Saturday, May 23, 2015

New to the TBR Pile (26)



Borrowed from the library:
5 to 1
by Holly Bodger

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

Freebie from Kobo:
Grounded (The Grounded Trilogy #1)
by G. P. Ching

In the year 2050, a secret government study nicknamed Operation Source Code injects eight volunteers with a retrovirus. The goal? To abate the energy crisis by reprogramming human DNA to power personal electronic devices. The experiment works but with disastrous consequences.

Seventeen years later, Lydia Troyer is far from concerned with the energy crisis. Growing up in the isolated community of Hemlock Hollow, life hasn't changed much since 1698 when her Amish ancestors came to America. She milks her cow by hand, bakes fresh bread every morning, and hopes to be courted by Jeremiah, the boy who's been her best friend since she could walk.

But when Lydia's father has a stroke and is taken to the outside world for medical treatment, Lydia and Jeremiah leave home to visit him. An ordinary light switch thrusts Lydia into a new world where energy is a coveted commodity and her own personal history makes her the most sought-after weapon on the planet.

Bought from Amazon.ca:
End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3)
by Susan Ee

End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?


What's new to your TBR pile this week?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review - 5 to 1

5 to 1
by Holly Bodger
Date: 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Reading level: YA
Book type: verse/prose novel
Pages: 224
Format: e-book
Source: library

Part Homeless Bird and part Matched, this is a dark look at the near future told through the alternating perspectives of two teens who dare to challenge the system.

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

It's been a while since I've read a novel in verse.  Although 5 to 1 is not told entirely in verse, those sections remind me why I like that style of writing so much.  A lot can be said with so few words...

Please, dear author, I want some more...

This books starts out with a really interesting premise, and one that's not really that far fetched.  What happens when sex selection, skewed toward boys, starts affecting society?  When there are so many boys, they are the ones that eventually become a burden.  When there are so few girls, they become what's so highly coveted.  Under the guise of protecting these precious commodities, the leaders of Koyanagar walled off their country from the outside world, creating what they believe is a utopia... when it's actually the opposite.  Girls still end up being oppressed.  It's just in a different way.

I like how the narrative alternates between Sudasa, the wealthy girl who is supposed to choose from a group of boys who are competing for her in the Tests, and Contestant Five, a poor farm boy who doesn't want a wife and wants only to be free of Koyanagar and its laws.  Sudasa's sections, which make up the majority of the book, are written in free verse; Contestant Five's sections, which show us the flip side of what's going on, are written in prose.  I thought both of these main characters were well done; they're also both likeable, which automatically puts you on their side as they chafe against their country's laws and customs.

The concept of choice is a theme that runs throughout the book.  I like the fact that there is no romance, that the story is simply about making decisions for the right reasons... whatever you determine those to be.  It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I think if the book had veered into romance territory, it would have lost something.

It's all a matter of taste...

I think my biggest complaint with this book is that I wanted more.  More about how, exactly, Koyanagar came into existence and why it was allowed to happen.  I want to know what happens to Sudasa and Kiran after the end of the book.  I want to know what's going on outside the wall and how those people view Koyanagar.

Let's get technical...

I read this book as an EPUB, which is probably not the best way.  There's some unique formatting of words, and little marks and illustrations throughout the text.  I'm not even sure I saw everything as the author intended, due to the limitations of that format.  If you're going to read this one, I would suggest reading it in hardcover or paperback.

The verdict...

This is another strong offering in the young adult verse novel category.  Those who like dystopian fiction with an intriguing premise will probably enjoy it.

Quotable moment:

"Love won't give you a daughter,
and only a daughter
will keep you alive.

"If you think you're here to find
love,
you've missed the point of these Tests.

"You're here to find a man
to put charms on your wrist
and yira in your safe.
That's the only thing that matters
in Koyanagar."

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.25 out of 5 ladybugs


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review - Sunbolt

Sunbolt
(The Sunbolt Chronicles #1)
by Intisar Khanani
Date: 2013
Publisher: Purple Monkey Press
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 144
Format: e-book
Source: Amazon.ca

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Well, this was interesting.  It's nice to read an indie book that isn't completely awful.  Sunbolt is a pretty short little novel, but it packs quite a bit of punch into a relatively small number of pages.  While it may lack the polish of traditionally published books, it makes up for that with a comfortable writing style and an intriguing story.

Please, dear author, I want some more...

Despite the fact that this book is so short, the author manages to build a fascinating and complex fantasy world, develop a diverse cast of characters, and start an intriguing story that'll leave the reader begging for more.

The world is beautifully created.  It seems much like a past version of our world in some ways, but with magic.  At the beginning of the story, Hitomi lives in Karolene, which has a definite Middle Eastern vibe.  Later, we get to see another sort of landscape, which comes across as more European (mountains, valleys, pine trees, alpine lakes).  The humans are likewise varied, and seem to roughly match the racial diversity we see in our own world.  But then, there's a whole other level of wonderful weirdness, with shape-shifting creatures (like Hitomi's friend, Kenta), vampire-like creatures called fangs, and soul-sucking monsters called breathers.  I'm sure we'll probably encounter even more wonderful creations as the series progresses.

It's all a matter of taste...

This is a young adult book, so of course there are some of the usual tropes (which I won't mention for fear of giving anything away; suffice it to say, they're there).  It was also a bit predictable at times.  The main conflict at the beginning of the book seemed to be forgotten somewhere along the way, too, and I was a little disappointed with the ending... although it's obvious that the story isn't over yet (at least, I hope it isn't; there are a number of questions left unanswered).  I guess I'll just have to wait for the next installment of Hitomi's story.

Let's get technical...

Aside from a number of typos throughout the text, my main complaint with the writing is the avoidance of the words "says" and "say" (the book is written in the present tense).  It's almost unintentionally funny at times, as it seems the author is going to great pains to avoid these words.  Instead, the characters grumble, console, prod, snap, supply... well, you get the idea.  Toward the end of the book, the punctuation also starts to fall apart a little bit, but it still isn't as bad as what I've seen from some traditionally published books.

The verdict...

What can I say, other than that I was pleasantly surprised?  I'll definitely be continuing with this series.

Quotable moment:

These last four years, I have watched the life of the city slowly bleed into the sea. Oh, Mama Ali still laughs and sells her self-fulfilling prophecies in the fish market, children still play, and the motions of life continue because they must, but there is a silence where there were once words. It lurks at the edge of my hearing. Now people dart glances to the side when they speak, checking for soldiers or Blackflame's mercenaries, where before no one thought twice about the presence of armed men. People have disappeared: men and women who spoke out against Blackflame when the laws began to change, then people who spoke out against the disappearances of their brothers and sisters. Until, finally, people stopped speaking.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Editing: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 ladybugs


Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books That Should've Been Awesome... But Weren't

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is a freebie, which means we can pick whatever topic we like.  I've read quite a few books recently that sounded like they should've been really great: the premise was strong, and the story should've been amazing.  But, for whatever reason, they just didn't work for me.  So I'm going to make my topic: Ten Books That Should've Been Awesome... But Weren't.

Ten Books That Should've Been Awesome... But Weren't:

Cinder
by Marissa Meyer

This whole series has an amazing premise, and I'd heard such good things about it around the blogosphere.  However, I found the first book to be extremely predictable and lacking in world-building, and the second book was full of infuriatingly oblivious characters.  It's too bad, because the concept of setting classic fairytales in the future with cyborgs, androids, spaceships, and genetically modified soldiers seems like it should make for a great read.

The Girl with Glass Feet
by Ali Shaw

So there's this young woman who is slowly turning into glass from the feet up.  Sounds like the great beginnings of a fantasy, fairytale-esque story, right?  I had high hopes for this book, but it turned out to be a literary wannabe rather than an enjoyable, high-concept fantasy.  Nothing was explained.  The characters were ridiculous.  And it was just weird for the sake of being weird.

More Than This
by Patrick Ness

This book should've been great.  It looks like it has everything: diversity, philosophical questions, sci-fi elements...  But after reading it, I'm just confused and annoyed.  The diversity wasn't handled well (reverting to stereotypes), the philosophical questions were never really answered (leaving the reader to decide what the heck was going on... if anything), and the sci-fi elements turned out to be pretty derivative (The Matrix, anyone?) and not all that logical.  I know there are a lot of people who are fans of this author, but I doubt that's based on this particular book.

Neverland
by Anna Katmore

In this quasi-retelling of Peter Pan, a girl is sucked into Neverland, where she meets Peter, the Lost Boys, and Hook.  The author had the good idea to make Peter and Jamie (Hook) brothers, and that could've offered some really interesting directions for the story to take.  Unfortunately, it also meant that the two boys had to be fairly close in age, which gave us a teenaged captain of a ship (not realistic) and a hot love interest for our heroine to make out with.  And that was pretty much all that happened for the last part of the book.  What a waste of a great setup!

The Shadow Society
by Marie Rutkoski

This book about parallel worlds and the creatures that live there could've been really good... if it hadn't been plagued by some standard YA stereotypes and tropes.  What's with all these young guys in books who have the life experience and accomplishments of someone twice their age?  It would be like the FBI being headed by teenagers.  It's not realistic, and every time I come across this in YA books, I just want to roll my eyes.

A Tale Dark & Grimm
by Adam Gidwitz

There are probably a number of books out there like this, that use a number of fairytales (rather than just one) as the basis for the plot.  I've read three now... and this one was by far the weakest.  While I do like the inclusion of all the fairytale elements, and using the framing device of one story in particular, I did not enjoy the way this book was written, with the author continually breaking the fourth wall.  It came across as condescending.

(In case you're curious, the other books like this that I read were E. D. Baker's The Wide-Awake Princess and John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things.  They entertained me in ways that A Tale Dark & Grimm just did not.)

Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas

I'd heard so much about how awesome this series was that perhaps my expectations were just a little bit too high.  I wanted to read about this kick-ass assassin who liked pretty dresses just as much as skewering her enemies on her sword.  And I might have liked the book if a) Celaena (the assassin) had actually done any assassinating, b) she wasn't a complete twit, and c) we didn't have to read about each and every dress in eye-gougingly exquisite detail.  I expected more plot, smarter characters, and fewer descriptions of Celaena's gowns.  At least, that's what all the gushing led me to believe...

A Time to Dance
by Padma Venkatraman

I usually like novels written in verse, because they can develop characters and evoke a sense of place with so few words.  But this novel, starring teenagers and set in India, was a major disappointment.  The basic premise was okay, but I found the setting to be very weak (it could've been set anywhere) and the characters spoke in such stilted, unrealistic dialogue that I just couldn't see them as people to care about; they just didn't seem real.

Unwind
by Neal Shusterman

The premise of this one sounded awesome, but it turned out to be disturbing and full of WTF moments.  I don't mind ideas that make me think, and I thought this book would offer quite a few of those.  Unfortunately, what I was thinking most of the time I was reading was along the lines of, "Why?!  That doesn't make any sense at all."  I was left with the impression that the whole plot was cooked up for shock value, and nothing more... and that was a disappointment, because had some of the issues been handled better (i.e., more realistically), it could have been an entertaining and thought-provoking read.

Vivian Versus the Apocalypse
by Katie Coyle

When a book about the Rapture begins with a girl coming home to find her parents missing and two person-sized holes in their bedroom ceiling, you might think you'd be in for a great story about the end of the world.  But you'd be wrong.  What you're going to get instead is the most boring road-trip ever, populated by annoying characters (some of which appear to serve no purpose whatsoever), and a completely unrealistic story about a cult that's inexplicably managed to brainwash the majority of the most powerful nation on the planet.  Obviously, I wouldn't have picked this one up at all if I didn't think I was going to enjoy it.  But it ended up being one of my worst-rated reads of all time, and I'm still angry about wasting time reading what could've been an interesting take on the Rapture... but wasn't.


What books did you think were going to be amazing but didn't live up to your expectations?


Monday, May 18, 2015

Review - Otherbound

Otherbound
by Corinne Duyvis
Date: 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 400
Format: e-book
Source: library

Amara is never alone. Not when she's protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they're fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she's punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can't be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he's yanked from his Arizona town into Amara's mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He's spent years as a powerless observer of Amara's life. Amara has no idea... until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan's breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they'll have to work together to survive--and discover the truth about their connection.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This was such a disappointment.  I've had it on my want-to-read list since I heard about it when it was released last year.  The premise sounded so amazing.  And the premise is amazing.  Unfortunately, it just didn't work well enough for me to really enjoy it.

Please, dear author, I want some more...

One thing this book has going for it is a lot of diversity.  The fantasy world is populated by a number of races and cultures.  We've got two main characters, one male and one female, and both have a disability.  There are also LGBT themes.

Otherbound has such an incredible concept: a boy from our world who can possess the mind of a girl in a fantasy world.  I thought that would be an incredible starting point for a great story.  And it would have been... had there been much of a story there.

It's all a matter of taste...

Okay, let me clarify: yes, there is a story.  Unfortunately, it took me reading about three quarters of the book before figuring out where that story was actually going and why.  In the fantasy world, we've got Amara, who's a mute servant with healing abilities.  Her job is to protect the exiled princess, Cilla, who is cursed.  Basically, if Cilla bleeds, the blood draws in whatever is nearby (stones, grass, whatever's handy) to try to kill her.  Amara distracts the curse and brings it (and the resulting injuries) on herself to spare Cilla.  That's the basic idea of what's going on in fantasyland.  And that's pretty much all that happens for a large portion of the novel: Amara and her companions moving around the country, evading capture by the ministers, and trying to keep Cilla alive.  While I did find these fantasy sequences more interesting than the real-world narrative (more on that in a moment), I really wish that the actual plot had started earlier in the book.  By the time we start seeing some decent action and getting some answers, it's almost too late.  (And, in the end, a major plot point is resolved in a sort of "oh, by the way, this happened off screen and solved our problem" sort of way.  Being told, in passing, how something that major was resolved is not very satisfying.)

As for Nolan's world, I thought it was very weak.  The author chose to set that part of the story in Arizona, but it really could've been anywhere... in Europe.  Duyvis appears to be Dutch (at least, she lives in Amsterdam and has a Dutch-sounding name), and unfortunately didn't do quite enough research for her Arizona-set story.  Most people in North America (especially if they can afford to live in a house with a sweeping staircase and air-conditioning) have clothes dryers; they don't hang their wet laundry in the hallway.  The public middle schools don't have "headmasters"; they have principals... and they probably wouldn't take too kindly to an unauthorized teenager skulking around the gym watching the kids practice their play.  These sorts of things are kind of a giveaway that the author is not from North America.  And that leads me to another disappointment: some of the fantasy world had very European (especially Dutch) influences, while the real world was a bland, underdeveloped version of the southwestern U.S.  What I would have preferred was for the real-world portions to be set in Amsterdam (and there was really no reason why they couldn't have been) and the fantasy world to be completely original fantasy.

The other thing that bothered me about Nolan was his amputation.  It seemed to be there for very little reason (other than perhaps to take a swipe at the American medical insurance system), and it wasn't handled realistically.  Sure, insurance won't cover a running leg or a swimming leg.  But strapping a flipper onto his stump to go swimming?  Really?  And his parents also had to buy him special shoes... which is silly.  Amputees wear regular shoes.  He also never wore his prosthesis in the house, for no reason that I could see... which led to him hopping around everywhere.  Just think about that for a moment.  A kid with pseudo-epilepsy who blanks out every time he blinks, and he's hopping up and down the stairs.  Yeah... that sounds safe.

But Nolan was a pretty weak character all around.  Maybe he was supposed to be like that.  After all, he'd never really had time to develop his own personality, since he'd been sucked into Amara's world for so many years.  But that just led to another huge question: how was he even a functioning human being?

As for the other characters... some were better, some were worse.  Pat, Nolan's sister, is one of those annoying child characters who sounds like she's thirty.  Their parents were present, but kind of flat.  (We never even got to actually meet his grandmother, who sounded like she might've been a far more interesting character.)  In the other world, I got confused by all the different races, so I couldn't figure out what anyone looked like.  And the villain...  The villain was so evil, but there was no reason for it.  I like my villains a little more complex, with actual motivations for their actions beyond, "Because I want to."

Let's get technical...

I had a lot of problems with the writing in this book.  It wasn't that it was terrible... but it just wasn't quite right.  As a result, I found it really difficult to read (even though I couldn't quite put my finger on why).  I thought maybe it was a bad translation from the Dutch, but I couldn't find any evidence of that.  I found the writing hard to follow at times, and I had to read over some passages several times to understand what the characters were referring to (and, even then, sometimes I still couldn't figure it out).  There were also some awkward turns of phrase and some word choices that weren't quite right.  (I'm still trying to figure out what colour "off-brown" is...)

The other issue I had was with the overly modern language in the fantasy world.  That sort of thing will snap a reader right out of the flow of the story.

The verdict...

I wanted this to be the great story I was expecting, but the bad pacing, weak world-building (especially in the real world), and lackluster main character pretty much killed most of my enjoyment.

Quotable moment:

Finally she crouched to gather her scarf. She clasped it so tightly her hands ached from the effort. Go away, she thought, angry and broken and so far beyond anything Nolan could name he almost choked on it.

Premise: 3/5
Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Editing: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall Rating: 2.38 out of 5 ladybugs


Saturday, May 16, 2015

New to the TBR Pile (25)



Borrowed from the library:
Otherbound
by Corinne Duyvis

Amara is never alone. Not when she's protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they're fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she's punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can't be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he's yanked from his Arizona town into Amara's mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He's spent years as a powerless observer of Amara's life. Amara has no idea... until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan's breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they'll have to work together to survive--and discover the truth about their connection.

Freebie from Amazon.ca:
The Woodlands (The Woodlands #1)
by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Sixteen-year-old Rosa lives in one of the eight enclosed cities of The Woodlands. Where the lone survivors of a devastating race war have settled in the Russian wilderness because it’s the only scrap of land left habitable on the planet. In these circular cities, everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair-skinned, green-eyed, and the laid-back complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger. But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed. The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want. After all, they are considered superheroes by the general public. But not everyone sees them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.

Freebie from SYNC AudioFile:
Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything....


What's new to your TBR pile this week?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Authors I REALLY Want To Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Ten Authors I REALLY Want To Meet.  Being fairly shy around people I don't know, I'm not sure that I'd really want to meet any authors.  However, there are some that I find really interesting, and picking their brains about their plots and characters might be entertaining (assuming, of course, that they're open to having their brains picked).  A few of them are no longer with us, but that doesn't make them any less worthy of being on this list!

Ten Authors I REALLY Want To Meet:

Anonymous - author of the Voynich manuscript - Nobody knows who wrote and illustrated this thing.  It's an intriguing mystery.  Was it a cultist?  A hoaxer?  A time traveller?  Nobody's been able to figure it out yet... and nobody's been able to decipher the manuscript, either.  It doesn't really matter who wrote this thing; I think meeting the author would be an interesting experience, no matter who they might be!

Lauren Oliver - author of Before I Fall and Liesl & Po - This author has written some of my most highly rated reads.  I'd love to know what ideas are percolating in her brain.  I'd probably also be one of those annoying fans who asks questions like, "What's Po's story?"

Susan Ee - author of the Penryn and the End of Days series - This author is interesting to me not so much because of what she's written, but because of how the books made it to readers.  I would love to pick her brain about how she went about self-publishing her books.

Amanda Hocking - author of the My Blood Approves series - Here we've got another self-published author, but the situation is a bit different.  Hocking built a fan base with a large number of titles... and then got picked up by a traditional publisher.  She's written about it on her blog, but I'd still like to ask her some questions.  (I haven't read any of her books yet, but I do have one of them in my TBR pile.)

Laini Taylor - author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series - Judging by these three books, this author has an incredibly creative mind, and I'd love to know what ideas she's got brewing in there.

Diana Wynne Jones - author of Fire and Hemlock, Howl's Moving Castle, and Deep Secret - Jones was quite prolific over her long career, and she gave us so many wonderful stories for young readers.  A number of them drew on old mythology; finding out more about her inspiration and use of these old sources would be interesting.

William Shakespeare - author of lots of plays that most people read for school - I'd like to know if he really wrote all those plays himself, or if he was just the official face.  I'm not sure if I could tease it out of him, but it would be fun to try.

Laura Whitcomb - author of A Certain Slant of Light and The Fetch - This author really knows how to write; I mean, she even wrote a non-fiction book about how to do it.  I loved the writing in A Certain Slant of Light, and the whole premise of The Fetch was fascinating.  She doesn't have a lot of fiction works out there (only three that I'm aware of), so I'd like to ask her if she's working on anything new.

Mary E. Pearson - author of the Jenna Fox Chronicles and The Remnant Chronicles - I've read the first book of the former series and have heard such good things about the latter series that I'd really like to get to know this author's books better.  Some of the formatting in The Adoration of Jenna Fox, with the inclusion of free verse poems, was really interesting; I'd like to know why choices like that were made.

Lisa Schroeder - author of Chasing Brooklyn and The Day Before - I've read a number of this author's books, and I really should get around to reading more of them; they're some of my favourite verse novels.  It would be interesting to sit down with an author who tells stories in verse, and find out if the process of writing such a novel is any different than writing in prose.


Which authors would you like to meet?