Tuesday Top Ten – Underrated YA Book Series

So I was  browsing around Facebook yesterday when I came across a Buzzfeed article about the 29 Underrated YA Book Series. Of course I had to click on it.

And while I love several of the choices on that list, no rx I thought, try I should do my own list. There are GREAT series on there, but a lot of them aren’t what I would call underrated or unnoticed. Percy Jackson? Huge. HUGE. And they got two movies. Infernal Devices? Again. HUGE. All Souls? Incredibly popular and not YA right? I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t read them. I know they aren’t shelved with YA. The Chicken Soup series? Didn’t everyone have those when I was in middle school/high school? And so on.

So that brings us to today’s Tuesday Top Ten…my favorite YA series that just don’t get enough attention. Which is why I’m talking about them. So they get more attention. Because I’m just awesome that way.

Let’s do this.

Oh, I’ll add one more thing. All of these get GREAT reviews, and have received an abundance of praise and accolades and all the huge reviewers and all that love them. By “underrated” I mean, by the masses that tend to enjoy YA. The people that don’t much more than Hunger Games and Divergent and that sort of thing.

Moving on…

10. The Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

15761655

I love love love this series. Beth Revis takes humanity, sticks them on a space ship and gets them lost for centuries. Humanity has basically all but disappeared on this ship until one of the humans who was supposed to be frozen until they arrive at this “new” earth awakes…and chaos and romance and all sorts of things erupt. Its fantastic. There is just SO much about this series that is so good. I have a hard time finding people who have read it and I get so excited when I do!

9. The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

9680718

So JLA was on this BuzzFeed list, but with the Lux series. That series, the Wait for You series and the Dark Elements series…they’re all fairly popular. They are the ones that I feel like people talk about when it comes to JLA. But my absolute favorite of her series is hands down The Covenant series. SO freakin good! Alex and Aidan are hot as hell, they have a steamy and intense and fun romance, and their world is chaotic and full of action and drama and …more intensity. And its Greek mythology with a new twist and I love every single bit of it.

8. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

604745

Meg Cabot is not exactly underrated but she has so many series that often times some of them get lost underneath the ones she’s really known for like The Princess Diaries. This is one of my absolute favorites by her. It has ghosts! And a girl who likes to beat them up when they don’t want to cooperate. And a super hot Spanish ghost that’s a really great kisser. Its just awesome. The entire series is just SO flippin good. Meg manages to write this amazing paranormal romance that also makes you laugh again and again and again.

7. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

6342491

This series was actually on the list and it was one of the few that I really agreed should be on this list. I first picked up this list when my ex told me to pick out a book and I thought the cover was beautiful and then I proceeded to consume the entire series in a matter of days. Its so beautifully written and it has everything you could want in a book. It has romance and action and politics and action and humor and discovery and uncertainty and god…everything. I can’t speak highly enough of this series. Its legitimately one of my favorites ever.

6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

3682

UGH. God. This series. I’m meeting Libba for the first time this weekend at YALL West, and I legit can’t handle that kind of pressure. I’m going to cry or something. I actually accidentally picked up the second book first (whoops) but rectified and continued on to enjoy this beautiful trilogy. It takes place in Victorian English countryside at a boarding school that is hiding all sorts of secrets. Its so dark but funny at the same time and its full of a new kind of magic and I love every bit of it. I need a re-read of this soon actually…

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson

10429092

Let’s put it this way: I would not drive all the way to Vegas (about a 4 to 5 hour drive) just to meet her for one day if I didn’t think this series was that amazing. What makes this great is that its this sort of Chosen One story but the Chosen One is the last person you’d expect. Elisa is fat and uncertain and unsure and you kind sit there and think, her? Really? But its just so great. And the world building and the magic and the evolution of the main character throughout the three books…my little book loving heart just can’t handle the beauty of this trilogy.

4. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

13831

There WAS a series by Tammy on the list but I chose this one for a huge reason: its the first series of the epicness of the Tortall world. The one they chose is the third one and kind of…spoils the first two series for sure. haha. Plus let’s face it…Tammy has a handle on this YA fantasy since the early 80s and just not enough people are reading her. She’s amazing. Her writing, the characters she creates, the way she manages to keep the world of Tortall alive after so many decades…its impossible not to absolutely love her. This series is about a girl who disguises her gender for YEARS in order to become a knight, and then basically does whatever the hell she wants once everyone finds out. YES. I want to shove all of her books down all of your throats. Sorry. Not really.

3. The Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

2213324

Why, yes, I did pick two Meg Cabot series. This is another one that kind of disappears when it comes to Meg. But its legitimately my favorite. Besides Princess Diaries. Because its just SO weird and bizarre and I love it. Em Watts dies…but not really. At the same time as her body dies, supermodel Nikki Howard as a brain aneurysm. Doctors save her life by implanting her brain into Nikki’s body, but she has to live her life as Nikki and no one can know that she was once Em. Its seriously the most bizarre thing ever, especially once you realize there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. And its just straight up hilarious.

2. The Unremembered Trilogy by Jessica Brody

9791892

The finale of this trilogy just released less than two months ago and I’m still reeling from it. I can barely express my emotions about it. Sigh. Anyway. This is a series that’s absolutely incredible and seriously does NOT get enough credit. I want to see more of those purple books in people’s hands. Seriously. I can’t even explain how great this trilogy is. Its like…Bourne Identity but with a super badass girl instead of Matt Damon and it has superhumans called Ex-Gens and time travel and cool technology and romance and action and its just amazing. There are not nearly enough people reading it and you guys need to be reading it. Now. Go.

1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

10194157

I love Leigh from the bottom of my heart to the tip top of my head all the way to my little toes. She’s AMAZING and her series just proves that. She has had SUCH success with it, but its nothing to the extend that a ton of people know about it and I want to change that. Her trilogy is perfection and its such a great example of how AMAZING YA fantasy…and YA in general…can be. She’s a terrific writer and a fabulous storyteller. This is another series that needs a re-read soon because now all I can think about is how much I love these books!

*      *       *      *     *      *

YALL Fest Interview: Cinda Williams Chima

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 1.56.13 PM

In a little less than two months, approved an amazing event is taking place in Charleston, South Carolina called YALL Fest. A ton of wonderful young adult authors are descending upon Charleston for this one day, FREE event, and I am envious of any and all people who are attending the event. There are going to be some seriously amazing authors going to be there like:

Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Rae Carson, Cinda Chima, Rachel Cohn, Ally Condie, Melissa de la Cruz, Gayle Forman, Kami Garcia, Lev Grossman, Shannon Hale, Michelle Hodkin, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Lisa McMann, Alyson Noel, Lauren Oliver, Stephanie Perkins, Ransom Riggs, Veronica Rossi, Veronica Roth, and so many more.

This is sure to be an absolutely incredible event.

I am lucky enough to be part of the blog team to promote this as much as possible. Over the next few weeks, there will be a couple dozen of us posting interviews with some of these authors, and telling you more about this seriously awesome event.

Just a note: these interviews are all the same, and they will be on several websites. These are NOT exclusive interviews, and I did not copy this from other sites. We are all working together to promote this!

Now, I am excited about this first interview because the author is someone that I admire greatly, greatly, greatly…Cinda Williams Chima.

Cinda Williams Chima 9

She is a young adult fantasy writer, with two series under her belt. Her completed Seven Realms series is an epic fantasy, taking place in a beautifully built world and following the story of a headstrong princess Raisa and her efforts to keep her queendom together and the quick and clever Han, who discovers a secret about himself and has to conquer it. Her Heir Chronicles series contains, so far, three novels that are contemporary fantasy, following various characters like Jack and Ellen, Seph, Madison, and more on their adventures to discover their different powers and to take down the tyrannical leaders that rule over them all. Her fourth installment in the series, The Enchanter Heir, will hit bookstores on October 1st, 2013, and she’ll embark on a tour for this book (and she’s coming to California!). The Enchanter Heir can be read as the fourth book or it can be read as the first book.

You can find her at her website here.

Enjoy this short interview!

Q: What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Cinda: A computer

Q: Describe your book in 5 words

Cinda: Wizards misbehave, magic goes mutant.

Q: What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

Cinda: Usually the lines in between.

 Q: Best writing tip you ever received?

Cinda: Give yourself permission to write badly.

 Q: Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

Cinda: 1.       I am a twin.

2.       I am named after a character in a novel.

3.       I didn’t really start driving until I was 27.

4.       I am descended from Puritans and scoundrels.

5.       I used to be in a folk music band.

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

Cinda: On a balcony overlooking the ocean.

Q: What are you working on now?

Cinda: I’m writing The Sorcerer Heir, the fifth book in a trilogy.

Q: At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

Cinda: When I’m finished with a full-length novel.

*      *      *     *     *

I hope you enjoyed that short and sweet interview and come back for more coming soon!

Don’t forget to check out my interview with Cinda Williams Chima, from back in June, and also don’t forget to enter my current giveaway, where you can win a SIGNED Advanced Readers Copy of The Enchanter Heir!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Fictional Schools

Welcome back to school everyone! By this point, order most everyone has started school, more about and its just that time of year to buy pretty new school supplies and tell yourself that this semester is going to different, and you’re going to get your act together this year. I’m with you guys, this is your year! Bring home those A’s on the report card!

As you guys have noticed the last few weeks, my creativity level on the Tuesday Top Ten has been…well, basically nonexistent. My dad has totally come up with the ideas the past few weeks and this week is no different. Thanks Dad. Seriously, my creativity is all tapped out haha.

But anyway, now that school has started, I feel like this is a great way to start it off, and a great Tuesday Top Ten. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in class, looking bored like Britney Spears in Baby One More Time, and wished I was in a different school. So that’s where this list comes in. Check it out!

10. Sweet Valley High from Sweet Valley High Series

Sweet_Valley_High_TV_Intro

These were some of my favorite books when I was a kid. In hindsight, they probably weren’t the best things for a 7 to 9 year old to read, but my reading level was advanced, if nothing else, and my aunt gave me basically the whole series so there you go. But I always loved the absolute drama of Sweet Valley High. As a kid, high school seemed a thousand years away, and it was…magical, if that makes sense. High school was ALWAYS going to rock in my mind, and my mentality came from this series. Sure, there dramatics and all that, but it kept things all interesting and things always worked out in the end. You would have a nice car, be insanely attractive (the awkwardness of youth disappeared), get the hottest guys and have the best friends. Elizabeth is the dorky one but she’s still editor of the newspaper, fairly popular and has the hottest boyfriend in the school. Although, Todd, really? What kind of name is Todd?

9. Constance Billard/St. Judes from Gossip Girl 

ScreenShot2148

I think I’d want to go to Constance Billard for the pure enjoyment of the drama that comes down with being a part of the Gossip Girl show. There are a lot of things that are mostly guaranteed if you go to a school like Constance Billard, and its sister school, St. Jude. One, you’re rich. Let’s face it, its THE school to go to on the Upper East side, and its where you’re either made or unmade by Gossip Girl. Two, you probably have the best clothes in the entire world because either you can afford them or you’re a fashion genius Jenny Humphrey and you make it work. You have access to the coolest parties, and the dances, like Homecoming and Prom are OUT of this world. There are all kinds of amazing things about this high school that NEVER happened in real high school. Black and white balls, cotillions, all kinds of fun stuff. Sure, there is the ridiculous amount of drama and pressure but I still say that going to this school might have made high school a little more bearable.

8. Degrassi High from Degrassi: The Next Generation

386

When you think about, I don’t know why I would want to go to Degrassi. People get shot and stabbed and get addicted to drugs, or become alcoholics or get in major car accidents or are in abusive relationships or get pregnant. I mean, this is NOT a happy school. But I LOVE this show. Its absolutely ridiculous and its completely dramatic and the amount of characters it goes through, and the amount of drama that takes place there…its all just so ridiculous. But I think its the same sort of thing with Constance Billard…it would be INTERESTING to go here. I think that it would have been crazy and dramatic and I’m sure I would ended up with some medical affliction or some sort of addiction but again, interesting.

7. Xavier’s Institute from X-Men 

700686-xavier_institute

I know that in the comic and the shows and the movies that mutants aren’t accepted and that they are kind of hated because they’re different. I get that, and that sucks and it will be this ever growing fight in that universe and its kind of the whole point of it, besides the fact that they fight bad guys. But you have to admit, a school where everyone has a sort of mutation that makes them be able to do cool stuff like read minds or control weather or hop through walls? I honestly feel like I couldn’t hate school if I went to a school like that. There’s no way. Plus it would be really cool to have an awesome superpower that I was just born with, and I didn’t have to get bitten by an icky spider or anything. I like Iceman…I don’t know why but ice powers have always sounded really super awesome. I could be Icegirl and I would rock the hallways of Xaviers.

6. St. Vladimir’s Academy from Vampire Academy Series 

vampire_academy2_by_hardest_of_heart9-d3e2p35

I don’t want to be a vampire. I’ve never really had the desire to be a vampire unless I could become a vampire and become Simon Lewis’s girlfriend for eternity. But even then. However, I would become a dhampir. For those of you who are unaware, a dhampir is half human, half vampire, warriors trained to protect Moroi vampires from Strigoi, which are immortal, evil vampires. The main character is Rose, who attends St. Vladimir’s to eventually become an official guardian to protect her royal best friend Lissa. I always love a kickass female character, especially when they come paired with a delicious character like Dimitri, and I love this school. I love that, since they’re vampires, they go to school and party and do all their stuff at night, and sleep during the day. But because the novel is so well-written, you don’t even notice half the time, and so it’s not cheesy. I love that the classes are anything from magic (because the vampires have powers over different elements) and warfare and strategy and combat. That sounds like a really awesome school. Way better than learning chemistry and math and stuff like that.

5. The School of Idris from The Mortal Instruments series

Wallpaper3-thumb_thumb

I have no idea if that is what its called but I call it that for now because no one has really named it yet. I want to go to Idris because it is the home of the Shadowhunter. No matter if they live there, grew up there, or grew up in an Institute or work in an Institute somewhere in the world, it is the home of the Shadowhunter. Like Mecca is to the Islams or Jerusalem is to Christians and Jews (and Islams too). It is a beautiful city, sort of old fashioned in the way that it is made, sort of like any other place in Europe, and it all seems so otherworldly and wonderful. I really want to see the Glass City part of it, with the demon wards, and the fountain, and the beautiful dances and wonderful parties. But I want to go to school in Idris because I want to be a Shadowhunter. Shadowhunters are preordained to protect the earth from demons; they’re born warriors. They don’t necessarily choose it but I think most of them would choose it. I want to be one. I want to have seraph blades, and a whip like Isabelle and I want to Mark my skin to help me fight. I would love training to be a Shadowhunter because it would be so different than our normal schooling.

4. Oden’s Ford from Seven Realms Series 

Fellsmarch_Castle

Oden’s Ford is where the school exist in Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series. There is Mystwerk House, Temple School, Factor House, Merchant House, Isenwerk House and Wien House. What I love about this school is that it kind of reminds me of a fantasy college, if that makes sense. There are so many different schools there, schools for wizards and for trading and different crafts and that sort of thing, and the entire town seems built around the school. I love that. I love that so many people from all over the Seven Realms come here to learn a various number of things. I feel like you would get a real life experience here. There are people of all different races and religions and colors and shapes and sizes, and they’re all coming here to learn different trades, whether to harness their magics or become healers or warriors and that can really open one’s eyes wider to the world around them. You’re getting out of your bubble and you’re seeing what else is out there. I think that even though Raisa is sent here to escape the chaos that is going under her own roof, and that she is there under a false name, it really helped her become a better queen. She understood more of the way the world worked outside of her privileged life and it helped her. I also think it would be fun to live there because it is a place that is described so beautifully. So many bricks! I love brick buildings. SO beautiful.

3. Camp Half Blood from The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series 

camp2

Okay, I recognize that this isn’t technically a school and a good amount of the kids that stay there in the summer go to normal schools during the school year. But I like to think of it as a school because these kids will never stop being demigods. This is an essential part of their life…their very being, and they have been in trouble for so long, and they will continue to be in trouble. They are attracting to danger, as the offspring of gods and goddesses and the skills that they learn at Camp Half Blood will aid them their entire life. So I do consider it a school of sorts. I would imagine that a demigod would learn more at Camp Half Blood during the summers than they do in full school years in regular schools. Despite all the danger, and all that, I think I’d much like to be a child of a god or goddess. Think of the stuff that comes from that. Think of Jason’s power with lightning and Percy’s power over water, Annabeth’s incredibly warrior skills and intelligence, Piper’s ability to charm people, Leo’s ability to tinker with just about anything and so forth. Its all so subtle but awesome. I think I’d love to go to Half Blood to learn all the things that they learn and ride a Pegasus and play Capture the Flag and have gods for teachers and centaurs for mentors. I would love to go on quests and learn to fight with a sword and live in one of the cabins. Camp Half Blood sounds like a great place to learn.

2. Jedi Academy from Star Wars 

Working-Linux-Port-of-Jedi-Knight-Jedi-Academy-Available-Download-and-Play-2

I want to be a Jedi. I think a Jedi is one of the things I want to be most in this life, other than a wizard (see below!) or a Shadowhunter. I have been watching Star Wars since I was a kid, and I have been a fan of it for so long. Princess Leia was always my absolute favorite character, but I was always kind of sad that she never got a lightsaber, because she wasn’t a Jedi. I love that in several of the books that have been written that take place after the movies, she does Jedi training and wields a lightsaber. I’m just saying, lightsabers are some of the best weapons that have existed in fictional world. I liked that the Jedis are trained for so much of their life because they are so disciplined and so committed to the life that they are born to live. They are there to protect the galaxy and keep the balance of the Force, and they commit their entire life for it. I like that they start off in an academy as children, where you learn with Master Yoda, before you become a Padawan to a Jedi Knight or a Jedi Master. I like that you have several teachers on the road to becoming a Jedi Knight, with the abilities to learn so much from different people. I also like that its not always a classroom type of experience, but you are taken out with your master to learn on an experience base, in the field, while you try to do your job. Its like an apprentice sort of thing, which is what the masters call them. I want to be a Jedi. If only to get a pink lightsaber. I’ll make it happen.

1. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from Harry Potter Series 

Hogwarts_boats_1

I guess it would be no surprise that this would be the first one on my list. I think this is one of the first places that existed in a book that I thought, I want to go there. This is a place that I wish actually existed, and it never can, which only makes me want to go there more. JK Rowling created a place where you go to learn, you go to love and hate, you go to grow up, you go to have adventures and to get in trouble and learn, and so much more. When she quoted at the final Harry Potter premiere, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home”, I cried. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it. Because its HOME to Harry Potter; its where it all takes place in all seven works. It is the beginning, the middle and the end. It is where Harry Potter grew up and I would die to go there, to have adventures and to be a part of that world, a world that I have loved through the pages. Plus, I would love to take classes like that instead of the classes I take. I would love Charms and Transfiguration and Potions and Care of Magical Creatures. Hell, I think I’d even like History of Magic and Divination :) I would NOT complain like those guys! Hogwarts. The Ultimate best school ever.

*      *      *      *     *

I hope you all enjoyed this edition of the Tuesday Top Ten. This one was an enjoyable one to write!

Don’t forget that you can always check out past lists here!

*     *      *     *     *    *

What are some of your fictional schools? What would be some of your favorite fictional classes? As always, share in the comments!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Science Fiction/Paranormal/Fantasy/Dystopian Series

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

url

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

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

10. Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

url-2

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

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

9. Divergent series by Veronica Roth

url-1

Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant 

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

8. Legend trilogy by Marie Lu

Untitled-1

Legend, Prodigy and Champion 

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

7. Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare

url-3

Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess

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

6. Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

Screen shot 2012-07-27 at 5.23.35 PM

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

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

5. Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

heroes_of_olympus-594376

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

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

4. Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

new collage us

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

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

3. Tricksters series by Tamora Pierce

Picture 3

Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen 

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

2. Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare 

Picture 5

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

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

1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 

???????????????????

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

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

*      *       *      *      *

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

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

And for past Tuesday Top Ten lists, click here!