Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brand Names

Yup, I'm a brand snob.  There are certain authors where I HAVE to get their next book even if it kills me.  They're the ones whom I trust to put out another Great Book.  They're the ones that, while they aren't perfect, are Great Ones. we are, my top 5 brand names/clusters:

Poison Study (Study, #1)#5  Maria V. Snyder

Genre:  Secular Speculative

Exposure:  My cousin read one of her books.  I got curious and bought my own copy of her debut novel, Poison Study.  I loved it.

Why She's a Favorite:  She's a totally kick-butt writer.  You love the characters, the plot, the world building, and all the other elements she incorporates.  Her characters can so kick Meyer's characters' butts.

#4 Wayne Thomas Batson/Bryan Davis/Donita K. Paul

Genres:  Collectively Christian YA Fantasy.  Mrs. Paul and Mr. Davis both write other genres, though.

Raising Dragons (Dragons in Our Midst #1)Exposure:  My mom bought me one of Mrs. Paul's books in eighth grade.  I read DragonSpell and loved it.  For Mr. Davis, a friend of mine read the first book, I was curious and read the series myself.  For Mr. Batson, well, he and Mr. Davis, for the most part, share a fan base.  I didn't know anyone else who read his books, but I grabbed a copy of The Door Within and enjoyed it.  He's way beneath my reading level (he writes for middle school kids, and I'm a college student), but I like his work.  But for the record, I've only read two of his books.  I'm still trying to get some of his other ones.

Why They're Favorites:  They can tell a good story.  They're Christian, so I don't feel so much guilt over reading them.  They're humorous.  They're just good, okay?

#3 Victoria Alexander

Genre:  Secular Historical Romance--chiefly

The Wedding Bargain (Effington, #1)Exposure:  My sister and mom are both avid romance readers.  My sister had a bad habit of leaving books opened out on the rocking chair's armrest.  They always fell over to rest under the coffee table, where innocent little me would pick them up out of curiosity.  Well, one of those books was The Wedding Bargain by Victoria Alexander.  (I don't remember if I read this during seventh or eighth grade, but it was one of those two years.)  Hercules and his Labors are mentioned in the front of the book.  Myth-geek that I am, I was interested.  However, my sister wasn't done with it and wouldn't relinquish it.  Instead, she gave me another book by the same author to read.  I liked it.

Why She's A Favorite:  She's funny and her dialogue is totally awesome.  Everything I've learned about dialogue, I've learned from her.  There's always a grand joke in romance books.  She excels at this.  She set my standard for what I would want in husband--added to the fact that he's a Christian man because none of the men in her books are, but anyway...

#2 Deeanne Gist & Cathy Marie Hake

The Measure of a LadyGenre:  Christian Romance--chiefly historical, although they both have a contemporary or two.

Exposure:  For Gist, my sister--big surprise!, and I don't remember exactly when--borrowed the book from my aunt.  I read it too.  Some years later, 11th grade, to be exact, I started on her other books and loved them.  For Hake, I saw the title Fancy Pants and I was interested. 

Why They're Favorites:  Christian romance, as a rule, usually isn't that great.  Love Inspired is a division of Harlequin.  Regular Harlequins, the few I've read, were great and had a great editor.  Love Inspireds are bad for typos and are generally boring, although they get a good one here and there.  I either feel sorry for the characters, or I can't stand them.  Either way, I don't like them.  Christian romance is too censored--not that there's anything to censor--but they beat around the bush too much. 

Fancy Pants (Texas Historical Series, #1)Gist and Hake proved that not all Christian romance stinks.  Mrs. Gist is grittier than most, and that's a large part of the reason I like her books so much.  Also, she respects history.  She'll tell you when she changes something in history and what it was.  She researches the period and customs widely.  Mrs. Hake is the same when it comes to history.  She's humorous and, while not as gritty as Mrs. Gist, she's good enough.  She can pick a title and, like Victoria Alexander, she's good for her dialogue and the grand romance jokes.  But I'll have to explain the "grand romance joke" in some other post.

#1 Favorite Author Of All Time - Stephen R. Lawhead

In the Hall of the Dragon King (Dragon King Trilogy)Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Conspiratorial, Thriller, Mythic History, etc

Exposure:  I caught the fantasy bug in seventh grade.  Later, in eighth, my mom bought me a copy of In the Hall of the Dragon King.  I loved it, and proceeded to finish that series and another of his before I finished eighth grade.

Byzantium (Harper Fiction)Why He's The Favorite:  Since that first book, and all the books throughout, although I didn't appreciate it then, the man knows how to end his books.  Even if there was another book in the series, he ended it so well, you just had to love it as a standalone.  However, in ninth grade, I read Byzantium, an actual standaloneIt's over 800 pages.  That was the book where, if I didn't like how it ended, I would have lost all respect for the man.  I would have gotten rid of all of my books by him...everything.

But when I reached the!  It was an awesome book.  I already loved his books, but that one was the determining factor.


Okay, I know a few posts ago, I talked about my favorite book, Nectar from a Stone by Jane Guill.  That's the only book she's written, so I can't actually call her a brand name.  I didn't forget and I haven't changed my mind or anything.  This is for the authors, not the books.

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