Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Favorites From the Last Three Years

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week has a different prompt for you to make a top ten list about. This week is Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years (you can extend it to 5 if you need to).
I expected this topic to be really difficult for me. When I saw it I immediately texted Amanda freaking out. But she didn’t panic with me; she simply pointed out that I reread alot of books. With this reassurance in mind, I sat down with my book lists from previous years, positive I could find ten favorites even if I had to use only rereads. Then a funny thing happened: I didn’t need any. Within ten minutes, I had ten books/series’ for my list with no need to use all the old favorites I’ve had for years. Which is how I’ve come to the conclusion that almost every book I read instantly becomes a new favorite. I’m still trying to decide if this has any downsides…
So here are my top ten all-time favorites from the last three years (in no particular order):

1. Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead- I love Sydney. I adore Adrian. This is a series I could read over and over again.

2. The Witness by Nora Roberts- My favorite Nora Roberts book. It has everything I love about her writing.

3. Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima- These are the types of books I wasn’t expecting to like but as soon as I started I couldn’t put them down. I even had to take emergency trips to the library to get the rest of the books. It’s one of the most well-written YA series I’ve ever read.

4. Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout- This is another one I got because I was bored but didn’t have much hope for it. It was an instant favorite for Amanda and I.

5. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson- Everything about these books is amazing. They’re quick, fun, emotional reads that I would recommend to everyone.

6. Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory- I was waiting a couple years for this book to come out and it didn’t disappoint. Lackey and Mallory can do no wrong together.

7. Looking For Alaska by John Green- Amanda spent years trying to get me to read this book but I kept putting her off. When I finally read it, I was instantly in love.

8. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George- I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Everything about it was perfect.

9. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith- I’d expected this book to just be a silly YA romance but it wasn’t even close. Smith took a childish idea, like love at first sight, and made it sweet and reasonable. I loved it so much I immediately went to the library to get her other books (i.e. #10).

10. This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith- I found this book emotional, funny, and romantic. I’ll definitely be looking for more of Smith’s books.

Do you share any of these favorites? Let me know some of yours in the comments. Thanks for reading.
-Antonia

Reader Ravings: Reading Books Twice

I know I haven’t been writing reviews lately, and that’s partly because up until about a week ago, I’ve barely read anything the past two months. In an effort to spice things up a bit and encourage ourselves to post more in the future, we’re going to add in the occasional discussion-type post, called Reader Ravings (because who ever actually talks rationally about books), where we randomly post about reading related topics that come up in our lives. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments or even write your own post using the topic. (We’d love if you linked any of those posts in the comments so we can read them too!)

I have many favorite aspects of reading; the way books smell, getting to know new characters, feeling like the world dropped out from under you at a sudden plot twist… pick pretty much anything that involves books and I probably love it. But one of the things I love the most is reading a book for the second time.
This topic popped into my head because the last two books I’ve read have been books I’ve read (and reviewed) before; Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Malloryand Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead. And what I noticed while reading them is that I enjoyed the experience much more than I did the first time. For Crown of Vengeance, it’s a 600-page fantasy novel with some serious world-building and history thrown in and I think so much information was being thrown at me that there was no way I could possibly remember it all the first time. When I read it again, I was able to pick up all the details I’d missed and I understood everything much better. For Gameboard of the Gods, while there was a lot of information, the pace and suspense is what threw me the first time. Everything happens so fast. I just wanted to know more and more and couldn’t breathe until I finished the book. Knowing how it ends, let me relax and I could appreciate the characters stories more.
Now I’ve found it can be difficult to figure out what the general opinion is on this topic because people don’t generally talk about reading a book for the second time. We talk the first to the point of redundancy because it’s new and exciting and we want to share it with the world but the second time doesn’t rate as much attention. Because of this, I might be wrong in my assumptions but it’s always seemed to me that the majority of people don’t like reading the same book twice, and the readers who do reserve it for their select few favorites.
I can’t, for the life of me, understand it. For most books, I even like reading it better the second time than the first. The first time I read a book I try to go slow and absorb everything so I don’t miss any details but I always end up getting sucked in and blowing through it before I know what’s happened. I’m so invested in the characters’ lives and so worried about what’s going to happen to them that sometimes finishing a book can just leave me emotionally exhausted and I’m sure all of you know what that feels like.
Amanda and I’ve had discussions about this and we both agree that while we always retain the key points and basics of the plot, after awhile it’s hard to remember any of the smaller details. I understand it’s unreasonable to think I could possibly remember every single line of every book I’ve ever read but when I think about a book years, or even months, after I’ve read it I can only remember that a character got from point A to point B but not how. Except that’s the entire point of a book. It’s like the phrase “It’s the journey not the destination”. How a character overcomes the odds to reach their goal is more important than the fact they got there.
That’s when a book gets added to my mental TBRT (To Be Read Twice) list. When I think of a book and can’t remember all those important little details. And no, not every book I read gets added. If that were the case I would never read anything new, and books I want to read a second time tend to get pushed back in order to read new books first. Usually, it’s when I just want to relax and enjoy a book that I pick up one of my TBRTs and because I’ve already read it, sometimes I’ll just stick a bookmark in and read new books that come up before picking it back up again. I almost always have a partly-read TBRT sitting around my room.
What bothers me most is when I tell someone I’ve read a book more than once. Occasionally I get someone who doesn’t think it’s a big deal but more often than not, they don’t understand why and a lot of the time it’s someone who generally doesn’t read at all. I don’t try to tell you that you can’t watch movies twice, do I? It’s the same principle. I enjoyed reading it the first time, so I’m going to enjoy reading it the second time.
And for the people who somehow think reading books twice is inferior to reading books once? It’s asinine opinions like yours that make me prefer reading over social interactions. (I’m not kidding. I’ve received a condescending head shake and a “How old did you say you are?” on numerous occasions when this topic’s been brought up.) I mean, at least I’m reading! There are hundreds of thousands of people who don’t read and I don’t mean the ones who are illiterate. Do you really care more about the fact I reread books than that there are people who refuse to learn everything books can teach us? That’s absurd.
What’s your opinion on reading books more than once? Do you like it less or more than the first time?
-Antonia

Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Summary: Many legends begin as history, and much history begins with a single person caught up in an extraordinary time. So it is with the great Elven Queen Vieliessar of Farcarinon, who was the first to lead the forces of Light against the Endarkened. Perhaps the greatest Elven Mage of all time, Vieliessar was the first person to ever bond with a dragon. On behalf of her people and to save the world, Vieliessar worked astonishing magics…and paid a heartrending price.
But long before those days, Vieliessar was Varuthir, a young orphan who dreamed of becoming a knight. Varuthir’s dream was cruelly ripped from her when she was abruptly banished to the Sanctuary of the Star, to spend her life in service to the greatest Mages of the Fortunate Lands.
The Sanctuary was Varuthir’s prison- and Vieliessar’s birthplace. For ti was there that she learned that she was not just the last heir of the vanished kingdom of Farcarinon but also the Child of the Prophecy, whose coming heralded the destruction of the hundred kingdoms. More, Vieliessar discovered she was a Mage of undreamed-of power.
But magecraft alone will not make Vieliessar High King over the Hundred Houses. Her campaign to seize the Unicorn Throne is a tale of loyalty and betrayal, of love and loss, and of sacrifice and salvation. Of moments of humanity in the midst of war. And of the greatest battle of all, between Light and Dark.

This book is the third trilogy Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory have collaborated on. The first was the Obsidian Mountain Trilogy (possibly my favorite series ever) and the second was the Enduring Flame trilogy which takes place about a thousand years after the events of the first. They’ve just published the first in the Dragon Prophecy trilogy, which explains the history of events and people from the Obsidian Mountain Trilogy. I’m not sure what the timeline is for this one. I want to say it’s two thousand years or so before OMT, but I’m not sure so don’t quote me on it.
I’m so happy I finally read this book. At the same time, I’m really upset I finally read this book. This is only because I have no idea when the next one’s going to come out but probably not for at least a year. A fact that makes me want to cry.
I loved this book. In my personal opinion, Lackey and Mallory can do no wrong. I’ve read many other books by Lackey and liked all of them. I haven’t read any by Mallory yet but I’m sure I will at some point. I’ve loved both series they’ve written previously. They’ve created such an extraordinary world with amazing characters.
I was worried that I’d be disappointed by this book because I’d had my hopes up for so long. I wasn’t disappointed at all. I loved this story. I only wish I didn’t have to wait for the rest of it.
The characters are elves that live for about a thousand years, give or take a few centuries. This makes it so they’re still considered “young” long after what it means in our world. This meant I got to watch Vieliessar grow up through several decades. And no, it felt neither rushed nor drawn out. Vieliessar is a great, strong, female lead. At first it seems everyone and everything is working against her, but she doesn’t let it stop her. She fights against the prophecy set on her from birth, but when she realizes it’s something she’s meant to do to save the Hundred Houses, she sets everything else aside and whole-heartedly throws herself into the task, despite everyone telling her she’s crazy. I love her and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
Runacarendalur is basically the equivalent to the male lead. I didn’t really like him much at the beginning. He seemed like all the other ambitious, arrogant War Princes. Eventually, I realized he’s not and now, I love him. Also, SPOILERS, they’re bonded! (It’s the equivalent of soul mates, just more magical. If one of them dies, the other does also.) It makes me so happy even though they think they hate each other. They don’t. They’re going to love each other. How do I know this? Well, because it has to happen or I’m going to cry. Also, I CAN’T BELIVE HE FUCKING LEFT! And then the book fucking ended! I am so not happy about this. But it’s okay. Because he’s going to come back and love Vieliessar for forever. …Because I said so. END SPOILERS.
If you like fantasy books I would absolutely recommend these books. If you haven’t read the other two series, I would advise you start with the Obsidian Mountain trilogy, partly because it’s my favorite and partly because it’s the first one they published. I would advise reading the Enduring Flame trilogy after Obsidian because it gives away some very important details. If you’d rather read them all chronologically (which I know some people prefer), that might be a little difficult considering only the first book in the Dragon Prophecy trilogy is out.
However you decide to read them, you absolutely, 100%, without hesitating, should run to your bookstore or library and read them. Right now.
I don’t get the chance to talk to many people who’ve read these series, so if you have, I would love to hear your opinion on it.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

WWW Wednesday


WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, answer the following three questions and share a link to your post in the comments on her page. Enjoy!

What are you currently reading?
Amanda – I’m currently reading 1st to Die by James Patterson. I’ve been trying to get back to reading more of my mystery type books rather than only reading young adult books like I’ve been doing. Patterson’s never let me down before and I don’t think he’ll start now.

Antonia – I am currently reading Eona by Alison Goodman. I’m literally only two or three chapters from the end. I had to stop reading to go to class, which I’m so angry about, but I’ll finish it tonight.

What did you recently finish reading?
Amanda – The last book I finished was The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen. It’s the first book that Eve Duncan appears in and I’m trying to read all of them before the three new ones come out. Along with catching up on all Johansen’s books that have come out that I’ve missed.

Antonia – I recently finished Eon by Alison Goodman. I really like this series. You can find my review for Eon here.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Amanda – The next book I’m going to read is Eona by Alison Goodman. I read Eon over spring break and really enjoyed it. So I’m very much looking forward to reading the sequal and finding out all that happens next.

Antonia – I’m going to read Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey. I’ve been meaning to read this since it first came out. I think I’ve been putting it off because it’s a prequel to my favorite series and I’m worried it won’t be as good as I’m expecting it to be. However, I’ve decided to get it over with and just read it already.

-Amanda and Antonia