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!

Meandering Around the Interweb

In my various hours of wandering through book blogs far and wide, I’ve come across some pretty fantastic posts lately, so I thought I would spotlight my favorites. Hopefully I can make this a semi-regular feature, although my laziness will test the bounds of my determination to do so, so stay tuned for now.

  • The Final Battle in the YA Fantasy Showdown was a delightful bit of wordplay between Howl from Diana Wynne Jones’s Castle series and Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. I know that these two ladies were mutually inspired by the other’s writing, so it’s wonderful to see what a meeting between these two unreliable characters might have been like.
  • While I’ve yet to get my hands on a copy of Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue, this series of letters among Bitterblue, Katsa, Po, Raffin and Giddon set post-Graceling whets my appetite and makes me want to reread the first two in the Seven Kingdoms series.
  • Justin Gustainis recently wrote a pithy post about the tenable distinction between urban fantasy, paranormal, horror, and all the supernatural genres that fall in between.
  • After reading Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon earlier this year, I immediately went in search of all of the fabulously described pieces of art that pepper Lucy and Ed’s narrations. Luckily, Adele at Persnickety Snark had already managed to track them all down.

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: Spring Fever: Top Ten Books I’d Play Hooky With

I’d honestly play hooky with any book that I own, so to narrow down the choices, I decided to go for books that fit the Spring Break travel theme.

1. Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund

The whole series offers some light entertainment, but the third novel in particular, Rites of Spring (Break), seemed especially fitting.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna’s adventures throughout her year studying abroad in France offer the perfect cathartic  getaway.

3. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Seeing a little bit of underground Australian culture makes me want to travel to the continent even more.

4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Kerouac’s masterpiece isn’t only the hallmark of a generation; it’s also probably the best novel depicting a road trip to ever be written, no matter how atypical the trip might become.

5. Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

Until I can realize my own dream of renovating a Tuscan villa, reading of Mayes’s adventures will have to suffice.

6. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Matson’s tale of two teens connecting on a cross-country road trip is cute and satisfies a craving for aimless travel.

7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

While many of Dessen’s novels feature the beach town of Colby, this one happens to be my favorite.

8. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning

Amidst all the turmoil and action that Mac endures is a trilling depiction of Dublin that makes me want to hop a plane to Ireland.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

9. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

While Hubbard’s depiction of backpacking through Central America didn’t inspire me to plan a similar trip for myself, it’s still fun to watch Bria acclimate to a foreign culture.

10. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Forster’s delightful tale features extended stays in both Florence as well as Surrey, making me eager to plan a European tour of my own.

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 Favorite Covers

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

1. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

2. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

Looking for Alaska by John Green

3. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

4. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

5. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

6. Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith

8. The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

9. River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

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 last book that you learned something from? What book was it, and what did it teach you?

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

I like to believe I learn something from every book I read, no matter how seemingly inconsequential the lesson. However, in terms of something specific that I have learned recently, Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon offered fascinating information on the mechanics of glassblowing, an art form that I’ve always wanted to learn for myself. I love how the practice is simultaneously delicate and dangerous, while the end product could be fanciful or functional.

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

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Lovesick by Jake Coburn

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

 Reading Now

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

 The Week Ahead

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

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

  • Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
  • Lovesick by Jake Coburn

Won

  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano ARC plus swag (special thanks to Audrey from holes in My brain)

Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon has been on my wish list for over a year now, having been lauded on the Aussie blog sphere since it first came out in January 2010. I’m so happy to say, unlike many of my recent reads this year, Graffiti Moon survived the hype and catapulted itself to the top of my list for 2012.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

From the summary alone, I suspected this book would knock it out of the park. Disregarding the fact that nearly every work of Aussie young adult I read is golden, Graffiti Moon ostensibly had everything I love going for it: alternating points of view, a story told over the course of a night, focus on character-study rather than plot, prose whose starkness runs just shy of pretentious. From the first page, I was lost in Lucy and Ed’s story, though I admit that I wasn’t sold on Ed from the get-go. I guess with “graffiti artist” comes a certain level of irreverence that would bely a disinterest in authority, but I wasn’t expecting Ed to be quite so aimless. Yet I trusted Crowley to take these characters in the direction they needed to go, and I’m so glad that she didn’t attempt to mould them into artificial versions of themselves. The development of Ed’s character and the motivations for his conduct were surprising yet so believable, and unfortunately I believe they likely represent the situation of many young people whose problems are chalked up to behavioral rather than educational issues.

Crowley offered the promise of interest with her secondary characters and even allowed them all a modicum of story development in their own right, yet the novel centers squarely on Lucy and Ed, which was fine by me as I enjoyed listening to their voices. Unlike some authors who attempt the device, I had no problem believing that different people were narrating their respective sections (due perhaps in part to the use of rather poor grammar in Ed’s section, which troubled me until I was convinced that it was a stylistic choice rather than a writing error). I also enjoyed the brief glimpses we get into Poet’s mind through his poetry, which was actually readable and memorable rather than throwaway passages.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the story (the unbelievability of which nearly elevates it to magical realism, but which I’ll forgive) is the sheer enthusiasm for the arts that all of the characters exhibit. From drama to poetry to writing to architecture to visual arts, nearly every person in the story has a passionate outlet. I’ll admit to knowing nearly nothing about graffiti art save for some of the work by Banksy that a friend introduced me to (and whose work I used as a visual proxy while reading the book), but Crowley’s descriptions made me want to seek out this art-form myself. I was delighted that Lucy’s interest ran to glassblowing, which I have been fascinated with for years now and have always wanted to learn. Though the story takes place in less than twenty-four hours, the love with which Lucy and Ed talk about their respective callings and the emotion they are able to sense through each other’s work sold me on the progression of their feelings for each other.

I was sad to let this story go, yet Cath Crowley has earned a devoted reader in me. Loathe to leave the world I’d just left behind, I decided to research all of the works of art that are mentioned in the novel, and afterward realized that Persnickety Snark has a gallery of these works on her blog. I highly suggest checking it out after reading the book, as it helps the story come to life beyond its pages.

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

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop

Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

This Is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

 Reading Now

Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews

 The Week Ahead

Because You're Mine by Lisa Kleypas

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: Are there any “raved reads” –books that everyone seems to be talking about– that you’re hoping to get read this year, yourself? What books are they, and why are you hoping to read them? Is it because you want to say you’ve read it? Or, would you have chosen to read it, even if you’d discovered it yourself, and no one was raving about it?

Blogger buzz for upcoming releases has made me particularly excited for Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, both of which I hope to read this spring. Before I get to these, though, I should really catch up on some blogger-endorsed books that have been lingering in my TBR pile, such as The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Broken Wing by Judith James, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Looking through the Book Blogger Recommendation list, I’ve also decided to amp up my search for Enclave by Ann Aguirre, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Any book that I add to my shelves I choose at least partly because I want to add that book to my repertoire, while every book I read has to appeal to my literary tastes. There are too many books and too little time to fill by reading schedule with titles simply so that I can acquire the bragging rights.