Monday, December 17, 2012

Gift ideas for the teen who loves to series read

As the holiday's approach, I get prodded more and more by eager parents and family members for suggestions on the perfect book to give the young adult in ones life. The answer that is usually given is there is no perfect book.

Tastes differ and for every taste there is a flavor to indulge it with. With that being said, I thought the best suggestion of "perfect" books would be a list of several, I am including the major themes in the book to help you make the right selection based on the interests of the young adult or young adult lit aficionado that you are shopping for.

I think most who follow my posts know that I am a huge fan of book series, especially in the YA genre. It's hard not to love a story that continues past the initial 300 plus pages and fleshes out the characters. It is this writers opinions that some of the best YA lit today fits into this category. The best of the bunch are:

The Goddess Test Series - A modern twist on beloved mythology, takes a fresh look at Hades and his epic love story with Persephone. Definitely a love story, but not one that I would recommend for readers under 13 due to some minor sexual situations. This series includes a couple of books and novellas with the final book due this coming year.

If you are looking for another mythology series try: The Abandon Trilogy

The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices Series - I have personally written quite a bit about my love/hate relationship with these beloved characters by Cassandra Clare. A dark fantasy set in a world much like our own but with a darker and more dangerous underbelly this is a series for older readers. Getting involved in these stories is a heavy commitment as TMI currently stands at five (5) book with a sixth and (supposed) final book coming out within the next two years and TID currently at two (2) books with the third and final book coming out next year. The author has also planned a spin off to TMI featuring all new characters which will be another three (3) part series. The long anticipated movie is due out this summer, so make sure that they get through at least the first book in time for the August release. I believe this rich story appeals to both boys and girls, but as most YA books do can skew a bit girly at times.

If you are looking for another dark fantasy series try: The Spellbound Series

The Iron Fey Series - This is my most recent series read and what started as a difficult first book to get through became my absolute favorite Fey series. Based on a world ruled by some of Shakespeare's better known characters and filled with the most fantastical supporting players this is a series that your YA will not want to put down. The series finished off with four (4) books and three (3) e-novellas and has now been spun off into a new series The Iron Prince. As you can imagine by the title of the series the stories kind of played at The Matrix meets A Midsummer Nights Dream, but what an interesting and full series it is.

If you are looking for another fey series try: The Wicked Lovely Series

Princess Series - Reading this series is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket only to find out that the wool that you had come to expect has turned into silk. Jessica Day George takes the most beloved fairytales from childhood and updates them in an exciting page turning way. The series consist of three (3) books and tell the story of the 12 Dancing Princesses, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. A series that any young girl in love with princesses and all that entails will enjoy.

If you are looking for another princess series try: The Princess Diaries

The Vampire Academy/Bloodlines Series - By far and away my favorite vampire series of recent years and my absolute favorite YA vampire series. This six (6) book TVA series and currently two (2) book soon to be three (3) book Bloodlines series tells an intricate story that starts off in an out of the way high school and ends up mired in the intrigue and politics of a royal court. Recommended for older YA readers due to sexual situations, violence and overall scary themes these series will become a hard to put down favorite for your YA reader.

If you are looking for another vampire series try: The Tantalize Series

Matched Series - Set in a dystopian society where one is matched by a computer to their perfect mate this story is a great follow up series to someone who loved The Hunger Games. The third (3) and final book was released a few weeks ago and hopes to put a tight red bow and an story of a young girl who chooses to the fight the system that she was born into.

If you are looking for another dystopian tale try: The Divergent Series.

Tempest Series - A young girl finds out she is the daughter of a mermaid and that she may be the key to winning a long and hard fought war raging under the ocean. For any reader who loves mermaid stories this gives you an excellent look into a gorgeous underwater world and all the turmoil that resides within.

If you are looking for another mermaid series try: Of Poseidon Series

In case you have a voracious reader on your hands here are a few more excellent YA series:
  • Midnighters Series by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society Series by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • A Beautiful Dark Series by Jocelyn Davies
  • Firelight Series by Sophie Jordan
  • Everneath Series by Brodie Ashton
  • Gemma Doyle Series by Libba Bray
This article originally published on: 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Some late input on The Mortal Instruments

I have a bit of a secret to tell. Several years ago, on the recommendation of some friends, I picked up City of Bones, the first book in what was then The Mortal Instruments trilogy. To be frank, I hated it. But, the aforementioned friends convinced me that I should put my overwhelming feeling of queasy unease aside and finish reading the series.

It took me much longer than I had expected but after a couple of months I could finally say that I had given it a legit chance and move on with my life. I left the books behind me with a tepid opinion of them.

Then the buzz started because this much beloved series was not only getting a spin off series (prequel to be exact) but several more books were going to be added to the original three, and a movie had been optioned. I didn't get it.

As much as I thought the story was well written, because it is. Much more so than so many other hard to put down YA series, ahem Twilight. I just couldn't understand Jace's appeal and don't even get me started on the creep factor I felt stemming from the love triangle. So, I proceeded to forget about it. My friends got excited about the movie and I ignored it. And then this summer, suddenly finding myself with an incredible amount of free time on my hands I decided to revisit the series I just didn't get, despite an overwhelming stack of to-read books on my shelf and Nook.

My thoughts on the original three books have significantly improved. Do I still feel a bit off about the love triangle, of course, I don't know any one who is reading the series that wouldn't. But I learned to appreciate the nuances in the story, the layered characters, how incredibly developed and rich this world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders that Cassandra Clare created for her readers. I genuinely enjoyed reading it the second time around, and to my surprise found that I didn't remember large chunks of the book, so it was at some points like reading it for the first time.

I have since moved onto books 4 and 5, and I am finding much like the first three I am not in love with them the first time around. I honestly think that, maybe just maybe, the Mortal Instruments Series gets better with age, but I will wait to give a better review upon finishing the remainder of the books.

I can say now that the first movie is in production and I have found a new found love for Jace, Clary, Simon, Izzy, Alec and Magus I am counting down the days along with my friends.

This article was originally published on: 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

All Dystopian Society's are not created equal

I have given myself some off time from my blogs to adjust to everything going on in my life...but it doesn't mean I stopped reading.  My spring started with the Hunger Games trilogy and ended with the first two books in the Matched trilogy.  It has been interesting, I have to say I probably would have enjoyed the stories more had I not read so many dystopian teen fics back to back but I couldn't resist.  I was on some sort of crazy binge.  I am finally taking a break from it all and have moved on to adult erotica...oh yeah!

Lauren Oliver, Delirium
 For the life of me I cannot get through this book.  I keep starting and stopping.  Most reviews that I read speak so highly of the story and the characters...but I stalled about 150 pages in.  I am not connecting with the characters, I feel like I can predict  the entire plot.  This is fairly normal for me but I still enjoy experiencing how the author chooses to unfold the story.  Not in this case.  I think I am going to give it a tentative rating for now in hopes that I will pick it up again and finish it. 

Veronica Roth, Divergent
I loved this story, and completely connected with Beatrice.  The decision she is forced to make and the repercussions of the choice that will determine the rest of your life was a theme that for me, was so easy to relate to.  I would recommend this book to YA fans of all ages.  I am anxiously awaiting the follow up Insurgent coming out in a couple of weeks.

Ally Condie, Matched
Ally Condie, Crossed

The first book in this trilogy, Matched, sucked me in from page to describe a book that you couldn't put down but still had a sense of dissapointment when you were finished reading.  The first book was a quick read, a constant battle within your head of who you should be pulling the second book you feel like maybe just maybe Cassia made the wrong decision. At least I did.  The ending of the second book left something to be desired and I felt like this book may have had a bit too much build up for what it actually was but overall they were both enjoyable reads.  Not the best dystopian YA fic out there but good enough and entertaining enough that I would recommend them.  I will pick up the third and final (?) book in the series when it is released later this year.


Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games Trilogy

Hmmm, what to say that hasn't already been written.  That I enjoyed these books would be an understatement. I fought tooth and nail not to read them, when my friends and family were ravenously devouring the books I said I was too busy and wasn't interested and ignored their plea's that I should read them.  All three books were consumed over a 2.5 day period, a form of insanity that I haven't engaged in since the Harry Potter or Twilight series.  I just couldn't stop.  Gale, Peeta, Katniss even Haymitch had me thoroughly hooked.  The horrors of the first book, entering the arena for the first time, Rue's tragic scene, that tenderness of the cave scene are moments that stand out for me.  The second books who wouldv'e seen it coming twist, the frenzy of the last 70 pages.  The final books complete about face, from a world you felt you were familiar with to a world you no longer recognized.  The horrors of their new reality. 

These books became a gateway drug for me the first dystopian YA books that I picked up.  After the reading frenzy that ensued I wanted nothing more than to continue exploring this dark kind of messed up world that Ms. Collins introduced me to.  But, there was no more.  So I moved on to other stories, other worlds.  And to be honest nothing has lived up to the standards set by The Hunger Games.