Book Review, Tips and Tricks, WordSmith Musings, writing

Five Great YA Book Series To Get Lost In

I love a great written series of books where I get to follow the characters, fall in love with them, and see a much larger journey than any stand alone book can give.

BUT, I hesitate to start series I don’t know much about because they can be some big time commitments and, by the end, it might just not be that good. Well dear reader, I am here to help you with that! Here are five of my favorite series that you can’t go wrong with!

 

1. Heroes of Olympus

Now, Rick Riordan has a large amount of series that I would recommend. His original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is great, but the tone is for a slightly younger audience. His second series, still featuring Percy, but bringing in a slew of other characters and perspectives, is The Heroes of Olympus. This follows the Greek god Poseidon’s son and the Roman god Jupiter’s son in intertwining tales as they fall into each other’s world and must reconcile the two. With a phenomenal cast of characters that are diverse, fun, and courageous, this series weaves stories together to create a plot that is magical, fun, engaging, and will keep you on your toes!

 

2. The Inheritance Cycle

For fans of Lord of the Rings and DnD, I give you the Inheritance Cycle. Set in a medieval world filled with elves, shades, dragons, and men, we embark on one young farm boys adventure. Eragon discovers a dragon egg, which hatches to become the beautiful and fearsome Sapphira. As the evil king hunts for him, he learns he is one of the only dragon riders left. The four books build a fantastical world that is full of intricate politics and breathtaking magic. We get perspectives from other characters as well, two of my favorite. A young farmer fighting to save his love from evil beasts, who becomes a fearsome leader and warrior. We also get to see a young woman who becomes one of the rebel leaders and is forced to be tough but the perspective allows us to see the soft side as well. It’s masterfully done.  (Please feel free to ignore the movie Eragon, which doesn’t do the first book justice)

 

3. The Pendragon Series

Bobby is a normal high school kid until one day his adventurous uncle comes into town and whisks him away down a flume. Discovering that the world is much bigger than his one planet, Bobby travels to worlds all around Halla, attempting to stop the evil member of their order who is attempting to destroy each world. We read much of the story as letters/journals he is writing to his two friends back on Earth. This series is really interesting because each book sends us to a new and different world. We get to learn what makes this place interesting and different at the same time Bobby is. This has a few interesting and well developed relationships and will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is ten books so if you’re just interested in checking it out, you can find the first book here.

 

4. The Lunar Chronicles

For anyone who loves sci-fi and classic fairy-tales, this is the series for you. Each book tells the twisted fairy tale, beginning with the classic Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg with the evil step-mother figure, the dreadful daughters, and a charming prince to boot. But, this is a technologically advanced world, with a colony on the moon full of people able to influence the mind. Each book follows a different heroine, but weaves together their stories. We will meet Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White). There’s also two short stories diving into our villians’ past. While each story has many of the key components from the classic fairy tale, the Lunar Chronicles will keep you guessing at the twists and turns. With four classic love stories to root for, this is a fun series to read.

 

5. Graceling Series

This series features strong woman learning to become more of who they are. Katsa is a fierce warrior, blessed as a Garceling, a person with an extreme talent. Katsa has been Graced with killing, which has led her to become the thug of her uncle, the King. But when strange things begin happening in her kingdom and those around, she meets people she never expected and uncovers a deadly secret. The second book travels over to a kingdom across the mountains, hidden from the Graceling Realm. There we follow Fire, an unbelievably beautiful woman with the ability to control the minds of people. We see her struggle with her power and the fiercely negative view everyone has of her in the kingdom. We’ll meet a familiar face from Graceling and root for Fire time and again. The third and final book brings us back to Graceling, following the young Queen from the first book. She’s smart and strong, but young and the pressures of the crown and her advisers is unrelenting in her kingdom being rebuilt. Disguising herself, she meets the rougher side of her city and learns that all is not what she thought. Each of these three women are strong in their own different ways and you’ll heart will relate to the struggles they go through.

 

There are probably dozens of other phenomenal series. What are some of your favorites? Add them in the comments below!

 

The above includes affiliate links. If you purchase something from them, I may receive a small part of the profit. My affiliation does not affect my recommendations tho. If you have any questions on this, please let me know. 

Book Review, WordSmith Musings, writing

Whatcha Reading? The Fellowship of the Ring: LOTR

I love a good adventure as much as the next gal but The Lord of the Rings series has to be one of the most well-known ones of all-time. Somehow, despite having watched the movies a dozen times, I’ve never actually read the books. My husband and some close friends have and finally I decided to pick up the large red book sitting on my bookshelf.

It has been a great decision.

The Fellowship of the Ring is an intriguing tale and the extended depth (or existence) of characters has been my favorite part. I am only halfway through (we’re about to head to Moria) so I can only speak to that part.

In the movies, two of my favorites were, of course, the silly, quirky, but ultimately brave Merry and Pippin. Tolkien has fleshed them out and given them much more in-depth personalities than I ever realized.

Merry, while still a fun hobbit, is actually quite the responsible fellow. Frodo doesn’t flee quite as quickly as I thought and instead “moves” to Buckland to throw off suspicion before he leaves for good. And who does he have help him buy and set up his home? That would be Merry. And when Frodo begins acting strange months before, who helps form the group of four hobbits who will keep him safe and look out for him? Again, Merry was integral in that. When he goes to the Prancing Pony, he doesn’t join in the revelry and it was actually Frodo who ends up dancing on the table tops. Merry stays in because it sounds like quite the ruckus and he actually discovers the Black Riders in Bree while on a quiet walk.

I wouldn’t have guessed that I would enjoy such a responsible version of Merry, but it has given him a depth I love. He is courageous and still light-hearted, but he isn’t foolish.

Pippin, on the other hand, is still the silly hobbit that we know and love. But, we get to see his big heart, his courage, and his loyalty to his friends so often that I couldn’t help but become even fonder of the fool of a Took.

As is often common (almost always), these books are proving to be even better than the phenomenal movies. I’ll let you know when I finish, but I hope you get a chance to read it yourself!

I’m reading the whole collection, which you can find here. If you just want to check out the Fellowship of the Ring, you can find that here.

Book Review, WordSmith Musings, writing

Whatcha reading? Narnia edition

This month I’ve dove back into the classic Narnia series. I read them when I was about 12 or so and really enjoyed them. At the start of the New Year, I was trying to figure out what to read next (a daunting question as I stare at the numerous books on my shelves that I’ve bought over the years).

Image result for narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia caught my attention. I had watched the movies recently and so I knew a few of them well. And I had read the Magician’s Nephew for a class. But The Silver Chair, The Last Battle? It had been years and I honestly couldn’t really remember what happened!

So I began in the original order they were published. I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Then came Prince Caspian. Next was Voyage of the Dawn Treader. After that was The Silver Chair. And I’m just now finishing up the Horse and His Boy.

The Horse and His Boy is one of my all time favorites. It details the adventure of a young boy and a Talking Horse escaping a life of hardships to find freedom in Narnia. There’s adventures and excitement and some of my favorite characters pop back up from the other books. But what I think strikes me so much is how much we can see Aslan working in this boy’s life and, until the end, he has no clue. This idea resonated with me.

I also find the story of an orphan nobody who discovers that he is loved and has a great family is heartwarming and feel-good. Plus, the villians are harrowing, the heroes relatable, and the story just plain fun.

I highly recommend all of the Chronicles of Narnia, but definitely the Horse and His Boy!

What are you reading right now? Any recommendations for my next book? Put it in the comments below!

Affiliate links have been included in this post. This means if you purchase a book with the link provided, I may receive a small payment. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please reach out to me on my contact page.

Book Review, writing

Book Review: Everless by Sara Holland

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Sara Holland takes the old saying “time is money” and creates an entire intriguing and complex world based off this idea in her novel, Everless. In Holland’s world, a person’s blood and time are able to be magically bound with iron which has become the currency of the realm.
We first meet Jules, a young girl struggling to survive with her father on the outskirts of a small town. Having left Everless, the large and prosperous city of her childhood, Jules and her father have traveled and survived, though not without the cost of Jules’ father selling his time to make ends meet. The story takes off as Jules, trying to earn time for her father, is forced to head to Everless again where mystery and danger run rampant.
I loved Jules as a character. While she was strong and courageous, she also felt very grounded. She knew what she wanted and she went after that, even if it didn’t always work out as she planned. Her bravery is also impressive as she stands up to some of the most dangerous people in the country.
But Jules is not perfect, which is what makes her a great character. She makes mistakes, she is wrong on a few major things, and she leads us on some twists and turns that will have you hanging onto each sentence.
Her cast of supporting characters also kept me on my toes. The Gerling family, the ruling family of Everless, provided us with a glimpse into what it would be like to live for hundreds of years without fear of not having enough time. Certainly we’ve all wondered what that would be like. I have and it was intriguing to see how people reacted to this abundance of time given to them.
Unsurprisingly, corruption and greed seem to thrive within the walls of Everless, but we see bright spots of compassion and kindness as well. Some of the main reasons for such compassion are the fellow servants of Everless who add entertaining shenanigans but also heartbreak to Jules’ story.
I highly recommend this book to any reader who enjoys a tale that weaves a vibrant world around our characters and surprises us over and over again.

Get the book here!