Let’s be real: There are some crazy readers out there. And you can’t even be offended by this statement because I consider myself a crazy obsessive reader (i.e. you read nearly a book a day without care for the monetary or social cost of it). But let’s not call it “crazy” or “obsessive”; I rather like *zealous* or *passionate* (thank you Thesaurus.com). But anyway, I was that kid who would rather stay inside and read in my special reading chair than play outside with my neighbors. And again, let’s be real: There’s a reason why people become *zealous* readers. For me, and I imagine for a lot of people, reading is a chance to escape from reality, to let your imagination run wild and dream of bigger and better worlds. And what’s a better escape than YA Fantasy?
I have six tested and true authors who, as a kid, I could always count on for a good fantasy read- and still can many years later. These are the authors whose books withstood my purge five years ago when my library shrank from 500 books to 50 books: Tamora Pierce, Sherwood Smith, Sharon Shinn, J.K. Rowling, Shannon Hale, and L.A. Meyer.
In no particular order, these six are fantastic YA Fantasy authors who know a thing or two about strong female leads and interesting story lines. They know how to balance romance and adventure, but best of all, they are fantastic at breaking conventional gender stereotypes. All of the leading ladies written by these authors are strong and independent characters who grow admirably throughout their respective stories. These six authors create characters that young girls can safely and proudly emulate; there aren’t any Bella Swans in these books.
All of the authors teach some sort of lesson but I want to focus on one particular author: Tamora Pierce. Ms. Pierce is, in my opinion, the ultimate YA Fantasy author and horrendously underrated. She has two different worlds she writes within and my personal favorite is Tortall. In Tortallan chronological order you have Beka’s, Alanna’s, Daine’s, Kel’s, and Ali’s story, ranging between two and four books per series. You can find the books and their order here.
Each young woman has her own unique story, her own unique struggles that many young girls can certainly identify with today. Yes the stories are set in a completely made up world that has magic and monsters, but the gender stereotypes, the female body issues, and boy troubles are all very familiar. And best of all, for the most part at least, the books are clean, nothing you wouldn’t want an 11 year old to read. Looking back I think I can safely credit Mr. Pierce for at least a part of my independent attitude, the one that didn’t care when my friends would make fun of me for reading during break periods at school. To this day, at 23 years old, I’ll still come back to her books when I want some clean, fun, and inspiring fantasy.
Of course, Tamora Pierce is only one of the five authors I highly recommend, each with several books and series that I adore. Below is a list of all the books I love by these authors.
The Tortall Universe (In published order, not chronological)
- The Song of the Lioness (Alanna’s Story, 4 book series)
- The Immortals (Daine’s Story, 4 book series)
- The Protector of the Small (Kel’s Story, 4 book series)
- Tricksters (Trickster’s Choice & Tricksters Queen, Ali’s Story)
- Beka Cooper: A Tortall Legend (Beka’s Story, 3 book series)
- An Elemental Blessings Novel (4 book series)
- Twelve Houses Series (5 book series)
- Summers at Castle Auburn
No explanation needed, unless you’ve been living under a rock.
“Every now and then I like to do as I’m told, just to confuse people.”
― Tamora Pierce,
So, I know that spring doesn’t officially start for another month, but it was almost 70 degrees today in Southern Massachusetts and it felt really good! The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and people were out and about enjoying the nice weather. It can be hard in New England during the winter because the days are so short and gloomy; a lot of people, including myself, go into a winter slump which can be hard to break free from until spring comes along. So it’s nice when we have days like today to break up the glum monotony of winter (even though it’s probably caused by global warming which is actually a really bad thing, but I digress…).
I enjoy this quote from Penelope Trunk because it reminds you that there is hope. The earth continuously grows, transforms, and strengthens in cycles, and I think us humans can learn something from that. Life is certainly not linear and we need to understand that it’s OK if our path strays every once in a while as long as we eventually (sooner rather than later) re-align our motivation.
Use whatever you want to power your motivation. For me, it’s sunny days, apple scented candles, and a good long writing session that help me find the perspective and inspiration I sometimes need to continue pushing for what I love. And as winter comes to a close and spring pushes through, it becomes easier and easier to visualize the path to my end goal.
Royally Matched (The Royally Series Book 2) by Emma Chase: 4/5 stars!
Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.
He’s not handling it well.
Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him “space”—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:
Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.
A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.
While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.
The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit… and her naughty sense of humor.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.
As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.
This was an adorable book! I loved the first book in the series, Royally Screwed, and had high hopes for Royally Matched. I can safely say that my hopes were met, but not quite surpassed. I love Sarah and Henry, our heroine and hero; they are both well developed, strong characters who grow throughout the story. The romance is on point, as is the conflict and eventual resolution, and there’s a perfect balance between playful and heavier material.
All of this being said, I feel like a bit more could have been done. I think the plot line, the whole Royal Matched reality TV show thing, could have played out more substantially. I also think the beginning and ending of the book are both rushed, which is a shame because my favorite part of romances is when the H/H get to know each other. I really like Emma Chase’s writing style but I feel like she played it safe with this book. What she wrote is fantastic, but it could have been even better.