Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite YA Fantasy Books

OMG, guys. I have no idea how this summer got away from me, but it did. I’ll do an actual ~life update~ post soon, but for now, I’m going to talk up some awesome YA fantasy books.

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Favorite YA Fantasy Books

  1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson: My review here.
  2. STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen: Suddenly finding yourself attracted to trolls is a very confusing thing, but there you go.
  3. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: My review here.
  4. RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard: Really good pacing and I’m always here for court intrigue.
  5. THE WRATH & THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh: Beautiful world building and writing all around. I couldn’t put this one down.
  6. Lumatere Chronicles series by Melina Marchetta: My review here.
  7. Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima: My review here.
  8. THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson: This book featured one of the best love triangles I’ve ever read.
  9. THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski: My review here.
  10. THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater: My review here.
Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most From

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

  1. Tamora Pierce: Easily tops this list, as I’ve read at least thirty different books by her. I ate all of her books up as a teenager and I still reread them frequently. I always tell people to start at the beginning with ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE because it’s quick and it was published in 1980 and still holds up. But really, READ THEM ALL.
  2. Meg Cabot: My other favorite author when I was in high school. I loved her heroines because their awkwardness was something I could relate to, and also because they were funny and sarcastic. My favorites are THE PRINCESS DIARIES and ALL-AMERICAN GIRL. And the Mediator series is seriously underrated.
  3. J.K. Rowling: I couldn’t get into THE CASUAL VACANCY, but I’ve read each of the Harry Potter books ten times, probably, and I will never not be pushing them on people.
  4. Laura Ingalls Wilder: I was OBSESSED with the Little House series and they still occupy my bookshelf. I recently reread LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and still loved it, so a reread is in my future, probably.
  5. Jane Austen: Her books are full of social commentary and so much of it is still relevant today. I still love PRIDE AND PREJUDICE the most, but if Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, and Charlotte were my friends IRL, I would’ve warned them to stay FAR, FAR AWAY from their respective husbands.
  6. George R.R. Martin: Book Sansa is the queen and I will fight anyone who disputes this.
  7. Alison Weir: She writes a lot about medieval and Tudor history, which is my favorite history, and I appreciate how thorough her research is and how carefully she examines bias in her sources. And, unlike a lot of non-fiction, her books are actually accessible to non-historians. I used a lot of her books as secondary sources in college and then continued reading them because I genuinely enjoyed them. THE LADY IN THE TOWER and ISABELLA: SHE-WOLF OF FRANCE, QUEEN OF ENGLAND are particular highlights.
  8. Sarah J. Maas: HEIR OF FIRE destroyed me but can’t stop, won’t stop.
  9. John Green: LOOKING FOR ALASKA is still my favorite of his books and haters can step aside. Also, shout out to AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES because it doesn’t get nearly enough love.
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien: I still consider getting through THE SILMARILLION in eighth grade one of my greatest accomplishments.
Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Club

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I’d Want to Read in a YA Book Club

  1. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta: I read this book two or three years ago and I still think about it all the time. There’s a lot going on in this one, but the thing I keep coming back to is the identity theme – both personal identity and cultural identity, and the search for both is strong throughout the book.
  2. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch: This one was hard to read, especially since I had suspicions about what Carey was hiding. But I think it’s an important book to read about a girl trying to move on with her life.
  3. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: First of all, that title by itself would be worth discussing. But then once you read the book, there’s a lot about “otherness” and morality (black and white? shades of gray?) to be discussed.
  4. A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller: There could be interesting parallels to be drawn between the early 1900s and today.
  5. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd: Some of the scenes involving animals in this book are really hard to IMG_0107read, but it has an interesting exploration of science and how far it should go.
  6. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy: Alice is a very divisive character, so I think all the different insights about her would be interesting.
  7. Something Real by Heather Demetrios: This one goes behind the scenes of our obsession with reality TV and how it impacts the lives of the people actually on these shows. How “real” are they actually?
  8. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger: This one deals a lot with body image and female sexuality. Those topics are still relevant as adults.
  9. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney: This is one of the most important books I’ve ever read.
  10. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: I love how this one treats the themes of kindness and second chances, almost as much as I love Lauren Oliver’s writing. (I love Lauren Oliver’s writing a lot.)
YA Superlatives Blogfest

Class of 2013: YA Superlatives Blogfest, Intro

C2013 ButtonJessica Love, Katy Upperman, Tracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller are hosting the YA Superlatives Blogfest again this year, which is a chance for us all to highlight our favorite 2013 reads. Stay tuned next week to find out which awesome books you need to read!

Today, though, I’m just going to post a list of 2013 releases I read. I read more than last year, and many of them were debuts, so I’m going to call this one a win. (Debuts are marked with a *)

  1. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  2. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
  3. Splintered by A.G. Howard*
  4. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  5. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
  6. Mind Games by Kiersten White
  7. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  8. Sever by Lauren DeStefano
  9. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans*
  10. Prodigy by Marie Lu
  11. Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum*
  12. The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan*
  13. Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers
  14. Altered by Jennifer Rush*
  15. Taken by Erin Bowman*
  16. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
  17. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt*
  18. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
  19. Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza*
  20. The Elite by Kiera Cass
  21. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  22. Reboot by Amy Tintera*
  23. Winger by Andrew Smith
  24. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson*
  25. The Essence by Kimberly Derting
  26. “The Transfer” by Veronica Roth
  27. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill*
  28. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
  29. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  30. Just One Year by Gayle Forman

See you all back next week!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2013 Reading List

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books on my Fall 2013 TBR List [or: books Stephanie needs to catch up on from summer]

  1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  2. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  3. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Something Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
  5. False Sight by Dan Krokos
  6. Exile by Shannon Messenger
  7. By Referral Only and Be My Downfall by Lyla Payne
  8. Faking ItKeeping Her, and Finding It by Cora Carmack
  9. Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
  10. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

What books are you looking forward to reading this fall?

Blogging from A to Z

J: Just Read It

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There are some books I constantly find myself recommending. For example, I’ve told both my dad and my brother on multiple occasions to read Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and it’s the first book I recommend to students when they’ve finished The Hunger Games.

With that in mind, here is a list of the books I recommend the most. Go forth and read!

Fantasy

  • The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: Whenever a student tells me they “don’t like reading,” I ask them if they’ve read Harry Potter, and when the inevitable “no” is given, I tell them to read it. If you don’t like these books, you have no soul. Or are maybe secretly Voldemort.
  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Do you like dragons and treasure and epic battles and giant fiery eyeballs? Start with The Hobbit, because while it’s not necessary to read it before The Lord of the Rings, it’ll make you appreciate the story so much more.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin: Do you like dynastic warfare and dragons and death and people coming unhinged and don’t mind a little incest? Then you are my people, and these are your books.
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: When you finish ASoIaF and find yourself waiting ten years for the next installment, read Throne of Glass, which has assassins and less incest. (I also recommend reading the prequel novellas, because you understand Celaena so much more.)
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: And when you finish ToG, you’ll want to move on to Shadow and Bone, which is set in Ravka, a country based on Russia that is being swallowed by a literal darkness and has my favorite villain pretty much ever.
  • The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: And while you’re on your fantasy kick, read the Lumatere Chronicles and then despair because you’ll never be able to write something so good. Marchetta has done with these books what every fantasy writer should try to do, which is to make a world so rich and alive it could be a real place, populated with characters so human they could live in our own world.
  • Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima: Similar to ASoIaF with the dynastic warfare thing, but with less death, more kissing, and wizards. It starts a little slow, but it’s worth the wait, because once it gets going…BOOM.
  • Everything Tamora Pierce has ever written: I first discovered her books in high school and then proceeded to devour every single one of them within the span of probably two or three months. It was her books that helped me realize girls could kick butt, too, and she has been hugely influential on my writing.
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: Elisa isn’t the “typical” fantasy heroine – she’s more likely to use her brains than a sword and she doesn’t think very highly of herself – and watching her journey toward believing in herself was by far the best part of the book. I haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but I need my hands on them, like, two weeks ago.

Science Fiction & Dystopian

  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: A fast-paced dystopian with high stakes and a lot more going on than just teens slaughtering each other on national television: themes it covers include glamorization of violence, the media (the movie does an even better job of this), control of information, the rich/poor gap. It may be action-packed, but it’s smart.
  • The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth: If you like The Hunger Games, you’ll like this other fast-paced dystopian trilogy that also features teenagers but not killing each other (at least not on TV). But seriously, though, Tris’s journey to finding her Dauntless side? So realistic. Also: Four.
  • The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver: Lena becomes more dynamic as the series progresses, plus it has what is quite possibly the best love triangle I’ve ever read.
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: The first book involves a retelling of Cinderella with Cinderella in this case being a cyborg who lives in a futuristic China. All of the other books are also fairytale retellings, and so far, they’re every bit as awesome as this one sounds.

The “Real World”
(Contemporary & Historical Fiction)

  • Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Looking for Alaska is a book very dear to me for personal reasons, and I hope I have the chance someday to thank John Green in person for writing it. And The Fault in Our Stars was masterful in that it was more than a “cancer book” – it had warmth, realism, and pulled off the seemingly-impossible feat of making me laugh and cry at the same time.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Alexie piles on a generous helping of humor in his depiction of one boy’s experience as the only Native American at a mostly-white high school.
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak isn’t a funny book by any means, but I did occasionally find myself snickering at Melinda’s dark humor. I think the humor is what makes watching Melinda’s journey to finding the courage to speak up about what happened to her more heartbreaking.
  • If I Lie by Corrine Jackson: I feel like Quinn’s quiet strength – her ability to keep her head up and not become disillusioned and bitter even though pretty much the entire town is slut-shaming her – puts her on par with the heroines like Katniss who come to mind when the word “strong” is tossed about. And the secondary characters are just as good.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: If this book doesn’t make you cry, then you’re definitely Voldemort.

What books do you find yourself inflicting on people the most?