Ongoing Series I LOVE

Okay, so we talked about why readers and writers love series, the series that are complete that I adore, and the series I NEED to finish…but that leaves out one major category of books: series that are not yet complete but are on my auto-buy or will-eventually-buy list.

Ongoing series I adore! Let’s finish this series (ha!) strong!

The Others, by Anne Bishop

This is a world full of vampires, shifters, elementals, and other dangerous creatures…and oh yeah, they’re in charge. It’s such an interesting twist on urban fantasy and lovable characters! (Adult)

The World of the Others, by Anne Bishop

This is a spinoff of The Others, following different characters but set in the same world. I’ll be the first to say I was leery of this, because I loved Meg and Simon so much, but I read the first one this summer and I was in love!!! (Adult)

Mercy Thompson, by Patricia Briggs

At this point, this may as well be a classic of urban fantasy. This follows mechanic and history graduate Mercy Thompson…who is also a coyote shifter and lives next to a werewolf pack. There are also fae, ghosts, and vampires, as well as other unique creatures. Every book is a new adventure, and I’m in love with these characters! (Adult)

Alpha and Omega, by Patricia Briggs

This is a spinoff of Mercy Thompson and follows the North American werewolf law enforcer, Charles, and his mate, an omega wolf named Anna. Their relationship is so sweet, and it’s a very different view from Mercy’s world. (Adult)

Victoria Cage, Necromancer, by Eli Constant

This is one of those books that kept me up late reading. It’s incredibly well-written and is a completely unique take on zombies (uh, yeah, the Rising was accidentally caused by necromancers, who are now illegal). I can’t wait to keep reading these! I thought the series was over with book 3, but it seems there’s another one in the works? (Adult with Adult Situations)

Legendary Magic, by Stella Dorthwany

I just read book one in an online book club, and I love these characters, the world, and the magic system. I’m super excited to keep reading! (uh…Adult? But clean it seems?)

Steel City Genie, by Janeen Ippolito

As the name would suggest, this follows a genie in a world of shifters and other cryptozoological entities. And it’s set in Pittsburgh. So home state advantage for me! Though I’ve never been there… Anyway, very good, highly recommend! (Adult)

October Daye, by Seanan McGuire

This follows a fae detective and has all kinds of really old faerie folk from Celtic lore. These are fantastic, and every book is something different. Also, there aren’t so many series that have selkies… (Adult)

Desert Nights, by Helena Rookwood and Elm Vince

I just read the prequel, and I was hooked. This is a desert fantasy serial (short novels/novellas? I think?) that is well written and grabbed my interest right away. I can’t wait to continue! (uh…young adult? Adult? Not sure.)

The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson

This is definitely one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read. The worldbuilding is unique, and I love the characters! But be ready for the length. Book 3 is over 1200 pages… (Adult)

Concluding Thoughts

This about wraps up our series on series! So to end it all, let’s get out any other series you’re currently reading, have read, or want to read in the comments below! I want to know if you’ve read any I have, or if any of these discussions the past few weeks have introduced you to something new.

Let’s chat!

Series I NEED to Finish

Two weeks ago, we discussed why book series appeal to readers and writers, and last week I spent a lot of time diving into some of my favorite series that I’ve finished reading.

But what about all those lost, lonely stories I haven’t gotten around to completing yet??? I mean, the series are completed, so what am I waiting for?

Let’s not put it off any longer. Here are the book series I’ve started and absolutely NEED to complete. (PS, did you know I read such varied series? Lots and lots of genres represented this week and last week!)

Unlike last week, unless I know they are absolutely adult, I cannot provide content ratings since I haven’t finished the series. Read at your own risk!

The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco

This is a wonderful, intense, and rich fantasy series for young adults that follows a girl who accidentally found out she was a necromancer when she raised her brother from the dead. It’s got lots of magic woven into society and a great sibling relationship, as well as political intrigue and revenge! (Young adult)

Alpha Girl, by Aileen Erin

I started this with a free book, and I honestly loved it. It’s an indie fantasy about a girl who accidentally gets turned into a werewolf, except she was already a bruja…a forbidden combination. (Young adult)

Ivory and Bone, by Julie Eshbaugh

This is historic fantasy? I’m not sure. But it’s got a really big Ice Age vibe going and is told in second person. Very cool storytelling and captivating story! (Young adult)

Firebird, by Claudia Gray

This is a sci-fi with alternate dimensions and science! The main character uses a device created by her father (I think?) and travels into another dimension. I only got to read book one so far, but it’s so different, and the covers are GORGEOUS! (Young adult)

Dreamblood, by N.K. Jemisin

This is a really unique fantasy about dream-based magic, and it has a non-European fantasy setting, which was really cool. Can’t wait to finish it! (Adult)

Portland Hafu, by K. Bird Lincoln

I started this one with a free book as well, and it is an indie urban fantasy about a girl who finds out she is a dream eater (takes the dreams of people she comes in contact with). This awakens some ancient forces, and danger ensues! (Adult-ish? College age)

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

These are very good, but they are bricks. Like, so long. And I’m actually really intimidated by long books. They are based mostly in Fae courts, but the main character is a human thrown into all kinds of unwinnable situations. Caution: these are marketed as young adult, but they are very much NOT. Very graphic.

Mark of the Lion, by Francine Rivers

I only have one left, but it follows a different character than the first two, so I keep putting it off. But these are Christian historical fiction set in the early days of the church in…Rome? I think? Very good, very emotional. (Adult)

The Fourth Element, by Kat Ross

Another indie, yay! These books follow an interesting non-European mythology that I kind of fell in love with. I’m not sure what the age range is, and I don’t know how to explain it. Follow the link, sorry! XD

Monsters of Verity, by Victoria Schwab

This is a duology in which monsters actually exist in the city, sometimes brought about by violence and horrible circumstances…but you really start to question who the real monsters are. (Young adult)

Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

This is a high fantasy with a very interesting cultural setting in which “gods” appeared in a floating city, tormented the people, and then the people lashed out and killed them…all except a small group of half-god children. (Young adult)

Concluding Thoughts

As you can no doubt see, I have started many series. But I have trouble binging an entire series at once, so now I have many incomplete series. Woo!

What series are you currently reading? Are you loving them? Hating them? Let’s talk in the comments!

Series I’ve Completed (and Loved!)

Last week, I talked a bit about the appeal of a book series to both readers and writers. We discussed the learning curve of a story, binge culture and episodic fiction, and the love of a world, as well as a few models authors can use to take advantage of reader habits.

This week, I want to dive into some of my favorite completed series. I have finished more series than these, but today I only want to discuss the things I love. There have absolutely been series I completed that I didn’t love, but I don’t believe in calling those out. It’s not so fair to the author, and everyone has their own taste in fiction!

So without further ado, my favorite series (that I’ve completed). Buckle up, ‘cuz we are going to talk about a TON of books this month! Check out the end of each description to learn about the age level and/or how clean it is, if that concerns you.

Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken

This is a duology about a violinist who just happens to also be from a time-traveling family. The main character gets tied up in the evil-doings and excitement of the time travelers, moving from time and place while trying to find her way home again. This is young adult and pretty clean.

The Darkest Minds, by Alexandra Bracken

Okay, so I LOVE Alex Bracken. She writes great stories, and she is such a nice human. This is the series that first introduced me to her (yes it was a movie, but trust me, the books are much better!). If you don’t know, this is about a plague that sweeps through the US, killing most children. The ones who survive develop psychic abilities, and this is their story, one of fear and struggle and triumph! This is young adult and fairly clean to read.

Weather Warden, by Rachel Caine

This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series! The earth is protected and controlled by wardens and their enslaved djinn…only the djinn are tired of being trapped. Every book gets better and better, and I am in love with this world and magic system! Caution: for older readers (includes on-page sex).

Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer

I started this series way back in middle school and completed it in college, and it is absolutely delightful! It follows child evil genius Artemis Fowl and his tricks on the fairy folk. Middle grade, clean for all ages.

Diamond of the Rockies, by Kristen Heitzmann

This one was from my Western/historical fiction craze when I was younger. It follows the journey of an Italian-American woman as she moves out West to the frontier and ends up starting her own restaurant…while also dealing with a bothersome, cranky man. Some adult situations, but is Christian fiction.

Elemental Origins, by A.L. Knorr

This is a delightful indie urban fantasy series intended for young adults. Each book in this series follows a different character with a different elemental ability, starting with mermaids. Clean and good for all ages.

Cheney Duvall, M.D., by Lynn & Gilbert Morris

I must have read this series three times through, at least. This is a Christian historical fiction starring Cheney Duvall, one of the first female doctors, and follows her around the country with her trusty nurse, ex-pugilist Shiloh Irons! Cheney is from a well-to-do family but struggles to be recognized as a real doctor while struggling to understand people who don’t belong to her class. It’s so, so good! There’s even a few books in a spinoff series, The Inheritance. Hmm, may be time for another read-through… Clean, but there are marriage situations/discussions as the series progresses.

Ashfall, by Mike Mullin

By far, this is one of the best trilogies I have read. It’s a sci-fi that takes place after the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, and the main character is separated from his family and must find his way in a new, and incredibly dangerous, world. It also has one of the BEST endings I’ve ever seen in a series. Young adult, but very adult dangers. You have been warned.

Zenta and Matsuzo, by Lensey Namioka

This is a middle grade, but it’s historical fiction. It follows a ronin (masterless samurai) and his sidekick as they solve mysteries in feudal Japan. I loved reading these in the summer and eventually collected the whole series. Clean reads for kids!

The Cooper Kids, by Frank Peretti

This is a Christian middle grade that follows the two children of an archaeologist. My dad used to read these to us, so it’s got some great sentimental value to me. I loved all the adventures they had and the places they got to visit. Clean read!

Lost Voices, by Sarah Porter

This is BY FAR one of my favorite mermaid series. It follows a girl who gives up on the world, so the sea changes her into a mermaid. Now, she must learn this new life and deal with her fellow mermaids, their hatred of humanity, and humanity’s hatred of them. Fairly clean, but some discussion related to adult situations.

Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling

I don’t need to explain this, but of course it had to be on the list. I didn’t read these until college, but I was sucked into the world like everyone else and was actually surprised to find so many moral and religious themes sprinkled throughout, particularly in the last book. Clean, but gets darker as the series progresses, in case you didn’t know.

Tales of Goldstone Wood, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

This is a Christian high fantasy series that was slated to have another book or two, but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen, so I’ve included it as complete. It’s a traditional feeling fantasy, but each book follows different characters and stories (with a few consistent characters woven throughout) and has plenty of warm, Christian themes. One of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read! Clean!

The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater

I. Love. This. Series. I’d call this a young adult magic realism. It follows Blue, the non-psychic daughter of a psychic who meets a group of boys from the nearby school and joins in their quest to find an ancient lost Welsh king supposedly buried somewhere in the area…and if you find him, he’ll grant you a wish. Clean!

Saga of the Sierras, by Brock & Bodie Thoene

This is another from my Western days. It’s a Christian historic fiction and follows a bunch of different characters out in 1800s California, through all the danger and intrigue they face, as well as dealing with living on a frontier. Clean!

The Castle in the Attic, by Elizabeth Winthrop

Finally, this one is another childhood favorite. Much like The Indian in the Cupboard, it involves a tiny toy that turns out to be real! The children get to visit the castle kingdom by visiting a toy castle in the attic, and they have adventures! Yay! Clean!

Concluding Thoughts

These are only a fraction of the series I’ve finished. If I wrote them all here, it’d take us forever to get through it! I did enjoy other series as well, but these are some that really stand out to me, even years after I read them.

So tell me below: what series have you completed and loved? Are there any I’m missing out on?

My Favorite Mental Health Novels

Next week, I will be discussing my least favorite tropes dealing with mental health and mental illness. But before that, I wanted to take a week to share some of the books I like on the topic! All of these are fiction, and many of them are also young adult. Also please keep in mind that though I enjoyed them, I’m not saying they’re perfect, and I’m not saying they’re always amazing reads. What I am saying is that they touched me in good ways, and they said something important in regards to mental health.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Okay. So, this is by no means Laurie Halse Anderson’s most famous book. But I think it is one of her best. This is a book dealing with eating disorders, grief, and, I would argue, the recovery process. In the story, the main character, Lia, struggles with an eating disorder that also claims the life of her friend. There is a struggle throughout the book where she feels as if her friend is haunting her, and it influences her own disorder, which progresses as the book moves along.

What I really like about this book comes close to the end: the ideas around therapy and recovery that are realistic and truthful, that the process is long and hard but worth it. This concept is rarely conveyed so realistically in fiction, and it was refreshing and encouraging.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

This was one of Anderson’s more recent books, and it’s about a girl who lives with her father… a former soldier suffering from PTSD. Unlike a lot of YA stories dealing with mental health, the protagonist isn’t the one with the most prominent problem, but rather she is the family who needs to care for the mentally ill family member while still handling her own life and coping with the problems it all creates.

I loved this book because it addresses the needs and experiences of family members, and it is an intense and real look at PTSD. Honestly, I feel this is something that Anderson does best: a real, unromanticized, truthful look at mental illness.

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

This is a different one. In this book, the protagonist was part of a reality TV show with their family for years, until it ended. And being a part of that left her with severe anxiety about things as simple as having her picture taken. And then the show gets picked up to come back.

So, the reason I like this is because it takes a critical look at reality TV, particularly the shows that involve kids under 18, how it affects the people involved, how fame changes people, and how all of that can affect the person’s mental health. As a society, we can be critical of TV stars and celebrities when they crash and burn, but we often fail to humanize it in the way this book does.

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

Not only does this book have one of my favorite covers, but it takes a look at something most mental health-related novels skip: recovery. The story begins just after the protagonist attempts to take her own life and then details her journey through those feelings and toward a more hopeful, fulfilling future.

And that is what I loved about this story. It didn’t stop at the realization that something was wrong, it didn’t stop where things hit their lowest. It started there and allowed the protagonist, and the reader, to follow a recovery process that wasn’t perfect and wasn’t a straight path but ultimately ended in a better place.

Concluding Thoughts

There are a lot more books out there dealing with mental health that I didn’t mention. I read some of them, and enjoyed many of them, but by no means all. There were also books I didn’t like, often because of their attempt at portraying mental health. But in this post, I’ve only included some books that more directly deal with mental illness that I did like, though some of my other favorite books, like Fangirl and Eliza and her Monsters also have elements of mental illness.

You may not agree with my feelings on these books, if you’ve read them, but that’s the great thing about books: they are many things to many people. Books are what the reader makes them. Everyone brings their own experience to the pages, and the times in my life when I read them gave me these impressions. I’m sure if I read them again, I would see something different. That happened with Bird Box when I watched the movie; I saw something I didn’t like that I hadn’t picked up, or remembered, about the book.

So whether you agree or not, these are some of my favorite books that deal with mental illness. You don’t need to argue with me, but I’d love to hear what books you’ve really enjoyed on the subject, what books spoke to you and connected with you. Tell me in the comments!