Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wish list, reading list and a whole lot of rambling

My Book Wishlist for 2011:

1. FOREVER, the third and final installment in the Shiver trilogy by the ever-amazing Maggie Stiefvater. She writes about werewolves and kissing and is funny, modest and so talented. Here are some advice she's dished out on her blog (okay, I admit - these links are mostly for my benefit, so I can return to them whenever I get stuck):

i. Seven Steps to Starting a Novel
ii. The Giant NaNo Prepping Post: Or, How Maggie Writes a Novel
iii. Hi, I Suck
iv. Ten Rules for Query Letters

Among other awesomeness.

2. BLOOD MAGIC, a debut novel by YA author Tessa Gratton, also Maggie's best friend and critique partner. Along with Brenna Yovanoff, author of YA urban fantasy THE REPLACEMENT, they form the Merry Sisters of Fate, who write a short story each and post it on their common blog for rabid fans like us to enjoy. Tessa's style seems to be as gritty as Maggie's. Brenna's is quietly disturbing, and the characters are not as spunky as Maggie's. They're all very talented and dedicated writers, but my favourite's still got to be Maggie.

3. RED GLOVE, the sequel to WHITE CAT, by Holly Black. (The use of colours seems intentional.) YA urban fantasy about a family of curse-workers. Black's prose is tight and compelling, and add to the equation an original plot with twists and turns, and you've got a bestseller.

4. STAY, by Deb Calettie. I've been a long-time fan of her work, ever since I picked up WILD ROSES (to date her best novel written yet, imho) when I was fifteen. Her prose is always so lyrical yet the narrator's voice is always relatable. No distance between the narrator and the reader, but Caletti manages to keep her writing pure and filled with fresh imagery. Not to be corny, but I always reach the end of her book with a smile.

5. WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, by my all-time favourite YA author Sarah Dessen. I've been a fan since I was fourteen and picked up KEEPING THE MOON, a story where a girl finds confidence after spending a summer staying with her aunt in the close-knit town of Colby. Her stories are simple and not heavily reliant on plot, but her characters transform in dramatic ways throughout the story and you feel yourself learning those life lessons - so subtly conveyed - along with them. As long as it's by Dessen, you know it won't disappoint.

6. ABANDON, by Meg Cabot. She's prolific, and she's frequently on bestseller lists - for good reason. She knows what to deliver, and she knows how to deliver. She may be the one of the queens of commercial contemporary fiction, and literary types may turn up their noses on the heavy doses of pop culture present in her stories, but in terms of plot, you have to admit she has a way with it. She just has it.

Books that I've recently read and think they deserve some mention:

1. THE DARKEST POWERS series, by Kelley Armstrong. Tight pacing, characters you would root for, enough plot turns to keep you glued to the pages, ghosts, necromancers, werewolves, kissing, sorcerers and witches, evil corporations trying to genetically modify the magical gene and end up having their efforts turning around to bite them in the asses. Enough said, right?

2. NOCTURNES, by Kazuo Ishiguro. As I mentioned on FB, reading Kazuo Ishiguro is like returning to a warm, safe place, like reading Roald Dahl. Their writing styles are so amiable it's like you're settling in for a bedtime story told by your father or grandfather (in Dahl's case, that is). NOCTURNES is a compilation of short stories about heartache, regret and the uncertainty of the choices people people make.

3. KISS ME DEADLY: 13 TALES OF PARANORMAL LOVE, by assorted writers, including Maggie Stiefvater, Carrie Ryan (YA urban fantasy author of FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH), Michelle Zink (author of PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS), Becca Fitzpatrick (author of the HUSH, HUSH series, about fallen angels and kissing), Rachel Vincent (author of MY SOUL TO TAKE), Sarah Rees Brennan (author of THE DEMON'S LEXICON), and many more. In this book are short stories of paranormal romance by the most popular YA authors of today ... and okay, I'll admit, I'm reading it mainly because of Maggie Stiefvater, but there are other writers I'm coming to be aware of because of this book, such as Karen Mahoney and Justine Musk. Reading their short stories is like getting a taste of their writing style before you decide to devote your time to reading their novels, don't you think?

That's all for now. But man, my wallet's going to get quite a workout in the days following!

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