The Alphabet on My Shelf [TSS]

AZ TBR PileYou know when you see a post on someone’s blog and think “I’ve got to do that”? Well, that’s what happened to me last week, when I spotted C.B.’s A-Z post of books. His idea? Go through the alphabet only using books from your TBR pile. It was inspiration for the Double Dog Dare “challenge” to read only TBR books until 1 April – and it worked, at least for me.

I had an absolute ball putting this list together. As I went through my shelves I remembered a bunch of books that I had genuinely forgotten about… I had been so excited to buy some of them, but promptly forgot about them as soon as I got home! For example, my copy of Heist Society? It’s signed. How could I have forgotten that?

Anyhow, I’m rather proud of my list – I only had to cheat a wee bit!

  • Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh
  • Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley
  • Die for Me by Amy Plum
  • Entice by Carrie Jones
  • Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
  • Gone by Lisa McMann
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter
  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Isle Witch by Terry Brooks
  • Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint
  • North Child by Edith Pattou
  • Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Radin
  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  • Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
  • Rampant by Diane Peterfund
  • Split by Stefan Petrucha
  • Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  • Vampire Empire: The Rift Walker by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
  • Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
  • HeX Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • The Seven RaYs by JessicaBendinger
  • Zombies Don’t Cry by Rusty Fischer

Do you think you can do this with books from your TBR pile? Give it a go and find out!

Book Talk: Sex and Language in YA fantasy [TSS]

I have been reading a mix of YA fantasy this week – the Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine and the House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast – and I am amazed by the differences between them despite both being meant for Young Adults. The difference in language and sex in particular. There are no spoilers in this, just vague unspecific references.

In the House of Night Series, P.C. and Kristin write the way teenagers talk, not the way teenagers get talked to. For a fantasy series, it is painfully realistic – there were many instances where the books seemed more explicit than adult fantasy. There is a lot more swearing, drinking and sex – although the main characters usually aren’t involved. It’s like reading old-school HP fanfiction, where the writer delineates everything we usually just assume is going on in the background.

Even though there isn’t a single character in the series I identify with, I remember the swooning over guys… the parties where every one is trashed… the rumours of lewd sexual activities people were up to… and it is almost painful to remind myself of it all. Even though I was reading – and probably saying – a lot worse than that at 16… if I were a parent I wouldn’t buy these books for my teenage daughter.

The Morganville Vampire Series, on the other hand, is almost a different genre. While it deals with issues a lot, er, older than the House of Night Series – the main characters live without parental supervision, and have mature sexual relationships, and there is swearing all over the place – it is a series I would actually give to a teenager. There is a lot of emphasis on the importance of maturity. Basically, if you want to act like an adult – no matter your age – you should think like one too.

Also, Caine brings up what I consider an extremely important issue for YAs: having sex with minors even if you don’t consider yourself a “major”. Without getting into too many spoilers, Caine’s characters are quick to remember that even a one year age difference (i.e. 17-year old and an 18-year-old) is enough to constitute statutory rape. Admittedly, the likelihood of it being an issue is slim in real life, but I appreciate her bringing it up. I have met the extreme of the issue (13-year-olds dating 19-year-olds) and no matter what you say about maturity, it is so very illegal.

Anyhow, going from one series to the other really made me ponder.