Hey, y'all! So, I've been wanting to do a fun blog post, so I thought my reading recommendations would be a fun one.
Now, I know we aren't all technically in quarantine, but in "Self-Isolation" or "Social Distancing." I know that, but quarantine sounded more fun. Anyways, here's my list of my favorite books! So, don't go crazy and destroy your mental health with cabin fever. Read a book!
As you know, I'm a pretty avid reader, and have read A LOT books. I'm going to make a list of my favorites here, and I'm going to tell you why. I'll do novels, and then series, and then miscellaneous/non-fiction. Just as another note, I do own all of these books. So, family, friends, if you need help finding them, or want to borrow one, let me know. Or, I could probably even hook you up with some audio books too.
STAND ALONE NOVELS
Honestly, I'm a big reader, but I really don't read many stand-alone novels. I have only three off the top of my head that I would recommend. Well, okay, I can think of more, but normally I'm a big series person.
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is actually my favorite book. Ever. There is no arguing it. (Well, actually I would be open to debate.)
This book is totally a sister-power book. It's great for girls and guys of all ages. I don't know many people who have actually read it, but I bond well with people who have.
I'm a big fan of literature from the time period it was written during, and I love the relationships shown between the four March sisters. I honestly love it so much. The way Alcott depicts the relationship between Jo, an aspiring novelist, and her sisters just brings me so much joy. I really relate to Jo as a character, and I feel like we're incredibly alike as human beings. I love the way Alcott writes, in style and in characterization. The novel was actually a large influence on feminism during this period. Alcott knew people like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. All of this was written during the Transcendentalist period, and Alcott was a major feminist. She was a very impacting influence, and continues to be. It's just really cool, and I know I just gave you a mini history lesson, but I just really love Alcott and this novel.
Plus. There are so many movie and TV adaptations. So, read it, pick one, and criticize!
2. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
This book was SO well written I could actually cry.
Heartless a novel forced down my throat by my elder sister. It's in the twisted-fairy-tale genre, which either goes one of two ways: horrible, or amazing. This one was the latter. Honestly, I swear it's probably one of my favorite books.
I do think this novel is aimed more towards older teens and young adults, but it's still really good.
It's a unique take on Wonderland in the universe of Alice in Wonderland. It's a very catching story and there are so many things I didn't catch the first time that were revealed at the end. I had to read it a second time.
It's been a while since I've read it, but I remember not being able to put it down. It was phenomenal. It's a little bit of a court intrigue novel, I think.
3. Paper Towns by John Green
Whoooo. It has been a long time since I've read this. I should reread it again.
I really enjoyed this novel for many reasons. It's a crazy hunt for a girl who goes missing, but it's a group of seniors who hijack one of their mom's minivans (I think. Like I said: It's been a while).
I remember cry-laughing when I saw it in the movie theater and they busted out singing the Pokemon theme song.
John Green does an excellent job of making the story fun, sad, and real. It has just the right blend of everything and it is unbelievably funny. The black Santa jokes (not racist in the novel, one of the guys' parents is obsessed with collecting them) are hysterical. Personally, I would read the novel and turn right around and watch the movie. It makes the experience SO much more fun. (I actually did this, but I had read it several times before I even heard they were making a movie.)
S IS FOR SERIES
Okay, series. This is my domain. I'm a big series girl. I tend to get sucked in and binge read and then go for over a month without reading.
And, notice, I left out Harry Potter. Ask me why, sometime.
1. The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen
This. This series is the series I wanted to read before I die. I read this back in middle school after picking it up and putting it back about a thousand times. It's my all-time favorite series. I read it as it was being released.
I love this series with all of my heart. I even bought a second set of the books so that I can write in them.
They aren't hard to find. I actually found them at Half-Price Books. Amazon is great and has them all. AND get this:
Jennifer A. Nielsen puts all the audio books of her novels on Spotify (The Mark of the Thief series is on there too! I loved that one). OR, if you don't have Spotify, someone uploaded them all to YouTube.
Haha, yeah. That literally explains nothing about the series, so let me do that.
A brief summary of the first book:
Sage, an orphan boy in the country of Carthya, is "adopted" (read: kidnapped) along with three other boys by a nobleman. This nobleman has a well-thought out plan for them, but, as Sage soon discovers, that plan is total treason.
As a whole, this series is hands down my absolute favorite. I mean, I love anything by Jennifer A. Nielsen and highly recommend any of her books, but this series was my favorite. I love the story of Sage and he's such a snarky character (I'm pretty snarky myself, so I relate -- a lot). And the audio books for this series are fantastic and I am super picky about audio books. I've read and listened to this series so many times that I've lost count.
And! Now is a great time to read it because I just found out there's a forth book being released in October.
I could go on and on about how much I love this series, and if you really want me to, let me know. Just know that this is the series that made me realize I could be a writer. That's why I love it so much, guys.
So, if you want to know me, give it a try. I don't think you'll regret it.
2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
If you want a good story, I always tell people to read The Maze Runner Trilogy (specifically guys as well, I find it's easier to get guys to read series like this instead of some of the others I recommend).
Personally, I love this trilogy because of the story. I think the writing technique isn't totally all that great, but the story is so good that I end up captured by it. I read these books long before there was even talk of a movie.
It's such an interesting form of dystopia, and it actually makes some subtle statements about the environment. There is no way to describe it without totally spoiling the story for you.
Much like Paper Towns, this is a great series to read and then watch the movies. But, depending on your reading pace, I would stagger it (book, movie, book, movie, book, movie). I haven't read any of the books that go along with the trilogy, but I feel like the series was complete and I didn't want to add to it. I liked it how it was. It was ambiguous. The world was thoroughly explained, but never how things truly ended up that way. And I liked it like that. As far as I understand, the books that go along with it work as a sort of prequel.
Here's a summary stolen from Google:
"The Maze Runner is a young adult novel set in a post-apocalyptic world. The story begins in a dark metal elevator, where a teenage boy awakens with no real memories other than the fact that his name is Thomas. When the elevator stops and the doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by teenage boys."
3. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
So, before I get into this, THIS SERIES IS NOT TWELVE BOOKS. Just thought I would put that out there. The series is only six books, but was recently re-released with new covers. I own the entire series with the old covers. I like them because I think they look like old-fashioned tomes.
And yes, these books were written by a man named Michael Scott.
But not that one.
For a while, this was my favorite series. I actually read it as it was being released. The first four books were already out, I believe. It was such a good series.
The series has moments that were a little hard to get through, but I promise you, the ending of the series makes it all worth it.
Here's a summary I stole from Google:
"When the necromancer and immortal magician Dr. John Dee steals the ancient book the Codex from its keeper, Nicholas Flamel, two teenagers named Sophie and Josh Newman are caught up in the danger and magic. Dee also captures Nicholas Flamel's wife, Perenelle."
Friends, the series is amazing, and complete! So, check it out!
4. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
This series is so much fun to criticize, adaptation-wise. There's a movie and a TV series based on it. It's a lot of fun.
This series was actually my high school binge-read, and like several of the other series, I read it as it was releasing. There are six action-packed, demon hunting, dramatic books and they were so much fun to read.
The last three books (City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire) are definitely aimed towards the older teen/young adult and get kind of dark. I think this is the only series that I warn against letting younger teens read. It definitely deals with some more mature themes, so parents, use that your own discretion. I have read this series many, many, many times. So, if you want more details on those themes and content, let me know and I'll be more than happy to share.
There is a prequel trilogy, called The Infernal Devices, but I didn't get around to reading the other series that come after The Mortal Instruments.
Here's the summary I robbed Google for:
"In New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager named Clary Fray learns that she is descended from a line of Shadowhunters -- half-angel warriors who protect humanity from evil forces. After her mother disappears, Clary joins forces with a group of Shadowhunters and enters Downworld, an alternate realm filled with demons, vampires and a host of other creatures. Clary and her companions must find and protect an ancient cup that holds the key to her mother's future."
5. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
DISCLAIMER: I HAVE NOT FINISHED THIS SERIES. I'M TOO CHEAP TO GO BUY THE LAST BOOK. I'LL BORROW IT FROM MY SISTER AT SOME POINT.
That being said, this is another favorite of mine. Marissa Meyer wrote this series as well as Heartless. This was another series my sister basically forced me to read, and I'm glad I did.
This is kind of an interesting take on superheroes and supervillians. It's a little bit Post-Purge-esque. So, I'd consider it dystopian, but superheroes have to try out to be superheroes and they join and organization. So, kind of how Avengers: Civil War could have gone if everyone agreed with superheroes being tracked.
It's such a fun series because there are some seriously weird super powers that I wouldn't have thought up. It's really cool. The series is about Nova, a girl who has the power to put people to sleep, if I remember correctly.
These are aimed toward the older teen as well, but that might just be Marissa Meyer's writing style. Who knows.
Here's a summary from Marissa Meyer's website:
"The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew."
6. The Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
If you love Greek mythology, this is the series for you!
No, seriously, I love Greek mythology, and I always have. As I read this, I fell in love with the stories and the characters and the magical realism of it all. Percy is such a sassy character and the series works in a Harry Potter-esque way. Every book Percy and the characters are a year older. It's so fun to be with the characters as they learn and grow. This is a great series and Annabeth Chase is a powerhouse. She is the best version of a strong female character. I loved this series so much. I read it all through middle school, and again in high school.
Then, there's also a sequel series The Heroes of Olympus which is amazing too. The characters are all a little bit older in that one, and we meet new characters. It's a lot of fun."
It's a great book for families, kids, and teens. Really for anyone looking for an adventure!
Give it a read! But don't watch the movie.
The summary I stole from Google:
"The Lightning Thief. Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is on the most dangerous quest of his life. With the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction — Zeus' master bolt."
7. The Selection by Kiera Cass
(Shown out of order. The order is as follows: The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir, The Crown. There are two novellas to go along with it: The Selection Stories: The Prince and the Guard and Happily Ever After: Companion to the Selection Series.)
I loved this series.
Y'all, this is The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games. Minus the violent murders. So, dystopian.
It's just such a fun series. The main character's name is America, and she's a lot of fun to follow and watch as she makes her choices. It's such a drama and romance.
It is definitely not my normal type of book to read, but I loved this series. It was a lot of fun to read. I would recommend it.
It's also great if you're having a hard time getting your tween/teen girls to read! It's a relatively easy book to read, and it is so much fun. So, I do highly recommend it.
Summary stolen from Google:
"A group of impoverished girls compete for a chance to live amongst the wealthy, where a rebellion is brewing. For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering crowns and priceless jewels."
MISCELLANEOUS AND NON-FICTION
1. Pray Big Things by Julia Jeffress Sadler
This book is amazing beyond description.
Julia's writing stuck a chord in me so many times. In fact, when I was reading, I sat with a pen ready to take notes.
This story is so power and amazing. Julia is the daughter of the pastor of First Baptist Dallas, so she's from this area.
In this story, she talks about her experiences with miscarriages and infertility, and finally how her and her husband were blessed with triplets.
It is a beautiful, beautiful book. It actually teaches you how to pray, sort of. It made me realized what I was praying wasn't actually me praying from the heart. It's a spiritually-eye-opening book. I recommend it to everyone.
Don't just breeze through it though. Read it, underline things, highlight things. Really read it. Absorb it.
2. Gold By Moonlight: Lessons for Walking Through Pain by Amy Wilson Carmichael
So, this book was actually a gift to me. It's not normally a book I would have picked up, but I'm incredibly grateful it was given to me. I love it so much. The point of the book isn't clear when you begin reading it, and this book isn't just for anyone.
DISCLAIMER: I haven't actually finished this book yet.
I love this book so far. It speaks to my soul in a way few others have or will.
It's hard book to read because it doesn't always make sense.
It's a good book for someone like me, who's been through an incredibly traumatizing experience. If you have something big and heavy and traumatizing weighing on your heart, it's a good book to read. I would definitely recommend it.
Written: April 2nd, 2020
Current Read: Wild Ideas by Cathy Wild
Current Watch: None. Suggestions?
Current Listen: Falling by Harry Styles