Teen Read Week: Ten Books for Reluctant Readers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winger by Andrew Smith 

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

Legend by Marie Lu

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

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 

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

Airhead by Meg Cabot

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

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

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

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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

If I Stay  by Gayle Forman

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

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

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

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

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

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

YALL Fest Interview: Cinda Williams Chima

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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.

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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.

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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!

Book of the Week-The Enchanter Heir ARC Review

I absolutely adore Cinda Williams Chima. In the year that I have been reading her books, thumb she has easily become one of my favorite authors. Her Seven Realms series literally blew me out of the water, and her Heir Chronicles proved that it had the contemporary fantasy genre in the palm of its hands. She is a brilliant writer, and she has great world building and fantasy stories and fantastic characters. She is an author that I have fell in love with, and I am addicted to the world that she created.

I am constantly trying to recommend her books to people. Because I run a book blog, because people know me as a person who loves to read, I am constantly asked for recommendations on books and in the past year, both the Seven Realms and the Heir Chronicles have been some of the first books to come out of my mouth. I’ve told Cinda herself a million times that I absolutely love her books, and the awesome, awesome lady send me an advanced copy of the book, signed personally to me.

What is even BETTER is that she sent me an extra signed copy for YOU guys :)

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Now before you run away because this is the fourth book of the Heir Chronicles, let me stress this! While this is the fourth book of the series, it is NOT necessary to read the first three to read this. So if you enjoy this review, please definitely check it out and keep an eye out for the giveaway coming VERY soon!

The Enchanter Heir ARC by Cinda Williams Chima 

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GoodReads / Amazon Barnes and Noble

This book will hit bookstores on October 1st, 2013. 

Genre:

young adult, fantasy

Part of a Series?

Yes. This is the fourth installment of the Heir Chronicles.

HOWEVER, this book can be read without reading the previous three books. There are familiar faces from the first three, but this is an entirely new story.

You May Like if You Liked:

Books by OR Melling, Joseph Delaney, Tamora Pierce, Sarah J Maas, Michael Scott, etc.

Plot Summary:

Now, normally I do plot summaries on my own because I really love doing that. But I started doing it and realized I was not giving this book and story the credit it deserved and I really like the summary that is on GoodReads and therefore that is what I decided to put here!

Direct from GoodReads, and word-for-word from the back cover:

They called it the Thorn Hill Massacre—the brutal attack on a once-thriving Weir community. Though Jonah Kinlock lived through it, he did not emerge unscathed: like the other survivors, Jonah possesses unique magical gifts that set him apart from members of the mainline guilds. At seventeen, Jonah has become the deadliest assassin in Nightshade, a global network that hunts the undead. He is being groomed to succeed Gabriel Mandrake, the sorcerer, philanthropist, and ruthless music promoter who established the Thorn Hill Foundation, the public face of Nightshade. More and more, Jonah’s at odds with Gabriel’s tactics and choice of targets. Desperate to help his dying brother Kenzie, Jonah opens doors that Gabriel prefers to keep closed.

Emma Claire Greenwood grew up worlds away, raised by a grandfather who taught her music rather than magic. An unschooled wild child, she runs the streets until the night she finds her grandfather dying, gripping a note warning Emma that she might be in danger. The clue he leaves behind leads Emma into Jonah’s life—and a shared legacy of secrets and lingering questions.

Was Thorn Hill really a peaceful commune? Or was it, as the Wizard Guild claims, a hotbed of underguild terrorists? The Wizards’ suspicions grow when members of the mainline guilds start turning up dead. They blame Madison Moss and the Interguild Council, threatening the fragile peace brokered at Trinity.

Racing against time, Jonah and Emma work to uncover the truth about Thorn Hill, amid growing suspicion that whoever planned the Thorn Hill Massacre might strike again.

The Bad:

That it ended? Seriously, when it ended, I almost felt my heart break into two pieces because I realized that it would be such a long wait until I get to read the next one. I already got this book about a month early as it is, and I’m not sure when the sequel is going to come out, or even what the title is. Its been rumored that The Sorcerer Heir is the possible title but there is NOTHING confirmed, at least according to her website. I hope that we hear something soon because this book was GOOD, and I can’t wait to read more about Jonah and Emma.

The Good:

I love all the characters of the Heir Chronicles. I love Jack and Ellen and Seph and Linda and Madison and all of them, and I’ve enjoyed the three previous books. However, there is something about both Jonah and Emma that had me hooked almost immediately. These characters felt so real and so likable right away. I didn’t stop for a second to give them more thought than just “I need to know what happens to these two characters”. Emma and Jonah are two very different characters. Jonah wants to care so much but its hard for him to get close to people because of his dangerous power. He is also aware of what he is, and where he came from. Emma, on the other hand, is unaware of her own background at first, and when she does realize it, she has a much easier time letting people in, even though she has every right to have grudges against. They both have the same sort of mysteries on their hands, they both have such similar backgrounds and yet they tend to push each other away and not trust each other, even when everything is screaming at them to be together, to work together, to figure things out together.

The story is so beautiful, too. Its not what I expected at all. With everything that had happened in the previous three books, it was almost difficult to see how the story could continue and yet not at the same time. This book takes place in the same universe as the first three books but its a new story, new characters, new situation. This made me incredibly wary. I have a sort of caution when it comes to series that go longer than a trilogy. I feel like there are very few authors that can accomplish this, and accomplish this well. I was immensely disappointed in Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels, and so I’ve been very wary of continuing stories, when the series has technically been wrapped up.

However, I was proven very wrong, and my fears dissipated very quickly. I should have known that the woman who could write the absolutely brilliant four book Seven Realms series would have no problem writing a fourth story in this realm. This was a fresh, fun, adventurous and addicting story. From the very beginning, when we first meet young Jonah amidst the chaos of Thorn Hill, I was invested. I was attracted to the characters, and their different stories and I was curious to see how they would eventually collide. I liked that they started off so differently but that their worlds eventually connected, their stories started to intertwine. It takes a lot of talent to create a story in two different perspectives that seemingly are on two different paths and make them come together, and in a way that you don’t see until its suddenly in your face. I love that. I love that I’m hanging on the edge of my seat, wondering at the mysteries of both of their lives and wondering how they’re going to meet and what is going to happen between them. She is an addicting storyteller than is able to weave a picture of adventure, mystery, action, drama, humor and romance. She is able to accomplish all of that in one book.

I also think that Cinda is an incredible world builder. It is the one skill of writers that I admire more than anything else, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I am really incapable of that kind of writing. Cinda has a great example of world building in her full fantasy, the Seven Realms, but I think an even better example of this is in these novels, and even more so in this novel. You would think maybe its easier to create a new world inside of a world that we already recognize but I think its harder. You have to create this entirely new world, a full world with all of its past, present, future, its laws and rules, its people while trying to keep consistent with the actual world that we know. I think that’s incredibly difficult and yet she does it with finesse, without flaw. There isn’t a moment while reading when you think, “this doesn’t seem real to me”. It is believable from page one to the very last page.

Speaking of the last page, without spoiling anything for those of you who haven’t read it (which is a lot, considering it hasn’t been released yet), HOW DARE YOU CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA? How dare you? I’ve had my fair share of cliffhangers. I read a lot, more than an average person does in a year, and so I’m used to the concept of a cliffhanger. However, this was still a cliffhanger that smacked me in the face and left me wanting to throw the book across the room. Of course I didn’t because it is precious to me and its signed to me! But I was frustrated, in that wonderful way that you can be frustrated. Cinda has created these characters that I absolutely love and that I want to keep on reading about, and then she leaves off the story like that and it was almost painful to not be able to continue reading, to find out what happens next. These characters will be living in my mind for a very long time, as I wait incredibly impatiently for the next book. Emma and Jonah. I am forever in love with these characters and these books.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not?

Yes! Please, please, please! Someone needs to read these books. Read the Seven Realms series (The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown), and read the Heir Chronicles (The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir), and read this book! Cinda Williams Chima is an underrated author who deserves all your praise and your support. She is one of the best authors that I’ve read in this genre, in this reading level of young adult literature and just books in general and I will push her books on you until the end of time!

If you are a fan of Cinda’s already, you won’t be disappointed in this book. Cinda takes what she’s already proven that she can do and she makes it that much better. This is a book worth waiting for and I can’t wait til it releases so I can talk about it with all of you!

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I hope you enjoyed this edition of this week’s Book of the Week, because it is a special one! Look out in the next couple days to try your chance at winning a SIGNED advanced copy of this book! It also comes with some swag too, which is always nice, so keep your eye out!

Happy Reading everyone!

Things to Look Forward to in 2013

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

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

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

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Premiere Date: August 12, 2013

Release Date: August 21, 2013

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

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary and 12th Doctor Announcement

Release Date: November 23, 2013

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

Tammara Webber’s Here With You

Ebook Release: August 6, 2013

Paperback Release: August 27, 2013

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

Sarah J. Maas’ Crown of Midnight

Release August 27, 2013

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

Jennifer L Armentrout’s Origin 

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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

Veronica Roth’s Allegiant

Release Date: October 22, 2013

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

Rick Riordan’s The House of Hades

Release Date: October 8, 2013

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

Catching Fire Release

Release Date: November 22, 2013

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

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Release

Release Date: December 13, 2013

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

Cinda Williams Chima’s The Enchanter Heir 

Release Date: October 1, 2013

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

Anniversary Edition Harry Potter Books

Release Date: August 27, 2013

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

Marie Lu’s Champion 

Release Date: November 5, 2013 

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

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters

Release Date: August 7, 2013

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

Meg Cabot’s The Bride Wore Size 12

Release Date: September 24, 2013

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

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

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

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

Exclusive Interview with Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles and Seven Realms series

So today, find instead of having the usual Blogger Spotlight, page I decided to switch it up a little, and treat you to a very special blog post today!

Yesterday, I introduced you all to a favorite author of mine, Cinda Williams Chima.

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If you weren’t able to check out the article, you should definitely check it out now, here.

She’s the award-winning, fantastic author of both The Heir Chronicles, a contemporary fantasy series, and the Seven Realms series, which is pure fantasy, in the young adult genre.

Now, the Seven Realms series consists of The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne and the final book, which came out this previous fall, The Crimson CrownAs of right now, this series is concluded, and there isn’t any definite plans for more.

The Heir Chronicles, however, are continuing! So far they are The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir, which can be bought in a box set here. Hitting book stores this fall will be the fourth entry into the series, The Enchanter Heir

Here is the description of the book, taken straight from Cinda’s website :)

Also, an awesome note, you DO not have to read the first third of these books to enjoy The Enchanter Heir!

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Now, Cinda Williams Chima is one of my absolute favorite authors, and I’ve been lucky enough that she has taken notice in my blog, and has helped to support it. (I SO hope to get an ARC of Enchanter Heir!) She took it one step further and agreed to do an interview for me so here you go guys! An interview with the rockin’ Ms Chima! Enjoy!

Sara: What can you tell us about Enchanter Heir? Is it a continuation of the story that left off in Dragon Heir or is it a new story set in the same universe? 

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Cinda: The Enchanter Heir is both a continuation of the Heir Chronicles and a twist on the magical system readers have become familiar with. As usual, I’m introducing new viewpoint characters. Chronologically, it follows The Dragon Heir but new readers should be able to read The Enchanter Heir without reading the other three.

Sara: What inspires you to write? Where do you get your ideas and why do you generally stick to the fantasy genre? 

Cinda: The biggest inspiration for me as a writer is all of the wonderful books I’ve read.  As a professional writer, I can’t wait to be inspired, though. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” 

I stick to fantasy because I love to read it, and because its been well-received by readers. I may one day write in another genre, though.

Sara: What advice do you give aspiring writers? 

Cinda: Focus on craft first. Too many writers take their work to market before it’s really ready, getting distracted by a focus on query letters, agents and publishers. Marketing a bad book is like trying to push a boulder up hill.

Sara: Will we ever see any other books that take place in the Seven Realms universe or is the story over?

The Seven Realms Series 

Cinda: Possibly. There are lots of stories in the Seven Realms and I’ve told you one of them. For more info, read this on my blog: The Seven Realms Thank You!

(Sara: SO MUCH COOL INFO! I really hope one day we get to see these characters again, they are amazing and incredible characters!)

Sara: What are some of your favorite books to read? What books or authors inspire you when you’re writing? 

Cinda: I read a lot of young adult lit, and often it’s fantasy fiction. When I read really great fiction, it inspires me to do better.

Sara: what is the hardest part about writing? What is the best part about being an author? 

Cinda: For me, first drafts are the toughest, because it’s very much like leaping into the abyss, with no idea where you’ll end up. Once I have the bones down, I can fix what needs fixing.

One of the best parts of being an author is getting to hang out with people who love books: writers, readers, librarians, teachers, editors, agents, booksellers, and so on. I always feel in context.

Sara: Did you ever want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Cinda: I began writing in third grade, but I never seriously thought I could make a living at it. When readers ask me what I’d be if I weren’t a writer, I tell them I’ve already been those things. I have a degree in philosophy and two degrees in nutrition. I’ve worked in advertising for a newspaper, typing and editing copy, which is great training for a writer. And I worked as a dietitian in various positions. In my last day job, I was a college professor, teaching nutrition.

Sara: How do you come up with names for your characters?

Cinda: For my Heir Chronicles contemporary stories, many of the names come from my family tree. Swift, Downey, Childers-they are all family names. For the Seven Realms, it’s a little more difficult. Sometimes, when I’m making up names. I realize that they all begin with the same letter! I love it when characters name reinforces a character-for example. Dolores Umbridge is the perfect name for that character in Harry Potter.

Sara: What other projects do we have to look forward in the future? 

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Cinda: I’ll be writing two more Heir Chronicles novels, The Enchanter Heir and The Sorcerer Heir. Then–I don’t know. Possible more Seven Realms or something completely different.

Sara: What do you like to do in your spare time, besides writing or reading? 

Cinda: I love to garden, and I love genealogy, though I don’t have much time to do it these days.

Sara: Last question, who would you say is your fictional crush? (Han is definitely one of my favorites!)

Cinda: Ha! I tend to create the kind of fictional heroes that I find to be hot. I mean, why wouldn’t I?

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THANK YOU SO MUCH Cinda for doing this interview for me. I seriously enjoy your books to no end, and I pretty much shove The Demon King, in everyone’s faces. And I will continue to do so haha.

If you guys want to learn more about Cinda and her two fantastic fantasy series, you can visit her on her website HERE, or you may read my post ALLLLLL about her, right HERE!

Cinda Williams Chima: An Author You Should Be Reading!

I am surrounded by book lovers. Seriously. Most of my friends, cost my acquaintances, ampoule and you, my followers, are book lovers. It makes me incredibly happy to be around so many people who love books because its just awesome. I am able to talk about them all day long, and I have people available whenever to recommend me books :) Fantastic.

But in all this time, all these people that I’ve met, all these book lovers in my life, and I have not met anyone who has read the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima (or her Heir Chronicles as well).

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And this seriously disappoints me!

Because she is an absolutely amazing author. I’ve only just discovered her books back in October of 2012, not even a year ago, but I am fully addicted to them.

About Her Books

Cinda Williams Chima writes two different series of books, The Heir Chronicles and The Seven Realms series.

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The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir

The Enchanter Heir hits bookstores in early October :) 

I’ll talk about the Heir Chronicles first. I adore these books but not nearly as much as the Seven Realms series so I’ll talk about these first. These are a contemporary fantasy, a fantastical idea set in a world that we are familiar with. There are different classifications of people who have special gifts: wizards, sorcerers, enchanters, warriors, and soothsayers. For years, the wizards have held control over everyone else. The different wizard families, the Roses, hold a tournament, pitting different warriors against each other til the death. Enter Jack Swift, a normal every day boy in Ohio who skips his medicine one day and is suddenly super fast, super strong, and feeling better than ever. He soon learns that he is part of this society, that he has both magic and warrior skills, due to some circumstances that occurred when he was born. The Roses are looking for warriors for their tournament, and warriors are running out. Jack’s life soon becomes a danger, as he is hunted by those who would use him. Of course he is also dealing with being a normal teen boy as well, like homework and soccer and choosing between Ellen, the new girl, or Leesha, his ex-girlfriend.

The Seven Realms Series

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

Cinda’s other series, the Seven Realms series, is more pure fantasy than the Heir Chronicles. We meet two different characters. First, there is the Raisa ana’Marianna, the princess heir to the Fells, with her mother Marianna as queen and her sister Mellony. Her father is a trader of the Clans. Raisa is concerned about the strength and well-being of her country, and she is worried that her mother is focusing on all the wrong things. She is spending too much time with the High Wizard, and wizards are highly regulated and not to be messed with lightly. Raisa is both trying to have fun as a young princess heir, flirting with the cute boys and wearing pretty clothes, but also trying to be intelligent, and aware of her queendom and how she can be a good queen. Enter Han Alister, who is living a VERY different life than Raisa. A former crime lord, he is trying his best to find good, honest work in order to provide a decent enough life for his mother and his sister. This is proving hard to do when he steals an amulet from a young wizard and all sorts of bad things start to happen to him. Soon, Raisa and Han’s lives start to intertwine and they both begin to learn that there is more going on in the queendom than they were initially aware of.

How I Discovered These Books

In all honestly, it was all happenstance.

My boyfriend and I were…in Long Beach area for some reason. I can’t remember exactly why, but we were. And we were thinking of things to do and decided to go to Barnes and Noble because I can spend way TOO MUCH time in a bookstore (Hey, we ended up going to a record store later, where my boyfriend spent a whole ton of time). And Jon offered to buy me a book, so I took a REALLY long time to find one haha. I had to make sure that it was good.

Eventually I decided to get The Demon King. I really liked the cover, and its what caught my eye. I love that saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” when it comes to people but when it comes to books, I totally judge by the cover, always. And I thought the cover was pretty badass. Then I read the book synopsis and it sounded really good and I took it home. I finished the book within the next day or two, and then preceded to bust a move between the next three of the series.

Luckily enough for me, I discovered the Seven Realms series right before the conclusion, The Crimson Crown, came out…like literally the week of release. I love it when that happens. I literally consumed this series.

Then for Christmas, my dad bought me the box set of The Heir Chronicles, which I read the week after all the holidays died down :)

Why You Should Be Reading Them!

Honestly, and I mean this in the….nicest way possible, but if you haven’t read these books and have NO plans of reading them in the future, then you’re stupid.

Yeah, I went there, I said it. You are SO stupid.

Haha.

These books are AMAZING. I literally felt completely blown away by the amazingness that is the Seven Realms series. I have been impressed by books time and time again, but these books just simply blew my mind with how amazing they are.

I mean, it has everything that I could possibly want in a book. It has adventure, and magic, and a fantasy fictional world and princesses and hot guys and romance and battles and kissing and everything. Its everything packed into four absolutely amazing books.

Reasons You Should Be Reading Cinda Williams Chima 

1. She creates a brilliant, believable fantasy world. In the Heir Chronicles, its set in our world and yet you believe in the magic, and you believe in the world created with warriors and wizards and enchanters in Ohio because she makes it so easy to believe. They weave regular lives with their fantasy lives. One minute, Jack is at soccer practice, hanging out with his friends, and the next, he is learning spells and how to wield a sword. In the Seven Realms, she creates an entirely fictional world with a queendom (yes, a country ruled by women, I love it!) And again, its absolutely believable. You believe every single bit of it, and you want to live there.

2. All of her books have these incredible characters. They’re all such strong and so well developed characters. Raisa, Jack, Ellen, Seph, Han, Jason, Madison, Micah, Fire Dancer. I love them all. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses and they have their struggles and they fight so hard to overcome them. I love that, even when characters are so different, personality wise or in the circumstances of their lives, and yet they have such similar problems, and can relate to one another. Raisa is a princess, terrified of ruling her queendom as a good queen, of taking her place in her realm, while Han, a former streetlord, is struggling to leave his past behind and step into a more responsible, adult role. So different and yet SO insanely similar. All of these characters are ones that I become attached to, that I wish were my friends, or my family, my lovers, my brothers and sisters. They are such REAL, raw characters. And not only does she have these kickass, strong female characters but she has these super awesome male characters as well. I love me some awesome females, but let’s not forget about the guys too.

3. There is SO much fun going on. There’s so much action in these books, whether through traditional fighting styles, with swords and daggers and all that, or with magical powers. I mean, who doesn’t like sword fights and magic? Crazy people, that’s who. Its a wild ride from start to finish in both of her series, and you find yourself pushing yourself through one more chapter, one more chapter, one more chapter because you’re just dying to find out what happens next. She doesn’t mess around; she puts her characters in danger, she makes you believe that things are going to go wrong, that things won’t end up the way they should, and then she does just that. She takes these teenagers and puts them in these impossible situations with heavy burdens on their shoulders and you’re just glued to the pages as you watch them go through their journey. You’re just addicted to it the entire time. I was dying for that fourth Seven Realms book to find out what happened to Raisa and Han and the rest of the Fells.

4. There are some HOT guys in these books. I love me some crush-worthy fictional characters. You know its a good book when it doesn’t take long for me to fall in love with the characters, not just as characters but as boys that you just wish existed in real life. Like, I have a HUGE ginormous crush on Han Alister from the Seven Realms series. He’s a bad boy, a former crime lord turned wizard who is just so sexy, and captures my heart in approximately three chapters. He’s so snarky and charming and smart and he’ll do pretty much anything to make the absolutely impossible relationship between him and Raisa work. Sigh. I also have a major crush on Seph McCauley from The Heir Chronicles. Ditto on the snarky, sexiness.

5. She’s a seriously talented writer. You could have all the things above but just fail miserably because you’re just a terrible writer, and believe me, I’ve seen this happen! Its like so close, almost there, but no trophy. But Cinda Williams Chima captures all of the above in a beautiful writing style. And the best part is that…she has a beautiful writing style, and tells an amazing story but she doesn’t feel the need to make her language more sophisticated than it needs to be. She writes for the audience, and weaves a beautiful story that you can’t help but fall right into. She reminded me SO much of Tamora Pierce, and because of that, she soon became one of my absolute favorite authors. I also learned just recently that she is a huge influence for Leigh Bardugo as well, and I can see why. All three of these ladies are power forces in the fantasy genre.

6. No love triangles. Need I say more? There’s enough romance to keep me swooning but it doesn’t deter from the story. I love romance and kissing and butterflies in my stomach and shipping different characters and all that, but I love when this is happening for a reason, or it is part of the story. I hate romance just for the sake of romance. I don’t judge those who read pure romance books, or those paranormal romances that focus more on the romance than then paranormal, but it’s not for me. This book has SERIOUSLY steamy scenes one minute and then epic battles the next. Perfectly balanced :)

What Are You Still Doing Here?

Seriously? There are about a hundred more reasons why you should be reading these books. If I haven’t gotten you convinced by now…well I just don’t know what to do with you, except maybe hit you in the face with a wet fish a couple times.

But thats a bit cruel isn’t it?

I’m serious though! Get out there, read these books! You’ll be missing out SO MUCH if you never pick up one of these books; you’ll be missing out on a serious gem in the YA fantasy genre.

So please, check out her books, folks. You’re here on WhatANerdGirlSays, which means that you enjoy what I write, and you probably enjoy the books that I read as well…so trust me, when I say you will be crazy to not pick these up.

And check out an exclusive interview with Cinda coming TOMORROW!