Monday, January 4, 2016

When A Contemporary Girl Reads Outside Her Box

As most of you probably know, I read A LOT of contemporaries -- both YA and Adult.  Typically I am drawn toward realistic fiction, the type of stories I can identify with emotionally and mentally.  However, I have not always been this way.  When I started my blog over five years ago, I read an array of books.  Over time though my reading interests have been with the contemporaries, though.  In the last year or so, I've made an effort to carve out some time and meander a bit from my usual reads.  In 2014 I started the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore and completely fell in love.  Her writing took me to a different place, and reminded me that just because the story is set in a fantastical realm does not necessarily mean I can't identify with it.

This past year, I started to read the Scarlet series by A.C. Gaughen, and wow what a treat it's been!  I love this series and am really looking forward to reading its last book, Lion Heart, some time this year (hopefully sooner, rather than later).  It was recommended to me by close friends, that understood my passion for contemporaries, but thought I'd really enjoy this re-telling of Robin Hood.  They were definitely right!  I've learned that stepping outside my box of contemporaries, and submerging myself in a world that is every bit fictional and fantastical, can lead to such a delightful reading experience.

Believe it or not, one of my all-time favorite series belongs to The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.  I love the way she mixes historical with fantasy, featuring a romance to swoon for days over.  I read this series as it was published, and can still remember staying up late into the night to finish Clockwork Princess, revealing the most beautiful series ender my eyes had ever seen.   This series proves to me that I am capable of falling in love with stories outside my comfort zone of reading, but I just need to be willing to crawl out from under my box every once in awhile.

So this is where I need YOUR help, friends.  Help me decide which books I should make a point to read this year that are considered non-contemporary.  You can see from the books mentioned above what my reading tastes tend to lean toward, and also what I've already read.  Below is a few I've already considered, and perhaps with your personal recommendation, they might end up making the cut.

Or, if you have something else to recommend that is non-contemporary, I'm all ears!


  1. I think you should read the Throne of Glass series (Sarah J. Maas)! I wasn't much into fantasy before that series, and now I'm OBSESSED. I'd start with "The Assassin's Blade" :)

    I'm also liking the Lunar Chronicles series (Marissa Meyer)!
    Oh, and definitely check out the Newsoul trilogy (Jodi Meadows)!

  2. This is such a fun post, Ginger! I love looking to other bloggers to help me get out of *my* comfort zones as well! I don't know if this one is up your alley or not, but one that a bunch of bloggers have recommended to me that I'll be reading this year is the Lynburn Legacy Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan! (YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Mystery/Romance is how it's been described to me)

    As for the books you've put up there, I COULD not recommend Six of Crows more! It has such a fun feel to it, and I love how she put so many POVs throughout but it never feels jumbled or rushed. (Illuminae was also wonderful, even if just for the awesome way the book is formatted!

  3. Of those I've only read SIX OF CROWS and ILLUMINAE and I loved them both. Especially Six of Crows.

  4. I definitely recommend Illuminae if you like sci-fi. It reminded me of shows like Battlestar Galactica, so it was right up my alley. The format is SO different and it ended up being really cool to me. I also read Grave Mercy awhile ago and remember really enjoying it. I'm with Emmah up there- I love the Newsoul trilogy by Jodi Meadows. I am also a huge fan of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson if you haven't read those.

  5. Yes, The Lynburn Legacy!!! (I'm one of the people pushing Lindsey to read it haha). It's really wonderful and so much of it focuses on the relationships (familial, platonic, and romantic) between the characters. The magic/paranormal is almost a byproduct. I really enjoyed The Winner's Curse and Red Queen! A couple other suggestions: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (really great fantasy series if you loved Graceling!), Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen, The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, Gilt by Katherine Longshore, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (post apocalypic retelling of Persuasion! It's lovely), A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce, The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors, Every Breath by Ellie Marney (contemp but more of a mystery/thriller), The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, Rook by Sharon Cameron.

  6. Omg read all of the ones you are considering!!! I loved them all!!


  7. You've got some great picks above. The Winner's Curse is AMAZING, and I love Grave Mercy, the Scarlet trilogy, and Six of Crows. I'd also recommend A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray, Wolf by Wolf, A Madness So Discreet, The Weight of Feathers (magical realism), and Under a Painted Sky. Historical fiction (like Scarlet, Grave Mercy, Wolf, Madness, and Painted Sky) is a great place to start if you're branching out from contemporary because they're still set in our world but different time periods and some have small elements of magic!

  8. I like your goal, Ginger! I'm a contemporary fan too. I'm going to read and see what your other commenters are recommending. :)

  9. GIRL.
    You know my love for Contemporary YA, but I have some mad love for those books up there - definitely, definitely read Six of Crows, Grave Mercy (you will love that series), Illumaine, and Winner's Curse. They are all amazing!!!

  10. You MUST keep Six of Crows on your reading list, Ginger! It's an incredible novel, and it's just so action-packed and fun to read ;)

  11. I'm the complete opposite of you: I hardly ever read contemporary, and stick with fantasy and dystopian, but on the occasion I do dip in to contemporary, I find some amazing new books! The Infernal Devices is one of my favorite series as well! Red Queen is the only one of those that I've read, and I would definitely recommend it! If you haven't read The Selection series, check that one out! It is a very contemporary feeling dystopian and an amazing series. I hope you find more amazing books, whatever genre they are!

  12. I've read ALL OF THOSE and oh my stars yes Ginger yes yes yes.

    It really depends on what TYPE of fantasy you're jonesing for at the time, really. ILLUMINAE is one of my all time faves, but it's more space-y than fantasy, but you'll love those twists and crazy plot revelations! It's a bit dark, too, but in a great way.

    GRAVE MERCY and that whole trilogy are the end all be all of everything. I recommend starting that one first!



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