Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

“Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

28449207In a Nutshell:  Lazlo Strange aka Strange the Dreamer, was an orphan (foundling) raised by monks. He grew up to be a librarian happily living 24/7 within his books. When opportunity comes knocking, he takes the chance for a real adventure – to come to a place with a forgotten name, and a mysterious past.

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Read this if… you are okay with heavy world-building and weird and hard to pronounce (and remember) names, places and terminologies. If you have read something of Laini Taylor’s, this one’s another testament of her excellence. But if you’re a newbie to her writing style, I’d recommend starting with Daughter of Smoke and Bones series. This one’s maybe not the place to start. Also, as a warning, if you feel bored at the beginning, do NOT let that stop you. I promise you, it gets better. Oh and have I mentioned how good Taylor does romance? She slowly pulls you in until you have no idea how invested and sucked in you are.

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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

“Sometimes our lives can change so fast that the change outpaces our minds and hearts. It’s those times, I think, when our lives have altered but we still long for the time before everything was altered – that is when we feel the greatest pain. I can tell you, though, from experience, you grow accustomed to it. You learns to live your new life, and you can’t imagine, or even really remember, how things were before.”

7171637In a Nutshell:  Tessa Gray arrives in London expecting to reunite with her older brother, after the death of her aunt. She soon finds herself on the run from two witches (and an entire cult) who seems to believe she has some secret power and threatens to torture her brother if she does not cooperate. She seeks solace from Shadowhunters, nephilims sworn to protect the humans from demonic creatures.

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Read this if… you enjoyed The Mortal Instruments (TMI) – same world different country, same characters but different names. But even if you didn’t enjoy that series, give this a shot. I didn’t like TMI either, but I enjoyed this one so much and I don’t regret giving it a shot.

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In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2) by Tamora Pierce

“I dub thee Sir Alan, Knight of the Realm of Tortall. Serve honorably and well.”

8248438In a Nutshell:  Alanna grows up and soon, she’s  ready to take the Ordeal and fulfill her dream of becoming a knight. But keeping her true gender a secret becomes a bit harder as she grows up. No matter how much she denies it, she IS a woman and she experiences and feels things any woman experiences and feels. Add to that, someone seems to want her dead.

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Read this if… you like to see Alanna’s character progression. I like female characters who’d rather pick up the sword and fight. But most especially, I adored Alanna when she starts to embrace her femininity. As I see nothing wrong with a female who fights, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a female who likes dresses and makeup. And Alanna, being both is what makes her a great character.

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Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce

“From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight – Thom’ll be a sorcerer.”

8248439In a Nutshell:  Alanna is being sent out to the convent to be a sorceress, while her twin brother is being sent to the palace to be a knight. Only problem is, she’d rather be a knight and he’d rather study magic. The twins switch places and Alanna pretends to be Alan and starts her training to be a knight.

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Read this if… you like Arya from the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Alanna is like Arya in so many ways. Add to that, she has magical powers and can actually heal.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing the things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing the the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.

24723317In a Nutshell:  A typical adventure story follows the lives of the heroes; their struggles, their failure, their victories. Sometimes, we get the point of view of the villains, as well. But we don’t see the world from the point of view of the onlookers, the bystanders, the people in the background. They may not get some action, but they get scared as well. In this story we get a peek of how it is to watch from the sidelines – their own struggles; maybe not as life-threatening as facing zombies, but struggles nonetheless.

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Read this if… you would like to explore on mental disorders (OCD, anxiety, eating disorders, etc). Just don’t go expecting magical adventures and fast-paced action. This one’s filled with family drama and teenage problems. If you enjoyed Serpent King, it has a few similar elements with this one (though I probably enjoyed this one more).

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The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief #2) by Megan Whalen Turner

Better to trust in the moon’s promises than in the word of the Thief of Eddis. He was famous in three countries for his lies.

40158In a Nutshell: Three Kingdoms (Eddis, Attolia and Sounis) are still in a struggle for power. Each one wanted to conquer the other, and each one willing to play dirty, just to get what they want. The Thief of Eddis, cunning as he is, was caught in the trap set by the Queen of Attolia. This act set things in motion and war ensued.

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Read this if… you enjoyed The Winner’s Trilogy. This has the Winner’s Trilogy feels – mythology, political conflict, with intelligent humor in all the right places and just a teeny tiny hint of romance. If you’ve read the first book in the series, The Thief, and was disappointed with it, better give this one a shot. Trust me, Megan Whalen Turner really redeemed herself in this one. Also, GIRL POWER.

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Railhead (Railhead #1) by Philip Reeve

‘I am human,’ she said. ‘I have a processor for a brain instead of lump of meat, and my body is made of different substances, but I have feelings and dreams and things, like humans do.’

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In a Nutshell: Set in a futuristic world where both humans and robots (in the book, the term is Motorik) roam the world, machines are capable of thought process – artificial intelligence, and people can cross worlds in an instant, but instead of spaceship, people use trains. We follow a petty thief hired by someone to steal a box, in exchange for a grandeur future. Little does he know that what he thought was a simple robbery turned into something more – something he may not be prepared for.

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Read this if… you like Star Wars – with AI robots and unusually looking creatures. And if you like political twists wherein the heroes aren’t all that noble, and the villains aren’t all that evil.

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