Friday, April 11, 2008

5 favorites

First things first.

Tomorrow, Friday the 11th, is the deadline for the contest. I’m looking forward to going through the entries. The contest is to celebrate the release of Mating Stone by Ellora’s Cave. The hero of Mating Stone, Mark Ursine is a Were-Bear as is his twin brother Luke the hero of the upcoming July release, Lovers’ Stone. The Ursines present their lady loves with stones rather than engagement rings. For Mark and Sarah it’s an amethyst. So to win the 17” freshwater pearl and amethyst necklace here’s what you need to do. Write a brief answer to the following question and send it to with “Mating Stone Contest” in the subject line. I’ll pick the best response as the winner, and two honorable mentions to receive smaller prizes. The winning entries will appear in my blog on April 13th.

In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?

I don’t have the slightest idea why, but the silly song, from Sound of Music is stuck in my head. No, not the Do, Ra, Mi…I’m not suicidal. It’s the Few of My Favorite Things song.

Raindrops on roses…which I have scratches on my hands from trimming yesterday.

Whiskers on kittens…the neighbor’s cat is toying with my dog making him bark his arse off while it suns itself just on the other side of our back fence.

Bright copper kettles… damn! I need to polish my antique kitchenwares. I have several including an old time preserve sieve that you pound things like grapes, cherries, strawberry’s etc. through to squeeze out the juices.

Warm woolen mittens…wool itches. How can wool anything be your favorite? It’s sweaty, itchy and smells bad. Not to mention it’s a bitch to wash.

Anyway, the favorite things I was thinking about were my favorite books of all time. In no particular order, I thought I’d share them with you. Why? A. Because it’s my blog and I can. And B. because…well, you might have missed one of these and they are awesome.

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

This was the first Kenyon book I read and was hooked on her quirky, laugh out loud style of writing. Action, adventure, love, lust, gods and to die for heroes make her books amazing. Fantasy Lover is Julian’s story. Julian was an ancient Macedonian warrior who was heralded as the greatest general of his time. His act of vengeance on the god Priapus earns him an eternal curse. He is bound into the pages of a book (originally a scroll) where he can be called forth at the full moon by a woman. He will spend the next month fulfilling the woman’s every physical desire.

But when he’s called forth by Grace Alexander after a few too many glasses of wine on her birthday, he finds the first woman in all the centuries who doesn’t see him as an object of desire, but who sees him as a man. But at the end of this month he must leave her and return to the dark isolation of the book. Unless they can find a way to break the curse together.

Julian is one of the most perfect heroes ever created. Just don’t let him drive your car. Somehow the whole chariot/car thing just doesn’t translate well for him.

Lilith’s Brood (Xenogenesis) by Octavia Butler

Butler is my favorite writer of all time. Her science fiction has such a humanity to it that you can easily identify with even the most nonhuman of her characters. Her books are consistently brilliant and moving. Xenogenesis, as this collection of three novellas was originally called, was the first of her books I read. I was enthralled with the world she created and with how seamlessly she fed the reader all the information you needed to understand what was happening without going into information dump. She is one of the best at characterization.

Lilith Iyapo didn’t ask to be saved by the alien Oankali when humanity nearly destroyed itself with a nuclear war. She didn’t ask to be made the leader of the rescued and genetically altered humans who were now barely more than prisoners. But no one asked Lilith what she wanted, least of all the Oankali. Lilith’s love hate relationship with the aliens begins early as they see more in her than she ever wanted to be. They see someone who will become the mother of a new race, a genetic mixture of the Oankali and humans. For that’s what the Oankali are. They are gene traders. And their price for saving humanity is its eventual destruction.

This book combines the novellas Dawn, Imago and Adulthood Rites into one tale.

Magic’s Promise by Mercedes Lackey

I’ve written before about the protagonist in this story, Vanyel. He’s prickly, arrogant in the way of teenage boys who are flippin’ terrified of life and the world but by heaven don’t want you to know it. Lackey’s world of Valdemar is a brilliantly conceived one. It is one of the most original I’ve ever read.

Vanyel is the eldest son of the head man. The poor guy wants his son to toughen up, be the big brawny, bear of a fighter that he is. But Vanyel is slender, fast and given to playing his lute for hours on end while singing sweet songs. When attempts to beat the boy into submission and into his father’s image do not work, Vanyel is sent away to live with his aunt. Savil is a Herald Mage, a powerful one. But Vanyel has no talent for magic, nor is he suited to be a bard.

But when he falls in love with Savil’s prize pupil tragedy strikes and the latent magical tendencies in Vanyel are blasted open in a way that just may cost him his life. The Last Herald Mage series is Vanyel’s story and it’s told in a way that is touching and beautiful. But it called the Last Herald Mage for a reason. The reason I never finish book 3.

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

This is actually the sequel to another book of mine that I almost put on this list, Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game is the story of a young boy who is put through psychological and physical hell as he’s molded into the saviour of all humanity. Only he doesn’t know any of it is real, it’s all supposed to be about training. Ender saves humanity by completely destroying the enemy. Completely. And in time his unintentional genocide turns him from a hero into the worst villain since Adolf Hitler.

Speaker for the Dead is a brilliantly constructed sequel to Ender’s game. It is Ender, grown up now, but having spent so many years traveling in space that he’s actually lived hundreds of years beyond his time. So no expects the Speaker for the Dead to actually be the real Ender Wiggins. But as Speaker, he is called to speak the deaths of two men. Two very different men. Pipo, loved and venerated. Killed by the indigenous life form on the planet being colonized by a small group of humans. Marcos. Cruel, violent and abusive. His body ravaged by a genetic defect. But when the speaker speaks, he speaks the truth. The pain, the pleasure, the joys, the shames. And the small world may never be the same.

Another case of impressive world building. The indigenous Piggies are fascinating and complex. Card is another one of my favorite writers, his politics aside. His stories are always rich, multi layered and captivating.

The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston

This is a story from my childhood. I found this book on the shelf in my 6th grade teacher’s classroom and devoured it. I loved it. Even now, when I re-read it, the characters are compelling and endearing. I didn’t know at the time I read it that it was part of a series of children’s books. I wish I had.

Toseland (a very unlikely name for a young man and happily he soon becomes known as Tolly) goes to live with his grandmother in her creepy old house, Green Knowe. Very strange things are afoot. He hears music and the voices of children. Only there aren’t any other children living here…are there? In animate objects seem to have lives of their own when he can’t see them and his grandmother speaks about people and things as if they are real, but they can’t be…right?

Okay, those are my favorites. What are yours?


Sandra Cox said...

Good blog, Jae.

Anny Cook said...

Oh yes! I love all of the Valdemar book and read them over and over. I never quite felt that way about her other books.

I love Morning Glory by LaVryle Spencer. I believe it's probably the best romance ever written.

Second on my list is The Windflower by Laura London (Tom and Sharon Curtis). I priced a paperback copy of this book recently on Amazon. They started at $29 and went on up. For those who've read it, there isn't any other pirate romance.

Third on my list...Mary Stewart's Arthurian set. Loved them all. Reread them regularly.

Anonymous said...

Loved the Green Knowe books. And regarding kids books, has anyone read Good Night Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian? A truly beautiful story.