The Time I Shared the Official Synopsis for Benched and a WHOLE sneak peek Scene!

Today, sales I might do something really exciting.

Heavy influence on the “might”.

I’ve been writing a lot this month. I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands and I’ve been frustrated and discouraged. And instead of letting that get me down, cheap I’ve been more determined and passionate and ambitious. I’ve been working really hard to develop this story, make these characters feel real and finish it. Benched has been my floating device this month.

And I’m really pleased to say…that today I could possibly finish it.

I don’t want to get you guys overexcited or anything but I really believe that its possible that it could get done tonight or in the next couple of days. I’m extremely excited and I can’t wait to get this finished, and on the path to sharing it with the rest of the world.

P.S. I’ll be needing beta readers for this in about a month or so, so please keep an eye out for that!

So today I decided to share TWO things. One is the official synopsis for Benched, and the other is a sneak peek. I hope that both of them catch your interest, because I’m really excited about this book and I’m really excited about its potential.

Please keep in mind that this is NOT young adult literature. It is new adult romance so there are mature themes.

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Benched Synopsis 

Benched tells the story of nineteen-year-old Evie Cordova. Evie has grown up in the central California coastal town of Santa Isabella, where the obsession is the college baseball team, the Quakes. Her father has been the head coach for as long as she can remember and her happiest memories are at that field. That is, until her heart is broken by one of the players and she can’t even look at a baseball without remembering the pain.
Now she’s in college, the very same college that houses the baseball boys that she wants nothing more than to avoid. Working for her dad brings her face to face with Austin Young, a transfer student who throws Evie off guard, with his dedication to baseball and his Southern charm. Suddenly, Evie can’t remember why she avoids baseball players. There’s an undeniable pull between the two of them and the more she runs, the closer they become. Evie has to decide whether to stick to her rules, or if Austin will be worth the risk of getting her heart broken once again.
But Evie has her own secrets that are holding her back and they just might ruin everything.

Benched Sneak Peak 

I blush. “I mean, it was fun.” I lower my voice even more. “Really fun. But it can’t happen again. I wasn’t lying when I said no baseball players.”

A corner of his mouth quirks up a little at this. “A very unusual rule.”

I ignore this. “You’re on my dad’s team. I don’t date baseball players. I really…” I swallow hard and meet his eyes. They’re such a dark brown, deep, and they reveal nothing. “I just think it would be better if we were friends. Just friends.”

“Just friends?”

Is he really repeating every single thing I say right now… God I wish I could tell what he was thinking. I bite my lip. “Yeah.” Was I being stupid? I didn’t want to date him; that was the truth. He was a goddamn baseball player and, even worse, a Quake. But was “just friends” even a possibility? He’s hot, incredibly so, and even with a desk between us, my body was tingling with want.

He still hasn’t responded and I start to turn back around, feeling embarrassed.

His hand reaches out for me, grabbing my arm. He’s keeping me from turning around and my eyes watch the way his fingers flex around his biceps before I raise them and meet his. I swallow hard, blinking rapidly.

Austin smirks and it shocks me for a moment, because this is not what I expected. “If you want to be just friends, princess, well then that’s okay.”

I am taken aback by his response and it takes me a moment to think of something to say back. My eyebrows raise. “Really?”

He winks at me. “OF course. My mama taught me to respect a lady’s words and I stick to that.”

I can’t help it. I laugh a little at that. “Your mama?”

Austin leans back and his smirk becomes a full-fledged grin. “Yes, my mama. Maybe I’ll tell you about her sometime. Seeing as we’re friends and all.”

The professor walks in and starts handing papers out. I pull my gaze away from his and turn to the front. “Right. Friends.”


It’s hard to concentrate on whatever the professor is saying with Evie sitting in front of me. Her long, dark blonde hair is hanging loose down her back and some of it falls on my desk and it smells amazing, like coconut. Like lying on the beach.

She wants to be just friends and damn, I know I should be okay with that but she has no idea the effect she has on me. She’s gorgeous. I wasn’t lying when I said she and her sister looked alike but there’s something about her that’s much sexier than her sister. It’s not her eyes. Its something in the way she carries herself.

I can’t get the memory of her coming apart in my arms out of my head. The noises she made, the way her body literally shook while she was pressed against me…I get hard just thinking about it.

I shake my head. She’s a distraction, the ultimate one, and I can’t let myself get distracted. Not now. Not only is she the coach’s daughter but she could derail everything I’ve worked so hard for.

My path is simple. Play ball. Get scouted. Get drafted. There’s nothing else. A girl like Evie could pull me away from all of that. Nothing is worth losing that.

Evie turns in her seat to hand me a paper and her eyes, one brown and one blue, meet mine. She licks her lips nervously before turning back around.  


I’m in so much trouble.


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Book Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West


Young Adult, cialis 40mg Contemporary, price Romance


352 pages

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

May 5th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:


Barnes and Noble

Book Depository


Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

My Review:

I did it guys. I finally read a Kasie West book! And I adore Kasie! I’ve met her twice in real life, and once was at the Ontario TBF and apparently that was enough for her to remember me at RT Convention in TEXAS and she is just the sweetest. Plus she said I looked like I was still in high school and I’m a sucker for compliments. I swear that has nothing to do with this review. I don’t give good reviews based on compliments. I mean, they help. Duh. ;)


I adore this book! Its so cute, I can’t handle it. I’ve been in the need for a lighthearted book where the main character isn’t broken. I needed a break from new adult and I saw Kasie’s book on the shelf and I thought…how have I not read any of her books yet. I immediately bought and read it and I just loved it. Its seriously so fun. Gia lies to her friends, tells them that this beautiful boy that she basically found in the parking lot is her boyfriend Bradley and then she stages a dramatic break up and then she actually falls for the guy and come on, hilarity and hijinks are going to ensue. Because when you lie that much, its just bound to come and bite you in the ass and I kind of flew through the pages because I just had to know how it ended. It reminded me a bit of Katie Finn’s Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend and how lying, especially to those you care about, can seriously blow up in your face.

And that’s also what makes it such a great book. Gia has to stop and think, wait, why am I lying? Why do I feel the need to lie? And that opens up a whole can of worms and while this book is fun and romantic and watching the romance between Gia and Fill-In Boyfriend build up is just so awesome, I love that the book really focuses on Gia’s struggle to figure out who the hell she is. And that’s hard! She struggles with who she is, who her friends want her to be, who her parents want her to be, who she expects to be and who she really actually wants to be and those are all incredibly confusing. And it sucks that it takes lying to her friends for her to figure it out but this book is so much about her growing up and I absolutely love that.

Bottom line, I was massively impressed with the first book I read by Kasie. She is able to both write a fun and light romance novel that also touches on genuinely real things that happen to teenagers. Its a hard balance but she does it so well and I absolutely enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Plus now I have a massive crush on Fill-In Boyfriend (you’ll figure out his name in the book!) and really, Kasie, did I truly need another book boyfriend?

Of course, I did.


4.5 out of 5 Stars

The Awakened Has Officially Been Submitted to Swoon Reads!

The Awakened Cover


And I could SUPER use your help.

As most of you know, what is ed I wrote a novel called The Awakened. It is a science fiction romance in the YA category (of course) and it is my baby. Read the synopsis here:

Eighteen year old Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad makes her take to keep her safe in their New York City neighborhood and avoiding her school bully, Ash Matthews, whose latest transgression includes dumping glitter on her during fourth period. College is just around the corner and she’s ready for it. 

That’s when the virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened from their dead state. They’re like zombies, but worse: faster, smarter, working together to get the one thing they crave, human flesh. 

The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every major city overrun with these awakened victims. Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined remains of the country.

I worked hard on it for over nine months and I’ve been working hard for nearly a year to get it published. 

It is NOT an easy road. It’s not. But I’m not giving up. It’s just too important to me to do that. So I’m going another route, in the hopes that I can find a way to get this from my computer and into YOUR hands.

Swoon Reads is an incredible publishing company, and they are a part of Macmillan, which is a DREAM company for me. Legitimately a dream company. And they do this absolutely incredible thing: they allow you to upload your manuscript (as long as it’s romance!) and let the audiences (YOU) choose what books to be published.

I’ve read a TON of their books. I’ve actually just recently gotten a few more in the mail as ARCs. You guys pick amazing books and they publish him and I think its just completely fantastic. Its a wonderful thing and I thought, you know what, why not try that for The Awakened?!

So that’s what I’m doing.

And that’s where YOU come in.

What I need you guys to do…what I would absolutely LOVE and APPRECIATE if you did, is to head to the link below (you can also click the cover of The Awakened above) and go and read it and rate it and help me get this thing published :)

Now if you don’t like it, that’s okay! Its not for everyone, I know that. I hope you don’t give me a bad rating but don’t EVER feel obligated to give me a GOOD rating. I just know that there are a TON of you that have expressed interest in reading the book and now you can in. And if you like it, you can help me out. And that means a LOT to me.

SO if you can, if you’d like to, if you want to, head over to this link:

and read and rate The Awakened. I would so appreciate it!

Thank you guys :)

Happy Reading!

Cover Reveal: “A Girl Undone” by Catherine Linka

I am SO excited to be sharing this unofficial cover reveal. Catherine is a beautiful writer and I absolutely LOVED the first. She has also become such an inspiration and a great friend.

Let’s jump in, treat learn a little about Catherine and her books :)

About Catherine Linka


Catherine Linka has been immersed in books her whole life, most recently as a writer and a bookseller. Her debut novel is A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS, a young adult romantic spec fiction/political thriller. Catherine lives in Southern California where she watches hummingbirds and hawks when she should be working.

You Can Find Her At: 

Website / GoodReads / Twitter / Tumblr

About A Girl Called Fearless


Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to “protect” young women, is taking over the choices they make.Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad “contracts” her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.From Catherine Linka comes this romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real story, A Girl Called Fearless, about fighting for the most important things in life—freedom and love.

Purchase A Girl Called Fearless at your local bookstore or one of these links:

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

The Cover Reveal for A Girl Undone


About A Girl Undone

On the run with deadly government secrets, Avie must decide if she can live up to her name and truly become fearless for the cause or if it’s better to just give in.

The sequel and explosive conclusion to A Girl Called Fearless.

Having survived a violent confrontation with the US government, Avie is not out of danger. Both she and the young man she loves, Yates, have been declared terrorists, and Yates is hospitalized in critical condition, leaving Avie with the perilous task of carrying information that can bring down the Paternalist party, if she can get it into the right hands.

Forced on the run with handsome, enigmatic woodsman Luke, Avie struggles when every turn becomes a choice between keeping the two of them alive or completing their mission. With her face on every news channel and a quarter million dollar reward from the man who still owns her marriage Contract, Avie’s worst fears are about to come true.

Preorder A Girl Undone at your local bookstore or these links: 

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

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NaNoWriMo 2014: My Journey as an Aspiring Novelist!

Before you jump into this blog post, malady I want to warn you that it is VERY, find VERY long. Probably one of the longest posts I’ve ever written. I have a long journey as a writer and its still going! But I had a lot of fun talking about all the different things I wrote in the past, and I share a lot of snippets from some of my earlier novels from high school, so if you’re a fan, sit back, relax and enjoy!

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Hello everyone! We are basically almost to the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2014! How is everyone doing? I’m doing quite well so far, better than I honestly expected and I can’t wait to keep continuing on with my novel. I feel like I just keep bursting with inspiration. I know that a lot of what I have written so far has been fairly sloppy and that a lot of editing will have to be done in the future, but it feels really good to be getting the words down. As my dear friend, Jessica Brody always says “It’s okay to write crap, because crap makes great fertilizer”. We gotta get that fertilizer down.

Today, I’m talking about writing as a career. Now that might be confusing and the title might be confusing but its mostly…how I can to the decision that writing was going to be my life. This is my goal in life, this is what I work at nearly every single day and this is what I sacrifice a lot for.

I never really thought about writing until I was 9 years old. I learned to read when I was very, very young. My parents taught me pretty early, and I became a serious bookworm right off the bat. Books have always been a constant companion for me, and they will remain so for the rest of my life. But when I was 9, that was the first time I realized that writing was something that I could do, and something that I could do well.

We had this program called “Writer’s Workshop” when I was in elementary school. It was to encourage kids to constantly be writing and to focus on creativity. I really wish they still did it because it was one of my favorite parts about school. We usually had to write a short story once month. You know, a back to school story for September, a Halloween story for October, a Thanksgiving story for November and so on. We had an assignment to write a winter story for December and for some reason, who knows, I didn’t do it. Maybe I was lazy. Maybe I thought listening to my Hanson CD on repeat was a better use of my time. Who knows?

Anyway, because I didn’t do this assignment, I was forced to skip out on the Christmas party that the class was having for the day before the two week holidays started and forced to finish the assignment. I think my teacher expected me to be stuck in my desk, writing all day, because when I produced a story about thirty minutes later, she had this deep look of disbelief on her face. Surely, this was done quickly and, let’s face it, probably terribly, due to the fact that I was itching to join the rest of my classmates in the fun.

Her eyes grew even wider as she read the story, and she asked me if I made the story up on my own. I nodded, feeling confused, not really sure if I was in trouble or not. She read it again, her eyes skimming the page. She told me good job and then let me go to the party. She then proceeded to disappear for awhile, ducking into the classrooms of the other teachers in our block building.

Later, I found out, she had gone around to show other teachers what I had written because it had been impressive, not just because I was only nine years old but also because I’d managed to do so in only thirty minutes. My teacher called my parents and it suddenly became this important thing, this potential that I had. I could write. I had a talent for writing. As someone who loved books as much as I did, this meant a lot to me.

I didn’t really think anything of being an actual writer until much much later. I continued to sort of write things in school. Whenever we had to write a paper from the point of a view of a child during the Boston Tea Party or something like that, I always did a really good job. I had creativity in those sorts of things that always got me attention. So I started writing. I started thinking…maybe this is something I could actually do.

My first stories were terrible. Oh god. I don’t have a lot of them anymore because I backed them up on a floppy disc (!!) and who the hell knows where that disappeared to, and well, who uses floppy discs anymore? But they were just awful. I wrote a lot about a pair of twins named Bianca and Bonnie (oh god those names). I had an unhealthy obsession with twins as a child and I always thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to have a twin. It usually involved blatant ripping off of the Sweet Valley High series and the Baby-Sitters Club series, which were two major staples in my reading history. It mostly involved a shy girl named Bonnie, who had a crush on a boy named Michael who totally loved her back but kept getting distracted by her dashing twin sister, Bianca. Oh and did I mention that Bianca and Bonnie’s mother was getting married to Michael’s dad? Oh yeah, that was totally the greatness that was coming out of my brain back then.

I wrote my first “novel” when I was about 14. It was called “Cast a Spell“, and probably was roughly about 20K words. It was very short, and very, very bad. I was a super cool emo kid at the time and thought I was punk (I so totally was not) and so I made my main character like that. She wore ripped The Cure shirts and had pink hair and was a witch, who was massively in love with her best friend, Jordan, which was also the name of the boy that I had a massive crush later in high school…that’s weird. It was terrible. Just…god, I can’t even think about it without cringing.

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Then I wrote another novel about a girl who played football in high school and was…oh you guessed it…in love with her best friend, who also played football. I had high hopes for that then because it was so unique to me but it was also incredibly incredibly short and just terrible. Its one of those ideas that will always sit in the back of my mind but it was just plain awful. I was maybe about 16 or 17 when I wrote that one. I just found it. It was called “Stuck at the Fifty-Yard Line and Going Nowhere Fast“. Its SO terrible but this is important. I’ve been wanting to write a novel centered around a girl, sports and a boy that she loves. Keep that in mind as you continue in my story…

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The next thing I wrote was a novel called “A Simple Line of Chords“. It was a cheesy romance, that was also written just terribly. It was about a girl named Artemis (because, you know, I was majorly obsessed with Greek gods) who lived with her mother who was not really there. She didn’t trust people, she didn’t love, and she used boys. Until she met Elsren (which is a name I totally stole from Tamora Pierce’s Daughter of the Lioness series), who was a good guy who just couldn’t help but fall in love with the troubled Artemis. He was also in a band that did Something Corporate covers. Its terrible. In fact, I managed to track down my old profile and I found it. Oh god. Here is the opening paragraph to that terrible novel.

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I never stopped writing though. They say you have to get these terrible stories out in order to write really good stories. I gave up on novels for a bit. I started writing short stories. I actually won two first place awards at the Orange County Fair for short story writing, for stories entitled The Petals of a Rose and I honestly can’t remember the other title. I wrote stories called Clearwaters and a few others. As I’m writing this, I’m debating putting the link to my storywrite so you can read this terrible terrible terrible writing that I did when I was about sixteen years old. Rereading this stuff also made me realize how many stories I wrote about Cassie (my alias when I was 16) and various boys that I had crushes on realizing that they were madly in love her. Wow. I was really bad…

I also wrote a series of short stories about fairies, my own sort of happy versions of fairies. Looking back on them, it was my first attempt to write fantasy. I was really getting into fantasy in high school, whereas everything I’d read before (besides Harry Potter, Narnia and Tolkien) was contemporary. I thought fairies were kind of fun, and I didn’t know much about the folklore that said fairies weren’t fun in the slightest. You can read the first of that short series right here. Please be warned…it’s SO bad.

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The first novel I really felt good about though was one when I was about 17 years old called, The Code Name Diaries. It was about a girl who witnessed a crime and had to go into the Witness Protection Program to protect herself from the family that wanted to hunt her down for putting one of their own in jail. It’s also really short and I don’t think its written very well but its one that I’ve always kept in the back of my mind, as something that I could definitely write in the future, now that I write better, know what word count is, etc. But I was fond of this story. It was the first one that I really felt came from my own head. A lot of what I had written before was still copying authors that I admired at the time (and still do) like Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, etc. This felt new and unique to myself. Oh and the main character falls in love with the police officer that saved her life. Because, you know, that’s awesome.

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Then I wrote what I think is my first real novel. I still think I’ve written better since then but Another Chance for Summer was my first real novel. I wrote a complete novel, and even self-published it on Amazon (though I’ve since removed it because it needs SERIOUS editing). Its about a girl named Summer who has grown up in the shadows of her two sisters and the fact that she was bullied her entire life for being fat. A new boy moves to town named Charlie and they instantly become friends, Summer’s first real friend. Its a contemporary romance that follows their friendship as it turns into something more and even though I know I’ve gotten better and I know the novel could be better, I’m really proud of it.

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Then I wrote a novel called A Little Less than Famous. This novel followed the story of McKinley, who runs into Hollywood superstar, Jake Kennedy, one day at Disneyland and completely captures his attention. The thing about McKinley is that she has abandonment and trust issues, and she doesn’t fall in love, ever. But there’s something about Jake and this brand new world that comes with dating him that makes her break all her rules. Its sort of new-adult-y and I self-published this one in January of 2013 before removing it about six months ago. Its another one that I’m quite proud of but I really think needs a LOT of editing and revamping.

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But then I wrote the big one. The one that most of you guys know about: The Awakened. The Awakened is my first fledged novel that I feel 100% proud of. This is the first novel that I wrote and thought…this is it. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want nothing more to be a published author and The Awakened is going to do that for me. I started it in October of 2013, and wrote a huge chunk of it for NaNoWriMo 2013. Its about a girl named Zoey who is living in New York City when a deadly virus hits and wipes a third of the country’s population. If that weren’t scary enough, the bodies of the virus victims disappear from morgues and hospitals all over and suddenly reappeared, awakened from their dead state. They’re like zombies but worse: smarter, faster, working together in groups to get the one they crave: human flesh. The government goes for the worst possible response, to bomb every major city in the country in order to eliminate the problem.

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When I finished writing The Awakened, I had already made my decision: this is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to be an author. I want to be traditionally published (though if that doesn’t work out, I’ll explore indie and self publishing). I decided that in order to make this happen, in order to put 100% into this goal, I had to make sacrifices. I quit school, and I work part time jobs, all in order to put all of my effort into writing, promoting, querying. This novel is…my baby, the one that I honestly think will do it for me. I’ve been querying for an agent for The Awakened for about two and a half months now and I’ve been rejected. But this is the novel that brought me to my writing career. This is the novel that basically made me the writer I am right this second.

Now I’m in my second year of NaNoWriMo, working on my untitled novel about Evie and Austin. Evie lives in a baseball obsessed town and has grown up loving the world of baseball and the local college team until something changes mind, three years in the past. Now she does everything she can to avoid baseball (which is hard in her town), but she can’t seem to avoid  Austin, who is the new second basemen on the team. I’ve always wanted to write a novel about a sport and two people falling in love around that, especially baseball. I think its sort of the idea that I had years ago with that football “novel”, but I have a lot of faith that it’ll be MUCH better than that.

And with that, I give you the VERY first sneak peek of my unfinished, completely unedited, totally rough draft number of Untitled:

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So there you have it. My writing journey. From the time I was 9 and wrote a short story for a school assignment to the most recent thing I’m working on. I mean, sure, there are some things in between that I’ve left out and I’m not ready at all to share with you guys the absolutely horrible Draco/Harry fan fiction that I wrote back in high school, but you get the general gist of what my journey as a writer was and still is!

Now I gotta get out of here now because there’s a novel calling out my name and I have to get some word count done!

Happy Writing everyone!

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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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


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 


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 


Books: You know

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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