Sunday, January 31, 2016

spotlight on: updated favorite series


Welcome to the first Spotlight post of the new year! This is a monthly thing we do here at Stardust and Words, and this month I am going to tell you all about my favorite series. You can find the rest of the Spotlight features here! So, when I first started this blog, I did a post of my top 25 favorite books and series, and on it were 15 series that I absolutely loved. It was a long time ago, in 2013, and so I thought that, today, I would do an updated post about my favorite series! These would be the ones that I have read since 2013, and the ones that were on that other post will not be on it. Let's get started! (These are in no particular order!)


The Firebird series is this kickass mixture of dimension-hopping action and introspective thoughts about the soul and love and the self, and I absolutely love it. I wasn't expecting to get as into it as I did, but once I read the first one, I was truly hooked, and the second novel did not disappoint. If you like sci-fi-esque thrillers with lots of math and science, or if you like star-crossed romance and that sort of melodrama, these books take both of those and smash them together in the best possible way. In addition, they have some of the coolest settings that I've ever seen. Claudia Gray just gets so creative with the alternate dimensions that she chooses to showcase, and every time a character leaps from one place to another, I am on the edge of my seat to see where they end up. The characters are complex and endearing, the conflict is crazy stressful and the prose is gorgeous, so what more could you possibly want?

If you've been reading my blog with any frequency over the past year or so, then you will know that Throne of Glass is my tip-top favorite series in the entire world, besides Harry Potter. Which is saying something, because there are so many other amazing series in the world! But something about these books just captures my heart, and every time I even think about them, my heart starts racing and I feel like I'm about to step out into a journey. (NOT even joking, y'all, it's weird) If you've been living under a rock, then let me just tell you: these books are about the most amazing gal in the world: Celaena Sardothien. She is an assassin, fighter, ninja-esque, all around badass who strikes fear in the hearts of everyone. The series details her personal journey and growth from a person that she made herself into to survive to someone that is a million times *more.* It has some of the best characters in the world, like, I'm more attached to the pets in this novel than some people that I know in real life. I never see the plot twists coming, the fight scenes are EPIC to the tenth power, the friendships in these books rock my world, and the world building is absolutely incredible. The plot gets more and more twisty and complicated as the books go on, but never to the point where I get confused. I want everyone to at least try these novels, because I think they can actually change your life. 

This is a really awesome fantasy trilogy from Mary E Pearson. The third novel hasn't come out yet, but based on the intensity level of the first two, the third one is going to have off the charts action and escalation. The first book is about a princess who is running away from an arranged marriage she never asked for and expectations that she can't handle. Along the way she meets two boys, neither of whom are who they seem, and even the reader doesn't know who is who until much later in the novel, which ends up being a really amazing device to create tension. I loved that aspect of the first novel, and then the second one was just a million times more intense than the relative light-heartedness of the first book. This is definitely a high-fantasy world, and it is very well built. I absolutely cannot wait for the third book in this series, it promises to be something amazing! 

 This is a middle grade series with some of my favorite covers ever. It is also by Chris Colfer, whom you might know at Kurt Hummel from Glee. These, as you might be able to tell from the covers and the name, have to do with Fairy Tales. The first book sets up the story: twins Alex and Connor Bailey come into possession of a magical book that takes them to a differently land, one where all of the Fairy Tales in our world are true. I love these books because they are tons of fun, very fast-paced and easy to read, and because I love how they portray some of the most beloved characters from Fairy Tales and nursery rhymes. One of the best things about these books is that they are not for a specific age group, in my opinion. They are technically middle grade, and I babysit for some pretty cool middle and elementary school aged girls that adore them, but I also find a lot of joy in their stories, and I'm 20. They're very widely readable, and I truly think there is something in them for everyone! There are four books out right now, and a fifth and final one is supposed to come out sometime this year, so fingers crossed for an amazing conclusion.


This is a really adorable duet from Jenny Han, complete with dreamy boys, amazing and supportive girls, baking, cute outfits, feminism and friendship. So basically everything that I could ever want in a novel, these books have. Lara Jean, our protagonist, is girly and soft in a lot of ways, but I love the way that Jenny Han does not let that define her as silly or wimpy or lesser-than. She is strong and incredible in her own way. These books, as a whole, are adorable, and I just start thinking in pastel colors and sugar when I think about them. Peter K is a really fun love interest, especially because he isn't portrayed as being this perfect, swoony guy that Lara Jean is pining for. He is flawed and real in a lot of ways, and I think that is what makes him more likable. Another thing I really love about these books is that it portrays the relationships between sisters really realistically, and I love reading about that, because it is something that you don't see a lot in YA novels. If you are looking for a cute contemporary that is also smart and thoughful, I recommend these. 


The Defy trilogy is one that I do not think gets enough love. I have rarely ever seen reviews on these books, or people talking about them at all, and I really think that is a shame because I *love* them. These books about about Alexa Hollen, who went undercover into the king's army when she was young, in order to escape prostitution. She's a great protag, and the setting of these books is really cool as well. It's definitely a high fantasy world, but it isn't medieval Europe-esque like many fantasy settings: it is a dense jungle of a kingdom, and I like how different that is. These books are fun and action-packed, and the other good thing about them is that they aren't very long, which is another anomaly in the high-fantasy genre. You could definitely fly through this trilogy in less than a week! I just love the characters and the setting, and I want more people to appreciate these :) 

I'm sure most all of you know about If I Stay by now, if not through reading this heartbreaking duet, then by the movie that came out in 2014, starring Chloe Grace Moretz. These books are seriously some of the saddest ones I've ever read, particularly the first one. (Though that's not to say that the second one doesn't conjure some serious waterworks as well) In essence, these books are about a girl named Mia who loses her family in a terrible car crash. The first novel is about the crash itself, with Mia dealing with the fallout from it, and the second book is from Mia's boyfriend Adam's perspective, as he copes with the events of the crash and what comes after. I seriously have never cried so much as I did at these books: they are heartwrenching because it is something that could so easily happen to anyone. I would definitely recommend this to you, so long as you are equipped with the knowledge that you will be really emotionally upset by them. (but it's in a weird good way that makes you want to keep reading forever.)

 I would say that you have to stick through the first two novels in this series for you to feel like you're really invested in what is happening, but once you do that, the last four books will positively fly by. This series is very similar in nature to another series that I absolutely love: The Covenant Seires by Jennifer L Armentrout, so if you like that series but haven't read this yet, I would say you would enjoy these novels as well. I really love the way that Richelle Mead does vampires, because it isn't in the cheesy Twilight way, but they also don't take themselves *too* seriously. These books are action-packed and full of romance, but there is also a continuous story arc that carries us through the six novels (perhaps with the exception of the second one, which is my least favorite). I have yet to read the spinoff series, entitled Bloodlines, but I have been meaning to get to them for so long!

This trilogy is relatively new to me, as I only picked it up last summer. However, it has quickly become a new favorite! The high-fantasy setting has elements of Roman culture, which I really enjoy, and I love our heroine to pieces, of course. In the first novel, Kestrel is a smooth talking daughter of a politician who falls in love with a slave on the eve of a slave rebellion. Which is a really interesting plotline to begin with, but I do love the way that Marie Rutkoski has carried it out. These books aren't so much about epic battles and intense fighting scenes: for this series, the battles are battles of words and wits, as our characters navigate the minefields of public life and politics. The one thing that frustrates me to no end in these books, though, is the lack of communication between our two main characters, which causes SO many problems not only between the two of them, but for the overall plot as a whole. The second book was just incredible, especially the ending, and I really can't wait to see how it wraps up in the third installment, which is out later this year.

This is a trio of companion novels, all set in the same world. A world of intergalactic travel and corporations, a world of star-crossed lovers and mysterious and sinister forces. Each of these books is about a different set of characters, as you may be able to guess from their covers. However, there are problems that go from one book to the next. It usually takes me a while to really get into sci-fi novels, especially when they're set in space. I don't know why: it's an unexplained phenomenon. And the same has proved true for this series, because when I first set out to read the first novel, it took me two weeks to finish it. That isn't to say that I didn't really enjoy it, because I did, and all of these books are extremely well-written, but I'm just saying that, if you're like me, these might take you some time to get through. I do highly recommend them, though, if for no other reason than that their covers look incredibly beautiful all together.

thats about it for the updated series, guys! Please, if you have suggestions for series that aren't on either of my lists, please comment them below! I am always looking for new worlds to get lost in :) 



  1. Ahhh I love the Throne of Glass series! I've only read the first two books, though I know that it's already a favorite. I also want to check out the Winner's Curse series.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. You should definitely definitely finish the throne of glass series!! it is so amazing. the winner's curse is definitely worth checking out :)


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