TTT – Favourite Shorts

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Favourite Shorts

Today I’m discussing my favourite short fiction, whether they’re classed technically as a short story, novella or novelette, listed in no particular order.

1. A Year and a Day in Old Theradane by Scott Lynch

As we all know I am a firm fan of Scott Lynch. Until this piece came out, my favourite short of his was In the Stacks, but this one managed to edge out in front. It helps that I heard the start read by Scott at Brighton’s World Fantasy Con in 2013. Why do I love it? The wit, the elegance of the language, and the fun dialogue.

2. Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor

Goodness this piece makes you want to punch love in the face, it’s just so ridiculously well done, so cute, and of course, well written. She takes a crush, slight awkward flirting, and the all important ‘how to ask someone out’ and makes such a grand fairy-tale of it all, yet also manages to make it all possible. She’s amazing.

3. The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss

This follows a day in the life of Bast, which is all one should have to say on this, really. It’s Bast. Especially when it revolves around people coming to him saying ‘I need a lie.’ Overall, this is a lovely tale, though also a little worrying. Rothfuss is a magician of words.

4. Legion (Legion #1) by Brandon Sanderson

The growing realisation as you read this is excellent. We have a man whose unique mental condition allows him to contain multiple personalities – hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of highly specialised skills. I’m so very glad we’re getting a second novella from this short series.

5. Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6) by Leigh Bardugo

Though all of Bardugo’s writing is amazing, this would have to be my favourite short of hers. It tells of a beautiful daughter, who learns the curse of being beautiful as she discovers how terrible a parent can be, with so little regard for their own kin. As with her other shorts, this has the sense of fable about it, which makes it simply beautiful to read.

6. Twixt Firelight and Water (Sevenwaters #5.5) by Juliet Marillier

Set in the Sevenwaters series, Lady Oonagh cast a curse over her own child. Now a druid, an ill-tempered raven and an adventurous young woman are drawn together as the time approaches for the evil magic to be undone. Being Marillier’s writing, this is engaging and impossible to put down.

7. The Fisherman’s Net (Vestigial Tales #2) by Laura Lam

A very beautiful, brutal tale of a fisherman and what he manages to catch, and what happens when he’s just too greedy. I loved that justice was served, and the language in this is utterly beautiful with how it describes the creature within.

8. The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu

Read for the Hugo Awards, this one easily won my vote. Set in the future, they live in a world where water will fall on you out of nowhere if you lie – and how heavy the rain is depends on the strength of your lie. It also deals with cultural issues, and so perfectly captures family dynamics. I loved it.

9. Tip of the Tongue (Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts #5) by Patrick Ness

Easily my favourite short in the ‘11 Doctors, 11 Stories‘ anthology that came out for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa travel to a small town in 1945 where ‘Truth Tellers’ are a craze sweeping the town – little objects that do as their name says… but of course, being Doctor Who, this is much more sinister than first thought.

10. Words Like Coins (Realms of the Elderlings novella) by Robin Hobb

Well it’s Robin Hobb, and it’s a Farseer short, and it deals with pecksies. It’s also illustrated throughout, which adds to how wonderful it is to read. Classic Hobb, good moral, and gets you to think of the literal meaning and the depth of your words.

TTT – Bookish Bucket List

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Bookish Bucket List

Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List (could be blogging related, book related etc. — meeting authors, reading x many books per year, finishing a daunting book, etc.) – This topic in particular as seen on Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup 

1. Manage to read 150 novels in a year

This is currently my goal on the Goodreads Reading Challenge and I was doing okay until I went away for a week (to a book judging conference! I was one judge of eight to decide the Australian Children’s Book Council) where I’ve now fallen a bit behind. Motivation! This high number of books is in hopes to…

2. Clear my ‘To read in 2014’ list of novels (link)

Which I’m failing at abysmally so far. I seem to collect good books – once I know I’ll love a book, and I own it, it’s then mine and I can go forth to collect other books instead of, y’know, reading and enjoying them. The books I have read on it (four) I’ve really, really enjoyed. So I need to become so much more stricter with that.

3. Attend more Australian conventions

I would have loved to attend SwanCon this year but I just don’t think it’s possible. Conflux, however, I think I can manage! I’ve already promised Tehani that if I’m there, she has a free slave for the Dealers Room, as that’s easily where I’m most comfortable.

4. Meet…

I’m not sure! I’ve met many lovely and fantastic authors, Scott Lynch being one of the most awesome, Robin Hobb being one of the most thoughtful, and Patrick Rothfuss and Mary Robinette Kowal being some of the most funny.

I suppose I’ll hold Scott to someday meeting again, and buying him a drink or two. Dream would be playing cards or some sort of tabletop game.

Actually – Tansy Rayner Roberts. I adore her books, and would love to thank her some day for writing exactly what I love – especially her descriptions about clothes and food!

5. Write a Book set in Tokyo

Even if it never sees the light of day, I want to write something I’m happy with, that’s set in Tokyo, because that is an excellent excuse for travelling there again sometime soon. I adore the place so much but my memory is atrocious, and I want to write something that is so emotive of the place in its essence.

6. Get a short story published

To do this, I need to start writing again with gusto.

7. Have a bookish place in the first flat/home I own

Even if it’s just a corner of another room shut off by fabric. It will have a lovely chair and book-related things on the walls. I am determined to make this a reality. A full study would be preferred, but I don’t want to seal myself into something impossible – I just want this to happen in the first place I own, and then on from there!

8. Judge… something else!

I’ve judged the Aurealis Awards for three years now, and have almost completed a stint judging the Australian Children’s Book Council (which is pretty dang big news, and shall hit 70 years next year!), and I also take part in the free verse judging sets such as the Hugo Awards, Locus Awards, etc etc …what shall I take part in next! I adore participating in book judging, and all the better when you get to read every book entered in that category and make a perfectly informed decision on the ballot or discussing/judging rounds. It’s addictive, and I adore it.

9. Read more graphic novels

I used to be so into the whole graphic novels scene but now I’ve been out of it for so long, only reading the big name things that come by such as Fables and Saga. I don’t want to set a tally on this – say, read 20 graphic novels in 2014 – I just want to feel part of it all again, and if that takes four graphic novels, or 60 – so be it.

10. Write more

Simple, really.

TTT – Favourite Ships

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Favourite Ships

(Mostly books, but a few others also…)

Today I’m discussing my favourite pairings, whether it be friendships that can’t ever be broken or the romantic sense. In no particular order. Putting this together was a little disheartening in a way because it just made me realise how many, uh, not so healthy relationships there are out there. Joker/Harley? Nooo.

1. John/Aeryn from the TV show Farscape.

I had never had a OTP (one true pairing) before, until I discovered this show. I heard the term OTP thrown around a lot, but never understood how someone could pick just one to focus on. Then this show got me hooked and I finally understood. John and Aeryn. This is mostly thanks to their chemistry which is utterly astounding, it’s in every small glance and the way they interact in ways that aren’t scripted. They seem drawn to each other. They can say just as much in their silence then they do with words and it’s just marvellous. I highly recommend this show. Give it a chance. It’s a bit slow in the beginning but my goodness does it build up over time.

2. Elend/Vin from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn.

These two are important in a way because (spoilers for the Mistborn series if you haven’t yet read it, I’m serious, don’t continue reading if you haven’t yet read it because you’ll want to someday. Turn back now! Don’t continue reading!) they never really got an ending together. Perhaps I say this as someone who doesn’t accept the concept of a resting place where you’re awake and able to experience it with others, but honestly… they’re so sweet throughout, the part where he dances with teasingly holding a book in her face (a running joke by that time) and then their ending? Gah. Way to rip my heart out, Sanderson.

2. Locke/Jean from Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard Sequence.

Ahh, the first friendship. This one I can safely say is platonic – Jean deserves a break from Locke sometimes at all and he can do so much better elsewhere, I say fondly, because Locke is just such a screw up. And he’s perfectly agonising with Sabetha, who I really hope we see even just hints of in the fourth book. These two have been through so much together since such a young age, and yet they still manage to keep going on somehow. How do they do it? Though they’re pretty amazing individually, they’re so much more together. Scott is probably well aware there’s one thing he can’t do in his series… and that’s kill of Jean. We’re watching you, Scott.

3. Mik/Zuzana from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series.

When I was first drafting this I had Akiva/Kaoru down as my pick, then I thought hang on – they’ve been through a lot together, sure, but can anything really top the utter delight and amounts of love Mik/Zuzana seem to explode convulsively with? The short Night of Cake and Puppets will honestly make you want to punch things because it is achingly perfect when it comes to capturing love in all its agonisingness. Honestly. That short is just. Gah.

4. Kaneth/Ryka from Glenda Larke’s The Watergivers trilogy

Because really, who can resist a good ol’ bitter ‘oh we have to marry, whatever’ and then slowly develop feelings for each other as the series progresses. Ryka is an amazingly strong woman throughout and as a bookworm she’s easy to identify with. This is simply a sweet pairing that you can’t get enough of.

5. Fred/Angelina from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

Because I need one from Harry Potter, don’t I? It’s a hard decision. James and Lily protected harry through love alone. I want to say Remus/Tonks because I adored it when I first read it, but they were a little disappointing overall. They never seemed confident with each other, then they leave Teddy all alone in the world. So I went with another favourite. During the series when there’s dances and such, you always note Fred and Angelina are together. Then, well… you know what happens… and she ends up marrying… George. Which seems a little messed up. And with that epilogue I’m very surprised we didn’t get to read that George had twins and named them both Fred.

6. Sherlock/John from the original stories by Doyle, and just about every adaption since.

Another friendship pairing – yes, friendship, I know that seems shocking. These two however honestly make each other better. John Watson is the caring type and it gives him direction and something to keep his mind busy in a way which works for him. Sherlock needs someone to show off for, and to keep him polite and engaged socially in a healthy way. From the original stories through to each television series, whether it be Brett or ‘batch, we see this in each various format and it rings true. They have a friendship that all strive to achieve.

7. Shaun/George from Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series

This one’s a little messed up. I won’t say why as you either need to read this series or you know exactly what I mean. Most probably won’t agree with me on this one, but all I can honestly say is that I feel it’s realistic. After all they go through, and after what exactly happens… I feel it. I think the ending is accurate and honestly after reading it, it’s what I felt like doing. I needed a break!

8. Marco/Celia from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus

Because this is a beautiful book, and the romance is handled so very well. Just another pure joy to read and experience.

9. Logan/Veronica from the TV Show Veronica Mars

Thanks to the kickstarter-funded movie we have the ship back that probably has rights to the most perfect and sicking ship-name out there… LoVe (I mean, that worked out a biiiit too perfectly, didn’t it?) but honestly, these two have a ridiculous amount of chemistry together also. Did you see the latest photoshoot of them with the marshmallows? My goodness.

Now, some may say that it’s Veronica/Piz all the way, but I think Piz is too good for her. She belongs with Logan because they’re just as messed up as each other, and they know what to expect. They can handle each other’s brand of awful. Just like Sawyer/Kate from LOST, but they were left out of this list for…

10. The Doctor/TARDIS from the television (and radio, and book) series Doctor Who

Yes, some may fight that Rose is The Doctor’s one true love (in which case, check out some of the original series of Who and you’ll see that he’s been that close with someone quite a few times now, and some may say it’s River as she’s his wife, and some may say it’s The Master or Romana (Romanadvoratrelundar) … but honestly, it’s the TARDIS. When she became Idris for a while it was a dream come true – someone he could interact with so much easier. She has been there for him since the start – she wanted adventure like he did and stole him away. She takes him not where he wants to go, but where he needs to be.

TTT – Favourite Book Related Words

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Favourite Book Related Words

(All words are linked to their source, many thanks to the excellent collections of lovely words!)

abibliophobia

the fear of running out of reading materials

agraphia

writer’s block

biblichor 

the characteristic, faint, musty smell of old books

Bibliotics

the art of reading with your ears.

dhvani (Sanskrit)

lit. ‘sound’ or ‘echo’; the feature of a poem/line of having a hidden meaning that strikes you in the second or further readings, but not the first

Goya (Urdo)

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, but is also an official language in 5 of the Indian states. This particular Urdu word conveys a contemplative ‘as-if’ that nonetheless feels like reality, and describes the suspension of disbelief that can occur, often through good storytelling.

Nooked 

The movement of a person’s consciousness migrates from believing that e-readers are the spawn of some book-burning devil to realising they are a perfectly lovely and valid way to consume writing. In 2013 a lot of people will get nooked. Their chat will become less tedious as a result.

sgriobhadaireachd

a writer’s business

tsundoku 積ん読 (つんどく) (Japanese)

the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other such unread books

vāde mēcum (Latin)

favorite book carried everywhere; a handbook of useful information kept at one’s side lit. “go with me”

TTT – Australian Female Fantasy Writers

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Australian Female Fantasy Authors

(That got me reading fantasy)

Today I’m discussing Australian female fantasy authors, listed in the order I first started reading them.

1. Jackie French

SAtCBack in primary school one of my favourite books was Somewhere Around the Corner, set in the time of the Depression in Australia about a girl called Barbara who travels back in time. This book was my introduction to historical fiction (as far as I can remember at least) and I loved the characters, as well as the almost-familiar farm setting as that’s where I spent my holidays, with my mum’s side of the family.

From there, Jackie French has remained one of my favourite authors as she has many historical fiction books coming out constantly, and also came out with the Outlands Trilogy right when I was curious of vampire novels (before they were popular, thankfully!) Her fantasy books were always so different and unique to what I was used to also, such as Tarjore Arkle. Recently she’s become the Australian Children’s Laureate and really does such great things for Australian writing, especially for children.

2. Jennifer Fallon

tIPMy first real fantasy novel loaned to me by a friend who was astonished I wasn’t well into fantasy novels during high school – I got into it so late. She loaned me The Immortal Prince, the first in the Tide Lord series and from there I devoured each book Jennifer had out at the time, which kept me busy for months. Seeing as she came from remote Australia and lived quite close to me, relatively, she was incredibly kind and met with me for lunch, and kept a friendly eye at me at Supanova writing classes in Brisbane. I have a lot to thank her for, as she’s really the reason I got into fantasy books so quickly (finally!)

Her books, to me, are easy epic fantasy. They have power plays, government and lands interacting, and a large cast of characters with their own interests and connections which bounce you through the plots. It’s the type of fantasy that pulls you deep into the world, and really care for the characters.

 

3. Sara Douglass

AxisThis is where I moved onto next (though at the same time as reading Fallon) because of course everyone was always talking about the Axis trilogy and Wayfarer, as well as her other books. You can hardly read Australian fantasy unless you’ve tried Douglass’ work. Australia really have lost someone great – her work was and is a thing of beauty and her books add to much to the fantasy genre.

Like the above, these are deep fantasy that really pull you in to a whole other world. With Douglass’ work she invites you to a whole different way of living, with other creatures and hybrids. There’s so much on offer with her books. Thankfully there are many books to her name, and they’re even better when you’re re-reading them, you keep discovering little hints to further reveals or other elements you hadn’t yet noticed in her world. If you haven’t tried Sara’s work before, I highly recommend starting with Battle Axe.

4. Glenda Larke

TlSI’m not entirely sure how I came across The Last Stormlord, the first in her Watergivers trilogy. Perhaps just listened to the hype, and then discovered for myself how well justified it is. I was then lucky enough to write a review for it which won her entire set of books, which allowed me to give her others I had already on my shelves to friends, who have in turn bought all her books themselves! See, competitions work :D

Glenda’s another who has a thankfully large amount of books out there already waiting to be dug into, that are being helpfully renewed electronically by Fablecroft. Her books are especially excellent for strong, female leads.

While any and all of Glenda’s work is amazing, I think you can start with The Last Stormlord, as that’s where I started and haven’t yet regretted it. Or start with the book that comes out in March – The Lascar’s Dagger (The Forsaken Lands, #1)

5. Juliet Marillier

tDMI came across Marillier’s work at Worldcon 2010 when it was hosted in Melbourne, as a friend I was conning with, Kaylee, utterly adores her books and encouraged me along to a kaffeeklatsch, where Juliet very helpfully gave out copies of her books. Juliet’s books are also amazing, a very clever blend of folk lore, historical fiction and fantasy. I started with The Bridei Chronicles and they probably remain my favourites by her to this day, though honestly, everything she writes has been highly enjoyable.

Juliet’s a good author to follow because she seems to come out with a new book often, something harder and harder to do in this current climate. YOu can also start just about anywhere with her books, though I would suggest reading The Bridei Chronicles in order, and her Sevenwaters series could be even better in order, but I’m somehow reading them randomly and it still provides enough information for you to be reminded where you are in their generations of family as they spiral out.

6. Tansy Rayner Roberts / Livia Day

PowerHrm. I think I tried the first in the Creature Court series after … I think it was Continuum in Melbourne in July 2011? I remember as it was during that where I won the cameo for Scott Lynch’s series. The con was over, and friend Lana and I went shopping one last time in Minotaur (Melbourne’s best but also quite expensive spec fic store) where I bought the book after hearing so much about it. I had trouble putting it down, it’s lucky I was on a flight so soon after for reading time! I devoured the series and haven’t looked back.

Tansy’s work ranges between the beautiful and fantastically, to an almost Pratchett sense of zany and humour. Her books are especially excellent if you like sewing and food because she describes both so very well. If you want something stunning, try Creature Court. If you want humour, try Mocklore Chronicles. You can also listen to Tansy (along with Alex and Alisa) on their Speculative Fiction podcast – Galactic Suburbia.

7. Deborah Biancotti

BadPowerIs utterly fantastic at short stories. They make you want more so badly – the story may be satisfying but goodness would you love to see more of the idea expanded because it was presented so well. I haven’t had the chance to read every short by her – they’re so hard to collect when they’re not, y’know a simple novel series, but Deborah is certainly someone I’ll be keeping an eye on in future to see what she has next.

The tag line on the book pictured here? ‘Hate superheroes? Yeah. They probably hate you, too.’ How could that not make you want to read immediately? This collection of shorts shows Deborah’s ability as they could have so easily fallen flat, or turned out clichéd – but these are just beyond excellent, some of the best shorts I’ve ever read. These are also excellent to read if you like a book that gives you perfect visuals while reading. One of the first things that strike you with her work is how easily it could be turned into a mini series or movie.

8. Jaclyn Moriarty

CornerHer book A Corner of White is one of my instant favourites. I’m currently reading the sequel Cracks in the Kingdom and her ability with words is just stunning. Such a lyrical way of writing that draws you in, young adult and yet with ideas that can be expanded upon if you give it thought and time. Wonderful characters, and a wonderful way of capturing the places in a way that make you desperate to visit – or re-visit. Cambridge (UK) is one of her settings, and it honestly makes me homesick for a place I’ve only visited three times, usually just for a few hours.

This is perhaps a hard book to get into, because it’s a little different. I can only strongly recommend that you give it a chance, because the difference is what makes it such a strong YA novel. It’s quirky and wonderful and the characters are simply lovely. It’s very surreal and it tries to keep you on the edge of knowing just what the heck is going on. So just trust the novel and let it carry you to the end as a book should.

9. Jo Spurrier

WinterWas an author recommended to me by a co-worker who’s reading quirks I pay much attention to. This is a series that really immerses you in the landscape. Being someone from Australia who hasn’t really had contact with snow before (though it does snow in parts of Australia), Spurrier really makes you feel how bitter and deadly the snow can be even if you don’t know the first thing about it.

She also really shows characters who you can’t ever trust – what side have they truly allied with, and how far will they go in order to get what they want. Her characters are often desperate which makes for great reading, and with the third due to come out in June this is the perfect time to give this author a try.

For her first series, this is a pretty amazing set of novels.

10. Rowena Cory Daniells

tKBRowena is an author I’ve been meaning to try for an embarrassingly long time, and finally – finally – whilst in Brighton last year in November I finally gave Kin Rolen’s Kin a go. What a cracking series. Such a huge cast of characters that are all surprisingly equal in holding your attention. Generally when a book is split into following a certain character around for a bit, I whine in my head about wanting to go baaack to the character we were just following – don’t leave it there, I need to see what happens next! – but with this series, each and every character is just as gripping.

Happily, Rowena has another series out already – The Outcast Chronicles – so I know what I’ll be starting next moment I get…

This is very, very decent epic fantasy, another author where you get totally lost in the characters and the world, and certainly an author to watch.

~

Some other Aussie authors I’ve been meaning to try and really need to get my act together and find time for are Jo Anderton, Karen Miller, Marianne de Pierres and Mary Victoria.

Which Australian female authors do you love? And why? Which of their books would you highly recommend someone start with?