My Five Literary BFFs

Cat from The Night Huntress series (Jeaniene Frost)

imageHmm Cat… what can I say about Cat except that she totally kicks ass? Cat would make a great BFF because she’s totally tough, not afraid to go after what she wants, yet still totally tender and caring. She had a hard upbringing, hunting vampires, and has slowly grown into her gaining powers with every book. I wouldn’t mind if she were to bring that Bones over to hang out, either.

Rose from the Vampire Academy series (Richelle Mead)

imageI have a deep, deep love for the Vampire Academy series. I think it is the most concise, well-written YA  novel I have ever read. I think Rose would make a great BFF because she’s totally devoted to the people she loves and risks her life over and over to save them. Rose has demonstrated time and again how she is there for her BFF, my namesake, Lissa. We could totally bond over late night movies and the fact that I have the same as her old best friend. Also, I would never make her choose between me and the love of her life, Siberian hottie Dimitri. She can totally keep him. We’ll all hang out together.

Rachel from the Animorphs series (K.A. Applegate)

imageThis is the book series that defined my growing up. It shaped my adolescence and my reading expectations. I know half of the books were ghost-written, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve had an Animorphs-related dream. Rachel was my first kick-ass girl heroine after Xena, but she was different: she was a teenager. She was so young and fearless and totally without mercy when she needed to be: she was also fiercely protective of those she deemed weaker than herself: her BFF Cassie and her boyfriend Tobias. I totally cried when she died. In MY reality, we’re eating pizza and talking about boys, because I’m totally not allowed to know about the Animorphs – but it was that very adventure that unlocked the Amazon warrior goddess inside the mall rat airhead, and allowed her to flourish into my number one guiding factor when it comes to my own heroines. (Brooke Nevin played a short vegetarian gymnast captain Rachel in the Canadian TV series, whereas the book version was tall, ate cheeseburgers, and sucked at gymnastics).

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)

Come on! How can I not have the cleverest witch of her generation as a BFF? She’s totally awesome! Even in the beginning, when she’s portrayed as a snotty know-it-all, she’s still totally awesome. Yes, she may require the occasional rescue, but she also stands for bloody magical torture and doesn’t break. She figures out almost every puzzle, always has a spell up her sleeve for every situation, and if she doesn’t know the answer to the question, she’s bound to know where to find said answer. She even falls in love with a ginger! What a woman! (Emma Watson portrayed Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series)

Jane from Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

imageJane is my favourite classic heroine. She doesn’t let anyone stop her from getting what she wants, even when she’s not entirely sure what she wants. To compliment that, she’s not afraid of walking away, either. It’s a very powerful dichotomy that we don’t see very often in modern heroines unless they are damsels in distress. Jane is no damsel – she’s not even pretty. And the man she falls in love with, Rochester, isn’t handsome, either. This isn’t an epic tale of the two most beautiful people in the world meeting and falling head over heels – this love takes time to develop, to see past physical appearance and blossom into a love that we know will stand the test of time. I always found it a lot more believable than Elizabeth and that stick-up-his-arse Darcy, anyway.

August is the Book Birthday month for my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, a deep-space cyborg dystopian.

Please go here for your chance to win a paperback copy.
Ends September 30.

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My Five Favourite Fictional Boys

Note – I can’t say ‘book crushes’ or ‘book boyfriends’ because it is near impossible for me to feel attraction to a character that’s purely in my head, let alone an underage one.

Tucker from the Unearthly series (Cynthia Hand)

Book Passion for Life casts this guy as their Tucker Book Boyfriend. Yeah, he looks vaguely how I imagine him. Hand managed to do something amazing when I read Unearthly. She managed to get me to change my mind. I very distinctly remember bitching about Tucker’s dickishness early in the novel, and I believed I claimed he was going to have to work very hard to get me to come around. Well, it worked! I think Tucker is gorgeous and sweet and attentive and patient – all good traits in the boy who’s meant for Clara! I’m not particularly into romances, and Unearthly is definitely a romance, but I enjoyed it immensely. Tucker’s a keeper. I’m dying to know what happens in Boundless, book 3. I’m pretty sure I refer to Tucker as a cowboy lumberjack.

Sam from The Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Maggie Stiefvater)

I have a very soft spot for Sam and Grace because I don’t see their relationship as bestiality, but as a very mysterious metaphor for a long-distance relationship. I can totally relate to that. Sam’s patient, caring, and wise. He’s mature way beyond his years. I don’t even mind the occasional fur and howling, if he must. He handles his… shall we say… ‘issues’ like a pro. I enjoyed their story in Shiver. The subsequent stories not so much. Even for a romance, I liked them. I guess I’m just a sucker for a teenager who thinks about marriage. That’s dedication for you.

Brigan from Fire (Kristen Cashore)

What I like best about Brigan is that he falls in love with Fire despite her beauty. It’s a reverse Beauty and the Beast. I loved the developing romance – two broken, vulnerable characters discovering a tenderness for each other where hatred and enmity are supposed to reign. I wouldn’t exactly call him abusive in the beginning, but he hates Fire with a passion and treats her a such. I love his turnaround – it creeps up on you unexpected. He’s not even handsome! Oh, Brigan! You’re one of my favourites.

Eddie from the Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series (Richelle Mead)

Eddie rocks my socks. I like him a heel of a lot more than Dimitri and Adrian. Which is funny, because the others have so much more screen time. Eddie is like a big brother figure, which is why I like him so much. He’s loyal and doesn’t hesitate to jump into a fight. He’s capable of holding his own, and he’d make the perfect Guardian. I didn’t even mind that he got transferred over to Bloodlines, although I did have an issue with his romantic pursuit in that book.

Bones from the Night Huntress series (Jeanienne Frost)

Do I even have to list the reasons? I mean, Spike from Buffy when he has a soul? How could anyone refuse?
I think Bones is one of the sexiest literary heroes there is. Not because he’s ‘hot’ or possessive, but because he’s unfailingly loyal, utterly fearless, and a little territorial. Don’t get me wrong: a guy who emotionally and physically manipulates or abuses a girl is so not cool. Bones doesn’t manipulate, but he radiates powerful sexuality that feeds off one and only one woman: his Cat, or ‘Kitten’, as he likes to call her. If you even so much as looked at Cat the wrong way he’d rip your heart out. There’s something immensely attractive knowing that a guy has your back no matter what – not because he needs to protect you or that he condescendingly thinks you’re fragile or vulnerable, but because he genuinely loves you. I love this book series.

August is the Book Birthday month for my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, a deep-space cyborg dystopian.
Please go here for your chance to win a paperback copy.
Ends September 30.

My Top Five Favourite Non-Fantasy Books

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (contemporary YA)

Before I Fall

It was kind of a guilty pleasure to ride around in Sam’s head as she exerts her magical popular girl powers to terrify others. I loved watching her figure out the butterfly effect and how every action was linked and had a reaction.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (YA dystopian)

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)

Wither was amazing. It made me cry. It make me laugh. I loved the pace and the plot and Rhine’s character. She’s a caring, manipulative, awesome heroine. She never gives up on what she wants, she never loses sight of it and she goes through a lot to reach her goal. She doesn’t need saving, she has goals that extend beyond becoming someone’s girlfriend. She’s realistic and probably one of my favourite heroines.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (YA sci-fi)

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)

Waverly is just like the coolest chick ever. I didn’t see as much selfishness in her as a lot of people tend to complain about YA heroines. She’s strong, selfless, and always puts others before herself. She puts her body on the line over and over again and her faith NEVER wavers… heh… Waverly… I made a funny.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (classic)

Wuthering Heights

I love this book because it’s not a romance. I love this book because the characters are all selfish and self-destructive, and completely ruin the lives of those they purport to love. It’s a story of two incredibly selfish people who can’t just love each other but have to hurt everyone around them as well. I think the destruction they cause from their actions is really cool. They’re like little hurricanes sweeping the secondary characters along for the ride. There’s so much drama confined in two houses on the Yorkshire moors that it leaves me wondering why doesn’t this book explode from sheer awesomeness.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (YA paranormal)

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

It’s not the story per say that makes this novel so good. It’s the clear writing, the immersion into Rose’s head (and occasionally, Lissa’s), and most importantly (to me), the politics of royalty and high school, the politics between the Moroi and their dhampirs schoolmates, and the whole relationship between Rose and Lissa. This is the best high school book I’ve read, because it goes in-depth into reputations and rumours, and the dirty business behind popularity.

August is the Book Birthday month for my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, a deep-space cyborg dystopian.
Please go here for your chance to win a paperback copy.
Ends September 30.

My Top 5 Favourite Fantasy Books

Touch of Power by Maria V Snyder

Touch of Power (Healer, #1)

I think my review went something along the lines of: OMG *flail* FANGIRL *flail* some more.

Avry steps into leadership positions when she needs to, kicks ass when she needs to, and comforts and mothers when she needs to. She’s got a great balance of feminine and masculine traits, and she’s neither an uber-warrior nor a damsel in distress. She grows throughout the novel as well. She’s like… my perfect heroine that I never wrote.

Draykon by Charlotte E English

Draykon (Draykon, #1)

My review of Draykon was roughly the same as my review for Touch of Power.

Charlotte has an obvious gift for beautiful prose and many a time I caught myself drooling over her wonderfully constructed sentences.

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined

I’m pretty sure this was more of the same.

Once I opened the book, I was blown away. Just blown away. I did not expect this calibre, wit, and execution. The characters were simply gorgeous. The writing was incredible. And the humour! I have never laughed out loud so many damn times in a novel that wasn’t 1) a comedy or 2) written by a comedian. It’s just… the humour! The fluff! The witty comebacks and fantastic situations!

Fire by Kristen Cashore

Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)

This novel broke my heart.

Fire’s character development was really awesome. I’m so sad that people put this book down half way through. She grows magnificently both in personality, character, and power. She makes her own choices, and even when her choice is taken away from her, she manages to gain control of the situation.

Talyn by Holly Lisle

Talyn (Korre, #1)

Holly Lisle taught me everything I know about writing. Literally.

August is the Book Birthday month for my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, a deep-space cyborg dystopian.
Please go here for your chance to win a paperback copy.
Ends September 30.

My 3 Favourite Literature Trilogies

Please note, all of the following are fantasy novels, but I can’t stand traditional wizards in pointy hats with elves and trolls etc type fantasy. To draw me in, a fantasy trilogy has to offer me something very different, and I feel that the five I have picked, although you can find them in the fantasy section of the library or bookshop, all offer a different take on fantasy, from gothic to heroic to plain out of this world. The imagination involved in building these five different worlds are just phenomenal.

1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

imageNote – Outside the US, The Golden Compass is known as Northern Lights.
I adored this trilogy. I read it when I was sixteen. I reread it every year. Every time I reread it I discover something new. It is the deepest experience of any literature I have ever read. There are so many layers. Simultaneously, it can also be approached as a children’s adventure story. Lyra, and her companion Pantalaimon, face a series of adolescent and not-quite-so-adolescent trials as they set off to save Lyra’s best friend from an evil organisation, and eventually go on to save not just their world, but every world in every universe. It not only asks some big questions, but offers answers as well – and that’s why religious people hate it. Personally, I think it’s an educational tool in the understanding of brainwashing young people into unconditionally accepting religion. It asks people to question the rules that govern society. The Golden Compass was made into a moderately successful movie, but because of the heavy anti-campaigning from the religious right (because the novel suggests people question religion and – so it is claimed – the two heroes in The Subtle Knife kill God, where in fact they do NOT, God is elderly and dies a natural death… sorry to give that away but it pisses me off that people who haven’t even read the book try to campaign against it) The Subtle Knife film is not going ahead.

2. The Old Kingdom by Garth Nix

imageNote – In the US, the trilogy is simply known as The Abhorsen Trilogy.
This is truly a masterpiece, an epic piece of literature by one of Australia’s best fantasy writers. Simultaneously a tale about women’s power and coming of age mixed with horror and a rollickingly good plot, I devoured the first two when recommended by a friend, then had to wait impatiently for several years before Abhorsen was written to complete the trilogy. Originally, Sabriel was written as a stand-alone, and is an original take on the standard hero’s journey, while the other two more concentrate on two people finding their place in a world where they feel like outcasts. The take on how magic works is incredible as well, and it mixes the magic world (the Old Kingdom) with a non-magical world, separated by a wall. I don’t want to give much away about the plot, but I suggest you go and read read read, because Nix is on par with the great fantasy writers like Tolkien and Lewis. It’s an incredible story that is spread over all three books, but can be read as three separate stand-alones; and everything is neatly wrapped up at the end. Only a master storyteller can do this.

3. The Isles of Glory by Glenda Larke

isles of gloryThis is another fantastic trilogy from an Australian author that mixes magic and science together in a fantasy world separated by a strict breeding program. Blaze Halfbreed is a magnificent lead female, and totally one of the coolest warrior women I have ever read about. I really identify with her frustrations on being a 6 feet tall woman. I love the relationship developed between her and Flame, as it is a heterosexual female friendship you don’t see much of in fantasy. Warrior women tend to clash with other females in fantasy. Some kind of competitive thing, I think. Magic is approached in a way that eventually shows the good guys as the manipulators, much like the way I see capitalism.

August is the Book Birthday month for my first novel, The Edge of Darkness, a deep-space cyborg dystopian.
Please go here for your chance to win a paperback copy.
Ends September 30.