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 Liked Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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

These two talented ladies found inspiration in each other’s work, and it shows. There’s much of Howl in Gen, including an impossible wit and proclivity for temper tantrums. There’s also just enough fantasy to keep genre fans satisfied.

2. Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling

Flewelling’s series juggles numerous adult themes and so the tone is more mature than that of Jones’s classic children’s book. However, Alec and Seregil constantly snark at each other and get into hijinks reminiscent of Sophie and Howl’s adventures.

3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

There’s decidedly less humor in Cashore’s series, yet fans of Diana Wynne Jones’ writing will surely find much to love in Cashore’s lush worldbuilding.

4. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unlike Howl, Unspoken is set in modern times, yet Brennan has infused her story with the same wry humor that Jones was so well known for. Had Jones decided to write a gothic romance novel, Unspoken surely would have been its doppleganger.

5. A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede

Mairelon reminded me quite a bit of Howl, though he was rather less prone to histrionics. A Matter of Magic is a slower read than Howl and rather less funny, but it’s a great example of a fantasy of manners.

6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman can turn anything into gold, and his attempt at an original fairy tale is no exception. Both Howl and Stardust excel at not taking themselves too seriously, which I believe is an important but oft-overlooked elemet to any humorous fantasy novel.

7. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

McKinley is the queen of fairy tale adaptations, yet her Damar stories are just as brilliant. While Howl fans should seek out McKinley’s entire catalogue of work, The Blue Sword is a good place to start.

8. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

If you’re after humorous fantasy, you can’t do better than The Princess Bride.

Some other titles that aren’t quite as similar yet that might interest Howl’s fans include: Chronicles of Lumatere series by Melina Marchetta, Study series by Maria V. Snyder, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

 

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Showcase Sunday

Showcase Sunday is a meme created by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.

Bought

  • Sebastian by Anne Bishop
  • Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
  • Green Rider by Kristen Britain
  • Hero by Perry Moore
  • Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

For Review

  • Released by Megan Duncan (received from author)
  • The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton (from NetGalley)
  • Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett
  • The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure (from NetGalley)
  • Beauty’s Punishment by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure (from NetGalley)
  • Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure (from NetGalley)
  • All My Crimes by Tal Valente (from NetGalley)
  • Once Upon a Time Machine by Lee Nordling, Jason Rodriguez, and Tara Alexander (from NetGalley)
  • Incursion by Aleksandr Voinov (from NetGalley)
  • Risking It All by Jennifer Schmidt (from NetGalley)

Won

I won Bitterblue and The Letter Q through different contests, so I was really surprised when I found that, not only was the wording on both notes nearly identical (obviously they came from the same publishing house), but they apparently were cut at the same time. It’s little things like this that amuse me.

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!

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 On My Summer TBR List

While I’ve got more books lined up to read than I can keep track of, I’ve decided to limit this list to titles being released this summer.

1. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
I was lucky enough to win this in a content recently and am currently waiting for it to show up in my mailbox. I’ve heard lots of reviewers have loved this one, and just have many have been disappointed. At the very least, I’m excited to revisit with Katsa and Po.
2. Lothaire by Kresley Cole
I’ve been waiting for months for this one to be released in trade paperback. I love it when former villains are transformed into (anti)heroes, and Lothaire’s story has been a long time coming.
3. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
I’ve never read anything by Summers before, but based on the stellar reviews I’ve read for this contemporary/zombie apocalypse hybrid, I might as well start with this one.
4. Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
I adore nearly every character Frost creates, and Vlad is no exception. Early reviews for this one have been raving; some have even proclaimed it her best work to date. I can’t imagine what could possibly upstage Bones, so to say I’m excited for this release is a gross understatement.
5. Fever Moon by Karen Marie Moning
I’m not a huge graphic novel fan, especially when the treatment is applied to a beloved book series. I prefer to imagine the characters’ visages myself, minus the standard comic book caricatures. However, I’m giving this one a pass,  because it’s an original Mac and Barrons story.
6. Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong
I admit- I haven’t read the last two books in the Women of the Otherworld series. The witches have never been my favorite protagonists, and Savannah in particular has failed to capture my interest in previous installments. From what I’ve read, she hasn’t matured all that much even as the main narrator. However, given that this is the final book in the series and all my favorite characters (read: Clay and Elena) are scheduled to appear for a big showdown, it’s probably time I caught up.
7. Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
I’m not sure whether to be delighted or dismayed that two of my most anticipated releases happen to be spinoffs of favorite series (see Once Burned above). Andrea’s story is sure to be as high-octane as Kate’s usually are, and I’m anticipating some major development concerning a certain Bouda shapeshifter.
8. Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
While I had plenty of criticisms to level at its predecessor, Nevermore, I can’t deny that I’m on pins and needles to see how the unexpected fallout of events plays out.
9. Endgame by Ann Aguirre
It’s been a long, tough road for Sirantha Jax, and I’m expecting nothing less than heartbreak in this final installment of the series. I can’t be the only one hoping that the endgame is in fact Sirantha and Vel, can I?
10. Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
There must be something in the water down under, because nearly every Aussie young adult contemporary in recent years has far outshone its peers. I’ve been waiting for this one to get its American release for ages.

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.

“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’ve finally found the cover for the third in Kristin Cashore’s The Seven

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Kingdoms series, Bitterblue.

Here’s the summary, taken from Goodreads:

Bitterblue is a companion book to both Graceling and Fire and takes place in the seven kingdoms eight years after Graceling. This third book will tie all three books together in some way. Bitterblue is the sixteen-year-old protagonist, and Katsa, Po, Giddon, Helda, and other characters from Graceling will be part of the fabric of the book.

I’ve really enjoyed the first two installments in this series and am excited to see my favorites from Graceling returning.

Bitterblue is released on May 1, 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 Sequels I’m Dying To Read

Since last week’s post focused heavily on the series installments that I’m getting ready to read over the next few months, I’ll limit this week’s discussion of sequels to non-series novels and   series sequels that are rumored but not confirmed as of yet.

1. Untitled sequel to Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliasotti

This sequel is confirmed, but has no release date yet. Pagliasotti’s take on steampunk is vivid and her characters engaging, so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for them next.

2. Untitled Fever series Book 6 by Karen Marie Moning

Last week, Moning expressed her intentions to write a sixth book in the Fever series, much to the excitement of Mac and Barrons fans everywhere. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

the end of the Dani book arc to return to Mac and Barrons, but I will gladly wait as long as I have to.

3. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Though this title has actually been released for quite a while, I haven’t been able to find a copy. I adored Saving Francesca and am looking forward to hearing Thomas’s story.

4. Untitled third book (tentatively titled Head Rush) in Carolyn Crane’ Disillusionists series

This book is actually written and will be released first as an ebook this year, then in print next year. Unfortunately, fans have had to wait a long time for the conclusion to this trilogy as Crane’s original publisher dropped the series, but we won’t have to wait much longer to see how Justine and the gang fare.

5. Untitled sequel to Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine

As I’ve mentioned before, I loved Katherine’s first title. Unfortunately, there has been no news of a sequel despite comments on her website alluding to one. Hopefully this one won’t remain a stand-alone for long.

6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

I’ve included this one on a few lists already (as has half the blogosphere), but deservedly so.

Anna and the French Kiss was adorable, and from what I’ve heard, Perkins outdoes herself with this follow-up.

7. The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

So this one is technically part of a series, and I know that I recently gave a less than stellar review to Desires of the Dead, but I’m still eager to see how Derting continues to develop Violet and Jay’s relationship, Violet’s exploration of her powers, and the incorporation of secondary characters.

8. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Again, I wasn’t overly impressed with Cashore’s Fire, but I liked it well enough to have faith that she will be able to achieve the stellar promise of the first novel as she continues to develop

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

her world.

9. Untitled American Gods follow-up by Neil Gaimain

This one has been hinted at for a while now, but still there’s no definitive news. I cannot wait

until Gaiman releases his next adult audience novel (or children’s book, or poetry, or journal entry…anything, really).

10. Unlikely sequel to Sunshine by Robin McKinley

I’ve mentioned before my distress over the fact that McKinley seems reluctant to revisit this story. However, as she hasn’t categorically ruled it out yet, I will leave it here and keep my fingers crossed.