Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Fictional Book Couples!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Well, online almost. But its nearly there and to celebrate, price this week’s Tuesday Top Ten is getting a little romantic. Now, I know this is a post that I’ve already done but that was QUITE a long time ago and I’ve read so many books since then…its hard to narrow it down!

However, my poor sentimental heart was finally able to do so and I present to you my top ten favorite fictional book couples!

10. William Herondale and Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices Series

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Will and Tessa have one of those romances that, if it actually existed in real life, you’d be torn between being massively jealous and also massively apt to throwing up all the time. Its incredibly beautiful, tragic, deep, genuine, intense. Its one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve read and what makes it even more beautiful is the love that the two of them share with Jem as well. Its just…amazingly written. It should be a love triangle but it doesn’t feel that way because the three of them love each other so much. Plus, there’s just something amazing about their love of books and how their love of words bring them together, and how they fight alongside each other…sigh.

9. Cara and Aelyx from The Alienated Series

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This is one of my newest favorite couples to come into my life, just this past summer. I met Melissa at ALA and got an ARC of Invaded and knew I had to read the first one and I am SO glad I did! This two part series is AWESOME and I’m massively in love with Cara and Aelyx and their story. What makes it so great is how annoyed and disgusted (especially on Aelyx’s part) they are with each other and how it slowly builds to something else. I love how they figure things out. I mean, Aelyx GOOGLES how to kiss. Its silly and sweet and intense and I love every single moment of it.

8. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games Series

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DUH. I know its cheesy and so completely unrealistic as far as fictional relationships work out but I still love every minute of it. Because despite everything that their world throws at them, they still make it through. I tend to like Gale more as a character but I love Peeta more for Katniss and I think its because they balance each other out SO much. Plus its kind of bittersweet how they work so hard to protect each other and it always seems to fail but they never ever give up on it. I don’t like the conclusion, so to speak, of their relationship, I don’t think it makes sense with the characters at all but I love their relationship.

7. Four and Tris from the Divergent Series

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This is one relationship that I love, not just because I’m absolutely obsessed with this series but because it turns out to be completely opposite of what you expect. When you meet Tris, she’s unsure, unconfident, struggling to figure out who she is, while Four seems strong, confident, sure. But the closer they get to each other, the more you realize that its Tris that helps Four, brings him out, makes him a better person. He relies on her, looks into her for strength and I love that. I think its better when a couple is equal but I love seeing that a female character can be seen as the strength in a relationship.

6. Aly and Nawat from The Tricksters Series

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This is one of my favorite relationships, so easily because it is one of the most unique ones I’ve come across in any book. Aly is a born noble girl, trained in the ways of a noble lady but also the fighting and stealth of a common born spy. She’s kidnapped and sold into slavery for a wealthy family in an enemy kingdom. She meets Nawat, who is a crow turned man. They each have their own journey to take, though they are inevitably intertwined with each other, and what I love is that they each do the things they need to do before they came together. Its beautiful. It really shows…you don’t need a guy to get where you need to be, and that a really great guy will be there, even if you can’t be there yourself.

5. Levi and Cath from Fangirl

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Okay, I love this relationship because I want this relationship. Seriously. I want this relationship so bad. I love 1-4 so badly on this list but if I had to choose a relationship that I genuinely wanted more than anything…it would be this one. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I feel very connected to Cath. She feels like me in so so many ways and I can understand her fears and her concerns and her anxiety and her struggle to become close with people because she’s afraid they can’t handle who she is. But Levi comes in and just loves her, for every single thing that she is. And he’s a goofball, which I just love, and he just is so genuine and real and I love everything about their relationship. This is relationship goals.

4. Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov from The Vampire Academy Series

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I want to be Rose Hathaway. Or I want to be with her. I can’t really figure it out. Maybe both. That’s kind of weird ;) Either way, the Vampire Academy series is one of my favorites ever and I love that it takes legitimately all six books for Rose and Dimitri to get where you finally wish them to be. Their relationship is SO tragic BUT neither one of the characters are tragic. They always focus on their job as dhampirs, as guardians and getting the job done, and that’s why they’re one of my favorite relationships. They are awesome together, but as more than a couple, as a team.

3. Adrian Ivashkov and Sydney Sage from the Bloodlines Series

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When I first started reading the Bloodlines series, it was clear that the couple that would come out of this series was Adrian and Sydney. Having met and fallen in love with both of those characters in the VA series, I was so confused on how these two would even WORK. But as the series continued and you watched them fall in love with each other, I was panting alongside everyone else. I just finished the finale book, The Ruby Circle, today, release day and I won’t say much because of spoilers but I’m so happy with this relationship. They both changed from book one to book six and they did it together. They were equals from beginning to end and I love that. They rely on each other and they save each other and I ship it so hard.

2. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter Series

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All you haters can sit down and shut up. Everyone says that Ron doesn’t deserve Hermione and all that junk. I myself read way too much Dramione fan fiction, admittedly. But this is one of my favorite couples because I think they work together. They are different, but I think that’s what makes them work. Ron loves Hermione, even though she’s much smarter than him and is constantly berating him and all that kind of thing. Hermione loves Ron, even though he can be selfish and unthinking. Love, real love, is about accepting each other’s flaws and still loving each other anyway. Of course there’s a limit to that but I think Ron and Hermione are the example of a perfect imperfect relationship. Relationships aren’t beautiful and amazing and all that. They take work and they don’t always go the way its planned and that’s exactly what this relationship is.

1. Jace Lightwood and Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments Series

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They continue to be my favorite couple and I think that’s because of when I read the book. You want to talk about an overdramatic, tragic story of a relationship? This is it right here. Book One: Jace can’t admit he has feelings. Finally kind of does…oops, him and Clary are brother and sister. Or wait they’re not brother and sister. Oh, wait, he’s being possessed by Lilith, oh, wait, now by the real Jonathan Morgenstern. I mean, seriously. Its the most dramatic relationship that takes place over a period of, like, five months. But I love both of these characters. I love the way they fall in love, I love the way they balance each other out, I love the way they eventually fight together, I love every single bit of them. And that is not going to change.

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Who are some of YOUR favorite book couples? Make sure to share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Best YA High Fantasy Series

I was browsing around Tumblr this morning, medical like I do (because how do you start a day without spending some time on Tumblr) and I saw a post talking about YA high fantasy and it had SO many of my favorites. I was trying to think of something to write for the Tuesday Top Ten today and it just presented itself to me so easily.

I must admit, thumb as I wrote this list, I discovered TWO things: One, I really need to read more high fantasy (recommend some, please!) and two, I am majorly biased on one particular author…but that’s okay.

10. The Beka Cooper Trilogy 

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Books: Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff

Beka Cooper is the ancestor of George Cooper (who is massively important in Pierce’s first series, which, duh, is on the list), and she joins the Provost Dogs, which is basically like a police force. As the books go on, she becomes one of the most prominent and well trusted of the Dogs, solving crimes and taking down criminals. The story is told in diary form, which was a new thing for Tamora Pierce.

Its awesome. Anything Tammy does is basically magic, but what I love about this is you know how history plays out after this already. Her first four Tortall series all take place years after this so you know the direction its going in, but its still so fun. I think that Tamora Pierce has a wonderful way of writing fantastically strong characters but sometimes we convince ourselves that Daine and Kel and Aly are only able to have their stories because of all the things Alanna accomplished in the first series. But telling Beka’s story really tells us that women had a lot more power, and possibility in the past until obviously something went wrong. Plus these stories are so different than the others. Beka has to prove herself, not really as a capable woman, like the others, but just a capable person in general. And the crimes she solves, the mysteries that unravel are all so fun.

9. The Immortals Quartet 

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Books: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, The Realms of the Gods

Daine is trying to escape her home country of Galla, where she was treated as a pariah, an abomination for the “sickness” she believes is inside her. When she is brought on as an assistant horse handler on the way to Tortall, she discovers that she’s not crazy, but she has a rare bit of magic in here called wild magic, which gives her the ability to communicate with animals, heal them and even shape shift. Under the tutelage of the realms most powerful mage, Numair, she learns to control her magic and when her new home in Tortall is threatened by immortal creatures, she must learn to use her powers to help save her home and her friends.

I mean, can you really go wrong with this book? There’s magic and animals and cute boys and kissing and battles and its a GREAT series. Tammy blew my MIND with this one. I love Daine because before Daine, we had Alanna, who was great but didn’t get to be a girl as often because she was pretending to be a boy, so Daine was awesome. I loved when she was able to give up her dresses for breeches, and when she discovered she could heal animals. I love that we see old characters from Alanna’s series and I love the whole idea of these immortal creatures like spidrens and centaurs and stormwings. Daine’s story is absolutely fantastic.

8. The Protector of the Small Quartet 

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Books: First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight

In Kel’s book, the law has been changed and girls can go out for their knighthood, instead of hiding their sex the way Alanna does in her series. This is the moment that Kel has been waiting for but its tainted when the king grants her permission to come to the palace to try, under the condition that she have a probationary year, something no boy has. Not only does Kel have to prove herself as a knight, but that she belongs there amongst the boys.

What I love about Kel’s story is that it seems like it could be a repeat of Alanna’s story but it most definitely is not. Kel has a whole new adventure to go through. Alanna had to prove herself, yes, but everyone thought she was a boy. Kel is a girl, and on probation and has to work even harder than all the boys do. On top of that, her page master treats her differently and her fellow pages tease her, and play jokes on her, all to try and get her kicked out. I think Kel’s story is sometimes easier to relate to than Alanna’s. I like how it starts off with Kel being bullied and being angry that she and others are getting bullied and turns into a larger story when Scanra comes chopping at the Tortall borders. Kel always wants to take down the bullies, no matter how big or small, and I love her story.

7. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy 

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Books: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, The Bitter Kingdom

Elisa was born with a godstone in her belly button, marking her as a chosen one, to do amazing things in the world. However, Elisa feels so much less than a chosen one. She’s massively overweight, not pretty, and constantly in the shadow of her older sister. When she is married off to a neighboring kingdom’s king, who is devastatingly handsome, she doubts she’ll ever reach her supposed amazing potential. Then she is kidnapped, by revolutionaries, and she suddenly sees how much more she is capable of and what she really could accomplish.

The first thing that caught me about this book is that Elisa is fat. Straight up, Elisa is fat. I love that. Do you know how often we get YA heroines who are fat, especially in novels like this? We just don’t. Even though Elisa loses weight through out the series, she remains a bigger girl and I think that’s important. Elisa is a strong, strong, incredible female character but its more than a physical strength. She’s incredibly smart, clever and she figures out exactly what she needs to do, with bumps all the way. Its all about coming into yourself, and coming into what people expect of you, and just doing the best that you can with what you are given and its just incredible. I dragged my dad, boyfriend and brother four hours to Las Vegas just so I could meet Rae Carson.

6. The Throne of Glass Series 

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Books (so far): Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire 

Celaena is a former deadly assassin, sent into the dark work prisons. She is caught trying to escape and is chosen by a stranger to be a contestant, part of a tournament to choose the next King’s Champion. If she succeeds in winning, she will have to work for the King, whom she hates, for a period of time and then she can earn her freedom. She agrees and comes to the palace to compete but then people start disappearing, dying, being sabotaged in the contest and Celaena fears that she could be next. Add in the handsome and charming prince Dorian and the equally handsome and strong captain of the guard, Chaol, and you have a recipe for trouble.

 Sarah J. Maas blew my mind with this series. I had seen it all over the place for so long and I finally purchased it and was so incredibly glad when I did. The one thing that really jumps out at me of this series is the incredible world building of it. It is deep and complex and has a whole history to it, which is beautiful. A really good high fantasy novel will have that, and this book definitely accomplishes that. Add in the fact that there’s Dorian and Chaol and its so hard to figure out which one you like more, because they’re both so different…and you’re just so addicted to the story. But the kicker of the series is Celaena, who is a fantastic main character. I love that she can kill a person easily, almost in her sleep, but also loves to curl up with a good book and is so incredibly loving and caring.

5. The Song of the Lioness Quartet 

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Books: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hands of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant

Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, are unhappy with their futures. Thom is all set to go to the palace to train as a knight, when he wants to go and learn to hone his magical Gift and become a powerful sorcerer. Alanna is to be sent to the convent, to be trained as a lady, to return home and find a husband, when she wants to become a knight. They switch places, and Alanna heads to the palace as Alan, disguised as a boy in order to earn her shield. Alanna has to work hard, doing all that she can to earn her shield, while trying to hide the fact that she is a girl.

This book series is incredible and what truly blows my mind about it is that it was written back in the 1980s. People think that the idea of a strong female character is a new phenomenon because of Hermione and Katniss and Tris but the original strong YA female character is definitely Alanna. She disguises herself as a boy for YEARS. Do you know how hard that would be? Not only does she have to work hard to become a knight, which is a trial all in itself, but she has to do it pretending to be a boy. She has to pretend that she doesn’t get her period, or breasts, and that she doesn’t having feelings for boys. She can’t undress herself in front of them. Its all so hard. But she fights hard and earns everything that she gains and its just SUCH a great series. Its a must, an absolute must for any lover of YA.

4. The Grisha Trilogy 

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Books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

Alina Starkov is an orphan, earning her way through life, and struggling to find where she fits in. She’s working as a mapmaker, getting by and trying to ignore that her best friend, Mal, is handsome, popular with the ladies, and an incredibly good tracker. One day, as their crossing the Fold, a desolate bit of land, she saves Mal’s life, by using a power that she never knew she had. She has been labeled the Sun Summoner, a rare Grisha classification, able to produce light from within her. Suddenly, she is whisked away by The Darkling, the most powerful of the Grisha, and her power becomes the center of her existence.

The first I met Leigh Bardugo was at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. She was on a panel and the moderator said something about strong female characters not existing when the authors were younger and Leigh immediately says “Uh, duh, Alanna?” and I knew immediately that I needed to read her book. I bought Shadow and Bone that day and I’ve been massively in love with the Grisha trilogy since then. I just read the last one a few weeks ago when it was released and I’m just so in love. Leigh is an incredible writer and a beautiful storyteller. She has magic, and power, and politics and romance and humor and so much all in one series and its just brilliant. I really haven’t read a series like this before and I doubt I will ever read one like it again.

3. The Seven Realms Series

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Books: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Grey Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Raisa is the princess of her queendom, being bred every day to be the queen. She is royal by blood on her mother’s side, and has tribal blood from her father’s side and after spending time with her father and his people, she returns to the castle, restless and ready to do more. Her mother, on the other hand, has been taken in by the High Wizard, in a world where wizards are not to be trusted, and Raisa begins to fear what her mother will do. She starts sneaking out of the palace, getting to know her queendom, hoping to become the best queen that she can be. Han is a former thief, turning away from his criminal ways, in order to support his mother and younger sister. When he steals a wizard’s amulet one day, trouble begins to follow him and leads him into finding the truth about where he came from and what sort of powers he holds in himself.

THIS SERIES. I picked it up on a whim, really, just out of nowhere, and coincidentally, a few days before the final book was released. I literally read the four of them in a period of about five or six days and I have no regrets. Cinda Chima is absolutely brilliant. She reminds of Tamora Pierce a bit, and she just builds a great world. The Seven Realms is just so incredibly real and I love both the main characters so much and I couldn’t wait until the two of them met up together. Raisa is fun, and brave, and sassy, and strong and Han is sarcastic and fearless and reckless and caring and I just love the both of them so much. There’s mystery and intrigue and magic and you can never really figure out who the bad guy is and the books are full of surprises until the very end. There’s action one moment and then steamy makeout scenes the next and I seriously canNOT get enough of these books.

2. The Daughter of the Lioness Duology 

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Books: Trickster’s Choice, Trickster’s Queen

Aly has lived in the shadow of her parents for her entire life. Her father is the King’s spymaster and her mother is King’s champion, and the first female knight in over a century. Her godparents are the king and queen, the wildmage and the realm’s most powerful mage, the captain of the King’s Guard and more. Her brother is studying to be a sorcerer and her twin has gone for his knighthood. What Aly wants more than anything is to be a spy,  but her parents do not approve. She is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles, to the Balitang family. There she discovers a rebellion brewing, the dark skinned raka wanting to take their country back from the light skinned luarin. Before she knows it, she’s wrapped up in it, doing everything she can to protect the Balitang girls, who could become the countries’ future rulers.

I’m rare in liking this series by Tammy the most but I must admit that I am quite biased. This is the first series that I actually read by Tammy. I picked it up when I was about 15 years old because it mentioned pirates and I was obsessed with pirates at the time. Obviously pirates were NOT essential to the story but I legitimately found one of my favorite books of all time. Aly is incredible and so different than Alanna, Daine and Kel. She doesn’t have magical powers like Daine, though she has the Sight. She isn’t a fighter like Alanna and Kel, though she can fight. Instead she’s absolutely clever. She knows the way of politics and the underground spy world. She knows the minds of people and how to trick them and how to get them to do the things she wants them to. Plus I loved the rebellion of it, of the people rising up. Its…easily my favorite book (tied with Goblet of Fire).

1. The Harry Potter Series 

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I’m not going to do a summary for this one because, duh. I’m pretty sure most people know what this is about and if you don’t…have you been living under a rock for all these years? Seriously?

I know this one is weird on this list because its kind of…is it full fantasy? Its kind of contemporary at the same time? I consider it high fantasy though. Also, is it YA? I’ve always sort of considered it YA but a lot of people say it’s children. SO that’s weird. But either way, its my favorite of all time. I do not have five HP tattoos, a personalized HP license plate and much more for nothing. This series is one of the most incredible series to ever be written and there is literally no other book that can make me feel the way these do. They have everything I could possibly need. They provide escape. They have taught me so many lessons of life. They make me laugh and cry. They make me question everything. They have brought me friends. They have an incredible world built and the story is beautiful and complex and exciting from the first page to the last.

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My Reading Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Childhood (3-10 years old)

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

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

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

Preteen/Middle School (10-14 years old)

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

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

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

High School (15-18 years old)

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

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

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

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

Young Adult (19-now)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Female Characters

So I’ve totally already done this Tuesday Top Ten before, information pills but it was kind of my favorite one to do (besides maybe my favorite fictional boy crushes) because there’s SUCH an outpouring of strong, amazing, kickass, well developed awesome female characters out there and I want to be able to share the ones that I like so much with all of you.

I also did this list way back in November and I had probably, hmmm, like five followers back then, which included my dad and my boyfriend and maybe a few friends. Now I have nearly 1000 followers and so I want to write it again, so all my new followers can now see this :)

So here we go! My top ten (err…eleven) favorite female characters in young adult literature!

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11. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games 

The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion

Katniss is a badass, and she’s one of the first characters that comes to mind when you have strong female characters of YA, especially with the immense success of the Hunger Games movie and Catching FIre hitting theaters this fall. I like Katniss a lot, but mostly from the first book, not so much the next two. My personal opinion is that she gets a little whiny toward the end. Again, thats my personal opinion. But I do think she’s a great character. She’s a girl that doesn’t give up, even though most 12 year olds probably would. Instead of crawling into a hole, and letting her family starve or letting her and Prim be taken away, she figures out a way to survive and hunts, and trades and does whatever she can to help her family survive. And these skills that she learns for survival are the KEY to her survival in the Hunger Games. She’s extremely clever and she’s very caring as well, for her family, and for the people that come into her life like Peeta and Haymitch and Cinna and even Effie. She’s a GREAT character and Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress to play her.

10. Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices 

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I love Tessa Gray because of her bravery, her resilience, her cleverness and the fact that she loves books so much. I love that Tessa Gray only wants to do the best that she can and that she cares SO much. The thing about Tessa is that she is unique, in so many different ways. First off, she’s an American in London. Then she’s amongst a bunch of Shadowhunters, which she is not. Then she’s not even sure what she is: possible a warlock, but without a warlock’s mark and no explanation of what she is. The Infernal Devices trilogy is not only the story of the London Institute and the Shadowhunters attempting to defeat Mortmain and his revenge plan but its also about the journey that Tessa takes in discovering herself and who she is and what she is and what her purpose is. I love that she loves with all of her heart and she loves her brother, even though he isn’t what she thought he was, and she loves the people she meets through the London Institute. I love that she loves both Will and Jem, and not in a whiny Bella Swan kind of way but in such a real, genuine way, the way people love in real life.

9. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter series

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J.K. Rowling once said about Luna Lovegood that she has an unbelievably rare quality of a person who just doesn’t give a damn about what people think about her and for that, she’s on my list. Because let’s face it, no matter what we say, no matter how much we profess it, we all care at least a little bit what people think of us. That or, we care what CERTAIN people think of us. Luna has the quality of being an absolute badass because she’s so sure of herself. She is teased and bullied, and people mess with her and think she’s weird but she doesn’t even notice. She’s so happy in her own world and I, for one, envy her for that. But she’s also a seriously loving and caring and brave person. When she finally makes friends, she is so good to them, and she is a pivotal character in my opinion. I don’t think the Harry Potter series would have been right without her in it, and there’s a reason why everyone calls me Luna <3

8. June Iparis from the Legend trilogy 

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Okay, June is an absolute badass, and honestly, I think she’s one of the strongest female characters I have read in a novel, especially in the overflow of young adult lit that is going on right now. I was amazed at June’s…tenacity and her fire and her strength. I was discussing June with someone online once and they said she was cold, she didn’t have a personality, that she wasn’t as easy to like as some of the other heroines that are out there, and that’s exactly why I like her. She’s different. She’s trained as a soldier and thinks like a soldier and has a hard time breaking that habit, even when things start stacking up against everything she ever knew. Its hard for her to be as trusting of people, especially someone like Day, who she is told over and over again is a criminal. I think she’s very human, and I love how her feelings for Day are always in question, always a work in progress. I like that there’s a love story in this novel, but not the kind that takes over the story. I love June because she has a head on her shoulders, and she uses it before she falls in love. I love how smart she is, and how reluctant she is to accept the truth…because she wants to know its the real truth before she believes it. She’s such a great character.

7. Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy 

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I think one of the biggest reasons that I love Tris is because she’s so little, and people don’t really believe in her because of that, and she proves them all wrong. She’s the tiny, little, divergent (read: normal) girl, who takes a chance, leaves her parents behind for a different faction, a faction so vastly different than the one she was raised in and just…just rocks it. I mean, sure, not at first. She’s weak, scared, shy. But she does all the work she needs to do to not only become part of the Dauntless faction, but to be number one in the initiates. I love that. I love that she’s been taught so much about the act of being silent, being selfless, lacking of affectionate and all of that sort of thing, but when she comes to Dauntless, everything she does is so real, and so genuine. She makes friends because she is so genuine. And Four falls in love with her because of that, and that’s just too darn cute for life. I am jealous for Tris and her relationship with Four, because…well he’s Four, and do you see the picture above? Theo James is QUITE the looker. But in all seriousness, I admire Tris for her bravery, her cleverness, her selfishness and selflessness, and her never ending drive.

6. Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments

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I know that most of you know how addicted I am to the  Mortal Instruments series, and I’m sure you’re wondering why on earth the main character would not even be in the top 5, and there are reasons for that, and I totally have a TMI character in the Top 5. So hush. I love Clary, I super adore her. I enjoy watching as she takes the journey from normal teenager girl, to a budding Shadowhunter. I love that she’s brave and fearless, and she wants to save everyone: her mom, Simon, Jace, everyone. I love that the Shadowhunter world is SO confusing to her, but she goes with it, and she adapts quickly and that, I don’t know, she sort of grows into what is her natural heritage. She was born to be a Shadowhunter, even though her mom held that away from her for so long. I think the biggest reason why I love Clary is because of her loyalty. She is SO incredibly loyal and loving to the people she cares about: her mom, Luke, Simon. And when she meets the Lightwoods and Jace and Maia and Magnus, she cares for all of them as well. She just can’t help but care, and her caring is what makes her so brave.

5. Alina Starkov from The Grisha Trilogy 

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Alina is one of the most interesting characters that I have read in awhile. One, because she’s incredibly powerful…more powerful than pretty much every single person that she knows. And at first, she strays away from that power and is reluctant to use, reluctant to get any stronger. But as the story goes on, she almost begins to crave that power. She begins to grow addicted to it, and she feeds off of it. I think so many times we see characters that are so inherently good all the time, so good even when they make mistakes or make wrong decisions but Alina kind of represents a different sort of heroine. I think that we see Alina struggle more than any other character, because power is a dangerous thing. I don’t think that Alina is evil or a bad person, but that all depends on what happens in the final book of the series. We leave off, with all these people believing she’s a saint, a savior, and with her on a crazy, impossible quest to track down ways to make herself more powerful. This is incredibly dangerous and makes Alina a very complex, and addicting character. I just keep wanting to read and find out what happens next.

4. Alianne Cooper from The Tricksters Series

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One of the strongest female characters that I’ve seen in the young adult genre, and just one of many that Tamora Pierce has created in her Tortall world: Alanna, Thayet, Buri, Daine, Maura, Keladry, and so so so many more. But when it comes down to it, Aly is easily my favorite and I think a lot of that comes down to that she was the first Tortall woman that I met, and she ushered me into a book series, and a book saga, that would seriously change my life. Aly is a sixteen year old girl with the kind of skills I could only dream of having at twenty-five years old. She’s incredibly clever, and has the knowledge and abilities to become a spymaster for a massive rebellion and be incredibly good at it. She knows about spying, and codes, and the sneakiness that comes with it. She knows about war and the way it goes, the way its run. She knows politics and crops and government and trade, social and culture, she’s just so incredibly smart. She can wield daggers and has wicked hand-to-hand combat skills. She’s quick on the spot, and can turn a lie in an instant. She’s charming and funny and relatable. She’s amazing, and one of the characters I always, ALWAYS bring up when talking about young adult literature.  

3. Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series 

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Can I say that if this was favorite female CRUSHES, it would be Isabelle at number one, easily? One, Jemima West is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her as Isabelle in the movie this summer. But I like Isabelle because she’s the badass of the books. She is one of the best Shadowhunters there is, gender aside. She has her awesome gold whip, and she takes down demons and fights with Jace and Alec. I also love her humor, her personality. She always has a smile on her face; she’s always finding a way to joke through things, and laugh her way around, even when everyone else is so down. She’s a fierce, strong character and I think sometimes is overlooked but she’s one of my absolute favorites. Alec and Jace both say, that though the Shadowhunter world has changed, that it is still hard for girls to become true warriors, and yet Isabelle works her ass off for it. And she’s another fiercely loyal, and caring person as well. The amount of love that she feels for her family: for her parents and Alec and Max and Jace is unparalleled. She is willing to do anything for them. Plus I just want to be HER: sexy, strong, brave, fearless, charming, a fighter…a fierce, fierce fighter.

2. Raisa ana’Marianna from The Seven Realms series 

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Raisa is seriously….I can’t even…she’s just so awesome. I knew from page one that I was addicted to this character. She’s everything realistic about being a teenage girl plus SO much more. She is young, and pretty and wants to enjoy both of those. She wants to flirt with boys and have fun, and not worry about taking the throne just yet. But then drama goes down (as it is wont to do) and Raisa is forced to run away from her kingdom, hide herself from her own mother, and eventually come back to take her rightful throne. She is so much stronger than a lot of the characters we’ve seen in YA in that…even though she falls madly in love with someone she can’t be with, she doesn’t really cave to that. Her duty comes first and foremost through it all, and she follows the rules, to keep a hold of her unsteady claim on the throne. Spoiler: I honestly didn’t think she was going to end up with Han, for a VERY long time. We really don’t figure out that Raisa is willing to push buttons until she has fought for her throne and she feels the strength to do so. But she has fire and passion and a good head on her shoulders, even as she makes the same mistakes that any human would do. She is a character that I would LOVE to see her on the big screen.

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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I don’t think its any surprise that she is the best YA female character, at least according to myself. She is the first female character that I really read that I connected to, and that I still continue to connect to. Before I discovered Harry Potter, I was reading formula books like Sweet Valley High, Baby-Sitter’s Club, Pony Pals and the Boxcar Children. In other words, books that weren’t challenging me in the slightest. I first read Harry Potter when I was 10 years old, just one year younger than the characters themselves and Hermione immediately jumped out to me. One, she really was the only female character that we got to know in that book, besides, like McGonagall and Mrs. Norris haha. But I loved how smart she was, especially since she wasn’t born into that world. I loved how, even though she was teased and bullied, and had no friends, she didn’t stop being smart just for that. I love that she was always proud of her brain and her intelligence and she never, ever dumbed herself down for a boy, ever. I loved that she was brave, and loyal and kind and selfless and quick thinking and all of that. She is AWESOME and Emma Watson did a wonderful job portraying her :)

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s Top Ten, on my favorite fictional dads, and other lists here.

Who are some of YOUR favorite young adult fictional female characters? As always, 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!

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 

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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 

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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.

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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!