Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Includes: The Hobbit, The Fellowship of The Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Includes: The Hobbit, The Fellowship of The Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
The first “big book” I read when I was little kid was Narnia, by C. S. Lewis. My copy had all the stories together, so to my tiny seven-year-old self it looked enormous. I remember thinking that it was probably the biggest book to ever be written…little did I know that although it wouldn´t be the longest story I´d ever read, it did play a huge part in transforming me into the bookworm you all know and love (hypothetically, since, you know, we haven´t really met, and although I hope you guys have fond feelings while scrolling through my blog, I doubt you actually love…you know what? I´ll just shut up).
Aaaaaanyway… as Buffy the Vampire Slayer is to all TV series, Narnia is a model of what fantasy books should look like. As a result of its wonders, I have a love for quirky fauns (doesn´t hurt that James McAvoy portrays Mr. Tumnus in the first movie), talking beavers, tough little girls and yes…Turkish Delight. Also, ever since I first read it, I´ve always wanted to take up swordfighting (even if I would probably end up cutting off my own foot or whatever).
The story is just so… I don’t know, innocent? Magical? Wonderful? All of the above, really. Everything is possible in this book, no matter what age or gender you are. You could be a ninety-year-old lady with a missing eye and you´d still be able to run around talking to magical trees. Lucy and Poly, two of the girls in the book, were wonderful characters in my seven-year-old mind, since I felt like if they could go in all of those adventures, so could I.
The characters are wonderful, the story is magical (even if it got sort of creepy sometimes…I mean, who wouldn´t be even a little bit freaked my the sacrifice of a really nice, talking lion? Or by a nasty witch who practices black magic on children?) and the plot strives to show people that amidst all the bad stuff, there is a lot of good.
But don’t get me started on the fact that most people have completely misguided ideas of what Narnia is really about, all because of the movies. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was the best one of the lot since it managed to capture the magical feeling that came with the story, but the next two movies went downhill. Prince Caspian wasn´t horrible, but dude, the last one was just plain weird (not the good weird, though). And so much of the real story is missing from the films…it´s kinda sad. Just ask anyone who´s never read the book but has watched the movie to answer the following questions: Who is Digory? And what did he do?
Honestly, this world deserved so much more. It´s a classic, and it´ll always hold a special place in my bookshelf (right next to Harry Potter and my bajillion copies of Lord of The Rings). Trust me, though, you´re never too old to delve into Narnia.
Morgan Matson is the Queen of Contemporary.
I´ve never been a fan of contemporary books; I´ve always leaned towards stuff with magic and other impossible things, but man, I could not set any of Morgan´s books down. In one week, I read Amy and Roger´s Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, Since You´ve Been Gone and would´ve kept going, but I still had yet to get my grabby little paws around The Unexpected Everything (but I´ll buy it sometime soon *wallet screams in the distance*).
The books are just so DARN CUTE. I just wanted to reach into the pages, squeeze all the characters, and tell them that everything would be okay. In an unworthy summarize, the books usually consist of a girl, a boy, a summer and a routine-shattering adventure. These people, albeit fictional, seemed so, so real. Their quirks, mannerisms, flaws, personalities, appearances… it was like I was reading about real people. Goodbye, idealistic completely-perfect love interests. Goodbye, insta-love. Goodbye insta-attraction. Goodbye, insta-anything. The concept of love at first sight was out the window and I was free to let out a deep sigh of relief. Realistically developed characters and relationships FTW.
Honestly, every time I finished one of her stories, I had a hard time turning the last page. I just wanted to keep these characters alive and I really, really wanted to read about what was going to happen next. BUT, Morgan kinda solved that problem, because, to my complete surprise, characters from all three books keep popping up in each other´s stories. There I was, reading about a completely normal bagel run, when suddenly POP! There´s Amy waiting in line with her boyfriend! But waaaait…this isn´t even their story. Ahh, needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Also, I am a total sucker for road trips and adventurous to-do lists. It seems like the stories that Morgan chose to write have the perfect amount of opportunities to bring an extra somethin´ somethin´ to the plot, and she didn´t just take those opportunities, oh no, she freaking kidnapped them. The stories are just so INTERESTING. We get to read about a smorgasbord of characters and heart-pumping, laughter-inducing, shock-tastic situations. I had so much fun reading these books.
But, good God, woman! What´s with the utterly heart breaking stories? I cried so much during Second Chance Summer that I´m almost positive I permanently damaged my tear ducts. Plus, it really didn´t help that for some odd reason I kept imagining Gregory Peck as Taylor´s dad (looking like he did as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird). It´s just…ugh! Stop making me cry!
I love it.
Author: Rick Riordan
I think I´ve learned more about Greek mythology with Rick Riordan´s books than I did the several times I studied it throughout Middle and High School. My love for this culture also started that faithful summer after third grade…wait, third grade? Why, yes, fellow bookworm. Third grade! These books are for all ages, from kids to grownups all around the world. And even if it can be read by children, there is nothing childish about it: it´s just as intricate and well developed as any YA book.
Rick´s trademark is his unmistakable humor. It´s not just that the main characters are usually witty and adorably ridiculous, but it´s also how half of what happens is completely unexpected. The contrast between normal and oh-my-gods-what-the-heck is just perfect. For example, you´ll be reading about two teens walking across a crowded bus stop, when suddenly, oops, one of them loses their pants, and oh look, he is half goat. I love it. Percy Jackson and The Olympians is honestly one of the only series that can make me actually laugh aloud. And I´m not saying like snickering or giggling, but pure, I´m-gonna-pee-my-pants laughter (really not good for sneaky reading during math class).
Also, it´s like, impossible not to fall in love with Riordan´s characters. Even the villains. They´re all unique, detailed and full of quirks and mannerisms. It doesn´t matter if they eat the occasional soda can or happen to share their sole eye with two other old ladies, they all feel very much like real human beings. And so far, I haven´t met one single person who has not fallen for Percy and the fact that it´s an absolute miracle that he´s even alive. Like, really. For about 80% of the books, Percy is just really confused and winging it, and in the other 20% he´s either showing off his son-of-Poseidon skills or being yelled at by Annabeth for something stupid he did. And yeah, Annabeth is my ultimate role model, while Grover is a precious (sort of furry) cinnamon bun that must be protected at all costs. I love them allllllllll.
But it´s not all fun and games, oh no. Rick Riordan pretends to be this kind and smiling author, when in reality, under all that awesomeness, there is a cold, cold heart. He picks up our fragile little fangirl and fanboy hearts and crushes them with a merciless fist. Oh, yeah, I´m onto you! I know your plans! I´ve seen them with my own tear-filled eyes. But once again, I must quote the esteemed Ron Weasley from the far, far lands of Hogwarts and the Crumple-Horned Snorkack: “You´re going to suffer…but you´re going to be happy about it.”
And Merlin´s beard! Where does he get his plot ideas? Like, yowza, I remember a nasty little trip to a place that rhymes with Gargapus in one of the cousin book series to PJO. And that wasn´t even the most surprising thing in his books.
Percy Jackson and The Olympians kickstarted what I like calling the Mythology Smorgasbord. We now have a butt-load of incredible books that bring myths and magic and awesomeness to life. And yep, right along with thousands of readers around the world, I´ve read them all.
Keep bringin´ ´em, Rick.
P.s. I keep imagining this Greek god, maybe Apollo or Hermes, talking to one of their kids and the conversation going somewhat like this:
KID: Daddy, can we go to Brooklyn?
ENTITY: No, child, we cannot. That is a place we must never visit, for it festers with dark forces.
KID: What about Boston, Daddy, can we go?
ENTITY: That is another place we cannot go to.
KID: How about San Francisco, we could-
ENTITY: Um, yeah, we can´t go there either.
KID: Then lets go to-
It just seems complicated for all these gods from different cultures to exist in the same country and not accidentally meet. Or maybe they do, and it´s like, “Hey, Apollo, I´m hanging out with Thor tomorrow, can you take sunrise duty this time?” “Sure thing, Ra.” “Thanks, man.”
If you ask anyone who knew me when I was twelve, they will tell you that I was absolutely obsessed with the Divergent series. Like, crazy obsessed. I´d type <4 instead of ❤ to represent my undying love for Tobias Eaton and had this weird fascination with cake and dauntless-sounding things (i.e. skydiving, zip lining, knife-throwing, people-punching, etc.) Honestly, I was nuts and if I ever came face-to-face with preteen me, I´d probably be scared…I was a ball of pent up energy and freakish fangirl-ism.
But at the same time that I was the embodiment of the whole Hyper Teenage Girl stereotype, it was also a time that I was finally settling into myself. I stopped trying to fit in, and decided to just be me; I read books by the truckload and dove headfirst into writing. My love for Divergent fueled me into discovering what I loved and who I wanted to be.
Aaaand it also introduced me to the delightfully devastating world of Young Adult books. I´d already read The Hunger Games by then, but it was with Divergent that I learned about the concepts of fandoms, OTPs and fangirls (and fanboys). This book series introduced me to the world of fandom accounts on Instagram, book blogs, Book Tube, shipping, reviewing and so much more. Now that I think about it, I probably wouldn´t have this blog if I hadn´t read about Tris and her trials- I discovered blogging while browsing through Veronica Roth´s posts about writing and her books in general.
Also, one of my biggest life mottos comes from the Dauntless manifesto in the first book: “We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.” At a time when I felt insecure and confused, Tris´ bravery and strength showed me that I could be more, and that with whatever I had (in my case, words) I could help others.
Some of my best memories from Middle School have something to do with Divergent. Be it screaming my head off in P.E. about being Dauntless with my friends, or dressing up as our Factions for Spirit Week, this story evokes lots of jokes and happiness. Even if sometimes it got out of hand (I apologize to all who witnessed my single-minded focus on being “badass” with butter knives).
Honestly, even if the last book left me devastated (and I mean devastated), I love it. It reminds me of good years and memories, and it sort of represents the type of thing I wanna do: write stories that make people think and wonder and imagine.
If you, for some strange reason, are trying to devise a plan to speak to me, just know that there is one topic that will never fail to get me going: Harry Potter. I can honestly talk about this scarred, black-haired kid and his universe for hours on end.
But at the same time, I never felt like I could review these books. It almost felt like it would be sacrilege doing so, because I would never, ever be able to do the books justice. I can´t possibly discuss every detail, describe every theory, rant about every character or even babble about every new scenery. And because of that, I could never get myself to write reviews for these books, because this story deserves more (and seriously, that would be the longest review ever).
Honestly, when people ask me what my favorite book is, I don’t even bother saying Harry Potter, because that´s a given. And when I do reveal my obsession with this series, people tend to go “No, I mean, besides that,” because everyone expects people to love this Quidditch-obsessed teenager and all his shenanigans.
And then, someone who obviously took a hit to the head drops a sentence like “I don´t like it,” and people take a step back, a child cries and somewhere in the planet a fairy dies. Any type of dislike or hate towards this magical world is met with disbelief, astonishment and confusion. This speaks to the true reach of J. K. Rowling´s story, and how it has affected the lives and mentalities of thousands.
For many readers, myself included, Hogwarts has become a second home. Despite the creatures, dangers and grown-ups with very little regard to the well-being of children, this world represents warmth and a safe haven of sorts. Since I read these books for the first time when I was seven, the story´s become an escape for when real life´s turned sour, real people morphed into boogeymen and real words have become knives. J. K. Rowling created a universe full of magic, fantasy, adventures and possibility.
I can rant for hours and hours and hours and hours about the controversies of Snape and his need of shampoo, about Remus and Tonks and the unfairness of life, about the actual teddy bear that is Viktor Krum, about the absolute wonder and honesty of the Golden Trio, about my undying love for the Marauders, about the layers that make up a certain unstable someone called Tom Riddle, about the differences between Book Ginny and Movie Ginny, about the need for a house-elf awareness program… I can go on and on and on.
Harry Potter got me into reading, started my love for books, and because of this series I am who I am today. I will cherish and love this story for the rest of my life. Thank you, J. K. Rowling.
We have a saying, in this fandom of ours, that goes: “Jennifer L. Armentrout has done it again.” With her unique style and rib-cracking humor, Jennifer manages to leash our hearts and tug them around with every book she releases.
In all honesty, very few book series have truly stuck with me through the years without fading out. Usually, I´ll remember that I liked the story, but it´s more like a memory, while my love for the thoroughly incredible books remains unscathed; they never fail to make me laugh or cry at a moment´s notice, no matter how many years it´s passed since I last read them.
The Lux Series has been hot-glued to my heart.
It´s witty, hilarious, shocking, deeply moving, exciting and thoroughly satisfying. Granted, it does set some very unrealistic standards when it comes to teenage boys, but man, that´s one of the reasons I read: to escape into a more fantastic world than my own.
Now, going into weirder territory, I bet I´m not the only who feels like the characters from books have become my friends. But it seems like a natural thing to feel, I mean, I went through every emotionally-jarring experience in the Lux saga, right along with Katy and Daemon. I was with them the entire time, crying, laughing, screaming, cursing, fighting… I love these characters with my whole soul. They´re unique, and even when they decided to act as frustratingly as possible, they stick with you. Man, I just want to hang out with them (and partake in their adventures).
Okay, maybe the covers don’t do the books any justice (my friend honestly thought I was reading erotica), but that just means that us readers need to pull on our bookseller pants on, and talk people´s heads off about the awesomeness that is Jennifer L. Armentrout´s writing.
Seriously, though, if you haven´t read these books yet, what are you doing?