Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top 10 Favorite Bookish Friendships


I realize that it's been a super long time since I wrote a blog post, but I couldn't resist jumping on this week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It's all about our favorite bookish friendships, which isn't always a huge focus in YA.

So today, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite friendships in YA books!



1. Zuzanna and Karou, from Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone series
There are a lot of things to love about this series, and one of them is the amazing friendship between Zuz and Karou. These are two fierce girls. Their relationship could have been competitive, but it was gloriously tension-free and sweet. Zuz is amazing, and I love how much she supported Karou. Honestly, she almost stole the show for me quite a few times throughout this series.

2. Juliette and Kenji, from Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series
I love a good platonic girl-guy friendship, and this is one of the best. Kenji is hilarious, and he was an amazing friend to Juliette. He calls her out on her angst, and she helps soften some of his harder edges. I found their friendship especially sweet in the last book, Ignite Me.

3. Aria and Roar, from Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky series
Okay, I know that I was a huge Aria+Roar shipper, and I still stand by that decision. They coulda been adorable if there had been any romance there, but there wasn't, and I really respect that. Their friendship was really solid, and honestly, I just love Roar. *sigh*



4. Elisa and Storm, from Rae Carson's Girl of Fire & Thorns series
Okay, it's no secret Storm was one of my favorite characters in this series. He's snarky and awkward and hilarious. Basically every time he opened his mouth, I laughed. And I loved the progression of Elisa's relationship with him from wariness to friendship.

5. Jem and Will, from Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel series
OMG this is the most epic bromance in all of YA. Hands down. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Their parabati relationship is incredible, and I think the scenes focusing on them (as opposed to the romance) in this series were the ones that really tore me up.

6. Sam and Cassel, from Holly Black's Curse Workers series
Really, I just loved all the characters in this series so much it hurt. Sam and Cassel get into a lot of trouble together, and I just loved how they supported each other all the time. Gah, this series is incredible.




7. Iko and Cinder, from Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles
Girl friendships are the best, even if one of the girls is a robot. Seriously, Iko is amazing, and I want her as my BFF. I love how Iko continues to play a role as the series continues, and I'm almost loving the friendship between Iko and Carswell Thorne as much as the one between Iko and Cinder.

8. Simon and Clary, from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series
This series gets a lot of criticism, but I think one of the best bits is all the great friendships between characters. Simon and Jace have a great bromance too, but I think the Clary/Simon friendship is probably my favorite relationship in the entire series. I love how they've gotten over the failed romance and are even closer now.

9. All the girl relationships in Anna Godbersen's Luxe series
I know two of the girls are sisters, but I'm still counting that. I just loved all the friendships (both positive and negative) in this series - the frenemies, the competition, the devotion and loyalty. There are so many relationships going on in these books between all the girls, and I loved them all.

10. Thomas and Minho, from James Dashner's The Maze Runner series
I was really surprised by how much I liked this book, since it was basically just a bunch of teenage boys being idiot teenage boys, but dude, it's so good! And I really liked the friendship between Thomas and Minho, and how that developed. Gimme a good bromance any day!



Bonus:
Friendships in Classic Books



1. Achilles and Patroclus, from Homer's The Iliad
I don't care what you say, these two weren't romantically involved, because their relationship is so much more powerful and touching if they were just best buddies/brothers in arms. Like seriously. The granddaddy of all good bromances in literature right here.

2. Elizabeth and Charlotte, from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice
Poor Charlotte. I feel sorry for her every time I read this book or watch an adaptation. However, at least she has a good friend in Elizabeth! It would have been so easy for Charlotte to hate her - she gets everything that Charlotte has ever wanted, and Charlotte even gets the guy Lizzie didn't want! - but she doesn't, and I think that's powerful stuff right there.

3. Edmund/Lucy and Eustace, from C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Yeah yeah yeah, I know he's their cousin, but that's distant enough family that they're more like a friend. Mostly, I just love Eustace's character development and how Edmund and Lucy grow to like him.



4. Sam and Frodo, from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
THE MOST EPIC OF FRIENDSHIPS EVER! I don't even need to say anything here, do I?

5. Sherlock and Watson, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes collection
I think modern adaptations have made this relationship even more iconic, but I enjoyed the friendship in the books, as well. I mean, Watson was kind of an idiot in the stories, but they still had a lot of good interaction.

6. Little Willie and Searchlight, from John Reynolds Gardiner's Stone Fox


I KNOW SEARCHLIGHT IS A DOG BUT OMG I DON'T EVEN CARE THIS IS THE MOST HEARTBREAKING RELATIONSHIP IN A BOOK EVER BRB I'M JUST OVER HERE SOBBING MY HEART OUT




What are your favorite bookish friendships?
Let me know in the comments!



Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Most Anticipated 2014 Debuts


Since I don't really blog "officially" anymore, I've really let this blog slip. Sorry, friends! I realized today, while I was perusing some of the book blogs I used to frequent, that I hadn't really talked about my reading lately. And if we're being honest, I'm foremost a reader before I'm a writer - after all, I became interested in writing YA because I was reading it (unlike a lot of authors, it seems, who just sort of stumbled upon writing YA).

If you're friends with me on Goodreads, you can keep up with my reading. I initially had a goal of reading 50 books this year, but I ended up deleting the Goodreads challenge because it kept telling me I failed at life.

*sigh*

Anywhosies, today I'm going to be talking about books. Specifically, about 2014 debuts. Because by golly, this is 2014 and our 2014 debut authors are the belles of the ball.

I wrote a post back at the end of last year which featured my most anticipated 2014 releases, but this one is going to be a little different. Debuts only!


Debuts I've Already Read

I've already read a few great debuts I think you should check out. Here were my favorites:




Alienated, by Melissa Landers

Stolen Songbird, by Danielle L. Jensen


Alienated is just so much fun. Cara, the MC, is super sassy and hilarious. I loved the voice of Melissa's writing - she's definitely an author to model in that regard! I can't wait to read the sequel, but sadly, I have to wait a whole YEAR for it.

Stolen Songbird has been on my radar since I saw the deal announced, and I've been anxiously counting the days until I got my hands on it. Y'all. This book is awesome. The blurb reminded me of George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin (one of my favorite books of all time), but Danielle's debut is more romantic and dark than the classic fairy tale. It's also exciting and OMG TRISTAN. Gimme book two right nowwwwww!!!



Wish You Were Italian, by Kristin Rae

Prisoner of Night and Fog, by Anne Blankman


These two might be my favorite 2014 debuts I've read so far. Kristin is my fabulous critique partner, and Wish You Were Italian is honestly one of the cutest books I've ever read. It's fun and flirty and full of Italian goodness. It's like a European vacation packed into 350 pages of cuteness that's sweeter than gelato.

Prisoner of Night and Fog was a huge surprise for me. I was intrigued by the concept (the god-daughter of Adolf Hitler?!), but it was so much more than I could have imagined. The only word I can think of to describe it is "thrilling." Talk about a page-turner! I was glued to this book until I'd finished it, and I can't believe it's a sequel. HOORAY!



Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge

Elusion, by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam


I think most people have heard of Cruel Beauty by now. I actually read this one back in August because I couldn't wait any longer before I tore into it. It's a dark fairytale that I definitely recommend. The characters were unique, the plot intriguing, and the romance unlike most YA romances out there. I liked that it was a standalone, but I almost wanted there to be a sequel so I could get more about these characters and this world.

The only thing I can liken Elusion to is The Matrix. It's very futuristic and technology-focused, with rich descriptions of this dream world. My favorite scenes were those inside Elusion - it was just so visual. This is the start to an exciting sci-fi series!



Debuts I Can't Wait to Read



Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch

Feather Bound, by Sarah Raughley


Balzer + Bray is my favorite imprint at HarperCollins. They consistently publish a lot of my favorite reads from Harper, so I always pay special attention to their new releases. This one in particular sounds amazing. I love high fantasy, and I love the way this one sounds. The cover is a little Divergent-y, but it's still super cool. Also, Sara seems awesome on Twitter, and obvs I want to read her book. :)

Just look at that gorgeous Feather Bound cover! Like...whoa. Strange Chemistry really outdid themselves with that one. Also, Strange Chemistry is another one of my favorite imprints (part of Angry Robot), and I've really been enjoying recent paranormal releases. Now that paranormal is no longer "trendy," it seems like the ones that are being published are all really high quality and unique. (Not to say paranormals published during the paranormal boom weren't good - I found lots of favorites during that time!) Can't wait to read this one!




Open Road Summer, by Emery Lord

Midnight Thief, by Livia Blackburne


Open Road Summer has a ridiculous amount of hype surrounding it. Bloomsbury has been making a huge publicity push for it, and everyone I know who's read it so far has raved about it. The premise of this one sounds amazing, and I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that the book is as great as it sounds.

I really enjoyed the prequel novella to Midnight Thief, which Livia was kind enough to send to me. Also, Hyperion has been publishing some amazing books recently, and I'm always up for finding a new fantasy series to fall in love with.




Push Girl, by Chelsie Hill and Jessica Love

Falling Into Place, by Amy Zhang


Jessica Love is my editor-sister (we share the same fab editor at St. Martin's). Plus, this book sounds amazing. I love this concept - such an important topic and one that isn't represented much in YA (or fiction in general, really).

Continuing the theme of sisterhood, Amy Zhang is my agent-sister. (You guessed it, we share the bestest agent evah.) Plus, her debut Falling Into Place sounds incredible. And the fact that she sold it before even graduating high school? Color me seriously impressed. Amy is intelligent and lovely, and I'm really looking forward to diving into her book.




The Jewel, by Amy Ewing

Salt & Storm, by Kendall Kulper


The Jewel is another high fantasy I'm itching to read. How awesome does it sound, right?! Okay, and is it just me, or does that cover look so much like Kiera Cass's covers? Which is to say it's freaking gorgeous, just like those. Imma need this one ASAP.

How cool does Salt & Storm sound, amiright? I love that it's set in the Pacific Islands and that it's a kind of paranormal we don't see much. I still haven't given up on urban fantasy and paranormal, though publishing seems to have (right now, anyway). I'm really excited for this one.




Illusive, by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Fire Wish, by Amber Lough


I'm rounding off this list with my two most anticipated 2014 debuts that I haven't read yet. First up is Illusive, which was pitched as X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven. O.M.G. I freaking love heist-y books, and I've recently really been into thrillers. I'm dyinggggg for this one. And that cover is just so freaking cool. Ahhh I needs it! *grabby hands*

I think I've been flailing over The Fire Wish since I saw the deal announcement what feels like forever ago. I've said it a million times, but I'll say it a bazillion more times - Middle Eastern legends and mythology are my FAVORITE, and I wish they were showcased more in YA. There's just so much rich source material to pull from. So when I read the premise of this book, I freaked out. Like, I literally squealed. And I haven't stopped pestering Amber ever since I found her on Twitter. I need this book in my life, people. Like. Right now.



Those are the 2014 debuts I'm most excited for.
Which have you already read and loved?
Which are you hoping to love?
Let me know in the comments!



Thursday, March 6, 2014

TV of 2014: What Will You Be Watching?


Soooo I may or may not have gone a little crazy looking up new TV shows after I saw this article about pilot locations. I love hearing about new shows! It's like when you read announcements on Publishers Marketplace and get all excited about the new books that will be releasing. Except, we often don't have to wait nearly as long for TV shows as we do books (thankfully).

I thought I'd share some of the TV shows I'm planning on watching later this year, both new and old, and I'd love to hear feedback from y'all about what you're excited for.

Without further ado, here are the returning shows I'm all about:



Returning Shows


1.
"Arrow"
Network: The CW


Much to my great satisfaction, the CW's "Arrow" has been confirmed for a third season. Hooray! *throws confetti* It's been a while since I've enjoyed a good comic book show. While I don't think any show can fill the spot "Smallville" left in my heart, this one is coming close.

And just putting it out there: OLICITY NEEDS TO HAPPEN, OKAY?!



2.
"The Walking Dead"
Network: AMC


One of the saddest things ever about moving to England is that I can't watch "The Walking Dead," because AMC doesn't upload it anywhere online. (I KNOW! ARE THEY CRAZY?!) But I know for a fact that I'll be marathoning the heck out of season 4 when it appears on Netflix, and I don't care how many of my favorite characters they kill off or how depressing the show gets, I'll watch until the end.



3.
"The Muskateers"
Network: BBC One


I've made it pretty clear that I'm freaking addicted to this show. I don't even care that they totally messed with the original source material and went crazy with the story and the show doesn't know if it wants to be super serious or just swashbuckling fun. Because honestly, it IS fun, and *ahem* Aramis (i.e. Santiago Cabrera) is very attractive.

BBC has already confirmed that there will be a season 2 of this one, and I'm sooooo excited!


4.
"Sherlock"
Network: BBC One


BBC has also confirmed that there will be a fourth season of "Sherlock." Excuse me while I go flail a little bit.

As of yet, no air date, but I included it on the list for REASONS.


***

Those are really the only shows I'm planning on continuing. I've dropped all the others I was watching, including "Almost Human," "Once Upon a Time," and "The Originals," all because I was ridiculously bored. And even Joseph Morgan in all his Klaus hotness couldn't keep me entertained.







New Shows




1.
"Hieroglyph"
Network: Fox


I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for this show. It's everything I've wanted in a TV show for like, ever. Here's how Deadline described it: "Set in ancient Egypt, where fantasy and reality intertwined, it follows Ambrose, a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharoah (Reece Ritchie), navigating palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and even a few divine sorcerers."

Omgggggggggggggg

Also, hello, John-Rhys Davies is in this show. Gimli, people! GIMLI is in this show. This is most definitely a pilot I'll be checking out. I'm not particularly keen on the fact that the lead is a white guy, but if it's good, I can just grumble about that under my breath and still watch the show.



2.
"The Flash"
Network: The CW


I love tie-in shows when they're done well (*cough* unlike TVD/Originals *cough*), and this one could be awesome. We met Barry Allan/"The Flash" in this season of "Arrow," and he was adorably awkward and sweet. I loved him instantly, so I was painfully excited when I heard that the CW would be filming a pilot of his own show.

I NEED THIS TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE! OMGGGGGGG

I love how the CW is building this DC universe like they did with "Smallville." We can cross our fingers for more cross-overs in the future!



3.
"Identity"
Network: The CW


This one is about a girl who discovers she's related to a wealthy Charleston-based family and that the son could be the only person to donate the organ she needs to live. She is then approached by the CIA to investigate this family and their potential ties to domestic terrorism.

Uhh, yes, please. This sounds like a great thriller. It reminds me kinda of "Revenge" with the whole rich/socialite family aspect, but I love the added terrorism/CIA element. I love a good FBI/CIA/terrorist plot like "24" (and I've heard, "Homeland"), so I'm all over this one!



4.
"Gotham"
Network: Fox


AHHH!!!! BATMANNNNNN!!!!

Okay okay, I know this is actually a Chief Commissioner Gordon origin story and that we won't actually get to see Batman (but rather a young Bruce Wayne)...but still. It's in the Batman universe. There are Batman villains, like the Penguin, who is the confirmed first villain. The tone is supposed to be noir/gangster-ish. I'm so all over this show.

I never watched "The OC," so I don't have any opinions about Ben Mckenzie the way so many others do. I'm open to seeing him take over the role from Gary Oldman and give us a younger, fresher Jim Gordon. Woohoo!


***


Those are the shows I'm most excited for. A few others I'll check out, but I'm not sure if I'll watch or not. Those honorable mentions include "Jane the Virgin" on the CW, "Poldark" on BBC One, "Turn" on AMC, and "The Astronaut Wives Club" on ABC.




So let me hear what TV shows you're looking forward to in the fall 2014/spring 2015 season!
Exciting to watch some of the ones I mentioned?
Did I forget to mention your most anticipated?
Let me know in the comments!




Monday, March 3, 2014

If The Girl of Fire and Thorns Were a Kdrama



YA MEETS KDRAMA


"YA Meets Kdrama is a meme created and hosted by myself,
Feel free to write your own "YA Meets Kdrama" posts,
but please link back to us.
Thanks!



Typically, for these posts, I cast contemporary romance books, because those are the types of kdramas that I like to watch. Today, however, I'm casting one of my favorite fantasy series. It's The Girl of Fire & Thorns books, by Rae Carson!



*Note: I decided to cast the entire series instead of just the first book, as some of my favorite characters don't really become important or are even introduced until books 2 and 3.






AS A KDRAMA...


"Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness."

Princess Elisa has been chosen, and she's known since she was born with a jewel in her bellybutton - the Godstone. On her sixteenth birthday, she's betrothed to a king whose country in turmoil and who needs her to be the "chosen one" to help rule over his people. But Elisa thinks she's a failure, and she doesn't know how to be a queen.

But when she's kidnapped from her new husband's country and thrown into the world of revolutionaries, Elisa's life is changed forever. Maybe she's not the helpless princess she always thought she was. If she is going to fulfill the prophecy about her, she'll have to find the power inside her.



Starring:



UEE as Elisa








Choi Jin Hyuk as King Alejandro de Vega






Yoo Yun Suk as Humberto






Jang Geun Suk as Storm







Moon Geun Young as Mara







 Minhyuk as Hector








About the Casting


This was a hard post to write, since this series is one of my all-time favorites. I wanted to do all the characters justice.

Elisa was particularly difficult, as most kdrama leading ladies are all rail-thin and too pretty to be Elisa, but I chose UEE because she plays more athletic characters and ones that are more take-charge. I think she could play Elisa well, especially if they didn't make her too pretty.

Alejandro is described many times in the book as really attractive. He's also older and has a son, so I wanted to choose a hot older dude. Who better than Jin Hyuk?! He's gorgeous, and I'd love to see him in more dramas after watching him in "Heirs."

For Humberto, I wanted an actor who comes across as really nice and genuine. I'm still reeling over "Answer Me 1994," and I couldn't resist casting Yun Suk in this role. (OMG Chilbongieeeeee *weeps*)

I feel like Geun Suk could play Storm perfectly. He would portray Storm's disdain really well, I think. Just bleach his hair and give him some sandwiches to eat for a few months, and he'd be Storm incarnate.

Mara is spunky and kinda hardcore, so she was another character I had a hard time casting. (It can be difficult finding what Western viewers would think of as "strong" heroines in kdramas, especially in the physical arena.) But I think Geun Young could play this part well.

Hector was *almost* impossible to choose, and I had like three different guys as potentials before I made my decision. But when I was on Tumblr and saw those pictures of Minhyuk, I decided he would be perfect. Because Hector is supposed to be hardcore, amiright? I think BTOB's Minhyuk could be hardcore.




Those are my casting choices.
Agree? Disagree?
Let me know in the comments!