Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blade of Amber by A.M. Justice

  Blade of Amber is one of my favorite books in the world. Period- no doubt about it. When I first began it, it quickly stole my heart and took a place on my "This is a great book!" list. Then as I progressed through the story, I fell more and more in love with it until it hit my top fifteen favorites list, and now possibly my top ten.
  From the very first paragraph of Blade of Amber, from the very beginning of the story, I fell absolutely head over heels in love with A.M. Justice's writing. I was intrigued, captivated and most definitely interested in the story and where it was going to take me.
  I feel like I shouldn't even go into the plot, or tell you the story line because I don't feel that this book should be placed in a genre or category, and then have it be judged by its plot. I personally would classify this book as fantasy, which is not my typical forte- at all. That makes me so absolutely thankful I went into the story without knowing the plot and the genre, so I could go into it without any preconceived notions.
  As I read it (and got to new, intense and brilliant scenes) I would put my Kindle down and frantically look around to see if there was anyone I could talk to about it! I would talk to my friends and say, "There's this book that I'm reading and-" they would then interrupt me and say, "I know, Blade of Amber by A.M. Justice. You told me about it yesterday!" So now I've officially made it my goal in life to have my friends and loved ones read this book so I can talk with them about it.
  It's very rare that I read a book and I fall in love with the characters and plot so quickly...normally when I read a book, I jump to character conclusions unreasonably early. For instance, I often feel that the women are too whiny and superficial, and typically the men always make me think, "This isn't what a real man is like, this is what the author wants men to be like." But with Blade of Amber...this book touched me so emotionally...I just couldn't get over it. I'm going on twenty-four hours of being done with the book and I STILL have a book hangover. (Becca's Book Hangover: When I can't completely get out of the previous book's fictional world and everything I look at reminds me of the story and characters.)
  The only thing left to say about Blade of Amber is, I hope one day I can grab a paper copy, meet A.M. Justice in person and tell her how much I appreciate her writing Vic, Ashel and Earnk's story.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

   To end Banned Books Week, I've decided to write today's book review on my favorite book in the world...Harry Potter. Or actually, the entire Harry Potter series, since all seven of them have been questioned, challenged, banned and have actually been accused of containing soul-sucking demons in every copy. (No joke, a critic actually wrote an article about demons corrupting young children, every time a Harry Potter book is opened.)
  Like many children and young adults, I grew up with Harry. I battled dragons with him, I cast spells with him, I went on adventures with him, Hermione and Ron, and I helped him defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Harry Potter is, and always will be, a part of my childhood and life.
  My sentimental attachment to the series aside and professionally speaking, I believe that Harry Potter teaches bravery, honesty, truthfulness, courage and that good always wins over evil. I believe that J.K. Rowling's writing is excellent in a literary aspect, and I believe that it should be categorized as one of the "100 Books You Have to Read Before You Die." J.K. Rowling is a very inspirational woman. She's donated an incredible amount of money to charities, she's successfully raised three children (at one time as a single mother) and she's constantly working on new ways to make the world a better place. This is not the kind of woman who would strategically place demons in her books to possess children.
  The Harry Potter series has been banned a countless (and I mean, COUNTLESS) amount of times for numerous reasons. One, because of the use of witchcraft, wizardry and magic. Two, because of the frightening content. Three, because the children in the story set a bad example for impressionable young minds everywhere. Four, (and the most interesting in my opinion) the implied source behind Harry's magical feats tend to distort a child's understanding of God. (There are more, but I like to keep my blog posts short and sweet.)
  One of the MANY things that bugs me about the last one is that Harry Potter fans come in all shapes and sizes, all walks of life and come from all different religions. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism Agnosticism and Atheism, etc.! Harry Potter is not focused on one religion, it does not bash any religion, it has nothing to do with religion whatsoever! I don't understand it, but I also don't understand banning books.
  Which brings me to my next point: Burning books.
  A common side effect to disliking (banning, hating, etc.) Harry Potter is burning numerous copies. I'm not talking about tossing your own copies into your fire pit. I'm talking about humongous bonfires in the back of a parking lot, covered in various copies of Harry Potter.
  If there's one thing I hate more than book banning, it's book burning. There is no reason to destroy books in such a violent and aggressive manner. If you dislike a book, find it immoral, say it goes against everything you believe in, please do not read it. I guarantee you won't want to. Burning books is one of the most horrific things I've ever seen done to literature and I am against it 100%. Even with books I hate, I treasure them like they're gold. They're books. They're meant for reading, not destroying.
  But if you want to buy one hundred copies of Harry Potter and give a thousand dollars of your money to J.K. Rowling, be my guest.
  In conclusion, Harry Potter (in my opinion) can not be beat. I love it with every inch of my being. I see young kids, just barely of reading age- not even fully speaking yet- getting into The Wizarding World and it fills my heart full of joy. Now, even after the books are done, and Harry's movies are over, the Harry Potter generation still lives on.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  In my opinion, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the best YA books ever written, and one of the best YA books I've ever read. That being said, I'm not shocked, but aghast that the contents of this book would even be questioned. Charlie is the main character, who spends his first year of high school writing letters to "Friend" about his school experiences and challenges.
  Stephen Chbosky wrote about Charlie and his struggles, to connect with the every day teenagers who have issues that might not be visible on the outside. He took Charlie's delicate subject matter and turned it into a story that every teen reader (and some adults) can relate to.
  The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been challenged and/or banned in schools ten years in a row. Year after year, parents beg their school board to pull the book off the shelves because they don't want their pre-teen/teen reading it. Or any others for that matter, since they want it taken off the shelves so that nobody can read it.
  The book has very intense, awkward, severely emotional and saddening scenes in it, but it's definitely not enough to take the book away, or enough to bypass any of the other "blasphemous" YA books out there. Another reason is because of the fact that one of the characters is a homosexual. Oh my goodness...
  I do have friends and know of others who don't care for this book.  It's not that surprising to me! I know that it's not everyone's cup of tea (I don't expect it to be), and that not everyone has fallen in love with it as I have. I understand that a lot of readers are uncomfortable with some of the things that happen in the book...but in no way- no way- does that allow you to take it away from other readers.
  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in my opinion, is one of the best coming of age novels ever. It's the perfect book to make a connection with when you need someone to understand and listen to your problems; a friend, and a shoulder to cry on.
  Stephen Chbosky has taken understanding and sympathy and turned it into a novel that you can pick up and take with you everywhere.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ttyl by Lauren Myracle

  To continue my Banned Books Week reviews, I decided to write today's blog post on Ttyl by Lauren Myracle, a YA, "coming of age" novel that's written all in IMs.
  It's such a unique and relatable series! You don't hear very much about it; it's kind of ignored because of all of the other amazing YA series out there. But it's truly a great series that speaks to many young adults going through tough and troubling times. (Which I'm convinced is the reason they banned it.) For some reason, the people who decide to ban these books are the ones who want to try and protect young adults from issues which- I'm sorry to say- they actually go through in every day life. You don't want young adults to read about violence? Tell that to the teen who lives in a violent neighborhood. You don't want teens to read about sex? Try to take a sexually active teen's book away from them. It's just common sense, you can't take reality away from teens in reality.
  Ttyl follows three sixteen year olds, Madigan (mad maddie), Zoe (zoegirl) and Angela (SnowAngel) through their school experiences, their relationships and their hardships- together and apart.
  Ttyl taught me a lot about friendships and how to deal with tough situations in every day teen life. I think Lauren Myracle is actually quite brilliant and brave to put such intense subjects in a YA novel/series. I don't understand why it would be taken away from teens to read. I only benefited from what those books taught me.
  Ttyl was repeatedly banned on several occasions, between 2007 and 2011 because of its "sexual content," "foul language" and "questionable sexual behavior." Now, this may be a bit of a spoiler, but what everyone is so freaked out about is the "relationship" that one of main characters has with a teacher. If you READ THE BOOK, you would know that the relationship got out of hand, was stopped and had consequences- obviously not promoting and encouraging illegal relationships.
  It reminds me of when John Green's book, Looking for Alaska, was banned for its "inappropriate sex scene." (Note: I put all of these accusations in quotes because I don't believe them one bit, and as Zoey from Marked would say, "It's all a bunch of bullpoopie.") The scene that's so controversial in Looking for Alaska is incredibly awkward and embarrassing, but it's honestly not something to be all uppity about.
  But I digress...if you don't like a book, or don't deem it appropriate, don't read it. It's that simple. Please don't try to take it away from others.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

1984 by George Orwell

  When I first heard about 1984, it had just been chosen as our local book club's "Book of the Month." Many people (friends, people on TV, etc.) were talking about it, but I had never really "picked it up" until then. Now, I'm very open minded when it comes to trying new books, but when I was a "newbie" in the literary world, I was more than happy with staying within my comfort level when it came to reading material (i.e., YA Fiction).
  So 1984 was our book club choice, and I snagged a copy from the bookstore to try. When I was finally coerced into trying it ("If you don't like it, you don't have to read it. Just give it a TRY!" my mom said) I was on vacation and couldn't care less about this dystopian, dysfunctional, old-style story. I wanted to read fun and easy things, not something so incredibly dry and dull (which was my perception back then), that would inevitably put me to sleep after a day of excitement and sight-seeing!
  Nevertheless, I sat down on the bed, sighed, and tried to read a good few chapters to start. About...I don't know, an hour or so after I started, my mom asked, "Are you going to give up?"
  At that, I shushed her and said, "Hold on- it just got interesting."
  I was hooked. I was intrigued. I was very much into the story and where it was going. I did get lost with some of the "futuristic" lingo, phrases and terminology; my eyes would glaze over and I would have to shake my head to get my concentration back on track. But when the plot got fast-paced and interesting, nothing could pry me away from my book. Not even meals.
  I loved it. I loved George Orwell's perception of the future- OUR future. (I mean, come on. What's better than a man starting to question the world he's living in and the way it's being run?)
  So, since it's Banned Books Week, I've decided to write about 1984, a) Because of it being banned, b) Its controversial topics, and c) Because I have a strong opinion about why it was banned.
  1984 was challenged because it was deemed "pro-communist and contains explicit sexual matter" in Jackson County, Florida, and banned in the U.S.S.R shortly after it was translated into Russian. In my opinion, I believe that 1984 was questioned not because of its sexual matter, but because of the book's popularity and how it reflected on the government...especially one so scarily close to our own.
  Now, I'm not a rebel...I don't rebel against the government. I'm not an activist (that I know of)...but I sure do love reading about other people rebelling against their own dystopian society.
  1984 may not have you swooning with romance, tearing up at sweet and sad spots and it may not ever be your favorite book in the world.  But if you're looking for a book to get you thinking...1984 is the one. 

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best books I've ever read. Not even just in the Classics category. It's one of the best books I've read, altogether. It's also one of the saddest, one of the sweetest and one of the most unfair. Why is it unfair? Well, if you've read it, I think you know what I mean when I say that. But if you haven't read it, that's something you're going to have to find out for yourself. 
  To Kill a Mockingbird was banned several times in many different places for mainly being "immoral" and for being a "filthy, trashy novel." 
  Now, this book is not for the faint of heart. I found it to be very sad, disturbing and emotional- not in a "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" way, but in a "I can't believe people back then treated other people the way they did" way. (Without being too cryptic...Was that too cryptic?)
  Harper Lee got her point across, in my opinion. Her book made me stop and think about the world Scout, Jem and Atticus Finch, and Tom Robinson lived in; the society that they lived in and how (thankfully) foreign it feels to young adults and children now. 
  I was certainly surprised with this book, when it came to Harper Lee's writing and story telling. I really shouldn't feel this way because I've been surprised with almost every classic I've read. When I start a new classic, I always get that, "Oh, this old-timey writing is going to kill's always so dry!" feeling. But like many other classics I've read, Harper Lee's writing was shockingly entertaining, easy and not too unnecessarily complicated with description. I found her writing to be very sweet and fun- she wrote the story just like how she would probably tell it. 
  The book had me very upset at how cruel the world can be and how unfair the legal system can be...and there was a scene at the end that had me freaking out to the point where I was looking behind my back every few seconds. But the ending gave me warm fuzzy feelings and had me tearing up with how much sweetness was in the last few chapters. 
  This is and always will be a favorite classic, and favorite book of mine altogether. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

  Fahrenheit 451 may very well be one of the most interesting books I've ever read. The whole premise, the whole plot about burning and banning books is so horrifyingly interesting to me. This book takes place in a dystopian-type, dysfunctional world where books encourage reading, which then encourages thinking, which then inevitably has people thinking freely and rising against the government when they realize that the society they live in is not as wonderful as it may seem. Ray Bradbury wrote dystopian societies before it was cool!
  Fahrenheit 451 makes you really ponder, "What would life be without books?" The firemen (men who actually SET fire to houses that contain books) would have a field day with my house. So many times I stopped reading, looked around and thought, "Oh no, I'm holding a book RIGHT NOW. What if I get caught?"
  It makes you wonder...why are books so dangerous? Why in this dystopian society (when in fact it's not too foreign to our society, where we have our own form of book banning) do they take the right to read away from the civilians? My answer?  Books create free thinking.
  Reading this book was very difficult because when I was in the process of getting through it, I kept wanting to talk to someone about the depth of the book and what was going on. Specifically, the fast paced happenings that had me freaking out like a total spaz, the unpredictable violence and most of all, the similar dystopian occurrences that are in newer dystopian, "rise against the government" books like The Hunger Games, The Giver, Divergent and Matched.
  This book, and especially the ending, had me absolutely breathless! I say that like Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most amazing books I've ever read, and it may just be. But more so I mean that I was just...speechless. Wordless. If you've read the book, you'll understand when I say that the ending was completely shocking and- at least for me- unpredictable.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

  Since today is the start of Banned Books Week, I've decided to do today's book review on one of my favorite (recent) banned books, Crank by Ellen Hopkins. Crank was recently banned in many locations due to the drug content. Many parents didn't find the chapters within the book suitable for their teenagers. Now, I can understand if you don't believe your child is ready to read about drug abuse- it's a very intense and disturbing topic to read about- but I am not (and will never be) pro-banning books.
  Crank is loosely based on Ellen Hopkins' daughter's life and her battle with drug abuse and addiction. When you read about Bree (the young main character, formally known as Kristina) stealing from her mom to help feed her self-destroying habit, you're reading about Ellen and her daughter.
  Written all in poetry form, Crank was very distinguishable from the other YA books on the shelves at Books-A-Million. It was a book that stood out for me, a book that I just had to sink my teeth into. I was about thirteen when I first picked it up and I've got to tell you, it was intense, but I couldn't stop reading it. This foreign lifestyle was a complete culture shock to me, I was horrified to read that a teenager's life could so quickly go down the toilet- ...just like that.
  This book is tragically beautiful...I always hesitate to put those two words in a sentence describing a book, mostly because "tragic" and "beautiful" are on two different sides of the flattering adjective scale.  But I can't really think of any two more perfect words to describe Crank. It's beautifully written, but it breaks your heart, like so many other wonderful books out there. You feel for Kristina (or "Bree"), but you mainly feel for who she's affecting around her. Whose hearts she's breaking as she quickly destroys her life.
  This book is pretty intense, serious and tragic, but it's incredible at the same time. It makes you think. Ellen Hopkins is a wonderful writer, a magnificent author and a beautiful human being all together. When I met her in person, I told her while she was signing my copies of Crank and Collateral, "Your books and your stories scared me away from drugs." She then nodded, smiled and said, "Good."

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

  Now, Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 is an interesting one. I originally heard of Michael Vey when Richard Paul Evans announced that he was going on tour and stopping in Florida (which just so happens to be the first time I ever went to The Vero Beach Book Center). I was a fan of his adult novel, The Christmas Box (which I'll review closer to Christmas) and was more than thrilled to hear that he was coming to my neck of the woods.
  I went to the book signing in Vero Beach, which was one of his stops on the Michael Vey tour, met him in person and absolutely fell in love. Richard Paul Evans is one of the sweetest and most charming men I've ever met! He's so family oriented, so sweet, so loving and so very funny!
  Since the book tour was for the Michael Vey release, I had not had the chance the actually start the book, but after his introduction and short description of what the book was about, I was more than intrigued.
  I started the book, read all the way through (as I always do with a book, whether I like it or dislike it) and finished it within a day or so. The book was entertaining and fun, but very...innocent. I should have expected that it was going to be benign after his passionate explanation of WHY he doesn't like violence in YA books, when I saw him in person.
  So when I originally rated Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, I rated it a three out of a five...I liked it. I didn't love it, I didn't dislike it, I just liked it. I was entertained, but it didn't have that "WOW" factor for me...
  ...and then I read the second one, Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen.
  When I started the second Michael Vey, I was expecting it to be just like the first one; fun, but not amazing. I was wrong. The second one had me flipping the pages so fast I was sure I was getting paper cuts, but I didn't care- I HAD to know what happened! The second book had my heart thumping, my palms sweating and my lip caught in between my teeth in fear that something horrible was going to happen to one of my favorite characters.
  I know, a lot of books have that effect on me. I tend to be a little involved with what my characters are currently going through. But the second Michael Vey had me hooked, and now I'm so very excited to get started on number three- Michael Vey: Battle of the Ampere (which JUST came out)!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meeting Author Jeff Lindsay

  Yesterday I had the privilege and honor of meeting and introducing author Jeff Lindsay during his "Dexter's Final Cut" book tour at one of my favorite bookstores in the world, The Vero Beach Book Center. I had only heard last week that he was coming to Florida, and like when I found out about author E.L. James coming to Miami, I spontaneously decided to go.
  Being a huge Dexter fan, there was no way I could have said "no" to this once in a lifetime opportunity.
  So when I arrived there, I sat and read, chatted with the lovely bookstore ladies- who love nothing more than to chat about books and book signings- and hung out until they were ready for us to sit and wait for Jeff Lindsay to arrive.

  I was so nervous! I was nervous and twitchy to the point where I had to get up and fidget with books because I couldn't sit still. I'm never like that with book signings, I'm always so calm and excited! It may have been because he's such a popular author and...well, he's the mind, the master and the creator of Dexter Morgan! It may have also been because of what was about to happen...
  I was sitting (or standing/fidgeting) and talking to my family when the Vero Beach Book Center publicist, Cynthia, came over and started chatting with us about the previous event (the Susanna Kearsley signing) and what we were up to. In June, when Susanna came down to Florida, I had the opportunity to introduce her before she started her presentation.
  Basically when you introduce an author you say, "Hi, I'm _____, I started reading ______ books when I was ___, I love them, I love the characters, so everyone please welcome, _______!" Not that hard, but when you're doing it for an idol and favorite author of yours, it's a VERY big deal. So while Cynthia was talking to us, she asked me if I would like to introduce Mr. Jeff Lindsay.
  I was shocked! Susanna Kearsley seemed like an extra special occasion, like I had two birthdays this year. I had no idea that I would asked to repeat this very special honor and introduce Jeff Lindsay as was shockingly incredible.
  After I caught my breath and slowed down my heartbeat, I said' "I would love to."
  Yeah, it was pretty incredible. As I was sitting in my chair (in the front row) and trying to quickly think about what I was going to say and how I was going to say it, Cynthia came to me again and asked if I wanted to meet the author before my introduction.
  So I did. I shook his hand, joked with him, he joked with me, we talked about blogging, his books, his royalties (from unexpected countries), his family and what I was going to say to introduce him.
  I shook his hand!!! (Before anyone else, mind you. It's the little things in life...)
  So, I came back to the signing area, Cynthia introduced me, I introduced Jeff Lindsay (I may have stumbled over my words a bit and stuttered a few times...), he thanked me and began his speech...

  ...and read from his latest book, Dexter's Final Cut.

  Next, he took questions from the audience!

  And last, but definitely not least, he signed my books...



  Overall, this has been one of the best experiences of my life and I have Jeff Lindsay, Cynthia and The Vero Beach Book Center to thank for it. 

  Thank you so much for taking the time out to look at my book signing blog post!! I hope you enjoyed it! Happy Reading!!! 

  P.S. If you're interested in the Dexter Morgan books by Jeff Lindsay, here are the links for the first one, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and his latest one, Dexter's Final Cut. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let's Talk About Vampires

  Vampires in the literary world are a very interesting subject...a subject that's been fought over many times, for many different reasons. "But that's not what vampires do!" ...I'm sorry, but last I checked, vampires are not REAL. Just like wizards, warlocks, werewolves and zombies, whoever's creating the story can do anything they'd like with their fictional characters because...well, they're fictional! That's what fiction is, it's not real. Vampires have no set rules, therefore authors (or writers for a show/movie) can do whatever they want with them because they're just a lore. So many authors and writers have taken the basics of a made up creature and turned them into their own creation. Their own Frankenstein.
  As an avid reader- a reader who spends every day thinking about books, who lives and breathes books- I am well educated in the vampires in literature department. I've read everything from romantic vampires to blood/soul-sucking vampires to "vegetarian vampires." The world (and rules) of vampires is a flexible one and that, my dear readers, is what makes them so much fun to read about.  I sometimes prefer "everyday," human books to vampire/fantasy/horror books, just because the same genre can get tiresome after reading it over and over again. But there are those times, even if it's just for a short moment, when all I need is a good, cheesy, vampire, "happily ever after" story.
  So, readers, let's talk about vampires. Let's talk about the different variations, the different stories, the love, the horror and the addictive power that has us coming back and asking for more.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I read Twilight as an impressionable young adult. I started it, connected with Bella, saw myself in her, fell head over heels in love with Edward, read and obsessed over the Cullen family, cried when they cried and was there cheering them on every time they had to fight a foe. I loved it! I've heard people complain about her writing (which I never pay attention me, it's the story that matters, not the writing), her characters and the fact that she made her vampires sparkle. Her vampires sparkle, so what? Vampires are not real. When they were invented, the creator didn't give everyone a set of rules that said, "Vampires are scary, don't make them a sex symbol and DO NOT MAKE THEM SPARKLE." Stephenie Meyer gave her vampires this allure, this fascinating and attractive feature that made us go, "Oooooh!" Miss Meyer should not be raked over the coals for what she made her vampires do. Bram Stoker made Dracula a romantic character, one who charmed his way into women's hearts (and blood streams). Don't tell me that vampires aren't supposed to be romantic and "weak" like Edward. Stephenie Meyer's vampires aren't as violent as others have been, but they're not as bad as everyone makes them out to be. Like Harry Potter, Twilight got me reading. Twilight broke the ice for me and got me interested in reading after a few years of a dry spell. If you don't like it, (I respectfully suggest) don't read it. But if someone loves it, and you KNOW they love it, please don't bash it and ruin in for them. The story may mean a lot to someone you love. 

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Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Woo-wee. Dark lover was the first...ahem...saucy book I had ever read. The first romantic novel that had more than the normal kissing and saying sweet nothings to one another. Dark Lover was my first and I loved it! It went well beyond the every day "Bodice Ripper" and had a plot line that had me coming back for more. The Black Dagger Brotherhood (the brotherhood of warrior vampires...don't judge) is an interesting and fun band of characters to read about. Each book is about a different Brother (Dark Lover is about the main Brother, Wrath) and I love each of them more and more as I read on. These were the books that originally had me blushing when I told a fellow reader that I had read them. "Yes, The Black Dagger Brotherhood...ahem." Not that I was ashamed; I'm never ashamed of reading a book. I guess I was worried that I was going to be read the riot act. "Vampire warriors? HA!" Why are we judging others by what they read? It shouldn't matter what I'm reading- I'm READING! That's all that should matter. Even to the everyday reader who only goes to Books-A-Million for the latest "steamy and sensual" vampire novel, leave them alone. They're reading, let them read!

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A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

As I have said, I read EVERYTHING. Biographies, YA romances, sad books, funny books, classics, etc.! I enjoy all types of books no matter the genre. But, I have to say, a favorite of mine is YA boy books. (Young adult books that are typically intended and written for and about boys.) Well, I can't say that authors come out with books intending them to only be read by boys, I don't think any author has ever done that...What I'm saying is that I love books that typically boys read and love and girls don't even bother to try. (My group of friends aside, they have the same taste in books as me.) For instance, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Unwind by Neal Shusterman and A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan. These books normally have male main characters who tell the story (narrator), they tend to be more violent, and they (THANKFULLY) have less romance in them. I'm not saying all YA "boy books" have less romance or more violence, but this is just something I've noticed from my experiences with reading. A Living Nightmare is the first book in the Cirque Du Freak series, a series about a young boy who gets caught trying to steal a vampire's show spider (Madame Octa) and agrees to pay the debt by becoming the vampire's assistant. The vampire(s) in Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series are aggressive and violent, with a healthy dose of hilarious and loving. Oh. My. Gosh. I love this series, I love Darren Shan and I love the Cirque Du Freak fandom SO MUCH. I got hooked immediately and was dreading leaving the house because I was so deep into the plot. It was crazy addicting and awesome, I wish I had more of his books to go crazy over. (And I've read twenty-seven of his books.) If you like the Cirque Du Freak series, read the Demonata series and the Larten Crepsley prequel series also by Darren Shan. They're absolutely incredible! 

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Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon

As you can probably tell, Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon is also a vampire romance series, like the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Actually, both of the series are very similar to each other, but I wouldn't go as far to say that they're EXACTLY like each other because I don't think that's giving Sherrilyn Kenyon or J.R. Ward enough credit. I love both of these series for different reasons and they both have different qualities that make them wonderful and unique. Night Pleasures is the first book in the Dark-Hunter series. A Dark-Hunter is an immortal warrior, created by the Greek Goddess Artemis, who fights the evils that hide in the dark corners and alleys of New Orleans. This series is the very definition of "guilty pleasure." If you've read The Black Dagger Brotherhood or the Sookie Stackhouse series and you think they are a guilty pleasure, try the Dark-Hunter series. You wont regret it. I adore it. I love each and every one of the Dark-Hunter books, and I look forward to every new one that comes out. There are about twenty or so in the series. I've read them all and I don't plan on stopping. 

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Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

The Sookie Stackhouse series is not your typical J.R. Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon vampire series.  It's about a southern, "normal" girl, who lives in a world where vampires have just "come out of the coffin" and are out in the open, fangs exposed. But, as you may have guessed, it doesn't go over that well in the southern heat of Louisiana. You follow the life of Sookie, who's just met a very interesting and mysterious vampire named...Bill. Bill Compton. Not Vlad, not Dracula, not Caius or Carlisle- Bill. Sookie and Vampire Bill build a relationship that does have its "steamy" moments, but isn't centered around the sins of the (living and somewhat dead) flesh. I grew up with this series. I have serious emotional attachments to Sookie, Bill, Pam and the rest of the Bon Temps gang, and I just can't tell you how sad I am to see the series over and done with. (Although, I personally was VERY satisfied with the ending.) 

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Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Marked, like Twilight, helped me get into reading in my teen years. When I could be hanging with my friends and getting into all types and sorts of shenanigans (oh jeez, I sound old), I was reading in the back of Books-A-Million, ignoring all of the chaos around me. Marked is about the House of Night, a school for teen vampires who have been "Marked." (Chosen by a Tracker to become a vampire and attend the school.) Okay come on. All Harry Potter fans want to go to Hogwarts, all Percy Jackson fans want to go to Camp Half-Blood, and all Marked fans want to go to the House of Night. Yes, there's romance and love triangles (or octagons), yes, there's angst, and yes, there's a lot of "girly" stuff. But the House of Night is just so much more than that. It connects with young readers, readers who are different and need someone to come up to them and say, "You're special and others tease you because they're jealous of how truly special you are." The House of Night books have inspired, saved and reached out to so many teens. Made them feel unique and special, made them read and made them escape into a blissful oblivion. The Marked vampires can and do choose (almost the entire time) mostly food to eat and drink to drink, and only drink blood on special occasions. The only thing that bugs me about the series is Zoe. That girl just drives me CRAZY sometimes. Alas, the series is ending soon and I dread the finale...I dread not having a Marked book waiting for me on my shelves. But I look forward to finally knowing what's in store for Zoe, Stevie Rae, Aphrodite and the rest of the House of Night fledglings. 

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The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith

The Vampire Diaries is your basic YA, vampire love story. Girl (Elena) meets boy (Stefan), girl and boy fall in love with each other, boy is distant, boy has a secret...BOY IS A VAMPIRE! But not only is the boy a vampire, he has a dark and evil brother (enter Damon) who is just as sexy as himself. The town is mysterious, Elena is conflicted with her emotions, people are dying, the brothers are fighting and it's just...just so entertaining. The Vampire Diaries series is so much fun! You can really get lost in these books. Except, once the series got close to the just didn't seem to end. More and more twists kept coming up which kept the characters alive. Now, I'm not saying that I want characters I love to die (too many of my favorite characters die and I'm still very raw because of it), but it's so unrealistic. All of our favorite characters are alive and well at the end of a ten (or so) book series? Totally unrealistic. If this were a Darren Shan or Cassandra Clare series, THEY'D ALL BE DEAD. And we'd be sobbing while crying, "This is the best series EVER!" simultaneously. Although, I say that it took forever to end and that I (guiltily) got bored...but now it's over. I think now, for sure, it's over and I don't know what to do with myself. The ending was quite wonderful, but I feel a bit lost. I'm crossing my fingers, hoping that L.J. Smith continues to write more.  

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 Well, I hope you enjoyed my views of all things vampires, biting and blood! I'm not done reading, I don't think I'll ever be done reading, so I definitely see more sexy/evil/bloodthirsty vampires in my future. Keep in mind that these are just my views. I don't expect you to like or dislike books I've written go ahead, tell me what YOU think! 
  Thank you all SO MUCH for taking the time out to read my little post (rant). Enjoy and Happy Reading!!! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin by Adam Byrn Tritt

  I have just finished Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal Fin and I am still in awe of how Adam Byrn Tritt has captured the very essence of faith, happiness and loss in under 200 pages. Told mostly in narrative form, this book gives you an insight into the very mind of Adam Byrn Tritt. As the reader, you read (and then subsequently "hear") his words, his thoughts and enter his mind; feel his pain and his happiness.
  Which, in simplistic observations, proves that Mr. Tritt is a wonderful teller of stories. Except I can't exactly SAY stories. Because they're not. What has happened his books is not fiction, it's not something to imagine happening. It's happened and there's no imagining. Adam Byrn Tritt is not Ernest Hemingway, he's not Agatha Christie and he's not Jane Austen. He's Adam and that's exactly who he needs to be to make his books so spectacular. These are his stories and his experiences and no one else's.
  Yom Kippur as Manifest in an Approaching Dorsal and Songs from the Well: A Memoir of Love (Tritt's earlier book- one that had me crying hysterically) are both written in similar fashion. Both written and read in his voice, you still read it like he's speaking to you directly, even if you've never heard his voice.
  Adam Byrn Tritt's books are very emotional, but not in a sense where you can't bear it. The emotions that are triggered by his books are purely sentimental and heartwarming. There are sad parts, don't let me fool you into thinking that his books aren't sad- because they can be-, but it's not a depressing sadness. It's a sadness that warms your heart and makes you think about the beautiful things in life and makes you think about how you're reacting to them. When I'm sad, I always tend to look at the beautiful things in life to assure myself that life isn't always horrible. I don't know what it is, and I'm sure that if Mr. Tritt is reading my review right now he may think I'm crazy for thinking this. But when he writes and describes something sad that's happened, his way of coping and what we're reading as he processes said sad thing, it makes me rethink sad things that have happened to me and how I reacted to them. He has a certain way of processing things that makes me contemplate...I can't say what in general, but just contemplate. Contemplate life, love, loss, grief, happiness, sadness, anger, frustration and all of the other common side effects of tragedy.
  Adam has gone through a lot...a lot of sad things and a lot of wonderful things and I think he's a very brave man to share his experiences with his readers and the world.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Matilda's Freedom by Téa Cooper

  In Nineteenth Century Australia, we meet the tomboy and shy debutante Matilda, who's just been offered a job to become Christopher "Kit" Matcham's sister's governess, or "companion." While fancying Kit and after contemplating this divine opportunity to travel and explore, Matilda says yes.
  The passion and longing between Kit and Matilda is undeniable. Told in Kit and Matilda's perspectives, we all know how much they want each other, how much they crave one another. But with the difference in their classes and social standings, their romance may not come as easily as we would hope.
  Reasons why I love Téa Cooper's stories: 1) Her main characters (the females) are absolutely incredible. Strong, smart, clear head on their shoulders, and they stand by what they believe in- always. 2) Her male main characters are equally as lovable! Though I sometimes feel, like the heroines, that I want to reach through the book and throttle the male main characters because of the decisions they make. But they are still lovable, romantic and sweet. 3)  Téa Cooper's writing is very easy to read and not unnecessarily complicated in any way. I have problems with certain authors and their writing...where they try too hard to describe a scene and the page inevitably becomes a jumble of unnecessary descriptive words. I am very pleased to say that Miss. Cooper's writing is very far from that, where every chapter is enjoyable. 
  With every Téa Cooper book I read, I love her work more and more. I can't say, "I don't know what it is..." because I do know what it is! Her books are easy to fall in love with and easy to enjoy. 
  When I read Passionfruit and Poetry, I was on vacation enjoying scenery, basking in the bliss of being on vacation and loving every bit of literature I read. I thought perhaps I was in a fantastic state of mind and maybe I wouldn't have the same reaction to Matilda's Freedom, but I was proven wrong. No matter the atmosphere, no matter the state of mind, no matter the situation, Téa Cooper's work will always make me feel happy, content and will always fill my heart with blissful enjoyment. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie

  I don't normally write reviews on series. I have, however, added series to my top fifteen "all time favorites" list and included the Matched trilogy. But in my opinion, Ally Condie's entire Matched series deserves a blog post. Since my blog is so new, I've opted out of writing reviews for sequels to books I've already written a review for, but Crossed and Reached are a different story. With each Matched book, I feel as if I needed to talk more about this amazing trilogy. With every chapter I felt the need to express my love for this story and what Ally Condie has done with her characters. I got happily lost in her books and although I'm not a fan of rereads, I would reread this series without thinking twice about it. I'm sure that I'd find something new with every reread.
  I have just finished Reached, the third (and last book, that I know of) in the trilogy and I have to tell you, this is one book where I was dreading the ending. Even now, as I sit at my computer (trying to find friends who have also read the series) I have an empty and aching feeling in my heart that Cassia and Ky had previously filled. I miss them so much. I miss reading about their fight, their troubling struggle of "not going softly" and their love...their love that to me, is the only young adult relationship that comes close to the emotional and moving relationship of Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars. Up until I read Ally Condie's trilogy, I had thought that there was no better young adult relationship than that of Hazel and Augustus. That no young adult couple could ever truly be "meant to be" like Hazel and Gus. But once I got further and deeper into the Matched trilogy, I was proven wrong.
  Cassia and Ky are the only couple that come close to the connection that Hazel had with Augustus. I feel as though I'm recovering from a really bad breakup (having finished The Fault in Our Stars) and I've had many dates since then...but the Matched series really makes me forget how heartbroken I was. (Nice analogy, eh?)
  There are only certain literary relationships that are so beautiful it makes me weep. Those would be Hazel and Augustus, Jane and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre and Severus and Lily from the world of Harry Potter. Now I'm adding Ky and Cassia to that list. Their relationship is so beautiful and pure that it tears my heart apart in a loving and sad way. (In addition to Ally Condie making me cry about their love, she also made me sob over a fish. Literally a fish. But a symbolic fish, so don't think I cry over nothing!)
  Ally Condie includes an abundance of poetry in Cassia and Ky's story; for the rising, descriptions of books and trees, and most of all- the rebellion. I don't know if I'm the only one who noticed this or felt this way, but when I read Ally Condie's writing, I felt as if I were there. Feeling the moment with Cassia and Ky, feeling their pain as well as their love and affection. Not only did she make me feel this way, but I feel like her writing is poetry in itself. Her descriptions and imagery make you stop and picture what exactly is going and what the character is feeling.
  I guess if I were to put it in a simple way, I'd say that her words are deep. She doesn't write, she creates an emotion, she brings to life sadness, happiness, angst, love, passion and aching longing on paper.
  There was a very emotional scene in Crossed that broke my heart, and once I got to Reached...oh gosh, I about lost it. I actually did lose it! It wasn't even related to Cassia, Ky or Xander either...Ally Condie made me sob like a baby for a minor character.
  The Matched trilogy is by far, one of my most favorite series ever. Ally Condie has made it to my top seven favorite authors in the world. I finished Reached not sixteen hours ago and I'm already itching to reunite with Cassia (and especially Ky). I love Ally Condie, I love Cassia and I LOVE Ky. I fall in love with many "book boyfriends" (i.e. Peeta Mellark, Roger MacKenzie, Jacob Black, Myron Bolitar, etc.) but I haven't felt this way about a book boyfriend since Augustus.
  I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially fans of John Green and Markus Zusak's work. Throughout the series I kept comparing Ally Condie to Markus Zusak. They both turn a simple description or scenery into something magical and entrancing.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Songbook for Haunted Boys and Girls by Wayne McNeill

  Songbook for Haunted Boys and Girls is a story of life, love, learning and meaningful memories that will leave an impression on you for as long as you live. Wayne McNeill tells you of his experiences with romance, unique customers in a bookshop, friendships, new and old and lasting conversations, and all in poetry form.
  I'm honored to say that I've spoken with Wayne McNeill (about his book, book reviews and even birthdays) personally, and he's as- or even more- charming than he is on paper. I absolutely fell in love with him while reading Songbook for Haunted Boys and Girls and after I finished it, I'll admit, I totally fangirled.
  His book is very enlightening. It'll open your mind, heart and soul to thinking about things you might not normally take the time to think about. He has a way with words...almost as if his book wasn't written in poetic form, it would be poetry regardless.
  Although I own a Kindle copy of the book (and you all know how I feel about reading on my Kindle), it's so insightful, I no doubt see myself buying the paper copy and picking it up to reread almost every day. I'm sure, no matter how many times I read it, I'd find new things that I missed reading the first time around.
  I find it amazing that authors of poetry can relay so much in so few words...more than some authors can do in 500, fully-packed pages. Poetry is so moving and when an author, like Wayne McNeill, puts personal stories and adventures in there, it makes it ten times more incredible.
  This book was very short, but I'm a firm believer in judging it by not how long it is, but by the emotional and touching substance that's in its pages...and since I'm judging it based on that, Songbook for Haunted Boys and Girls gets a gold star.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

World War Z by Max Brooks

  Told by survivors of the zombie apocalypse, World War Z by Max Brooks is written entirely via interview style. The narrator talks to survivors from all over the world who have tragic, adventurous and scary stories to tell of their experiences, and survival of the Second Civil War or...World War Z.
  Max Brooks just so happens to be the son of film director, actor and comedian, Mel Brooks, and is also the author of many other zombie books (i.e. The Zombie Survival Guide).
  This book was chosen for my local book club's Book of the Month and I was very excited to read it. Besides "infection" and "plague" plots that are not quite zombie stories, and books like Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I had not read many zombie books. So when it was chosen, I was VERY excited.
  I wont say that I was disappointed with the book, I'll just say that I didn't expect it to...turn out the way it did. I didn't expect the writing style to be so unique, I didn't expect the characters to go into such long details about military aircraft (what they are, what they do, etc.) and I didn't much talking.
  Silly of me, I know. I should have figured it was going to be all talking since it was all interview format. (Shame on you, Becca, for not paying attention to the synopsis!)
  I like a nice balance of narrative and dialogue. Narrator thinks, narrator speaks (either to themself or to another person) and repeat. There have been a few books where I make an exception to this rule, i.e. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, where I could listen to her narrate all day, and TTYL by Lauren Myracle, which is literally all IMs. I love these books just as much as I love a "well balanced" one.
  But for some reason, for me, when I read interviews I get VERY distracted. Even with Carrie by Stephen King, which as short of a book as it is, I got confused and distracted about who was speaking and what they were talking about.
  I'm not going to say that I disliked this book though, because I did enjoy it. I did have "Holy crap!" moments, I had favorite and least favorite characters (as I always do, no matter how much I dislike a book) and I was interested in the plot progression and figuring out what started this whole flesh and brain eating pandemonium.
  I find zombies to be very interesting and fun to read about. For me they're in the same category as vampires, witches and werewolves; these scary and spooky tales "coming back to life" in our day and age. But unlike vampires and werewolves, and unlike other zombie stories I've read and seen, Max Brooks made this horrifying lore into something that seems more than entirely possible. And that's scary.
  Even though this book was not a favorite of mine (whatsoever), I did get a lot out of it.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Favorite Books of All Time

  Since today is September 7th and National Buy a Book day, I've decided to take the time to write a list of my all time favorite books! These are books that have made me laugh, cry, swoon and have left a huge impression on me. I have more favorites, but I figured I'd only bombard you with here they are, my lovelies! My top fifteen favorite books:

15) Wonder by R.J. Palacio 

Wonder is the story of August Pullman, a child who was born with a facial deformity. After being homeschooled for the first ten years of his life, he decides to spend his next school year in public school...and the kids aren't as nice as they seem. This book broke my heart for so many reasons. For the pain August goes through, emotionally and physically, and how society reacts to someone who's different. Everyone should read this book, even though it's considered "Children's Fiction." Everyone, young and old, will learn something from it. 

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14) Just Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles

  After a complicated past, Alex and Dylan find themselves in a work study program to help restore a semi-famous author's career, but what they end up restoring instead is their love for each other. Everyone has a dark past, but for Dylan- who's recovering from a grievous leg wound and suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after serving in Afghanistan- it's haunting his every dream. The story of Alex and Dylan, from beginning to end, is a heart breaking tale of recovering from war wounds, physically and emotionally, rekindling old relationships and battling personal demons. I love this series, this author, these characters and everything else that Charles Sheehan-Miles has compiled into the Thompson Sisters series. 

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13) Matched by Ally Condie

 Cassia Reyes, the main character in Matched, lives in a society where the government (A.K.A. Officials) decides who you are supposed to fall in love with. Every 17 year old has their own Matching Banquet where they will finally see who they are meant to be with...and for Cassia, things couldn't be more confusing. All is well. Cassia's match has been chosen for her and it just so happens to be her best friend, Xander. But when another's face flashes across the screen, Cassia can't help but feel there's a reason behind it... Everything Ally Condie described- the pages of books fluttering out of the spine like brittle bones from a corpse, and the passion a boy has for words and poetry- was pure magic. The way she wrote, even describing a simple leaf, was absolute poetry. At points I even stopped reading, put the book down and closed my eyes to picture perfectly what she was saying.

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12) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

We all know the story of Scout, Jem and Atticus Finch's timeless tale of hope, courage and bravery when times are more than tough. This book is so sweet and at times, even funny. To Kill a Mockingbird came out well before its time, but I'm thankful that it's more popular than ever in this day and age. I feel that everyone should read it at some point in their life.


11) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 

  Born into a poor family, Jane Eyre was an ugly duckling from the very beginning. After her parents died, she was forced into the custody of her Aunt and Uncle Reed, who were less than loving to her. Following her husband's death, Mrs. Reed becomes tired of Jane's attitude and decides to send her off to Lowood School, where Jane is treated equally as horrible.But even after her rough childhood, Jane becomes a well adjusted young woman who finds a job as governess for a girl named Adele at Thornfield Hall. Where she also finds Mr. Rochester, the unpredictable, cocky and frustrating master of Thornfield Hall. (In my opinion, when women now read books about frustrating men who challenge the heroine's intellect and opinionated views, they're attracted to the original cocky yet charming man, Mr. Edward Rochester.)  I was given Jane Eyre by my uncle, who's absolutely in love with Jane's story.After reading and appreciating this book, I have to agree with him. Jane Eyre is possibly one of the best books I've ever read. It's shockingly scary, surprisingly addictive and absolutely wonderful.

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10) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is the story of Claire Randall and her adventure through the stones...
  In 1945 Claire and her husband, Frank, are vacationing in Inverness, Scotland, but Claire's vacation is about to get a little more adventurous...And Scottish. While searching for herbs located around a stone circle, Claire hears a faint buzzing emanating from the stones which rapidly turns into a loud humming, accompanied by sounds of battling men and galloping horses. Leaning in a bit too close, Claire falls through the stones, blacks out and is transported to 1743 Scotland. Almost 200 years prior to her vacation with Frank. I absolutely adore the Outlander series and its commitment like relationship. I've cried over it and I've reread some of my favorite scenes (i.e. the ghost Scotsman watching Claire brush her hair in front of the window in the first Outlander novel) over and over again. Diana Gabaldon's books are beyond incredible. Inhumanly amazing.

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9) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

  The Red Tent is Anita Diamant's telling of the classic biblical story of Jacob and his four wives; Rachel, Leah, Zilpah and Bilhah. Although in Miss Diamant's version, she tells us the details of the story we didn't know, what we haven't learned from the bible; Jacob's relationship with each wife, and the love story of Leah's daughter, Dinah. I am not a religious person whatsoever. I have faith, I was born with a religion, I plan on keeping it that way, but it does not control my life/lifestyle. I get overwhelmed with religion very easily and I try not to immerse myself too deeply in it. I was apprehensive to read The Rent Tent because of its religion-based plot, but I was convinced by several friends that I needed to read it...and I did. It was fabulous. Interesting, entertaining, full of depth. There was nothing that bored me- it was just nice. A nice, sweet, inspiring and educational read.

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8) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Taking place during World War Two, The Book Thief is a serious and emotional read that'll use and abuse everything that makes you human. But Markus Zusak's ability to do that, with just words, is incredible and mind blowing. The Book Thief is a book that'll stick with you forever. 

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7) Eat, Pray, Love and Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
(Book and sequel)

Elizabeth Gilbert (or "Liz" Gilbert, as she's called by friends) has just gone through a really rough patch in her life, a few years after her overwhelmingly traumatizing divorce. So she ventures out on a trip to Italy, India and Indonesia to find food, faith and herself (and in my opinion, renewed hope for love and a romantic future). Eat, Pray, Love is semi- (if not completely) autobiographical, so when I read all about Liz's character, adventures and misadventures, Elizabeth Gilbert climbed to the top of my "Most Inspiring People" list. I absolutely adore her! She's so nonsense, clear headed (most likely because of mistakes she's made in the past) and most of all, the heroine of her own life. Committed is the "sequel" to Eat, Pray, Love and it follows Elizabeth Gilbert's life after her spiritual journey. I love Committed as much, or maybe even more than Eat, Pray, Love. 

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6) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows a very unique character named Charlie and his letters to "Friend" about his experiences in high school. It's sad, sweet, funny and an absolutely amazing read. Five stars all around! 

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5) The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Written by one of my favorite authors in the world, The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley is an all time favorite of mine. It has time travel, historical fiction and a love story that'll make you swoon and tear you to pieces. This book is perfect escapism and a complete delight to read. 

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4) Looking For Alaska by John Green

Okay, besides The Fault in Our Stars, THIS is my favorite John Green book ever. It's beyond incredible. It's your typical story with very non-typical events and characters...boy meets girl, boy falls in love, boy has adventures, etc. It's...oh gosh, it's just so amazing, I can't even...

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3) I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

After Ed Kennedy starts receiving "Ace" cards in the mail with instructions on them...he starts to follow them. The first card has addresses on it...and after some convincing Ed visits each location. After finding interesting situations at each address, he realizes that whoever sent him these cards wants him to help fix...the world. It has a mysterious beginning with an intriguing middle and an end that'll blow your mind. 

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2) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

 The Fault in Our Stars is my favorite book ever. It's a book to go into without knowing anything about it. Refrain from reading the book jacket, don't look up a short synopsis...just go into it with eyes (rhetorically) closed and let John Green's words take you over. Escape into it, let the characters tell you their story and let John Green lull you into a state that you wont want to get out of.

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And last but not least...the book (series) that (in my opinion) can never be beaten is none other than...

1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

This is the story of Harry Potter, a normal and every day boy, with an abnormal secret. He's a wizard. Read about Harry's adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, fight alongside him as he battles the dark lord, Voldemort, and reclaim your childhood. 

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I hope you enjoyed my top 15 all time favorites! Go on, tell me your own favorites and why in a comment. Thank you and Happy Reading! <3