Brillant and Beautiful Books!

Some my favoritest reads. If you love them too, we can be best friends! 

  Six of Crows and the Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo


A little grisly, (older readers rec.) I don't know if I've ever read a book where I enjoyed the whole cast this much. Excellent story!
 

 The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen

This trilogy is awesome. So awesome, that the whole family wanted to do (almost) nothing but read them on Christmas day and we were more disappointed about these coming to an end than Christmas. They entirely encompass everything that a good book should, and that was proven by the fact that they captivated every family member for different reasons (even those that "weren't"listening). I could go on about them all day. Bottom line: you HAVE to read them! Let me put it this way, if you knew about these books and didn't tell me, I wouldn't be your friend anymore.

 

The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner

This series is SOOO good! I read them because they were said to be similar to the Ascendance trilogy, but they were also so wonderfully unique and good in their own way. One of the most fascinating aspects to this whole series (for me as a writer as well) was the fact that the climaxes and battles are not that big or astounding. Rather, the plots ride on great characters and lots of twists and turns and simply, excellent, excellent, writing. Megan Whalen Turner, how I envy your abilities!    

The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

It's very hard for me to put these third on the list. Really, these top three are all equally my favs. Their similarity? Amazing main characters, who also happen to share the common trade of thieving. These are the most brilliant books ever. I was in love with Hans for weeks afterwards. :) 

The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan 

This series blew open my mind to new genres. The books were floating around the house because my younger brothers were reading them and I happened to pick one up in boredom. What started as idly flipping through the pages quickly became attentive reading, which had me flipping back to the beginning of the book and starting over, and then going back and reading the other books in order and finally, rereading the whole series over aloud to my younger siblings. THAT sacrifice is the truest sign of a great book series! (Also, maybe the fact that I read two of these books in the same day?)

 

Brotherband Chronicles (also) by John Flanagan

These books are John's secondary series after the Ranger's. They stand alone, but the Ranger's prop this series up nicely. They have similar qualities, except that these are lengthier and have more lull moments. Still good plots, you just have to dig under a bit of sailing terms and over descriptive scenery to find them. I read for the characters. Love John's characters--he doesn't disappoint there!





Harry Potter by J.K. Rowlings


Quiet time was painstakingly stolen and heavily safeguarded for the reading of this book series aloud in our loud and busy big family. I was in the middle of writing a manuscript last winter when we started reading these aloud and Rowlings sucked me so deeply into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that I was forced to drop my daily word count goals because my imagination would not be torn in two places at once. I am not a famous author because of J.K. Rowlings, but I do hold her in very high esteem for the spells she worked over me.


 Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

 When I started reading these, I was afraid I was reading a bit under-aged for my mature self. ;) But I wanted to read more books written in first person, on account of the author in me not having enough experience in writing in that tense. Finishing this series, I felt like Percy was one of my best friends. This is one of the best examples of first person writing, ever. I also learned more about Greek Mythology then I expected and once again, had my genre boundaries expanded and my imagination playfully stretched. This was another series where I read two books in one day. I plan to read then aloud to my younger siblings.



The Heroes of Olympus (also) by Rick Riordan

 These books were a bit thicker and perhaps a bit slower moving than the Percy Jackson series, but I am such a Percy fan that I will read anything starring him and his colorful friends! I actually bought the House of Hades book (something I never do) after quite literally, the biggest cliff hanger I've ever (and hopefully will ever) read in the Mark of Athena! Final book comes out this summer and I may have to buy that one as well... I mean, this is Percy Jackson we're talking about! ;) Also, Rick presents through the eyes of new characters in this series and I found that really interesting--both from a writing study perspective and from a reader perspective who was curious to see how Percy was presented through a different characters view.

 

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins

 I read these for the study of the very gripping first-person present-tense writing style... at least, I tried. I actually don't remember the writing hardly at all, it was so deeply hidden under such a riveting story. I cried (like, real tears rolling down my face), I jumped up and danced around the room with anticipation, I pulled my blankets over my head to calm my racing heart... My family kept a raised brow when they saw me (which was rarely) because I have never had such pliable emotion from reading a book series. However, these books were very intense. My mind is still not purified from its realistic, gripping imagery. The ending left my feeling worn out, for lack of a better term. Suzanne gave 'happily ever after' her best shot, but after such a roller coaster, I, like Katniss, wondered if there could ever be such a thing...

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

My sister randomly discovered this series when she heard about the movie coming out. She doesn't read to much anymore so she suggested I check it out. I was reluctant because it sounded like a total Hunger Games rip off by a teen 'Suzanne Collins wannabe'. Buuut, when I needed something to read and finally gave in, I discovered I was wrong. Yes, it's dystopian (whatever that means...) but plenty different enough. The characters gently knocked on my head for the whole day (Four--oooo, what a guy!) and I was very proud of myself when I managed to maintain productivity, only caving to read in the evening! The climaxes were very exciting, but also soured my stomach. Dat ending though........ Again, big fat tears. Why Veronica, why?

 

These last two are laugh out loud family read aloud's!

  Half Upon a Time, Twice Upon a Time, and Once Upon The End, by James Riley

I discovered this hilarious little series at my local library and I felt like they were such a gem among the other books on it's shelf! I originally started reading them to my younger brother, but when I was having trouble breathing (let alone reading!) for laughing out loud within the first few pages, I decided to read them aloud to the family. We all shared a lot of belly laughs, as well as loud debates hashing out the plots, trying to untangle them from James' brilliant weave. These books are simultaneously a combination of all the fairy tales, as well as your typical 'bummer boy to hero' tale (we all loved Jack sooo much) and a tongue and cheek good-humored laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of some of those old fairy tales.... Jack doesn't just mindlessly climb a giant bean pole or ride on a flying broomstick without pausing to acknowledge the utter craziness of it! And don't think there's nothing to worry about just because Jack lives in a fairytale land. He comes within an inch of his life every other chapter, which had the kid's pleading for more! I had no trouble getting quiet for reading these out loud. In fact, I was handed the book and positively begged to read every time I sat down. Even the older kids came for a listen, and they still talk about this series with fondness and giggles. Highly recommend for family read aloud!!


Max and Me and the Time Machine, Max and Me and the Wild West, and This Island Isn't Big Enough for the Four of Us! by Gery Greer and Bob Ruddick

These books introduced us to the beauty of a family read aloud. The key, we discovered, is having the right book! These books are quite possibly the oldest books on our shelf. I think my Dad discovered our worn copy of Max and me and the Time Machine at a garage sale and picked it up for my brother when we were little. I remember being kept awake late into the night by his louder-than-giggle fits coming from the other side of the wall. The next day, he read the book aloud to us. That was the first and only time that ever happened! After that, the book was cherished and read numerous other times. When we pulled it out and read it again, several years later for the benefit of the younger kids, we searched online for more books by this husband and wife writing team. That's when we discovered the second Max and Me (and the Wild West) book, as well as the other stand alone book, This Island. Both were read aloud in one long evening of family laughter!



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