Tuesday Top Ten-My ‘Auto-Buy’ Authors!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Tuesday Top Ten!

I honestly have had a crazy week, view and I’ve been so incredibly busy that I honestly couldn’t even remember if I did a Tuesday Top Ten last week. Turns out I did!

I got the idea for this week’s top ten from my dear friend Kayla’s blog! She did a booktag where she posted what authors she owned the most books of from her auto-buy list. I thought it was kind of fun but…I have over 500 books and I don’t have bookshelves so that’s a lot of work for me. But then I thought, well, I don’t have an idea for this week’s Tuesday Top Ten so voila! Now I have one.

All ten authors are authors that from right this moment (and perhaps before), I will buy everything they release, without even thinking about it. You know what I mean. Those kind of authors that you’ve read enough books to trust them, so that when they release a new book, you immediately want to pick it up and read it. Those ones.

Here are my top ten, erm, eleven:

11. Richelle Mead 

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Its funny that a year ago, I would have scoffed at this, rolled my eyes at the cover of Vampire Academy, and never known how amazing this author is. Luckily, I put aside my vampire prejudices and read this book. Now I’m addicted to VA and Bloodlines, absolutely adore Richelle and I have a VA tattoo now. I will buy anything she writes because she takes something that has been done over and over again, has been beaten to a pulp and makes it fun, fresh, adventurous, sexy and amazing. Richelle Mead is incredible and I will be picking up every single one of her books from now on, easily.

10. Jennifer L. Armentrout

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This is a very…I will buy everything she publishes from here on out. I don’t own everything by her at this point. I have read the entire Lux series (so far) and I don’t own it all. I have read the entire Covenant series and again, don’t own them. But I’ve read so much from her now, and I’ve been so thoroughly impressed by her, again and again, that any time there is a new release for her, I’m determined to head to the bookstore in order to purchase her new book. I trust her to take me on adventure, to make me laugh and to have perfectly steamy scenes that leave me panting for more.

9. Marie Lu

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After reading the entire Legend trilogy, and being completely blown away from beginning to end, I’ve developed not only an addiction to Marie Lu, but a complete trust in her. I was ready to dive happily into her new book, The Young Elites, and worked my ass off to get a copy of it at ALA. I read it just last week and it blew my mind. I already have my ARC of it but I know that when it is released in October, I will totally be picking it up. I trust Marie Lu to write an incredible story every single time, and she will be one that I will be following for quite some time.

8. Veronica Roth

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The Divergent series means so incredibly much to me; I don’t get tattoos of series just because I feel like it. I love Veronica Roth. I love her characters and her stories. I picked up the Four collection and read it in about an hour. I trust her, and I want to read everything that she puts out. She’s the same age as me so I know that she has a great future as a writer in front of her. Right now, I am unsure of what she is working on. Everyone is just talking about the new Four collection and I don’t think there’s anything set in stone planned for the future. Whatever it is though, you can definitely count on me to purchase it on the day it comes out.

7. Tamora Pierce

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There is a stipulation to this, even though she’s totally tied for first in the list of my favorite authors. I buy every single thing Tamora Pierce writes as long as its in the Tortall world. Everything she has written in that world has just blown my mind and I love going back again and again and again. She hasn’t put anything out in that world for awhile, which makes me sad, but I always eagerly await a new one. I need to go back and read her Circle books, in the hope of getting an “auto-buy” feeling for those as well :)

6. Andrew Smith

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Okay, yes, I need to go back and buy all the books he’s already released since I don’t own all of them, but of the ones I’ve read and own, I just can’t imagine him disappointing me. He is an absolutely incredible author and every book I read makes me love him even more. From now on, every time he releases a book, I will be at the  bookstore, grabbing a copy (or two…or three…) and making sure its in my collection. I trust him enough to always make me a happy reader.

5. Jessica Brody

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Did I just use a picture of Jessica Brody from the first time I ever met her, over a year ago at WonderCon 2013? Yes, yes, I did. Apparently when I google “Jessica Brody author”, most of the pictures that pop up are the ones from my blog…which is kind of cool and maybe a bit creepy and stalkerish. But the point is, I’ll buy all Jessica Brody’s books because they’re all so good! I’ve read them all (except the Fidelity Files, which I’m working on), and she makes me laugh and she’s a great writer and I love supporting her. Its easy to imagine going to the bookstore on her release days and picking up her new book!

4. Sarah Dessen

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I’ve literally bought every single Sarah Dessen book, on the day its released, since I was about fourteen years old. I doubt that is going to change any time soon, unless she starts writing truly awful books.Even then though… Sarah is one of those authors that usually makes me happy, and I love reading her books. Her last couple have been a little lacking compared to some of her earlier ones but I still buy each one with much eagerness because I know what a terrific writer she is and I always look forward to the great stories she tells. Plus they’re always the perfect summer books and I just love that.

3. Cassandra Clare

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Whatever you feel about her, that’s your deal. I ran into a lot of people at ALA who don’t like her, and that’s your deal. But she is literally one of my favorite authors ever, I have a tattoo from her series and I will buy each and every one of her books on the day they come out, no matter what. I absolutely hated City of Fallen Angels, and I’m upfront and honest about that. But that didn’t keep me from continuing to buy The Infernal Devices series or from picking up the next TMI book, Lost Souls, the following year. I will pick up a copy of The Iron Trials (her novel with Holly Black) this fall (though I already have an ARC copy of it), and I’ll pick up a copy of The Bane Chronicles and Lady Midnight and so on. This is one author that I’m definitely going to continue to buy, because even though she writes a dud sometimes, she writes a great book that makes me happy too.

2. Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot has been one of my favorite authors since I was 12 years old, when I first picked up a copy of The Princess Diaries. I’ve literally bought every single book of hers, on the release day, since then. That’s 14 years of complete dedication. In fact, a few months ago, I thought “Wait…how is it Meg isn’t releasing anything this year?” Not even a week later, Meg announced two new adult books, based off of two of her very popular YA series. Those will most definitely be auto buys, without even pausing or thinking about it.

1. J.K. Rowling

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She’s my favorite author in the entire world and she’s written a total of 10 books. Which seems like a lot but the first one came out in 1998, and that was nearly 20 years ago. She wrote the Harry Potter series and when that was over, I thought I would never again be able to experience the beautiful and incredible writing and storytelling of her again. Then The Casual Vacancy came out. Not one of my favorites but I did enjoy it and I purchased it immediately. As soon as it was revealed that she was Robert Galbraith, and that The Cuckoo’s Calling was, in fact, her novel, I immediately went on my e-reader and bought it. (I had to; at the time, bookstores didn’t carry enough copies to meet the sudden demand). Just recently I purchased The Silkworm, the sequel. I will continue to buy every single thing she writes, even if its, like, a history of toothpicks or something because I will read anything this queen writes :)

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Who are some of your favorite auto-buy authors? Share in the comments!

May Book Wrap Up

Books Pledged to Read in 2014: 150 Books

Am I On Track: I am actually 2 books ahead right now. This is the first time I’ve been on track all year haha.

Books Read So Far: 63

Total Books For May: 20

Remember, viagra buy as always, try to click the book title in order to read the review!

A Girl Called Fearless

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Summer State of Mind

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Rebel Belle

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Since You’ve Been Gone

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The One

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Open Road Summer

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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All Lined Up

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Re-Read)

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In Honor

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Free to Fall

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The Prince and the Guard

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Noggin

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Don’t Look Back

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The Truth About Forever (Re-Read)

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City of Heavenly Fire

(You can also watch my spoiler FILLED vlog here)

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Shadow and Bone (Re-Read)

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Rules of Summer

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Just One Night

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Tuesday Top Ten-Characters Names that I’d Steal for My Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here we go!

10. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird

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

9. Sirius from Harry Potter

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

8. Keladry from Protector of the Small

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

7. Asher from The Giver

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

6. Felicity from A Great and Terrible Beauty

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

5. Alianne from Trickster’s Choice 

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

4. Raisa from the Seven Realms series

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

3. Auden from Along for the Ride

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

2.Alexander from The Mortal Instruments/Delirium series

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

1. Jace from The Mortal Instruments series

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

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

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

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

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

Blogger Spotlight-Megan from LuxenArmy.Net

One of the best parts about running this blog is having the ability to meet some really cool people, generic and some of the coolest people that I have met have led me to really cool blogs. I’ve said it before, cialis 40mg no one’s blog is 100% original but everyone’s voices are different so there are blogs that I love to read because I love the writer, and I love the passion that they show for what they are writing. They are fun and interesting to read and they inspire me to get better and better in my blog.

So I decided to do a feature (inspired by Megan at the Nerdy Girlie’s Geek Girls Gab), where I profile the bloggers that I love. Not only do I get to find out more about them, but I also get to share them with you guys! Most of the bloggers that I follow are like me, nerd girls, fan girls and they enjoy the same things as me, and you! Every blogger that I profile is one that is super important to me and I urge you to check them out!

If you are interested in being featured on the Blogger Spotlight, feel free to contact me, please! I would love to hear from you and would love to feature you! Plus I just like learning about new blogs!

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This week’s blogger is Megan from Luxen Army, but also iFandoms Collide and Novel Reality.

She also writes for City of Shadowhunters, The Mortal Institute and Page to Premiere.

Her Tumblr

Her Twitter

Her Facebook Page

You can find the social media pages for Luxen Army below!

This is how she introduces herself:

Megan Christine Herondale/Lewis/Ivashkov/Black/Ryves/Shaw/Odair/Collins/Parnell …okay so my name’s only Megan Christine Kaniasty and I tried to steal a couple of fictional last names – arrest me (and then ask me what ever I say can and will be held against me…because in that case I would say…) 

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Sara: Tell me a Little Bit About Yourself:

Megan: I am a 22 year old full time student. I am going to school at a private Christian college called Biola University, and in two years I will be the proud owner of a BA in elementary education with an emphasis in special needs, a minor in Biblical studies, and a certification to teach. My earliest memory was of me wanting to become a published writer, and that is exactly what I plan on doing. I am working on a trilogy now, but I have also been keeping up other book ideas in my journals as they come along. I write everyday, whether it is for a blog, in my diary, or for my novels – I need to write, it is my forever love. My other love is this boy Sean Patrick Sugg. In my phone he is known as “Jace Herondale”. We’ve been together for almost 6 years now, and even though he isn’t an alien, a shadowhunter, or some awesome downworlder, we have one of those real life fairy tail stories. Oh yeah, I also love to read. Obsessed with it actually; books are my heroine. I know how blessed I am and I thank God every single day!

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Sara: Tell me about your blog: 

Megan: Of all the blogs I am apart of, or that I write for, LuxenArmy.net is my baby because it is something that I had created. I brought on three other very talented girls from different time zones to help me run the website at all hours of the day, so that this becomes the best lux fansite out there! Luxenarmy.net is a fansite based on Jennifer Armentrout’s Lux series novels – it even has approval of author Jennifer Armentrout! The site offers everything from news on Jennifer Armentrout’s novels (specifically focusing on the Lux series, and the Arum series) to forums for fans to live chat in with one another, and even a place to submit lux series fanfiction and fanart! The luxen army has a twitter @LUXENarmy , a tumblr, a facebook page that you should like and, luxenarmy.net ‘s origins, the facebook group.

 Sara: What inspired you to start your blog?

Megan: I started the luxen army after interviewing Jennifer Armentrout for ifandomscollide.com. I have called Lux fans the luxen army before, but after the interview, I really wanted to create a real life luxen army. I did it for fun, not expecting many people to see it because who am I? I am nobody really, just this nerd girl in LA. Well little did I know Jennifer Armentrout would catch wind of my facebook group and share about it over twitter. This facebook group of mine turned into a website, a facebook page, tumblr, and twitter because of the amount of unbelievable support that flooded in. I asked Tatiana, one of my best friends to help me out because I was new at this, she has a blog, and she was there when the luxen army invaded my life. Two other girls came to me asking if I would like help with the site, and thank God for them. Erin has designed the website beautifully, and Jessica has an AMAZING talent that I can’t wait to be shared with everyone in the Luxen Army!

Sara: What is your favorite nerd memory?

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Megan: My FAVORITE nerd memory is Wondercon 2013. The Mortal Instruments is my favorite book series, Cassandra Clare is my favorite author, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is being made into a film, and they were having a panel at wondercon AND a meet and greet (if you happen to be lucky enough to win tickets TO the meet and greet). Lets just say I was really, REALLY lucky. Long story short, I was dressed up as one of the characters, Isabelle Lightwood (this is the nerdy part, me in cosplay. Well, I guess being at Wondercon is pretty nerdy as well…) I had an unbelievable time meeting the cast, and got kicked out for having my custom phone case signed. A security guard took my badge, and walked me out of Wondercon. We were talking the whole way out, and before I left I ended up talking my way into getting the security guard to give me my wondercon badge back so that I could still get back in. I met the cast, hugged the cast, and made a memorable exit. BEST. NERD. MEMORY. EVER…I have another amazing nerd memory meeting the director of The Mortal Instruments…I am a truly blessed nerd girl.

Sara: What are you most looking forward to, as far as new books/movies/etc?

Megan: I can’t even fathom an answer to this question. I get butterflies in my stomach and see lots of pictures flashing in my mind of new books, movies, movie trailers, interviews, and such, when I think of this question. I am looking forward to it all.

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Sara: As my blog is mostly about books and reading, what are some of your favorite books or authors to read? 

Megan:  Series: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Lux series, The Shades of London, The Demon’s Lexicon, The Divergent series, The Hunger Games series, The Morganville Vampires, The Hush Hush series, The Vampire Academy series, The Mara Dyer series, The Feather Trilogy…the list can go on and on. As for Authors, well that list can go on and on as well, here are just a few (not including the authors of the series I’ve listed above): Sara Dessen, Nicholas Sparks, Morgan Matson, Andrew Smith, Leigh Bardugo, Lex Thomas… and again I say the list will go on and on (I know there are a TON more authors I absolutely LOVE but did not list, please PLEASE know you’re in my heart, but if I continue to list authors I love, well this would turn into an encyclopedia length blurb!)

Sara: What are some of your favorite blogs to follow?

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Megan: I don’t really follow blogs other than those I write for, my best friends’ blogs: whatanerdgirlsays.com and fangirlfeeels.wordpress.com, OR select authors. Cassandra Jean is the exception being neither a blog I write for, my best friend, or an author – I just think she is absolutely brilliant!

Sara: Who is your fictional crush (what, we’re nerd girls, we all have one!)

Megan: Now THIS list will be quite long, I have more than one fictional crush. I guess I will give you my top ten – narrowing it down to only 10 is quite hard by the way.

1. Will Herondale (TID)

2. Jace Herondale (TMI)

3. Daemon Black (Lux)

4. Four (yes I put Four on 4 on purpose) (Divergent)

5. Jem Carstairs (especially after reading the Clockwork Prince graphic novel!) (TID)

6. Simon Lewis (TMI)

7. Cam Hamilton (Wait for You)

8. Adrian Ivashkov (Vampire Academy)

9. Finnick Odair (THG)

10. Nick Ryves (Demon’s Lexicon)

…OH WAIT! I have more, TONS more fictional crushes! Oh boy, I believe I am a fictional whore…

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I hope you guys enjoyed this week’s edition of the Blogger Spotlight.

You can check out the amazing bloggers I have interviewed in the past here.

And read all about last week’s Spotlight girl, Jackie from Seeking Bazinga!

My Reading Journey

So i was doing my daily journey through the blogs that I follow and I came to one of my favorites, no rx The Perpetual Page Turner, there run by the lovely and awesome, Jamie. Her most recent blog entry talks about her Reading History (which you can read here) and the different books that shaped her life.

I loved it. It was so cute, and it was nostalgic and it really brought to my mind my own reading history.

See, the one thing I’ve noticed in my journeys as a reader, as a writer, and as a blogger is that so many people that I’ve met have that “moment” or that “one book/book series” that just does IT for them. It brings them into the world of reading. You have no idea how many times I’ve heard, “Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/Mortal Instruments/Divergent/Hunger Games/John Green/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants/etc got me into reading”. Which I think is absolutely wonderful and is a testament to how wonderful YA literature can be.

And I get that question a lot. “What book got you into reading?” because people know how insane I am with books and reading. And I always feel really perplexed when I get that question. Like…”Um, Green Eggs and Ham? Go Dog Go? The Polar Express? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?”

Because, the thing is, reading has exploded over the past decade, and I do think that it is in LARGE part to do with the young adult literature boom. So many people are picking up these books, loving them and becoming readers, and picking up more  YA books.

But for me? I’ve ALWAYS been a reader. I can’t pinpoint a moment in which I discovered reading because its long before my memory can remember. I’ve been reading since I was a small child, three, maybe four years old. Reading has always, always, always been a part of my life. I can’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t reading. But I am seriously curious about the different books that I’ve read through out my life and so this is where I talk about my reading journey.

Thanks Jamie for an awesome post, and I hope you don’t mind that I’m borrowing it!

Childhood (3-10 years old)

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In my childhood days, I spent most of my time reading probably what most kids read: LOTS of Doctor Seuss, lots of Berenstein Bears, lots of Shel Silverstein. However, those books got really easy and really “boring” super fast. So I was already moving on to chapter books, formula books, by the time I was about five or six and I stuck with those for quite a many years. I’m talking Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals, Boxcar Children and the various Sweet Valley series (Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Jr HighSweet Valley College). I ate these books up SO fast, and they probably were way below my potential but I could read a couple Baby-Sitters Club books a day and I loved that. I also read a lot of Judy Blume books in those days too.

I also realize now that reading all those Sweet Valley Books as a nine-year-old was probably unbelievably inappropriate. The high school and university series TOTALLY has sex in it and I was so cavalier about it, when I was a child. Interesting.

But those were the books I loved as a kid. They weren’t challenging and they were easy reads and I could bust through those books so fast, making me seem like a better reader than I probably was because I wasn’t challenging myself!

Preteen/Middle School (10-14 years old)

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I was 10 years old when I discovered Harry Potter, and this seriously changed my life in so many ways, I couldn’t even begin to write about it. That is a whole ‘nother blog post. But it changed the way I read books. Books didn’t have to be short, and they could be so different and interesting and challenging and wonderful. Harry Potter was the first book that I read that wasn’t a formula book, really, and I just loved it. I ate that up so fast and it was the first step I took into a whole different world.

Also when I was in middle school, I discovered both Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot, both of whom are still some of my absolute favorite authors. This is where I discovered YA literature, and this is why I’m still obsessed with YA and I”m writing this blog. A friend of mine gave me Dessen’s Someone Like You and I loved it so much and went out and bought That Summer, Keeping the Moon and Dreamland and I’ve bought every book since then on the day its come out. For Meg Cabot, I went and saw the movie The Princess Diaries and realized it was a book. Then I read the book and realized how much better it was than the movie and I’ve consumed every single Meg Cabot book to come out since then.

This was the beginning of my foray into young adult literature. I had dipped a toe in, in the contemporary world of YA lit. I think this is also when I sort of discovered that I liked to write too, at about 10 years old. I think that’s when I realized that I liked the way these YA authors wrote, so relatable and so real, like you were stepping into the messy minds of teenagers.

High School (15-18 years old)

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This is what I am going to call my exploring years. I read a LOT during high school, and a lot of that was classics because of school. And I’ll tell you: Shakespeare? Steinbeck? I get they were great guys and all and changed literature and all that…but ugh, ugh, ugh. I can’t read either one without wanting to drown myself.

But I did discover a lot of classics I did like. I loved The Great Gatsby. Gone with the Wind. Poisonwood Bible (okay, which isn’t a classic, but is a great book). Brave New World. Huckleberry Finn. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD! (Hey, I named my dog Scout for a reason).

This was also the time that I was really getting into fantasy, especially young adult fantasy. It hadn’t QUITE broken out yet but it was definitely getting there. I had consumed the Lord of the Rings books with fervor, because I just loved the movies so much. (I had read The Hobbit as a kid). I was still reading Harry Potter like crazy, and I had discovered two of my still favorite authors, Tamora Pierce and Libba Bray. Tamora Pierce introduced me to a world of pure fantasy and it still is one of my absolute favorite fictional worlds to be in. Libba Bray gave me the sort of urban fantasy that I didn’t really know existed. I didn’t know that you could read fantasy books in a world you recognized, even if it was a Victorian England you never actually lived there. This is where I think my obsession with the supernatural, the fantasy, and all that started. I was full on 100% obsessed with Harry Potter and my reading habits were growing and growing by the minute.

I will also say that it was during this time that I discovered Twilight. Now as much as I don’t think its a well written book and all that, it was also very instrumental into the books that I enjoy now.

Young Adult (19-now)

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And this is where the trouble started :) This is where all the build up, all the YA I’d been obsessed with like Sarah Dessen, and Meg Cabot, Tamora Pierce, Libba Bray, Harry Potter just escalated.

Now, as you guys now, I read YA by the stacks and stacks of books. I consume YA so fast and so easily. I have discovered The Mortal Instruments (and in turn, the Infernal Devices), Percy Jackson and The Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, Seven Realms series, The Hunger Games, Divergent, John Green, The Lux Series, the Legend trilogy, the Grisha trilogy, and so so so so so many more that I couldn’t even begin to tell you them all.

But I’ve also continued my love of contemporary YA as well, as that is what started the journey. I still love Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot to no end. I read John Green now and David Levithan, Morgan Matson (!!!), Jessica Brody, and so many more. And this love of young adult books and what motivates me to do this blog and its what I read most of. I still read adult books but for the most part, its YA all day.

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So that’s my journey through books. Its been a long journey but an enjoyable one and I know its going to continue because my love for books only strengthens every day. I discover new authors and new books every day. I’m so grateful to my parents for pushing me so hard to read as a young child because I’ve been reading for longer than I can remember and books are magic to me, they are therapy, they are entertainment, they are escape.

So what was your reading journey? Did it start early like mine, or was there certain books or series that helped you to become a reader? As always, let me know in the comments!

And if you write a post as well, let me know and I’ll link it in this one :)

Book of the Week Part Two-Seige and Storm

Oh you read that right, sickness I’m doing TWO Book of the Week reviews in ONE week.

I know, crazy, right? Its totally outside the box, breaking the rules. I’m such a rebel, you can’t handle how off the charts awesome I am right now.

So basically the plan had been to do the Book of the Week post on Siege and Storm and then do an episode of Sara’s Quick Picks on The Moon and More, and a couple other books I had read. However, I did not finish Siege and Storm in time for the Book of the Week, which is always (mostly) posted on Thursdays, therefore I did a review on The  Moon and More.

Well I stayed up til 2 am to finish Siege and Storm tonight (yeah, its nearly 4 am while I’m writing this. Yay, insomnia!) and it was absolutely positively brilliant and I’m still kind of recovering from it and I decided I would write a review for it while it was fresh in my mind.

I mean, I could write it for the Book of the Week on Thursday BUT it won’t be as fresh in my mind as it is RIGHT NOW. So this week, you’re all treated to TWO book reviews in one week. How crazy for you guys.

I just want to warn you, since this is a sequel, there will be spoilers to Shadow and Bone in this review. There are very, very minimal to zero spoilers for Siege and Storm but in order to talk about this book, I have to spoil things from the first book. I’m warning you now, don’t read this review if you haven’t read the first book.

Whew, got that out of the way. Now enjoy the Book of the Week, Part Two!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

original

Genre:
young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?:
yes, it is the second book of the Grisha trilogy, preceded by Shadow and Bone, and followed by Rune and Rising, out in 2014

You May Like if You Liked:
anything by Tamora Pierce, the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, the Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson

Plot Summary: 

Siege and Storm picks up where Shadow and Bone has left off: with Alina and Mal on the run from the Darkling, trying to escape into another world, to be forgotten. Alina is forced to wear a scarf to hide her new amplifier that’ll identify her in a second, and to hold back her powers because let’s face it, they are one of a kind. But Alina can’t run forever, and its not long before the Darkling catches up to her and Mal and is prepared to bring her back to Ravka so he can take over and rule it, so he can have even more power than he already has.

But soon, Alina and Mal are meeting a new friend by the name of Sturmhond, a privateer who has a bigger background than Alina and Mal are prepared for. Suddenly, Alina is alive with new purpose and escaping and running away. She has purpose; there are more powerful amplifiers to help her gain more power and more control, now that the Darkling has scary and impossible new powers. But the further she pushes herself into the Grisha world, trying to save Ravka, trying to gain more power, the further away she gets from Mal. She has to choose whether to keep going in order to save her country or pull back to be with the person she loves.

The Bad:

I have literally nothing to say. I mean, usually, even if I absolutely adore the book, there’s always something kind of nit picky that bugged me but I can’t even think of anything. It was so insanely good. I can’t…I can’t think of anything bad. Maybe I’m on a book high right now and its impossible to get down so I can’t think of anything but its just left me going WHAT THE HELL, and I can’t…too much book happiness right now. I guess the only bad thing I can think of was that it left on kind of a cliffhanger, with SO much hanging in the balance, and I have to wait until 2014 for Rune and Rising. And I’m so bad at waiting.

The Good: 

There is SO much good in this novel, I can’t even begin to start to talk about it. This book held my captivated the entire time that I read it. Alina…is such an interesting character. She’s so real and raw, and such a strong female character. I love that she’s so addicted to her power. I love that the power of it, the strength it gives her, the command that it gives her, just the sheer feeling of pure power it gives her, is so addicting to her, its something that she can’t stop fighting for. She already has an incredibly strong amplifier but she’s not satisfied until she searches for others to make herself even stronger. And I do believe that is in part to be able to be on the same page as the Darkling, who has gained IMMENSE powers since she was on the run. But I also think a HUGE part of it comes from the fact that she feeds off the power, just as the Darkling does, even though she doesn’t want to admit it.

I also like the relationship dynamic in this book. There’s enough romance and kissing in this book to satisfy everyone but it doesn’t distract from the main story, it weaves in and is a major aspect of it without turning the book into a lovey dovey mushy mess. And you’ve got kind of a love…I don’t know, square? Pyramid? A slightly bigger love triangle going on? And I don’t even mind it. Because you have three people fighting for Alina for different reasons…and even though I was so strongly Mal since Shadow and Bone…I find myself rooting for the other two that are so interested in her as well, because all three of them have their perks, their values, and they all can do something for Alina, as she can do something for them. Because its not all about love, you know? Its not like, oh god Alina is the most beautiful person ever and all the boys just LOVE her. She’s powerful, she’s the Sun Summoner, and the people of Ravka worship her, and so some of these desires come from her powers and abilities or from political strategies. I love that. I can’t decide who I like the best because it all just fits and makes sense to me.

Which leads me into the other characters in the novel: all of them who are so built, so complex, so filled out. The thing with fantasy novels is that you tend to get a TON of characters involved; it just comes with the territory of building this new, fictional world. And sometimes you can get SO confused with all these characters, and sometimes there are so many that they just aren’t flushed out well enough, they just don’t have distinct personalities. Even the smallest of characters should have a defining personality. Even if you only see them for one scene, that scene will tell you something of their personality enough to recognize them. And Leigh accomplishes that completely with all her characters. Even the smallest characters, such as Nadia’s brother, have a personality and you’re able to recognize who they are, easily, without the reminder of who they are. I love that she can briefly mention a character and you remember who they are because they were established so well previously. Like I said, so many fantasy novels just fail to do this.

Speaking of fantasy worlds, Leigh creates an amazing, believable, well thought out world. Another issue with fantasy novels is that authors tend to kind of…make up things as they go along sometimes. Like, they don’t full flesh out their world, whether it be customs or culture or religion or just the locations of different places but there isn’t a problem in the SLIGHTEST in this book. Ravka, and the surrounding countries, and their ways, their towns, people, cultures, religion, etc. come so naturally as if it were all real. It reminds me of Tortall or the Fells, in Tamora Pierce or Cinda Williams Chima books because these places feel so real. I feel as if you were to ask Leigh a question about her fictional world, she would have an answer because she’s thought about it, she’s given it life. Its not just a fictional world in paper but its a real world to Alina and Mal and the Darkling and the readers. I don’t question anything about the world because it feels SO real. Everything comes so naturally and there isn’t anything forced.

One last thing, I loved the additional characters added to this novel, especially Sturmhond, who we find out is someone super important. I’m not going to reveal anything because that would just be plain mean, but let’s just say, I did NOT see that one coming. I love him a lot because he brings the humor, the sarcastic, cocky, okay I’ll say it-SEXINESS, to the book. You guys know me, I love those kind of characters (Han Solo, Sirius Black, Jace Wayland, etc) and I was so excited when I started to get to know Sturmhond. And I developed a crush on him ultra fast. Plus…once you figure out his secrets and his motivations, he becomes a complex character, despite his charms and his cockiness and his good looking face. There’s so much more to him, and I’m really hoping he appears in the third book because I’m interested in seeing where Leigh is going to take him.

I am SO not looking forward to waiting until 2014 though :(

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars. Its hard to get that but it earned it, completely.

Recommended or Not?

HELL YES. Honestly, if you’re a reader and you love young adult literature and you love the fantasy aspect that has been blowing up, this is a series for you. Even if you’re a fantasy lover period, and not into YA, you should still read it. Just read it. Leigh Bardugo has created a masterpiece in this series so far, and I’m going to be WAY too anxious waiting for Rune and Rising next year!

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If you liked this review, you should check out previous Book of the Week reviews as well :)

If you missed out on my recap of Leigh Bardugo‘s book release party for Siege and Storm, check it out HERE.

Also, if you’re a fan of Leigh Bardugo and her books, you might also like Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima. 

My Fandom Friday post yesterday as ALL about Tamora Pierce and her YA fantasy novels, so check that out HERE.

And come back later for a post about Cinda Williams Chima and an exclusive interview!