“You got a taste of sweet divine” Pt. 3

Hey everybody,

Hope you’re doing well. Last week’s post was really long, so thanks for sticking with me. I feel like this one may be just as long, so fair warning. We’re gonna wrap up my list of top 15 read series this week. I’m excited about it, here we go!

Here is my top 5 read book series!

Number 5: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; 7 books

harry-potter-books
The Harry Potter series.

Those who know me are probably wondering why this isn’t higher on the list. I mean, this book series changed my life. It changed a lot of peoples’ lives. It’s just amazing and was the first time I can remember that I committed to reading a series that was this long. (How the times have changed.) Now it’s normally an accident, I’ll pick something up, read it, love it, Goodreads it, and find out there’s like five books in the series. Three of them don’t have a release date yet, and the other two had two years in between publication. And so begins the torture. #booknerdproblems.

Back to Harry Potter, if you haven’t read this series, we can’t be friends anymore. For reals, what have you been doing with your life? There are no excuses. I will admit that as I get older the first three get difficult to get through, but I just marathon those in about a day, and then move on.

The series follows a young orphan boy named Harry who lives with his abusive aunt, uncle, and cousin. On his eleventh birthday he discovers that he’s a wizard and his parent’s were murdered by the darkest wizard of the time. Harry goes on to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and makes friends, has adventures, and starts and ends a war.

There’s so much more that goes on in this series, including political intrigue, murder, impersonations and, I mean there’s mermaids, how can you go wrong with mermaids?

Just read the book series and then we can talk about it. Get on my level muggles!

Number 4: The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare; 6 books

mortal_instruments_series
The Mortal Instruments series.

Cassandra Clare has a problem. She can’t seem to stop writing about Shadowhunters, and I don’t really want her to stop. She’s obliging and is currently writing her third series that is set in the Shadowhunter’s universe. The Mortal Instruments is the first to be featured on this list as well as the first one she wrote.

This series follows Clary Fray, a girl who thinks she’s normal, until one evening she witnesses a murder. Except there’s no body and the perpetrators are invisible to everyone but Clary. What follows is her introduction to this underworld that, as a mundane, we are unable to see.

Throughout the series, Clary is inducted into this “club” of Shadowhunters and discovers more about her past and her dead father. She also learns that appearances can be deceiving and you shouldn’t always trust your eyes.

There is a host of secondary characters and b story lines that weave throughout the series. It was originally supposed to only be a trilogy, so near the middle there are a few bumps in the road as far as story goes. Cassandra has also been accused of drawing out plot lines and adding irrelevant details, but she is great at pleasing her audience.

City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final book that wraps up the series. It is a behemoth of a book, standing at over 700 pages. I read it in a week and loved every second of it. It perfectly sets up the following series while wrapping up the previous one. I’m happy to say that it ends as well as it began.

Number 3: The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare; 3 books

infernal-devices
The Infernal Devices series.

See what I mean about having a problem? On top of the nine books mentioned so far, Cassandra Clare has another three that delve deeper into this universe and another one on the way. The woman’s a machine.

Infernal Devices is set in 1878 and is considered a prequel to the Mortal Instruments. Honestly, you should read these in the following order. Mortal Instruments books 1-3, Infernal Devices series, and finish up with Mortal Instruments books 4-6. Best way to do it without spoiling yourselves. There are little plot nuggets throughout both series that tie both together in some way, it makes for an interesting reading experience.

In Infernal Devices we learn more about the history of Shadowhunters and their relationship with Downworlders (Warlocks, Werewolves, Vampires etc.).

We learn about the world from Tessa’s point of view. At the beginning of the series, she is simply a girl looking for her lost brother. Throughout the series she grows and changes as she finds love, heartbreak, and discovers her birthright and the truth about her conception.

As is popular in YA (Young Adult) fiction, there is a love triangle. In Infernal Devices it is between Tessa, Jem, and Will. Two Shadowhunters that Tessa meets while searching for her brother. The great thing about this love triangle, and what makes it different, is that a) it’s set in 1878 so we get to witness courtship, and b) both suitors believe that the other is equally right for Tessa. There’s a great twist at the end of the series that will either shatter your heart or make you hope for the future.

It’s a great historical fiction read, has an amazing cast of characters, and the hints that are dropped and picked up throughout both series’ just makes it unlike anything you’ve read before.

Number 2: The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer;  4.5 books

TLC-books1
The Lunar Chronicles series.

I can’t rave about this series enough. It is so good. The world building is amazing, the use of characters is amazing, and they use fairy tales. Throw in a cyborg Cinderella, moon sickness, and a villain who tried to murder a baby and you’ve got me hook, line, and sinker.

The reason I say there are four and a half books in this series is because Fairest is not a full length novel. It’s more of a novella. It gives us Queen Levana’s (our villain) backstory. In fact, each book is written from a different point of view and the books are titled accordingly. As the series goes on, and we are introduced to more characters we do get multiple points of view in a book.

The overarching theme, or story, of the series is protecting New Beijing and the world from the Lunar’s and Queen Levana. Our heroes also need to find the lost princess Selene who is the only person who could rightfully claim the throne from Queen Levana.

I haven’t finished the series yet, as you know, because Winter came out in November (So excited!!! I’m saving it for December) so it will be interesting to see how Melissa wraps up this series.

Some good news is that we have even more Lunar Chronicles to look forward to because a bind up of short stories is set to be released in 2016. Stars Above features never before released shorts that cover even more fairy tales and teach us more about the backstory leading up to the events in the book.

And finally…

Number 1: The Hollows series by Kim Harrison; 13 books

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The Hollows is an interesting series. Not only is it the longest one on this list with 13 books,(which is funny, seeing as I said the 20+ ones are the ones I tend to dislike. This one snuck in before I made the switch) but it’s also urban fantasy that re-writes history. In the books instead of putting money into the space program in the 60s the American government put it into genetic modification.

The resulting virus was accidentally released and bonded with tomatoes. This killed the vast majority of the human population and also lead to magical and supernatural species like witches, werewolves, and vampires to come out of hiding because they were immune to the virus. This period is referred to as ‘The Turn’ in the books. The series takes place about 40 years later in Cincinnatti. It follows Rachel Morgan, a witch who is a detective/bounty hunter who works with the mundane police (FIB) on supernatural cases.

As the series progresses, we learn more about demons and their connection to the world and how Rachel fits into that. Another main focus of the books is Rachel’s relationships with her partners, a living vampire and a pixy, Jenks and Ivy. They add great colour to the series and my life’s dream is to find a way to nonchalantly work one of Jenks’ insults into a conversation.

I like the series because of the world, the character development, and the story line. It’s a fresh look at urban fantasy that combines history and supernatural elements. A great read that can easily grow with the reader.

That’s all for me folks, thanks for sticking with me through these long posts. I hope you enjoyed.

Please read responsibly.

Goodreads Links:

Harry Potter

Mortal Instruments

Infernal Devices

Lunar Chronicles

The Hollows

“You got a taste of sweet divine” Pt. 2

AUTHOR’S NOTE: WordPress updated while I was halfway through this blog post and changed EVERYTHING that has to do with linking to Goodreads etc. so I will be posting all the links at the end of the posts. Please bear with me while I figure this out/wait for a new update. Thanks! Stephanie

Welcome back guys, I hope you’ve been reading up a storm.

I am currently in a reading slump thanks to school, so if you’re not doing it for yourselves, please do it for me. The TBR stack next to my bed is getting out of control. I’m hoping to put a really big dent in it come December.

Without further ado, here is the second installment of my 15 favorite read series (That’s read pronounced like red, not reed). Maybe you’ll find something you want to pick up. Enjoy!

(It’s a long one, so get comfy!)

Number 10: The Rebel Belle series by Rachel Hawkins; 3 books

The Rebel Belle series.

This series is the first unfinished series on this list. The third and final installment, Lady Renegades, is scheduled for release on April 12, 2016. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

So far this series has been a surprise. Don’t let the pastel colours fool you, it’s a kick ass book. It’s a great mix of femininity and badassery. It isn’t afraid to say that you can like pink and girly stuff, and still have a super cool knife collection and be a black belt in karate.

The basic premise is your typical Southern belle, Harper Price, who, I guess acquires is a good word, acquires powers unexpectedly at a school dance and becomes a Paladin. In typical YA (Young Adult) fashion Harper is charged with protecting her arch nemesis, David Stark, who is revealed to be an Oracle.

It’s the cutest thing ever, they fight using winning spelling bee words from grade school. Like, WHO DOES THAT??? People that are secretly in love with each other and meant to be, that’s who! (Sorry my inner 13 year old comes out when I get excited. Be glad this isn’t a video, the squeeing would have probably made you deaf. The words are egregious and felicitations BTW, just in case you were wondering)

The series follows Harper and David as they adjust to life as protector and protectee all while being in a relationship. David doesn’t exactly take well to his girlfriend being the one to physically protect him, which plays a major role in the series. There’s also a shadowy ancient group that is after David and want to use him to take over the world, because duh.

In the final book everything will come to a head as David has run away to protect everybody, because that always ends well, and Harper’s power’s are on the fritz. I can’t wait to see how Rachel Hawkins wraps up this series.

Number 9: The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop; 9 books

Bishop4
The Black Jewels series

This series is great. It’s a dark, rich, fantasy world that is beautifully crafted. The world building is phenomenal. Anne Bishop created an entire caste system based on dark power and magic that is inherent in the blood. This series could be a whole series of blog posts all on their own so I’m just going to talk very bare bones.

The premise of this series is a matriarchal society that is divided by power levels. There are landens, people who do not have access to the Darkness, and the Blood. They are the ruling class, but they are further broken down into other castes and then by the levels of the darkness they have access too. These levels are represented by Jewels that the Blood use to store their reserves of power.

The original trilogy is about Jaenelle, a girl destined to fulfill a prophecy and become Witch, the most powerful Queen that walks the earth. She is said to cleanse the Blood of all those that threaten it.

As I mentioned before, this is a dark fantasy series. It’s definitely meant for an adult audience. There is mention of sex, rape, slavery, and rampant abuse between the castes.

We get to further explore the world in the other six books. These books are groups of short stories and we get background on some minor characters. There are also two books that follow a different Queen in the aftermath of what Jaenelle did at the end of the original series.

I can’t really tell you much more without either being VERY long winded or giving too much away. So, I’m going to end it here and STRONGLY recommend that you at least look this one up.

Number 8: The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas; 7 books

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The Throne of Glass series.

This is a series that recently came into my life. After Twilight, I was a little gun shy to pick up something that was being so widely read, but I was seeing this book everywhere and decided to pick it up. I’m so glad I did!

I’m also kicking myself because it is the other series that is unfinished on this list. After marathoning the first two, I was devastated/pumped to learn that the series would be six books long and there would be a bind up of short prequel novellas to round out the universe. The fourth book in the saga, Queen of Shadows, came out back in September. I’m on Tumblr lock down to avoid spoilers on this one. I have high hopes for it.

The premise of the series is a female assassin who, initially, is “rescued” from a labor camp to compete in a tournament to become the King’s personal assassin. Celaena, our main character, was one of the best assassins in the kingdom before she got reckless. She was caught and sentenced to work out her days in the salt mines. Needless to say, she isn’t exactly a fan of the King.

Throughout the series we learn more about Celaena‘s backstory and what led to her being an assassin. We are also introduced to lot’s of interesting side characters as we learn more about the twisted world these people live in.

The series is just starting to kick in so there is still plenty of ground to cover. We learn more about the Fae and also the fallen kingdoms. There is also a dark presence that may be helping the King hold his throne. Cannot wait to read the rest of these and then marathon them again and again.

Number 7: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor; 3 books

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

Sometimes I’m a little shallow and I break the first rule of book club: don’t judge a book by it’s cover. But these covers we’re so pretty! I had to pick them up. I didn’t really give the story much of a thought, but it is really cool and right up my alley.

It’s a mysterious tale about an art student from Prague who works for a devil and collects teeth for him. All kinds of teeth, human teeth, animal teeth, fish teeth, you name it, Karou has dealt in it. When charred handprints start showing up on the entrances that Karou uses to get to Brimstone, the devil I mentioned earlier, and cutting her off from him that is when the story really starts to rev up.

Through Karou’s eyes we are thrust into an ancient war between chimera and seraph’s that went underground a long time ago, with the chimera on the run from their seraph oppressors.

Throughout the series we learn more about Karou, her mysterious past, and her role in the war. There is also a forbidden love story between a chimera and a seraph that may or may not have started the bloodiest part of the war.

The great thing about this series is the world building. Laini Taylor does a great job of creating these fantastic creatures and worlds but still grounds them with characters that have real, stupid, human problems. It’s a nice counterbalance to the fantastic world and events that are going on around them.

Number 6: The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins; 3 books

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The Hunger Games series

This could have easily been ranked higher. It’s right up there with Harry Potter and Twilight (we’ll talk about that at a later time… maybe) as far as phenomenon’s go. The movie’s are fantastic and do such a good job of ACTUALLY FOLLOWING THE PLOT OF THE BOOK!!!!!! (I have a lot of feelings on that, I’m sorry. I’ll reign it in…today.)

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, this series is set in a dystopian America that has been separated into districts. Every district is forced to select a boy and a girl to compete in the hunger games each year. The hunger games is a fight to the death that is broadcast across the districts as a way of demoralizing them and making sure that they stay compliant to the capital. How is this a YA book you ask?

It’s a YA book because of the love triangle. Although, I must say, this is an unintentional one at best. The movie’s play it up a lot more than the books do. Ahh Hollywood.

Back to the book, we meet our heroine, Katniss Everdeen as she prepares for reaping day. The day where all the children who are eligible for the hunger games get their name put in a bowl and they choose the tributes.

In an attempt to save her sister, Prim, who was chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She enters the arena with the baker’s son, Peeta, and proceeds to be the first ever double champion in history. The act of “rebellion” sets off a chain of events that leads to uprisings and war in the districts.

This book is great because it asks great questions about the media and our desensitization to violence and war. There are also some great subplots about PTSD, living with disabilities, and basic human decency and what we are willing to do to one another to survive. A great read for all ages that can spark some interesting conversations if handled properly.

That’s all for me this week. Thanks for putting up with this incredibly long post and the technical issues. You’ll find all the links to the Goodreads pages below.

Have a great week, and as always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

Goodreads links

Rebel Belle

Black Jewels

Throne of Glass

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Hunger Games

 

“You got a taste of sweet divine” Pt. 1

Hey guys,

So if you haven’t already guessed, I read a lot (I know! Shocker right?). We’ve already talked about stanalone books that I enjoyed, but a much bigger and more frustrating group of books I’ve read are series.

Series can have anywhere from 2 to 20+ books in them. The 20+ ones are usually my least favorites just because it can sometimes be really hard to stay interested when there are two year periods between release dates. I was also the type who would re-read the entire series leading up to a new release, as I get older that just becomes less and less possible so I have definitely become more of a marathoner. I’ll wait until the entire series is out and complete before reading them. It makes my reading experience much more enjoyable.

This list is a wee bit longer than my last one so thank you in advance for bearing with me.

Here we go. I did actually try to keep this in some semblance  of an order so their ranking matters this time around.

15 FAVORITE READ SERIES

(The grammar in that title is rough I know, sorry!)

Number 15: The Minds series by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman; 4 books

http://www.goodreads.com/series/50706-minds
Of Two Minds from the Minds series.
Click to go to Goodreads.

This series was a childhood favorite of mine. I don’t own any of them and I got them all out of the library. Because of this, and the lack of internet, I read them in the craziest order. I’m pretty sure at one point I went back and read them all in the proper order, as you should.

The Minds series is made up of four books. It’s a middle grade story so they are on the short side and probably a little simple in comparison to some of the other books on this list. It has a great world though, where imagination and the Balance are at work. Our main characters each have powers (shared by everyone in their countries) and they are betrothed at the beginning of the series, so of course they are complete opposites who eventually fall for each other.

Winnipeg even has a cameo!! Which was so awesome to an 11 year old. In a twist, our main characters are transported to the real world and forced to figure out how to get home without their powers. There’s also a great breaking of the fourth wall type scenario where they discover that they are characters in a book series.

Highly recommend for the budding fantasy reader or someone who is looking to recapture that youthful innocence they once had.

Number 14: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares; 5 books

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Click to go to Goodreads.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.
Click to go to Goodreads.

Ah, the Sisterhood books. What little girl didn’t want friends like these?

The books tell the story of the Septembers. Their mother’s met at a pre-natal yoga class and they were all born in September. Their mom’s didn’t really stay friends after that, but the girls, Tibby, Bridget, Carmen, and Lena stay best friends into their teens. They find a pair of jeans that magically fits all of them and they use them to stay connected during their first summer apart.

In the subsequent books they spend more and more time apart and they continue to grow up. The pants are a link to each other that they use to stay connected throughout the series.

Ann Brashares released a fifth book in the series in 2011, five years after what we thought was the end of the series. Personally, it kind of ruined the series for me. The premise is that the Septembers have continued to grow up and apart over the years and the pants are no longer in the picture. There is also a tragedy that all the girls react to differently. It was well written, but I didn’t really appreciate it. It does give you a good sense of what life is like to a point.

Number 13: The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld; 3/4 books

The Uglies series. Click to go to Goodreads.
The Uglies series.
Click to go to Goodreads.

This series has a great premise. It’s set in a dystopian society where everybody is separated by age, and also by beauty.

At 16, everybody undergoes an operation to be turned from an Ugly into a Pretty. There are segregated parts of town where the Littles, the Uglies awaiting the operation, and the Olds live. Prettytown is where you move after you receive your operation to live among all the other Pretties and you pretty much just party all the time.

Our main character, Tally, cannot wait to turn 16 and receive her operation. She’s one of the last Uglies her age and is starting to feel lonely. She meets Shay, another Ugly, who is soon to turn 16 and they become friends. She’s not sure she wants to be a Pretty at all and she questions why it’s mandatory to do so. This relationship carries the whole series and leads us into the dark underbelly of what being Pretty actually means.

This series asks some great questions about beauty and society. It’s a great look at the pressure that everyone is under to conform to a cultural norm. It’s a great fast paced read that can be re-visited at anytime.

The fourth book, Extras, is actually more of a companion novel and follows a new set of characters from Japan. I don’t really consider it a part of the series. It’s more of a standalone or a continuation, but still worth a read.

Number 12: The Princess series by Jim C. Hines; 4 books

Princess Series. Click to go to Goodreads.
Princess Series.
Click to go to Goodreads.

Princess series

I’ve already talked about and introduced you to this series when I discussed the first book, The Stepsister Scheme. The other books in the series expand on the characters that we were introduced to in the first book and we get to meet new fairy tale characters. We get to meet the Little Mermaid or in this world, the undine, and Little Red Riding Hood. All of these characters are based of of their darker Brother’s Grimm origins. Or, in the undine’s case, Hans Christian Anderson.

Because of this, the story lines aren’t all lollipops and candy canes. For example, Little Red Riding Hood is a notorious assassin and the Little Mermaid has gone insane and has murdered her sisters. In the middle of it all we learn more about Snow, Danielle, and Talia. There is also faerie meddling that takes place, and just enough death to keep it interesting and believable.

Action packed fairy tale re-tellings that put a new spin on classic characters. 10/10 would read again.

Number 11: The Looking Glass Wars series by Frank Beddor; 3 books

Looking Glass Wars series. Click to go to Goodreads.
Looking Glass Wars series.
Click to go to Goodreads.

Last but not least this week, we have The Looking Glass Wars series by Frank Beddor. This is a re-imagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In the books, Alyss (notice the spelling?) is the Princess of Wonderland who, after her aunt Redd stages a coup, is whisked away to our world via puddle transport by her trusty bodyguard Hatter Madigan in a bid to save her life. (I want to give away soooo much but it’s way better if you read it for yourself, trust me.)

The premise of the books is that Wonderland is the source of imagination for all other world’s, including our own, and that the Alice in Wonderland books are a bastardization of the “true story” of what actually happened. All the characters we know from the Lewis Carroll books are present but turned on their heads. For example, Bibwit Harte is Alyss’ albino tutor and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are General Doppelganger, or Generals Doppel and Ganger, depending on the situation. The world building is just fantastic.

Throughout the series we follow Alyss and she finds her way back to Wonderland so she can take her rightful place as the ruler of the Queendom. There’s war, romance, and murder. All the ingredients that make for a great saga. Alyss also has to learn to trust herself and her abilities and it’s a great coming of age story that everyone can enjoy.

That’s the first part of my list. I hope you enjoyed. Please join me next week for Part 2 where I talk about my Top 10 – 6. There’s some good stuff coming guys, like angels, demons and Paladin’s, oh my!!

As always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

“Like the stars to the night, And daytime is to light…”

Stephenie Meyer, you may know her as the author of the seminal classic Twilight. What you may not know, is that she wrote another book, and it’s good.

It didn’t sell as well as Twilight did and the movie was a blink and you’ll miss it affair. Don’t even get me started on book to movie adaptations. That is a topic for another blog post (keep your eyes peeled for that one) all you need to know about me is, the book is always better.

But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Today we are talking about The Host, Stephenie Meyer’s sci-fi romance novel.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer – Published May 6, 2008; 620 Pages.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Click to go to Goodreads.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer.
Click to go to Goodreads.

The Host is about the aftermath of an alien invasion. When the story starts the “Souls”, a parasitic alien race that are implanted into human hosts, are running the planet and tracking down the few rogue humans that are still managing to resist.

Melanie is one of those rogue humans who was recently caught and is about to be implanted. She is implanted with a Soul named Wanderer. In, what appears to be a rare twist, Melanie does not fade away from Wanderer’s consciousness. She fights, and she fights hard.

Over the course of the story Melanie and Wanderer get closer. Melanie shares memories of her life before Wanderer and it leads to them running away from the idyllic society that the Souls have set up and fleeing to try and find Melanie’s brother Jaime and her boyfriend Jared who, Melanie hopes, have found refuge with her Uncle Jeb. The bulk of the story is spent with Melanie and Wanderer trying to fit in with her Uncle Jeb and the other humans.

It’s definitely worth checking out and is just the right kind of different from Twilight that everybody can enjoy it.

Stephenie Meyer is a real tease when it comes to her writing. Around the time that the movie came out it was announced that Stephenie was planning on making this into a trilogy. The ending of this book is really open ended and it would have lent itself so well to a sequel. Like Midnight Sun though, it hasn’t happened yet. I have pretty much given up hope of ever reading the sequels to this book. It’s a real shame because all the characters are so likable and the struggle, though fantastical, is grounded in the human characters and is something we can all relate too.

One problem Stephenie has is that she doesn’t like killing her characters. Something that would definitely have to happen in an invasion novel. As a reader it really pisses me off that she won’t even try. Sadly it is a necessary thing that has to happen. I get fairly attached to characters, I don’t think anybody was the same after Dobby died in Harry Potter (Spoilers??? Sorry guys, but it’s been 9 years come on!) but it advanced the plot and put the war into a perspective we could understand.

Anyway, that is my rant about Stephenie Meyer and also a little bit of a plea to please write these sequels!!! I don’t think I will ever really 100% give up on them. I would love to learn more about Wanderer, Melanie and the world they inhabit.

Let me know down in the comments what book you wish had a sequel and as always, please read responsibly.

Stephanie

P.S.: She has time to write a gender swapped Twilight!! But she can’t be bothered to write a sequel to The Host? What is this!? Cut the shenanigans Meyer!