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!
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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 Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life

I concede defeat to this list before even starting, since I know I’m not going to come close to ten this week.

1. Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I feel a certain affinity for Jo due to her nearly uncontained passion for literature. Granted, her passions run toward the writing end of the spectrum rather than reading, but regardless I can’t help but sympathize with someone who loves the written word so very much.
2. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
While my smarty-pants tendencies have decreased somewhat as I’ve gotten older, I have been known to be an insufferable know-it-all in the right circumstances. I identify with Hermione’s need to have the answer, no matter how annoying the habit might come across to others.
3. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
And in a complete contrast of character, I like to think that on my better days I channel Luna’s aloof spirit. I’ve always marched to the beat of a different drummer and endured a healthy dose of ridicule for it from my peers as a child. Yet like Luna, I know the value of staying true to yourself, even if that makes you a flamingo among sparrows.
4. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
On most accounts, Anne and I are as different as they come, for I’ve never been one to speak my mind. However, I understand Anne’s romantic nature, even if I don’t express it as ebulliently as she does.
5. Cal Leandros from the Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman
I’ve always loved Cal, even when he is at his darkest and other reviewers find little to connect to. I’ve never quite understood why Thurman’s series isn’t more popular, and this is probably partly due to the fact that I simply get Cal. I love his witty sarcasm that permeates every thought. I guess I’ve always harbored dark cloud tendencies, so it’s nice to witness someone else be unabashedly sarcastic without devolving into melodrama.
6. Sam from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater
Firstly, no, my boyfriend does not turn into a wolf. Nor is he musically inclined, let alone prone to composing his own tunes. But there’s something about Sam’s quiet sensitivity and devotion to Grace that reminds me of my own boyfriend. I’m a lucky girl, aren’t I?
7. Sophos from the Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
Continuing with characters that remind me of my boyfriend, Sophos was a delightful character to accompany on his journey from timid boy to grown man. He has reserves of strength that are evident early on, yet that he is unaware of. My boyfriend has the same kind of strength, not overt and loud, but resonating from within.

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: Favorite secondary characters? (Note the plural)

Oh, goodness. Where to start?

Photo from The Leandros Lair at RobThurman.net

My first nomination has to go to Robin Goodfellow from Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series. Rob has proved over the years that he might be a seemingly carefree puck, but he’s also fiercely loyal to those he cares about and is a fearsome opponent to anyone who dares cross him. He’s also without a doubt one of the funniest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading (and also probably one of the only ones to develop a fear of forks, deservedly so).

Second, I’ve got to go with the Marquis de Carabas from Neil

Marquis de Carabas by ~mlang. Click to view the rest of mlang’s deviantart gallery.

Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Elegant to the last and wonderfully ambiguous, the Marquis made an already amazing book into one of my all-time favorites. And while I’m sure that my mental image of him is not quite the same as what most people gleam from his description in the books (I lean toward the version from the graphic novels rather than the TV miniseries), the otherwordly quality of my version of the Marquis simply makes him that much more unforgettable.

Next, I’d be remiss not to mention Simon from Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionists series. From the moment he strutted on the scene, I knew I would

Trading Cards available on Carolyn Crane’s website. Click to view.

grow to love him. He’s the best kind of ally to read about, because he starts off the series in the villain category yet slowly, reluctantly falls in alongside the protagonist to help her along in her endeavors. I was fascinated to learn that Crane initially meant for him to be an enemy to Justine, but soon found that he wasn’t quite what she had expected.

Lastly, and certainly not least, are Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. While I love the golden trio, it’s this duo that makes me go back to the story time and again. Neville represents the best of you that emerges despite your own misgivings, and to me, he is the true hero of the series. He withstood similar (if not worse) experiences as Harry, could in fact have been the chosen one himself, yet without the same type of support system that Harry had, he overcame overwhelming adversity to win the battle. I don’t care what you say, it was his actions that ultimately defeated Voldemort. End rant.
As for Luna, what can I say? I envy her whimsical (yet unexpectedly pragmatic) outlook on life and her unerring ability to let the unpleasant bits roll off. She is quirky in an innate sense, rather than merely adopting the affect for appearance’s sake, and I hope I have a bit of her irreverently unique aspect about me. I share her love of creatures, especially the eccentric kind. And while I don’t quite have the coloring or the carriage to carry it off myself, I adore her fashion sense.

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 we get to revisit a past topic, so I’ve chosen: Top Ten Dynamic Duos

1. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Okay, confession time: I’ve never read any of Doyle’s work. In fact, the only exposure I have to this crime-solving team is the BBC miniseries (I tried watching the Robert Downey, Jr. films but couldn’t get into them). However, my unforgivable negligence in having failed to read the source material doesn’t stop me from recognizing the sheer awesomeness of this duo, and rest assured, I have Doyle’s work on my TBR list.
2. Cal and Niko (Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman)
These brothers never fail to bring a tear to my eye with the depth of devotion toward each other that they exhibit time and again. I can’t help but claim Cal as my favorite (Niko’s ability to kill you with a tubesock notwithstanding), yet both brothers hold such a soft spot in my heart.
3. Sal and Dean (On the Road by Jack Kerouac)
Kerouac’s star duo (modeled after himself and Neal Cassady) pretty much define the concept of dynamic. In their quest to burn, burn, burn like roman candles, they exemplified the chaotic energy of an entire generation and provided inspiration for the many generations that followed.
4. Harry and Hermione (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
Sorry, Ron, but Harry and Hermione’s platonic friendship is the glue that held it all together. I’m sure many HP fans will lambast my decision to break up the golden trio. I’m unrepentant.
5. Kate and Curran (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews)
This Alpha pair has been combustible since day one, and thankfully their playful antagonism hasn’t gone anywhere despite now being mated. Best of all, they are both still just as capable on their own as they are when they’re together.
6. Cat and Bones (Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost)
So Cat is still somewhat of a brat. Even so, she’s exhibited such character growth since Halfway to the Grave that I can forgive her the occasional temper tantrum. I adore these two together and, though married life has subdued them somewhat, they are still a fearsome pair to behold when the stakes are high.
7. Gen and Irene (The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner)
To list the convoluted history of this duo’s relationship would be to give away precious spoilers for a remarkable series that is never as it seems. Suffice it to say, they will satisfy even the pickiest reader’s definition of dynamic and then some.
8. Howl and Sophie (Castle series by Diana Wynne Jones)
I have a bit of a thing for couples who are as likely to snipe at each other as they are to kiss. Sophie has always refused to allow Howl to assuage his penchant for self-indulgent histrionics, and their interactions are as hilarious as they are sweet.
9. Seregil and Alec (Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling)
No list would be complete without by favorite pair of Nightrunners. They’ve endured more than their fair share of madness and mayhem throughout the years, with threats ranging from the supernatural to the political and familial. Though they began their story as master and apprentice, they have grown into true equals without sacrificing those qualities that defined them coming into their relationship. My love for these two is massive.
I’m afraid I’ll have to stop at nine this week. Let me know who you think deserves the last slot!

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 You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

1. Nightlife by Rob Thurman

Filled with wry humor and things that go bump in the night.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

A romcom with substance, this one would entirely depend on the soundtrack and choice of actors.

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

I adore cloak and dagger type fantasy, and this one has it in spades, with a kick-ass heroine to boot.

4. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This one would be all atmosphere and sparse dialogue and muted colors, and it would be beautiful.

5. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

I vote for this one simply to see one of my favorite and most feared villains come to life on the big screen.

6. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

A fresh gothic romance whose visual elements demand cinematic attention.

And three that I wish had been made into better movies.

7. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Alright, I admit it; I actually liked the first one before all the hype. It’s by no means literary gold or the portrayal of a healthy relationship, but it was romantic, and I envisioned it playing out like an indie film.

8. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Neverwhere in my head is a wild and expansive thing, and the BBC version failed its surreal promise.

9. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I understand that the sixties were a time apart film-wise, but this truly eerie classic calls for an update that allows the horror elements to shine.

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).