November Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2015:

150

Am I On Track: 

16 books behind

Books Read So Far: 

121

Total Books For November:

6

Leveled 

Winter

How I Found You

Body Check

Pride and Prejudice (Re-Read)

Pure (Re-Read)

Elixir (Re-Read)

Deity (Re-Read)

Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer 

Apollyon (Re-Read)

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Re-Read)

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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-Characters Names that I’d Steal for My Children

Now, see this week’s Tuesday Top Ten is a little different than what I normally do.

People often times ask me where I get my names for my characters, erectile and honestly, sildenafil it mostly comes from the baby name book or a baby name website. I like kind of…different names, not weird just different.

But often, it comes from names that I wish I could name my future children.

And then that got me thinking about the different names that I like from books. I tend to try and name my pets after book characters and I would really like to do the same when I eventually have children (my boyfriend is SO rolling his eyes right now as he reads this…). I’m not talking weird names, for the most part. I like nice, normal names.

So this Tuesday Top Ten is kind of a fun, short, silly one. These basically come from two places: actual liking of the name, and liking of the character as well.

Names have always just been important to me. I was obsessed with mine for such a long time. My name is Sara, not exactly a unique and in my small group of friends in high school, three of us were named Sara (though they were the traditional spelling of Sarah). I wanted to change my name for years, or perhaps start going by Liz or Beth because my middle name is Elizabeth. Now, though, I’ve really come to appreciate my name. I really embody my name, and I think these characters below do as well.

So here we go!

10. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird

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This one kind of makes me laugh if only for the fact that …well I named my dog Scout haha. So I guess I could never name my child Scout because of that….its just too weird. But I always liked the name Scout for a little girl. Its unique without being totally weird, you know? And yes, I do realize that Demi Moore and Bruce Willis named one of their daughters, Scout, but they also named their daughters Rumor and Tallelulah which are just ridiculous names. So yeah it might a totally weird name for a child, especially because of my dog, but I really do like the name and I would totally name my kid Scout.

9. Sirius from Harry Potter

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I love the name Sirius and I think that its a really cool name, but its not a weird one, you know? I don’t think I’d name my kid Sirius but I could see using it as a middle name. Its not just from Harry Potter, but from the dog Sirius, the constellation in the sky as well. Sirius is also my favorite HP character besides Luna Lovegood so that’s kind of cool too, a way to commemorate that.

8. Keladry from Protector of the Small

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I think Keladry is an absolutely beautiful name and I think that she would be a wonderful character to name a daughter after. All of Tamora Pierce’s characters are strong, admirable characters but I think Kel might be one of the most admirable ones because she is so focused on her goals and doing her job as a knight that she ends the series without a man (sorry, spoilers, I guess haha). She’s the only one so far in Tammy’s series that doesn’t end up with anyone and Tamora gets asked all the time, if she ever ends up with someone, and she says that this wasn’t the point of Keladry and there’s a reason that she doesn’t have a significant other. Its not that she’s alone, she’s just so focused and driven and she’s surrounded by people who love her, and make her life interesting. I think that this is pretty cool character to name your kid after.

7. Asher from The Giver

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Asher is such a small character in the actual novel. But his name always, always, always stood out to me. I thought I was really weird until I worked at a little kid’s portrait studio about five years ago, and a little boy named Asher came in. I asked the mother if she named him after the character in The Giver and she looked at me like I was a serious crazy person. So I guess it’s an actual name. But I think its a really unique name without being really weird. I hate really super weird names, like the poor baby that came in once whose entire first name was “Destiny Sky Rainbow”. Poor kid. I wonder how she’s dealing now. But Asher is a great name, and is one of the ones on this list that I would actually petition really hard for when it comes time (in the very FAR future) for Jon and I to have kids.

6. Felicity from A Great and Terrible Beauty

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I think this mostly comes from the actual character than just the name. Most of the names on the list are just names I like, really, but this one really comes from the character. Felicity is a seriously ambitious, mischievous, amazing female character in Victorian London who also ends up being a lesbian…in Victorian London! That’s crazy. And sure, she doesn’t broadcast it because that would be absolute crazy talk but she still remains an extremely strong character, and definitely my favorite of the entire series. Felicity is a beautiful name and it would be honorable and sweet to name a daughter with that name, when named after such a heroine.

5. Alianne from Trickster’s Choice 

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I really like this name because its simply and it can be shortened to Ally, which I think is really really pretty. Alianne is also another really strong female character that I’ve basically worshiped since I was 15 years old and I would love to name my daughter Alianne. Its just weird enough to be cute and unique but its not like, uh, your name is WHAT? Again, I’m not a fan of that. In the book, she shortens her name to Aly, but I like Ally better. But its a seriously beautiful name, and its one that has always stuck out to me. I also had a weird obsession with Elsren, who was a little boy that she cared for, for the LONGEST time, until I realized that its still a super cute name but its too weird. How do you even shorten that!

4. Raisa from the Seven Realms series

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I love Raisa’s full name, her princess name, Raisa ana Marianna. So many “a’s” but I just love it. Its a beautiful name. And sure, Raisa is also another super badass character that any girl would be lucky to be named after but its also just a beautiful name. I think what stands out to me about this name is that its simple, almost like Sara, but its a little prettier. (Please do not misunderstand me-MOM!-I do love my name. It took me kind of a long time to do so, but I do love it). I don’t think this is a name that would cause raise eyebrows but I do think people would compliment it on how pretty it is.

3. Auden from Along for the Ride

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I love that Auden is named after a literary figure and one that isn’t really that known, especially to the target audience of the book. It doesn’t come off pretentious in the slightest; I actually just really like it. Its unique. I kind of like McClean (Ma-Clane) from What Happened to Goodbye. Its almost like a family name. I have a liking for last names as first names. Its something that isn’t done very often but its really beautiful. I don’t know that I’d actually name my child this, which is funny considering its so high on the list, but I think its one of those names that I wish I could name my kid but probably wouldn’t have the guts to do so. My boyfriend would roll his eyes, and say no, my family and his family would raise their eyebrows, so it takes guts to name your kid Auden. But it doesn’t stop it from being a beautiful name.

2.Alexander from The Mortal Instruments/Delirium series

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Jon really has no ifs, ands or buts about this one. I want to name my child Alexander. And sure, a small part is due to Alexander Lightwood of the TMI series. But a majority is just that I love the name for a boy. Its such a strong, traditional name and I think its absolutely beautiful and perfect. I would shorten it to Alec, like in TMI, but to Alex, like in Delirium. I just really love it. Honestly, its my main character’s name in the novel that I am currently working on. I really love the name. With girls, I like names that are a little different but not weird, like Summer. But with boys, I love traditional names and Alex, Alexander, is such a great example. If I have a boy one day, I really want to name him Alexander. And Alexander Lightwood is a good person to be named after, especially since he is tied for first as my favorite character in the Mortal Instruments series. He’s one of the strongest characters in the novels, and I don’t think people recognize that as much.

1. Jace from The Mortal Instruments series

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I really would love to name my kid Jace but I know there is NO way in hell my boyfriend would ever let me do that. Like….there’s no way. Even though its kind of fitting. Even though we learn that its not the truth, Jace is Jonathan Christopher shortened. Of course, he’s not the ACTUAL Jonathan Christopher but that’s okay! My boyfriend’s name is Jonathan and his brother’s name is Christopher. I could name my son that, and call him Jace. It totally works out perfectly and I seriously love it; I think its a fun name but there’s no way it’ll ever happen. But it doesn’t stop me from having it as my number one pick for a character name that I’d steal for my child!

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Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Tuesday Top Ten!

I hope if you are at the City of Bones Mall Tour event in Glendale, that I’ll see you there!

Check out last week’s TTT, which were my Book Deal Breakers.

What are some character names that you love? Would you name your child after them? Have you named your child after them? As always, share in the comments!

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!

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 :)

Unfavorable Characters-And Why I Like Them

So I was talking with some of my friends the other night about books, hospital of course, hospital because that’s seriously what we do ALL the time (I’m looking at you, Tatiana, Sylvia, Paulina, Megan and Gabby) and we started talking about City of Bones because Paulina is reading it for the first time. (I know, right? Sigh, at least she’s reading it now! Haha) She had already kind of started liking different characters and we were talking about that and I mentioned that my favorite TMI character, besides Jace Wayland (because we all know how I get about Jace Wayland) is Alec Lightwood.

And that started a discussion on the likability of Alec. I seemed to be the only person that really actually liked him. For the most part, there were negative comments about Alec. Its not that they didn’t like him; they just weren’t particularly fond of him. They said he was pompous, and mean and things like that. And they aren’t really wrong. But…I love Alec, and probably for those reasons. And I usually get a sort of incredulous reaction when I express how much I really love Alec.

That’s not really the first time that’s happened either. I tend to like characters that aren’t always the most favorable of characters. I love Alec Lightwood. My favorite HP character is Ron Weasley. I like James Potter, as well. Jessamine Lovelace from TID? Yeah, I liked her too. I liked Pippa Cross in A Great and Terrible Beauty and I actually really like Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones (from what I know so far…). I also really like Draco Malfoy as well.

I also tend to get a lot of gasps and surprised looks when I say I don’t like a particular character, or that I’m not as obsessed with them as most people are. Like Severus Snape…I don’t like him, sorry. I don’t like him the way the fandom does. I think Alan Rickman is awesome but I’m just not a huge fan. Same with Dobby; that guy is SOOOO annoying, I can’t even handle it. I like Simon Lewis in TMI but I felt he was kind of a stereotypical character and I am not obsessed with him like most of the TMI fandom is. And so on.

So I started to think, why is it that I tend to like the characters that most people don’t pick as their favorite? Why do I tend to be very apathetic toward characters that people go insane over? I really started to think this over. And I came up with some reasons.

They are more realistic. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love Harry Potter. I love Hermione Granger and Jace Wayland and all of these characters but a lot of times, they aren’t the most realistic of characters. Now, don’t jump down my throat just yet. What I’m saying is, they are realistic, but they aren’t the MOST realistic characters of the novel. I prefer characters like Ron, Alec, Draco, James, Jessamine because I believe they tend to represent human nature a lot more than maybe we are aware of or what we want to admit.

Take Ron Weasley as an example.

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I think people like him for the most part, as part of the trio, but I don’t think people are overly fond of him. I know a ton of people who will bad mouth him to the end of time, and they usually bring up the way he acted with Harry in Goblet of Fire when his name is chosen, and then also in Deathly Hallows, when he leaves Hermione and Harry. And I can understand where they are coming from. You can sort of be frustrated and angry with Ron and the way he acts.

However, I think the way he reacts is the most realistic reaction of all of them. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are all extraordinary characters, and they’re all wonderful, brave, fantastic characters. But come on, let’s be real. How many of us, actual seventeen/eighteen year olds would make the kind of sacrifices that they did? I mean, I’m sure there would be a good amount. I know that you tend to surprise yourself when put under extreme circumstances, but let’s face it, teenagers aren’t always prepared for these kind of situations. I think the fact that Ron is tired and hungry and irritable and frustrated is completely normal and expected. I would be. I don’t know how I would be if I was put in the kind of situations that they are. And when it comes to Goblet of Fire? We are all victims to the green monster of envy and jealousy and I think that Ron being angry at Harry is normal. I think its realistic. I think that its the most realistic and genuine reaction, in both of those situations.

They are more relatable. 

Again, don’t all start attacking me. Its not that I don’t think that these other characters aren’t relatable because they are! They totally are. There’s a reason they are the main characters and the ones that people remember. They are completely relatable. But I tend to find those disliked characters a little more relatable.

Let’s talk about Alec Lightwood for a moment.

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What I’ve seemed to notice about those who tend not to like Alec is that he’s pompous, proud, he’s irrational and emotional, and he can be mean, and he does something INCREDIBLY stupid in City of Lost Souls.  I’m not denying that; definitely not. But I can relate to Alec Lightwood so much, more so than probably any of the characters in that book because he is so REAL. He’s eighteen years old, and he’s gay, and he can’t really bring himself to admit that. Its hard enough for someone to come out as a normal teenager and even harder in a conservative, tight knit society that the Shadowhunters have created. Then he has Magnus and I think a lot of his growth in his self-esteem is hanging on that relationship. I think he feels more confident when he has Magnus‘s love.

And yes, obviously Magnus is an immortal being and has previous relationships and love in the past. We do know that, and I know that it is possible for you to love more than one person in your life. But again, Alec is not a very self-confident person and I’m sure hearing about Magnus’s previous loves, and coming face to face with one as manipulative as Camille has to be SO hard on him and his self-esteem. It doesn’t help that Magnus is very close-mouthed about his past. I know he thinks he’s doing Alec a favor by sparing him from details of a past that isn’t important anymore but I think it makes Alec feel worse, and it makes him have crazy, insecure thoughts because he’s insecure. I also think that he comes across as pompous and mean because of his insecurities, to cover up how he’s really feeling.

I know exactly how that feels. I know how scary it can be to come out to people; I know it was for me. I know what it is like to be so unbelievably insecure and lacking of confidence in yourself that you sabotage your relationship because again, I’ve been there. I’ve had the sort of insecurities that Alec does and if you’re already an emotional person, the way Alec is, you’re going to do things that are irrational. I think Alec is a very real and relatable character. I feel like people try to pretend that we don’t have insecurities like that, the ones that make us do those kinds of things, that make us do BAD, mean, or hurtful things. I think its realistic to have a character like Alec who is emotional and irrational and impulsive and making the wrong decisions and making mistakes and messing things up because we all do these sort of things. We all do the wrong things all the time, because we’re human and Alec is a very human character, which is why I love him so much.

They’re a lot like me?

Okay, I don’t mean this in a way to feel sorry for myself or any of that but I’m a book worm. And sure, that’s super cool now. Everyone seems to be reading now but for most of my life, especially through middle school and high school, I was teased hugely for spending most of my time with my nose in a book. And I’m kind of an intense person. I am emotional, impulsive, sometimes irrational and I just FEEL so much, you know? I’ve always been like that. And I’m a person that has never had a ton of friends all at one time. I’ve been unpopular.

So maybe I understand and connect with these characters more than the others because of their unpopularity? I understand their motives, I understand that their loneliness can sometimes make them do stupid things, or come across stupid.

Take Jessamine for instance, from The Infernal Devices. She’s lonely; she doesn’t fit in with the Shadowhunters and doesn’t feel that same pull, the same calling as the rest of them do. She wants to be normal, wants to have a normal life, to marry and have children and escape the life that she doesn’t belong to, not really. And yeah, she betrays people and she’s not a very nice person. But I can understand her motivations and I can understand why she did the things she did. I understand wanting something so badly that she was willing to do anything for that.

This also makes me think of Pippa Cross in A Great and Terrible Beauty, who is often called annoying, spoiled, impulsive, irrational, etc. I completely understand Pippa. She’s powerless, in ever way that she can be powerless. She is absolutely beautiful (okay, so that one isn’t exactly relatable haha) and she’s a tool her parents are using to get out of their debt. She isn’t valued for her mind, for the things she thinks, for her dreams and her wishes. She’s insecure and that makes her biting, mean, a bully. They say bullies tend to be incredibly insecure people. I think Pippa is afraid of not being heard, of being looked over and not feeling important. I know how that feels. I think she also feels like, even though she’s beautiful, she’s constantly in the shadow of Felicity because Felicity is clever and charming and dynamic. I DEFINITELY can understand that because I tend to find friends who are more outgoing and dynamic and more well-liked than I am. Which brings me to my last point.

I understand these characters.

When you really come and put all of these characters, it boils down to I understand them, and understanding them makes them more real, more natural and more genuine. I understand their motives and their emotions and why they make the decisions the do.

I understand Alec. I understand that he is insecure and that he’s impulsive and he’s a teenager with raging emotions and it makes him irrational. I understand the mistakes one can make when they have that kind of personality and those kind of insecure thoughts. Like I said, been there, done that. I’ve made incredibly stupid decisions like Alec, sabotaged my friendships and relationships.

I understand Jessamine, wanting something so badly that you would do anything for it, even hurt those who have only your best interests at heart because you are so focused on that goal that its so hard to pay attention to something else.

I understand Ron Weasley, because I know what its like to be in others’ shadows and to feel like you’re constantly second best to someone else. I know that I could probably not handle a situation like being on the run, trying to take on the biggest villain of all time as well as Hermione and Harry. I would probably be like Ron, I would feel discouraged and hungry and angry and frustrated and hopeless. I would.

I understand Draco Malfoy, who I believe is a product of his environment, a kid who only knows what his father has taught him and I believe that he eventually realizes what he has done is wrong. I believe he is a kid that makes the wrong decisions but changes things before he and his conscience and his soul can be lost forever to evil. I feel sorry for him, and I have fantasies that he became a better and happier person after the war, after he comes to terms with the mistakes that he made and learned from them.

I also understand Cersei Lannister. Okay, not the whole, I’m in love with my brother thing because that’s kind of gross. But I understand that she was basically forced to marry someone that she didn’t love and that she was used, abused and disrespected and that would make any self-respecting woman angry. And all she wants to do is protect her children. Sure, she doesn’t quite go about it in the BEST way possible but I do understand. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Cersei was scorned BIG time and I can understand her anger, her need for…revenge and to get what she feels she has earned.

Lastly, I also like James Potter, and besides just the fact that he’s Harry’s dad and without him, we wouldn’t have Harry. I think he was a great man and a great person. I think he had a big head, and was pompous and spoiled and a bully when he was a child because of the environment he grew up in, where he was spoiled and adored by his parents. But I don’t think he was a terrible person and I think he grew up to be a great man, who learned from his mistakes and changed who he was, and became the man that everyone talked about to  Harry.

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So okay, maybe you don’t agree with me. Maybe you still think I’m crazy and I like the weirdest characters and what is wrong with you and all of that and that’s okay! I have read blog posts and articles about those characters that I don’t like, like Snape, and I’ve understood but I haven’t agreed and I’m sure you have done the same.

But that’s just the way I feel. I like those secondary characters that not as many people like. I like those underdog characters that don’t always make the right decisions or say the right things because they are the most real to me, and they are the characters that jump off the page to me.

I am not a perfect person, and I’m okay with that. I come to terms with myself and my personality more and more each day but I’ve been insecure and emotional and impulsive and stupid and annoying and I’ve been mean and I’ve been prideful. So I understand these characters and I understand that sometimes you do the wrong things and say the wrong things and you’re not liked and you lose friends and boyfriends and loved ones and you’re not popular and you’re alone. I recognize that.

I think that so many of these popular characters go through the same things. I do believe that, but I do believe that they tend to do these things in a way that can be admired, or make them to be a struggling hero or a martyr or that sort of thing. I think they often times end up making the right decisions and that they have these redeeming qualities that are more obvious than their flaws. I think these other characters, their flaws are more obvious than their good qualities because their flaws cause problems in the stories.

But I see these characters for their good and their bad and I saw their genuineness and I love them for that. So I’ll stick to liking those characters that may not be as popular as the others. Even if I have to continually defend them, because I like them for a reason, for many reasons, and that’s all that matters right? These characters are real to me, and therefore feel like real friends to me, real people that I know.

So what do you think? What are some characters that you like that some people don’t really agree with? As always, share in the comments. I love to hear from you guys!