The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 White Carpet Premiere in Los Angeles!

Hello everyone!

Sorry that I’ve basically been out of touch the last few days. I’ve been lax on both blogging and writing for NaNo (uh oh!) because I’ve been busy with work AND the premiere for Mockingjay Part 1!

The premiere was yesterday in Los Angeles, order CA at the Nokia Theater at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles. This is where they’ve had all the premieres for the movies in this trilogy so far and I think its a great place to have it. As soon as the date was announced, I put in the request for the day off and eagerly awaited the premiere.

Now, the plan was this: show up in the morning and take a chill approach to the premiere. I wasn’t down for the stress, though stress is a part of premieres, always, and I had seen pretty much everyone that I had wanted to see last year at the Catching Fire premiere. I knew I’d have to go the night before to get in line but I just didn’t feel like it. Plus, my dad was in the hospital due to some heart issues (he’s okay!) so it was just a bunch of mess.

Well, my good friend, Jade (who you might recognize from Teens React on YouTube) went the night before, and let me know that she could save us a spot in line because she’s awesome and because we’ve helped save her spot at events before :) So I was going to get some sleep and then head to the premiere in the early morning.

I didn’t get ANY sleep at all. I couldn’t sleep. It was way too early for me. Oh well. We packed our things up and headed down to Nokia.

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This is me in line at about 5:30 am. Jade was first in line! Even when I don’t try and be first in line, I end up first in line. I have no idea how this happens.

We spent the day hanging out and snacking and talking books and such. I kept trying to nap but it just didn’t happen. I was running on adrenaline basically.

I was really disappointed in SPEC this year. SPEC runs all (well, most) of the red carpet premieres and Charles, the main man, and his guys usually run a really great show but yesterday was just sloppy and disorganized. There was almost NO communication at all and they have this really stupid promotion going on so even if you waited all day in line (like we did), you still had to go in after about 200 people that were part of this promotion. It was ridiculous and frustrating. They were SO disorganized. I couldn’t even believe it. I’m up for a fan camp again, because that was just sloppy as hell.

We finally got let in and headed toward the bleachers where the fans were set up. I ended up in the second row with my friends, which wasn’t a bad spot. The carpet was set up, and it looked cool but honestly? Not nearly as cool as it did last year. 

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I was helping out debut author, Tonya Kuper, while I was at it though. Her novel, which is published by Entangled Teen, is coming out next week and I helped by passing out postcards to promote it! I thought she’d get a kick out of this!

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The Mockingjays on the carpet were super cool though. The carpet was half white carpet and half white tile. I kept waiting for someone to just take an epic spill.

At first, the security wasn’t going to let us stand at the barricade. We stood at once point and they sent us back to our seats. I was VERY VERY frustrated. I wouldn’t wait in line, with no sleep, if I wanted to just wave to them from the bleachers. It made no sense. Some of the stars started coming closer so we all kind of went back up to the barricade and the SPEC guys were like, fine, just behave. Easy cheesy. At least in my opinion.

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Getting ready for the stars.

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The first person I saw was Joey Graceffa, who is on YouTube. I admit, my knowledge of YouTubers is pretty much nonexistent so I didn’t know who he was BUT my friends Sylvia and Cassie were SO super stoked so I had to take a picture too haha.

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This little guy, Emjay Anthony, is going to be playing Hector in the Insurgent movie. I had to get a picture of him because we all know how I feel about the Divergent trilogy <3

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We were waiting for more people to come when Jade suddenly said “Is that Mark Hoppus?!” and it was, completely with mohawk (not pictured). I FREAKED out because come on, Blink 182! No one seemed to know who he was, so Jade and I started yelling at him to come over. He just kind of smiled and we were like, agh, no Mark, come back! So he came over and took pictures with us. I’ve already met Travis Barker so I’m SO stoked to have met Mark. I just need Tom!

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I had no idea who he was until I googled the premiere and figured it out haha. His name is Cody Johns and he’s a really really small actor, though he was in I Am Number Four as one of John’s friends in the very beginning. I just thought he was SO super cute. I’m terrible haha. Also my friend Sylvia’s face in the background haha.

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Me and Erica Bierman, who plays President Snow’s daughter in the films. She was SO sweet and she fangirled HARD over Jade because she watches YouTube. It was actually quite adorable.

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So, last year, I was devastated when I could not meet Suzanne Collins. She signed for very few people before leaving. This time, she took her time, took pictures and signed for people and just seriously made my whole day. Its all about her! She created this! I was also in a weird spot that got a ton of weird light. My first picture with her was all LIGHT and she noticed, and put her hand up to block it and we got this beauty!

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Me and the beautiful Jena Malone, who plays Johanna Mason in the film, and quite well.

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See what I mean about that light haha. Stef Dawson, who plays Annie Cresta. She’s seriously SO fabulous and amazing. SO adorable.

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Me and Meta Golding, who plays Enobaria. She also is in the newer version of The Tomorrow People, which I am obsessed with (RIP), so I have to go back and figure out who she is!

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Stef and Meta were SO happy to see each other. It was adorable.

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Wes Chatham, who plays Castor, part of Katniss’s camera crew. He was SO nice and his wife was adorably pregnant. I wanted to rub her belly, which, you know, is not creepy in the slightest. I had Sylvia’s book and asked him to sign it and Jade is like “because she’s in the bathroom!” so he signed it to her, personally, and asked why she was in the bathroom. All in her book. It was adorable.

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Me and the super legend, Donald Sutherland. His voice is even more awesome in person.

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AW. Such a sweetheart in Nina Jacobson who is the producer for The Hunger Games movies :)

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Then Jennifer Lawrence came by. I loved seeing her this time because I was actually at the barricade this time AND she seemed much happier than at Catching Fire, where she was freezing and SICK. She is awesome because even though she doesn’t take pictures with people, she tries to sign for each and every fan which is just incredible. I did try to some selfies while she was signing my book and I got some blurry, creeper ones haha.

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Julianne Moore came in. She’s a new addition to the cast, playing District 13’s president, Alma Coin. She didn’t stop to take pictures BUT she signed my book so that was awesome, and I managed to get some pictures of her as well.

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AW. My beautiful and darling Sam Claflin. He’s such a doll, and so good to fans. He plays my favorite character of the whole trilogy, Finnick Odair. I got to meet him last year but I was more than happy to do it again.

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Liam was another one that wasn’t taking pictures but I didn’t mind because, like Jen, he wanted to try and sign for as many fans as possible. I got a few pictures of him as he signed for people. A lot of people aren’t much into his new bearded look but I thought it looked fantastic on him.

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AGH! Elizabeth Banks! I was SO excited because I wasn’t able to get her at all last year, not her autograph or anything! She stopped to sign my book, and I was going to just take pictures of her signing, like I did with Jen but she saw and leaned in and I got to take a picture with her. Made my whole night. She is SERIOUSLY perfect as Effie.

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In consistency with the others, Josh Hutcherson also didn’t take pictures with fans in order to sign for as many as possible. However, I was getting pictures of him anyway, and then Jade asked him for a picture because she had never gotten one, even though she’s been to all three premieres so far. Sylvia and I both saw the opportunity and jumped right in.

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I also jumped in for a picture with Jeffrey Wright with Jade.

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He also signed my book too but I didn’t get a chance to take a picture and totally jumped into this one haha.

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I got to see Lea Thompson again too! I saw her months ago at the Vampire Academy premiere but I was stoked to see her again. She’s from one of my favorite movies of all time, Back to the Future, and now she’s on Switched at Birth (which I’m massively addicted to) and Dancing with the Stars. She is also the mommy of my future girlfriend, Zoey Deutch <3

The last person that went on the carpet was Natalie Dormer, who you probably know from Game of Thrones as Margery, and who is playing Cressida in Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. I wanted her SOOOO bad, she was my number one goal but she blew past because she had to go into the movie. I’m determined to get her at the Part 2 premiere!

After the carpet was over, we were instructed to sit down and then we would receive our tickets to go in and see the movie!

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My friends and I with our tickets!

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The movie was ABSOLUTELY fabulous and I can’t wait to share more about it once I write my review (check for that tomorrow!). I had a blast at the premiere. I was tired and hungry for sure. I thought the organization of the event was terrible. Even after the carpet, it was just ridiculous. I could barely get into the theater, and we just made it in as soon as the movie started. Then getting our phones after the movie and everything…it just a wicked mess. I hope they clean that up next year and either come up with a better system OR do a fan camp again (please!).

If you’d like to see all the pictures of the day at the premiere, click this link and you can check them out on the official What a Nerd Girl Says FB page!

Til next year, Mockingjay Part 2!

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Book of the Week-Catching Fire

In spirit of the release of Catching Fire in theaters tomorrow (or for some of us, viagra 100mg today), pharmacy I decided to do an oldie for the Book of the Week.

Okay, I also haven’t read anything new this week. I know. Its awful. I’m trying to catch up, and I’ll have book reviews up soon, I promise! I just gotta get back in the groove!

But until then, let’s talk about Catching Fire, and why I think its the best book in the trilogy. Don’t forget to see the movie this weekend; it is SO amazing. You can read my review of the movie here.

Catching Fire  by Suzanne Collins

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GoodReads / Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

Genre:

Young Adult, Dystopian

Part of a Series?:

The second novel of The Hunger Games Trilogy

You May Like if You Liked:

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

Age Recommendation:

14+

Plot Summary:

From Good Reads:

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

The Review:

This is the strongest book in the trilogy, easily. We’ve had the world established in the first novel. We know Katniss and Peeta and the world they live. We understand the cruelty of the Capitol and the heads of Panem, and President Snow and the Gamemakers. We know all this. The Hunger Games is a great book, something that grabbed me from the very first page.

But Catching Fire takes it to a whole new level. For one thing, the entirety of Panem grows in this novel, which opens our eyes even more to the cruelty of President Snow and his government. The Victory Tour shows us all the various different districts, and I love that. I think that this is where Katniss really begins to see what effect she had, and that her effect isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All she’s ever known is District 12 and the small amount of time she spent in the Capitol. Seeing the other districts only fires her up more.

I also love that we meet so many new important characters in this novel too like Johanna and Finnick and Plutarch, and people like that. Not only does it open us up to new victors besides Haymitch, but we see how the Games have effected other people as well. Plus its good to meet characters that you can get attached to like Katniss and Peeta. My favorite character in the entire series is Finnick Odair and he’s introduced in this novel.

The Games! The Games in this novel just takes it to a whole new level too. It was scary enough in the first book, but at least Katniss seemed to feel almost at home. She knows woods; she can’t hunt and she can take care of herself. Not only is she in the unfamiliar territory of the jungle but the arena also has that clock twist to it, which is awful! A new horror every hour? No thank you! Crazy killer monkeys, jabberjays that sound like your loved ones being tortured and poisonous fog? Its insanity.

I think the most important part of this book though is Katniss’ transformation. She goes from being focused only on herself, her familiy and her own survival (which is NOT a bad thing at all) to being concerned about so much more. She becomes concerned with Peeta, and Haymitch, and her prep team, and Cinna. She even begins to be concerned about the other tributes, even though they’re trying to kill her. Remember who the real enemy is.

Lastly, I think this book has one of the BEST cliffhangers ever. I remember reading it and wanting to throw the book across the room. How could this possibly be happening? What? What?! WHAT? I couldn’t handle it. Luckily enough for me, Mockingjay was coming out within a month, and I didn’t have to wait too long to find out. But an epic cliffhanger, and they nailed the cliffhanger in the movie, just an FYI.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?:

Of course. And I recommend seeing the movie too, which is out in theaters tomorrow!

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I hope you enjoyed this impromptu, last minute Book of the Week, and that you’ll head out to see the movie and that you enjoy it just as much as I do!

Happy Hunger Games and May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Spoiler Free Movie Review!

I am so incredibly lucky that I was able to attend the Catching Fire fan camp and red carpet premiere in Los Angeles. You can read my recaps of Day One, troche Day Two and Day Three. I met so many awesome cast members, and fans, laughed my butt off, got NO sleep whatsoever, and made a ton of memories. But the best part of the whole experience was being able to see the movie early.

And now that the movie is out in TWO days (or tomorrow, if you’re seeing it at the night showings like me!), I want to share my review. As always, its completely spoiler free!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 

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Rated:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language

Directed By:

Francis Lawrence

Cast:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Haralson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Worst synopsis ever. LOL.

We’re into the deeper world of The Hunger Games trilogy. Fresh from her time in the Games, Katniss Everdeen is under pressure. She’s deeply affected by the Games and the deaths she’s responsible for. She has created a buzz with her defiance of the Capitol, and now she has to pay for it, and convince the Districts that she is deeply in love with Peeta, and help to bring down the rebellion stirring in the Districts to keep her family safe. When that doesn’t work, she and Peeta are thrown back into the games, and this year’s Games are going to be much different.

My Review:

We’ve all come to expect that movies will never be as good as the book. This is true. Its hardly EVER that a movie is better than a book.

But I’ll tell you one thing: Catching Fire comes extremely close!

I was SO incredibly impressed with this movie. It is definitely a movie that is made for the fans. It was an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. I was constantly crying. I was crying because of heartbreak. I was crying because I was laughing so hard. I was crying because there were just moments that were so beautiful, I couldn’t handle it. It was exciting and scary, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, and there were several moments in the movie where I forgot to breathe normally or I’d gasp, very loudly.

This movie takes the very exciting, tense, emotional book and translates it on the big screen nearly perfectly. I’ve never seen a movie follow a book so well. There were things left out, of course, but those things made sense to leave out, in the grand scheme of things. They got all the important moments of the book, and there were so many direct quotes, you could almost quote alongside the movie, which I did a few times.

They captured so many of the moments that were important to ME, as a fan. I was looking back at the Top Ten Tuesday I did last week which was the top ten things from the Catching Fire book that I wanted in the Catching Fire movie, and they showed every single one. I was so excited about this. They really did such a great job of recognizing the important moments, and the little things they did add, like what’s going outside of the Games, and Snow’s granddaughter, really helped to enhance the story and build it up for Mockingjay Part 1.

I loved each and every tribute. The difference between the first movie and the second movie is that a lot of the tributes in this movie become incredibly important, especially in Mockingjay. We care about Finnick and Johanna and Mags and Wiress and Beetee. So their casting was incredibly important and I think each and every single one of them nailed it, perfectly. Sam Claflin was an amazing Finnick, and no body else in the world could have played Johanna except Jena Malone. They adapted these characters perfectly into the movie. I can’t emphasize enough how much it impressed me.

The actions scenes were amazing! Katniss was wicked with her bow, Finnick drove me insane with excitement when he fought with his trident. There was so much romance in this movie, and each and every kiss between Katniss and Peeta (and there’s enough to satisfy all the Katniss-Peeta shippers out there!) was beautiful and scorching hot. I had to fan myself sometimes.

OH! And the cliffhanger. The cliffhanger of Catching Fire the book is one of the craziest cliffhangers I’ve read in a book, and it is so gut wrenching and scary and emotional and they took that short ending and made it so incredibly beautiful and it left me breathing so hard and it made me so excited and impatient for Mockingjay.

Ooh, and look for the Mockingjay movie symbol at the end. Perfection!

Simply, this movie was made for the fans, and it was absolutely incredible. I think that even reluctant fans, or people who aren’t into the Hunger Games, could see this movie and love it. It was just that great. It had action and romance, and so many tense moments and it made you laugh and cry, and have a good time. And I definitely canNOT wait until Mockingjay Part 1 next year!

Rating:

I do NOT give this out lightly, especially for a movie adaptation. This is how good this movie is.

5 out of 5

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Don’t forget to check out my recaps of the events! You can also see ALL the pictures from my adventures on my official Facebook page here.

Check back later this week because I *might* have a giveaway coming your way! ;)

Happy Hunger Games and May the Odds be Ever In Your Favor!

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Series

Well, medicine that was quite a mouthful of a title. I did try to slim it down a bit but I’m afraid it just wasn’t going to happen. So I am afraid we are stuck with this extremely long title. Sigh. Oh well. Sometimes, pharm you know, buy information pills things just happen.

So I’m actually writing this on Monday night, so its ready to post for tomorrow, because tomorrow is a BIG, BIG day, in the words of one Effie Trinket. Tomorrow, me and my iFandoms Collide girls are heading down to the Star Trek Into Darkness premiere tomorrow and I’m going to be a busy girl all day.

So I had to be responsible and do all my homework first. And now I’m being doubly responsible and finishing this so I don’t get behind!

Because there’s so many awesome posts coming! I’ll probably do a post on my first movie premiere experience tomorrow, and I have my interview with Eoin Colfer to post and there’s an interview with Jessica Brody coming VERY soon, and the Book of the Week and I have a super cool blog that was a story writing project with me and a few other bloggers and…yeah, a lot of SUPER awesome stuff coming to WhatANerdGirlSays.

In the meantime though, enjoy this week’s Tuesday Top Ten!

Favorite Science Fiction/Paranormal/Fantasy/Dystopian Series

11. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King

Some people will not understand why this is so low on the list. They also are probably wondering why this is number eleven. Well to answer the second question, well its my blog and I can do whatever I want and I love this genre and so I couldn’t narrow it down. And for the second, I’ll explain. I love LoTR, I adore those books. They are fantastic books and I enjoy reading them. J.R.R. Tolkien created an incredible world, using old mythologies and biblical references and all kinds of really cool stuff. He created some memorable characters, and an epic story. I do think that he should have created stronger female characters but that wasn’t exactly the time and Eowyn is still a super badass character. But these aren’t books that I gravitate to and read over and over again. Mostly because they are really hard to get through; there’s a lot that goes on, where you’re sitting there going, what does this have to do with anything?! I also think there’s an abnormal amount of singing and dancing and eating and partying going on in all of those books and I’m sitting here, going, “Uh impending doom? Why are we feasting?” But maybe thats just me. But that being said, JRR Tolkien is a fantasy god, and created a series that opened the doors for so many other series. I don’t think the fantasy genre would become what it is without this epic trilogy.

10. Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

It took me FOREVER to read these books. I don’t know why, but I just had no desire to read them. I don’t know if it was the covers or what, but I just didn’t want to read them. I had no idea what they were about but I just didn’t turn to them for new reading material. However, my sister kept pushing me to and eventually I gave in…and sped through the first two books in a matter of maybe 36 hours. Luckily enough for me, Mockingjay was to be released about a week later so I didn’t even have to wait a long time to find out what happened next. And even though Mockingjay is my least favorite of all the books, I seriously enjoy this series and I am so glad I finally sat down to read these. I know that a lot of people give Suzanne Collins crap because of Battle Royale but I’ve said this once, twice, three times and I’ll continue to say it: we tell the same stories over and over again, but when we tell them in different voices, we create completely different stories. And I believe Suzanne did that. I love Katniss, and I love her strength and her humanity. We are put in a world where children are forced to kill each other, and where immense violence occurs. Then we are shown this world from our beloved Katniss’s point of view, and even though she is surviving and killing just like every one else in the games, she has a real humanity about her and you can’t help but love her and root her on.

9. Divergent series by Veronica Roth

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Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant 

Oh Divergent. Thank you to my dear friend Caitlin who introduced me to this book. Another book that I got into after it had been released for a bit. I read Divergent the DAY that Insurgent released. In fact, I finished Insurgent at about 2 or 3 am and immediately purchased Insurgent on my Kindle because I just had to find out what happened next. I had to. And I love the world Veronica Roth created because it is both extremely familiar but very different at the same time. I also feel a very strong attachment to Tris Prior. Tris is not like other heroines. So many of the heroines that we read are yes, strong, and powerful and all that but they’re always pretty! And come on, not all of us are pretty! We’re not all supermodels! And it works great in this book because it shows Four‘s gradual attraction to her, he falls for her because of her strength, her selflessness, her intelligence, all of that. And it gives her a better opportunities to prove her strength. Because we are less focused on her physical appearance, except maybe for the fact that she is very small (which, as a short person, I love!), we are able to focus on her physical and mental journey to become the real person that she can be. I love the psychology of the books too. A friend of mine is a psychology professor (I think, she’s got a degree in psychology, she’s really smart when it comes to psychology…) and we were able to have some deep discussions on the serums and fear landscapes and all that stuff and its so super interesting!

8. Legend trilogy by Marie Lu

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Legend, Prodigy and Champion 

This is another series that was recommended to me by someone and was one that I actually jumped on pretty quickly. My friend Erin gives me really good recommendations and I tend to take her advice haha. I read Legend two days before Prodigy came out (how does this keep happening to me…) and I was addicted. I was hesitant to read this book because it was another dystopian. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE dystopian. It kind of takes all the worst qualities about the societies we live in today and amplifies them. I almost feel like these books are made to scare us a bit, like, could the world really become this way? But I was getting tired of it and it was getting comparisons to Hunger Games and I was like, meh. But I am so glad I decided to dive in. Marie Lu is a fantastically talented writer and she creates such a real world. This could be the world we eventually live in. Its Los Angeles in the Republic of America where you have to take an aptitude test to determine whether you’ll be trained as a soldier, which is elite, or you have to do grunt work. Day is a criminal, after getting the lowest score possible, trying to save his family and June is a prodigy, with the highest score, a perfect score, going after Day after he is accused of her brother’s murder. Alternating viewpoints gives us a look into both of their heads and both of their stories and Marie spins a twisting story where you just don’t know who to look at it or who to root for. Fantastic books. I canNOT wait until Champion, the final book, is released this fall.

7. Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

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Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess

I think this one is almost self-explanatory because I talk about Cassandra Clare so often but I have to talk about it so much. The Mortal Instruments is near and dear to my heart because they are the first ones I read of Cassie and they have Jace Lightwood, who I’m pretty much in love with and all that. And yeah, TMI gets a lot of “crap” because of stolen ideas and all that stuff. But what I like about the Infernal Devices is that Cassie became an even better writer when she tackled these books. She knew New York, and she was comfortable there but diving into these Victorian London novels took time, effort and a ton of research, while also creating a believable, exciting and relatable story and she accomplished all of the above. Tessa, Will, Jem and the rest of the characters are so easy to love and so easy to follow and the story keeps us absolutely breathless to the very end. These books are funny and exciting and absolutely heartbreaking. I challenge you to read Clockwork Princess without bursting into tears. I dare you. You can’t do it. You can see the differences in the times between Clary‘s Shadowhunter story of TMI and Tessa‘s in this series but you can also see the similarities between them too. And even though you aren’t wearing a corset and wondering what is proper and what is not, you can feel such a kinship and immediate connection to Tessa Gray. And you anxiously wait the entire series to find out who she is and what strengths she has and you learn that out of all the characters in the series, she’s the strongest. Such a beautiful series. And look at those covers, gorgeous!

6. Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

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The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

I will talk about this series until I am blue in the face because I feel like no one I know has read this series and it is an absolute travesty. I was talking to my friend about it today and Leigh Bardugo (author of the Grisha trilogy) saw it and chimed in, saying she agreed with me on this series. Its good to know that I am not the only one who not only appreciates what an amazing series this is, but also loves it as well. Cinda reminds me a lot of Tamora Pierce who was the first author that really brought me into YA fantasy. If Meg Cabot and Sarah Dessen were my gateways into YA contemporary, Tamora was the gateway to my fantasy love. And I have read some amazing series since then, I really have, all the series that are on this list basically. But none of them have brought me back full circle like this one. Its such brilliant, pure fantasy, that is creating this wonderful, different world but is written so it is familiar to us all and makes it a relatable read. I love Cinda’s Heir series but this one, Seven Realms…its just brilliant. I can’t even articulate how fantastic this book is. You get two alternating points of view, in third person, between Princess Raisa and the former crime lord, Han Alister (who you may have seen on my fave fictional crushes). Both are trying to find their niche in the world until mysterious things start happening to them, and to the world around them and then suddenly their worlds are intertwined. Spread out over four books, you stay glued to each page, anxiously waiting to see what happens next. I read all four in about five days. I inhaled them. More people need to be talking about and reading these books.

5. Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

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The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena (and two more coming in 2013 and 2014!)

I love Percy Jackson and the Olympians. They are absolutely great books. I saw my sister and brother reading them, saw that they were kids books and kind of left it at that. But then I saw the movie, and the movie…wasn’t that good and it made me curious about the books and I read that series pretty quickly. Then I latched onto this one, of course. And Heroes of Olympus takes the world that you love in Percy Jackson and amplifies it by a million. Even though these books are sold in the children’s section and are aimed at children, they have a very YA feel and remind of Harry Potter, how they can reach out to any age. The writing becomes more sophisticated, the stories more complex and the relationships are becoming more fun. And the stories and conflicts that the characters go through are getting harder than they were in Percy Jackson. We get to see the characters we love evolve into older teens, we’re seeing them growing older and falling in love and trying to save the world from things even worse than before. Then we also get to meet new characters, who, even though we haven’t known them as long, we fall in love with just as hard. The idea of intermixing the Roman and Greek mythologies and two camps and all of that is just brilliant and I really think this series is Rick Riordan‘s masterpiece. He took this brilliant, awesome world he created off of all these myths that we’re all pretty familiar with and just made it that much better. I’ll admit it too: I love this series because of all the Percabeth. I love me some Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. They are too cute.

4. Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

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A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, A Sweet Far Thing 

So I messed up this series a little bit. I saw the cover of Rebel Angels when I was at Borders one day and thought it was absolutely gorgeous and it really intrigued me. I think it had just recently been released because it was on display. I read the description, thought it sounded great, bought it and read it. And then realized it was the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty. Oops. My bad. So I went back and read the first one, knowing who died at the end already. But honestly, even though I did that…it didn’t kill that for me. Instead I just enjoyed watching Gemma come into her own. I love books that take place in Victorian England (though, of course, I read this way before the Infernal Devices) especially when the main characters are female. It was such a difficult time for girls. They had no rights, their entire lives were focused on finding a husband and they couldn’t even enjoy sex. “Just lie back and think of England.” (Which I found funny when Jace said it in City of Ashes haha). And then you throw in the fact that Gemma, the main character, has these magical powers, very strong ones, in a world where she has no power. The temptation, the hardships of learning how to deal with these powers and to use them responsibly…that has to be hard. Watching Gemma discover who she is, both as a member of the Order and as a person living her life, is one of the best stories I’ve ever read. These stories hold such a strong place in my heart because I appreciate the strength that Libba Bray gives to all her characters: Gemma, Felicity, Ann and Pippa in a time where women weren’t supposed to have strength. I also give her major major props for including a lesbian character in the book, because there are still so many people who think being gay is “bad”, but think of what it would have meant to be a lesbian in Victorian England, but she does it so beautiful and I am so in love with that character.

3. Tricksters series by Tamora Pierce

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Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen 

Oh Tamora Pierce. What would I have ever done without you in my life? She was my gateway to fantasy and science fiction and dystopian and paranormal. I had read Harry Potter, I adored Harry Potter (read below) but I always thought that fantasy wasn’t for me, that I couldn’t understand it and I couldn’t relate to the characters. It wasn’t until I picked up Trickster’s Choice that I realized how insanely wrong I was. I was 15 when I picked this book up and I honestly picked it up because it mentioned pirates very briefly in the inside flap and I had a really unhealthy obsession with pirates at the time (Thanks Johnny Depp). Turns out the pirates were mentioned for maybe 2 and 1/2 pages and it didn’t matter because it was an absolutely brilliant book. Its pure, amazing fantasy and Tamora creates these beautiful fantasy worlds that are both completely new and yet completely real to us and familiar. In this particular series, it is a class war between the dark skinned raka and the light skinned luarin nobility and the parallels between racism and class wars and slavery in our own histories is fantastic. Tammy is one smart cookie and she is able to weave these fun and beautiful adventures with amazingly strong female characters with these issues that are still so very relevant today is absolutely brilliant. I have read these books so many times that I can almost quote them by part. My copy of Trickster’s Choice is falling apart with how much I love it. And I met one of my absolute best friends, Chloe, my pen pal from Australia that I’ve been writing to for 9 years because of her books. She has changed my life. I’m still trying to figure out a symbol that I can get of these books on my body in a tattoo because it so deserves a spot on my body.

2. Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare 

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City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire (releasing Spring 2014)

I’m pretty sure any person who has even glanced at my blog knows that I have much love and much obsession for this series. What this series has done for me, in so many different ways, is never ending and what it continues to do for me. It saved me when I thought I was just going to curl up in bed and forget the world, after two really sad things happened to me. It helped me to realize that it was okay to believe, or in my case, not believe in things and that was okay. It taught me that it was okay to be who I am. Alec and Aline and Magnus are all characters I look up to so much as gay, lesbian and bisexual characters. As someone who is bisexual, it was amazing to have these characters in such a fantastic, dark, sexy, fun world and to see them overcome their fears of being who they are, giving me the courage to overcome my own fears. They gave me Jace Lightwood, my fictional boyfriend. They gave me confidence in myself to become a writer. They taught me so much. And they make me laugh, cry, anxiously turn the pages and want to become a Shadowhunter. I have met Cassandra Clare four times, I have every book that is currently published signed by her, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to interview her and I have a Fearless rune tattoo on my shoulder. These books hold a very very special place in my heart and I continue to read them over and over again to laugh and have a good time and be excited and watch as Clary and Jace and Alec and Magnus and Isabelle and Simon fight demons and Valentine and have adventures. I am eagerly awaiting the final book, City of Heavenly Fire, in 2014 and I’m INSANELY excited about the City of Bones movie this summer.

1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Goblet of Fire, the Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince, and the Deathly Hallows. 

What would I be without these books in my life? I get teary-eyed just thinking about these books and what they have done for me, as a person, as a reader, as a writer. I first read Sorcerer’s Stone when I was ten years old, the year it was released here in the United States. I am 25 and I can’t imagine ever not loving these books. I read each and every one with a fervor that I have never had for any other book series. I fell in love with characters more than any other, laughed when they laughed, celebrated with they celebrated, worked hard with them and cried when they died. These books took me from an avid reader to a passionate reader, to a reader whose very escape from everything in life that ever goes bad is a book, and especially these books. From the time I was 10 until a few years ago, nothing was going right. Of course it wasn’t, I was a teenager. But between my parents’ separation, switching schools, being responsible for things that no normal pre-teen is, falling in love, getting pregnant, and so many things…these books were there through it all. I was always a big reader but these books turned me into the passionate reader, the book addict that I am today. They taught me more than I have ever learned in any bible or textbook. I have gotten so many morals and beliefs and lessons from these books. They have taught me about love and friendship and family and death and sacrifice and forgiveness and tolerance and acceptance and on and on and on. There will never be a book series that means as much to me as this one does. There will never be a series like this. These books are so beautifully written and they have given me every emotion I could possibly feel. There is a reason that I have permanently marked myself with four Harry Potter tattoos.

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Tuesday Top Ten! Remember, click the author’s name to check out their website and click the book titles to purchase them on Amazon! I really hope that you guys are able to check out some new series today, every single one of these are very near and dear to my heart.

Stay tuned for some PRETTY awesome stuff coming to the blog this week!

And for past Tuesday Top Ten lists, click here!