Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jennifer Castle Guest Post

In celebration of my "End of the Year Madness" event, author Jennifer Castle wrote a guest post about her favorite book of 2011.

My Favorite Book of 2011
Jennifer Castle, author of The Beginning of After

Choosing a favorite book of the year is usually tough for me, because I read a lot of different kinds of books and they all serve different purposes. How do I compare a juicy chick lit novel to a fascinating collection of non-fiction essays, when I loved them both? Ack! But not in 2011. There's one book that really floored me, and actually made me feel like I'd developed a secret love affair, because I kept looking for ways to sneak away and be alone with it. Once, I told my family I had an important errand to run, then drove to a supermarket parking lot and sat in the car, reading. What was the book? That would be Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

I'm not afraid to admit, I'm kind of a snob when it comes to the actual writing in a novel. Even if a story has hooked me, it won't fully have my heart unless the telling of it is just gorgeous. I love me some poetry in my prose, where the words sparkle and sing and I re-read a sentence just to enjoy it again. The way Laini delivers that, in a totally accessible way, is amazing to me. Then there's the character thing. I need my characters to stay with me even when I'm not reading, to give me that giddy feeling of having just met the coolest new friend or -- even better -- an intriguing crush. (When readers tell me that Laurel and David from The Beginning of After seemed so real, they could really see and hear them, that they couldn't stop thinking about them, I take that as the highest possible compliment.) The characters in Daughter of Smoke and Bone are like that for me; they're living-and-breathing real...freaky animal parts and all.

Laini Taylor's gift is to be able to weave these things together with incredible world-building and a killer story. If you write, then you know a great book will inspire your work -- just like all great art inspires other great art -- and that's what Daughter of Smoke and Bone does for me. Laini, thanks for making 2011 a year where I went somewhere truly astonishing! Oh my. Just talking about it makes me want to go read it again. Will you excuse me? I...uh...have something very important to pick up at the store...

Jennifer is participating in my huge End of the Year Madness Giveaway, so be sure to enter for your chance to win her book, The Beginning of After.

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