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

  • Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
  • Magic’s Promise by Mercedes Lackey
  • Magic’s Price by Mercedes Lackey
  • The Hob’s Bargain by Patricia Briggs
  • Raven’s Shadow by Patricia Briggs
  • Raven’s Strike by Patricia Briggs
  • The Queen of Attolia ARC by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
  • Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty

For Review

 

 

  • Breaking the Devil’s Heart (Signed) by H.A. Goodman (received from author)
  • About Last Night by Ruthie Knox (from Random House)
  • Two and Twenty Dark Tales Anthology (from NetGalley)
  • Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (from NetGalley)
  • Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie (from NetGalley)

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.

 

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 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.

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 Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Stiefvater’s lilting prose and honest characterizations mark her work as a cut above the typical young adult fare. This story of a seaside community whose residents participate in annual water horse races is a beautiful yet disturbing take on an original folk tale.
2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Gruen’s tale of a young veterinarian who joins the circus by luck of circumstance is simple yet moving, and though the characters don’t break any new ground, her lush descriptions of circus life will make you yearn to leave behind the ordinary trappings of your own life.
3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Honestly, anything published under Gaiman’s name should be required reading thirty years from now, but since my favorite adult novel of his, Neverwhere, was published more than ten years ago, I’ll stick with this lovely children’s story for purposes of this list. Gaiman’s work in eminently readable by adults and children alike.
4. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Another author whose entire catalogue should be required reading, it was difficult to choose just one Marchetta. The story of Tom Mackee and his broken family is my favorite of her books. It’s painful, difficult to read at times, but always gently, brutally truthful.
5. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
I still haven’t read The Book Thief, but I don’t need to in order to know the strength of Zusak’s writing. Ed Kennedy is one of the most relatable everyman narrators I’ve had the pleasure of reading. His story is at once funny and inspiring.
6. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Allen’s writing is cotton candy rather than a main course, but that doesn’t lessen its blissful impact. She has a real way with words; you’ll want to visit every quirky town she describes and indulge in each delectable dish the characters create. Fiction needs some levity and pure fairy tale happiness.
7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Years after first reading this book, I still haven’t healed the massive hole it punched in my heart. It takes a bit of work to get into the swing of the narrative, but once you are immersed in it, it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the grand arc of Claire and Henry’s story.
8. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Levithan’s image of a high school life where gay is the norm might seem somewhat conspicuous in its improbability, but once that tableau is accepted as a magical realist backdrop, the tale that unfolds is heartwarming and totally familiar. And Infinite Darlene just might be one of the secondary characters most deserving of her own novel.
9. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
It’s not my personal favorite of his, but I believe it’s nonetheless Green’s best work to date. His impossibly witty, pop-culture laden dialogues are unlikely to be exchanged between real teenagers, but it doesn’t matter, because Green understand the human experience in a way that transcends age.
10. The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
This one might be cheating a bit since the first two were published more than ten years ago, but since it’s still ongoing I’m going to include it. I’ve yet to come across another author who has utilized such a wide range of literary techniques to consistently fool readers while simultaneously staying completely true to her own style and to her characters. Gen is one of my favorite literary characters ever, and his story is deserving of a spot on everyone’s reading list.

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.