#BookWorm For Life




I'm gonna let you know right off the bat: I am a complete and total bookworm.  I will stand by the phrase that books can be someone's best friend.  Soooo, this is a post I've wanted to do for quite awhile.  I hope you enjoy it...but if you're not a book lover, I apologize.  Because me talking about books is kinda like:

#1~

Ok, my all time favorite series (like, seriously) is the Hunger Games.  Please, let me explain myself before you completely shut down.  I know many people are opposed to them because, well, it sounds like they're all about killing.  And I can assure you, there is a lot of killing in them.  But I loved the books despite it, and I'll repeat some of the reasons that I gave to my friends when they stubbornly refused to read them.



Suzanne Collins is one of the very few authors who wrote a trilogy that managed to keep readers interested and hooked the entire way.  Most trilogies kinda lose their forward momentum, at least the ones I've read.  But these kept me on board the entire way, which is extremely rare.  She did an amazing job of creating dynamic characters that change throughout the book; there was a rainbow of characters with a broad spectrum of personalities that kept people hooked, interested, and involved throughout the entire series. 


It was a unique plot that amazed its reader with its in depth complexity and detail, along with astounding others with the author's creativity.  This book created a new wave of "dystopia" authors and stories placed in futuristic settings.  I, for one, am not creative enough to write a book in that setting; but Suzanne Collins went far and beyond with this series.


You will only get this if you're familiar with the books
For those of you who don't know the series very well, the setting is in a world that has morphed into something evil; a world controlled by manipulative, blood-thirsty cowards that fool their adoring followers into believing the world is now a safe and happy place with order and peace.  But behind that thin veil of fake promises lies a broken world, where people living outside of the rich Utopia barely survive from day to day. Bitterness taints their thoughts towards the "happy" Capitol that rules the thirteen, now twelve, districts that supply the Capitol with all the things they need to live contently while the districts slowly starve to death.


One such person is Katniss Everdeen, a girl who has learned to survive in this cruel world.  She is chosen to participate in the annual "entertainment" of the Capitol; a fight to the death between chosen children from all districts.  They are chosen, decked out, trained, and thrown into a specialized arena that is specially built to entertain and terrify.  These children must then use their wits and strength to survive the game.  But Katniss Everdeen refuses to cower; refuses to submit to the Capitol and give in to their cruelty.  This is a story filled with nail-biting suspense and embellished with the will to survive and thrive in a world that ensnares those who are not wary.


I just thought this was pretty funny

This book, while it sounds gory and heartless, challenged me to look to the future.  It seems to throw out the question: "Is it so unbelievable to think that this might be our world someday?"  Looking at how big a change we've had in the past 100 years, the book is honestly scary--because its not that big of a stretch. 


 I confess, I love these books so much that I'm afraid to watch the movies out of fear that it will ruin the series for me.  It's happened one too many times.  For ages, I would recommend 14+ simply because of the violence in them.  There is no swearing, no inappropriate content, and nothing nasty, but it is a series that is centered around revolt and violence. 

#2~
So, this series doesn't actually have a name... at least I don't think it does.  But they were nice easy reads that I enjoyed.  The author, Jody Hedlund, is a rather well known name within Christian Adult Romance, but she branched out with this series into young adult/teen.

These three books follow the tales of three young medieval knights that have long since traded in their play wooden swords for shiny shields and sharp battle axes.  Friends through thick and thin, these books focus on each one in turn as they have to fight for not only their own lives, but also for the lives of their true love (I know, it sounds redundant but they're really good!).   I think I fell in love with each and every one of the knights throughout the books.

If you like easy, light reads once in awhile with romance and action, these are very nice.  I happen to think the second one in the series is the absolute best (a female version of Robin Hood...could it get any better?!)   13+ would be my recommendation.

#3~
These next books are not for the faint of heart!  MaryLu Tyndall brings you nothing but the best of those famous swashbuckling rogues that plundered the caribbean!  These books are full of pirates and their spunky lady loves (well, the ladies aren't too sure about it), full of treasure and treason, and adventure and intrigue as MaryLu Tyndall weaves stories out of the tales and myths that seep out of that legendary timeframe.

Although she has written many books from the same time period, every single one maintains a unique background and premise, with its own spunky lady, handsome pirate, and villainous bad guy.  She fills the stories with witty banter between the characters, captivating detail of their historical surroundings, and nail-biting suspense that turns around with an unexpected twist right before what would have been a truly tragic ending.  
I honestly have two favorites, and I couldn't really decide which one to choose.  Fair warning, these books all go in order, so you have to read them properly!  Each character carries on in to the next book, so she takes people that you got acquainted with in book one and bam! they are the main characters in book two...and so on.  It's pretty fun, and it always keeps me hooked because I can't wait to see what happens to that character!!

#4~
Okay, this is not a fiction book, nor a story, but it is amazing nonetheless. The author's father, Stephen Covey, wrote a very well-known book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book is written by his son, and it is adapted for teenagers. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens has all the same concepts, but is written with funny comics and stories that make it more suitable and entertaining for teens.

This book is a life-changer. It explains what I like to call the "iceberg of life" (I know, it sounds cheesy). The first three habits focus on forming what people can't see--the private victories--or what lies underneath the surface of the water. Sean Covey explains how to that with the first three habits:

  1.  Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
Then, it shifts to forming the top of the iceberg, or the "public victories".  The next three habits explain how to work with people in a way that does not make you come off as commandeering or as a so called "doormat". 
  1. Think Win-Win
  2. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  3. Synergize 
This book was filled to the brim with amazing advice!  It had so much, after I read a chapter and made notes, I went back and read it again before moving on!  I didn't want to miss out on a thing. You have to read this book.  It will change your outlook on literally everything you do.  As you can see, its obviously a book for teens, so 12 or 13+, but I would think older teenagers would get more out of it than younger ones, simply because they would be a little more willing to try the suggestions out in their own life and apply what they learned.

#5~

This next author is done simply out of respect.  I don't read her books anymore (mainly cause I've read almost all of them), but she was my absolute favorite author for many years.  Melanie Dickerson writes versions of fairy tales set in the medieval times (how awesome is that?!).  They are full of surprises, twists, and characters that nestle deep into your heart.  She weaves charm into all the books that she writes, along with presenting a Christian worldview throughout each story.  Personally, my favorite one that she wrote is called The Healer's Apprentice (a Sleeping Beauty retelling).  

For age-wise, I would say anywhere from 12+.  I know you might be thinking that no one older than 16 would want to read fairy tale books, but trust me.  These books are amazing, and there are no little fairies that sprinkle pixie dust and godmothers that flap magic wands around; the books have enough magic and charm on their own.


#6~
My last mention is an author that I have just recently discovered (through my great-grandma's personal library that I raid frequently).  Deeanne Gist fills her book with fictional tales of the past, when there were still literal cowboys and Indians that ruled the west, wagons that carried supplies and mail-order brides across the frontier, and bandits that would rob the stages.  Her books not only give you a peek into history, but they also offer many good laughs at the witty banter and humorous situations her characters find themselves in.


My favorite of hers is called Love on the Line, and I would bounce back and forth the entire book between biting my nails nervously and laughing hysterically.  She always produces top-notch quality characters that are full of spunk and life, and the crisis in the books is always a true one.  (I mean, these aren't those romance books where the main problem is "will true love prevail?")  Don't worry, nothing too sappy.  

Before I forget to mention, Deeanne Gist, Melanie Dickerson, MaryLu Tyndall, and Jody Hedlund are all Christian authors, and they make it clear throughout the book where they stand on that.  I'm always wary when there's a romance book that does not have Christian values in it--they don't often have good content.  So don't worry about that with these books!  They bring you historically accurate stories with a main course of sweet and innocent romance and nail biting suspense on the side!

                                                               ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, I think those are my top six right now!  I will put a list of "honorable mentions"; authors that I enjoy picking up and reading here and there.  I hope you enjoyed this post; I know some of these books are for a certain age group...if you are not in that age group I apologize.  But, Jody Hedlund does write adult fiction, and Deeanne Gist is also more centered for adults. Sean Covey's dad has written a book for adults on the same topic.  And if you're adventurous, try Melanie Dickerson or MaryLu Tyndall!  They have a charm that I'm sure would work its magic on all ages!  Even if none of these authors sound appealing, I would encourage you to find some that do sound interesting.  Trust me, books are gold.

                                

Honorable Mentions:

~Mary Connealy (Christian romance)

~Chanda Hahn (fantasy)

~Kelly Eileen Hake (Christian romance)

~J. K. Rowling (classic/science fiction & fantasy)

~C. S. Lewis (classic/science fiction & fantasy)

~Christy Barritt (mystery/suspense)

~Colleen Coble (mystery/suspense)

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