2015-2016: Top 5 Series

Inspiration

Summer time is the best time for reading series. Mostly because this is the time we readers can dedicate more time to reading and becoming invested in a specific story and group of characters.

Below is a list of the top 5 book series I have read during this past year:

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  1. “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin

These books are not new, but have been made popular by HBO’s mega-hit series Game of Thrones. This year, I finally finished reading the published installations of this series, including the prequel stories compiled in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” If you are a reader that loves the show, then you will absolutely love these books. Martin is a first-class world-builder and will probably be recognized as the greatest fantasy author of our time. Also highly recommended is “A World of Ice and Fire.” 

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2. “Memoirs of Lady Trent” series

This series is fantasy meets feminism. An adult read, these books are also fun, providing drawings of the different dragon species throughout the pages. The first three books are shown above, with the most recent, “In the Labrynth of Drakes,” having been published this April. I have yet to read the 4th installation but am looking forward to doing so this summer!

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3. Harry Potter Film Production Series

This series includes:

  1. “The Creature Vault”
  2. “The Character Vault”
  3. “Magical Places from the Films”

I know that I have mentioned all of these books at least once before, but I’m doing so again because they are just fantastic. My favorite remains “The Creature Vault,” but all three books contain plenty of insider information and concept art sure to please all HP enthusiasts!

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4. The “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon

I started reading this series many years ago, probably when I was too young to be reading it. Having read through the first three books, but not remembering a lot, Starz’ drama encouraged me to revisit the series. Reading them through again as an adult, I have so much more appreciation for these books. This past year I re-read the first two books (“Outlander” and “Dragonfly in Amber”) and plan on reading the rest of the series this coming year. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I would highly recommend these books to just about anyone.

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5. The Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier

This YA series was entertaining. Unlike many other books in this category, the main character was devoid of angst,and the fantasy and time travel elements were approached from an entirely unique standpoint. If you are looking for a quick yet entertaining read, give these books a shot.

Be sure to also check out my top 5 picks for novels!

Inspiration is Novel

Food, Inspiration

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I think it is very important for artists and other creative people to identify the roots of his or her inspiration and keep track of it. If you know what inspires you then you will have a much easier and much more enjoyable time creating in the future.

As some of my readers may know, this past weekend was my 22nd birthday. And, lucky as I am, I received the gift of inspiration from two individuals. In both instances, such inspiration came in the form of a book.

The first came from my brother who gave me “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook .” This book has inspired me in the kitchen, providing me with classic English recipes that I probably would never have thought of or tried otherwise.

the unofficial hp cookbook

Although I do not have much time to cook, I have already tried the recipe for cauldron cakes, or as we may know them, pancakes. Granted pancakes are a simple food, but this recipe was very different from the classic American version or what you might expect from Jiffy mix. The pancakes were much sweeter and took special care when flipping.

To those who want to try this recipe I would advise waiting longer then expected before flipping your pancakes. Though you make think they are done on one side, rest assured they are not. Give them a minute longer than you typically would allow.

cauldron cakes

My second inspiration piece came from Andy who gifted me “The World of Ice and Fire” a very large, very beautiful prequel to the “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, more commonly known as the “Game of Thrones” series. The book is fantastic, containing not only fabulous narrative to the world that George R.R. Martin has created but also a wide array of artwork.

the world of ice and fire

Glancing through this enormous book I am especially inspired by the artwork. When you are an artist that chooses to focus on fantastical imagery such as myself it is always helpful and inspirational to see how other artists are approaching the fantasy realm. Especially, for me, how they are portraying dragons.

Fantastic illustration from the book

Fantastic illustration from the book

Having always been inspired by books I am lucky to have people in my life who not only care enough to buy me birthday gifts but also know what to give me. As I work my way through both of these books I know I will not only be content and entertained but also inspired.