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Showcase Sunday is a meme created by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

Bought

  • Sebastian by Anne Bishop
  • Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
  • Green Rider by Kristen Britain
  • Hero by Perry Moore
  • Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

For Review

  • Released by Megan Duncan (received from author)
  • The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton (from NetGalley)
  • Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett
  • The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure (from NetGalley)
  • Beauty’s Punishment by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure (from NetGalley)
  • Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure (from NetGalley)
  • All My Crimes by Tal Valente (from NetGalley)
  • Once Upon a Time Machine by Lee Nordling, Jason Rodriguez, and Tara Alexander (from NetGalley)
  • Incursion by Aleksandr Voinov (from NetGalley)
  • Risking It All by Jennifer Schmidt (from NetGalley)

Won

I won Bitterblue and The Letter Q through different contests, so I was really surprised when I found that, not only was the wording on both notes nearly identical (obviously they came from the same publishing house), but they apparently were cut at the same time. It’s little things like this that amuse me.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books for People Who Like X Author

I decided to mix it up and interpret this week’s theme a little bit differently.

1. If you like Neil Gaiman, try Tim Powers.
Powers is a master of his class, yet unfortunately his name isn’t nearly as well known as it should be. His works take work, though; Powers is quite the ambitious author, often utilizing existing cultural figures to construct alternative histories replete with lamias, psychotic serial killer clowns, werewolves, time travel, and the gods.
2. If you like John Green, try David Levithan.
So this won’t come as a shock to many of you, especially since these two authors have actually collaborated before. (If you haven’t read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, do so immediately). Still, for those of you not in the know, Levithan’s writing often reaches the exhalted heights of wry youthful optimism that Green is so famous for.
3. If you like Ilona Andrews, try Seanan McGuire.
The Toby Daye series exhibits some of the best worldbuilding and characterization in urban fantasy today. For those who love Kate Daniels’s toughness and capability coupled with a quick wit and unbearable sexual tension, you’re missing out if you’re not reading about Toby.
4. If you like Holly Black, try Rob Thurman.
Though I’ve mentioned this before, I’ll say it again: Cassel Sharpe and Cal Leandros would be best buds. Though the worldbuilding in each series is starkly different, they share an easy and sarcastic narration that strikes a chord with my cynical nature.
5. If you like Diana Wynne Jones, try Megan Whalen Turner.
These two remarkable ladies drew inspiration from each other’s writing, and it shows in both of their most ubiquitous narrators. I would have loved to read a crossover book starring Gen and Howl.
6. If you like Kristin Cashore, try Sherwood Smith.
If you’re a fan Cashore’s lush prose and mixture of romance, political intrigue, and fantasy, you’ll find all that and more in the Crown Duel duet. Mel is a great heroine, and while there is slightly less magic in Smith’s work, the feel is very similar to that elicited by Cashore’s series.
7. If you like Karen Marie Moning, try Anne Bishop.
While Moning’s Fever series and Bishop’s Black Jewels series have little in common, they will forever be linked in my mind since I discovered them (and fell in love with both) in a short two-month period. Despite their differences, I believe that fans of Moning’s dark fantasy tone will be able to appreciate Bishop’s world and the ambiguously drawn characters that inhabit it.
8. If you like Stephanie Perkins, try Cath Crowley.
Perkins is undoubtedly one of the hottest names in young adult contemporary, due mainly to her remarkable ability to write main characters who seem all at once too good to be true yet utterly believable. Crowley’s work is eminently relatable yet a little grittier than Perkins; still, fans of Perkins work will likely adore Crowley’s writing as well.
9. If you like Maggie Stiefvater, try Liz Berry.
I’ve adored Berry’s The China Garden for nearly a decade now. It’s lovely and unique and criminally unrecognized, especially considering the recent surge in interest for young adult paranormal. Fans of Stiefvater’s lyrical writing will recognize the same quality in Berry’s.
That’s all I’ve got this week. Happy Fourth, all ye readers!

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Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: What is the longest book you have ever read? How long did it take you to read it?

I’m not one-hundred percent certain, but if I had to guess I’d say the longest book I have read was Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy. At over 1200 pages, the omnibus edition was a beast even in paperback; I constantly had to keep shifting around to distribute the weight of the book in my lap. Still, I managed to finish it in just over twenty-four hours. (Needless to say, I didn’t accomplish a whole lot else during that day aside from sleeping and eating).

However, if omnibus editions don’t count (The Black Jewels Trilogy does comprise three books, after all), then my best guess at longest book read is Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, coming in at over 1000 pages of torture. This was one of those books that looked right up my alley in theory, but in execution it was so dry that I had to force my way through in installments. Normally I would say ‘life is too short’ and throw in the towel, but for some reason the summer that I picked this book up I was determined to finish everything that I started. It took me around two weeks to get to the end, which is nearly an eternity for me. I shudder to think of all the other books that I could have read in that amount of time, but I suppose I’m glad to be able to say that I’ve read this one regardless.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books

My favorites all seem to come in teams or packs (though not all romantic). I guess it’s another testament to how invested I become in the relationships that form among characters.

1. Jane and Rochester, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane is the indomitable woman with a will of iron and a gentle spirit whom I fell in love with just as much as I did her brooding counterpart.

2. Alec and Seregil, Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling

Within a few pages of the first book, Luck in the Shadows, I knew I had come across a lifetime favorite in this cunning, ebullient pair.

3. Daemon, Saetan, and Lucivar, The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop

While Jaenelle stands at the heart of the stories set in a world where women are politically dominant, it is the family dynamic among these three men that made me fall in love with Bishop’s books.

4. GenThe Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

Gen is many things, but he is never what you think he is. The one quality you can depend on seeing in Gen is resilience (though thankfully his trademark wit isn’t usually far behind either).

5. Cal, Neko, and Robin, Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman

While it was the innovative worldbuilding and Cal’s sarcastic commentary that initially drew me into this series, the steadfast bond that has formed among this trio is what catapults these books onto the top of my urban fantasy list.

6. Toby and Tybalt, Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire

Toby is a rare breed of urban fantasy heroine: she’s smart, appealingly pessimistic, and asks for help when she needs it. In short, she’s a heroine easy to root for, and her tangled relationship with the King of Cats has sustained the perfect balance of love, hate, and heat for five books now without growing tedious or gratuitous.

7. Neville and Luna, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I am always drawn to the oddballs, and these two seem to epitomize that role at Hogwarts. Never mind the fact that I am firmly in the non-book canon camp who believes that these two were meant to be; they are both fantastically atypical characters in their own right.

8. Simon, the Disillusionists series by Carolyn Crane

From his first meeting with Justine, I knew there was more to Simon than met the eye, and his progression throughout the series demonstrates that in spades.

9. Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Jo exemplifies everything that I wish to be: tough, passionate, confident, loving, and fully immersed in the world of words. I still might not have forgiven her for rejected Laurie, but that does nothing to lessen her strength of spirit.

10. Howl, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

A vain, arrogant, whiny wizard whose improbable exterior conceals the brilliance within. What I love about Howl is that, while he truly is a genius, none of his flaws are manufactured or exaggerated. He is who he is, and that’s fantastic.

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Booking Through Thursday is a meme created at the blog of the same name that poses a different question about reading each week.

This week’s questions is: If someone asked you for a book recommendation, what is the FIRST book you’d think to recommend (without extra thought)?

It might seem like a copout to a veritable Sophie’s Choice of a question, but I can’t begin to think of book recommendations until I know the literary taste of whomever is asking. There are so many books gracing my shelves that I love with all my heart, yet I know, for instance, that the market for a series such as Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books is pretty limited, no matter how much I love them.

That being said, I only hesitate to recommend Markus Zusak’s I Am the Messenger for fear that others won’t connect with it the same way that I do. Likewise, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is among my top choices no matter what genre you typically read, while Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series is a solid bet for those who enjoy urban fantasy. The chances of my answering this question with only one book title were slim to begin with, so I’ll refrain from going on (which I could, easily).

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In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi over at The Story Siren to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

Bought

  • Illusion by Paula Volsky
  • Shadows Return by Lynn Flewelling
  • Mélusine by Sarah Monette
  • Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley
  • Black Night by Christina Henry
  • Of Darkness, Light, and Fire (Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light & The Fire’s Stone) by Tanya Huff
  • Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
  • Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn
  • Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop
Gifted
  • Archangel by Sharon Shinn
  • The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Glimpses by Lynn Flewelling
  • Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

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In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi over at The Story Siren to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

Bought

  • Doubletake by Rob Thurman
  • Twilight’s Dawn by Anne Bishop
  • Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
  • Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
  • What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
  • The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
  • Jane by April Lindner
  • Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

For Review

  • Hiren’s Magical Adventure by Kathleen Patel (from Author/Blogger Network)
  • The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

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