Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your week has been good and if you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I hope you have a great time 🙂 It’s always a great holiday to have an excuse to eat all the food and spend time with family/friends. Today I was really inspired by Orang-utan Librarian’s awesome post about books they are thankful for. So I wanted to share ten I’m thankful for and why. Time to spread and share the book love!
1. Goosebumps/Fear Street books
Oh the 1990’s…the best time for a kid to read stuff like this! Ever since my brother and I were young, we loved Goosebumps! My mom used to read some to us when we were kids and we even loved the now awful 90’s live action TV show. Then as I entered my young teens years, I devoured SO many of the Fear Street books! I remember raiding my local library to read more of them. My young mind loved the creepy supernatural stories and like Depeche Mode says: “I just can’t get enough!”
I am thankful for these books because they opened my mind to fantasy books when I was a kid. While these definitely don’t hold up now, the nostalgia is there. I liked being scared as a kid but I also knew they weren’t real. But they helped me develop my imagination for my creativity that would develop later as an adult.
2. The Den of Shadows Quartet & The Kiesha’ra series by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
And the cheesy covers TOTALLY continued into the late 90’s and early 2000’s for paranormal YA books. But I found this author when I was 13 and upon reading her debut novel In the Forests of the Night, I had found my genre for the supernatural books for my age range. These books had: vampires, werewolves, shape shifters and other creatures in the many books I read. I just remember really clicking with the author’s imagination at the time and wanting to write books like her. I liked how all the intrigue and of course, the cheesy romances in pretty much all of them. These books further helped me expand my creativity and in my teen years, my own story ideas really started coming. While I wouldn’t love these books as much as I did back then, I’m thankful for them and how they helped me realize what I wanted to do in life.
3. The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
An oldie but a goodie! I found this book in my early teen years as well as the previous books I mentioned and man this book has stayed with me. This is only one of three books that I’ve read more than 6 times! This was first published in 1990 and follows Zoe, a young girl whose mother is dying of cancer and her best friend is moving away. She’s at a lonely time in her life and doesn’t know who to turn to. We also follow Simon, a young vampire who wishes to be human and both of them meet one night. This book is short but it cemented my love for vampire books. This book also has one of the creepiest child villains ever and I still cringe thinking about that little demon. I’ve been wanting to do a re-read for a long time, since I’m long overdue, but oh man this book is another that my teen heart loves to this day. Twilight can suck it lol!
4. The Abhorsen Series by Garth Nix
You all knew this was coming lol! I feel like my love for fantasy books was changed forever when I picked up Sabriel as a young teen. If you talk to a lot of YA authors like Susan Dennard, Sarah J. Maas and several others, they also credit this series for inspiring them to be writers as well. This book series just sucked me into a world with necromancy, a smart ass white cat, the most wonderful dog companion and the nastiest undead that still creep me out to this day. This series means so much to me because it cemented my ambition to be an author. I feel like my creativity exploded after reading the first book, with me trying many story ideas as a teenager. Then as I got older, I went back and experienced the other books in this series. This is one of the series I’m thankful for the most because I feel like it helped to tell me that I could do the same thing! I feel like I can be published if I continue to work hard and not give up. I can’t thank Garth Nix enough for helping me to realize that dream and still have it all these years later.
5. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
I distinctly remember my high school librarian asking if me and my friends wanted to read this book to see if she should keep it in the collection. My friends and I took a chance and read it and fell in LOVE with it. This is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale and while Marillier is known for her adult fantasy novels, this book transported me to Transylvania! We follow a group of twelve sisters and one of the eldest girls find a door to a magical world. They find this world enchanting, where forbidden romance and adventure abounds. This is a retelling that proved that I do love retellings! Marillier brings you into both Transylvania and the lush fantasy world the girls find. It was sweet, romantic and so much fun. This is also a lower YA book that I have recommended to many young teen girls at my library.
6. Phantom by Susan Kay
Surprisingly, I found this book by accident. After the 2004 movie of The Phantom of the Opera came out, I wanted ALL things Phantom. I watched other film versions and then found this book. This is a standalone retelling book that is about Erik’s life, where he grows up, joins the circus, becomes an assassin in Persia and then meets Christine at the Paris Opera house. This book swept me away and kept me reading late into the night in high school. I was so drawn into Erik’s life story and it’s such an intricate character study of a person whose born with facial deformities and is immediately judged on that ugliness. I do want to issue content warnings now for child abuse in both emotional and physical, mild pedophilia and overall dark, mature themes. If these are triggers for you, I would skip on it. But this is a story that made me want to be a writer even more, with Kay’s attention to detail and also heartbreaking prose. This book made me want to work hard on becoming a serious writer and this also has become one of my favorite books of all time.
7. Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
I could list practically any Sanderson series on this list, but this one takes the cake. I got the first book as birthday gift several years ago and I remember opening this book and quickly realizing that this book was going to be special to me. Over time now, this series is one of my all time favorites and is an immediate suggestion for those who want to try adult fantasy. At the time I was reading/listening to these books, I was struggling in college personally. I had professors tell me that writing fantasy books was “not the way to have a writing career and isn’t worth writing”! That even came from a teacher that taught the fantasy/sci-fi writing classes. When I was hearing that from a few teachers, I really felt bad for a second to like fantasy books. But this series reminds you of the emotion, struggle, hurt, but also strength and courage you find in fantasy books. This series is about how people who have suffered trauma and loss combat it and find the strength to rise above even impossible tasks. There is so much emotion in this series and that’s just one reason why it speaks to many people including me. This trilogy reminded me why I love fantasy and why I still write it and why I keep trying to achieve my writing dreams.
8. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
This book came to me in a perfect circumstance. There is a special feeling to have a book attract you on the library shelf; you read the synopsis, love it and then take it home to read it becomes a new favorite book. That’s the power of how library books can reach out to you and show you a books potential. This book cemented my love for historical fiction to put it simply. I had read a few historical books in my time, like Esperanza Rising and The Book Thief, but this book reminded me why I love learning about different times in history. This book is set in 1918 and shows the Flu epidemic, prejudice against Germans and the end of WWI. We follow Mary Shelley Black, a young girl who has a boy she loves goes off to war. But after a shocking experience and getting into spirit photography, she learns the truth about what happened to the boy she loved. This book was nominated for a Morris Award, which is for debut novels and I immoderately saw why. Winters shows an unflinching portrayal at the desperation people had at the time, with the flu claiming so many people and how people turned to the spiritual movement at the time for closure. Not only did Winter’s debut novel pull me in and refuse to let go, but it’s made me hungry for more stories in history. I’ve discovered many more historical fiction authors because of this book and I couldn’t be happier.
9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
There is a book out there that not only takes you to a whole new world (sorry, just had to do that) but also captures your heart and you still think about it a long time after reading it. There was a lot of hype around this book, and still has now, that made me interested in this book. I picked up the audio book that was PERFECTLY narrated by Steve West and whenever I picked it back up, I was in Weep and the world within this book. I still love Lazlo with my whole heart and he is that part of us that is enchanted by the unknown and has dreams that we all have in our lives. I loved this world that has such life to it. This is a book that expresses the love of storytelling and it’s impact on our souls as humans. I’ve had so many moments where I’ve wanted to relive this book again and will in the years to come. I can’t thank Laini Taylor enough for reminding me what a story can do to us and awaken those dreams we have within.
10. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
You know how sometimes you don’t have any expectations for an upcoming book, but then it shatters any expectations you did have? I read this book clear back in July, but I knew from the first page that this book was going to be special. If you have a certain feeling about a book within reading the first page, then you know that a book has been crafted masterfully. This book quickly seduced me into a fantasy book about Ryn, a girl who is a gravedigger and trying to support herself and her two other siblings. But then the undead start rising not far from a forest that once was inhabited by the Fae. With the help of Ellis, a mapmaker and a traveler, Ryn and Ellis venture into this unknown land to stop the unknown. I feel like standalone novels are hard to come by nowadays in YA, but this was such a special treat that I already want to crack it open again. I loved how Emily helps us see this world so perfectly and feel the emotions of the characters in just a few sentences. Plus, who can’t help but love a stubborn and epic goat companion? This book has remained to be my favorite book of 2019 and also easily has a place in my heart and a place in my favorite books of all time. There’s magic in the written word and that’s why people write book and one reason why people read. This book was something I needed at the time I read it and I savored every.single.page and can’t wait to read it again.
What books are you thankful for? Are any of these on your list? Let me know in the comments!