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Riley Heruska
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We all know how important physical activity is. It can help you control your weight, decrease your risk of serious diseases, strengthen your body, and even improve your attitude towards life (thanks, endorphins). Unfortunately, most of us just aren't the kind of people who can willingly drag ourselves from the comfort of our couch to go run a mile or lift weights. Gyms are uncomfortable, especially if you don't feel confident in your fitness levels. I mean, who wants to spend an hour sweating bullets and comparing themselves to everyone around? No, thank you. In other states, we could probably turn to more outdoorsy exercise methods, but unless you want to melt into a puddle on the sidewalk, it's best to exercise inside during the summer months of Texas. 

If you are one of those people who can push themselves to hit the gym every day or get active in the blazing summer heat, then kudos to you! The rest of us, however, often feel like we're dragging ourselves to a dreaded workout that's time-consuming and just a little bit soul-sucking. It's especially hard to implement a fitness routine when you groan at the mere thought of lacing up your tennis shoes, and more often than not, the temptation to avoid exercising in general wins. 

So, how can you stay fit and avoid workouts that feel like a punishment? Here are a few ideas! 

Find Water-Based Activites That Are Actually Enjoyable 

We Texans love our lake sports and swimming pools, but not everyone has access to a jet ski or likes doing laps. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to get active around water, and most of them are pretty cheap. Rent a kayak and spend your day paddling around a river you've never explored. Check out one of the natural springs in Texas, like the famous Hamilton Pool. The goal is to find a body of water and do whatever floats your boat (I know, that's a terrible pun). The more you're enjoying exploring the waters, the less you'll think about the exercise you're engaging in. 

Embrace the Stairs As Your New BFF 

Tired of reaching the third floor and feeling completely out of breath? Well, every time you take the stairs, your heart rate leaps up a little and your body engages in core muscle building. It's no wonder the elevator often seems like such a good idea. However, the more you tackle the stairs, the more toned your body will be. Sure, it won't equate to lifting weights every day or anything, but it will make a small difference in the number of calories you burn each day, as well as the strength of your glutes and hamstrings. It's a simple way to make a healthier choice during your day-to-day activities. 

Find a Class That's More Fun Than Pain 

So maybe that spin class makes you dread Wednesdays with a passion, but there are so many options when it comes to taking an entertaining class. Experiment with a couple and find one that helps distract you from the workout your body is getting. There are tons of classes out there that will do the job, from intense dance courses to competitive weight-training instruction. Everyone enjoys different things, so try a few out and discover what gets your mind off of the discomfort of burning muscles and fast heartbeats. 

Forget That You Have a Car Whenever You Can 

In Texas, most of us rely on our vehicles for everything. It's not easy to get around the suburbs without a mode of transportation, and even our cities are difficult to navigate on foot. However, when you can, try to walk. If you're in the mall and the store you want to visit is on the opposite end, don't repark on the other side. Get moving and make your own way there! Speaking of parking, don't always try to get the absolute closest parking space. Sometimes, park a little further just to get your blood pumping. I'm not saying you need to start walking the 10 miles to work every day. Just try to walk whenever and wherever you can! It truly will make a difference. 


How do you get moving without heading to the gym? Leave your personal fitness recommendations in the comments below! 

Riley Heruska
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A few months ago, we talked about the impact our cheap shopping habits has on our environment. On average, Americans send more than ten million tons of clothing to the dump every year, which is insane. So, with back-to-school shopping and fall fashion trends just around the corner, how can you purchase clothing without feeling guilty about the negative effects? 

Well, there are quite a few clothing companies that are making a huge effort to give back to our world while still producing affordable clothes. Check out some of these inspirational brands and see if you can purchase some new trendy items and give back to a worthy cause!

FEED Projects 

Founded in 2007, this brand is fighting against world hunger by creating quality bags. Every time a product is purchased from FEED, the company provides meals to children in countries where not every student has food. The bags themselves are produced in underprivileged countries like Haiti, India, and Peru. Their bags are affordable and well-made, so you'll be happy with your purchase and the donation you're making! So far, the company has donated more than 95 million meals to kids in need. 

Ivory Ella 

Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were killed in Africa for the ivory. That's why Ivory Ella, a clothing brand for women, has partnered with Save the Elephants. Every time you purchase an item from Ivory Ella, a portion of the proceeds goes toward protecting wild elephants in Africa. The store carries everything from adorable sweatpants to accessories for your dorm room! It's the perfect place to go shopping before heading off to college, and you'll know that you helped an endangered animal species. 

Beza Threads

Did you know that as many as 27 million people suffer under the oppression of modern slavery today? This company is helping to bring redemption and freedom to those enslaved people. If you purchase one of their scarves for around $30, you'll be helping preserve human dignity and supporting locals in Ethiopia. Each scarf is hand-made by multiple teenagers and 100 percent of the funding goes to people in need. 

Twice as Warm

By making high-quality products in the USA that are sure to keep you toasty during the winter, Twice as Warm strives to benefit local shelters and organizations in need of clothing for cold weather. They sell scarves, hats, and gloves. By wearing one of their products, you'll give to someone else in need. Right now, if you sign up for the email list, you'll get 15% off your order, so go stock up on cozy items! 

Makai Clothing Co. 

Every year, thousands of baby turtles hatch on land along the U.S. coast and make a dangerous journey to the Atlantic Ocean. In recent years, only about 10% of young sea turtles survive due to natural and human-caused threats. As a result, U.S. sea turtles are federally listed as endangered. By shopping at Makai Clothing, you'll help protect turtles! 10 percent of all the brand's proceeds go toward sea turtle conservation. Plus, their products are really cute. 

Serengetee 

Established in 2012 by two men who studied abroad, this company is changing the way the world uses fabrics. When you buy from Serengetee, you'll be purchasing fabric from over 25 countries and giving back to a diverse range of important causes. Browse their impressive collection of t-shirts, hats, towels, and more! Right now, if you spend more than $15 (which is easy to do), you can benefit from free shipping! 

Out of Print

Every book nerd needs to visit this site ASAP. This company makes adorable t-shirts, pins, children's clothing, bags, and more, and they're all designed to showcase your favorite literary pieces! Buy a Where the Wild Things Are onesie as a baby gift or show off your love for Agatha Christie on a shirt. Seriously, their products are too cool. Can you tell I'm a big reader? Anyway, not only does Out of Print produce fun items, but they also help fund literacy programs for communities in need. 


These are just a handful of the great clothing companies out there that are trying to make a difference. Which ones do you love to support? Spread the word in the comments below, and happy shopping! 

Riley Heruska
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With fall fashion trends on the horizon, it's tempting to embrace sweaters and boots as soon as possible. After all, retailers and magazines are more than ready to embrace autumn styles!

However, we Texans know that we've still got a few months of heat to deal with before diving into warmer clothes. No one understands that more than these bloggers, who love all things Texas and fashion. Check out their websites for some style inspiration, as well as friendly advice and entertainment. 

Ali Schilling from A Dash of Details 

This 20-something blogger loves finding beauty in the small aspects of life. She calls Highland Park home with her two puppies and husband, and she's been making a name for herself in the world of lifestyle blogging for years. One look at her Instagram or website and you'll want to redo your entire wardrobe to match hers. I certainly can't get enough of her pretty flower photos and light, airy style. 

Courtney Shields from Bring Your Own Beauty 

Courtney claims she's had a knack for all things beauty since she was young, and her blog only seems to prove that statement true. She shares everything from her personal style to product recommendations from her home in Austin, Texas. Recently, she's been documenting her pregnancy experience and providing tips and tricks to other women who are expecting. Honestly, any reader can spend ages scrolling through her posts and learning about this charismatic blogger's life. Definitely check out her website or Instagram for some lifestyle inspiration. 

Kristina Braly from Kristina Braly 

Formerly known as Pretty Shiny Sparkly, this Texas-based blog offers a look into the ups and downs of Kristina's life as a writer, YouTuber, mother-to-be, and physician! Phew, that's a mouthful. You'll be impressed by her list of achievements (she founded the Bloggers Do It Better movement and more!), as well as her excellent recommendations for all things beauty and fashion. Visit her website or Instagram to learn more. 

Brooke Burnett from One Small Blonde 

This fashion blogger went to school in Dallas and then fell in love with the city. She started her own digital marketing agency, Muse Media, then went on to establish her own fashion blog as a creative outlet. She sums up her style in three words: simple, sophisticated, and chic. One look at her blog and you'll agree. Check out her Instagram or website for daily outfit ideas and a dose of life advice. 

Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes

It's not an exaggeration to say that Jane was ahead of the curve when it comes to fashion blogging. She started her blog when she was just sixteen, and she's become world-famous for her stylish influence and impeccable taste. She and her fiance, Jeff, live in Dallas. Turns out, she wasn't the first in her family to stake a claim in the blogosphere: Her mother is the popular home interior blogger Judy Aldridge (Atlantis Home). To learn more about Jane and her style, visit her website or Instagram

Jessi Afshin from The Darling Detail 

This style and inspiration blogger loves everything to do with fashion photography, and she's amassed quite a following through her successful blog. At just 24 years old, she's already expanded her blog to include five team members based in Austin, Texas. Visit her website and Instagram, but be warned: You'll probably become addicted to scrolling through her posts, which are full of positive statements and effortlessly assembled outfits. 

Nicole Kestenbaum from Lipstick and Brunch 

Although Nicole was born in Honduras, she's lived in Texas for more than eight years and now calls Houston home. She uses her little corner of the web to share outfit ideas and encouragement for curvy, petite women. She's written about everything from becoming a mother to the best products to travel with. Colorful and positive, this blog will make you smile, as will Nicole. Visit her website or Instagram to learn more. 


So, what fashion gurus do you turn to? Leave any other recommendations in the comments below! 

Riley Heruska
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Let's be real: Autumn weather won't really roll into Texas for a few more months, but we can dream of smoky campfires and crisp breezes, right? Plus, it never hurts to plan the perfect camping trip in advance. With two national parks, multiple state parks, and dozens of recreational sites, there's really no excuse not to schedule some much-needed outdoors time this fall. 

Not a fan pitching tents and doing things the normal way? Here are five camping spots you might not have heard of, and they'll definitely provide a camping trip unlike any other. 

Explore New Heights With Cypress Valley Canopy Tours 

Ever wanted to sleep up among the tree tops? This unique setting will allow you to do just that and so much more. Reserve a night in one of their tree house rooms, then spend your time zip lining, swimming in the camp's pool, dashing across swinging bridges, or taking in the view from the deck. The owners are extremely responsive, and travelers highly recommend shelling out the money to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Located in Spicewood, the attraction is only about 4 hours away from the Dallas area. 

Sleep in a Solar-Powered Eco Dome

In Terlingua, right outside of Big Bend National Park, guests can spend a night in an unusual accommodation. This dome runs completely on solar power and comes equipped with everything you could need, from WiFi to running water. Even so, you'll definitely feel like you've taken a step away from society. Out in the middle of nowhere, you can stargaze to your heart's content and truly disconnect. Hike the nearby trails then relax in your secluded hideaway. 

Camp Alongside the Wildlife at Fossil Rim 

If you haven't visited Fossil Rim, then at a minimum you'll want to do a drive-through during the day. You'll witness incredible interactions with exotic wildlife from the comfort of your car, and the park itself is impressive to behold. You can take the experience a step further and book a night at one of Fossil Rim's safari camps. Customers describe the tents as comfortable, and you'll be quite close to an active watering hole. Be sure to bring your camera along on this adventure because the photo opportunities will just keep coming! 

Experience a Special Night in a TiPi

Honestly, who doesn't want to say that they've slept in an actual tipi? Not only will you have a unique camping experience, but you'll also find secluded locations that really allow you to unwind in peace. There are several different tipi rentals you can look into, and many are pretty reasonably priced. This one is right on the lake and full of luxurious accommodations! 

Stay in a Family-Friendly Airstream Rental 

Want to get out into nature without fully giving up the luxuries of home? Look into booking at a night in a classic Airstream like this one! It's the perfect getaway for small families or couples, and you'll be able to cook with all the necessary amenities (fridge, oven, dishes, cookware, etc.). Sure, it might not be as authentic as cooking over an open fire, but it will allow you to relax instead of constantly thinking of what to pack and prepare. 


Don't these just make you itch for autumn and late nights under the stars? Look into crafting your own unique camping experience and book accommodations soon! 

Riley Heruska
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AUGUST 8

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF

A 56-year-old male resident reported that an unknown suspect entered a home under construction in the 3000 block of HaStreet and removed the breaker box, copper tubing, and copper wiring. 


AUGUST 9


THEFT OF PROPERTY 

At some point during the night, the side mirrors of a 38-year-old victim's vehicle were stolen. The theft occurred while the vehicle was parked outside of the victim's home in the 4300 block of Druid Lane. 

BURGLARY OF VEHICLE 

A 31-year-old victim's car was burglarized overnight while parked in the 3400 block of Marquette Street. There were no signs of forced entry but several items were missing from the vehicle. 

BURGLARY OF VEHICLE 

An unknown person entered a 46-year-old victim's vehicle and stole a laptop. The incident occurred between 6:00 PM the night before and 7:30 AM the next day. The vehicle was parked in the 4000 block of Greenbrier Drive. 

THEFT OF PROPERTY 

The rearview mirrors were taken off three GM vehicle overnight while they were parked in the 4300 block of Grassmere Lane. 

INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY 

A 34-year-old mother stated that the father of her child removed the child from her care without consent. The incident occurred in the 3400 block of Potomac Avenue at approximately 10:19 PM. 


AUGUST 11

BURGLARY OF BUILDING

A known person went into an unlocked detached garage in the 4300 block of Stanford Avenue and took property without permission or consent. The known person also had marijuana in his possession. The theft occurred at approximately 12:47 AM. 

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF 

Officers were called to the 3600 block of Asbury Avenue in response to a disturbance. A subject was arrested for damaging property in his mother's home and charged with criminal mischief. The incident occurred at approximately 1:17 AM. 

BURGLARY OF BUILDING

A resident of the 4200 block of Purdue Street reported that an unknown suspect was in his garage stealing his tools at approximately 2:00 PM. The suspect fled the scene prior to the officers' arrival. Tools were recovered at the scene.  

BURGLARY OF VEHICLE 

An unlocked vehicle in the 4300 block of Stanford Avenue was entered during the night and property was taken without consent. The theft occurred between 9:00 PM the night before and 5:00 AM the next morning. 


AUGUST 12

PUBLIC INTOXICATION

A subject was arrested in the 3100 block of Bryn Mawr Drive at approximately 3:17 AM for public intoxication. 

ROBERRY WITH FIREARM 

An unknown suspect entered a Starbucks in the 6700 block of Hillcrest Avenue at approximately 6:40 AM. The suspect displayed a handgun and told the clerk to remove an undetermined amount of cash from the register. 

THEFT OF PROPERTY 

Suspects entered the CVS in the 6700 block of Preston road at approximately 3:25 PM and stole products. They then fled in a vehicle. 


AUGUST 13

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED 

At approximately 7:00 AM, an officer was performing traffic duties in the 7800 block of Preston Road when he observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. The officer initiated a traffic stop, and upon further investigation, arrested the driver for Driving While Intoxicated. 

THEFT OF PROPERTY 

An unknown person entered the backyard of a residence in the 4300 block of Stanford Avenue between the hours of 9:00 PM on Thursday and 6:00 AM on Friday. The person stole property without the previous knowledge or consent from the owner, and the owner reported the theft on Sunday. 

All information provided by UPPD 

Riley Heruska
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AUGUST 9

THEFT OF PROPERTY 

At approximately 12:57 PM, an officer was working an off-duty security job at the Highland Park Shopping Village when he received a call from an employee at Saint Laurent. The caller stated that a male suspect had just taken two backpacks from the store without paying, then fled the scene. It seems possible that the suspect was the same one in the Christian Lou Boutin theft that occurred a few weeks ago, but police have no proof. 


AUGUST 10

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF VEHICLE 

Police officers were dispatched to the lobby of 4700 Drexel Drive at approximately 10:00 AM. The victim told police that someone took his vehicle from his front driveway without his effective consent. He believes someone may have taken the keys from inside his home at some point while he was out of town. 

All information provided by HPPD 

Riley Heruska
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With all the back-to-school items on your shopping list, it's the perfect time to embrace some sales and save some money. This weekend (Friday through Sunday), Texas is giving shoppers the chance to avoid sales tax while they stock up on supplies for the coming academic year. Sources estimate that Texans will save as much as $87 million dollars during this tax-free weekend. Sounds pretty amazing, right?

However, there are some things you should know before you grab your wallet and dash to the nearest mall. 

Not Everything Is Tax-Free

As much as we wish everything was on sale at some point over the next few days, there are some things that don't qualify. All eligible items must be under $100, which excludes plenty of pricey electronics or designer items. Most clothing items, backpacks, and school supplies will be tax-free, but you might want to check this website to be completely sure. 

Online Sales Might Offer Better Deals 

Just because there's no tax doesn't mean that in-store deals are always the best. Sure, check out Staples and Target for some of the items on your list, but don't forget to look online for better deals. Amazon has an entire back-to-school section, and some stores have sales that are only available online. Do your research by comparing prices before you throw everything in your cart at one store. Tax-free doesn't always equate to the cheapest price. 

Some Stores Are Adjusting Their Hours 

If you're trying to squeeze in some in-store shopping over the busy weekend, consider visiting during extended hours. Some stores will be open earlier or later so that everyone can take advantage of the sales. If you can manage it, going outside of normal shopping hours can save you some time and energy. No one wants to fight the crowds during the mid-day rush. 

Riley Heruska
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When the sun's beating down and the temperature's in the triple digits, you probably don't feel like cranking up the oven and baking any sweets. Enough of this Texas heat, am I right? Bring on the autumn weather! Anyway, now is the perfect time to turn to some colder dessert options. A few weeks ago, we rounded up some of the best no-bake cookie recipes out there. Now, we're turning to the coolest treat out there: ice cream. 

Here are some of the yummiest milkshake recipes online. Just click on the title for a detailed how-to guide! Which one will you try first? 

Cookies & Cream Milkshake by Table for Two 
Everything about this cookies and cream milkshake sounds yummy. Added bonus: it only requires four ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand in your home! Really, there's no excuse for not whipping one of these up when the sugar cravings hit. 

Peach Milkshake by Delightful E Made 
Love Chic-fil-a's famous seasonal peach milkshake? Well, you're in luck because this blogger has created a make-at-home replica recipe! It's the perfect combination of quality vanilla ice cream, milk, sugar, and ripe peaches. Honestly, my mouth is watering just talking about it. 

Caramel Apple Milkshake by My Organized Chaos 
If you're a caramel addict, then look no further: this shake is an amazing blend of all things apple and caramel. Top with whipped cream and some gooey caramel sauce and you've got yourself a winner. 

Mint Brownie Milkshake by Go Eat and Repeat 
This shake has multiple personalities. With layers of brownie, ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream, it'll please any mint chocolate lover! Plus, it only takes a few minutes to create, so you can indulge whenever the occasion strikes. 

Banana Split Milkshake by Butter With a Side of Bread
This one is exactly what it sounds like: a delicious banana split in milkshake form! If you've got some fresh bananas on hand, then you should really give this one a go. It's cream, classic, and simply wonderful. 

Funfetti Cake Batter Milkshake by Lil' Luna 
This colorful creation screams "fun," and it tastes even better. All you need is some vanilla ice cream, milk, cake mix, sprinkles, and the toppings of your choice! Happy birthday to you. 

Unicorn Milkshake by Cutefetti 
Need a dessert that will really pop on your Instagram account? This one is as beautiful as it is tasty. With whorls of blue and pink, it looks downright magical. Just pop some vanilla ice cream, milk, and food coloring in a blender, then let your creative juices flow as you add a dash of toppings. 

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie by Amy's Healthy Baking 
Not only is shake creamy and perfectly chocolatey, but it's also a pretty healthy choice! Made with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of ice cream, Amy's creation will satisfy your dessert cravings without ruining your diet. 

Riley Heruska
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As September hurtles towards us, thousands of teenagers across Texas are frantically dashing to The Container Store and Target to stock up on college essentials. The shopping list can be a tad bit overwhelming, covering everything from basics like bedding to fun knick knacks that can make a bare bones dorm room feel like home.

If you're not careful, that list can start to feel like a monster looming over the last days of summer. Don't let that happen! Here are a few tricks that will help bring a dorm room together, plus save your money (and possibly your sanity). 

Create a Comprehensive List (Include Prices!) 

First things first: You have to figure out what you need. There are several helpful checklists online, and those can provide a great structure to start with. However, I'd recommend making your own list to feel truly on top of things. Not everyone needs the same things, and your dorm room might have different rules or requirements. Once you've created an exhaustive list, write down a ballpark price next to each item. This will help you formulate a budget and stick to it as you toss various items in your cart. 

Pick a Color Scheme and Run With It 

With so many adorable setups being advertised in every store, it's difficult to decide exactly what design you want your dorm room to embody. Before you head to the store and pick out a bunch of items that don't match at all, pick two to three colors and stick with them. Trust me, it'll make picking out everything from shower caddies to throw pillows so much easier. Can't choose what colors you want? Start by deciding on the bedding you like and take it from there. 

Decide What to Put on the Back Burner 

Believe it or not, you don't have to show up to college with everything on your list checked off. In fact, it's often a good idea to hold off on some things. Not sure how many posters you can fit on your wall? Don't buy them all until you can measure the space. Wondering if others will try to fit a couch in their room? Don't purchase one until you know if that's what you want. Not only will holding off save you some return trips, but it will also keep you from breaking your budget. 

Coordinate With Future Roommates

If you can, reach out to your new roomie and ask them a few questions. Who should bring the mini fridge? Does he/she already have a TV? By communicating, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money. Plus, if you care about color coordination, you can make sure you're on the same page with your dream dorm design.


Now take a deep breath and tackle the list! Before you know it, you'll be moved in and enjoying a dorm room that makes college feel like home. 

Riley Heruska
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Game of Thrones

So, you finished Sunday night's mind-boggling episode of Game of Thrones, and you're left with the desperate, all-consuming sentiment of "BUT I NEED MORE." I mean, seriously, that cliffhanger? How are we supposed to wait seven whole days to find out if a certain someone lives? It's cruel, I tell you, especially for those of us who are accustomed to binge-watching three episodes a night in the past. *Clears throat* but I digress. 

While we're all at the mercy of HBO's scheduled episode premieres, you can turn to a handful of other authors who will enchant and frighten you as much as George R. R. Martin himself. These authors might not have created Daenerys Targareyan or Jon Snow, but they've whipped up some fantastical tales that will keep you turning pages late into the night. You might even forget how desperate you are for the next episode of GoT Season 7! Okay, so that's probably not realistic, but still, it'll give you something to hold on to in the meantime.

The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta 

This is perhaps one of the most underrated fantasy series out there. Marchetta weaves a story of pain and betrayal in the world of Lumatere and the surrounding kingdoms. Lumatere, once ruled by a fair and just royal family, has been cursed and left under the control of cruel tyrants. The curse? No one can get in or out. Families have been separated, and the Lumatereans on the outside search for a cure to the curse while those on the inside struggle to survive. Follow Finnikin of the Rock as he and a motley crew of characters attempt to restore the rightful ruler to the throne. 

The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory 

This interesting take on historical England follows those who ruled Britain before the Tudors. Gregory brings ancient characters to life and tells a story of ambition and beauty. Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen of England, is rising to her seat of power, and those around her keep dangerous secrets. Not only will you be whisked away by the tale Gregory spins, but you'll also learn a little bit about the historical era and various events that shaped history. 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 

Ready for some magic and a handful of intense peril? Then don't skip this one. Told through an intimate narrative, the story follows Kvothe, a gifted young man who is quickly becoming one of the most notorious wizards his world has ever seen. You'll witness everything from a school of magic to murder and mayhem. The Name of the Wind is a true work of fantasy, and it won't leave you dissatisfied. 

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini 

Chances are, you've probably heard of this one in some context or another. If you just saw the movie Eragon, please please wipe that association from your mind. The film truly doesn't do this inventive work of fiction justice. Paolini wrote the series when he was a mere teenager, but you'll be impressed by his storytelling abilities and imaginative world. Can't get enough of Drogon and Daenerys' other dragons? Then you'll definitely want to give this series a chance. 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson 

Roshar, the world in which Sanderson sets his dramatic tale, is ruled by tempests and chaos. The four main characters struggle to survive in this unforgiving realm while facing dangerous political schemes. The intricate world-building and concepts will force you to pay close attention, but in the end, you'll probably fall head-over-heels for this series, just like thousands of other readers. 

The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas 

Although the first books in this series seem to be geared toward a slightly younger audience, things quickly gain intensity as the books progress. Maas' main character, a trained assassin named Celaena Sardothien, has not had an easy life. Between struggling to survive as a paid killer and getting locked up in the realm's worst prison, she's faced more than her fair share of danger. When the royal prince comes to her and offers to free her from captivity if she serves him as his champion, she immediately agrees. Sounds intense, right? Except that's just the bare surface of the story Maas unleashes on her readers. Prepare for ancient fae warriors, romance, royal secrets, and of course, epic battles. 

The Lies of Locke Lamora
 by Scott Lynch 

Even though this is his first novel, Lynch has impressed thousands of readers with his thrilling tale of criminals and tricksters. Locke Lamora has spent his life as an orphan and was therefore forced to steal to live. While many orphans steal in the realm Lynch creates, none do so with as much flare as Locke Lamora. When he falls into the hands of a man called Chains, he becomes a part of something bigger. As he pulls off outrageous feats of confidence, Locke will face more than a little danger, and if he's not careful, even death. 

The Falling Kingdoms Series by Morgan Rhodes

There are three kingdoms in Mytica, and although they have lived in peace for centuries, political upheaval threatens to change everything. Rulers are grappling for power and secrets are weakening alliances that have stood for ages. Rhodes follows four different characters: a princess, a rebel, a sorceress, and an heir to the throne. Packed with action and complex characters, this series will have you addicted instantly.