Tag Archives: Young Adult

Life is a series… of series

Having just returned from a quick trip across the Atlantic I had an opportunity to read a couple of books (and load a few as backups). I noticed upon completing these and observing those I’ve loaded that I have a serious series fetish. I personally like coming in when the series is complete so I can binge read, but sometimes that is just not possible. It feels rare these days that you get a book that is one and done – especially in the YA category (although refreshingly, the latest Expiration Day was… I think). EVERYTHING seems to be part of a series. As a wannabe author I’ve read that you should pitch your book (singular) even if you have a series in mind so that you don’t scare away the publishers/agents – but I’ve also read the opposite, if you have a good idea for a series (and can pull it off) put in your query letter that it is a series. I have so many downloaded samples of series starters… I just wish I knew before investing if I was going to be in for a good ride, or if I should stop before I begin.

Anyway – today I wanted to put a lens on these series that I’ve invested in…

Completed series (that I can remember – thank you goodreads):
1) Harry Potter by JK Rowling (beloved beloved beloved)
2) Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (though admittedly, watched the movies, THEN listened to the BBC book on tape – that series is L O N G)
3) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (of course… what YA writer hasn’t read these as inspiration?)
4) Divergent by Veronica Roth (though the last one lost steam)
5) Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (again… what happens with these last books?)
6) Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris (yes I started before True Blood, and she definitely petered out – but watching that HBO series divergence you can see why)
7) His Dark Materials (aka Golden Compass series) by Philip Pullman (definitely started better than it finished, but I do have a dog named Lyra so does deserve a place on this completed list)
8) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (at least I think I finished these… 6th grade stuff!)
9) Wool Series by Hugh Howey (so good! recommend for anyone who likes dystopian)
10) Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown (is this one finished? Don’t know, cruised through Inferno this summer)
11) Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (dino-saurs… what’s not to like?)
12) Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larson (gripping, good, cruised through all three in short order)
13) 50 shades by EL James (yep. I read them all. Paperback and all, not even hiding behind my kindle. Silly lightweight porn. Could have probably made one good book instead of three mediocre books)
14) Confessions of a Shopaholic Sophie Kinsella (writes a fun/funny main character who is terrible hopeless but makes you feel better about your own plight)

Abandoned series:
1) Anita Blake Vampire Hunter by Laurell Hamilton (the first few were so good – then they just got lazy and pornographic)
2) Meredith Gentry Fairy Series by Laurel Hamilton (same author and same problem as Anita Blake)
3) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (liked the first book, did NOT like how it ended, trudged through the second book and didn’t continue)
4) Fire and Ice Series by George RR Martin (aka Game of Thrones – made it half way through book three and didn’t want to meet yet another unimportant character or have to refer to the family glossary in the back to see who was killing whom in which family. TOO Much. Thank you HBO for simplifying – though that Red Wedding was a SHOCKER!)
5) The Boyfriend List series by E. Lockhart (read the first one after meeting the author, didn’t love it enough to want to read more)
6) Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (read through the first 2 in this series before giving up)
7) The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro (who doesn’t like a vampire trilogy? me apparently. This started off so well, but then spiraled into mundane, maybe I’ll watch the FX series…)
8) Cormoran Strike series by JK Rowling (definitely not Harry Potter and I apparently don’t like male protagonist detective novels…)
9) The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey (not even sure another one is coming out – but not a fan, didn’t like the characters)
10) Alex Cross by James Patterson (I did like these, but I think I just stopped grabbing the latest one while at the airport…)
11) Kay Scarpetta series by Particia Cornwell (didn’t mind these either… just stopped reading. Watch Bones now if I need a fix)
12) The Black Jewels by Anne Bishop (I think I read the main three from this dark fantasy series – not bad, but when the main protagonists story completed I wasn’t interested in the side character stories)
13) Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia (aka at Beautiful Creatures – apparently this is a good series but honestly I didn’t like either of the main characters and the movie was even worse. Couldn’t do it, as much as I like books about witches…)
14) The Inheritance Cycle (aka Eragon series) by Christopher Paolini (impressive first book for a 16yo writer. Actually own the second two in hardback from the series, but haven’t felt the need to pick up a 1000 page hard back…)

Still going strong:
1) Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (just finished the first one of these on the plane – impressive!)
2) Maze Runner series by James Dashner (about to start book 3 of 3 – but haven’t invested in the .5 versions)
3) Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (gave up on this series after reading the first book, but then picked it up again after watching the cheezy but fun movie, on book 3 of 5 so far)
4) Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead (the first one was mildly amusing, strong protagonist, would’ve abandoned, but my friend let me borrow the next couple, so am currently about to read number 3)
5) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer- another Seattle author, like Richelle (these are clever futuristic takes on fairy tales. About to start 3 in at least a series of 4)
6) Stephanie Plum Bounty Hunter series by Janet Evanovich (these are fun to just pick up and read whenever – no need to rush out and binge I’m on 15 of a still going 21 so far!)
7) MaddAddam/Oryx and Crake series by Margaret Atwood (clever adult dystopian. Didn’t love the protagonist, but the second in the series was highly recommended so will go back)
8) The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (not quite the ‘next JK Rowling’ as the previews stated, but good enough to preorder the next one)
9) Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi (only have read one of several in this series, but it was funny so I’ll go back some day. Have the second one loaded on ye ole Kindle)
10) Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde (so cleverly written I have to take long breaks inbetween…)
11) The Passage series by Justin Cronin (love this dystopian series…wish I would have found it AFTER he completed it, waiting is painful)
12) All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (same as The Passage series – waiting for the third book is painful… want it now)

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 24 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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City of Bones and Young Adult misery….

Okay – as promised in blog post 20 (!! I made it to 20 yay!) – I am going to write out my thoughts on Cassandra Clare’s first book in the Mortal Instrument’s series “City of Bones”. I have been reading a lot of Young Adult books to a) get a feel for the ‘voice’ of Young Adult in the event that I move that direction with my writing and b) because I like the ease of cruising through a YA book in between the more serious books I have on my ‘to read’ list. HA!

I picked up City of Bones based on a recommendation from a few gf’s at work.  We all trade YA book reccos, and all loved the Harry Potter, Twilight (!!), Divergent and Hunger Game series.  We often hit the movies together as a ‘girls night’ wine in hand, mainly because our husband’s refuse to be subjected to the film torture.  We’re looking forward to this holiday’s next Hunger Games, and next spring’s Divergent in the theaters.   We haven’t steered each other wrong yet, so after I finished Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season, I quickly downloaded City of Bones (we wanted to make another movie date of it – even with the bad reviews of the film).

The-Mortal-Instruments-City-of-Bones-Book-Cover

Okay – on with my thoughts.  Probably should put a *SPOILER ALERT* here if you want to read on, but haven’t read the book.  I can see why my colleagues liked it.  The paranormal world that Cassandra Clare has created right under the nose of the ‘Mundanes’ in NYC is rich and interesting.  Adding new elements than your average Were/Vamp novel, with demons and demon hunters.  That said there were things that were written into this book that seemed so ridiculous and poorly thought through that I couldn’t fully endorse (let’s be clear, I’ll still go to the movie with the ladies and drink some wine!).  Here is what I had the biggest problem with it:

  • The main character “Clary” found out within the first few pages that demos, vampires, and werewolves existed along shadow hunters to accompany them.   Her mother is kidnapped, and her house destroyed by these weird lizard critters.  Was her reaction hysterics, or bewilderment, or fascination, or terror?  newp.  She barely had a reaction, just as if these things were always around, not completely preposterous.  Problem 1 for me.  She didn’t have any reaction to this crazy new world, just transitioned from ‘mundane’ human to super hero in a matter of pages.
  • Within 24 hours of meeting the ‘love interest’ Jace in the book she was already talking about how his ‘moods’ impacted his behavior.  how the HECK would she know after less than 24 hours (most of that she was passed out/asleep due to a demo attack….).
  • The characters in general weren’t likable, or believable.  All the sudden one was gay in love with the main guy character.  All of the sudden Clary’s bff wanted to smoke and drink (and I am pretty sure they were supposed to be teenagers – and NOT that the smoking and drinking are odd for teens – but it cropped up out of nowhere, and prior to this the character seemed pretty nerdy/innocent.
  • A lot of predictable twists.  Was anyone really surprised that the big bad was this character’s true father?  I was a little surprised (and creeped out) when the ‘love interest’ was the long dead brother.  For that reason alone I MIGHT read the next book if I get desperate, but doubtful.  It would be interesting to see if they can turn off their hormones to be more brother and sister than bf and gf, or if they go Game of Thrones Cersi and Jaime on us.  (ew).
  • Lastly – I find the praise on the book cover hilarious.  “Funny, Dark, Sexy…”  It wasn’t funny- the characters were stale and not interesting at all.  The sexy parts ended up giving me the jeebies at the end due to the relationship – yick.  Dark?  okay dark.  people die and get stabbed etc and the world is a bad ass place.  Fine.

Anywhoo.  I didn’t like it very much, but didn’t want to not give up before finishing.  Glad I saw it through for the twists at the end.

Just started Odd Thomas on my husband’s insistence.  He L O V E S the Odd Thomas books and won’t read any of my other reccos until I read one of his.  So far so good.  Odd sees dead people.  🙂