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’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.

In My Mailbox

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

  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsay
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  • One Day by David Nicholls
  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  • Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
  • Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
  • The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
  • Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr

For Review

  • World on Fire by Hayley B. James (from NetGalley)
  • The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (from NetGalley)
  • Firelight by Kristen Callihan (from NetGalley)
  • Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse (from NetGalley)
  • Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (from NetGalley)

Received

  • Disillusionists trading cards (thanks to Carolyn Crane!)
  • Wild & Steamy Anthology by Meljean Brook, Jill Myles, and Carolyn Crane
  • Thief! by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Eddis by Megan Whalen Turner

Author Interview: Carolyn Crane

Ever since I first stumbled across it at Borders, Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionists series has maintained a permanent place at the top of my urban fantasy shelf. Her take on the genre is fresh, exciting, and always provides lots of laughs (and some lovin’, too). This week saw the release of Devil’s Luck, a novella chronicling the misadventures of my personal favorite Disillusionist, Simon. I’m lucky enough to have both Carolyn and Simon with me today to talk about fashion, friends, and all the Disillusionist dirt you could hope for.

Carolyn and Simon, I’d like to welcome you both to A Book and a Short Latte. I’ve been itching to meet you both since I first read Mind Games.

Thanks Shortlatte!! We’re glad to be here, aren’t we Simon? *kicks grumbly Simon in the shin*

The Disillusionists series is unlike any other urban fantasy I’ve come across. There’s something viscerally engaging about the evolution of supernatural elements from the ordinary human sensory experience, yet it still offers the cathartic impossibility of the traditional magic and creatures type urban fantasy. What first gave you the idea for the world of the Disillusionists?

I love how you put that question. Actually, I’m not just saying that, because you captured two things that were important to me.

One, it was important to me that the magic, with the highcaps, could feel like it could really happen, which is why I liked the idea of making it a genetic mutation, just a bit more of the brain being used. (Cathartic possibility!)

Two, as far as the actual disillusioning, it’s a little taken from reality. For example, I used to have this friend who was slowly going insane—conspiracy theories, voices, the whole deal. It was really terrible, and sad. And whenever I’d hang out with him, afterwards, I’d feel a little crazy and wired, too, as if I’d soaked up his crazy energy.

You hang out with somebody who’s intensely angry or depressed or incredibly light and happy, and it greatly affects you. So in a that way, I think zinging already happens on a very minor scale. Could internal darkness be weaponized? Could a person deliberately attack another person in that way? Probably not, but that was the germ of the idea.

As you continued to develop the backdrop of the series, which popped out at you first: the worldbuilding, or the characters?

I would say they evolved together, the world evolving in relation to the characters, the characters evolving via the world. Sort of like an ecosystem!

What about you, Simon? What did you first think when Carolyn pulled you into this crazy world of hers?

Oh, it has its definite upsides, especially now **eyes Fawna **  And hey, nobody has killed me yet, including Carolyn, so I count myself lucky. And, I appreciate the wardrobe. I wouldn’t want to dress like a boy scout, like Packard.

Carolyn, as readers have learned, you certainly don’t pull any punches when it comes to your characters. Without giving anything away, did you always know how things were going to play out, or did your characters keep some secrets from you when you first began to write the series?

I usually have possibilities in mind with characters, on a long term basis and I play around with them as the books progress. So things that happened were vague possibilities, but one of many. At one point, I thought Justine and Shelby could become nemeses in book 3, but I nixed that. Also, bringing Cubby back as a villain. Nixed. I’m not the kind of author where characters tell me what to do, though I get ideas, sort of out of the blue, and I suppose that’s similar. I think it’s all just the subconscious.

Simon, care to tell us a little bit about the first time you met Packard?

I met Packard at a card game. Do not play poker against Packard – he’ll win every time. Not that I care – I would’ve lost everything I had with or without him there that night. And he glommed onto me. You know Packard – a real connoisseur of messed up people. Not that I’m messed up.

How about your relationship with Justine? You two seem to have forged a reluctant alliance despite yourselves. Admit it: she wormed her way under your skin, didn’t she?

Hah! You know I gave her a very hard time at first. I think if you know my story, you can see why her  health fears rubbed me exactly the wrong way. However, yes, okay! she’s not so bad.

Carolyn, while I’m sure we’ll all admit that your series is set apart from others in its genre, which of your urban fantasy peers are you hooked on? Any books from other genres that we should be checking out?

LOL you are too kind. My UF peers – early on, I loved the work of Kelley Armstrong, and the earlier Laurell K. Hamilton. Today there are so many authors doing exciting work, it’s hard to recount them all. Jenn Bennet, Nicole Peeler, Sierra Dean. And in PNR, the great Kresley Cole.

I don’t read as much UF as I should – I relax by reading outside of my genre.

Shortlatte, I should ask you: what new authors are you recommending these days?

Well, they don’t really count as new at this point, but I’d be amiss not to mention two of my UF faves. If you aren’t reading Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series or Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series, you really should be.

As far as newcomers to the genre go, I love Clay and Susan Griffith’s The Vampire Empire series.

Ooh, I have the first of Rob Thurman’s series. I need to move that way up on the roster, I think. Thanks for the rec. The Vampire Empire I hadn’t heard of at all. That is a great title. Intriguing.

What about you, Simon? Have any literary favorites that you’d like to share?

Simon shrugs. I like a lot of different stuff.

Carolyn: Simon won’t tell you this, but he LOVES Hemingway. As well as Patricia Highsmith and Pat Barker. Simon is secretly a very big reader.

I tend to collect quotes, especially from authors. Do you have a favorite quote, Carolyn?

Wait, a quote I made up, or a quote I like that’s somebody else’s?

I’d imagine it would be too hard to pick just one of your own. How about a favorite quote from another author?

Oh, good, I prefer that. Here:

“If you ever looked at me once with what I know is in you, I would be your slave”

~Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights.

KILLS ME!! I love this quote in an unholy and unwholesome way!!!

Sometimes when I’m reading a novel, the elements are so vivid that I can’t help but conjure up a soundtrack to accompany the action. Carolyn, if you had to pick five songs for the Disillusionists Movie, what would they be?

That is SUCH a hard question! I don’t even know if I can answer it, because the trilogy to me is like a vast country with all sorts of different terrain, and different moods. What would you pick?

Bouncing my own question back at me, Carolyn. I see how it is.  Here are my votes for the Disillusionists soundtrack.

Adam Lambert- A Loaded Smile: The atmosphere this song creates is just the right amount of haunting, and I think it addresses Justine’s confusion (in Mind Games, in particular) regarding where her love life seems to be heading 

Arctic Monkeys- This House is a Circus: Justine and companies’ adventures often reach a cacophony of hectic frenzy, which this song perfectly conveys. Not to mention, with all of those Disillusionists in one room, it’s bound to be a bit of a circus.

Beck- Nausea: For a hypochondriac like Justine, a song dedicated to nausea seems fitting.

The Dead Weather- Die by the Drop: For those darker moments in the series, this song makes clear the cold, hard fact of what the Disillusionists are all about: disassembling a person one bit at a time.

Kings of Leon- Sex on Fire: Because honestly, how else should we describe those steaming scenes between Justine and Packard?

I’m loving these picks. Very creative and a couple I must check out on YouTube. This is so much better having you pick the soundtrack.

Glad that worked out, then. How about you, Simon? What’s queued up on your play list right now?

I love Nine Inch Nails. Also, Carolyn won’t tell you this, but while she was writing the first three books, she was first drafting by hand, and every day when she would sit in her chair to start work, she HAD to play this one Led Zeppelin collected works CD that starts with Kashmir, or she felt she would have a bad day of writing. She also listened to a lot of Elliott Smith and Aimee Mann.

Simon, after a long wait we’ve finally gotten to hear your voice unfiltered. How do you feel about finally getting your story told? Anything Carolyn didn’t cover that you’d like to share with us?

Hah! I think Carolyn shared more than enough…especially a certain scene, if you know what I mean.

Carolyn, you must be pretty fond of Simon to have given him a novella of his own. How has your relationship with Simon changed since the Disillusionists series started? Any chance of hearing from him again in the future?

I originally created Simon to be a villain, somebody within the group to threaten and hound Justine, but I ended up so liking him, and so did readers. I think that is the problem with making villains 3-dimensional, they can turn into heroes. If I write another disillusionists novella, I’ll probably have Simon in, just because  I love how he shakes things up.

Simon, if you could be anyplace right now, where would you be and why?

Simon scowls: Are you going to make me say it?

Carolyn: I will. Anywhere that Fawna is!!

Simon: You will not quit until you make me look 100% sappy.

Carolyn: That is my job, Simon.

Carolyn, if you had to choose any book to live within, what would it be and why?

I’d love to live within the Terre d’ange world from the Kushiel’s Dart series. It’s sort of Medieval but sort of not, and so rich and wonderfully drawn.

So Simon, you seem to be a pretty fashion-conscious guy. Who is your celebrity doppelganger?

Simon: A cross between Elton John and Denis Rodman

Alright, Carolyn, be honest. If you were one of the Disillusionists, what would your power be?

LOL I always have to check about five times that I turned the stove off, sometimes even after I have locked the door to my house and started down the walk.

What would your Disillusionists power be?

I have a remarkable ability to agonize over potential problems before they even materialize. My Disillusionists power would probably result in having a lot more neurotic people running around Midcity wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.

That would be a very devastating power, and one that I could totally and completely relate to. Worry and agonize. It would’ve been funny to have somebody like that.

It’s been a long journey since the series began. Anything you’d like to say to Carolyn, Simon? What are your plans for the immediate future?

Leave me out of the rest of your books! Take the spotlight off me! You and Packard, always trying to analyze me and tell me what to do. Put the camera on somebody else.

Simon, Justine has a fairly faithful sidekick in Gumby. Not that you aren’t fabulous enough all on your own, if you had to pick a sidekick, who(/what) would it be and why?

Simon: I think I might like to steal Justine’s Gumby and write graffiti all over him and give him some piercings and make him be MY sidekick.

Shortlatte, what do you think about that? Don’t you think that would be funny?

Hey, I’m all for giving Gumby a makeover. Maybe add a tattoo or three as well. But I’m guessing our little green friend might want to know where some of those piercings are going, don’t you think?

Carolyn: LOL. I can assure you that the piercings would go in the most upsetting-to-Justine places Simon could think of.

So Simon, what’s your guilty pleasure?

Simon: A peaceful evening reading in bed.

Did you know anything about this, Carolyn?

Carolyn: WHAT?!?!?!?! A peaceful evening reading a book??

Hey, thanks so much, Shortlatte, for having us here! Simon, see? Wasn’t this fun?

Simon: Yes, I’m glad I got to set the record straight on a few things. Thanks, Shortlatte!

*                             *                              *                                *

Thanks so much, Carolyn and Simon, for taking the time to stop by today.

Be sure to check out Devil’s Luck as well as the rest of the Disillusionists series (links available below).

Series Order

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 Give A Theme Song To

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Oh Comely by Neutral Milk Hotel

2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater: Satellite Heart by Anya Marina

3. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning: Pretty Visitors by Arctic Monkeys

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg

5. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta: White Blank Page by Mumford & Sons

6. Kitty Katt series by Gini Koch: E.T. by Katy Perry (the ONLY Katy Perry song I halfway-like).

7. Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery: In My Life by The Beatles

8. Disillusionists series by Carolyn Crane: Jump Into the Fire by Harry Nilsson

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

The Past Week

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian

Devil's Luck by Carolyn Crane

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

 Reading Now

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

 The Week Ahead

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

In My Mailbox

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

  • The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
  • What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  • The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Received

  • Devil’s Luck by Carolyn Crane