I Read YA Week: Book Recommendations!

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I LOVE I Read YA Week! I love showing my support for the week and showing the world how many of us read YA, rx and how different we all are. I think people tend to think of the same group of people reading YA but that is so very different from the truth. So I love that this week is a great way to spread the word about YA in general and to show your pride in reading it!

This is Teen is behind the awesome of I Read YA week. You can grab yourself a fancy little button like the one above (though I modified it a bit) and learn about all the awesome happening this week by visiting this link.

You can also get involved by using the hashtag #IReadYa and following This is Teen on their various social media pages:

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Tumblr

They’ll be having fantastic YA giveaways all weekend so definitely stay on top of this!

Today’s topic is YOUR Recommendations.

This is SO hard for me! As you know, I’m a huge young adult book supporter and I could go on for days recommending books for you all. But I decided to narrow it down the best that I can.

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I mean, duh. I have four Harry Potter tattoos. I have a Harry Potter car. Harry Potter = life. I don’t know that it is for everyone but I do believe that every person should try, just to give it a chance. I’ve never met anyone who I pressured to read it that didn’t end up totally loving it. I think people just need to give it a chance. Its an incredible book series and I’m proud that I was part of the Harry Potter generation.

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One of my favorite book series ever. It is definitely not for everyone. I feel like its either a “love it” or “hate it” sort of series but I like to recommend it in hopes of finding more people to love it with me. Plus it has my number one fictional crush, Jace Wayland <3

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You can NEVER go wrong with the Tortall saga by Tamora Pierce. Trickster’s Choice has always been my favorite, and one of my favorite books PERIOD.

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One of the best YA dystopian series out there, and written by someone who is the same age as me. This blows my mind and I easily recommend this series.

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This is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. Andrew Smith has a way of telling a fantastic story while also making it feel like you’re actually in the head of a teenage boy. Its funny and also heartbreaking and its easy to sit down and get lost in this book.

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Such a beautiful book about loving books and being afraid and coming out of your shell…and basically its the story of my life. No, but really, Rainbow Rowell captures the anxiety and fear of the unknown and being able to come out of your shell and experience things you never thought you could before.

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If you’re looking for a great summer read about romance and road trips and family and adventure, this is the perfect book for you. If you aren’t looking for that but are still looking for a fantastic book, this is still the book for you. This book made me fall madly in love with Morgan Matson as a writer, and this book remains one of my favorites.

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To find out the rest of my YA book recommendations, visit my Must Read YA Books link here!

What are some YA books that you love to recommend? Share in the comments! 

Fandom Friday-Tamora Pierce and Tortall

The Fandom Friday is a weekly feature, try with each blog post written by a new contributor.

This is the weekly post where either myself, information pills or a guest blogger, talks about a new fandom. See, I’ve had the experience in my life where I’ve been made fun or put down about my particular fandoms. And that has made me feel pretty crappy. But I’ve also put down other fandoms as well.

So I’ve decided to change that. I’m opening my world up to new fandoms, and the best way to do that is to bring people in to write about various fandoms. I’m very excited about this segment.

If you guys are interested in becoming a guest blogger for the Fandom Friday, feel free to email me at whatanerdgirlsays at gmail.com or contact me HERE

Today’s blogger is…me!

Yeah, no one has volunteered to write a Fandom Friday :( So I’m writing another one.

So if you want to write one, definitely let me know, it’ll be GREAT.

But today I’m going to focus on a fandom that I am insanely passionate about and that has been around for decades and yet, people just don’t seem to know about it.

The Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce

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The Tortall books are all fantasy, young adult novels told in the same realm, the country of Tortall. They are written by an amazing woman by the name of Tamora Pierce, who has been writing books set in this realm since 1983. They are pure fantasy, set in a realm full of magic, knights in shining armor, magical creatures like centaurs and griffins and dragons, and are exciting, addicting and hilarious all at the same time.

There are fives series in the Tortall realm. They are: The Song of the Lioness, The Immortals, The Protector of the Small, The Tricksters and The Legend of Beka Cooper series. 

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The first series is The Song of the Lioness, the first book published in 1983: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man and Lioness RampantThis follows the story of Alanna of Trebond who is about to go to the convent to learn how to be a proper lady, while her twin brother Alan goes to the palace to learn how to be a knight. However, neither one of them wants this: Alanna is the warrior, and Alan wishes to be a great sorcerer. So they switch places, and Alanna disguises her gender in order to become a knight. The four books follow her adventures as she struggles to hide her identity and to pass all the tasks required to become a knight, and to protect her kingdom.

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The Immortals, first published in 1992, are as followed: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods. This series follows Veralidaine Sarrasri, also just known as Daine. Daine comes to a fair in Galla, to escape her home and the devastation that was left behind: her mother, her grandmother and all her animal friends were killed by bandits. But Daine has a secret, and she thinks that it makes her mad: she has a knack when it comes to animals. She takes good care of them, they seek her out, and sometimes, she even feels like she is one. It scares her and she keeps this a secret until she meets Numair, a powerful mage, who tells her that she has Wild Magic, and she has the abilities to heal, to shape-shift and to become one of the most powerful Wildmages ever. As she’s learning this, the country of Tortall is suddenly purged with immortal beings like centaurs, griffins, spidrens and more, and not all of them are friendly. Daine is determined to use her powers to help save the country that has taken her in.

Protector of the Small

The third series in the Tortall realm is The Protector of the Small, the first book published in 1999, and are as followed: First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight. This follows the story of Keladry of Mindelan, or just Kel, as she becomes the first girl in over a hundred years to step forward to try for her knighthood, that doesn’t have to hide her gender, like Alanna did. When she gets though, she learns its a lot harder than she had first imagined, especially since most of the boys in her page class are making it very difficult for her to complete and pass all her tasks. Even the training master is making her life difficult, giving her a probation year, something no other page ever has to complete, making her try for knighthood harder than anyone else’s. Then there’s some brewing at the border of the nearby country of Scanra, and a war seems to be coming, and Kel is determined to be ready for it.

Daughter of the Lioness

The Trickster books, first published in 2003, are Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen. They follow the story of Alianne, or Aly, who is the daughter of the great knight, Alanna. She is sixteen, surrounded by so many successful people, like her mother, her father, the king and queen, her aunt Daine the Wildmage, her uncle Numair, the greatest sorcerer, her brother Thom who is studying to be a mage and her twin, Alan, is going for his knighthood. But Aly wants to be a spy, and her parents do NOT approve of that for a noble born girl. After a fight with her mother, she takes her ship out to sea to avoid her and gets kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles. When she gets there, she stumbles upon an underground rebellion, of the dark skinned raka trying to take their country back from the white skinned luarin. When a god by the name of Kyprioth asks her to keep a pair of half raka, half luarin girls safe, she is thrown in the middle of the rebellion, using her skills to help pull it all together.

Beka Cooper

The last series is the The Legend of Beka Cooper series, which is actually a prequel, and these were written first in 2006, and are Terrier, Bloodhound and MastiffThese follow the story of, you guessed it, Beka, who is an ancestor of George Cooper, who is an important character in the Song of the Lioness series. Beka has joined the police force called the Provost Dogs, and when she first joins, well, she doesn’t really do that well. But she is assigned to the best pair of Dogs there is: Clary and Mattes, and they teach her to become a great Dog. Each novel has a varying story, and Beka has to track down counterfeiters, she has to chase down prince kidnappers and so on. Its told all in journal format, so you get all of Beka’s point of view on her struggles to become a Dog, and to keep her position, and to use her skills to catch criminals, back when women were allowed to do that.

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I first discovered these books when I was 16, when I picked up Trickster’s Choice because it mentioned pirates on the inside cover. I had a seriously ridiculous obsession with pirates back then, and so I decided to read the book. When I discovered that basically all it was that Aly was kidnapped by pirates and they were only mentioned for about two pages, I was confused but I kept reading and I ended up absolutely LOVING the book, and dying for the sequel.

Because of this book, I met my pen pal, Chloe, who I have now been writing to for nine years. She is one of my absolute best friends and I can’t imagine not having this writing relationship with her. However, she informed me that I get a little ahead of myself and that there were THREE series before Trickster’s Choice. So I had to catch up, and I eventually did, though I knew a lot of spoilers because I had gone out of order.

However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying each and every book that I had read. Tamora Pierce is a goddess, and she is an amazing writer who creates these amazing stories with strong, relatable female heroines, way before this golden age of young adult literature even occurred. Tammy was writing about strong female characters back in the 1980s before Hermione Granger or Katniss Everdeen or Clary Fray even existed in the minds of the authors who wrote them.

First off, the characters are all amazing: Alanna, Daine, Kel, Aly and Beka. They are all wicked badass characters. They are knights, and mages, and spies and warriors and detectives. They can wield weapons and track animals, and heal and do magic. They can fight battles, and win duels and take down enemies, through fights or through stealth. They are all wickedly funny, and relatable. You see them struggle with the same sort of problems that any girl from the age of ten to the age of 18 struggles with: first crushes, your first period, getting boobs, losing your virginity, the struggle of your identity, your self esteem and your confidence in how you look. They get to do all these super awesome things but they are just as real as you and me.

And the world of Tortall is so awesome. Its so knights and shining armor like the King Arthur stories but SO much better, because its all so relatable. This is a country that I want to live in, especially because as time goes on, the kingdom becomes more…liberal, if you will. This is a kingdom that cares about the people that live there, and wants to take care of them, and wants them to be healthy and safe and educated. They allow women to enter into the knighthood or the King’s Guard or the Queen’s Riders. They educate all their poor classes. And it just sounds like an awesome place to live. Huge palace, tiny little towns, castles on the edge of the sea, forests, beaches, everything. It sounds WONDERFUL.

So I’ve literally talked your face off now, but these are some of my absolute favorite books ever. Tamora Pierce is my top favorite author, tied with JK Rowling. She is absolutely brilliant and she’s a writer that has been around for decades, and will continue to impress me with every book that she writes. I have never met her, but I hope one day TO meet her, because I’d probably cry with happiness because she’s just so amazing. I recommend these books to everyone, but especially young girls because these characters are great role models and I just think that these books are over looked all the time. I think more readers should be reading these books, instead of others that will remain nameless.

So please, please check these out! You will not be disappointed.

And stay tuned in for more Fandom Fridays!

And check out last week’s on The Lux Series!

Book of the Week: Alanna, The First Adventure

I was thinking of what book to write this week’s Book of the Week post about and couldn’t really think of which to write about. I’ve read a couple new books in the last few weeks but I haven’t really cared enough to write about them. I started making new sections on my blogs. I put up a new “Writing Advice” section, treatment where you can go to get writing advice from authors that you enjoy. I’ve personally emailed, tumblr-ed, tweeted, Facebook messaged, etc. these authors and I’ve gotten a nice response from some really awesome authors, so you should definitely check it out.
Then I added two more sections, Recommended Books : Young Adult and Recommended Books: Adult, and I realized how many of the books that I have recommended to people just haven’t been reviewed on this blog. And I’m kind of aiming to fix that. So I decided to start with one of my absolute favorie authors, Tamora Pierce, and her very first Tortall books.
So for your enjoyment, here is this week’s Book of the Week:
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Genre:
young adult, fantasy
Part of a Series?:
yes, the first installment of the Song of the Lioness quartet
You May Like if You Liked:
Harry Potter, Cinda Williams Chima’s fantasy novels
Plot Summary:
Alanna of Trebond has reached the age of ten and it’s time to send her off to the convent to learn how to be a proper lady. Of course, she doesn’t want to go; she wants to go the palace to learn to be a knight. Her twin brother, Thom, wants to learn to be a powerful sorcerer and has no desire to become a knight. Of course they come up with a brilliant idea to switch places and Alanna heads to the palace disguised as Alan, ready to begin her training as a knight. But training to be a knight isn’t as easy as she thought it was, especially when she is trying to conceal her idea her identity as a girl. Soon though she makes friends with her fellow pages, Prince Jonathan, Gary, Raoul, Alex and the king of thieves, George Cooper. Then Jonathan’s uncle, Roger, returns to court and Alanna had a funny feeling about him that she just can’t shake.
The Bad: 
The first Tamora Pierce book I read was the series of Alanna’s daughter. Sorry, small spoiler. I won’t tell you who it’s with though! But that was stupid because there are THREE series before that one! Whoops!
So eventually I went back and read the original series. And honestly, there’s nothing bad about it in my head. I think one complaint someone might have is that its simpler, a child’s book. This doesn’t bother me, because of all the good reasons below, and because Tamora’s writing and stories get more complex as her books progress and I do believe they are very young adult books.
The Good: 
There is SO much good about this book. First off, the characters. Alanna is a wonderful character because she is SO determined and she’s such a strong female character. Alanna: The First Adventure was first published back in 1983, before the burst of young adult literature and strong heroines hit us all. I think Tamora Pierce was doing something before a lot of other authors were. Alanna disguises her gender in a place where it is NOT easy to do so to become a knight, which is a crazy challenge all in itself. She’s also really small, so she’s not even built like a normal page/squire would be built. But that’s what makes it even better. Alanna is trying to become a knight under extraordinary circumstances, and her size only makes the goal that much harder. But she works so hard, she practices over and over again, she even works as hard as possible to overcome a cruel bully. As the stories progress, she becomes stronger and smarter and she’s one of THE strongest female characters I have ever read in the many, many novels I’ve read.
There’s also the world of Tortall that Tamora Pierce has created. It is very reminiscent of those stories we read as children with princes and princesses, knights in shining armor but in a young adult setting with some serious issues going on, serious villians. You have villians fighting for the crown, and you have bullies picking on those who are different from them, you have a girl’s life in danger every day because of her hidden gender. And she creates such a REAL world; she knows the kingdom, she knows the neighboring kingdom well, and she knows the kingdoms across the sea, and she has histories for these kingdoms. She knows her myths and legends, she knows her history. Her worlds, the creatures, the people, the myths and legends and rules and laws…they all have backing to them. She isn’t pulling this out of nothing, she truly knows what she is talking about, which makes her world believable and makes her world a world that readers want to live in.
She also creates a wonderful story. You can’t help but root for Alanna as she tries to pull off this incredible and seemingly impossible task. She is trying to handle so much, and she’s so young in this book. It takes place over the course of…I’d say three or four years and its just so much for a 10 to 14 year old handle. She’s learning to be a knight, she’s learning to hone her magical skills, she’s making friends, dealing with a bully, and on and on. But even though its just a fantastical story, its so believable too. I think Tammy has so many fans, but I think sometimes there’s a lack of new fans in her case because of the overwhelming flux of teen paranormal romance and the popularity that it has. Her books are good, clean, fun fantasy novels with fantastic characters, strong female leads and enough romance without being too cheesy.
Rating: 
Five out of Five stars. Tamora Pierce is a goddess.
Recommended or Not? 
Definitely. I recommend this book highly because there is so much to read after this. There are three more books in this series,  then the four book Immortals series, the four book Protector of the Small series and then the two book series, Tricksters. Then there’s also the prequel series, Beka Cooper, series. And Tammy only gets better and better as the series go along and all of her books are pure golden fantasy with action, humor, romance, and on and on…and she always has kickass female characters. Pick up a Tammy book now.
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International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. I have two thoughts on this.

One of my thoughts is this: we shouldn’t have only one day a year where we recognize women. There are so many amazing women in this world, order in our present and our past. I think that we should appreciate these women every day, not just on a day like this: Elizabeth Stanton, Susan B Anthony, Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, Hilary Clinton, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey. Your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters. Yourself, if you’re a woman. There is so much we have accomplished and so much we are capable of accomplishing. And we should be aware of this every day, both men and women. Women should be aware because this is their legacy and they should believe in themselves and be proud of their gender. Men should be aware because they need to recognize women as their equals and realize how much we are capable of and realizing how much we already have done.

But it also makes me very aware of the strong female characters that I am surrounded by every single day. Hermione Granger. Ginny Weasley. Minerva McGonagall. Molly Weasley. Lily Potter. Clary Fray. Tessa Gray. Isabelle Lightwood. Lady Alanna the Lioness. Lady Keladry. Daine the Wildmage. Alianne of Pirates Swoop. Annabeth Chase. Katniss Everdeeb. Princess Leia. Susan and Lucy Pevensie. Tris Pryor. Eowyn. Arwen. Arya Stark. Catelyn Stark. Emma Swan. Buffy. Inara. Kaelie. Zoe. Rose Tyler. Martha Jones. Donna Noble. Amy Pond. Clara Oswald. Anne of Green Gables. Elizabeth Bennett. Jane Eyre. Scarlett O Hara.

I could literally go on and on and on. And I was quite tempted to do so. But I think you get my point.

The point is I am amazed and yet so happy at the amount of strong female characters that we are constantly surrounded with. The strength of all these characters, though they are all fictional, inspires us the same way that a real person does. As a reader, these characters are real to us and the amazing things they do, the obstacles they face and conquer, the decisions they make and the accomplishments they take…it makes me very proud to be a woman.

So, it’s International Women’s Day…so celebrate it. Embrace being a woman. There are so many amazing things about being a woman. This isn’t about men versus women or what sex is better. This is about equality and bringing proud of who are you and what your gender has accomplished and will accomplish. It’s a reminder that we will do what we have to do, we will fight for our rights and for that equality and we will stand up and be proud because we’ve proved ourselves, both in fiction and in life.

You know, and I’d say the same for International Men’s Day. Men should be proud as well, for the good men that are out there. For the men who have fought and accomplished and who have changed the world. For the men who recognize women as equals. Those men deserve that pride too.

So soak in the pride and remember all the amazing women that we have been privileged to have in our past and present and that we will continue into our future.

Who are some of your most inspirational women? Are they your family members, or women of our past? Are they some of the successful women of our times or fictional characters? As always, share below. :)

And you men out there, you share too :) I know you have some inspirational women in mind too!