lunar chronicles

Top Ten Tuesday

In typical fashion, I have once again missed Top Ten Tuesday posting on the actual day of the week that it is supposed to happen. But hey, it’s my last week of classes, cut a girl some slack. Plus I will have 3 books reviews headed your way so I promise to make it worthwhile for you 😉

Top Ten Tuesday

This week is December 9: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014 and what a VERY exciting topic this is!!

etiquetteGail Carriger – I am so in love with her writing and her characters, it’s late 19th century England with an irresistible steampunk twist. Her series Finishing School and the Parasol Protectorate are both wonderful to read, especially if you like to meld history with your fantasy.

Nancy Martin – For awhile there, all I was reading was the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries. Catchy and poignant, humorous and murderous, what’s not to love? There is high society gone wrong and a family on the edge of total annihilation, in the fiscal sense, all told by a witty narrator. cinder

Marissa Meyer – Okay, how many more times do I have to tell you to go read Cinder? The Lunar Chronicles is the best series to happen to me since…well, I can’t think of a good example. But it’s Grimm Brothers mixed with Science fiction in A Brave New World. *pant, pant, pant* Waiting for the next one…

Tracy Deebs – I’ve only read one book from her, the series she is known for doesn’t really interested me, but DOOMED is worth reading. It’s the actual end of the world, not post-apocalyptic which totally sucked me in and had me on edge for days. Definitely look into her work.

Peter Lerangis – After reading so much Rick Riordan (aka everything he’s written), you’d think I would be sick of kids saving the world but somehow, I’m not. Luckily, Lerangis’ series Seven Wonders is about Atlantean mythology and has a bit of a different plot than Percy Jackson but still fan-freakin-tastic

hornsStefan Petrucha – Wow, just wow. One book and I am totally hooked. Ripper was an amazing story that led me through history and murder and intrigue, it wound fact and fiction so closely together that I could almost believe everything was true. It was hard to tear myself away, can’t wait to see what else he does.

Joe Hill – I know I’m about to ruin everything but for those of you who don’t know, Hill is the son of the infamous Stephen King and his style is just as dark and interesting as his father’s. I’ve only read Horns so far but I’m hoping to pick up more of his books since I couldn’t put the first one down.

Jonathan Stroud – Apparently I’ve been missing out on this author for reads. I stumbled into the Lockwood & Co series while shelf browsing and was terrified and in love with the story I read. It’s a little scary, a little swashbuckling, and a lot of fun. Bright characters armed with wits and swords, getting into trouble and hunting ghosts. Um, yes please!throne of glass

Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass has pretty much taken over my life in the last two months. Witty and sharp-edged, there is struggle and heartbreak, magic, mayhem, and sword-fighting. I enjoy all the characters, especially picturing the men shirtless, and the series just keeps getting better. Please publish the next one soon!

snow ashesSara Raasch – I can’t get through a post these days without talking about Snow Like Ashes, but hey, why should I? I’ve been highly enjoying series set in other realms and this one has one where it SNOWS ALL THE TIME. I want to be there, even if it has been destroyed. This debut is fast-paced and interesting and I am impatiently waiting for the next one!

Honorable Mentions:

Because I couldn’t pick just 10, here are two others to enjoy.

Leigh Bardugo – A friend of mine recommended The Grisha series to me and put it off for months before finally getting around to it and I was pretty glad that I did. The style of write flows nicely along, although some of the plot points made me cringe a bit, I’m glad I read some of Bardugo’s work.

John Green – While it might seem cliched, I read Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars and was pleasantly surprised with Green’s style and humorous insight. It’s not all drab and tears, there is actually quite a bit of humor and life lessons. Not something I could read every day but nice when I’m in the mood for something a little deeper and more touching.

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesdayI’m officially slacking but I promise a day late won’t make me a dollar short so here’s the topic:

November 18: Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

Where do I even begin?  Not all of these are first books, some of them are series I can’t wait to continue. The first five are beginnings of new series and the others are ones that I’ve read more than one of and have new books coming out soon!

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I just finished this (and will have a review up tomorrow) and it is very well done. I loved the idea of a land of eternal winter (but not that bad kind like Narnia) and the twists and action kept me up reading at night.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Wow, wow, wow. If you haven’t read this yet, what are you waiting for? It’s dark and intriguing and sucks you in from the first page. Lu is superb and if you would like to know more check out my review.

Reviver by Seth Patrick – This is also a dark tale, similar in feel to Odd Thomas if you read those, about a guy who can communicate with the recently deceased and what means for his life. Fantastically done, for more info see my review.

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black – Clare teams up with a writing partner to bring a Harry Potter-esque book to life in a book way. It has magic and war and family ties. Want to know more? See my review.

The Rook (The Checquy Files) by Daniel O’Malley – What if you woke up and didn’t know who you were but your old self had left clues behind? In a world of magic, mystery, and intensity, Myfanwy isn’t a hero or a villain but desperately need to pretend everything is fine while hunting down whoever betrayed her at the ultra top secret government agency called Chequy. It’s a big long but worth getting into.

Capture The Flag by Kate Messner – I stumbled onto this book one day in the library and was unable to put it down. Three kids trapped in a snowstorm and the Star-Spangled Banner has gone missing, so what are they to do? Well have a romping adventure through the airport, obviously. It will make you laugh and jump and enjoy the ups and downs. Read it.

The Mortality Doctrine by James Dashner – If you have yet to read anything by Dashner or The Maze Runner just didn’t interest you, then try this series on for a try. It’s the future, not dystopia, and virtual reality. There are mysterious killings in the Sleep that happen in the Wake and one man might be behind it all. But in a fake world, how do you tell what’s real? Absolutely brilliant, see her for my review of the first book.

Finishing School by Gail Carriger – A finishing school where they teach you more than just how to drink tea and curtsey properly, that sounds like the place for Sophronia who is more interesting in climbing into dumbwaiters than coaches. The first book takes you on the whirlwind adventure in discovering her new school and place in society. After all, Mademoiselle Geraldine’s girls can’t marry (or kill) just anyone.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – If you haven’t heard of Cinder then you must be living under a rock. Everyone is revamping the classics, especially the fairy tales but few of them are doing it as well as Meyer. Her characters have depth and history and are interlocked in ways that you don’t expect. It is beautifully written, a real page-turner, and only slightly dystopian.

Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon – If you haven’t met Nick Gautier and you’ve been following my blog, we have serious issues. I don’t care if you start with this series or The Dark Hunters (which is actually the preferred starting point) but get reading some Kenyon. There is sex and mythology, New Orleans, hot guys who are badasses fighting on the side of good and mouthy Nick. This is the story of his youth which is why it’s better to start with The Dark Hunters so you understand a lot of it but this series is so amazing that I slam through them as fast as I can read and then regardless of how large they are, go back and reread.

Teen Topic Tuesday: Sex in YA Novels

YA novels

I’ve noticed that YA novels differ greatly with discussing the topic of sex. I find that fascinating given the profusion of sex in our current society. Are some authors trying to avoid the topic because it is too embedded into our culture or because they are creating worlds so outside the current norm that sex wouldn’t even be on the table? And yet, other books have sex as a main focus, usually more fantasy or “real life” driven novels. What are those authors saying about sex and society?

Let’s have some examples because that’s always fun!

hp1-7 Harry Potter: no sex…there isn’t even kissing until the 5th book, and then after that, everyone is kind of busy trying to survive but still.

The Hunger Games: okay, so Katniss is pretty busy trying to survive the Hunger Games and then once she gets back, there is a whole love triangle thing happening that doesn’t really get resolved until the final book.

The Giver: Well Jonas is supposed to be 12 in the books but he is like 16 in the movies, so I can understand this one. Plus his society doesn’t believe in love…

Revolution 19: Robots and death but no sex.

The Selection: Sex before marriage is illegal, especially if you’re going to be the future queen, so obviously America doesn’t risk that.

Legend series: Unfortunately, no. (damnit, June)

matchedMatched: Definitely not, just another depressing love triangle that makes me want to strangle someone, usually the female lead

Maze Runner: No sex, which makes sense in the first book since only one girl shows up…but later events, could have fit in there somewhere (*spoiler* would have been an interesting twist when the girls gang up on the guys)

The Mortal Instruments: *spoiler* Plenty of opportunity but considering they think they are siblings for the better part of the series, that would just be weird

The 5th Wave: Okay, apocalypse and she basically ends up alone, this one I get

Doomed: Nope, no sex. Even though 17 year old Pandora is on the road with two very attractive young men

cinderThe Lunar Chronicles: No sex so far (fingers crossed for Wolf and Scarlet!!)

Delirium: I can’t remember but I don’t think the main characters actually have sex

Tiger Saga: Unfortunately, there is another distracting love triangle and the whole guys turning into tigers for the better part of the day thing that makes sex nearly impossible, though there is lots of tension at various points

Seven Realms series: Once again, lots of tension but no sex. Plus there is a lot of fighting for your life type action so it kind of makes sense.

 

 

twilightThe Twilight series: *spoiler* There is visible waiting until after marriage, cough, Edward, cough, so it doesn’t happen until the 4th book.

The Fault in Our Stars: *spoiler* Sex at the end of the book, which makes sense to me

matchedDivergent: *spoiler* Abnegation has a thing about being touchy-feely and it’s implied that Four and Tris have sex but no detail is given

The Wolves of Mercy Falls: *spoiler* If I remember correctly, Grace and Sam progress to that stage in the second book but in a very sweet way. Plus they’ve already been sharing her bed for months beforehand so yea, ’bout time.

House of Night: *spoiler* There is definitely sex in this book. And in particular it’s how Zoey ends up in a sticky situation that rocks her world.

 

Well now looking back, I can see that the idea of sex is usually lost in extreme post-apocalyptic societies. But isn’t it interesting that in a world that holds sex appeal in such high esteem, how often our YA novels skim over the topic completely?

If sex isn’t being talked about in a way that our teens can relate to, then isn’t the point of including it kind of lost? I like series that both include and don’t include sex, especially ones where surviving is more important than living, but isn’t it also important to talk about procreation? In particular, in post-apocalyptic settings where life and death are a matter of every day living? Because obviously the people there are still having children. (Unless you are Katniss who swears she never will.)

And while sex might not be the most important topic, I think it’s one that gets a lot of press and media exposure but not necessarily one that teens are talking about in safe or healthy ways. Especially with the typically assigned gender roles about “the s word” and what it means to “be a real man”.

I know that I have sexual tension, innuendo, and scenes in the novel that I’ve written and I’m happy with that decision. I think it’s important to represent real people (read: imperfect people), regardless of whether it is a fantasy world or not. So let me ask my fellow writers, what are your thoughts on this topic? Why do you choose to include or not include sex in your writing?

I think novels can have a powerful impact on the psyche of the growing mind and in doing so, shouldn’t we take the time to address the issue that are most pressing on those minds? Sex is a part of life, a part of becoming an adult (and being one), whether you choose to participate, abstain, or wait. I think it’s important to leave our readers with a positive impression of sex, not a negative one, that should be the goal. I know it’s the one I strive for.