And here we pick back up with the fun. For those of you just tuning in, I’m rounding up some of my favorite series, finished and continuing, for the long summer of reading ahead. Don’t forget to tune in down below with your favorites!
Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead, takes its title from the first book. It’s an interesting take on vampires here, with three distinct types: Strigoi, the baddies who like to go ahead killing people and nomming on them; Moroi, the kinder gentler vamps who nom only a little at a little and only with permission; and Dhampir, half Moroi guardians who protect the Moroi from the Strigoi threat. This series has one of the most kick-ass heroines ever. Rose Hathaway has a talent for sassing, getting knocked on her rear, and jumping right back into the fight, rarely taking the time to think any of it through first. This series was finished with its sixth book, BUT, it has a spinoff series starting in August with the book Bloodlines, so the fun doesn’t have to end.
For those who love historicals, especially anyone who has ever gone to, worked, or loved Renaissance Festivals, the Blood Jack series by L.A. Meyer is an absolute must. Jacky Faber is an absolute blast. She’s resourceful and fun-loving and respectfully irreverent, and just careens through such an exciting time of history and exploration. There is so much real history woven through this, and the detail is absolutely astounding. Teachers? This series could become your best friend. Seriously. Next book comes out in October in the seas of the Far East, and I cannot wait.
This is a series I’ve mentioned before, but I absolutely love it. The Squire’s Tale by Gerald Morris starts us off on a ten-book adventure through King Arthur’s Camelot and the quests of the knights connected to the Round Table. These stories are told with humor and grace and an exquisite sensitivity that illuminates both the sorrows and the joys of life. The stories themselves are old, but the characters come alive and make you want to laugh and cry, sometimes even at the same time. Teachers, this is another on you want to look out for.
Next up is a Middle Grade series by Garth Nix, called The Keys to the Kingdom. I’ll be the first to admit, this series is bizarre, but in such a wonderful way. Strange and foreign and yet everything makes an odd kind of sense. Think Mirrormask meets Alice in Wonderland meets Nightmare Before Christmas. Seriously. It takes a healthy sense of weird to really appreciate this utterly unique world, but if you can swallow all the things you don’t understand and just immerse yourself completely, it’s the ride of a lifetime.
I was a little hesitant to start this next one, mainly because I really didn’t like the author’s first book, but Lauren Oliver’s Delirium was breathtaking in so many ways, not the least of which was the masterful portrayal of the push-me-pull-me sensation of teetering on a decision that will change all the rest of your life. It’s a terrifying position to be in, especially when you’re taught that love is a disease that destroys everything it touches and therefore must be cured. It pulled me in so completely I was stunned when I reached the end of it- and started swearing when I realized how long it was going to be before the next one came out (especially since I got an advance of this one, so I read it five months before it was even released). Look for the second one around February, most likely.
Pretty much anything Tamora Pierce goes on my summer reading list. I reread her again and again and again, because I just love her stories and her characters and her worlds so much. She’s got the third book in her Beka Cooper series coming out in October, Mastiff by name, and I can’t wait. Beka’s story is amazing, and her voice is stunning, that blend of Lower City cant and the gradual increase of intelligence and observation as she proceeds through her training. The fact that Beka, as a Provost’s Dog, is an ancrestress of Alanna’s George is…well, priceless, and given that it requires a mate of some sort to be an ancestor, it lets us wonder if perhaps George inherited his tendencies honestly- just not from Beka. Hopefully, this will be the book where we get to find out.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis came out in January, with A Million Suns to come out next year. It’s almost space opera meets murder mystery dinner theatre, and I mean that in such a fun way. The dust jacket includes a map of the ship. The society that has evolved on the ship as the intended occupants slumped in cryostasis is simultaneously simple and complex with more secrets than anyone knows to look for. I occasionally have issues, but I’m very much looking forward to what happens next, especially since there’s a vague sense of hopelessness that will linger from the previous book.
All of Rick Riordan’s Middle Grade books go on this list. The Percy Jackson books, along with its continuation of the Heroes of Olympus, makes me so ridiculously happy. I love mythology just as much as I love fairy tales, and I love books that get kids reading, and this series just…I love it. Same with the Kane Chronicles- Egyptian mythology is confusing as best, layered through itself many times over the millenia, but it becomes so clear, and Carter and Sadie’s banter and knife-sharp observations are brilliant. This is another set(s) for teachers to love, because it actually gets kids excited about the lessons. Heroes of Olympus continues in October with book two, Son of Neptune.
I’ve talked about the next one before- raved about it, really- but I’m still excited about this one. Veronica Roth’s Divergent was amazing, and I can’t wait for the sequel. Having to wait til May is kind of killing me. I put the review up here on the site, so feel free to hit that up for more gushing about how much I loved this book.
Of course, this list couldn’t possibly be complete without the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I could gush about this forever and maybe in another post I will, but this series rejuvenated the industry of kids lit. I won’t say it was dying before, but this gave it a huge boost because suddenly kids wanted to be reading. And it wasn’t just kids! Adults were suddenly discovering how amazing so many of these books are, and enjoying it for themselves and not just for their kids. If you haven’t read this series, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
If you’ve never read Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series, you’re in for a treat. Plots within plots and plans within plans, there isn’t a single thing in this series that can be taken for granted. It isn’t just court intrigue, it’s the intrigue of people and countries and hearts, as intensely personal as it is political. Everything has more than one way it can be taken, and the way we take it is so rarely the way it’s meant. These books will blow your mind.
This is another one you’ve seen here on the blog: Paranormalcy by Kierstin White. The second book, Supernaturally, comes out this July (another one of those books that’s going to keep me broke this summer) and I’m very much looking forward to it. Evie is bouncy and silly and a little bit scary and more than anything, just wants a normal life. It should be interesting to see what happens when she’s actually got it, or at least as close to it as she’s likely to get when she’s…well…Evie.
Last one, I promise! This is a little bit of an older one, but it made me fall in love with the Regency period. Patricia C. Wrede’s Mairelon the Magician and its sequel The Magician’s Ward were amazing. The system of magic, the detail of everyday life, the dialect, the plots, the characterizations…loved everything about them. This was the series that made me fall in love with historical fiction. They were just rereleased together in a single volume, in print and in ebook, which makes me laugh a little over the weeks I spent trying to track down a pair that were in really good condition, but a fair number of libraries still have these, so do yourself the favor and check these out.
Don’t forget, drop me a note and let me know what your favorites are! What are you looking forward to this summer? What’s on your list?
Until next time~