Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My books of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close I wanted to take a chance to look back at the best (and some of the worst) of what I have read this year. Yes, there is a lot of overlap among the genres of the books, but that is just so that I can say more than one or two!

I actually read quite a few classics this year. Some of them were for school, but I am also trying to read classics on my own too. Partly because I want to understand the allusions to these books made in conversation and popular culture, and also because I love the style of writing. You can almost feel your vocabulary expanding while you read the classics, and, because I am a nerd, I like that. My two favorites from this year are Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes - by Sherlock Holmes I mean an anthology of all of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

In all honesty, I loved all the classics I read this year with the exception of The Scarlet Letter and the second part of Jane Austen’s last novel, Sanditon. (But seeing as Sanditon was unfinished at Austen’s death and the novel was completed years later by a scholar, I cannot count that one since the part written by Austen herself was wonderful).
I really didn't like The Scarlet Letter. This one was required for school and while I can appreciate that Hawthorne’s use of figurative language was novel for his time, just in general it isn’t my type of book. It is labeled as a romance, and I’m not exactly sure what I’d call it, but it is most definitely not a romance. Not in my case anyhow. And as fate would have it I had to write a research paper on it. *fingers crossed for a good grade*

Young Adult:
The majority of what I read falls under the YA category, so picking the crème de la crème is difficult. When it comes down to it though, I have to say Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. When it comes to the world of shadow hunters I am a major fangirl, so I can’t say that I am without bias in choosing this title. If you want justification I will say this: I can count on one hand the amount of books that have made me cry outright at the end and this is one of them. The ending was sublime!

My biggest disappointment in the YA department this year was Doon, which I couldn’t even bring myself to finish. Nobody But Us came in at a close second. You can read my reviews here and here, respectively. If I had to pick a third I would say Dark Companion which was just not my cup of tea at all.

Fiction: One of my favorite books of this year is Jewelweed. There is so much I love this book that I love that it if I wrote them all down this post would be far to long. You can read my review here.

Romance: My top two romances of the year are Murder of Crows and Suddenly Royal. Murder of Crows was epic, and unfortunately I now have to wait for a sequel with no release date in sight. Suddenly Royal was mostly fluff, but delicious fluff. Cotton candy fluff. The author of Suddenly Royal, Nichole Chase, has written several of my favorite romances of the year and has sequels for most of her novels. Sadly, they seem to follow the popular trend of New Adult authors these days where the sequels are set in the same “world” but revolve around different couples, which I don’t like as much since I get attached to my characters, but I try to keep an open mind.

Fantasy: This year I have embarked on a journey of Ice and Fire and have gotten through the first two of George R R Martins epic fantasy series. I was a fan of the TV show first and decided to read the books. I have never read a work by an author who had more mastery with world building. And while his attention to detail at times makes me squirm and want to cover my eyes, I have to admit that I really feel I understand the land of Westeros and its people.

GLBT: Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my favorite books of the year and definitely tops my GLBT book list. This book just made me happy. A lot of times when I read books I love the story but am a bit let down by the ending, but in this case I was in love with the story and could not have asked for a better ending. If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend it!

What were your favorite books that you read this past year?

Happy New Year from The Howling Turtle!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Guest Post: JF Jenkins

When I create a story, I like to day dream about my ideal cast sometimes. With "Displaced" I had a lot of fun coming up with a lot of unique and fun characters, and then even more fun trying to see if I could find people who matched my vision.

Here's what I came up with:

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Chevelle - Jennifer Lawrence.

This casting choice is not based on the "Hunger Games" hype, I assure you. Outside of her being a great actress, she really embodies who this character is. Chevelle isn't the teenie-tiny perfect stick skinny body that girls are shown to have in the movies. She's a normal, every day, girl, with a normal, healthy, body image.

Timber - Zac Efron

Timber is the kind of guy who looks like he has it all. The perfect look, the perfect life, the perfect everything. Under the surface, he's just as normal, insecure, and full of struggle as the rest of the world.

Wicken - Kendall Schmidt

When I think of Wicken, I think of the guy you don't always look at and immediately think he's drop dead gorgeous. He's good looking, but if you passed him on the street you probably wouldn't do a double take. The more you get to know him, the more you see just how beautiful he is.

Naturally, there are a lot of side characters I could take the time to cast as well. For the sake of simplicity, we'll just stick with the main three.