Top Ten Tuesday

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!

Musing Mondays

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.

Top Ten Tuesday

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.

Booking Through Thursday

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).

Booking Through Thursday

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: Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? Who and what about them did you love?

A more apt question would be, “Is there any fictional character that you haven’t fallen in love with?”

But for the sake for brevity, I’ll list some of my all-time favorites.

Jane and Rochester- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane and Rochester are my first and greatest literary love affair. They complement each other so well, and the growth of their improbable friendship into something even more improbable takes my breath away every time.

Daemon, Saetan, and Lucivar- Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop

These three men stole my heart from the first. They are unbearably charming when they’re with each of their respective women, but they truly shine when they are together in their hilarious family dynamics.

Gen-The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

Few times have I been more proud of a character than I have of Eugenides. Among the many things he has stolen during his career, not the least of which is mine and many other readers’ hearts.

Poe- Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund

I love Amy and Poe because they enhance each other without detracting from their own separate identities.

Top Ten Tuesday

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 I’d Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens

The following are but a sampling of my favorite books, because it would be impossible for me to pick only ten to save. I’m sure there are many that should be included yet that eluded my mind for the time being.

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

2. The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop

3. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning

4. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

5. The China Garden by Liz Berry

6. The Pride of the Peacock by Victoria Holt

7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

9. Society Girl Series by Diana Peterfreund

10. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You

I hope everyone  is having a wonderful Valentine’s Day close to those you love, or if not, then doing something that you love. I thought I would dedicate today’s post to discussing some of my favorite couples, literary and otherwise.

Jane and Rochester

If Jane and Rochester’s love was improbable, than the growth of their friendship beforehand was even more so.

Jack and Rose

I never particularly liked Rose, but that didn’t stop me from loving these two together, however maudlin and silly the story might seem fifteen years later.

Booth and Bones

It took six long years, but these two are finally together. I happen to love the subtlety with which Hart Hanson developed their relationship and the fact that most of the important bits happened off-screen.

Jim and Pam

I’m a sucker for stories where the best friend gets the girl, and these two were no exception. It’s probably a testament to my romantic nature that I feel the show has lagged somewhat since the focus shifted from Jim and Pam’s storyline; then again, I’m also upset that there hasn’t been more Creed screen-time, so perhaps I’m not the best judge of The Office.

Kate and Curran

The best urban fantasy authors know how to develop a romantic subplot without letting it swallow the story. Kate and Curran were barely cordial at the start of this series, so watching the slow escalation of their feelings for each other from grudging respect to competitive courting was all the more satisfying.

Cat and Bones

Another beloved trope of mine, the love-hate relationship is a go-to for me, and few have done it better than Jeaniene Frost. Halfway to the Grave is half-urban fantasy, half-romance, and completely engrossing. It also manages to convince you that the characters should be together without telling you that they should be.

Credit: arkoniel on deviantART

Mac and Barrons

Tumultuous, edgy, uncomfortable, and utterly convincing, the protagonists of Moning’s Fever series are one of those rare couples who I am just as content to read about through the nuances of their individual actions as I am to read their scenes together as a couple.

Credit: XsilverleenX on deviantART

Jaenelle and Daemon

It could so easily have come across as creepy, but watching Daemon begin to love Jaenelle as a child before falling in love with her as a woman was endearing and sold me on their romance despite my dislike of the “fated lovers” trope.