Book of the Week-Champion

It’s here, salve its here, cost its finally here!

And okay, Prodigy totally released back in January and I haven’t even had to wait a year, like you do for most books, but I was just so excited that Champion had finally released. I downloaded it to my Kindle as soon as I was able to, and spent the next three hours, devouring the novel.

This was a finale worth waiting for, and I can’t wait to dive into it, so let’s do it!

Champion by Marie Lu 

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GoodReads / Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

Genre:

Young Adult, Dystopian

Part of a Series?:

The third and final book of the Legend Trilogy

Please keep in mind that while there will be no spoilers for Champion, there WILL be spoilers for Legend and Prodigy. You can read the review for the first book, Legend, by clicking here

You May Like if You Liked:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

Age Recommendation:

14+

Plot Summary:

From Good Reads:

The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend. 

She is a Prodigy. 

Who will be Champion? 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic-and each other-and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them one again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s best selling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion. 

The Bad:

This is going to be so insanely vague, that if you haven’t read the book, you’re not going to know what I’m saying in the slightest. But if you’ve read the book, you’ll understand. Something happens in the end, something very dramatic, and a certain character’s reaction just…it bothered me a lot. It did seem very fitting to the character, but I think I was still in the immediate emotional reaction and I could barely deal with it myself, and the certain character’s reaction just surprised me. The more that I think about it, the more that it makes sense, especially for that character, but I think I expected more. Maybe I’ve been still stuck in the dramatic and emotional ending of Allegiant, so that’s why I reacted this way. Marie Lu’s ending was perfect for HER story, and HER characters. I think the lack of emotional reaction from a particular character just rubbed me the wrong way.

The Good:

There are so many reasons why I think Marie Lu is the top notch writer of young adult dystopia, and it really culminates in this finale. She takes everything and brings it all together in this final book, and she does it so beautifully. I was so incredibly satisfied and impressed with this book.

The relationships that Marie builds is so incredible. It was enjoyable to watch June and Day’s relationship in this book, especially after the lie that Day told at the end of Prodigy. Day is dying and he tells June that they aren’t going to work, and the book starts off with them in two very separate lives. The way they are brought together, and the way their friendship and relationship evolves in the book is so real, and raw, and beautiful. It all seems so real, and mature. The other relationships and connections are so real too. Day’s relationship and commitment to his brother Eden. His friendship with Tess. Even the relationships between June and Thomas, and Commander Jameson, even Ollie, all are so real, and they hold you in the novel.

And the world building skills! Her world building skills are SO beyond amazing. She is able to create an intricate dystopian world. She builds each country so realistically, and the interactions between the different countries are so well thought out. We had already had the Republic of America and the Colonies, the two countries of the former United States, and we get to meet Africa as a power in the world, and Antarctica as well. Antarctica was especially interesting to learn more about, especially their weird system of…life. Its sort of like…a video game, or even like a real-life version of the Sims. Its an incredibly intricate and detailed world, which what makes it so real and compelling. I hope that we can return to this world later, perhaps through the eyes of other characters besides June and Day.

Oh, can we just talk about all the action in this novel? So much action. You have the Republic on one side and the Colonies on the other, and involvement on other countries, and its just awesome. I liked it in both points of view, because Day has all that passion. He’s not a soldier but he has done a lot against the Republic and so he does everything with so much effort and passion. Then there’s June, who is a soldier, who is trained for this sort of thing, but now she has so much to fight for, and it all comes together for some great action scenes.

Finally, I loved the end of it. The reactions of a particular character aside, I thought it was incredibly real, and bittersweet. It shows the maturity of the characters and the maturity of her series too. Its so different from any ending that I’ve read before but I loved it. There’s so much maturity in the ending, I can’t say that enough. Marie’s novel, and series, stands on its own two feet, without help. The ending surprised me, in the way that a really great ending can, but I loved it. I am looking forward to re-reading the book soon. It will definitely be re-read.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?:

If you’ve read the series already, then definitely dive into this final novel. I absolutely positively loved it and thought it was an incredibly fitting ending to the best YA dystopian series out there. Marie Lu builds a beautiful, broad world and its an addiction until the very end. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you definitely need to.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s Book of the Week!

Don’t forget that you can check out other featured books here, and read all my other book reviews here.

Happy Reading!

October Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2013: 200 Books

Read so Far: 173

On Track?: Yes! I’m actually 7 books ahead!

Total Books For October: 20

As always, more about if you click the title or cover, you’ll get the review!

The Extra by Kathryn Lasky

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Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

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The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

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Just One Year By Gayle Forman

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Goddess by Josephine Angelini

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City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Re-Read)

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Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Panic by Lauren Oliver (Review Will Come Closer to Book Release in March)

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Teardrop by Lauren Kate

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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Reality Boy by A.S. King

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Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes (Review Next Week!)

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Legend by Marie Lu (Re-Read)

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Crewel by Gennifer Albin

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The Fall of the Hotel Dumort by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson

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52 Reasons to Hate my Father by Jessica Brody

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Prodigy by Marie Lu (Re-Read)

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Ten by Gretchen McNeil

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What were some of your favorite books that you read in the month of November? Share them in the comments!

 

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Teen Read Week: Ten Books for Reluctant Readers!

For those of you who may be unaware, order this week is Teen Read Week, a week of celebrating the books for teens and encouraging teens to read. All over the country, its celebrated as the third week of October, by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Libraries all over the country are doing some seriously amazing and fun stuff to encourage teens to read.

This year’s “sub-theme” is Seek the Unknown, encouraging teens to delve into worlds unknown with books in mystery, science fiction, adventure and fantasy.

This is the first year I’ve been aware of this, probably because I’m more involved with the book world, as a blogger, and I have to say: this is awesome, and I’m WAY thrilled about it.

I was a little disappointed that most of my local libraries aren’t doing anything for Teen Read Week, mostly because they’re kind of small, and because I still do think that some of these smaller libraries, that don’t have Teen Services Librarians, tend to not focus on the Teens. However, there ARE a lot of libraries all over the place that ARE doing things. As you guys know, I went to the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest, which was a kick off to this week. The Pasadena Public Library is having a YA Book Swap at their branch this coming Saturday (which I am SUPER looking forward to). There is DEFINITELY cool stuff going on.

But I love this. I love the idea of this, of having a whole week (though I do this everyday) of encouraging teens to read, through different methods. I think its fantastic. Its becoming more and more obvious how important it is to read and to be a proficient reader. Reading is a huge passion of mine, obviously, and it means a lot to me. I try every day on my blog to instill that passion into anyone who comes to say hello and I’m really excited.

So I decided in celebration of Teen Read Week that I would recommend ten books, ten books that I’ve read and loved, for reluctant readers. I want you to keep in mind that these are MY choices, but they are books that I love that I think can both reach out to those who already love books and reach out to those who feel uncomfortable with books, or just don’t know where to start with reading.

I also tried to keep it balanced in the favor of both genders. I think that all books that are written are written for everyone, and that everyone can enjoy them, but I think that boys, especially, tend to think of most YA books as for girls, and this is simply not true. All the books below are ones that I think both genders can enjoy, and I think adults will enjoy them as well.

Winger by Andrew Smith 

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Andrew Smith’s standalone novels follows fourteen year old Ryan Dean as he embarks on his junior year of high school, with the usual trials and tribulations of an awkward teen boy. From playing (and fighting) on the rugby field to being absolutely awkward with girls, and getting in trouble left and right, this book is full of so much humor, you’ll be wiping tears from your face through out the entire novel. Its a GREAT novel, and Ryan Dean is a character that you literally love from page one. You’re in the head of Ryan Dean, completely, and so you get his humor and his random thoughts, and his fears and doubts and its just a fantastic novel. Andrew Smith has an uncanny ability of capturing exactly what its like to be a teenager, and its an up and down ride the entire novel. Its the first novel that pops in my head when anyone asks for a recommendation.

Legend by Marie Lu

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When it comes to dystopian novels, most people tend to recommend The Hunger Games, Divergent, Unwind, amongst others, but the first one that I recommend is Legend, because I think its the best of them all. This is not to say that those books aren’t good, because they are! I’m a huge fan of them, as you guys will know. But Legend stands out to me, and I believe Marie Lu is a champion in the dystopian genre (yeah, I totally just pulled that pun off). Marie’s story takes place in Los Angeles, between two points of view: Day and June. Day is a teen boy who turns to a life of criminal activity after he fails his trials, and escapes from his placement in the labor camps. He does anything and everything he can to support the family that he has left behind. June has grown up in a life of privilege and luxury, scoring the highest score possible in her trials, and being groomed for a military career. When Day is accused of murdering June’s brother, a path emerges that will lead them together and uncover many secrets. I recommend this one above other because it feels so real, and its an easy, quick read, and Marie creates an amazing story with the two main characters, and its easy to speed through this.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 

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Again, not the most likely book that people recommend when it comes to John Green. Most people recommend either The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska. I HIGHLY recommend both of those, definitely, and am looking forward to the TFIOS movie. Its going to be great. But the reason I recommend An Abundance of Katherines, besides the fact that it is my favorite, is because it isn’t heartbreaking like the other two. There’s nothing wrong with heartbreak, nothing at all but I think sometimes a teen could use a break from that, with just a good ‘ol fashioned coming of age story. The story follows genius Colin, who has been dumped 19 times, all by girls that are named Katherine. As he embarks on a road trip with his best friend, he’s determined to find his Eureka! moment in the form of a formula that determines what went wrong with all those Katherines. Its a beautiful coming-of-age, discovery novel with Colin, and it has the usual John Green humor, and its just a great novel. Its my favorite because its the one novel of John Green’s that I really think most teens can see themselves.

Airhead by Meg Cabot

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Yay! Time for some super awesome humor. I recommend ALL Meg Cabot books for reluctant readers because Meg writes as if she’s talking to a best friend, as if she is sitting next to you, a caramel frappacino in hand, telling you these stories. She is full of humor, and fast paced stories, and each story is like a juicy piece of gossip in your hands. Airhead tells the story of Em, an extremely smart girl, in love with her best friend, Christopher, and incapable of really being a “girl”. After a freak accident, Em’s brain is transplanted into the body of America’s hottest top model, Nikki Howard. Of course, there is way more to the story, and Em finds out the sinister nature in how she ended up in this body. Like so many of her books, its of a crazy, impossible nature and its full of a ton of humor. Meg Cabot has a way of making me laugh like no other author has ever made me laugh. Her books are light, and fun, and they’re easy to read, and they’re the first books that I read in the YA area, when I was twelve years old. I will always recommend her because of her ability to make people want to read.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

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I will forever recommend this book because the boy wizard has a way of turning people into readers. You can’t talk about young adult books or having an effect on reading and readers without bringing up Harry Potter. I’ve seen it happen over and over again, people reading Harry Potter and suddenly having a higher interest in reading. It did with my sister and I think it did with my boyfriend too. Jon has always read but after I basically forced him to read them, and now he reads all the time. Harry Potter is a much easier read than people think, and it captures nearly everyone who reads it. I hardly ever meet people who read the books and don’t love them. I’ve met people who are SO incredibly reluctant to read the books, for whatever reasons, and when they read them, they become their favorites. Harry Potter has a way of spanning generations and telling a story that is completely timeless. It breaks your heart, makes you laugh, introduces you to a new world and yet feels as familiar as waking up. Put this book in anyone’s hands and tell me that they won’t love it, and I’ll tell you that they are crazy haha.

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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It took me a long time to read Percy Jackson. I first picked up the books when The Lost Hero, the first book of the spin-off series, came out, that’s how long it took me. But when I did, I was so incredibly mad at myself for waiting SO long to read them. They are amazing books, and I think they really appeal to children because they’re the part of history and English that we learn in school that always sorts of sticks with us. I know that the Greeks and their mythology are one of those things that always sticks out to me about school, and I know its an interesting subject in school and I think Rick Riordan really capitalizes on that but also just tells an awesome story. He tells the story of Percy Jackson, a normal boy who finds out that he is actually a demigod, the son of his mortal mother, and his god father, Poseidon. They are full of fun and adventure, and yes a little bit of education too. I adore these books and I find most kids love them because of how fun and easy they are to read. There’s a reason that Rick only hits about 8 places when doing a book tour, and they sell out in minutes and range in the thousands when it comes to number of guests. He’s a winner.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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Charlie writes his story to “Dear Friend”, of his life as an outsider in high school, trying to find friends, falling in love, dating and so much more. I’ve literally never met a person that read this book and didn’t like it. I would love to meet the person who didn’t, if only to get into a really fun discussion on why. You know me, I love to talk books. But there’s a reason that this is the whole novel that has been published by Stephen (though he told us back in May that he’s working on something new, finally!). Its that this book continues to reach out to teenagers, ever since its publication back in 1999. Every single teenager tends to feel like an outsider and Charlie is the ultimate outsider, and its beautiful and wonderful to follow his story, and to read his letters to “Dear Friend”. Everyone that I talk to that has read this book has loved it, and its the kind of book that you can read as a teenager, read as an adult and continuing reading it and it still has resonance, it still effects you.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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Yes, Cassandra Clare wrote a Harry Potter fan fiction that had a wee bit of plagiarism in it. Yes, Cassandra Clare took some elements of her fan fiction (the parts that WERE NOT plagiarized) and implemented them into her Mortal Instruments trilogy. You know what I say to that? Who cares? Most of the people who are saying this haven’t read her books and I have found that these books make incredible gateway to even more books. Cassandra Clare tells the story of Clary, a normal teen girl that witnesses a murder in a club, a murder than no one else can see. Not long after, her  mother is kidnapped and she is thrown into the world of Shadowhunters, humans with angel blood who have a mandate to rid the world of its demon infestation. From the moment I started reading these, I was addicted, and I remain addicted. I know so many people who have dove into these books and come out with a desire to read. Cassandra’s books are dark and funny, and sexy and easy to read. They’re adventurous and fast paced and its a great book to hand out, to get teens interested in reading.

If I Stay  by Gayle Forman

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Gayle Forman is an awesome contemporary writer, and the best part of her books, for a reluctant reader, is that they are fairly short. This book is only 200 pages, and its an easy and addicting read. Mia is in a tragic, terrible accident and she is rushed to the hospital, with horrible injuries. She is outside her body, witnessing her body as its at the scene, as it is transported to the hospital and as her family and friends gather around, hoping she’ll wake up. Mia alternately relives moments of her past, while contemplating her future, whether to fight and wake up, or whether to let go. Its a beautiful written novel, and the layers that she manages to convey in only 200 pages is brilliant. Her books are so emotional and haunting and they leave a mark on you when you read them. Because of their ease, their fast paced nature, the shortness of the book and the beautiful story, it is easy for a reluctant reader to get involved in this book.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

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Jack Swift is living in Ohio, playing soccer, and being a normal kid until one day he skips his medicine, and he is suddenly stronger and faster than before, and he nearly kills a kid on his soccer. It turns out that Jack is part of an underground society of Weir, people born with stones in them that make them warriors, wizards, sorcerers, enchanters and seers. Jack Swift is a warrior, and warriors are far and few between and when they’re found, the tyrannical wizards throw them together in a deadly tournament for entertainment. Cinda is a brilliant author that writes an amazing fantasy novel, but what makes her great for a reluctant reader is that she’s not so steeped in the fantasy that you’ll feel turned off by it. Its our world, the world we know and our familiar with, but turned upside down. As Jack learns about this crazy new world, so do you, and its a fun, adventurous book.

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I hope you all check out these books and that you pass these, and books that YOU recommend, out to those who haven’t found the passion of reading yet!

I hope that you all have a great Teen Read Week, and that there are awesome things going on near you! Check out your local libraries and bookstores to find out :)

What are some of your favorite books to recommend to those who are reluctant to read? Share them in the comments!

Fandom Friday-Legend

Its been awhile since there’s been a Fandom Friday up on this blog. Mostly because I’ve just been so busy. Its about mid way through the semester, help and I’m trying to work on my novel, and I’m reading a TON so keeping up with those reviews is difficult but I want to keep doing this, and now that I have my three LOVELY contributors (Kat, Clarissa and Christina Marie), I’m feeling good.

For those of you who are new, or may not be familiar with the Fandom Friday, its basically this: every Friday (I try, I do), myself or a guest blogger will feature a fandom. See, I remember I was teasing someone about a book series they liked because I thought it was just downright awful. Then I remember someone doing the exact same thing to me about a book series that means a lot to me.

And I realized, we judge each other SO much, all THE TIME about the different shows and books and all that, and its just wrong. We want to believe that the stuff that we like is SO much better than what other people like. And a lot of times, its before even giving stuff a good try.

So the point of the Fandom Friday is either to teach you more about a fandom that you’re unsure of, and to show you why it means something to a particular person, or to introduce you to a new fandom that you may not have heard before. To open your mind a little bit, to new things :) I admit, its partly for my boyfriend too, who has a bit of a hard time with opening his mind to new things, especially things that aren’t “critically acclaimed”.

So I’m trying to bring this back and hopefully I can do so. If you’re interested in writing about a fandom, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to have you!

Now for this week’s Fandom Friday!

The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

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What It Is: 

The Legend trilogy is a three book dystopian series written by Marie Lu.

The books in the series are Legend, Prodigy and Champion.

I know what you’re thinking: another dystopian novel? Well, fear not, my friends, I’m bringing you what I believe to be the best of them all. And this is coming from a good place. I adore The Hunger Games trilogy and the Divergent trilogy. You all know I absolutely love them. So you know that I’m speaking the truth, and that its truly meaningful when I say that I think this is the best of them all.

The books follow the story of two main characters, and two points of views, of June and Day. June has been born into the life of an elite, scored the highest possible on her tests, and has been groomed to be the perfect military leader. Day, on the other hand, was born in the slums, scored dangerously low on his tests, and converting to a life as a criminal in order to ensure the survival of his family. Two very different people with no chance of crossing until June’s brother Metias is murdered and Day is the prime suspect. Day is on a race to keep safe, and to continue the survival of his family, and June is out for revenge for her brother’s murderer.

However, when they collide, they discover there is a lot more going on in their society than they previously had thought, and the secrets they uncover shock the both of them, and the things that the country does to keep it secret. The choice is up to them to make an unlikely alliance but they were both raised differently and it is hard to trust the different, the unfamiliar.

The first two books have already been released, and the third and final book, Champion, will be released on November 5th. I am ANXIOUSLY waiting for its arrival.

How I Found It

I have my darling friend, Erin, from That One Geek Girl to thank for that! She had read Legend, and she literally threw it in my face, telling me that I HAD to read it. I was feeling sort of anti-dystopian at the time, right at the beginning of this year, so I was unsure of trying it, but she was pushy, and so I decided to buy it.

And I sped through it. It was sooooo good and so addicting and so compelling and so unique. As soon as it ended, I was like, WHERE IS THE SEQUEL? And by my awesome luck, the sequel was releasing the next day, so I waited until midnight, downloaded it to my Kindle and spent the rest of the night (morning) reading it. And even better, the third one coming out in less than a year.

I have been able to meet Marie quite a few times this year, and she’s a seriously amazing person, super funny and inspiring, and it only makes you want to read her books more.

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Why You Should Be Reading It

Like I said, I know there’s a hundred million dystopians out there, and its hard to find whats good. I know that I hear a lot of readers saying “no, please, no more dystopian.” Well, I say you break this rule for just this one series.

One main reason why I think this trilogy is incredible is because its set in Los Angeles. I’m a California girl; I’m only a quick drive away from Los Angeles. And I “love” that most dystopian books have California sunk under the sea after an earthquake and tsunami, and all of that. I love that there is so much focus, so much centralized on a place that I feel familiar with. So yes, there is that.

But its also that Marie’s world is on such a grander scope than some of those others that I’ve read. In Hunger Games, there is only Panem in what used to be the United States. What about the rest of the world? Its the same in Divergent, except even more limited to Chicago, and the surrounding areas. I do have a feeling that we are going to see a bit more of the US in Allegiant, but still, so limited. If the United States went into ruin, and had to rebuild, what happened to the rest of the world? I love that Marie addresses the rest of the world, and talks about the various different groups and societies that exist outside of the United States. I think that takes a lot more work to recognize that there are other entities out there, and other players in the game. Its brilliant, and its really what compels me so much to this world.

But I also just love the story. The story is brilliant and its different than the others. I mean, sure, usually a dystopian has a society that built itself after disaster and is run by tyrannical leaders and someone must come and take them down. And that’s true of this series as well but its not so black and white, which is where you get those two points of view. Even after so much truth and secrets are revealed, June is hard to persuade. She knows how she is raised and what she believes and how she was trained and its not easy for her to abandon it. And the same goes with Day. Although the Republic has not treated him well in the SLIGHTEST, he has been concerned of his family’s safety and surviving. Its not a heroic moment or decision for either of them to join a cause, and to fight.

I also like the two points of you makes it hard for you to decide what is right as well. You’re in both of their heads, you see how both is raised and sometimes you can’t decide who is right and who is wrong, and its all so gray. You’re never sure of what the right move is to make and that’s what keeps you reading because you’re determined to find out how this works. I still don’t have any clue how this series is going to end, because its just so twisting and turning. You just don’t know what will happen next, and its just brilliant.

She also has the ability to tell a love story without it being SUPER sappy. And no love triangles. I mean, there are tiny baby ones, but they are so inconsequential when compared to the rest of the story. You have moments where you’re fanning yourself, or you’re saying “Oh yeah, I totally ship it” but you’re never overwhelmed, and it makes it that much easier to focus on what a great story she is spinning

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So seriously, why are you still here? You should be reading the first book now. I mean, honestly, I’m ready to pick them up, and reread them again, because now I’m getting OVERLY excited for the release of the third one in just a few weeks.

I hope you all will give this series a chance the way I did, and you’ll discover the amazing series that is.

Also, Marie is going on tour in November and December to celebrate the release of Champion, so make sure to check out the tour dates, and hopefully I’ll see you when she comes to California!

Happy Friday everyone!

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!

Tuesday Top Ten-Books I’d Like to See as a TV Show/Movie

One thing that I have noticed in the past few years, stuff especially in the last year, pill is that so many of the books that I enjoy to read have either been made into the movie or TV show, advice especially in the young adult genre. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Twilight, Hunger Games and Beautiful Creatures have already been made into movies. The Vampire Diaries is a very successful TV show. CIty of Bones, Divergent, Catching Fire, Ender’s Game and more are coming out in the coming months, and even more movies are being filmed and being written for the big screen.

Now, I was thinking, even though most movie and book adaptations aren’t perfect and they don’t turn out the way you wish they would, its still fun to see the characters and worlds you’ve come to love come to life on screen.

So I made a list of the top ten books I’d like to see as a TV show or movie. Some of these have been signed on, but we haven’t seen much more than that. So some are “Oh, I wish it would happen” and some are “please I hope this happens some day SOON!”

Here we go!

10. A Little Less than Famous

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Yeah, yeah I’m seriously talking about my own book right now and I know that this is super selfish and a little bit conceited but I do think it would make a really good…hmm, I think TV show rather movie but either way. I was going through the process of editing and adding and all that sort of things when I was like, this would make a great movie. I created this book as sort of a glimpse into a celebrity life and what a better way to adapt that then to show it on a big screen. McKinley Evans is just a regular girl, who starts dating superstar, Jake Kennedy, and gets wrapped up in that celebrity world. I started to self cast people for McKinley and Jake, like people fan cast. The biggest one that I really liked was Chase Crawford, of Gossip Girl fame, as Jake Kennedy…but with black hair. I just think a book that is wrapped up in the life of movies and TV shows would translate well into the actual real world of movies and TV shows.

9. Legend

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This movie is actually already been picked up for a movie, by CBS Films, but its a really slow process, or so I am learning now that I actually pay attention to things like this. Its been a long process to create a script, and now that the script is written, its time to find a director. But I hold out hope that it will eventually hit the big screen. Though I love both Hunger Games and Divergent, I really think that Legend is so much more both and can attract both a female and male audience. In the books, there is a back and forth point of view between June and Day, and both characters are so real. The thing that really brings you in is the fact that they are two completely different point of views but the same story. June and Day are literally living the same story but they come from two different worlds so they see it so different and to see those two stories coinciding on screen, to crash together towards the end would be absolutely amazing, and I hope very much that CBS Films will be able to make this happen.

8. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

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This is one of my favorite books of all time, and Morgan Matson has created such a beautiful, memorable story. I think a lot of the YA adaptations (besides The Fault in Our Stars) has really been in that sort of fantasy/paranormal/dystopian genre, and while I am way into that, I do think there are a lot of contemporary novels that would do well in a movie translation as well. Amy and Roger embark on a road trip across country, Amy to Connecticut and Roger to Philadelphia, both to confront fears that they’ve been avoiding for so long. Its a real and raw novel, a novel that takes on what it is like to be a young adult, faced with the kind of things that both Amy and Roger have faced, and puts it in a fun, and addicting adventure, such as crossing the country and experiencing new things and meeting new people. I think it would be an absolutely wonderful movie to make, and to watch.

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty

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As far as I’m aware, this movie WAS signed on, but it fell apart and it never actually happened, which isn’t surprising because not every book that gets optioned to be a movie actually makes it to the big screen and that’s okay. However, I do really think this would make a great movie. Its a fun, and dark and the sort of issues that the girls tackle are incredible. I think Libba makes a ton of good points in this movie that would translate amazingly into a movie. The girls in this book struggle with the idea of power and how powerless they are in the Victorian age where everything is decided for them before they can even open their mouth. In a time like now, when things should be better and different, and they aren’t, I think it would really connect with a lot of girls. I would have been very excited to see a series that focuses more on the four main characters and their struggles, especially with finding out who they are and less on love stories, and I’m sad that this never came to be.

6. Before I Fall

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This is another book that has definitely also been optioned for a movie, and back in March, when I met Lauren Oliver, she assured me that its still in the works and hopefully will be one that actually happens. Her Delirium series filmed a pilot for FOX and didn’t picked up for a fall season, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the Delirium series so I’m not surprised. Before I Fall, however, is a brilliant novel and I really think Lauren Oliver hits her mark here. I think it would make a great movie because you don’t often have a main character that you honestly hate from the beginning of the book, which is exactly the way I felt about Samantha. But after Samantha dies and she’s forced to relive the last day of her life seven times, you slowly sort of fall in love with her as a character and its such an addicting and fast moving, emotional story, and I think it would make an absolutely beautiful movie, if done right. I know that Lauren Oliver said its a work in progress and I so hope she means that.

5. The Lost Hero

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So far, we have seen The Lightning Thief on the big screen, and we’ll see The Sea of Monsters in about a week but I would really like to see The Heroes of Olympus come to life. I am excited for Monsters next week but the changes they made, especially when concerning the age difference between the actors and the characters in the novel. I think if you took Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario and the rest, and then cast Piper, Jason, Hazel, Leo, etc. for The Lost Hero, you would create a perfect movie. The characters in these books are hitting their late teens and its more fitting to the story, and the actors would make SO much more sense than they do in the ones they are making now when they are supposed to be, like, eleven years old. I super love Percy Jackson and the Olympians but I really have this addicted to The Heroes of Olympus and I really do think they would make the best movies of the entire saga that Rick Riordan has created.

Literally was watching a Sea of Monsters trailer while writing this. So awesome.

4. The Demon King

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Okay, so I am totally biased when it comes to this. I honestly think Cinda Williams Chima has created an absolutely wonderful fantasy saga and I think there should be more pure fantasy novels being adapted into tv shows and movies, at least in the YA genre. We have Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Game of Thrones but we really don’t see that much in the YA. I can understand it, mostly because creating fantasy on film is really hard and really expensive. But I think doing a fantasy, a pure epic fantasy movie with a girl as the main character, one who becomes the ruler and has to rule a country in chaos at such a young age. Its a beautiful story, and it has magic and hot guys, and political strife, and racial clashes. Cinda creates such real stories, that you can mirror them to things you see in every day and Raisa, the main character, is someone you can really relate to, even if you’re not a teen girl thrust into an authority position you are not ready for. I think if you put this in the hands of the right director, in people willing to really make a beautiful fantasy film, and not go cheap on it, you could see this as an awesome movie.

3. Wicked

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Make no mistake here, I think this book is absolutely wonderful but its way too dark and gritty to be a movie. Its…its very dark, and I always kind of laugh when people see the musical first and then read the book, unaware of how very, very different they are. I read the book first so I was surprised, though pleasantly so, when I saw the music. I like both of them a lot, but just in different ways, and as different entities. What I would really like to see is the musical, either recorded the way they recorded Cats all those years ago, or doing a movie version of it, like with Hairspray and Rent, etc. I think its an amazing musical, and even my anti-musical boyfriend enjoyed it when we saw it together nearly six years ago. Its so funny, and the music is just so…emotional and amazing, and even the happy songs of that musical make me cry. I would love to see this as movie, simply so I could buy a Blu-Ray copy of it and watch it ALLLLLLLLL the time.

2. Clockwork Angel

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This is also currently being worked as a movie as well, probably with the success that City of Bones has already enjoyed and the movie doesn’t even come out for about a month. I just see all the awesomeness of City of Bones (again, I know, only through trailers so I don’t really know yet) and I think, oh my god, let’s do all of that, but in the Victorian age! Which would be beautiful, and then I start fan casting (Sarah Bolger for Tessa Gray!) and I just think it would be amazing. I would love to see book loving, shape shifting Tessa Gray battling automatons and the evil Mortmain alongside the mysterious and cruel but so hot Will Herondale and the beautiful, fragile Jem Carstairs. I would love to see Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane but in Victorian times. I really would love to see that. Its just more Shadowhunter kickass-ness but in a time where the girls were wearing corsets so its only THAT much better. Please make this happen. I’m just saying.

1. Trickster’s Choice

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This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time, tied up with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which was a horrible movie adaptation, but meh, to each their own). To go along with the things I said about The Demon King, I think we need more fantasy in the YA books-to-movies. So many of the books that are being adapted are dystopian and while I seriously love dystopian, I’m ready for some super awesome fantasy adaptations. I am so excited for The Hobbit, but that book isn’t as accessible to teens as this book is, and Aly is a brilliant character. I also think that Tammy uses a lot of real world parallels in this novel, the idea of the dark skinned raka, living under the tyranny of the white skinned luarin, war, rebellion, growing up, losing your virginity, slavery, self-identity and so much more. Plus the dynamic character of Aly. I really think we could use some more strong female characters, but equally awesome and strong male characters and this novel has both, and it’d make a great, great movie.

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Hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten, and don’t forget to check out last week’s, where I counted down my Top Ten Favorite Romantic Scenes!

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What are some of the books that you’ve read that you’d like to see become movies or TV shows? Share in the comments!