Tuesday Top Ten-Top Authors that Deserve More Recognition

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

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

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

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

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

So here we go.

11. Neal Shusterman

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

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

You can read my review of Unwind here.

10. Jennifer Bosworth

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

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

9. Jessica Brody

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

You can read my review of Unremembered here.

8. Marie Lu

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

You can read my review of Legend here.

7. Rae Carson

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

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

6. Jen Calonita

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

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

5. Andrew Smith

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

You can read my review of Winger here.

4. Tammara Webber

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

You can read an interview between me and Tammara here.

3. Morgan Matson

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

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

2. Tamora Pierce

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

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

1. Cinda Williams Chima

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things to Look Forward to in 2013

The year is halfway over. Its July and its full on summer mode here in Southern California. The 4th of July is that turning point of the year; its half way over.

And I’m sitting here, viagra approved enjoying my summer vacation before I start my last two years of college, thinking about all the awesome things that have already come out and happened this year. Clockwork Princess. WonderCon. Meeting SO many authors. Star Trek premiere. So many cool things.

But then I was thinking about it, and I was like, there is still SO MUCH MORE to look forward to with the rest of the year. So much more.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Premiere Date: August 12, 2013

Release Date: August 21, 2013

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I am SOOOO insanely excited for this. The Mortal Instruments series is one of my absolute favorite book series and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen. When they first started making it, I admit I was extremely wary. I was afraid of them making another Twilight, and while this series keeps getting compared to Twilight, its nothing like it and it looks amazing! I was also super wary of some of the casting, especially the casting of Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland but I ended up being proven so wrong, at least of what I’ve seen so far. So far, the directors, producers and movie studio have gone out of there to stay connected to the fans, to see what we’d like to see and what we like about we’ve seen so far and they’ve responded in kind. And the trailer shows me a seriously badass movie. I am looking forward to this movie adaptation because its looking like the best that I’ve seen in awhile.

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary and 12th Doctor Announcement

Release Date: November 23, 2013

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I LOVE DOCTOR WHO, and my love for Doctor Who only increased when I went to Gallifrey One, the Doctor Who convention in February. I enjoyed Series 7, though it wasn’t my favorite, and I have been eagerly anticipating the GREAT 50th anniversary special that is sure to come this year. That is when they announced that David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) would be joining Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) and Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswin Oswald) for the 50th. I literally squealed with fangirl excitement. David Tennant is amazing, and his rendition of the Doctor is just…its the best and I ADORE Rose and I can’t wait to see the shenanigans that these four get up to. Then Matt Smith announced that he would be retiring as the 11th Doctor and all eyes and ears in the DW fandom are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the 12th Doctor. So much amazing DW coming our way :)

Tammara Webber’s Here With You

Ebook Release: August 6, 2013

Paperback Release: August 27, 2013

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I wasn’t even aware that there would be a fourth book in this series but I am so excited that there will be, especially since Reid Alexander is a main player in this book again. If Reid Alexander were a real celebrity, I’d: A, want him to play Jace Wayland in City of Bones and B, I’d be WAY obsessed with him that way girls are obsessed with Justin Bieber. I have a feeling a lot is going to be going on with this book, and I think the past that Reid has with his ex, Brooke, is going to come up big time with this book. I think we’re finally going to see more of that then we’ve ever seen before.

Sarah J. Maas’ Crown of Midnight

Release August 27, 2013

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The first of these books, Throne of Glass, is an absolute masterpiece and its no wonder, as it took Sarah nearly 10 years to write. Its an epic fantasy, with a badass character in Celaena, who is literally a legendary, almost mythical assassin. She can fight, and kill and she has a wicked sense of humor and she likes to curl up with a book. And she has two very different men falling in love with her, and she’s too busy trying to get her freedom. And…even though I absolutely loathe love triangles, I can’t decide which man I like better: Dorian or Chaol. But what a wonderful world that Sarah has created and I can’t wait to see this story continue and to see what other wicked adventures Celaena gets herself into.

Jennifer L Armentrout’s Origin 

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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I can’t WAIT for this book (did I mention that this book and the previous two mentioned ALL COME OUT THE SAME DAY!). If you’ve read the end of Opal, the third book in the Lux series, you’ll understand. MAJOR cliffhanger, and you just know that Daemon is PISSED and he’s ready to take on the world to get Katy back and its going to be amazing. Just the differences in covers alone shows that this is going to be a VERY different novel from the previous. I hope it’ll be more action packed and it’ll take the story in completely new directions. I am SO excited for this book; I’m counting down the days.

Veronica Roth’s Allegiant

Release Date: October 22, 2013

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I read Divergent TWO days before the release of Insurgent and stayed up til 3 a.m. reading Insurgent on its release day. It was released on May 1st, 2012 and I’ve already been waiting for over a year for this book. I know plenty of other Divergent fans who haven’t waited nearly as long as I have, so trust me haha, I’m dying for this book to come out, especially with the damn cliffhanger this book leaves you with! I remember reading this SO late at night and thinking, “No…no way. No, Veronica Roth, you don’t do this to me.” This is one of the most anticipated releases of the year in the YA genre, and with the movie wrapping up filming this month, its sure to be a best-seller within minutes. I canNOT wait to see the conclusion of this epic dystopian series.

Rick Riordan’s The House of Hades

Release Date: October 8, 2013

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Again with the cliffhangers. The Mark of Athena, the book right before this one, leaves off with an EPIC cliffhanger. Sorry I’m about to spoil it so if you haven’t read the previous books, I would move on to the next time on the list. I’m warning you. Okay, we leave off with Percy and Annabeth (one of my OTP!) literally FALLING INTO TARTARUS, the deep depths of the Underworld and the Romans of Camp Jupiter charging toward Camp Half Blood, with attack the only objective on their minds. What a way to leave off. Only a year in between books but it is SO hard to wait. And this cover, with an extremely beat up Percy and Annabeth, running from…something, just gets me wriggling with anticipation. Rick Riordan has never failed to disappoint me so this is definitely a book to count down on.

Catching Fire Release

Release Date: November 22, 2013

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I can’t wait for this movie for three reasons. One, I loved the first one but I wasn’t incredibly impressed with it. I’m hoping CF is better :) Two, Finnick Odair. Do I need to say anything else? And three, my friends all went to the Hunger Games premiere last year and had an awesome time and now we are going to the CF premiere and its sure to be a FANTASTIC time. This is a great book series, and the movie is chock full of great actors like Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Haralson, Donald Sutherland, Jenna Malone and so much more. I am excited to see how they accomplish the build up that Catching Fire is. I also am really curious to see how well they pull of the Quarter Quell and the ridiculous arena that is the 75th Hunger Games. I remember reading it and thinking it was crazy, and its going to be epic on the big screen.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Release

Release Date: December 13, 2013

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Okay, I don’t care what any of those so-called fancy Hollywood movie “critics” say. They aren’t fans of the Tolkien universe and they just don’t know. This movie wasn’t made for the critics; it was made for the fans and all the fans that I know…LOVED the first movie. I know I did. I was incredibly impressed and I wanted it to go on forever and I loved the extra stories they added from The Silmarillion and the appendices. This movie is bound to be epic because we get to see more elves (including Thandruil and Legolas) and Benedict Cumberbatch’s sexy dragon voice and so much more. I just know that the movie will continue to be as epic as the first one was. My super cool friend, Kathleen, from New Zealand got me some epic Hobbit shirts and I can’t wait to wear them when seeing this movie for the first time.

Cinda Williams Chima’s The Enchanter Heir 

Release Date: October 1, 2013

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I am so incredibly…okay I’ve said it like a hundred times now…excited for this book because Cinda Williams Chima is a fantasy GENIUS. Seriously. I will push her on you until the day I die because she is an absolutely brilliant and talented writer and I don’t think its fair that she doesn’t get the credit that she deserves when there are extremely popular YA authors out there, with huge fandoms, that aren’t even good. Okay, moving on, this is the 4th book in the Heir Chronicles, though it can be read without reading the first three. Its an urban fantasy, a brilliantly crafted fantasy world wrapped up in modern day worlds. I read all seven of Cinda’s previously released books in a matter of about a month and so now I am dying to have my socks knocked off again by this amazing writer.

Anniversary Edition Harry Potter Books

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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I hate change. I really do. I would rather things just be left alone and kept the way they originally were meant to be. Like the original Star Wars trilogy. Why George Lucas, why, did you add all that unnecessary CRAP  to that movie? Ugh. So when they announced that each book in the Harry Potter series would be getting updated covers for the 15th anniversary of the Sorcerer’s Stone’s publication in the US, I wasn’t really thrilled. Until the covers started to be revealed and I was thoroughly impressed. As much as I believe that Mary Grandpre’s covers are the best and will always remain my favorite, these covers (so far, five have been released) are just so beautiful done and are so incredibly impressive and full of artistic talent. I went from shaking my head, to looking at these with eyes wide and immediately rushing to Amazon to place my pre-order. And of course, this box set comes out the EXACT SAME DAY as Origin and Crown of Midnight and Here Without You…

Marie Lu’s Champion 

Release Date: November 5, 2013 

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This is going to be the most epic finale to the BEST dystopian series that I have ever read. Yes, better than The Hunger Games, and yes, better than Divergent. Marie Lu creates a one of a kind dystopian universe (she actually talks about countries besides the US!) and she creates two conflicting, yet in love characters, and her back and forth point of views just leave us with a breath taking, addicting story. I adore both June and Day and the cliffhanger she leaves us with (SPOILER: Day is dying…and he didn’t tell June) is just too much for me to handle. Luckily, after reading Prodigy on its release day in January, I didn’t have to wait long for Champion’s release, which is in November! Not even a year. That, my friends, is possibly the best news a reader can get.

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters

Release Date: August 7, 2013

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I was incredibly disappointed in the first movie. I don’t think its as TERRIBLE as everyone makes it out to be but it definitely isn’t a good movie. Its kind of one of those guilty pleasure movies; plus, Logan Lerman is so adorable, I just want to eat him up. But it wasn’t great, and it failed in the box office, so it surprised me immensely when they announced that the second book, Sea of Monsters, was being filmed. Pleasantly surprised but also wary. Now, I’ve seen stills and trailers and I’m not completely sold yet but I do like this book a lot and I am hoping that they are able to revamp this movie series and we can get to Titan’s Curse, which is my FAVE of the Olympians series. I hope, I hope!

Meg Cabot’s The Bride Wore Size 12

Release Date: September 24, 2013

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Heather Wells is one of my idol characters to look up to because she makes me feel better about myself, both inside and out. Heather is a bigger girl, and she used to be a smaller, famous pop star who basically lost everything but as the books go on, she gains more and more confidence, and becomes so happy in the skin that she’s in and I love that. I love that the more I gain confidence in the size that I wear (which is, a size 12), the more I feel like this badass heroine. Now, after all these books, I am so happy that she is finally getting married and to the person that she’s always wanted to be married to, and I can’t wait to see what adventures she is bound to get into because its Heather and someone is bound to die and Heather is bound to catch them.

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I am also looking forward to the return of Once Upon a Time in the fall for season 3, the new series, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, as well. I am excited for Vampire Diaries and the new series, The Originals. I am also anticipating the return of Sherlock, season 3, though I believe that may be in 2014. So much is coming!

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So that was a really long, epic post but I hope you all enjoyed it! There are just SO many cool things left to look forward to in 2013!

What are you most looking forward to in the next six months of 2013? Book releases, movie releases, TV shows returning? As always, share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Female Characters

So I’ve totally already done this Tuesday Top Ten before, information pills but it was kind of my favorite one to do (besides maybe my favorite fictional boy crushes) because there’s SUCH an outpouring of strong, amazing, kickass, well developed awesome female characters out there and I want to be able to share the ones that I like so much with all of you.

I also did this list way back in November and I had probably, hmmm, like five followers back then, which included my dad and my boyfriend and maybe a few friends. Now I have nearly 1000 followers and so I want to write it again, so all my new followers can now see this :)

So here we go! My top ten (err…eleven) favorite female characters in young adult literature!

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11. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games 

The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion

Katniss is a badass, and she’s one of the first characters that comes to mind when you have strong female characters of YA, especially with the immense success of the Hunger Games movie and Catching FIre hitting theaters this fall. I like Katniss a lot, but mostly from the first book, not so much the next two. My personal opinion is that she gets a little whiny toward the end. Again, thats my personal opinion. But I do think she’s a great character. She’s a girl that doesn’t give up, even though most 12 year olds probably would. Instead of crawling into a hole, and letting her family starve or letting her and Prim be taken away, she figures out a way to survive and hunts, and trades and does whatever she can to help her family survive. And these skills that she learns for survival are the KEY to her survival in the Hunger Games. She’s extremely clever and she’s very caring as well, for her family, and for the people that come into her life like Peeta and Haymitch and Cinna and even Effie. She’s a GREAT character and Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress to play her.

10. Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices 

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I love Tessa Gray because of her bravery, her resilience, her cleverness and the fact that she loves books so much. I love that Tessa Gray only wants to do the best that she can and that she cares SO much. The thing about Tessa is that she is unique, in so many different ways. First off, she’s an American in London. Then she’s amongst a bunch of Shadowhunters, which she is not. Then she’s not even sure what she is: possible a warlock, but without a warlock’s mark and no explanation of what she is. The Infernal Devices trilogy is not only the story of the London Institute and the Shadowhunters attempting to defeat Mortmain and his revenge plan but its also about the journey that Tessa takes in discovering herself and who she is and what she is and what her purpose is. I love that she loves with all of her heart and she loves her brother, even though he isn’t what she thought he was, and she loves the people she meets through the London Institute. I love that she loves both Will and Jem, and not in a whiny Bella Swan kind of way but in such a real, genuine way, the way people love in real life.

9. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series

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J.K. Rowling once said about Luna Lovegood that she has an unbelievably rare quality of a person who just doesn’t give a damn about what people think about her and for that, she’s on my list. Because let’s face it, no matter what we say, no matter how much we profess it, we all care at least a little bit what people think of us. That or, we care what CERTAIN people think of us. Luna has the quality of being an absolute badass because she’s so sure of herself. She is teased and bullied, and people mess with her and think she’s weird but she doesn’t even notice. She’s so happy in her own world and I, for one, envy her for that. But she’s also a seriously loving and caring and brave person. When she finally makes friends, she is so good to them, and she is a pivotal character in my opinion. I don’t think the Harry Potter series would have been right without her in it, and there’s a reason why everyone calls me Luna <3

8. June Iparis from the Legend trilogy 

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Okay, June is an absolute badass, and honestly, I think she’s one of the strongest female characters I have read in a novel, especially in the overflow of young adult lit that is going on right now. I was amazed at June’s…tenacity and her fire and her strength. I was discussing June with someone online once and they said she was cold, she didn’t have a personality, that she wasn’t as easy to like as some of the other heroines that are out there, and that’s exactly why I like her. She’s different. She’s trained as a soldier and thinks like a soldier and has a hard time breaking that habit, even when things start stacking up against everything she ever knew. Its hard for her to be as trusting of people, especially someone like Day, who she is told over and over again is a criminal. I think she’s very human, and I love how her feelings for Day are always in question, always a work in progress. I like that there’s a love story in this novel, but not the kind that takes over the story. I love June because she has a head on her shoulders, and she uses it before she falls in love. I love how smart she is, and how reluctant she is to accept the truth…because she wants to know its the real truth before she believes it. She’s such a great character.

7. Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy 

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I think one of the biggest reasons that I love Tris is because she’s so little, and people don’t really believe in her because of that, and she proves them all wrong. She’s the tiny, little, divergent (read: normal) girl, who takes a chance, leaves her parents behind for a different faction, a faction so vastly different than the one she was raised in and just…just rocks it. I mean, sure, not at first. She’s weak, scared, shy. But she does all the work she needs to do to not only become part of the Dauntless faction, but to be number one in the initiates. I love that. I love that she’s been taught so much about the act of being silent, being selfless, lacking of affectionate and all of that sort of thing, but when she comes to Dauntless, everything she does is so real, and so genuine. She makes friends because she is so genuine. And Four falls in love with her because of that, and that’s just too darn cute for life. I am jealous for Tris and her relationship with Four, because…well he’s Four, and do you see the picture above? Theo James is QUITE the looker. But in all seriousness, I admire Tris for her bravery, her cleverness, her selfishness and selflessness, and her never ending drive.

6. Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments

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I know that most of you know how addicted I am to the  Mortal Instruments series, and I’m sure you’re wondering why on earth the main character would not even be in the top 5, and there are reasons for that, and I totally have a TMI character in the Top 5. So hush. I love Clary, I super adore her. I enjoy watching as she takes the journey from normal teenager girl, to a budding Shadowhunter. I love that she’s brave and fearless, and she wants to save everyone: her mom, Simon, Jace, everyone. I love that the Shadowhunter world is SO confusing to her, but she goes with it, and she adapts quickly and that, I don’t know, she sort of grows into what is her natural heritage. She was born to be a Shadowhunter, even though her mom held that away from her for so long. I think the biggest reason why I love Clary is because of her loyalty. She is SO incredibly loyal and loving to the people she cares about: her mom, Luke, Simon. And when she meets the Lightwoods and Jace and Maia and Magnus, she cares for all of them as well. She just can’t help but care, and her caring is what makes her so brave.

5. Alina Starkov from The Grisha Trilogy 

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Alina is one of the most interesting characters that I have read in awhile. One, because she’s incredibly powerful…more powerful than pretty much every single person that she knows. And at first, she strays away from that power and is reluctant to use, reluctant to get any stronger. But as the story goes on, she almost begins to crave that power. She begins to grow addicted to it, and she feeds off of it. I think so many times we see characters that are so inherently good all the time, so good even when they make mistakes or make wrong decisions but Alina kind of represents a different sort of heroine. I think that we see Alina struggle more than any other character, because power is a dangerous thing. I don’t think that Alina is evil or a bad person, but that all depends on what happens in the final book of the series. We leave off, with all these people believing she’s a saint, a savior, and with her on a crazy, impossible quest to track down ways to make herself more powerful. This is incredibly dangerous and makes Alina a very complex, and addicting character. I just keep wanting to read and find out what happens next.

4. Alianne Cooper from The Tricksters Series

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One of the strongest female characters that I’ve seen in the young adult genre, and just one of many that Tamora Pierce has created in her Tortall world: Alanna, Thayet, Buri, Daine, Maura, Keladry, and so so so many more. But when it comes down to it, Aly is easily my favorite and I think a lot of that comes down to that she was the first Tortall woman that I met, and she ushered me into a book series, and a book saga, that would seriously change my life. Aly is a sixteen year old girl with the kind of skills I could only dream of having at twenty-five years old. She’s incredibly clever, and has the knowledge and abilities to become a spymaster for a massive rebellion and be incredibly good at it. She knows about spying, and codes, and the sneakiness that comes with it. She knows about war and the way it goes, the way its run. She knows politics and crops and government and trade, social and culture, she’s just so incredibly smart. She can wield daggers and has wicked hand-to-hand combat skills. She’s quick on the spot, and can turn a lie in an instant. She’s charming and funny and relatable. She’s amazing, and one of the characters I always, ALWAYS bring up when talking about young adult literature.  

3. Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series 

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Can I say that if this was favorite female CRUSHES, it would be Isabelle at number one, easily? One, Jemima West is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her as Isabelle in the movie this summer. But I like Isabelle because she’s the badass of the books. She is one of the best Shadowhunters there is, gender aside. She has her awesome gold whip, and she takes down demons and fights with Jace and Alec. I also love her humor, her personality. She always has a smile on her face; she’s always finding a way to joke through things, and laugh her way around, even when everyone else is so down. She’s a fierce, strong character and I think sometimes is overlooked but she’s one of my absolute favorites. Alec and Jace both say, that though the Shadowhunter world has changed, that it is still hard for girls to become true warriors, and yet Isabelle works her ass off for it. And she’s another fiercely loyal, and caring person as well. The amount of love that she feels for her family: for her parents and Alec and Max and Jace is unparalleled. She is willing to do anything for them. Plus I just want to be HER: sexy, strong, brave, fearless, charming, a fighter…a fierce, fierce fighter.

2. Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series 

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Raisa is seriously….I can’t even…she’s just so awesome. I knew from page one that I was addicted to this character. She’s everything realistic about being a teenage girl plus SO much more. She is young, and pretty and wants to enjoy both of those. She wants to flirt with boys and have fun, and not worry about taking the throne just yet. But then drama goes down (as it is wont to do) and Raisa is forced to run away from her kingdom, hide herself from her own mother, and eventually come back to take her rightful throne. She is so much stronger than a lot of the characters we’ve seen in YA in that…even though she falls madly in love with someone she can’t be with, she doesn’t really cave to that. Her duty comes first and foremost through it all, and she follows the rules, to keep a hold of her unsteady claim on the throne. Spoiler: I honestly didn’t think she was going to end up with Han, for a VERY long time. We really don’t figure out that Raisa is willing to push buttons until she has fought for her throne and she feels the strength to do so. But she has fire and passion and a good head on her shoulders, even as she makes the same mistakes that any human would do. She is a character that I would LOVE to see her on the big screen.

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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I don’t think its any surprise that she is the best YA female character, at least according to myself. She is the first female character that I really read that I connected to, and that I still continue to connect to. Before I discovered Harry Potter, I was reading formula books like Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals and the Boxcar Children. In other words, books that weren’t challenging me in the slightest. I first read Harry Potter when I was 10 years old, just one year younger than the characters themselves and Hermione immediately jumped out to me. One, she really was the only female character that we got to know in that book, besides, like McGonagall and Mrs. Norris haha. But I loved how smart she was, especially since she wasn’t born into that world. I loved how, even though she was teased and bullied, and had no friends, she didn’t stop being smart just for that. I love that she was always proud of her brain and her intelligence and she never, ever dumbed herself down for a boy, ever. I loved that she was brave, and loyal and kind and selfless and quick thinking and all of that. She is AWESOME and Emma Watson did a wonderful job portraying her :)

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s Top Ten, on my favorite fictional dads, and other lists here.

Who are some of YOUR favorite young adult fictional female characters? As always, share in the comments!

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!

Ontario Teen Book Fest & iFandoms Collide Episode 2!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Making funny faces with Jessica Brody

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then came meeting the authors!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A last few side notes:

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

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