tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Aug 4

Top Ten Tuesday

I am going back a couple of weeks to play catch up with the Top Ten Tuesdays because they are one of my favorite things to do, thank you so much The Broke and the Bookish!!

From August 4: Top Ten Fairytales and Fairytale Retellings. I’m going to do this one a little bit differently than my normal list, bear with me! There are a lot of books now going off of this theme and I am excited to experience them as many as possible.

Top of the list definitely goes to the entire Lunar Chronicles series. From Cinder to the as yet unpublished Winter, I cannot get enough of Marissa Meyer’s style, writing, finesse, world building, and character crossings. The whole series is beautifully done and I am anxiously awaiting the final piece. With sci-fi elements, it never sounded like my typical read until I picked it up and could not put it down.

Stiching Snow by R.C. Lewis was also very well done. Also sci-fi and not my usual game but presented in such a way that really intrigued me and sucked me in. The plot was solid, the characters and relationships were interesting, and the overall product made me smile, laugh, and cry.

Cruel Beauty from Rosamund Hodge was definitely an interesting twist on Beauty & the Beast. I listened to the audiobook while driving home for Christmas and some of it was a little hard to follow and little far fetched for my taste but the mystery of the plot and interaction of Beauty and her Beast was worth it. Although the ending left me feeling unsatisfied.

court of thornsA Court of Thorns and Roses, another book by Sarah J. Maas, put a fae spin on the classic Beauty & the Beast in a way that wasn’t obvious. There was magic and secrets, shape-shifting, torture, testing of the limits, love, beauty, fear; written in the typical and wonderful style of the author, it drew me in and captivated me. Highly recommend, can’t wait to see what happens next!

The Stepsister Scheme tells the story of what happens after the magical happily ever after. Jim C. Hines gives us new representations of Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty as he weaves a tale of jealous stepsister, fae terrors, and princesses who are more warriors than ladies. An unique read, something to distract on a lazy day.

Sisters Red is actually part of a series called Fairytale Retellings by Jackson Pearce but unfortunately didn’t interest me enough to continue reading. While I found the new take on Little Red Riding Hood to be interesting, it was a little too much horror and grit to be appealing in the long term. Not a bad read, just not really for me.

The final book that I read that is worth mentioning is for children but sometimes I can’t help but enjoy those. The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley is about two young sisters who have been shuffled from home to home only to finally be taken in by a grandmother they didn’t think existed. Along the way, fairy tales come to life in a small town and it’s up to the girls to solve the mysteries of what is happening.

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.

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read X (examples: New Adult novels, historical fiction, a certain author, books about a certain topic, etc).

I decided to go with classics since so many people don’t even bother to read them anymore and I saw a really great post yesterday on Kate’s Bookshelf about reading classics in the fall so here is what I think you should start with when the leaves start to turn.

1) Moby Dick by Herman Melville – Why? Because there are so many hidden themes and underlying political tones, inspiration from many other sources, really a fantastic book about more than just a guy chasing a whale.

2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Why? Because Austen is an amazing writer and if you get a copy with footnotes, you will understand what most of the book means and that will leave you free to read it again after and really enjoy the love story.

3) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman – Why? Because he writes poems about sex, love, being true to yourself, pride in the United States, and just life in general.

4) Walden by Henry David Thoreau – Why? Because connecting with nature is something that not many people do anymore and there are some important lessons that Thoreau can teach you about appreciation of life if you let him.

5) Oedipus Rex by Sophocles – Why? Because I’m sick of people not knowing what an “Oedipal Complex” is and this is a relatively short, and disturbing play about fate and finding out who you are. Also, Oedipus is adopted so I’m sure that’s relatable to more people than you realize.

6) The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – Why? Because this is one of the most heart-breaking but realistic love stories I have ever read. Two people who want to be together but never can be, loyalty, family lines, and societal pressures all combine to create a trainwreck of happiness and tears.

7) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Why? Because I’m stick of people thinking that the monster’s name is Frankenstein (thanks for ruining that Hollywood). And because it’s actually a really great story of a brilliant man and his monster that is actually much better than anything Hollywood could come up with.

8) Dracula by Bram Stoker – Why? Because people need a real snap back to the inspiration of Edward Cullen and the other vampires before they became so common place in society and how they were created. (Don’t worry, it’s still a love story.)

9) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Why? Because everyone has read “The Tell-Tale Heart” (which is amazing in its own right) but few people have read this version of an unreliable narrator and how murder can really impact a man’s psyche.

10) The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Grimm Brothers – Why? Because Disney has given us unrealistic expectations for long enough. If you want to read something a little more disturbing and real but don’t want to read Stephen King, then the Grimm Brothers are for you.

classics

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday

The blog “The Broke and the Bookish” posted this topic as this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: top ten authors that we own the most books of. So I’m doing my own version.

16-Sherrilyn Kenyon I own all except for the newest Chronicles of Nick book and over half of the Dark-Hunter series (I have read all except for Styxx, which is next on my list)

9-Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series here, both of which are amazing. I can’t wait for the next Anna/Charles book to erupt onto the scene and I really need to buy the latest two Mercy books.

8-Rick Riordan Percy Jackson and the Olympians (all), Heroes of Olympus (first one but I’ve read the others), The Kane Chronicles (read the first, own the second too), love the mix of myth and reality.

7-C.S. Lewis All Chronicles of Narnia. Nuff said.

7-Anne Bishop If you haven’t read the Black Jewels trilogy, get off your computer and go buy it. Or at least log onto Amazon and download it. The realm is spectacular with BAMFs all over the place.

5-Heather Killough-Walden Sexy werewolves that give in to their nature (not just fight it like superficial d-bags? Uh, yes, please!

4-George R.R. Martin A Song of Fire and Ice, obviously. Have yet to buy the latest one, but I did read the library version!

4-Cinda Williams Chima The Seven Realms series is amazing. I think I read the entire thing in the span of a week, ordered them all from Amazon and devoured. If I ever have the chance to reread them, I will!

3-Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games series. One is paperback…it really bothers me.

3-Quinteria Ramey An interesting set called The Forever Trilogy, don’t really remember what it was about except that it sort of involved an angels/devils theme.

I’ve come to the sad realization that there are so many books that I don’t own but want to, mostly Harry Potter. Yea, I definitely need to buy my own set of Harry Potter books. And there are lots of series that are partially finished, I also need to fix that.