Thanks to my mom, I learned how to read early. My mom sacrificed so much to be a stay-at-home mother with three kids while my dad worked long hours to provide for the family. With that being said, my mom had a lot of time to help us begin reading at young ages.
William, my brother, started reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling in kindergarten! I can always remember in school that the three of us kids were always ahead of where we should be in vocabulary and reading comprehension.
When you read, you are able to escape to worlds unknown, solve mysteries, learn about historic events, and so much more. I found myself always buried in a book, flying through the pages as fast as I could, all hours of the day (and night - sorry mom!). There was always an adventure to be discovered, and I was always challenging myself to read more. One summer, I remember challenging myself to read 100 books. I don't mean short chapter books either, some of the books I read were almost 500 pages!
Anyways, with summer just beginning ☀️ or around the corner for some students, I thought I would share my top authors, and some of my favorite books from each.
1. Jane Austen
Honestly, hands down my favorite author of all times. Between Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, I don't know if I could choose a favorite. Austen was an English novelist in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Her six major novels interpret, critique, and comment upon the British landed gentry. From each of her novels, I have learned many important lessons including:
Always be honest and think for yourself
Money isn't everything
Listen and pay attention to everyday - it's the little things that matter
Learn from your mistakes
Stand up for yourself, and your family
It's okay to say 'no'
You can be strong and still admit when you're wrong
Sense and Sensibility | Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
Pride and Prejudice | Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work "her own darling child" and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, "as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print." The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen's radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.
P.S. If you find yourself spelling words like favorite, color, and behavior with an added 'u,' you may have read too many British American books! My high school English teacher and I once had a debacle over how to spell baptised. Of course, she said it was spelled with a 'z' where I put an 's,' but I refused to agree. 🤷♀️ What can I say, I was a stubborn kid!
2. Nicholas Sparks and 3. Jodi Picoult
These two authors have been gradually taking over my shelves. After falling in love with only one or two of these author's books, I made it a point to collect their works. One thing you should know about me - I rarely buy new. I think of myself as a rescuer of used books! Anytime that I stop at a thrift store, I am scourging the shelves looking for new books that can fill my imagination or complete my collection of authors I adore.
A Walk to Remember | There was a time when the world was sweeter... when the women in Beaufort, North Carolina, wore dresses, and the men donned hats. Every April, when the wind smells of both the sea and lilacs, Landon Carter remembers 1958, his last year at Beaufort High. Landon had dated a girl or two, and even once sworn that he'd been in love. Certainly the last person he thought he'd fall for was Jamie, the shy, almost ethereal daughter of the town's Baptist minister. Jamie, who was destined to show him the depths of the human heart-and the joy and pain of living. The inspiration for this novel came from Nicholas Sparks's sister: her life and her courage.
My Sister's Keeper | Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate—a life and a role that she has never challenged... until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
After watching the movie, I discovered my appreciation and admiration for Nicholas Sparks' work A Walk to Remember. I had a similar experience after watching Jodi Picoult's movie based on My Sister's Keeper. Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn't read the book before watching the movie. That changed after I read the Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore. I absolutely loved the movie for the first book, I am Number Four, but as soon as I dove into the book, I couldn't believe the changes that were made and how many important details they left out!
4. Allyson Noël
I've always been one who has enjoyed a little supernatural and paranormal. From television shows to books, nothing changed. Allyson Noël introduced me into my first young adult fantasy series, and it's still on my shelf today. Even though I am getting older, I still go back to read this series every once in a while.
The Immortals Series | Enter the realm of The Immortals, a young adult fantasy series hailed as "addictive" "beautiful" "haunting" and "mesmerizing."
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste. Damen is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Ever doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen is equal parts light and dark, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.
If that isn't enough, Noël shared the other side of the story in the family with the Riley Bloom series about Ever's sister. Riley Bloom Series | Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something.
5. Rysa Walker
If you've never heard of Timelords or Doctor Who, you're missing out. Growing up with this British television show, time travel became an obsession. When I first discovered Rysa Walker's writing, I wasn't sure what to think. It wasn't quite like what I was used to, but I quickly grew to love it. Her Chronos Files series kept me on my toes the whole way through, and always left me wanting more. I finished each book before the next one had even been released, and I could barely contain my excitement when they became available.
The Chronos Files | When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?
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