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 I would Switch Places with for 24 Hours

1. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Obviously, this series is my number one priority in terms of getting to live in it myself (my recent trip to the Wizarding World only strengthened my belief that Hogwarts would be the greatest place to live in the world). I see more of myself in Luna than in any of Rowling’s other characters (though Hermione is a close second), and if I had to stand in someone’s shoes for a day, I’d pick Luna hands-down. She’s smart, quirky, doesn’t care what others think, loves eccentric animals, has a brave sense of fashion, and just so happens to be a fellow Ravenclaw.
2. Kate Daniels from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to be Buffy. She never fails to have a quippy comeback at the ready, and, more to the point, she kicks ass. But since I haven’t read a Buffy-related book since high school, I’ll have to get my vicarious fighting kicks through Kate instead. Having Curran by my side would only sweeten the deal.
3. Clare from The China Garden by Liz Berry
Ever since I first picked this book up in high school, I have longed to visit Ravensmere. If I were to trade places with Clare for the day, you’d be hard-pressed to tear me away from this gloriously quaint-sounding village.
4. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Many will probably go with Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door, but for me, Anna is the girl I’d want to be (and be friends with once my twenty-four hours were up). I’ve never been out of the country, so spending a day in Paris with a great group of friends and one swoony male named Etienne sounds like heaven.
5. Amy from the Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund
I switched majors from journalism to geography in college, and I was never a part of the Greek life, so the Secret Society Girl series represents an intriguing peek into the college experience that I never had. Granted, my decisions were made intentionally, so I don’t regret never having been in a sorority or other society, but Peterfreund’s series made me wonder what it would be like nonetheless.
6. Penelope from Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Whenever I read a historical romance or one of the classics, I can’t help but ponder what life would have been like as a woman living amidst the restrictions imposed by society, class, and corsets. As unpleasant as many of the details seem, though, I’d like to experience it if only for a day. I’m bypassing classic heroines like Lizzie Bennett and my beloved Jane Eyre here and instead going with a more lighthearted take on the general era.
7. Mercy Thompson from the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
Originally I was going to go with Elena from Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. Then I remembered the excruciating pain that Elena experiences during transformation as a werewolf, and I decided that if I were really going to get my fuzzy alternate persona on, I’d be better off as a shapeshifter.
8. Lily from Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Dressing in eccentric outfits, baking holiday cookies, browsing The Strand bookstore, and exchanging witty journal entry dares with a mysterious penpal…I’d trade places with Lily in a heartbeat.
9. Tish from Wicked As They Come by Delilah S. Dawson
This is yet another entry chosen solely for the opportunity to visit the wonderful world in which the story takes place. Sang sounds like an absolute trip, and one that I would gladly take.
10. Anyone from one of Sarah Addison Allen’s novels
I spent the better part of ten minutes trying to choose one of Allen’s novels, but I honestly cannot limit myself to only one. As a North Carolina resident, I could pretend that I do actually live amidst the subtle magic that winds itself throughout all of Allen’s narrative threads, but it’s simply not the same. None of the trees in my backyard throw enchanted apples at me, and the wallpaper doesn’t change to reflect my mood. I long to be a part of the quietly magical realm that Allen has created.

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

Review: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I normally adore anything David Levithan writes, but this book was a bit of a hard sell for me. I attributed this initially to the fact that I’m not likewise enamored of Rachel Cohn’s writing, and I presumed she wrote the starting chapter written from Naomi’s perspective. Ultimately, I think both authors share the blame for the book’s faults, but they weren’t so many as to preclude my liking it.

Like nearly every other Cohn-penned heroine I’ve read, Naomi is nearly insufferable. She

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

demonstrates the typical self-centered, hard-hitting, aggressiveness that Cohn mistakes for chutzpah. Unlike Cohn’s other characters, she also exhibits the eminently annoying trait of substituting symbols for words, which might have been quirky if employed once or twice, but when used in lieu of language in every other sentence, turned her sections into near-cryptograms of unnecessariness. Add to this a truly unlikeable persona and and inexplicable belief on which the entire plot is based, and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List was off to a rocky start for me.

Were the female half of the protagonist team not so irritating, I’d say that the mix of perspectives detracted from the story. Many of the characters seemed tangential at best, and their chapters were introduced in such a way that their thoughts seemed to impede the flow of the story rather than progress it. However, given the fact that my favorite narrator actually happened to be Bruce the Second and that the multitude of supporting narration cut down significantly on Naomi time, I forgave the authors this stylistic choice.

What really saved this book for me was ultimately Levithan’s way with words (although I had a bit of a difficult time determining how many of the secondary characters’ voices he wrote) and the fact that Ely and Bruce’s relationship actually wound up being quite a sweet love story. Had I liked Naomi at all or even believed in her friendship with Ely, I would also credit the message that the story ultimately attempts to convey: the fact that friendships and romantic relationships really aren’t all that different, since they originate from the same source of love. Unfortunately, my complete inability to connect with Naomi made this message a little difficult to absorb.

I’m a bit ashamed to say that I cheated a little with this book. On plot alone, it would have gotten a three, but the fact that a solid page and a half are spent discussing Buffy the Vampire Slayer swayed my allegiance enough to bump it up an extra rating. Overall, I’ll read it again, but likely skip over certain narrators.

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 Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book (debut authors, authors who seem to have taken a hiatus, OR for those who read classics authors you wish would have written another book before they passed).

1. Jane Austen

Each of Austen’s novels epitomizes romantic ideals. Her heroines are every woman’s best friend, and her heroes every woman’s dream. How nice it would be to have another pairing to add to the list of fantastic Austen couples.

2. Victoria Holt

I’ve read every novel published under the Holt pseudonym, and in fact own multiple copies of most. Her stories offer the ultimate escapist romantic adventure. I can always count on a Holt novel to cheer me up, and I wish there were at least one more to add to the shelf.

3. Neil Gaiman

It’s been quite a while since Gaiman has released an adult title, though he has been promising a third book set in his American Gods world for quite some time.

4. Liz Berry

The China Garden has been one of my favorite books for nearly a decade now. It’s such a wonderful yet overlooked story; I’d love to see Berry become a bigger presence in the young adult paranormal field.

5. J.K. Rowling

While I love Harry Potter for the story, I’ve never felt that Rowling was a particularly strong writer. I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt for delivering a solid children’s series, but I’d like to see what she has to offer to an exclusively adult audience.

6. Gail Dayton

I loved the first two books in Dayton’s steampunk romance series, and so am disappointed that publication of the third seems to have been delayed.

7. Robin McKinley

I will lament McKinley’s decision to leave Sunshine as a standalone novel until she realizes the error of her ways and graces fans with a sequel to Sunshine and Con’s story.

8. Anna Katherine

I read Salt and Silver years ago and was excited to have found a new urban fantasy series with a unique premise. Unfortunately, it’s remained a standalone with no sign of a sequel on the horizon.

9. David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Any time these two authors pair up, it’s magical. I’m not aware of any plans for another alternating POV story in the future, but I hope that changes.

10. Dru Pagliasotti

Clockwork Heart was one of my favorite reads of 2010 and a welcome addition to the steampunk romance genre, which is sadly sparse. I hope to see some action on the proposed sequel this year.