Welcome to the last post of Armchair BEA! It’s a bit bittersweet, but I’ve had an awesome time so far, despite computer problems and moving preventing me from putting up some posts. This was my first year participating and I absolutely loved it! Between the awesome Twitter parties, the great new bloggers I’ve met and the awesome giveaways and topics, I’ve had a blast! I know this is INCREDIBLY last minute, but I just wanted to put up a summary post and include a post I meant to put up the other day but lacked time because I decided to pack last minute :P So, without further ado, here is the topic:
Woohoo! This is my kind of topic! If you couldn’t tell from that gorgeous banner up top there, I blog about YA books. Don’t worry, I delve into MG books and even adult a few times, but my favorites by far are YA.
So, in honor of MG/YA, I want to share a list of my favorite books with you. This is hard. REALLY hard. But hopefully I can some good recommendations to some who may be a bit afraid to delve into the world of MG/YA.
The first books listed are books that I loved before i actually got “really” into reading - books read sporadically throughout my childhood - books I read before I started blogging
Harry Potter Series - How could I not add this to the list? Harry Potter is one of the first series I ever read and it has stuck with me years (and many re-reads) later. The characters are all so phenomenal. They are smart, witty, loyal or adventurous, but never perfect. They are complex. While it is ultimately a story of good vs. evil, it also shows that life isn’t always just black & white, but covered with many gray areas. It can even make you feel a bit of pity for the villains and realize that the heroes aren’t always perfect. This book is filled to the brim with life-lessons. While this series may be dark to a certain extent, ultimately it is a story of love and sacrifice and how these two aspects can be the most magical of all.
Tamora Pierce books - This is another one of my “first” series I ever read. This, this is the good stuff. Pierce knows how to write fantasy and strong female characters. A girl who pretends to be a boy so she can become a knight? Perfection. I loved absolutely all of the characters and the world Pierce created was wonderfully complex and magical. The Song of the Lioness Series and The Immortals series are by far my favorites. Tamora Pierce is the queen of fantasy and I’m so glad she gave me my start in the medieval fantasy realm.
Percy Jackson Series - The Lightning Thief is a phenomenal start to a phenomenal series. My friend made me read this book because she wanted me to go see the movie with her (don’t get me started) and I’m so glad she did. I’ve come to love all the characters introduced in this series (PERCABETH!!) and have come to love Riordan’s signature wit and humor. Greek mythology with a modern twist where demigods exist and adventures ensue. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Fun, engaging, witty and I seriously can’t get enough of the characters. Even the spin-offs are great. That’s saying something.
The Children of the Red King series - Magical kids descended from a magical king? Heck yeah! This is such an adventurous and magical MG fantasy. Kids descended from the Red King end up with magical powers, some very intriguing magical powers might I add, and attend a boarding school for the gifted that isn’t always what it seems. These magical kids are up against cruel and evil headmaster’s and magical villains. With the help of three awesome cats and an amazing cast of adults.
Now onto books I read as I got really into reading - before and after starting to blog (this is so hard!). A lot of these books are series I loved as a whole, where every single book was phenomenal (So far).
Throne of Glass Series - To start off this list, I had to start with my obsession - the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was initially drawn to it because I’m a sucker for assassins. I was absolutely blown away by it when I actually read it. This book is absolutely and utterly phenomenal. I love Celaena’s complexity as a character. Celaena is fierce, strong, and witty, yet also broken in ways. She is in no way perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. But I admit that one aspect that endeared me to her was her femininity. This girl loves a beautiful dress, jewels and chocolate cake. How can you not like her? I love how she shows that femininity and strength can go hand in hand. Icing on the cake? Phenomenal secondary characters. Nehemia, the somewhat mysterious but just as awesome warrior princess. Dorian, the carefree playboy who isn’t a total jerk and somehow manages to be charming. Then the ever stoic, honorable, loyal, sexy, intelligent man-in-uniform - my main man Captain Westfall. Add in magic, intrigue, action, evil kings, magical realms, and, of course, assassins, and you’ve got a wonderful series. And want to know something? THE 2ND BOOK IS EVEN BETTER!
The Lunar Chronicles -I don’t even know how to describe the awesomeness that is this series. It’s a fairytale retelling like no retelling you’ve read before. It’s sci-fi awesomeness filled to the brim with awesome characters. While each story is mainly focused on a new character, Meyer does a phenomenal job of seamlessly connecting all the small plot arcs with the overarching plot arc of the series as a whole. And did I mention Captain Thorne? *Swoon*. Each character is so unique and engaging and just so awesome! And Captain Thorne!
Seven Realms series - High fantasy. ‘Nuff said. But in case you need more convincing, here it is: Great characters, brilliantly thought-out world, MAGIC, political intrigue and complexity. I’ve actually still never read the last book because I don’t want it to end! If you like high fantasy, read it. You won’t regret it (though it does have a bit of a slow start).
The Blood of Eden series - I was pleasantly blown away by this series. Me and vampires don’t always have the best relationship but, apparently, if you add zombies, it becomes my cup of tea! This was vampires done right. It was creepy and edge-of-your-seat terrifying (no sparkles here!). The complexity of the characters (if you can’t tell I like complex!) endeared me to them. Allie is hardened living in such a desolate world, but not without heart. Kanin did some bad things but his quest for redemption made me root for him. Jackal was the refreshing comic relief with his snark. Zeke, though not quite as memorable for me for some reason, was really truly sweet and caring but also tough. A good combination. Also a katana. Can’t forget the Katana.
Fire and Thorns series - This is one of those books that took me a bit to really get into it but absolutely blew me away by the end. Elisa is not your typical MC. She’s on the larger side and lacks confidence in herself. I almost didn’t like her because she complained for too much for my taste without doing anything about it. However, this story is truly one of self-growth and self-discovery. It is a beautiful coming of age story with an MC that goes from self-pitying to resilient and determined, finding her place in this captivating, magical world. This series is worth it’s somewhat rocky beginning. The second book was near perfection! While I haven’t read the final book, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. And Hector. *fans self* Stoic, hard-working, tough and incredibly loyal. He was always there for Elisa and there slow-burn romance was to die for.
Okay, so this is in NO way comprehensive. Basically, I’m running out of time to add anything to this list (shopping calls!). What I can say? These are books that as a WHOLE blew me away. Believe me, there are plenty of series out there that were great, but maybe with a book or two I was iffy about or I only liked the first book. Also, there are a lot of new series coming out that I’ve enjoyed the first book, but didn’t add to this list because I can’t gauge the rest of the series. So, these are just some of the top of the top. The creme de la creme so to say.