Tuesday Top Ten-Best of 2013…So Far

Well, cialis 40mg guys, medical its July 2nd. This year is half over, and I can’t believe there’s still six months of awesome left.

The way I see it…2013 has been MY year so far. I’ve had a great year and I’ve had the chance to do a TON of things, I’ve had the chance to meet SO many people and I’m feeling so good this year. I feel like I’m finally on the right track. And not just in WhatANerdGirlSays world either.

My boyfriend just graduated university and I finally got into university, which means I’m on the downhill slope of my degree. Its just been SO great and I’m so happy.

So this week’s Tuesday Top Ten is a little different, and some of you may be a little disappointed, but I just kind of wanted to recap the awesome that has happened to me this year.

SO here it is: Sara’s Tuesday Top Ten of Best Things About 2013…So Far

10. Published A Little Less than Famous

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I’m dying to publish my own novel. I’m dying to be a published author like all the ones that I get SO excited to meet. And I was able to finish and self-publish my novel, A Little Less than Famous. And its not perfect. It could use a lot of editing work on it but I am so insanely proud of it. I’m proud of myself for finishing it. I’m proud of myself for writing it. I’m proud of myself every time someone reads it and likes it. I am so proud of it being part of my writing journey. I hope I can find some time to sit down and really edit it (or pay someone to edit it) and share it in all its perfection. For now, it is what it is and I am still so VERY proud of it. Almost every author that I’ve ever talked to has told me to keep writing, and to just finish something and I was able to accomplish that and I am proud of myself for that. On a side note, the book is ON SALE for only 99 cents until July 5th so click here to check it out!

9. Star Trek Premiere-My First Ever!

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I had never been to a full movie premiere before! Last year, I went to the Grove with a few people from LADA and we saw an advanced screening of the Woman in Black and Daniel Radcliffe WAS a special guest and that was really super awesome but this right here was SUCH an amazing experience. I’m a fangirl, I’m a geek, and I seriously get so excited to see famous people. I can talk to them, no problem at all, but all that anxiousness and excitement is WAY too much to handle. But what a GREAT experience for me and the other girls of iFandoms Collide. We got free t-shirts, saw an advanced screening of the movie, and saw Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and SO MANY MORE cool people. And at the end of the night, we ended up on the channel 5 news. Which, let me tell you, probably had to do with the fact that we were flirting with the guy the whole time. But seriously, a COOL time, and now all I want to do is go to premieres all the time!

8. My First Ever Gallifrey One! 

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I am a new Doctor Who fan. I’ve only been watching for a little over a year now, probably right after they put up season 6 on Netflix. But as soon as I started watching it, I was hooked. This is my favorite TV show, period. And when I found out from a few friends of mine that there was an ENTIRE Doctor Who convention, I was like, “okay, I gotta be there.” Now, unfortunately this convention is a little pricey but its TOTALLY worth it and my super awesome friend, Ana, bought me my badge before they sold out and I paid her back. And I am SO grateful she did that because WHAT an experience. It is probably one of the BEST cons I have ever been. First off, its in a hotel, which means its limited to how many people can go, which is great, because you’re not crowded *too* much. Two, its SO intimate because its ALL Doctor Who. Doctor Who 24/7. Three, it was just a blast. Karaoke until 5 am, seeing all kinds of Doctor Who actors and actresses, buying WAY too much Doctor Who merch. It was amazing.

7. Clockwork Princess

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This is EASILY the best book that I’ve read so far this year. And there’s a ton of epic books coming soon and I still think this will remain the best book of the year. Easily. I waited for this book for so long and then it was supposed to come out in December of 2012 and they pushed it back to March 2013 and I was just dying for it. Then I was going to a Cassie Clare event three days after the release, where I would get my copy and I was like, no way. I can’t wait three days! So I ordered it on my Kindle, refreshed my Kindle allll night, and then at 10 pm (midnight for where it was being published), it downloaded to my Kindle and I stayed up ALL night reading, finishing it at about 3ish am. My eyes were all bloodshot and raw, and I was sobbing and it was just SO much to deal with and NO ONE had finished it, obviously, because I had stayed up all night on its release day, before the bookstores had even opened, to read it. Every single person I know who has read it, has talked about what it did to them, especially that epilogue. What a beautiful book.

6. Discovering New Books: Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Jessica Brody and more..

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Seriously, I discover new authors all the time, mostly because I read so super fast and I have to find new things to read. But this year…seems to be a bit more and I attribute that to the combined factors that I know have a GoodReads that I am VERY active on, I have this blog, and I go to all these events now. I am discovering authors left and right, and they’re all so amazing, and I can’t keep up with my “to-read” list anymore. Before, I was just rereading the same books over and over again (which is okay, of course) but everyone would be like “You’re reading Goblet of Fire again!” or “You’re reading City of Bones again?!” and I was like, well, sure, because I don’t know what else to read. But NOW that I’ve made so many friends, especially all of YOU guys, I’m discovering new authors and new books and I’m loving it.  I am so excited for all the books that are now coming out in the second half of this year because I discovered their prequels in this half of the year.

5. City of Bones Meet and Greet at WonderCon 

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I am SO spoiled when it comes to City of Bones, at least so far. I mean, I’ve been SUPER bummed at missing out on the City of Bones panel at San Diego Comic Con because my best friend is getting married that day. And I realized, yeah, I do want to be there. But I’ve met them all already, the ones that are going to be there, AND I still have the TMI premiere coming up next month. So I’m still so lucky. I was able to be one of the five people that got to go to the VIP signing for City of Bones. I was planning on getting to WonderCon super early that day to try and get my hands on a wristband for the signing but it turns out, I didn’t even need to. Cassie did a contest through her Twitter, and I was picked and I got to go to the VIP signing where I got a book and a HUGE poster signed by Cassie, Jamie, Lily and Kevin. Cassie remembered me from the week before (see later), I told Jamie I was cooler than him (one of my finer moments haha), I could barely utter a word to the beautiful Lily, and I told Kevin that he was awesome in Gossip Girl. What a fantastic amazing experience.

4. Author Breakfast at Ontario Teen Book Fest


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Okay, so the whole reason I went to this fest was to meet Morgan Matson, Jessica Brody (again) and Marie Lu. I left that fest feeling like a million dollars, and meeting a TON of new authors that I now love and adore because I’ve read all their books and they are SO amazing. It was a seriously cool experience to sit down with these authors, and interview them for our first ever vlog post and to just sit and talk writing with them. I am an aspiring writer and being around all those published authors was TOO much for me to handle. I had a blast all day. All the panels were super awesome, Leigh Bardugo made me crack and has now become one of my favorite authors. Meeting Morgan after all this time of worshipping her book, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was an experience. But it was also great because the four of us from iFandoms Collide and my sister Jessica got to go to the author breakfast because we were bloggers and we really got an intimate time with all of the authors and that was just the best part. Especially since now, whenever we see any of these authors, they totally remember us. We made an impression!

3. Seeing the Arrested Development Banana Stand 

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Okay, some people may be like, seriously, Sara? A banana stand? But it really is one of the BEST things about this year and there’s a lot of reasons why. I mean, Arrested Development is a GREAT show so there’s that. Frozen bananas (FREE ones) are SO delicious. And it was something that I could do with my boyfriend. My boyfriend is so incredibly patient and good with me being a fangirl and going to all these events and freaking out over things that most people just don’t get. He’s SO good with me, I swear. There are NOT a lot of boys in this world that would be as awesome as he is with me. I’m an intense person. But he’s the big Arrested Development fan and he got me into it almost six years ago, before we were even dating and it was one of those things that we always did together, watch that show. We’ve done that several times since then, with TV shows, but that was the first one and so we have kind of a bond with that. And it was super fun, celebrating that it had come back for a long long awaited fourth season. And its fun to be able to extend my nerd fun with my boyfriend every once in awhile :)

2. iFandoms Collide

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Seriously, this would be number one if number one wasn’t so epicly epic. I am so grateful for meeting these four girls. I met Tatiana, Sylvia and Megan back in April, though we’ve known each other through Twitter for so much longer. We actually were all at WonderCon and didn’t even realize it. Megan was part of the normal autograph session for City of Bones but Sylvia and Tatiana were both at the VIP too, and we didn’t even realize it. Then, when the Festival of Books came around, we all realized that we lived within a few miles of each other, and decided to go together…and the rest, as they say, is history. The first day we ever spent together was April 20th, day one of the Festival of Books. That literally was ONLY two months ago. TWO months…and yet it feels like its been forever. We’ve bonded so fast, and we’ve created iFandoms Collide together and so many of the cool things that I’ve gotten to do this year is with them. So thanks Megan, Sylvia and Tatiana for coming into my life and making it fangirl awesome. I can’t wait to go on the road trip with you, stalk Robbie Sheehan, hit up the City of Bones, Catching Fire and Divergent premieres with you and just be friends forever :)

And Gabby and Paulina, I love you girls too! I wish I saw my other ifandoms girls just as much :D

1. Meeting and Interviewing Cassandra Clare

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I can’t believe this even happened. All these months later and I’m still like, I interviewed one of my absolute favorite authors. I got to INTERVIEW her. I got to sit across the table from her and interview her and she gave me a hug and she saw my tattoo and took pictures of it with her phone and gave me a cool epic Clockwork Princess poster that, like, no body else has and a Clockwork Princess pendant designed by Hebel and ohmygod. I couldn’t even handle it. I entered the contest, and just never thought about it until I got the email from Allison Tran at the Mission Viejo Library and just DIED. I was so excited, I started jumping up and down at school…and I’m in college, by the way. I was SO nervous to meet her and so nervous to interview but she was so cool, and she made me feel super relaxed and answered my questions and told funny stories and its an experience that I’ll NEVER ever forget, no way, as long as I live.

If you’re interested in watching the interview, here it is!

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I seriously have had SUCH a great year so far and I am so lucky in the things I’ve been able to do and all I can think of is…

If the first six months of 2013 were THIS cool, the last six months are going to be even MORE COOL!

I can’t wait, and I’ll be sharing it ALL with all of you awesome people.

Don’t forget to check out previous Tuesday Top Tens!

What has been the best part of 2013 for YOU? Is it a book or a movie? Did you get to meet someone cool or was it an accomplishment you reached? As always, share in the comments!

A Little Less than Famous is On Sale!

Hey guys, ambulance hope you’re having a GREAT week!

I’m heading off to The Grove in Los Angeles to go to this SUPER awesome panel featuring two of my fave authors, sickness Leigh Bardugo (of the Grisha Trilogy) and Marie Lu (of the Legend Trilogy) and other guests, thumb Michael Dimartino (the creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra) and Seth Hoffman (brains behind The Walking Dead television show).

It should be super fun, and look for an epic contest coming VERY soon :)

But in the meantime, I am SO stoked to share that my second novel, A Little Less than Famous, a contemporary YA/NA novel, is on sale for Kindle for a WHOLE WEEK, for only 99 cents!

You can find it at THIS link!

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Definitely take advantage of this now because on July 5th, it will go back up to 5.99!

Hope you guys are able to check it out!

And stay tuned for a giveaway VERY soon!

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!

Ebooks vs Traditional Books

Oh the age old question. There are so many debates in the literary world. So many. You can debate until your voice runs out when it comes to books, dosage and I have done that! With books in every genre, talking about virtually every issue…you can sit there and debate and debate and debate.

But one debate that has emerged over the last fews years, has been the result of the outpouring of electronic readers, or e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Sony’s Kobo E-reader or the Ipad. And this is the debate of good ‘ol traditional books versus these sleek new devices.

And here’s the thing that makes me shake my head about all this is that…people get nasty when it comes to which side they prefer, especially Team Traditional Books. Usually Team E-readers aren’t too bad but wow, Team Traditional Books can get quite nasty. The arguments I’ve seen (mostly on Facebook because, come on, who argues in person anymore) can get pretty wild and heated.

And I’m going to say it right here: I have a Kindle Fire. And I own a TON of traditional hard copies of books.

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And I like them both. I think they both have their strengths and weaknesses. But I do like them both.

And I’ll tell you why.

Traditional Books Vs. Ebooks

Traditional: 

Okay, there is something absolutely satisfying in the smell and feel of a book. There is nothing really gainable about this except for the fact that I just enjoy it. I love the smell of a new book, and running my hands all over the crisp new cover that I’m going to destroy to pieces once I find out how much I love it. I love the smell of used books stores, the smell of old pages and I love finding a really great book for super cheap at a used book store. There is something really happy about holding a book in your hands.

Ebooks: 

But then let’s switch it on the other side. Books are heavy! They’re seriously heavy. I’m a little person, with pretty much nonexistent shoulders. I love my books but even an average size book in purse gets super heavy. And if I’m close to finishing a book, and ready to start a new one? I have to take two books along with me, often times in a backpack that’s already super full of textbooks and notebooks and all that fun stuff. I have back problems, I don’t like the idea of lugging around these books all the time. And have you seen books nowadays? I swear, they keep getting thicker, and longer and heavier. My Kindle Fire weighs less than a pound.

Traditional: 

Regular good ‘ol books? Yeah, they don’t run out on battery. You never ever have to worry about being in the middle of a really good book and your screen going black. Obviously that would never happen with a traditional, hard copy of a book. You just keep turning the page. And there’s also the potential for technology malfunction. When The Mark of Athena came out last fall, I bought the Kindle edition and…about half way through the book, it just…malfunctioned. There was a glitch and I couldn’t go any further. I had to rush out to the bookstore to buy the book because I was HUGELY invested.

Ebook:

But there’s this serious convenience with the Kindle, Nook, Sony ereader, whatever. I have about 275 books on my Kindle Fire. (Please keep in mind that I have way more than this is actual hard copies). And I’m an extremely fast reader. If I have the time to, I can read a good one to two books a day. And I hate that feeling of finishing a book while I’m at someone else’s house or at work or school and not having another book to pick up. I like that I am able to finish a book and immediately start a new one because I have 250+ books at my disposal. I also am a big fan of the fact that I can download a brand new book at midnight (or even earlier). I downloaded Clockwork Princess at about ten PM and because I stay up late, was able to finish the book at about 3 am, hours before the bookstore would even open.

Traditional: 

Having a Kindle and buying a digital copy of a book cuts out the booksellers, and cuts down profits for a lot of people. See, you can charge 25 dollars for a hard copy of book because it has to be distributed to different people: the author, the publisher, the publicist, the agent, the people who actually print the book, the artist, the bookseller. There is more money to distribute from an actual hard copy of book. But when you cut the price in half, from 20-25 dollars to 10-13 dollars for an ebook, you are getting less money for all those people. True, it doesn’t cost much to produce an ebook but still, less profit. And buying an ebook cuts out the bookseller and the actual printers of books. And we’ve all seen bookstores closing down. R.I.P. Borders (God, I loved that store).

Ebooks: 

Now, this point isn’t true for everyone. But for the most part, every single book that is on my Kindle is a book that I own in hard copy in real life. I bought a ton of ebooks so I could have them both in beautiful hard copy and in a copy that I can carry with me everywhere I go. Example: I purchased Clockwork Princess on my Kindle the night it came out because, well, I’ve been waiting for that book for a year and a half and I just couldn’t wait any longer. But I met Cassandra Clare a few days later, and bought an actual copy of the book for her to sign. That’s another thing I do a lot too. I will buy the ebook copy of it, but I have opportunities to meet authors quite often. I bought the entire Delirium series when I met Lauren Oliver, and I am planning on buying both Legend and Prodigy because I am meeting Marie Lu this weekend. I doubly support these authors by buying both. And I know quite a few people who do it as well.

Traditional: 

They keep bookstores alive. Borders closed down their entire company and Barnes and Nobles recently announced they were going to start closing stores as well. You hardly ever see small bookstores, independent book stores still alive anymore. True, traditional books are more expensive, but the more we buy from these bookstores, the more likely they are to stay open. i wanted to cry when Borders closed and I was buying books there all the time. Plus there is the immediacy of being able to read the book right then and there. Most Kindles are wi-fi enabled and so if you want to buy a book, you need to make sure you’re able to connect to wi-fi. And true, more and more places have wi-fi nowadays but not everywhere does so there isn’t the immediacy all the time.

Ebooks:

People say that ebooks are going to be the death of books. I understand how people can see this, again with the closing of all these bookstores. However, I do not believe thats so. People still prefer traditional books over ebooks. Most people I know will buy both a hard copy and a digital copy of a book. And I also think that the ebook is giving way to new authors. Getting a publicist and an agent, finding someone to love your book and print it and publish is both super hard and expensive. With this option to publish yourself now, you can get out there, and promote yourself. I know that Tammara Webber published her Between the Lines series all through ebook before she was able to publish “Easy” in hardcopy. It really gives people the chance to put themselves out there. And that is something that I can get behind.

Traditional:

Books are seriously durable and easily replaceable. And I’m really super hard on my books too. I show them some serious love. Often times I lose the cover jackets for my books, I fold over the pages, spill food and drink on them, bend the corners, you name it, I do it. And sometimes my books get a little *too* beat up. But its easy enough to replace them. I can drop them, step on them, and they’re going to be just fine. They may show a little wear and tear but they are going to look just fine. And if they get to that point of no return, I can pop down to the local bookstore and replace it for a decent price.

 Ebooks:

Yeah, the Kindle? Not as durable. And not as easily replaced either. If I step on it, or drop it, or LOSE it, or it gets stolen, or if I accidentally drop it in the water because I like reading while taking a bath, its done. Kaput. This is a piece of electronic technology and when it breaks, it breaks. It has the delicacy of a cell phone. And sure there are warranties and insurances that you can pay for but its still an issue. If my Kindle Fire goes kaput…well that’s just it then, isn’t it? My Kindle was a gift from my boyfriend and its a luxury that I appreciate but definitely cannot afford. If it dies, or something goes wrong with it, thats it and I’m done. And yes, most of the services used for these ereaders, like Kindle or Barnes and Noble, have a back-up memory for you, based on your membership with their service. I could buy a new Kindle, sign in with my Amazon account and re-download all the books that I have already purchased. But really, who wants to deal with that? Especially when a replacement Kindle, especially the tablet version, will cost me near 200 dollars…

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Now I don’t know which one is better, which one is worse. I can’t say for sure that traditional books are going on a path to dying or that ebooks are the reason that so many bookstores are closing. I mean, there’s so many other factors that could be going into the fact that bookstores are closing. Maybe its the fact that the economy is terrible, and lots of stores are closing, not just bookstores. Maybe people can’t afford things as well as they used to be able to. I know that I can’t.

But whatever the reasons, I just don’t know. It makes me think of ipods and all that. People thought ipods and digital downloading would be the death of purchasing actual music. And I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it hasn’t taken its toll. But my boyfriend is a musican and a music lover the way I am a reader/writer and a book lover. And he has a ipod that is overflowing with music of all different genres, but I’ve never seen anyone in my life as passionate about buying records, collecting them and spending money on them. Have you ever been to the music floor at an Amoeba record store? Have you ever been around for Record Store Day? People still love the music, they buy that tangible thing.

And if people have the same passion for books that I do, they are going to continue buying books that way that I do.

And like I said, I like both. If there are more ways that I can read, then show me how. I love every single way to experience a book. Just like I know, when go to see a movie adaptation of a book, its not going to be the same but its a different experience. I have different reasons for loving my hard copy of a book and for loving my Kindle. Last night I finished re-reading Insurgent on my Kindle and today I am re-reading Abandon by Meg Cabot in hard copy form. I switch back and forth.

I have one final point to make about the whole ebooks vs. traditional books thing. One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the last few years, especially being in college, is how important reading really is. Reading is one of the best escapes that we have. Reading can teach us not only just how to be better readers but it can teach us about life., morals, lessons, goals, and so much more. Reading is one of the most important things that we can do.

So I kind of think: who cares how people read? Who cares if they read a hard copy of a book or a Kindle or if they’re reading on an Ipad or on their computer, or if its a magazine or in the form of a video game (I’m looking at you WonderBook), as long as they are reading. If we are all enjoying the same books and getting the same things out of them, then who cares how we are reading them? Does that really matter in the end?

Reading is reading. Reading is for enjoyment and reading is to teach us and to change us and to entertain us and inspire us and if they continue to do that, that is the most important thing.

And I’m not going to judge anyone based on how they read the books, as long as they keep reading. And keep reading this blog. That’s the more important part of it all ;)

Book of the Week: The Name of the Star

So a month ago when I met Cassandra Clare, store I also met Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson, this who are besties with my Cassie. And they all had this great chemistry and you could tell they were super good friends and Sarah and Maureen were just cutting Cassie off all the time and making me laugh and running around like crazy and…

Okay the point is, side effects I totally fell in love with them and so I knew I had to read their books.

I haven’t read any of Sarah’s yet but I’m working on it! Being a poor college student usually means not being able to afford enough books to keep up with my ridiculous reading habits (I’m on book 53 of 2013 remember?)

I had already read Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I liked it but it wasn’t my cup of tea. But after meeting her, I felt like…all right, I need to give Ms Johnson a second chance and I picked up this week’s book of the week so enjoy :)

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

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Genre:
Young adult, paranormal, romance

Part of a Series?:
it is the first in the Shades of London series

You May Like if You Liked:
The Diviners by Libba Bray or the Abandon trilogy by Meg Cabot

Plot Summary:

Rory Deveaux is about to be a senior in high school in Lousiana when her professor parents decide to go on a sabbatical and let Rory pick where she wants to go…and she picks London. She even lives the ultimate British dream: boarding school (Damn you, Harry Potter, for making us all want to go to boarding school). And sure, the place is covered in Jack the Ripper tourists but things can only go well; she’s making friends, learning the British ways and even getting on fairly well with the British boys.

Then a murder occurs, in an almost identical manner as the very first murder of Jack the Ripper, in the same spot, mere walking distance from Rory’s school. Suddenly, the entire world is watching and when Rory sees a man that no one else can see when the second murder occurs, she begins to think she’s going crazy. Then she gets a new roommate, Boo, who starts to show her that she has a new talent, that she can see ghosts, and that the copycat Jack the Ripper is a ghost, a ghost that Rory has seen and that will be going after Rory next.

The Bad:

Honestly, there wasn’t a lot of bad in this novel, if any at all. I was very thoroughly impressed with this novel.

I would say only this: it was very slow to get to the point. I think I’m used to most books just jumping into the story, and getting going. Maureen sort of built things up first, but I actually ended up liking that. But as I was reading it, it was slow to begin. I was kind of like, okay, Rory left Lousiana, she’s in London now, she’s in boarding school and there’s a cute guy and she’s making friends and school is kind of hard…what is going on? Is anything actually going to happen? And things DO happen but you don’t really recognize them until later. Then there is also kind of a lead up to the shock of the first murder. Rory is living a mundane, normal teenage life and suddenly her world is rocked when a brutal murder occurs. It makes sense.

The Good:

There was so much good about this novel. First off, Maureen is a great writer. I say this over and over again: there are a lot of bad writers in the young adult genre. I believe that mostly comes from the fact that it is THE genre to be in right now so for every great author, there are five mediocre ones. But Maureen Johnson is a fantastic author. She takes what could be a typical cheesy teenage paranormal romance and turns it into a dark, sexy and heart-pounding novel. She spins a great story, and she really did her research on this (hey…did she go on a trip with Cassie when Cassie was researching the Infernal Devices? Hmmm).

I literally was…not scared but I was creeped out. We’re talking about ghosts, and a ghost that is killing and killing in the manner of Jack the Ripper. And if you don’t know anything of the killings of Jack the Ripper, they were brutal and disgusting. He didn’t just kill his victims, he mutilated them. He ripped them apart. To be experiencing that kind of terror, and basically in your own backyard…I can’t even imagine. And the fact that Rory sees the killer and no one else does and she thinks she’s going insane…that’s a lot for one person to handle. And I’m reading this in the dark, at 2 in the morning when I’m the only one awake in my house…I was pretty freaked out.

I also really commend Maureen Johnson for doing her research with Jack the Ripper, and twisting it just enough to fit her own story. Because we don’t KNOW who Jack the Ripper was and probably never will, but she really keeps you guessing…could she make a stab at who he is or is it a copycat? And the straight out brutality that comes with it…these are not simple murders that are occurring in the books, they are near exact replicates of the original murders. Injuries that occur aren’t simple ones, they are life threatening ones. I hate when books sugar coat things…in worlds like these, confronting killers like these.

And The Name of the Star made me want to read the next book, The Madness Underneath. The Name of the Star didn’t leave off with any burning questions or heartbreaking cliffhangers but Maureen Johnson makes you care about Rory (and Jerome and Jazza and Stephen and Callum and Boo…) and you want to know what happens to them next. There IS something that happens to Rory thats really surprising and pretty scary, and without spoiling anything, I really, really wanted to know how it had happened and what would happen next. I’ve read books before and been like, meh, I’ll read the sequel eventually. This one…I wanted the sequel right away. Unfortunately, money held me back but I have it now and I am (checks Kindle) 53% of the way through it. And I’m already loving it.

Maureen spins a good story. I admit, I was ready to write her off as another young adult author that just didn’t quite have it, and was going to get lost in the overload of young adult literature that is literally taking up all the shelves at bookstores nowadays. But I was very, very wrong. While 13 Little Blue Envelopes didn’t overly impress me. But her short story in the “Let it Snow” collaboration with John Green and Lauren Myracle impressed me and she was SO funny and awesome at the Mission Viejo Library and I just had to give her one more try…and I am SO glad I did. These are genuinely really good stories. She presents developed characters, a complex but familiar story and does her research…her world is real. I believe its real and that’s the mark of a good author.

I’m afraid to finish The Madness Underneath though…I’m not fond of waiting for another book… :)

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?:

Definitely. Definitely, definitely, definitely. I know that its normal to get lost in the young adult literature section and its hard to know whats good and bad because they are a lot of good books and they are a lot of bad ones as well. But Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star is a GREAT one that I am SO glad that I picked up. Definitely click the link above, and grab yourself a copy!

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Maureen Johnson will be at the Festival of Books this Sunday, at a panel at 130 pm and autographing immediately after. I hope I am able to catch her so she can sign my copy of The Name of the Star!

What did YOU guys think of The Name of the Star? As always, share in the comments!

What Really Happened in Peru Review!

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Yeah, physician we finally get to see some background information on our favorite sexy warlock, ed  Magnus Bane, of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.

Magnus Bane is a pretty big character in both series. You first meet him in The Mortal Instruments, when he comes to the aid of Clary, Jace and the rest of them, and is the warlock that erases Clary’s memories of her Sight. Then he starts dating Alec. Then as Cassie started to release the Infernal Devices series, you meet him again, in the Victorian age, years before Clary’s time, and he helps out Tessa, Will, Jem, Charlotte and the others and is involved with a lusty vampire by the name of Camille. We’re never really sure of Magnus’s real age, it could be anywhere from 300 years old to 800 years old and he makes odd and random references to his past that leave us dying for more.

And so Cassandra Clare, along with her dear friend and fellow author, Sarah Rees Brennan, decided to write stories about Magnus Bane called The Bane Chronicles. The Bane Chronicles will release a chapter at time over the course of the next few months, starting today (April 16th) and ending with the last story on December 31 of this year (check out the list below).

Eventually all of the stories will be bound together in one print book, but there isn’t any concrete information on that quite yet.

But anyway, the first story that was released was What Really Happened in Peru, where we finally will learn why on earth Magnus is banned from Peru, something he mentions very briefly in the Mortal Instruments series.

Now there ARE spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, go ahead and skip this part, and check out the future release dates for the next installments and their titles!

I LOVED the first installment of The Bane Chronicles…mostly because they were so absolutely random but so…so…so Magnus. They live and breathe Magnus. This story tells of a few adventures that Magnus has in Peru, mostly with Ragnor Fell, and another warlock by the name of Catarina, who sounds like an awesome character and I hope makes more appearances.

The first adventure takes place in 1791, where Magnus and Ragnor explore Peru, and Magnus gets in trouble with a monkey and then they get a job protecting a ship carrying guano, or bird poop. Of course, only madness can occur. We are informed that this incident is NOT the reason Magnus is banned from Peru.

The second adventure takes place in 1885, so after Magnus’s part in the Infernal Devices trilogy. He’s back in Peru but with Ragnor and Catarina. This story is the shortest and involves breaking into an ancient tomb to acquire a lost treasure. Still no word on what got him banned…

Next adventure is in 1890, with both Ragnor and Catarina again. Magnus has fallen in love with a local musician named Imasu who plays the charango…and of course he’s a black haired, blue eyed man (oh Alec Lightwood). This story is the longest and the BEST. It showcases Magnus falling in love with Imasu and his relationship with the man, and even though I’m a HUGE Malec shipper, you can’t help but ship Magnus and Imasu too. And then after Imasu breaks Magnus’s heart, he goes on a crazy drinking bender and has the craziest adventures ever. He does…he does the craziest things. He enchants a carpet to fly and sets guinea pigs free, and its just fantastic. I was cracking up the entire time while reading this story…and yet…he still isn’t banned from Peru…

The last story takes place in 1962, where Magnus runs into tourists and steals away the girl to go on a sort of Bonnie and Clyde adventure for the summer. Its short, and sweet and just…its just SO Magnus.

I think that’s the best part of these stories. Magnus is an eccentric but wonderful character and he’s just so mysterious and obviously has a lot of history. He casually mentions his past often, doesn’t really tell anyone what his real age is and is just one of my absolute favorite characters in the novel, and one of the favorites of most Shadowhunter fans. Obviously Magnus is old, though we don’t know exactly how old, and he’s had to have experienced a lot and we get a little piece of his random and awesome life.

We also start to get a little bit of his past and the way he is kind of damaged by his parents: his mother, who committed suicide after realizing that she had not had a child with her husband but with something ungodly, his stepfather, who obviously wanted nothing to do with him and his father, the demon, whose identity we don’t know yet but obviously isn’t a great friend of Magnus’s. Its very consistent with the Magnus we get in TMI and TID; we get the charming and funny and sexy Magnus but the complicated one as well.

But, oh, Cassie and Sarah, you WICKED wicked wonderful women, how dare you! The stories end with us finding out that the Peruvian government sends Magnus a letter, saying that he is banned from Peru for “crimes unspeakable” but we don’t know what they are and they remain a mystery!

We still don’t know why he was banned! After all of that, we get to see a ton of Magnus Bane’s adventures in Peru but we still don’t know why he’s banned! What brilliance and poppycock! I think if the stories weren’t so good, I would have been so mad but I just laughed and shook my head, thinking of what clever little girls that Cassie and Sarah are.

All in all, five out of five stars for this first installment and I canNOT wait until the next one comes out, which you can see on the list below!

Release Dates for The Bane Chronicles

The Runaway Queen-May 21, 2013

Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale-June 18, 2013
(apparently Magnus has a thing for Will’s dad! Scandalous!)

The Rise of the Hotel Dumont-July 16, 2013

The Fall of Hotel Dumont-August 20, 2013

Saving Raphael Santiago-September 17, 2013

No Immortal can Keep a Secret-October 15, 2013

The Course of True Love (And First Dates)-November 19, 2013
(Alec and Magnus’s first date! Wee!)

What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who has Everything-December 17, 2013

The Letter-December 31, 2013

You can read the brief plot hints for each story HERE, on Cassandra Clare’s website. The only one that doesn’t have any hint is the last one, but that is almost to be expected haha.

All of these are ONLY available in ebook format, for Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, Ipad, etc. If you don’t have any of these, don’t worry! You can download Kindle or Nook apps for literally any device, including just your regular ‘ol computer! So everyone gets the chance to be able to read it! Yay!

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For those of you who have read it, what did you think? Did you like it or dislike it? What do you think really got Magnus banned from Peru? Was it something in the stories or something we may never know about? As always, let me know in the comments!