Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Female Assassins Are So Fetch

Female assassins. It just sounds good, right? It sounds like bad ass, feminist candy. It sounds like my new favorite trope.

In actuality I have only read three YA books with female assassins but I love them all and therefore raise them up into magnificence.

 Graceling by Kristin Cashore 

1. Fantasy

As soon as I realized my love for female assassins I also realized that they were all fantasy. Which makes sense...in a way. In order for women assassins to be sensationalized in a culture that culture has to be pretty restrictive to women. And since fantasy usually takes place in a medieval setting this is set up nicely. Also, assassins mostly go after people in the royal court or royal family. Bam! Fantasy.

However...all of these girls are "special" because of the effects of their fantasy world. Katsa is born with the extraordinary skill to kill and survive. Ismae is marked by Death and trained to be his handmaiden. Caleana may seem like your regular deadly assassin but with her mysterious past there is undoubtedly something fantastical lurking under the surface.

So is it really that feminist? Hard to say.

2. Levels of Girliness

As I said before I love all three girls, dearly. They just rubbed me the wrong way sometimes.

Katsa. Girliness Level: -2
It isn't how she dresses, or keeps her hair short or her intolerance of most men. It really isn't. It is the fact that she rejects everything female, to the point of denouncing marriage and children. A lot of people have problems with this and Cashore has received some grief on the subject so I'm not going to go on and on.

It's just hard to fully connect with  a "strong female" who doesn't even like being a girl. In my opinion Katsa is a bit too extreme but, hey, that's her choice and her personality so I respect it.

Ismae. Girliness Level: 5

LaFevers has a wonderfully balanced female character in Ismae. She loves being so capable and even loves making all those arrogant men pee their pants a little. She enjoys the freedom of being less feminine. YET. Yet she doesn't lose her femininity. She still appreciates dressing up and looking nice and bonding with other women.

As a girl I admired Ismae's strength and skill without losing camaraderie with her. I could see myself in Ismae, in her vulnerability and struggles to do the right thing.

Calaena. Girliness Level: 9
My, my, isn't Calaena snarky and whip smart! I loved her confidence and even, at times, her arrogance.

Mix this superior attitude with atypical longing for material things and beauty though and I have middle school flashbacks. Did Calaena need to be so materialistic? Did she need to use her beauty as her weapon? Maybe not but that is her character and while it didn't sit right with me at times I still liked her.

In summary: Katsa is too manly, Calaena is too girly and Ismae is just right. God, I sound like a horrible feminist right now but I'm just being honest. Some psychological introspection is probably needed but there is my opinion. (this post has some great points)

3. Court Intrigue

Dear God, I love court intrigue! Perhaps it stems back to Shakespeare and Chaucer but it is so satisfying to follow the dramas of the high and mighty. Us peasants just don't have those big, society altering dilemmas very often. Add assassins to the mix and everything gets so deliciously complex that my fragile heart can barely take it.

It is so cathartic somehow. And it's the classic "wow, my problems look so puny and easy compared to these peoples". Also it's the "even though this is no way resembles my problems I definitely feel this way, this character totally understands".

(this post is getting so articulate as it progresses)

4. ...IN SPACE

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every plot gets better when your add "in space" to it. My favorite is pregnant teenage boarding school in space.

So you can probably guess what is on my Christmas Wish List this year. Yep, FEMALE ASSASSINS IN SPACE.

Can anybody do me a solid and write this?

Now that would be fetch.

Please comment with your thoughts on female assassins, especially if you disagree with me or have something new to add :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nerd Life is So Much Better Than Real Life

For real. First things first.... 

Firefly (and Serenity)

Wow. How did I avoid seeing this for so long??? I really can't say enough good things about this too shortly lived tv show and it's follow up motion picture. After deciding to be more fiscally responsible I cancelled my little used Netflix subscription. So it was about time to watch that sci-fi show that is recommended to me every time I watch Doctor Who (which is very often). And, oh boy, it's fantastic delicious genius. It's part science fiction, part western, part comedy, part mystery, part romance, part crime show, part everything.

Long story short, you gotta watch it.

Leaky Con LitDay

Two days. TWO DAYS. My brain doesn't comprehend.

It's just hitting me that John Green is going to be there. I will be in the same room as him, hear him spout brilliant funny awkward things, for two days. This is going to be epic. Here are two of my favorite quotes from him:

“Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself.”

“Lucky Charms are like the vampires of breakfast cereal. They're magical, they're delicious, they're a little bit dangerous and bad for you. They initially make you feel great, but then over time you realize that maybe your relationship with Lucky Charms is just a little bit unhealthy and you start to think, 'Maybe I don't want to be in a long-term relationship with a breakfast cereal that tastes delicious but damages my health.' But then the Lucky Charms gets all stalker on you and for some reason you kind of like that. It makes you feel special. So yeah, you spend your life with Lucky Charms. That's awesome. That's a great way to... get diabetes.”

The Domestic Rebel

This dessert blog by a very cool girl named Haley is where I get my sugar, girly, colorful, venting fix. I might be making assumptions, but if her amazing glasses are any indication she is proud nerd/awesome human being. Haley makes such creative yet simple treats and every recipe blows my mind. The best part is that they are all so easy, many utilizing box mixes and such. Unlike most food blogs where I dismiss a majority of it as too complicated I feel like I could tackle every delicacy of Haleys. Also every recipe is preceded by her beautiful ranting, so funny and relatable. Give her some love! 

Book to Move (Trailers)

There are so many great movies coming out in the future and a good chunk of them were originally books. Yay literature!

This trailer for Cloud Atlas (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, oh my!) is BY FAR my favorite. I cried the first time I saw it and never grow tired of it, even after watching it, oh, 20 times. My library copy is begging to be read. The day that I get to watch this on the screen will be pure, uncontained bliss.

Another winning combination: the director of The Kings Speech with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. All of the singing was done on set, pure and sweet, no auto tuning or mixing. If this teasar is an indication this is going to be an instant classic.  

 I couldn't resist including Gatsby. Baz Luhrman, check. Leonardo Di Caprio, check. Carey Mulligan, check. Awesome music, check. Visually and emotionally stimulating, check. I hope this brings about more classic remakes, not gonna lie that would be stupendous.

Are you nerding out with me? Anything nerdy or awesome to share?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Random Pining (Pinning?)


I suck at consistency and lately this blog has fallen down the priority list.

I would feel a lot worse if it wasn't for the fact that I am sticking to my writing goals for the first time (out of November that is). Update: I just hit 60,000 words in my current draft


For some people that would be "haHA finished!" but for me it's like "What the hell I'm not even 1/3 done??? This book is a) going to be a bitch to publish and b) going to weigh as much as a very sturdy newborn child."

Oh, guys....But no complaining! Time for SHARING. Thanks to Pinterest (find me here!) and the tide of life I have tons of random stuff to share.

1. I have recently discovered the majesty of mug cakes/brownies/cookies that you make in the microwave. I love baking and this is baking for the lazy, plus portion control! Win/win! My favorite I've tried is A Cup of Coffee Cake SO GOOD!

2. Recently I finished the Throne of Glass e-novellas and fell in lit-love. Sarah J. Maas is such a great new talent and I can't wait for the main book to come out on August 7th. But in the mean time there are four novellas to enjoy: assassins and pirates and empires and pretty dresses and a swoon worthy guy and plenty of attitude and angst.
The Assassin and the Desert (Throne of Glass, #0.2)The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Throne of Glass, #0.1)

3. Pinterest may be a more evil time suck than Facebook but it can be productive! I have boards for my Work In Progress and my Set Your Mind Alight Board. This is where I put the images that inspire and intrigue me. What is the story here? Where does this take place? What secrets are there to unearth?

Here is a small selection:
Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

4. Why not some music? Mix it up, eh?

This song by Fun makes me want to rock out and cry all at the same time. So catchy and so eloquent!

This is the perfect summer song. When I listen to it I just want to hang with friends, sip a fruity drink and let the worries slip away.

5. In complete hypocrisy of that last song I am going to be getting an iPhone soon. Yeah. I am 90% excited and 10% embarrassed. I used to make fun of iPhone owners, all the time! As long as I don't loose hold of reality I'll be good. Hey, look at these adorable cases from Case Mate:

Case-Mate Peacock - Silicone iPhone 4 / 4S Case
Case-Mate Xing - Silicone iPhone 4 / 4S Case
6. Lastly, Corgis right? They are everywhere! As usual I am on top of the trends (ha!), I've been obsessed with Corgis for years. So more of them I say. More more MORE!

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

What have you obsessing over late? Any new discoveries?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Literary Love Story: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

During my mini vacation from blogging I, well...

I fell in love.

I fell in love with the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta.

Finnikin of the Rock, the first book in the trilogy, was suggested to me by the lovely Vanessa in the comments of my Hipster Book List. I happily took her advice and looked it up on Goodreads. So many raving reviews! I got it from the library and soon found myself completely and utterly taken. A true marker of my love is that I immediately bought my own copies. I am stingy, this a BIG DEAL.
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)

Here is the synopsis of Finnikin:

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock—to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page

Marchetta writes the most believable, realistic fantasy I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I cried, I gasped, I laughed, I wept. I felt grief and joy and anger and hope and triumph. It was everything, everything.

I could gush for hours (the Goodreads reviews have some epic gushing, so go there if you want more!) but that would be self indulgent. So I have decided to concentrate my love. I asked myself these questions: what is it that I loved most about Marchetta's story telling? What elements do I want to include in my own writing?

1. Emotion. For me emotion is the hearts blood of any story. I can not get into a story if I am not emotionally invested, it is impossible. Marchetta had me going "Oh, Evanjlin!", "Oh, Finnikin!", "Oh, Froi!", etc. every few pages. This is a hard story to read, and I imagine it was a hard story to write. These characters feel so fiercely because of the pain they have been forced to bear and the hope they have chosen to keep alive. I truly ADMIRED these characters, I wanted to befriend them and help them and protect them. I am dedicated to them, I have an intense emotional attachment to them. This has only happened to me a handful of times before. Marchetta deserves applause for this.

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)

2. Redemption. Oh, boy, do I love redemption. Finnikin and Froi of the Exiles have redemption in spades. And I don't mean revenge or good conquering over evil. So many characters are perceived as bad or selfish or reckless or heartless. As a reader I was ashamed of their actions, their words, their beliefs. But Marchetta always turned that around. Here are two great quotes from Finnikin that reflect this:

"Everything is evil that humans can't control or conquer."

"There are worse things than a lie and there are better things than the truth!"

The ambiguity of "goodness" is a lesson I took away from these books. Everybody has a story, everybody has regrets and everybody has a reason for why they do things (and its not always logical). Thanks to Marchetta my belief in human goodness, kindness and perseverance has been reaffirmed. She deserves awards and bricks of gold for this.

3. Secrets. There is mystery in these books, even in the most unexpected places. Of course I don't want to give any of this away. But as a fervent reader I can see plot twists a mile away (the end of  Insurgent by Veronica Roth? Called that in the first book)...most of the time. I was honestly shocked in both of these books. Marchetta fooled me many, many times. She deserves her own castle or small country for this.

My goal is to make every person who reads this go out and read these books. They have shot to the tippy top of my favorite list, without a doubt. Trust me, guys, you will not regret it!

Quintana of Charyn, the highly awaited third book, isn't released in the US until March 2013. However it is coming out in Australia in late September. For the first time ever I am going to hand over as much money as necessary to get a foreign edition of a book. I am as DEVOTED to this series as I have ever been to any book.

Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3)

Are you enticed to read the Lumatere Chronicles? Have you ever had such a strong affective response to a book or series?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Inspiration: Freakin' Adorable Edition

I haven't updated this blog in FOREVER. Honestly, I don't have some great excuse as for why. I've just been reading great books and writing a lot and marveling at how boring my life has been lately.

So I think some squeal inducing baby animals are in order. What about you?

Pinned Image
What's up? I was just born yesterday. Wanna hang?

Pinned Image
So fierce!

Pinned Image

Pinned Image
Every shade of huskie puppies :D

Pinned Image
My eyes say "stuffed animal", my brain is screaming "it's real! holy crap, it's real!"

Pinned Image
Dream big. Future Olympian?

Pinned Image
Charismatic little fellow, huh?
Pinned Image
I had to finish with a corgi! I mean, come on, look at that face!!!

I hope this brought your moment of zen today ;D

In your opinion, what is the cutest baby animal?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lit Day Ecstasy

I have known about this for over a month now and haven't said anything. Which is saying something because I am not a quiet person!

*drumroll please*

I am going to LeakyCon 2012's Lit Day.

*epic gates of heaven opening music*

I have never been to a book signing or conference or anything. Hell, I haven't been to a concert since I was 13 (American Idol tour. No. Joke). Despite being a Nerdfighter since 2007 I have never gone to a gathering or a tour event.

You know that game Never Have I Ever? I ALWAYS win. Now is the time to remedy that!

If you're wondering "What the heck is Lit Day?" or "Where can I sign up for this majesty?" please mosey on over to this lovely page here.

This is the part where I start fangirling. Because I am going to meet...
Maureen Johnson
Maureen Johnson. Bestselling author, Twitter goddess and who has been promised to be the most eccentric person I will ever meet.

Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins. The best YA romance writer there is with awesome hair and a soul that is made of puppy sized elephants. I already claim her as my best friend. I call dibs!

Laini Taylor
Laini Taylor. Soon to be canonical writer of YA fantasy, wearer of pink locks, owner of my dream life in the Pacific Northwest and creator of an adorable daughter whose middle name is Pie. 'Nough said.

And last but not least...
John Green
John Green. You heard me right. Printz award winning writer, epic vlogger, creator of online communites and all around awesome person.

These are the attendees I am most excited about but make sure to check out the link above to see what other amazing writers, agents and industry professionals will be there.

If you are also going to Lit Day I would love to hear about it. How cool is it, not only that we are going, but we could meet each other?!?!

If not rest assured that come August I will be posting plenty of pictures and stories and most likely more fangirling. I already have a Stephanie Perkins tribute video along the lines of this in the works. Its bound to be a bit creepy but hopefully it will be mostly funny.

If you were meeting any of the epic people who are going to be at Lit Day how would you react? What would you say to them? What kind of questions would you ask them?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Writerly Resources

Until recently I didn't have much in my writers toolbox. I read a lot of books, I'm an English major, what else is there? I had the blinders on.

Then last month I had my eyes opened wide. There are so many things out there that I had no idea I needed!

Think of it like this: you up and decide to build a skyscraper. First you need to learn about architecture and physics and safety and costs. You need materials, you need to find people to help you, you need to get investors. If you went into building this skyscraper blindly you wouldn't get very far. It would be falling apart, dangerous and possibly the shortest "skyscraper" ever to bear the name.

Writing is the same. You need to do your research, you need support, you need practice.

Here is a list of resources that I couldn't do without.

I randomly clicked on a link to this site and I am so glad I did. This is a blog about writing, books and the industry. The lovely ladies at the Pub are authors, agents, editors and book sellers. Every week day they dispense advice and insight and recommendations. An absolutley invaluable wealth of knowledge. Love love love.

I credit this collection of essays with altering my mindset on writing. From brain storming, to drafting, to editing, to publishing its all covered here. Laini (one of my favorite authors/people I have never met but I will do anything to remedy that) describes everything in a way that absolutely sets my mind on fire. Ever read one of her books? Yeah, its more of that poetic majestic goodness. Her writing fills me with a burning need to write. Literary aphrodisiac???

Here is where support comes in. If you write YA, plan to do so or just really love YA you need to join this site. Whether you're looking for a critique partner, need help on a tricky scene, want information on contests or want to promote your blog its all here. I am really excited for the day I get to participate in some of their agent contests. Every one is really nice and helpful and super talented. Join up immediately!

Admittedly when I first discovered this blog I was scared out of my freaking mind! Who knew queries were so hard and met with such judgement? I sure was blind. But the more I read the better I felt about queries in general. People submit queries to be critiqued and are given chances to revise until its perfect. Being able to watch that progression really helps me wrap my mind around it. I'll no doubt be on this site an excessive amount when I write my first query.


If Laini's how to is a little too abstract for you or if you just want another opinion this has you covered. Ness is a genius award winning writer for adults, teenagers and children. He sets out the steps in a very logical and straightforward manner. When I saw that his daily writing goal is only 1000 words I felt relieved. It is always nice to know that the talented and successful people find it hard too right? His discussion of voice and pacing I also found very helpful. Another great tool.

Okay, okay, I'll admit it: this is the only book on writing that I have read cover to cover. Eep. I know, I'm naughty like that. Come on guys its Stephen King! The literal king of our diverse literary world. Part of the reason I love this book so much is because its part memoir, his life was so interesting (he lived in the same town that I go to college!). The stories that relate to his writing and his journey to becoming Stephen Freaking King will connect with everyone. I take his advice very seriously. 

What are your favorite writerly resources? Is there something that completely changed your outlook on writing? What couldn't you do without?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Self Publishing Mayhem

Is it just me or is self-publishing the new Y2K? Everybody is threatening each other, playing up the issue or playing it down, acting like publishing as we know it is terminal.

This is, of course, an over exaggeration but it holds some truth doesn't it?

I wasn't even aware of self publishing until last year when I started looking into getting a Kindle. It intrigued me but not enough to take a chance and buy many self published ebooks. I've read a few (of the best selling kind) and was pretty impressed. Sure there were some minor grammatical issues and the stories weren't as polished as I was used to.

But you know what? Those books were all refreshingly different from what you might find on the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble. I could go on for an entire blog post about the need for college aged YA (I probably will) but the point is I never took traditional publishing vs. self publishing seriously.

Until I read the prosecution and the defense. On her blog Shannon Hale wrote a post entitled "The self-publishing paradox; or, why I love my editor." Jessica Park wrote a piece for the Huffington Post called "How Amazon Saved My Life." Woah. For the first time I was able to see how the issue went far beyond quality. Both ladies have valid points and were very persuasive in their arguments. They are also on different ends of the spectrum, and tend to speak in absolutes that don't reflect the general population.

Hale and Park are very successful in the mode of publishing that they have chosen. They are not the norm. Most writers cannot live off of their earnings and must make ends meet other ways. Despite conceptions authors don't have a lot of control over what is published; from the cover to marketing. Not every book that is traditionally published is popular, innovative or widely read. But there is a trust in the population that these books are worthy of your time and money.
While there may be more "slush" self-published books (not well written, not worthy of your money) nobody can deny that sub-par books get published traditionally every year. BECAUSE IT ALL COMES DOWN TO TASTE.

It's hard to say what the general population will like, what book is going to touch that nerve. And it won't always be something "of substance."

Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey are good examples of this. Both are wildly popular and making their authors exorbitant amounts of money. And yet both books have been accused of being badly written with weak plots. People like what they like despite the quality (reality television comes to mind, I love me some 16 and Pregnant!). Sometimes we like escapism, something that is "bad" for us to break up the monotony.

This is what makes me sad: big publishing houses take on books that they think they are going to sell. Park's break-out Flat Out Love (which I read and really enjoyed) got turned down because it didn't fit nice and pretty in the YA market. But every publisher liked it, thought it was a strong piece of work. They didn't think it would make money but Parks proved them to be very, very wrong.

The elitist image the publishing houses are giving themselves is, I imagine, what is making many people resort to self-publishing. Good and bad more books than ever are finding their way into the world through this method. And getting a bad name because the slush hasn't been weeded out.

I ask you though: don't readers know best what they like? Look at all the best selling self published authors who got turned down for not writing something that fits in the market.

As a young writer all of this makes my head hurt a little. The big dream has always been the traditional route. Write a book, polish it up, get an agent, get a publisher, watch everything fall into place.

I'm honestly concerned though. The book I'm working on now doesn't fit into that neat, little picture of what YA "is". I like breaking the rules and I believe the story is the better for it. Its the kind of story I would want to read and I would like to think that readers will embrace it for its differences. But will agents and publishers see that? Or will they just see a marketing mess that could loose them money?

In conclusion: lets not be snobs about how a book gets into our hands. Judge it as a story not a product. Lets respect our fellow writers. Professional or amateur, successful or still slaving away.

Also in conclusion: I plan on working hard towards traditional publishing. That is my biggest dream. I really, really want it. But it is nice to know that self publishing is there for me if I need it. 

What do you think? Would you ever consider self-publishing? Are there any self-published books that you love?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inspiration #2: Video Edition

I don't know about you guys but I've been a little bit all over the place lately. Just yesterday I read a book that half way through had me dancing around singing. Yet by the end of it I was emotionally devastated. It took a lot of talking to myself encouragingly to get back to a state of homeostasis.

I needed to be grounded. Reminded whats important, what makes me happy. Thanks to these videos I found my center again, regained control and came out the other side refreshed.

This first video is the speech that Severn Suzuki gave at the UN Earth Summit in 1992. Isn't it amazing how a wise 12 year old can put everything in perspective? I wish I was as aware and passionate when I was her age.

My high school Sociology teacher played this Baz Luhrman video in class. I'll never forget sitting there and feeling the bubble of high school dissolving away to reveal the bigger picture. "Don't worry about the future. Or worry, knowing that worrying is as useless as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum." True. Life. I get chills every time I see this.

And lastly for those people who are in a creative slump (god knows I have one of those every week!). Elizabeth Gilbert does a great job of articulating those moment of genius we all have in our art. As well as the feeling that we can't always call on that genius or rely on it. "Show up for your job," she says. If that genius decides to make an appearance that's wonderful. If not, at least you worked on something you love. 

Are there any inspirational videos that you have stumbled upon lately? Or ones that you turn to again and again?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hipster Book List

Everyone has one.*

Rachel Seigl's post this week on Pub(lishing) Crawl, Under the Radar: Authors Who Don't Always Get the "BUZZ", really got me thinking.

Everyone has those handful of books that they love but you seem to be alone in this infatuation. Those books aren't wildly popular or widely read or perhaps even highly acclaimed. But heck you don't mind because this makes them your books in a way. One might even get a little proud and, dare I say, hipstery about it.

Here is my Hipster Book List:
1. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness.

So if you are from England you are probably thinking "these books are highly acclaimed and wildly popular". Yeah, well, I live in America and that is not the case here friend. I have never met another soul who has read these magnificent books and that just makes me sad.

This series is so unique and innovative and heart wrenching that it blows my mind. Todd Hewitt lives in a community made up entirely of men. Every body's thoughts are painfully audible, called "Noise". What happened to all the women? How did the war get started that caused this mess? How can a community survive with no privacy and no dishonesty? These are just the questions being asked in the first chapter! Never has a book made me cry so hard as Monsters of Men. I was a sobbing, inconsolable pile of mucus by the end of it. This is some VERY special science fiction that is genius and violent and insightful.

Everybody needs to read it. NOW...are you reading it yet? Well, hop to it!

2. One on One by Tabitha King.
This is one of those books where I honestly have no idea how I found it. Was I perusing the Stephen King section when I picked up a book by his wife? Who knows, but I am so glad I did.

Be warned: this is a sports book. Trust me though, as someone who avoids sports at all costs, that is just a thin veil over the bigger story. Sam Styles and Deanie "the Mutant" Gauthier came so close to winning the basketball state championships last year. Sam is determined that both the boys and girls team can do it this year but that means trying to help the most damaged, hostile and bizarre girl in school. Deanie shaves her head, wears chains across her face and loves smoking illegal substances. All of this is a method in concealment as she has a mother who hates her and a step dad who beats and molests her. Sam has to fight the administration, his friends and even Deanie herself to get the teams ready for state.

This is one of those books that is successfully gritty and honest and jarring. It is also the strangest and most satisfying romance I have ever read.

3. Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.
It seems like everyone and their cousin have read the Ender Games series by this great American author. But how many, I ask, have read this fairy tale re-telling?

Ever since I read this diamond in the ruff four years ago I am constantly measuring other fairy tale re-tellings up to it and they never compare. The elements that combine to make Enchantment great: time travel, medieval Russia, Judaism, linguistics, magic, science and the gods of ol'. I truly admire Ivan for being his bookish good natured self and Katerina for her royal tenacity.

Definitely a fairy tale made for adults who like intellectual and religious debates alongside their quests and spells.

4. Love Walked In and Belong To Me by Marisa De los Santos.

Yay for something lighthearted! (you guys probably think I'm all doom and gloom over here) These two books are where intelligence, hilarity and cuteness come together. What I imagine an Adult Nerdfigher book written by Stephanie Perkins would be like...

Cornelia Brown--a big hearted, day dreaming, literary and cinema geek--is one of the most likable and admirable main characters ever written. I want to be Cornelia. If you're looking for something gorgeously written than look no further than the books by this award winning poet. Or you could read them for the warm fuzzies, adorable romances and true to life family dramas. As feel good as these books are they also deal with such issues as mental illness, parent abandonment and cancer.

You'll learn something, be inspired, feel joyful and optimistic about life all at the same time.

5. Tea Rose/Winter Rose/Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnely.
I remember going to a school book club meeting when I was 16 and ranting and raving about these books. "They have history and romance and adventure and politics and mystery oh my!"

Seriously, when I think of epic I think of these books. They span from the time of Jack the Ripper to the end of WWI, all the while following the Finnegan family. Entrepreneurship, mountain climbing, White Chapel gangs, Parliament, England, New York, Kenya, California, the Middle East, death, birth and war. They have everything.

This series is like a one stop shop for any sort of reality based fiction you can think of. You'll cry and laugh and gasp and scream and you will love every second of it. I promise.

6. Stories of Columbyana by Linda Winstead Jones.

Now, I don't often read a lot of Adult Romance. They can be, frankly, cheesy and one dimensional. These three trilogies are the exception.

 I would describe these books as paranormal fantasy. Each trilogy focuses on the love stories of a whole slew of characters but has an over arching conflict. Curses, prophecies, spells, shape shifting, folklore and court politics play heavily into these stories.

That is probably the reason why I like them so much: you get your romance kick without feeling like you're reading complete fluff. Jones does a great job of world building and tying all of her books together.

Readers, what literary gems are on your Hipster Book List?

*I apologize to any hipsters who may have found their way to this list. Honestly I don't know if you will approve of these selections. Your taste is more obscure than mine.