic places and its just awesome.

So here are some of the fictional places that I wish were real!

10. Westeros-Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

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Okay, I realize that so far, Westeros isn’t exactly the most fun place to live. You have all these people dying and political strife and this crazy weather thing where you have years of summer and years of winter. But I love the world the George R.R. Martin creates in his Song of Ice and Fire series. Because we get such a realistic world but with such fantastical things as well. We have political strife, and castles, and holdings and a kingdom and knights and all those sort of things but we also hive these gigantic wolves and the white walkers and dragons and its just a world that is so dark and sexy and desirable, despite all the bad shit that is going down in these books. Its that knights and castles and kings and queens world that you loved when you were a kid but better because it recognizes the adult world, and that there was famine and diseases and whore houses. I don’t know, I like it a lot because of both the fantasy and realistic nature of it. I’d be super down to live there…except the whole winter thing. I’m not a big fan of winter.

9. The Shire-The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings

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If anyone makes a comment on my height, I’ll punch them in the face. Especially since I wouldn’t doubt that most hobbits are actually taller than me. How tall are hobbits anyway? I’d probably fit in so well there. I think I want to live in the Shire of all places in Middle Earth because it has such a homey feel to it. I love Rivendell, and how absolutely gorgeous it is but its very…intimidating, I think is the word I’m looking for. Its too much for me to handle. But there’s something comfortable and homey and familiar about the Shire. And the houses are so cute. I would love to live in a little hobbit hole. In the Shire, its all about food and happiness and reading and relaxing and who wouldn’t be into that, especially since I do love reading and I do love food :) It just seems like a very pretty and pleasant place to live. And who knows, maybe I could become best friends with Bilbo or Frodo and go on epic adventures…though I think I’d rather go on adventures with Bilbo and not Frodo. Bilbo had the less scary adventure. And I really want to have a pet rabbit named Bilbo Bunny…okay, I’m getting off topic…

8. Narnia-The Chronicles of Narnia

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I really like Narnia because even when things are going down, its still a pretty and gorgeous world with talking mice and centaurs and beavers and badgers and all that. I’ve already kind of made it clear that I’m not the biggest fan of the books; I understand it was the times but C.S. Lewis had some serious issues with girl characters, especially Susan. And its a little too religious for my tastes. But I do really enjoy the movies and I think they picked some gorgeous locations to shoot the movie. I remember when I watched The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time and the Pevensie children leave Narnia when they’re older and I’m like “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!?!” I was so mad. I think Narnia is appealing because its such a magical world. It gives me the same kind of feeling that Disneyland does, that feeling of magic and imagination and that feeling of being a kid again and feeling like anything is possible, like children leaders or talking animals and centaurs and good overcoming evil and that sort of thing. Its nice to disappear into such a wholesome and wonderful world for a little bit.

7. Camp Half-Blood-Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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I want to go to Camp Half-Blood so badly! I want to be a demigoddess so badly! I’ve always been fairly obsessed with Greek myths; there’s just something so fascinating about them. I wish I had been born in those times, those were the kind of gods and goddesses that I could really get behind. But I really enjoy the stories especially when you learn how they are the root of some of the words we use or the myths and superstitions that we know now and things like that. They’re really fun stories, especially since these gods and goddesses…they aren’t these perfect beings, they make mistakes too. But anyway, I’d be pretty stoked to have a god/goddess as a parent and have these super cool powers and go on adventures and live in this super cool camp with all these other children who have god parents too. I mean, sit around at home, watching TV and basically do nothing on summer vacation or go to this cool camp where you learn to fight and harness your powers and play a badass version of Capture the Flag and all that? I think you know which one I would pick. I would really like to be Artemis‘s daughter too. I know, not possible, since she swore to be a maiden, and to abstain from men and she would never have a child but…Artemis is such a badass. I remember wanting to name a pet “Artemis” once and my mom was just like “Seriously?” Yes, seriously. Greek myths are awesome and Camp Half-Blood would be a super cool place to live.

6. Enchanted Forest-Once Upon a Time

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I LOVE fairy tales and I would love to live in the Enchanted Forest, where all the fairy tale characters come together and basically live in one spot, especially since Once Upon a Time makes all the girl characters super awesome and kickass. I mean, Snow White? I love her and all but in the Disney movie, she’s SO annoying and she’s SO incredibly dumb in the original story. Ginnifer Goodwin‘s Snow White is super awesome and battle ready and just as strong as the Prince Charming she comes to love. Belle is whip smart, and ready to do what she needs to do to help her father and her kingdom. Red Riding Hood is a werewolf, who learns how to harness her transformation and use it as a tool of survival and battle. Ella (Cinderella) is a whole lot stronger in the show, and is ready to do anything to preserve her family. All of the characters are so different in this show than any other adaptation we see of them. And I’d love to live in this place where magic and fairy tales are real but in a way that I can enjoy them and in a way where I can learn from these seriously amazing and strong female characters. Even though Regina, the Evil Queen, is an evil character, you can still even empathize with her and you can still see her as a strong character. Again, its one of those magical worlds that you’d love to live in.

5. The Queendom of the Fells-Seven Realms Series
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I think a big reason why I would love to live in Cinda William Chima‘s Queendom of Fells is because…well its called the Queendom! The lineage passes through the women of the royal family, not the men, which I find to be VERY interesting and something that we don’t see often. I love that the reason behind is because they worship the first woman of the line, Hanalea, who was their savior. Throughout the year, they hold steadfast confidence in Hanalea and her line of successors and even when things start to get rocky, there are still so many people who are by Raisa‘s side and helping her and supporting her, even though she is only a sixteen year old royal. I also like the diversity that Cinda creates in her kingdoms especially between the people of the capital and then the wizards and the clans. We don’t get this straight across the board sort of country but a country that is full of diverse people. She creates kind of your typical white kingdom with royals and nobles and balls and that sort of thing but she throws the clans in there, and I love the clans because they have such different feels to them. I feel like they have some Native American to them, maybe some African, even some of the Asian cultures as well. I’d be really interested in exploring the very corners of this realm.

4. Tortall-Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, Protector of the Small, Trickster series, Beka Cooper series

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I would absolutely positively die to live in the Tortall realm. Tamora Pierce has written five series that take place in the realm of Tortall (although, admittedly, one mostly takes place in the Copper Isles but the main character is FROM Tortall), and she has created five extremely strong female main protagonists. You have Alanna who disguises herself as a boy for eight years in order to earn her shield and become a knight, the first female knight in a hundred years. You have Daine who has an incredible magical ability to communicate with animals, heal them and to shape shift into any animal of her choice and who is incredibly brave and intelligent and uses it to defend the country she loves. You have Keladry who is the first female to openly try out for her shield to become her knight and to earn her place rightfully. You have Aly, who earns her place as a rebellion spymaster to restore a country’s rightful owners back in place and overthrown the tyrant rulers. Then you have the prequel stories of Beka, who is a soldier of the Provost Dogs, who is fantastically intelligent and brave and able to solve crimes and bring the bad guys down in a time, long before Alanna and Daine, and the rest were even alive. Add in magic, fair and just king and queens, knights and dragons and griffins, fancy dresses, adventures, horses and all sorts of awesome stuff and who on earth wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?

3. Idris-The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices

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Idris. Alicante. The City of Glass. The home country for Shadowhunters, their Jerusalem. A small country nestled in Europe, unnoticed by all us mundanes, its a place of beauty and of a world that holds on to the past in looks, while the bustling world goes on around them. In a world where we have square, boring builds, traffic and smog, there’s Idris, a small beautiful country where the Shadowhunters can be themselves and hold a little bit of Mother Earth’s beauty to themselves. And there’s something so appealing and magical about a place that is called the City of Glass. It is very old school. It reminds me of an old French town or Venice, Italy. I imagine canals and little houses and shops and this beautiful private community of extraordinary people. I want to be a Shadowhunter only less than I want to be a wizard or a Jedi and I think the fact that they have this small hidden away country is so awesome. I would love to grow up there, have a country home where I could have a horse to get around and I could learn what it took to be a Shadowhunter and go to dances in Alicante and feel safe and at home. It just seems like a wonderful place to live.

2. The Universe-Star Wars/Doctor Who/Star Trek/Etc. 

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I know, Sara, way to narrow it down there. I mean the universe, the galaxy, as in Doctor Who or Star Wars or even the new Star Trek. There is something really amazing about the fact that there is SO much out there, so many planets and stars and galaxies and there could be absolutely anything out there. There’s so much out there to explore. I wish I lived in a world like Doctor Who or Star Trek where they can explore these worlds and learn new things and see what else is out there besides just us. We are so centered on this planet, we think of ourselves as so important and big but we are so tiny in the grand scheme of things. There is so much out there that we don’t know about and I think it would be an amazing thing to have a TARDIS or a Millennium Falcon or an Enterprise to take us around to see these new worlds and to go on adventures and see the other beauties of the universe. I’m not going to lie, I think I’d be pretty scared at the idea of open space but also incredibly excited as well. The possibilities of the universe are absolutely endless. And when you’re with the Doctor or the Rebel Alliance, you really have the chance to make a difference, to save lives and have incredible adventures.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry-Harry Potter series

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There is literally no other place in the world, both real and fiction, that I would rather be than this school. When you’re 9/10 years old and you’ve just moved from a roomy house to a house with your grandparents where you are sharing a room with your five brothers and sisters and your parents are fighting all the time, and you go to school and you’re teased all the time because, let’s face it, you’re not very girlie and aren’t really sure how to dress yourself properly and you have your nose in a book all the time and reading just isn’t cool, and life just seems to SUCK all the time…and you pick up this book and you find this incredible, amazing world…who wouldn’t fall in love? I would love to go to Hogwarts. I would love to learn magic and explore this ancient and fantastic castle and learn about hippogriffs and unicorns and make crazy potions and all of those things. These books have taught me more than anything else has and Hogwarts was the home that I would go to when reality just seemed to suck too bad, and its where I continue to go when life sucks and I’ve had a bad day. There’s a line in Deathly Hallows where Harry is looking up at Hogwarts castle and recognizing it as his home, as the home of Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys. That part gets to me every single time. Its a home for all of us, JKR created a home for us all. “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home” is what she said at the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere and she is so right. There is no place I’d rather be than at Hogwarts :)

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Top Ten! What fictional places would you like to live or hang out at? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to check out the previous Top Ten Lists I have made!

Check back in the next couple of days for exciting things, like an interview with Jessica Brody and a HUGE giveaway for my blog’s first birthday!

Book of the Week-Throne of Glass

Hello everyone :) Welcome to this week’s Book of the Week. I have to tell you, there I read three new books this week and it was kind of hard to narrow it down to just one to review for this week. I chose this one because it most fits what I usually review and its awesome but I’m thinking…

Should I maybe do a video blog occasionally? Maybe like, “Sara’s Quick Picks“, and I’ll profile the other books I read that week that don’t make it to the Book of the Week? It’d be like…quick reviews of the other books? What do you guys think? Let me know!

Anyway, I saw this book all over GoodReads and people were talking about it and Im like, I need to get on this train and I added it to my “to-read” list. Then I went shopping at Barnes and Noble last week to pick up some books to get signed at the Ontario Teen Book Fest and I saw this sitting on the shelf and was like “LOOK AT THAT COOL COVER!” and immediately grabbed it off the shelf.

And read in a couple days, as per usual. Its a very good book, but I’ll tell you all about it below :) Check out this week’s Book of the Week!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
The first book in the Throne of Glass series. The second, Crown of Midnight, will be released this summer!

You May Like if You Liked:
Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, Kristin Cashore’s Graceling

Plot Summary:

Celaena was trained from the age of 8 to become an assassin, and she becomes the most feared assassin of them, until she is caught and sent to Endovier, to the salt mines, where most criminals do not survive very long with the hard labor. However, Celaena continues to survive until the Crown Prince of Erilea, Dorian, comes to fetch her. He has has a bargain for her: if she participates in a contest of sorts as his Champion, a competition where former criminals battle it out to become the King’s Champion, a coveted role. Dorian wants Calaena as his Champion, so that she can win, serve his father for four years and then earn her freedom. Celaena immediately agrees, though she doesn’t have much of a choice. She comes from a country that no longer exists, taken over by Dorian’s father, and has worked against him her whole life. But this means her freedom.

When she arrives, things don’t go the way she expects them to. She is gaining a lot of attention from both Dorian and the captain of the King’s Guard, Chaol. She’s forming a close friendship with a princess from a nearby land. And she’s having to hide her skills so as not to gain too much attention. But then weird things start happening. Marks called Wyrdmarks start appearing, in a kingdom that has absolutely forbidden magic, and Champions are turning up dead, in seriously gruesome ways. Celaena now has to worry about making it past all the Tests and not ending up dead like the other Champions…

The Bad:

The love triangle. I’m sorry. I mean that in the best way possible. But I am so tired of the love triangle. I am so insanely over it. Please make it go away. I understand it makes for a more interesting story, blah blah blah. I was so excited in Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s Obsidian because there’s no love triangle. Not in the slightest. It was amazing. And I will say that the love triangle in this novel…its very, very subtle. Its not in your face, so there is that. I’ll also add that its subtle enough, on both sides, that you’re not really rooting for either one. At the end of the novel, I’m left going “OHMYGOD, who do I ship?” Haha. But this a very slight love triangle, and honestly, more of an annoyance than anything.

The Good:

Celaena is such a badass. She is up there with all the super badass heroines that we’ve been getting. At first she really reminded me of Katsa from Graceling. They both are kind of trained at a young age to become an assassin. I do think there is a difference between them. I love Katsa and Kristin Cashore’s Graceling but I did have some issues with Katsa; she’s very…unemotional and lacking of humanity sometimes. Sometimes its hard to relate to her. Celaena is trained as an assassin but has such a deep personality and human feelings and emotions. I love that she has a ton of humor and sarcasm. I love that she is this badass assassin with the power to kill people fairly easily and yet she loves to curl up with a book and enjoy a story. I love that she loves dogs and doesn’t want the grumpy runt of the pack to be killed.

I love the sort of repertoire she builds with the different characters in the novel. She spends the most time with Dorian, Chaol and the princess and she is Celaena with all of them, but she has a different relationship with each of them and while reading, I get eager to see what sort of interaction she will have with each character. She plays all these different parts and she doesn’t hold back. I think that’s what really attracts both Dorian and Chaol to Celaena. She is this beautiful fighter, talented warrior, gifted and brilliant and everyone knows who she is, has heard whispers of her. But I think once this famed assassin is given a name, a personality, a face…Dorian and Chaol are able to really see her as a person. And the princess, Nehemia, is really able to see what Celaena is like because she doesn’t know her true identity or her reason for being there.

I also really love the conflict that goes on within Celaena. She’s an assassin from a country that was brutally taken over by the king, and she’s spend much of her “career”, fighting and killing and working against him. And she is sent to the salt mines, where she isn’t fed well, and she’s fighting off would-be attackers and doing extreme hard labor. Of course this isn’t a place that she wants to be at. She’s given the chance of freedom, but at the cost of working for someone whom she despises. Its a very strange internal struggle for her, as she fights to win the King’s Champion position, knowing it’ll both mean her freedom, but preceded by four years of killing for a man that she definitely does not see as her king. I love that we don’t just get to see her physical fight, but we get to see her fight internally as well.

I loved the ending to this book as well, but as I’m trying to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible because before, I just spoiled things like crazy, I won’t say too much. I loved how everything was wrapped and yet completely not wrapped up at the same time. You had a conclusion, an ending but there are so many loose ends, especially toward the end when you start getting different points of view and you see sort of the inner workings of this kingdom and what could possibly go wrong. So it leaves you both happy and frustrated which is the mark of a good ending.

And it makes me absolutely can’t WAIT til August to read the sequel. Maas has created a very realistic, fantastical world. She said it started out as kind of a throwback to Cinderella but I think the story kind of had a mind of its own and took on its own life form. She builds a world as real as Tortall or Fellsmarch or Middle Earth. You believe its real and you believe all these characters are real and it sucks you into the story. I very much enjoyed this book.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not?:

Definitely. If you like fantasies with girls that kick ass, this is the book for you. Celaena is a badass character with the right emotions and personality for you to both love her and hate her, and follow her story eagerly. I literally inhaled this book because I just had to find out what happened next.

As always, the book title above will take you to the Amazon page and the author’s name will take you to their website.

Definitely check this book out!

Last little note: I hope she comes to California soon because I would adore meeting her!

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If you missed it yesterday, here is my interview with best selling author, Eoin Colfer!

And check back soon for my post all about the Star Trek Into Darkness red carpet premiere!

Ontario Teen Book Fest & iFandoms Collide Episode 2!

Today was an absolutely amazing day to be part of this blog, pill WhatANerdGirlSays, and to be part of the creative force of iFandoms Collide. Myself and my fellow bloggers, Sylvia, Tatiana and Megan (plus my sister, Jessica) headed to the Ontario Teen Book Fest today!

First off, I want to say thank you to two people. One is to Allison Tran at the Mission Viejo Library, who seriously is becoming the most amazing person to know. She has helped me so much, in getting my interview with Cassandra Clare, telling me about other events that I’d be interested in and she’s just been amazing. She told me about this awesome event through the Ontario Library and I thank her for that.

I would also like to thank Courtney Saldana from the Ontario Library for two reasons. One, is putting on such an amazing event that happened today and for bringing together the group of authors that came together today. Such a great mix of super talented, inspirational and wonderful authors. Two, I’d like to thank her for allowing us the opportunity to attend the Author Breakfast and to have one-on-one personal time with the authors to get to know them. We were able to talk to them about some REALLY cool things, and get to know some AMAZING authors.

We were also able to film episode TWO of the iFandoms Collide vlog, in which we discuss our top ten fictional crushes (you guys know how I love to talk about my fictional crushes!) We also talked to the authors that we were able to meet today and asked them their fictional crushes, authors like Stephen Chbosky, Morgan Matson, Jessica Brody, Lex Thomas, and so many more. Check it out below.

This was super fun to film, especially with getting all the author’s fictional crushes as well. SUPER fun. I loved Marie Lu‘s answer of Sydney from A Tale of Two Cities and Stephen Chbosky‘s Scarlett O’Hara. So great.

But what this particular blog post is about is my personal reaction to today’s events. After all this is WhataNerdGirlSays, and I am the “Nerd Girl” in that title :) As you all know, I am extremely passionate about young adult literature. I am a huge advocate for it, I write constantly about, I preach its use in academics, especially in the middle school and high school curriculums. Young adult literature is the very foundation for this blog!

So that being said, today was an amazing experience. I really got to have an up close and personal experience with all the authors today. They all took the time to really talk to all the fans, and every single author took the time to talk to me as a writer, and to give me advice and encouragement as an author. Here’s a picture of us with all the authors today:

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Authors at this event were (from left to right): Jessica Brody, Lex Thomas (duo), Gretchen McNeil, Carrie Arcos, Andrew Smith, Sara Wilson Etienne, Suzanne Lazear, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Ann Stampler and Jennifer Bosworth.

I wish honestly that I could have gotten every single one of their books and I could get them all signed. Unfortunately my wallet doesn’t permit for such things. I am a poor college student haha and I just can’t do that. But I came up with this idea: I bought a poster board, wrote “You are a writer” on it, in the middle, and I asked all the authors to write a piece of advice or words of encouragement. Once I fill up this poster board, I can frame it and put it on my wall, and it can be my encouragement when I feel like my writing is going bad (which, sadly, is often).

And the response was AMAZING. Every single author that was at the event signed it with words of wisdom. Here is the poster board below :) If you click on it, you can see it bigger, in order to read the advice given.

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Hanging out with the authors during the Author Breakfast was a great opportunity and really gave us the ability to hang out with the authors, get to know them, interview them and really share with them our passion about books and young adult literature. Some highlights include:

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Making funny faces with Jessica Brody

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Chatting about fictional crushes with the iconic Stephen Chbosky (author of Perks of Being a Wallflower). He loves the feisty characters, like Scarlett O’Hara!

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And interviewing Marie Lu, the superb author of the Legend trilogy about her upcoming finale book, Champion, and her fictional crushes.

There were so many more moments and I’ll post a link near the bottom so you can see more pictures.

First we got to see Stephen Chbosky in a Q and A, and he was incredibly inspirational and touching. His book has touched so many people’s lives and it was amazing to hear him speak. We also got the great news that he is working on something new, hopefully coming out in 2014! Awesome!

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I love being short, it causes some hilarity at times :) This is a GREAT picture of me and Stephen Chbosky. I loved being able to talk to him about a particular part in his book that was very resonating to me. I won’t say too much more than that because it is EXTREMELY personal to me but I was glad to talk to him about it, and I nearly cried when talking to him about it. What a great writer and a great person as well.

My favorite panel of the day was the Femme Fatale panel, featuring all female authors talking about female characters that kick butt.

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From left to right: Marie Lu, Leigh Bardugo, Morgan Matson, Jennifer Bosworth and Jessica Brody. Truly great panel, from some talented and inspiring authors. I was able to get books signed by all by Jennifer Bosworth, who I am determined to track down in the future! They were hilarious, inspirational, great at advice and it was a highlight of my day. Especially when Leigh Bardugo said she was a Tamora Pierce fan. I LIVE for that Tortall world.

Then came meeting the authors!

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me and Morgan Matson, author of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. She is a SERIOUS inspiration of mine and it was amazing being able to talk to her as much as I was able to today :)

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Myself and Ann Stampler, author of Where it Began. She showed us the brand new cover of her new book and hopefully we’ll be able to get our hands on some ARCs!

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myself and Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy (I am so anxiously awaiting Champion!). She is so inspirational, as a young author, for aspiring authors like me.

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me with Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone. Her humor, charisma, intelligence and inspiration drove me to buy her book. I can’t wait to dive into it. She was a wonderful person to me and gave good advice, and was truly inspiring. I hope to meet her again someday.

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Myself with Carrie Arcos, who was nominated for a National Book Award for her novel Out of Reach, and Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck. Two books that are now on my t0-read list. Such lovely ladies!

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the always lovely, hilarious and super great Jessica Brody. I finally picked up a copy of The Karma Club today, which I had only read halfway. You can also read Unremembered, My Life Undecided and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father.

Another author that I didn’t manage to get a picture with was Andrew Smith. he recently wrote a book called Winger, which was unofficially released today at the Teen Book Fest but won’t officially release until Tuesday. He is already being featured in the New York Times today (the 12th) and has an immense buzz around his book. He was super fun to talk to, and a true inspiration. He was not encouraged as a writer by his parents and is an encouraging parent to his aspiring writer son. He was a truly wonderful author to meet as well and I’m sad I missed him in my photo taking spree.

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All in all, it was absolutely wonderful day. I really got to hang out and talk and be inspired by people who are doing the very things that I wish to do with my life. My life’s ambition is to become an author and these authors are doing exactly that and I hope to one day become that. It is always a fun thing to meet these authors as a fan, but it is also fun to meet them as a hopefully one day future colleague in the field of young adult literature.

I left this event today feeling two different ways. In one way, I was extremely happy and fan girling over the amazing authors that I met today. But I also left feeling super inspired and uplifted. All of the authors today gave me great advice and words of encouragement and they all gave me the push, and the words of not giving up. Every single author gave me a stronger belief in myself and they all said that they can’t wait to see what I do. Which really meant a lot, as I’m in some serious writer’s block and I hate my third novel haha. But such wonderful people to meet and a wonderful event to attend.

Thank you so much to the Ontario Library for putting on this event, and to Mrs Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop for sponsoring the event and all the librarians and teen volunteers who helped put this on. You guys are all rock stars.

Thanks to my sister, Jessica, for being my book buddy for life.

Thanks to Sylvia, Megan and Tatiana for being the BEST book friends a girl could have and for being the pieces of the puzzle for iFandoms Collide and for understanding me :) and for always making every event we go to the best time ever.

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(I had to put this picture of us with Thomas and Lex because they totally towered over all of us. And they were SO super cool)

And thanks especially to Courtney Saldana (below) at the Ontario Library. You gave us wonderful opportunities today to make memories that we will never forget. I can’t wait to attend more events that you and your library put on because I know that they will be absolutely wonderful :)

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We all recorded the authors talking about new projects, fan reactions, their new stuff, all kinds of cool stuff. Those videos will hopefully be up soon (we are getting better at editing haha) and I will share them with you as soon as I can!

If you’d like to see more pictures from this event, check them out on the WhataNerdGirlSays facebook page here.

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If you live in the Los Angeles/Southern California area and know of an author event or book fest event that you think myself or my team at iFandoms Collide would be interested, please contact us!

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A last few side notes:

All of these authors rock! I tweeted all of them to tell them what a great time that I had meeting them yesterday and pretty much all of them tweeted back :) It takes time out of their day to do this and it means a lot when they reply :)

Also, all the authors are linked on this post, so that you can check them out, and every book that is mentioned is linked to its Amazon page so that you can check it out and maybe purchase it!