Monday, April 25, 2011

Discussion: Give Me That Book!

Last discussion we talked about features that throw up red flags and immediately turn me off from reading a book. To add a little balance and to avoid sounding like a big complainer, I thought I’d make a list of features that make me automatically say YES PLEASE! 


When I say “questing” I don’t just say it like a normal word. I say it with this wistful sigh of happiness. I looooove questing. I don’t care where we’re going or why we’re going there. Honestly, the destination and reason are often kind of lame. But it doesn’t matter. I just want to travel across perilous lands with a rag tag group—including, always, at least one devastatingly handsome warrior. Preferably with hottie accessory #1 (a sword!), but I’ll settle for a bow and arrows (Weiland!) or magic skills (North! My review). As soon as I see a map, I’m thinking SCORE!

Recommended reading: In addition to the two mentioned, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, The Banned and the Banished series by James Clemens (yeah, the covers are awful, but trust me!)

Hate turned to love relationships

I am a complete romantic, but my absolute favorite type of romance to read about is the “hate turned to love” pairing. I love watching the two main characters fight like cats and dogs. Witty verbal sparring is the best. Their taunts and complaints lead to character growth. They also realize they admire one another, but they still fight it. This builds the tension for *THAT* kiss! The perfect kiss that comes at the end of the book when the two leads give in and admit that they love each other. Ah, swoon. 

Fairy tale retellings

I may despise fairies (because they’re evil!), but I love fairy tales and I never get tired of reading fairy tale retellings. The best retellings are the ones that add an original twist while still paying homage to the original tale. I like comparing the different ways authors can tell the same story while still making it seem fresh and original. It’s also a ton of fun picking out all of the little references and ways the author chooses to weave in the original. Fairy tales also tend to have romance, happy endings, and magic—all features that make me happy. 

Recommended reading: The Once Upon a Time series (hit or miss, try the books by Cameron Dokey or Debbie Viguie), Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

Courtly intrigue 

If a book has even a whiff of courtly intrigue then I’m all over it. The mystery and tension keep me glued to the page. There’s always a question of who is doing something dastardly, but everyone has their court face on so the bad guy could be anyone. Usually the main character ferrets out a bunch of gossip and a few minor bad guys before putting all the pieces together and figuring out the identity of the Big Bad. The scandal! The mystery! The gowns! Ah, I’m in heaven. 

Time travel

I prefer to go back in time, mostly because you get historical fiction with a running modern commentary. I also love the funny situations that occur when the main character from modern times needs to pretend like they totally know what’s going on when in reality they’re eating the dinner plates and messing up all the local customs in the most comical ways. 

What about you? What features make you automatically start running through your list of bribes (first born, candy...) in order to get your hands on a copy of the book? 

Do you have any suggestions for me of books that fall into these categories? I'll love you forever!

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  1. I also love fairy tale retellings (love your picture here). Have you checked out Entwined by Heather Dixon? I thought it was pretty good. Time travel is also awesome.

    I less psyched about quests and courtly intrigue although I do like them; they're just not must-reads for me like fairy retellings are.

    As for hate to love relationships, I hate H/R (So much! I know this is a somewhat unpopular position but I know others agree!) However I adore Sam and Diane on Cheers so this might be something that works better for me on screen.

    Two other elements that intrigue me: epistolary novels and strong sister/sister relationships, especially when it's told from the POV of the older sister and she works to protect her younger sister. Sorry for the long post-can't wait to read what others say!

  2. Oh dear!
    First off, I was about to power off the lap when I saw you had posted a new discussion and I just had to come see.

    I agree with most of your points!
    I'm not a big fan of time travel or questing but I don't mind it, otherwise, we are in the same page.

    Aside from what you said, an automatic "Must" for me is when there are animals involved in the story, when the book sounds like a "rom com", boarding schools and Scotland.


  3. Kekeke. I put almost all the books you featured on my to-read list on Goodreads. XD. I'll read any book that's Asian fantasy/written by an Asian-American author. Faeries equal immediate read and anything with horses/equine mythical creatures = must have.

    Hate x love is one of my favorite romance angles though. XD. They usually get into a lot of angry passionate making out or sex *coughs*.

  4. Haha! Great post! I agree with you list except for time travel. I don't dislike time travel but I haven't read enough of them to have an opinion about them.

  5. I love this post! As always, your picture selection is perfect. Also, way to go with the copious book recommendations.

    Things that I swoon over in a book: young person discovers they have supernatural powers! Boarding school! Unrequited love! First kisses! Wizards! Dragons! Culture clashes! Great worldbuilding with ridiculous amounts of backstory!

    Now you see why the Harry Potter series are quite possibly the most perfect books of all time.

  6. Hmmmm...Some of mine: vampires, family relationship stories (Melina Marchetta's books and even the Cullens in Twilight), sweet/realistic romance Yanna and the french kiss), historical fiction, happy endings, boarding schools, witchcraft, royalty

  7. My favorite part about this post is all of your "recommended reading" suggestions! You make it so easy to find a new must-read :)

    I think authors are the main thing that make me automatically pick up a book. Jodi Picoult? Sarah Dessen? Chris Crutcher? You can't keep me away!

  8. l love this post!
    Although l am nearly the opposite for most of these l love reading about your thoughts and opinions.
    I have never really liked fairy tales for some reason, even as a child. I love books which go forward in time but l don't really like ones which go back due to the detail of the history (the opposite!) lol
    I love how everyone is different =)

  9. Oh but l forgot to say how l love it when a love hate relationship turns to love! ;)

  10. The hate turned to love relationship is always my favorite too! I love when characters are antagonistic and fling insults at one another repeatedly in order to cover up those true feelings. Love it! Thanks for all the fabulous recommendations as well!

  11. I absolutely love hate-turned-love relationships. My God, those make the best types of books. I also enjoy fairy tale retellings and...questing! My favourite example is of Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

    Love this post! I'm your newest follower!

  12. Automatic yes's for me are dystopias! I know there's been a huge surge of them lately and people are getting sick of them but I love them! The disasters and moral complications and secret romances that develop amid the chaos, ah! It's all so exciting.

    The love-hate relationships are awesome! You know that the characters like each other but seeing them bumbling around awkwardly is hilarious and makes you squeal when they finallyy get together.

    Questing's a good one, reminds me of Eragon, and there were boys with swords...and dragons!

  13. I think its easier for me to express what I don't like than what I do. Right now I'm into dystopians (Wither), really light fantasy (with humor involved ie: Hex Hall), I like magical books too (Kat Incorrigible).

    I'm sort of all over the boards and I'm pretty much a mood reader too. I like to find books of any kind which when I put down gives me the feeling I've learned something.

  14. I completely agree with you on the hate/love relationships, though I think it's sadly become a bit cliche in YA these days :( Done well, it's definitely a huge pull for me!

    I came from the CEP

  15. Should I admit it...? Okay, I will, swoon worthy boys! Promise me there will be one and I'll do anything to read about him.

    Are you really surprised?

    I'm a big fan of hate turned to love too!

  16. I. Love. All. Of. These. Things!

    Especially questing and fairy-tale retellings.

    One fairy-tale retelling that I just LOVE is Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier. It's a combination of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Frog Prince. I highly recommend it! :)

    Another good one that you might want to check out is The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly.

  17. My auto-reads seem to involve Ancient Egypt, Japan, cats, unicorns, vampires that are going to eat people and not copulate with them, werewolves that will probably do the same thing, chivalrous knights, and books taking place in the pre- and post-Civil War era.

  18. Wow! Way to put it all down on paper! I totally agree with all of your lists and have even found some new really good reads!

    Today's my day off and I am a horrible procrastinator so I have made a list of books that you hopefully will find enjoyable and that I HIGHLY recommend:

    Intrigue: The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett and Summers at Castle Auburn

    Love Hate (ooh, these make me so happy thinking about them!): The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook, The Hollow Kingdom by Clare Dunkle, and the Blue Sword by Robin McKinely

    Questing: Sabriel by Garth nix

    Retelling: Daughter of the Forest and Hearts Blood (both by Juliett Marillier, ALL her books are AMAZING!) , and the Goose Girl

  19. Bookworm1858, Did you see Tangled (the picture)? I loved it so much! I haven’t read Entwined yet, but I’m so happy you recommend it because I just won a copy! Aw, you can give me all the love/hate relationships then :) Have you read Sorcery and Cecelia? It’s an epistolary novel, but there are two authors and they actually wrote the book with their letters in character. It’s very cool. I love sister relationships too. That’s why I loved Kat Incorrigible and The Penderwicks so very much. They have such wonderful sister relationships. You don’t ever have to apologize for a long post! I love long comments :)

    Alex, :) Adding books to TBRs and pushing off bedtimes! I love it :) I love “rom com” and boarding school books. As soon as I hear “boarding school” I’m so there. I still always feel a little gypped though that my boarding school experience was completely devoid of all paranormal occurrences and there wasn’t a single hot guy (all girls school. Bleh). I’m a little afraid of animals in books. Either they’re talking or they’re dying (just looking at the cover of Where the Red Fern Grows makes me cry!) You can keep Scotland :)

    Need Tea, Yay! I hope you love them. I always think of you when I see an Asian fantasy/author, but I think you’ve read all the ones I know about :P I was so crazy horse obsessed as a kid (Marguerite Henry was a GODDESS of an author), but I’m still a sucker for a good horse book.

    Alexis, Thanks!

    Madigan, I’m so glad :) I had to actually hold myself back from bombarding you with even more recommendations. I LOVE all of the features you mention! I know it’s sort of cliché now with the whole “young person who thinks they’re normal and suddenly discovers they have powers and are a key player” but I don’t care. I love it so much! I agree, HP is just so perfect.

    Alison, I love vampires. Again, I know they’re not “in” anymore, but I still love them. I LOVE all of your other listed features too!

    Katie, I’m so glad! I could list a whole bunch more recommendations too, but I figured I needed to save something for future posts :P Oh yeah, I have a few auto-read authors too. I’m really picky about buying books I haven’t read yet, but there are a few authors that I just know I can trust.

  20. Books for Company, LOL! I love seeing how we all have different tastes. See this is exactly why authors shouldn’t worry so much about negative reviews. One reader’s DO NOT WANT is another reader’s GIVE ME!! :P

    Jenny, Yes!! I love it when characters do that. I don’t even really care what’s going on in the rest of the book. :P Do you have any recommendations?

    Lissa, Yay! More love for hate/love relationships :) If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them. Oooh, I so need to read Graceling. I know, I know, why haven’t I read this book yet? And I call myself a fantasy fan. :P Thank you for following!

    Laura, Oh gosh you must be so happy now with all the dystopians coming out now. I like the action-oriented dystopians…or at least I think I will because I haven’t read them yet (Enclave and Divergent look so good). Aw, yes, I love how you describe the hate/love relationships. I loooved Murtagh in Eragon (it didn’t hurt that Garret Hedlund played him in the movie either!)

    Gina, Me too. It’s like writing a review—I can easily say what I didn’t like, but when I like a book I’m just sitting there in front of the keyboard thinking “Um, I just liked it because I liked it.” Have you read Deception by Lee Nichols? It has a similar feel to Hex Hall. I’m such a mood reader too. That’s why my DNF books don’t always mean the book was BAD. Just that I wasn’t in the mood for it (unless it really was bad :P ) I love learning stuff from my books. I like historical fiction for that reason…assuming it’s accurate!

    Lale, Oh yes, there is the new “I’m bad for you” sort of love/hate spin that’s big now in YA, but I don’t like that. I agree, when it’s done well it’s just great :)

    Missie, Haha, well THAT goes without saying! I have to admit, I’ve read books I otherwise wouldn’t even be interested in all because there was the promise of a swoon worthy guy. :P Yay hate turned love!

    Jessi, Yay! I can’t believe I’ve never read Wildwood Dancing, or anything by Juliet Marillier for that matter. Every time I mention fairy tale retellings everyone always recommends her to me. Ooh, I saw the cover of The Book of Lost Things and it caught my eye. Good to know the story is just as good :)

  21. Bookish Hobbit, Ancient Egypt gets me too. And unicorns. I’m good with deadly or loving vampires/werewolves, but please no emo paranormals! You almost made me spit out my drink laughing with your “that are going to eat people and not copulate with them” :P Oh gosh, chivalrous knights YES PLEASE!

    Celesta, Haha yep. Well your procrastination is my boon! Thank you! I don’t think I’ve heard of The Game of Kings before, so I’ll add that one. I’m so glad you mentioned Summers at Castle Auburn. I loved the Sharon Shinn book I read (The Truth-Teller’s Tale) and I’ve been meaning to read another by her. I am SO HAPPY to see The Decoy Princess, The Hollow Kingdom, and The Blue Sword on your love/hate list! I had all three books on my TBR already, but I didn’t k now they hate love/hate relationships. Yay! Oh yes, Garth Nix and Juliet Marillier are two authors I really need to read already. The Good Girl is Shannon Hale, right? For some reason I don’t click with her writing, but I’ve heard such good things about that book in particular that I may have to just cave and give it a try.

  22. Unfortunately for my wallet, I have a lot of these. I'm not going to list all of them, though I will say that time travel is not a favorite of mine. I'm pretty meh about it. And I'm actually a big fan of the childhood friends love story, or anything with a slow burn, actually. I love it when there's time for the tension to build rather than the love at first sight stuff.

  23. These are all what I love in books too- we have similar tastes! Hate turning to love relationships are always so fun to read with of course the one that started it all being Elizabth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. A brilliant regency romance love-to hate story is The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer that you might enjoy. For me, any victorian/tudor YA historicals grab my attention (as you probably know lol!) I also love boarding school books like The Chalet School by Elinor M Brent Dyer and the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton. Thank you for all the great reccomendations :D

  24. Yes, yes yes. Love this! If you haven't read The Thief and sequels by Megan Whalen Turner, you are in for a courtly intrigue treat! Also, Juliet Marillier has some fantastic fairy tale retellings, Wildwood Dancing being one of the YA ones. And I could go on and on and on...

  25. Great post!! These are really wonderful suggestions. I love love/hate relationships as well!

  26. Rubita, Ha, yeah, my wallet is crying :P I love the slow burn. I think that’s why I adore hate to love so much. Have you read The Body Finder? I always think of Violet and Jay when anyone mentions childhood friends love story. Jay was yummy :)

    Stephanie, It’s funny, as much as I love hate-to-love, Pride and Prejudice just isn’t my favorite. I think I’m going to have to do a reread (I read it all messed up with a chapter here and there spread across months). Thank you for the Georgette Heyer recc! She’s an author I really want to try, but she’s written so many books I don’t know where to begin! Thanks for the other recommendations too!

    Melissa, Oooh no, I haven’t read the Thief books yet! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I haven’t read any Juliet Marillier either. I really need to just dedicate a month or two to books I should have read but haven’t.

    Cialina, Thank you! I hope you enjoy the books if you read any of them :)

  27. I found the writing of P and P hard to get into at first but it's the story that I really love. Maybe it would help to read it all at once. Another Heyer book that you might like to start on is Arabella, which is the one I began with and is still my favourite out of the four I've read. You really should try Heyer :)

  28. One of these days I'm going to staple you to the floor and read Outlander to you. Except that now I've built it up too much and when you read it you'll hate me forever because it wasn't what you were expecting. So scratch that plan.

    I agree with all of these, though I'm less in love with fairy tale retellings. The hate-love friction is awesome when done well. Did I mention that when Outlander starts, Jamie and Claire don't like each other? Hee!

  29. Stephanie, I think it really would help if I read it all at once. It was my first intro to Jane Austen and while I love her now, I had a serious prejudice (ha!) against her for some reason. I was convinced I was going to hate her books, which is so silly and turned out to be not true at all. Thanks for more recommendations! I really should read her. I love the covers on her books.

    Logan, Oooh would you really read Outlander to me?? Please? Don’t be a tease like that. :P You’re wearing me down, especially with that love hate info….


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