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!

“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

Last week finally saw the reveal of the cover for Karen Marie Moning’s Iced.

Iced by Karen Marie Moning

There’s no cover blurb yet, but here’s what Moning’s revealed about the Fever series spinoff so far.

“I’m currently working on a trilogy that features Dani, Christian MacKeltar, Ryodan, and the mysterious ‘Dancer,’ set primarily in Fever-Dublin. Each installment in the trilogy is a stand-alone mystery, however there are larger plot arcs unfolding in the background…

..For those of you who have been worrying—the trilogy is not YA. If I had to categorize it, I would say it straddles the line between YA and adult uneasily. …Many of the questions I left unanswered in the FEVER series are addressed in this new series.

Exciting news: I’ve agreed to write two more books after that. Once the new trilogy is complete, I’m returning to the core story begun in the FEVER series, and will resume writing about Mac, Barrons, V’lane, Cruce, the Unseelie king, the concubine, the Song of Making.

All in all, there are five more books coming about the Fever World!”

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

This week I can’t wait for Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha by Karen Marie Moning.

Here’s the summary, taken from Goodreads:

In Fever Moon, we meet the most ancient and deadly Unseelie ever created,

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha by Karen Marie Moning

the Fear Dorcha. For eons, he’s traveled worlds with the Unseelie king, leaving behind him a path of mutilation and destruction. Now he’s hunting Dublin, and no one Mac loves is safe.

Dublin is a war zone. The walls between humans and Fae are down. A third of the world’s population is dead and chaos reigns. Imprisoned over half a million years ago, the Unseelie are free and each one Mac meets is worse than the last. Human weapons don’t stand a chance against them.

With a blood moon hanging low over the city, something dark and sinister begins to hunt the streets of Temple Bar, choosing its victims by targeting those closest to Mac. Armed only with the Spear of Destiny and Jericho Barrons, she must face her most terrifying enemy yet.

New Mac and Barrons: sign me up!

This title releases on July 10, 2012.

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

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

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:

Do you read books that are part of a series? Do you collect all the books in the series before starting? What if the series is brand new, and the only book that’s been published so far is Book one? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the preceding books?

I don't know what I would have done had I started the Fever series before Shadowfever was released.

I’m currently entangled in more series than I care to count. While I love the assured satisfaction that comes with a standalone book, series offer a protracted period of acquaintance with worlds and characters that offers a different sort of satisfaction. I try to collect all of the available books in a series before starting a new one, although I’ve begun to relax that rule a bit lately after having read a few series debut duds. Having the next two or three books in the series sitting on my shelf makes me feel compelled to keep trudging along though I’d rather discontinue a particular series. I’m in a bit of a genre funk at the moment and so am hesitant to start any new series. Given the prevalence of cliffhanger endings, it’s best for my nerves to wait until a series is complete before I give it a go. Ironically, while I’m abstaining from adding new series to my TBR list to leave room for standalones and the series that I’m already engrossed in, I still find time to go back and reread series on a regular basis.

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.

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 That Broke Your Heart A Little

1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This book ruined me for all other books for a month. I couldn’t contemplate even attempting to immerse myself in a new novel after having experienced Henry and Clare’s heartbreaking love story.

2. Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Had I not started this series after all five books were complete and available in stores, the last chapter of this book would have been my undoing.

3. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Shortly after the start of this second book in Gen’s story, he experiences something that is unexpected and tragic. I applaud Turner for taking a chance, yet my heart ached for Gen’s loss.

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I won’t begin to summarize why this book broke my heart, for anyone who is a Green fan is aware of the beautiful agony that this story creates.

5. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

This first book in Frost’s fantastic paranormal series broke new ground in more ways than one, not the least of which was her willingness to end the book on an unconventionally ambiguous note.

6. Aftermath by Ann Aguirre

Throughout the Sirantha Jax series, Aguirre has portrayed a protagonist who has grown exponentially as she has struggled to cope with one tragedy after another. Aguirre accomplishes a rare feat in writing Sirantha’s development, for her progress never comes across as contrived, which makes her struggles all the more heartwrending.

7. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Tom Mackee’s story is uncomfortable yet poignant as he reluctantly sheds an exterior hardened by five years of uncertainty and loss. Even as we witness Tom’s slow reemergence into the lives of his family and friends, we know that some things might be beyond repair, but that doesn’t prevent us from hoping for a happy resolution.

8. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

I doubt I will ever recover from the shock ending of this novel, though the experience of reading it will remain with me forever.

And perhaps it’s a bit unorthodox, but even though I’ve yet to read the next two books, I’ve no doubt they would be on this list had I read them already, so I’m including them.

9. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

While I’m excited to read this title based on the fabulous reviews I’ve read, I have no doubt that my heart will be aching by book’s end.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have been putting off reading this book for too long, though I’m sure my tears will be unbearable.

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 Books I Read in 2011

1. The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop

There are two series that have shown up consistently on every favorites list since I started blogging. The Black Jewels Trilogy is one of them. Bishop’s world might be dark, convoluted, twisted, and heavy-handed, but it’s engrossing nonetheless. I adore Daemon, Saetan, and Lucivar, with their family dynamic that was both hilarious and heartbreaking at times.

2. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning

The second perpetual resident of my favorites lists, Moning’s Fever series was nothing like I expected it to be. I had avoided it for years, having heard it was very much angst with very little joy to be had for the heroine. Thankfully, I decided to ignore those reviewers this year, and was immediately swept away into Mac’s world of fae-infested Dublin. In a year of great character discoveries, Barrons is definitely one of my favorites.

3. Blackout by Rob Thurman

I’ve been following Thurman’s Cal Leandros series for years, yet for some reason, I always manage to forget just how great it is before reading a new installment. Blackout likely cured me of that habit for good, for as great as the series had been until this point, the sixth book is her best by far. Blackout is like a love letter to fans who have stuck it out since the beginning. I won’t explain how that’s the case for fear of revealing too much, since the reward lies in piecing together each bit on your own.

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

It was with reluctance that I purchased this book at the start of the year. Everything about it seemed too young to resonate with me: the inane title, the saccharine cover, even the description failed to truly appeal to me. Yet it was receiving such rave reviews that I knew there had to be something deeper lying beneath the surface. What I found was one of the most charming, realistic, and sympathetic love stories I’ve read. Anna and the French Kiss captures utterly what it is like to be in the beginning stages of crushing, friendship, and love. Its characters aren’t perfect, but Anna is such a relatable and likable narrator that your devotions and hope never sway.

5. Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance

I believed that I had given up on the Cassie Palmer series, having read and been slightly annoyed by Cassie’s incessant whining in Curse the Dawn. While Cassie’s relationship with Mercea was interesting at the start, I didn’t really care for the direction it was going in, and Cassie herself wasn’t compelling enough as a heroine for me to stick with her story. Yet after several years’ hiatus, the series returned this summer with Hunt the Moon, and the excellent reviews prompted me to pick it up despite myself. The fifth installment returned to the action-packed, high-speed storytelling of the first novels, yet for once Cassie seemed confident and competent. She still did her fair share of whining, but it no longer came across as petulant. Shockingly, as I became engrossed in the story, I realized a faux pas of my own that I rarely make, yet that will affect how I view the series going forward. It’s not often that I jump on the wrong ship at the start, but suffice it to say my affections have shifted, and having reread the series with that perspective in mind, I’m now fully on board.

6. Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund

This series is so far outside my comfort zone that I expected to set it down within the first twenty pages. I care nothing for chick lit, especially when the heroine is a rather self-absorbed, promiscuous college student being sucked into the underbelly of secret society life. Yet while I never managed to warm up to Amy fully, I fell in love with the camaraderie she shared with her fellow Diggers and with the unusual courtship she shares with one particular Rose and Grave member.

7. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Despite my love of romance, I tended to stay away from pure romance novels, particularly contemporaries. Yet this title showed up so frequently on Best Of lists that I had to give it a try. Bet Me wound up being a rare one indeed, one in which I was consistently surprised yet never disappointed. I hugged it when I finished, which is a rare honor.

8. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

I made it halfway through Shiver in college before putting it down, having determined that the instalove romance was nice yet not intriguing enough to take time away from the other books in my TBR pile. After winning a copy of Forever this summer, I decided to give the series one more chance, and while I had the same initial impressions, by the end of the book, I realized that Stiefvater’s lovely writing and the conviction with which she writes Sam and Grace’s relationship elevates this series above its peers despite its questionable premise.

9. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

After months of searching for this title, I finally found an arc for a dollar in a thrift store. While I hadn’t read Saving Francesca in a while, I remembered having liked Tom’s character in the previous novel and was interested to see how Will and Francesca were faring. As with every Marchetta novel, I was captivated by the storytelling, yet The Piper’s Son took me to a place that Saving Francesca only hinted at. I’m confident that adults and teens alike can enjoy Marchetta’s novels, yet this was the first that I felt really deserved a spot in the general fiction section. Tom’s story is frustrating, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, yet it wrings your emotions out several times before it achieves its ultimate goal.

10. The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

While reading this series, I knew I was enjoying it, but I wasn’t sure whether I found it merely entertaining or compulsively readable; since I rarely start a book without finishing it in the same day, I wasn’t able to set it down and answer that question. It wasn’t until I had completed the third book in this series that I realized how brilliant it is. As Turner follows Gen through triumph and tragedy, she shifts perspective in each novel so that, even with Gen as the narrator, no one is ever as they seem. Thus, even those revelations guessed ahead of time taste all the sweeter.

 Honorable Mentions

Ravished by Amanda Quick, When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James, and The Proposition by Judith Ivory

I read at least a dozen Beauty and the Beast-inspired novels this year, and of them all, these three were my favorites.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

A quick, easy read, this novel written in verse tells one of the sweetest love stories I read this year. Unfortunately, you have to wade through quite a bit of teen melodrama to get there, but the payoff is worth it.

The Curseworkers series by Holly Black

White Cat and Red Glove are the first two in a trilogy of young adult urban fantasy novels that introduce a world unlike anything I’ve read in the genre before. Throw in a male narrator reminiscent of Cal Leandros, and my love for this series is sealed.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This young adult book about love and loss managed to take multiple tropes that I despise and work them is such a way that I loved the story and the characters anyway.

One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire

Every book in the Toby Daye series is golden, and the latest upped the game in such a way that my expectations for Ashes of Honor are ridiculously high.

Aftermath by Ann Aguirre

This penultimate book in the Sirantha Jax series was hard to read, yet it cemented my dedication to the characters. Sirantha has displayed one of the most pronounced character developments in any series that I’ve read, and while her ending has no guarantee of happiness, I have no doubt that Aguirre will give these great characters a worthy finale.