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 Authors I’d Like To See On A Reality Show

1. George R.R. Martin on Survivor

Considering how fond Martin is of killing off his characters (particularly those I actually happen to like), I’d get a kick out of seeing how long he would last before getting kicked off himself.

2. Stephanie Perkins on Project Runway

If Lola and the Boy Next Door convinced me of anything, it’s that I would love to see all of the fashions that Perkins described hit the runway for real.

3. Neil Gaiman on Face Off

Gaiman’s imagination seems to have no bounds, particularly when it comes to describing the strange and unexpected. I would love to see what crazy creatures he would come up with on this special effects makeup show.

4. Sarah Addison Allen on Top Chef

Allen’s descriptions of food culture set the perfect tone for her evocative, whimsical stories. I’ve lusted after so many of the dishes described in her stories, so I’d like to see her come up with some new culinary masterpieces.

5. Maria V. Snyder on Hell’s Kitchen

In contrast to Top Chef, Hell’s Kitchen is louder, bawdier, and seemingly more cut-throat, so perhaps Snyder could put some her poisons knowledge to the test and cut back on the competition. (Of course I’m joking…sort of…)

6. Rob Thurman on Fear Factor

Thurman is one tough chick, as her kick-ass characters attest. I’d love to see how far she could make it, and whether she would ultimately succumb to chickening out or getting grossed out.

7. John Green on The Real World

Judging by his vlogs, it’s clear that Green is one of the most likable and hilarious people on the planet. I’m not even sure if The Real World is still on air (I suspect it isn’t), but I would resurrect it just to see more of A Day in the Life of John Green.

8. Seanan McGuire on American Idol

I’ve not actually heard any of McGuire’s music, although I’m aware that she has released several albums. It would be great to see someone mix things up on Idol for once, and perhaps drop a few hints about one Toby Daye in the process.

That’s all I’ve got for this week, since I don’t tend to watch much reality television.

Shipping Saturdays

I’ve decided that since Saturdays are so lonely and memeless, I would create one of my own. It seems like many bloggers (including myself) can’t help but swoon and sway over the character  relationships that comprise many of our favorite books and series, yet we often overlook those who aren’t front and center. Shipping Saturdays is a weekly meme dedicated to highlighting all of our favorite pairings that are non-canon, unpopular, unnoticed, and unrequited. It’s not limited to books, so feel free to share those film and television couples whose ship you would readily go down with, yet don’t get the attention they deserve.

It’s no secret that I love a good slowburn romance, and Seanan McGuire has produced

Toby and Tybalt- Shadows by Irrel

one of the best in her Toby Daye series. From the first shadowy verbal crossfire in the opening chapter of Rosemary and Rue, I knew that Toby and Tybalt would become one of my favorite UF couples. McGuire has strung readers along for five novels now, and while Toby is seemingly warming up to the idea of letting Tybalt into her life (subconsciously at least), nothing is certain yet. It’s the best kind of torture, for the ever-decreasing distance between Toby and Tybalt doesn’t feel artificially prolonged. These two have history, the kind that won’t be swept away by a fleeting moment of lust. This just underscores one of the many reasons why Toby is one of my favorite female protagonists; she thinks before she acts, and usually does so wisely. Unfortunately, it appears that all this thinking will keep fans waiting for a while longer, but as long as the tension remains so delicious, I won’t complain.

See more of Irrel’s artwork at the deviantart gallery here.

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 All Time Favorite Characters In Books

My favorites all seem to come in teams or packs (though not all romantic). I guess it’s another testament to how invested I become in the relationships that form among characters.

1. Jane and Rochester, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane is the indomitable woman with a will of iron and a gentle spirit whom I fell in love with just as much as I did her brooding counterpart.

2. Alec and Seregil, Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling

Within a few pages of the first book, Luck in the Shadows, I knew I had come across a lifetime favorite in this cunning, ebullient pair.

3. Daemon, Saetan, and Lucivar, The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop

While Jaenelle stands at the heart of the stories set in a world where women are politically dominant, it is the family dynamic among these three men that made me fall in love with Bishop’s books.

4. GenThe Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

Gen is many things, but he is never what you think he is. The one quality you can depend on seeing in Gen is resilience (though thankfully his trademark wit isn’t usually far behind either).

5. Cal, Neko, and Robin, Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman

While it was the innovative worldbuilding and Cal’s sarcastic commentary that initially drew me into this series, the steadfast bond that has formed among this trio is what catapults these books onto the top of my urban fantasy list.

6. Toby and Tybalt, Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire

Toby is a rare breed of urban fantasy heroine: she’s smart, appealingly pessimistic, and asks for help when she needs it. In short, she’s a heroine easy to root for, and her tangled relationship with the King of Cats has sustained the perfect balance of love, hate, and heat for five books now without growing tedious or gratuitous.

7. Neville and Luna, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I am always drawn to the oddballs, and these two seem to epitomize that role at Hogwarts. Never mind the fact that I am firmly in the non-book canon camp who believes that these two were meant to be; they are both fantastically atypical characters in their own right.

8. Simon, the Disillusionists series by Carolyn Crane

From his first meeting with Justine, I knew there was more to Simon than met the eye, and his progression throughout the series demonstrates that in spades.

9. Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Jo exemplifies everything that I wish to be: tough, passionate, confident, loving, and fully immersed in the world of words. I still might not have forgiven her for rejected Laurie, but that does nothing to lessen her strength of spirit.

10. Howl, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

A vain, arrogant, whiny wizard whose improbable exterior conceals the brilliance within. What I love about Howl is that, while he truly is a genius, none of his flaws are manufactured or exaggerated. He is who he is, and that’s fantastic.

“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.

After months of waiting, we finally get to see the wonderful new Chris McGrath cover art for Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire.

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

There’s no summary available yet, but it’s a Toby Daye book, so it will inevitably be one of the best urban fantasies of the year.

This title will be released on September 4, 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 Book on My Spring TBR List

1. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Considering that I’ve read and loved every Marchetta book I’ve come across (and that includes every young adult title she’s written), this one is a given. Add in the fact that my tastes have been running toward the epic fantasy genre lately, and I’m salivating for this title.

2. Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling

Since recently discovering Flewelling’s Nightrunner series, I’ve been feverishly reading through Alec and Seregil’s adventures. I count myself lucky that I’ve come upon these books after Flewelling has already written five; I can’t imagine the torture of waiting for each new installment since 1996.

3. Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

I’m trying to keep my expectations in check, since I’ve heard enough rumors to let me know that the storyline so many of the Warden’s fans have been waiting for takes a step back in this book before its inevitable leap forward.

4. Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

I’ve gotten a few recommendations for this title, and since McGuire’s Toby Daye series counts among my favorites, I have high hopes for this new series. The fact that it focuses on cryptids is a bonus.

5. Wicked As They Come by Delilah Dawson

This paranormal title sounds like the perfect blend of sexy and strange.

6. Alien Diplomacy by Gini Koch

I’m hoping that the fifth in the Kitty Katt series returns to the high octane adventure and humor formula of previous installments, but I’ll settle for anything I can get from these crazy A-C’s.

7. Black Heart by Holly Black

Black’s Curse Workers series is one of the most original young adult urban fantasy series I’ve come across. I’m on the edge of my seat for this conclusion to the trilogy.

8. Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh

Singh’s Psy-Changeling series has been a tad hit-or-miss for me, but I like many of her readers am eagerly anticipating seeing where this series goes in its second story arc (and hope that Kaleb gets his own book soon).

9. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Roth’s Divergent is one of the few young adult dystopian novels to have captured my interest last year. I’m interested to see how she develops her world in this sequel.

10. Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

I didn’t love Fire as much as I did Graceling, but Cashore’s elegant way with words, intriguing epic fantasy setting, and unusual love stories have me anxiously awaiting the third release in her Seven Kingdoms series.

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 Recommend To Someone Who Doesn’t Read X

I’m going to cheat a bit, since I can’t decide among the genres I usually read, and do five books each for romance, fantasy, and young adult.

Top Ten Books I’d Recommend To Someone Who Doesn’t Read Romance

1. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

This one might not be considered a romance in the strictest sense, but it is simple and innocent and so lovely.

2. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley

This novel defies romance reader expectations, going against the grain to deliver a hero unlike any I’ve seen in the genre before.

3. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Crusie infuses her novel with enough humor and palpable chemistry between her leads to win over even the harshest critics.

4. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Considered one of the seminal historical romances, Chase’s dialogue  is highly engaging and the plot substantial enough to pique picky readers’ interest.

5. When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

James creates a relationship between her two characters that is sustained by mutual equality and respect rather than misunderstanding and manipulation.

Top Ten Books I’d Recommend To Someone Who Doesn’t Read Fantasy

1. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Any Gaiman work could win over fantasy-wary readers; Neverwhere just happens to be my favorite.

2. Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

Card effortlessly weaves Russian folklore into a tapestry of fairy tale, horror, romance, and coming-of-age triumph.

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

While not an urban fantasy, Snyder’s writing has all the accessibility of the genre along with a unique plot and a heroine to root for.

4. The Native Star by M.K. Hobson

Part steampunk magic, part romance, and part western adventure, Hobson’s world is unlike any I’ve encountered before.

5. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Each book in the Toby Daye series is better than the last. This is one of the best urban fantasies out there, with fae, folklore, romance, a genuinely relatable and capable heroine, and humor to spare.

Top Ten Books I’d Recommend To Someone Who Doesn’t Read Young Adult

1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

It does a disservice to Marchetta’s writing to limit it to young readers. The complexity of her stories can appeal to young and mature readers alike.

2. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

A lesser known work by the author of the much lauded The Book Thief, this coming-of-age story is thought-provoking and highlights the beauty that can be found in even the most dire circumstances.

3. The China Garden by Liz Berry

Sadly overlooked amidst the masses of paranormals, this is a quiet modern fairy tale that treads new ground without abandoning its simplicity.

4. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

A novel in verse that explores the divergent yet resonant voices of high school students.

5. Beauty by Robin McKinley

This Beauty and the Beast adaptation transcends generations. It remains one of the best and most beautiful iterations of the tale.