Friday, October 30, 2015

ARC Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Thanks Rae Carson, Greenwillow Books, and BEA for this signed ARC! The shiny gold signature just made it a little more special :)

First, just take a look at this pretty cover. The writing, the gold dust, the sky . . . so beautiful! Normally I don't like covers with people on the front, but it really works with the whole composition and mood here (and it isn't going to put a strange picture in my head!).

So when I was trying to collect my thoughts and describe this book, the first word that came to mind was "refreshing."

 Walk on Earth a Stranger stands out from a YA crowd of dystopians, contemporary fic, and the ever-popular paranormal. And yet, it will still appeal to readers of all those genres.

Lee (Leah) Westfall is a hard-working young woman with a dangerous secret: she can sense even the tiniest speck of gold nearby. And in gold-rush era America, this is a talent that people would kill for. Still, with supportive, loving parents and a lot of hard work to distract her, Lee manages to lead the fairly normal life of a hard working farm girl. Until terrible tragedy strikes, and Lee is forced to flee her Georgia home for gold-promising California.
Did you ever play the computer game Oregon Trail? If you did, you know the dangers of buffalo stampedes and cholera, and just how important picking proper traveling companions can be. But it isn't just a game: all of those things were real dangers and experiences to people headed west in the 19th Century. Hundreds of people and animals died on the journey, but that didn't stop brave souls from packing up everything they owned and pursuing a dream.

This is the real world backdrop for Walk on Earth a Stranger, and Rae Carson does a fabulous job of bringing this earlier America to life. Naturally, Lee's gold sense adds a supernatural twist, but it's too mild to make the book feel like real fantasy. Instead, it just adds layers of peril and thematic elements to the straight-forward travel/adventure plot. Even if historical fiction (or fantasy) isn't your thing, here are 5 reasons you should check out Walk on Earth a Stranger.

5 Reasons You Should Read Walk on Earth a Stranger

1. Rae Carson knows how to write strong, relatable heroines. Like Elisa in Girl of Fire and Thorns, Lee is neither perfect nor invincible. She is human, albeit a gifted one. Hard work and responsibility have made her tough, but in a period authentic way. In other words, she's a well written character who you will root for and empathize with.

2. The Setting. Look at the Oregon Trail mention above. Carson brings the trek west to life, and her evocative writing will grab you. It's different from any YA I've seen in a while, which made it a refreshing read. Also, there's a lot of discussion starters here, which would make it perfect for a teen book club.

3. The girl disguises as a guy - and it makes sense! Don't let the trope turn you off: Lee's disguise is 100% necessary, and Carson uses the disguise to examine and develop Lee's character. Carson skillfully examines gender roles, identity, and even identity complexes, without ever making her author-voice heard. And at the end of the day, Lee just wants to be herself: she's tired of lying about what she can do and who she is, and this played a big role in the story.

4. No tedious romance or melodrama. I know, I know, I'm always praising this. But seriously - I always have to make note of a book that develops ANY relationships with care and logic. Though there is a very slow burn romance hinted at with Lee's best friend, it makes sense and doesn't descend into silliness or a mess. And as for melodrama, a bunch of terrible things happen, but Lee reacts in a logical, period-accurate way, and she's a survivor. I really loved reading about her, and I can't wait to see where her further travels take her.

5. The writing. This ties into all of the above, but Rae Carson's worldbuilding and descriptions really pull you in. I know some readers found the start a bit slow, but I thought that it drew you in and centered you, only to throw you into a whirlwind with Lee. Everything from the pacing to the details about wagons and scenery immersed you in the story.

So there are 5 reasons you should read it, but this wouldn't be a fair and honest review if I didn't at least touch on the two reasons this book didn't get a five star rating from me.

1. The typecast preacher. We've all seen him: a cross between Mr. Collins (Pride and Prejudice) and St. John (Jane Eyre). And sure, there have been people like him. But I get tired of all Christian/pastor characters being portrayed as (often well-meaning) loony bigots who interpret "trusting God" as a lack of participation in their own life, and confuse witnessing to their fellows with forcing themselves on others. Granted, several of the side characters, in consistency with history, were portrayed as Christians, or at least paid lip-service to the "mind of the times" (which is authentic). But it's more the stereotypical character type that bothered me.

2. The minor character development with the multitude of side characters. Overall, this wasn't much of a quibble, as it's Lee's story. But I felt like her Uncle was a little too mustachio-twirling villain (he had his motives), and Jefferson (Lee's best friend) was mild and loyal, with the interesting twist that he was half-Cherokee, but I would have liked to see more reasons to care about him. Anyhow, there were a bunch of characters that we didn't see much of, so it was sometimes surprising (to me) when they'd pop up in the text (I couldn't remember who they were, etc.). The handy cast list at the beginning did help a bit though.

So, those things aside, I really enjoyed Walk on Earth a Stranger, and I am definitely invested in Lee's story. I'm sure Carson will develop the other important characters more fully in the following books, and I can't wait to see where she takes things.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars. Walk on Earth a Stranger is a solid start to a series I will continue. With a diverse cast, historically accurate details, and just a touch of the supernatural, it's a fun read for both teens and adults.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Infinity Dreams Award: Traverse City/Leelanau County Edition (With lots of pictures!)

I was nominated for the Infinity Dreams Award about three weeks ago (so I'm actually doing okay here) by the lovely fellow author Tracey Dyck @ Adventure Awaits. Make sure you check out her blog for writing tips, book talk, interviews, and more! Thanks Tracey!

Anyhow, I have been incredibly busy (distressing car trouble, lots of work, and then a spontaneous trip to Traverse City with friends for the weekend), so I haven't been online at all. I also haven't had much time to read. So it is high time I got around to one of these fabulous awards. And naturally, I am breaking the rules.

But just in case you were curious, these are the established rules:

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
2. Tell us eleven facts about yourself. Eleven random facts and pics from my trip
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them. Nah. But I'll put down some questions!

So here we go:

Well, here is Random Fact #1 : I have lived in Michigan for most of my life. And yet I've never done the whole M-22 scenic drive up the northwest coast.

The mouth of the Platte River in Benzie County
I was the driver, so I didn't get many pictures. But we did stop to stretch our legs along the Lake Michigan Shoreline. It was misty and rainy, but it was actually pretty warm here.
We were trying to see the Manitou Islands through the fog. Instead, we disrupted some fishermen (sorry!) and skipped rocks.

Random Fact # 2: I used to live Cedar, Michigan (near Traverse City), in the glorious paradise known as Leelanau County. 

Full of hills, lakes, forests, wineries, cute little towns, and vistas so gorgeous they'll steal your breath, Leelanau County is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It was rainy, windy, and colder here, but that didn't stop us! (Us = My sister Grace, and my friends Emily and Olivia). In fact, gloomy Leelanau County just reminds me of The Perilous Gard and fairies! It's very hilly, so there are always these enchanted-looking misty forest patches. Unfortunately, I didn't really get any pictures - because I was driving!!

 We stopped for coffee in Glen Arbor. Leelanau Coffee was a favorite place to visit when I lived farther north. They roast all their own coffee, and have the only blueberry coffee I have ever approved of. After this, we stopped at a historic cemetery that looked lovely from the road.

Random Fact #3: I love exploring cemeteries

This may or may not surprise you. They're usually beautiful, peaceful places, where you can almost feel the age and history. Sometimes I'll make gravestone rubbings of the best designs (if I have crayons and paper handy).

Random Fact # 4: One of my favorite places in Leelanau County is Fishtown (in Leland).

What is Fishtown? Well, exactly what it sounds like: a real historical fishing village that has been maintained by a nonprofit, and is full of local history and quaint shops. And if it is raining, it just feels (and smells!) more authentic. And yes, there is still a lot of great fishing in Leland :)

Random Fact #5: Though I like (mainly red) wine and have been over 21 for a few years, I've never been on a wine tour!

Northern Michigan is known for its many fabulous wines and wineries. And though I've been to a lot of the wineries, it's usually too crowded for me!! Still, we managed to wander around Black Star Farms, see some more sights, and try some hard ciders at Tandem Ciders.

Random Fact #6: I love horses. And they generally seem to like me.

She really liked my shirt. I have no idea why.

Random Fact #7: Traverse City Library has a great selection, and it's beautiful.

Okay, so these are really random. But I have an emotional attachment to this library (and it's great manga/anime selection . . .). So many good memories. And I found 9 awesome used books to buy while I was here! (They were mainly books I've read before, but I didn't own them yet).

Random Fact #8: Grand Traverse Bay is as wonderful as they say it is.

Random Fact #9: North Peak Brewing Company has great food and craft beer, and my favorite root beer, but don't try to eat there on Saturday night (at least, not this time of year)!

The very reasonably priced flight/sampler is great if you can't make up your mind (me!)
Obviously, we made it in to eat some delicious things like: BBQ Boar Pizza (seriously), Lamb Burger wraps, and Spicy Sausage Chili. But we went Sunday afternoon after church.

Random Fact #10: The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a must-see (and it's where I took my senior portrait).

 Formerly the State Hospital, the main building and outbuildings are in an ongoing restoration process. There are cute shops below, and the grounds are amazing!! It's a wonderful example of re-purposing old buildings with amazing architecture. If you ever get the chance, you have to see it.

Grace is providing a sense of scale here.

Random Fact #11: Traverse City is a lot more than the National Cherry Festival

Chances are, if you've heard of TC, it was the cherries. Granted, there are a ton of wonderful cherries, but that's a limited time of year. From wine tours, to Grand Traverse County's more Faye-looking sister county (Leelanau!), to cute shops and indie bookstores, to sand dunes, to amazing food and beer, there is A TON to do up north. If you ever have the good fortune to visit, you will be well rewarded for exploring!

If you'd like to see more pictures (of this trip, books, and other random adventures), you can follow me on Instagram: @booklass13

Okay, now that I've been the unofficial up north travel salesperson, we'll get back to the Infinity Dreams Award itself (did you forget that it was the point of this extra-long post?)

Well, Tracey had 11 questions for me, and here they are (with my answers):

1. Describe the most recent dream you can remember having.

You don't want to know.

2. "To infinity and beyond!" Who's your favorite Toy Story character? 

Hard question! I love Toy Story. But it's probably both Buzz and Woody - because they aren't as good alone!

3. If Iron Man and Captain America were pitted against each other (not that hard to imagine), who would you root for?

Easy question (and since this does happen in Civil War, I guess I'm all set). Captain America all the way. In the comics, I totally agree with the good Captain.

4. What are your top three favorite things about autumn?

1. The smells - so distinct! 2. The colors. 3. Harvest time and all it entails (pumpkins, apples, Halloween, hayrides, etc).

5. When's your prime time: morning, midday, or late at night?

It changes day to day (and depends on how much sleep I've had). I tend to be more productive in the morning, but get more writing done late at night.

6. You've been handed the leash of an emperor's pet tiger--quick, what do you do with it?

Keep it for my very own pet! A pet tiger is a childhood dream of mine.

7. Do you have any pre-writing 'rituals' or habits? 

First I turn three times clockwise while reciting my name . . . just kidding! In reality, I always make sure I have a good, steaming cup of tea or coffee and my headphones close by. That's it!

8. Favorite song artist?

NO IDEA. I love music, and so many different artists/types of music! If I flick on my Ipod, the most common types of music are movie soundtracks and Pop/Punk. My current favorite musical discovery is the indie pop/punk band Smallpools. They're happy and a little goofy and fun to drive or write to.

One of my all-time favorite bands that no one seems to have heard of is The Click Five:

Some of my other favorite bands/artists are Nine Lashes, The Hush Sound, The Green Children, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Sir James Galway (flute), Within Temptation, Bastille, Kansas, Josh Groban, Epica, Apocalyptica, The Zac Brown Band, Red, Enya, . . . okay, I'll stop, because I could fill up two pages with this!

9. Name a real-life hero of yours.

10. What's your goal(s) in blogging?

To make friends, write about books and other fun things, practice writing for an audience, and promote my books (and other people's books!)

11. Name a literary/film couple you shipped that ended up sinking.

This is hard because the whole "shipping" lingo didn't exist when I was younger, and I never really cared about/became invested in romances. Or I just predicted who would end up together and was correct! Probably the closest answer is Aerin and Luthe from Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown. It was obvious that staying on the mountain with Luthe would have been purely selfish, and that Aerin's people needed her more - but it's not very satisfying, you know? It's beautiful, and unselfish, and responsible, and practical, and it isn't romantic at all. So although I love the end of the book, it still makes me sad.

And if you made it to the utter end - congratulations! Have some virtual pie and consider answering these five questions in the comments! :)

1. What is your favorite kind of pie?
2. Have you ever been to Michigan?
3. How do you feel about cemeteries?
4. What is one of your favorite places to visit in your home state?
5. Are you more of an indoors or outdoors person?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

TTT: Top 10 Things I'd Ask a Book Genie For

The Broke and the Bookish
As usual, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted (and originated) by The Broke and the Bookish. If you'd like to participate in the link up, click here.

This week's theme is 10 things you would request from a Book Genie (imagine that?), and it was so hard that I just went with the first 10 things I thought of! (Gifs belong to respective copyright holders. They are being used for zero financial gain)

Top 10 Things I'd Ask A Book Genie For:

1. An Infinite Library 

 It should resemble the one in Beauty and the Beast, but be bigger on the inside (so basically, the TARDIS library, but prettified).

2. The ability to pick up a book and instantly be able to read it, whether it is in Greek, Swahili, or unidentified runic script.

Ahh, ancient mysteries are now revealed to me.

3. All my books (current and future) to be published and find readers who will like them :)

But what author doesn't want this?

4. A list of every book I ever read, and what I thought about it

Because, sadly, I don't remember. Goodreads wasn't around when I was a kid, and there are too many gaps in my memory!

5. For the next book in every series I like to show up unprompted at my door.

Wouldn't this be amazing? And I love getting mail.

6. A reading time loop - so that I could enter it, read as much as I wanted, and come out and no time had passed at all. (Can you tell I really want to play with space and time!)

This could be a dangerous power, my friends.

7. A portal to the Library of Alexandria (I'd be afraid of having it restored though, it might change history, and any Doctor Who fan knows the danger there . . .)

This was a daydream of mine ever since childhood. I always loved reading about it. *Sighs* my heart hurts.

8. A portal to all book worlds/locations in my backyard

This gif is mesmerizing. And this is certainly my best idea yet. I don't know if I'd ever come out again though! 

9. A portal system in all world libraries that allows you to travel based on your intentions

If you are using the portals to travel with ill intent, it doesn't work. But if you want to step into a library in Ukraine or Washington D.C. or Brazil, you can. This would be a wicked useful tool for research, you know.

10. Instant and endless tickets to meet/see all my favorite authors in exciting and/or international locations.

 The world isn't ready for this.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Beautiful Books #1: NaNoWriMo 2015 edition!

So, Beautiful People is changing tack this month and going into NaNo mode. Normally I'd be featuring my current WIP, The Last Coffee Shop (which was my epic NaNo failure last year). But in the hope that I might actually "win" this year, I'm going to flesh out my NaNo idea along with the theme.
Picture Credit
As always, a big thank you to Skye and Cait for doing this meme. Make sure you check out their respective blogs: Paper Fury (Cait) and Further Up and Further In (Skye). To learn more about Beautiful People, click here.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Well, I love butlers/the idea of butlers, and I've always wanted to write a book with one for a protagonist. I also wanted to write something very different from any of my other books. I also wanted to get out of my "writing comfort zone," and challenge myself to write about types of characters/themes I don't normally!

 As for how long . . . just came up with it (on my way to work) a few days ago!

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

As I said, I haven't written anything like it. And I've found that really weird books tend to keep my interest the longest! And I'm already in love with the characters-which is the only way a book and me happen, anyhow.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

Set in an alternate 19th century, where the continents have never split, and primeval monsters roam the earth. All the nations combined long ago to protect their young people, building a walled continent and letting the youngsters live in relative peace and luxury. But outside the walls, the rest of humanity struggles to survive, and expand westward for more resources. My story centers on a sweet, but naive young lady who makes the (ill-advised) decision to accompany her titled boyfriend behind the walls, disguised as his manservant. But naturally, things don't go as planned when 1. Her bf's scandalous sister comes along, and 2. Ghastly murders, disappearances, and rumors of dastardly deeds.


-I've given it the silly working title of "The Butler Did It," because it was the first random thing I thought of.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

Apparently, some people put much more prep and thought into NaNo than me. But I will do my best! (Note: All art is properly credited to the artist. I can (tragically) take credit for none of it)

1. Ernestine Grey (MC-also known as Ernest or Ernie) - Impetuous
Make this kid a few years older and BAM! Perfection.
2. Atlantis de Carrefour (her boyfriend*) - Ambiguous
Time Traveler by Seunghee Lee
3. Pasifica "Sif" de Carrefour (his sister) - Overwhelming
vershitel by alice-insain on
4. Mrs. Klaus (Sif's maid/chaperone) - Sleepy
Basically your average Victorian matron. Or is she??
4. Sydney Smith (the surprisingly young (?) head butler/house manager/servant) - Dubious
I couldn't find exactly what I wanted (guys are hard!) - but an older Haruma Miura with darker/longer hair and some Gallic (French/Spanish in my AU) blood . . . I can see it. (And he's my cool "butler" tribute character!)
^^Haruma Miura, if that wasn't obvious

5. Ronin Kuznetzov (commander of the Siberian Volki squadron) - Scary
A note - I basically picture all of the Volki as a Eurasian fusion of samurai, cage fighters, and survivalists. So this pic could be any of his squad members.
Copyright Christopher Perez. Source

Those are the major players as of now. My NaNo projects tend to mutate. Extravagantly.

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favorite to write? Tell us about them!

Ernestine, because she's different. I usually avoid the lovelorn ingenues, so this is very against type for me. Of course, Ernestine has hidden depths and all sorts of good qualities. She's a hard worker, and she is an excellent manservant/junior butler. Also, she's very loving, open-hearted, and surprisingly resilient. (Which is good, because the romance goes about as far south as you can imagine . . . *evil laugh*)

Sydney is another character I'm excited to write. I anticipate writing about his passive aggressive relationship with Atlantis, and his master/apprentice/brother relationship with the disguised Ernestine. Is he really fooled by her male disguise though, I wonder? And of course, he's my "cool, mysterious" character. And he's named after Sydney Carton (<3<3<3)

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

To live happily ever after with Atlantis de Carrefour and be acknowledged as his social equal.

Well, their social status (she and her two brothers were raised by the family butler, which is where Ernie got her skills. They are old, old blood, but somewhat out of fashion). The de Carrefours are wild and sensational and very popular. Rich and titled, Atlantis has promised that he'll prove her worth to the world . . . And as far as Ernestine sees, this is the only barrier (Spoilers: she's wrong).

Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

In the City of Nations (a giant walled nation that is pretty central on The Continent). As I said above, I am visualizing an Earth where the continental separation is minimal. However, I've basically adapted/adopted world cultures, and fused them. The West is untamed and dangerous, but people need room to spread, so they're always trying to build railroads out that way. And did I mention there are primeval monsters?

What is the most important relationship your character has?

Her bond with her adoptive father and her older brothers (though they ran off to join the navy, which she hasn't forgiven them for.
Also, Atlantis, who surprised her by returning her affections after they grew to know each other last season.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

She's more self-aware, and she values herself more. She's also stronger and wiser, though undoubtedly scarred by what she experienced. Basically, her arc takes her from "Kind but naive girl," to "older, wiser, stronger, more confident young woman." Her personality doesn't change, and she still has struggles, but this is where I hope she'll end up.

What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

It's a subverted Cinderella, in a way. So courage in the face of adversity and bad choices, perseverance, owning your own decisions, coming of age, friendship, valuing yourself, that sort of thing. Though I normally focus on "story" than "theme" and hope the themes follow along!

I hope they have a rollicking good time, and like the characters as much as I do. And I want them to feel like they need to read more of my books, you know?!

BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

Weeeelll, considering that I am an epic NaNo-failer, I don't feel qualified for this. But I have finished in a month before, and I don't give up on my NaNo projects, so here goes:

1. Take a few little breaks to read a few chapters of a totally different book, or watch a movie.
2. DON'T EDIT. This will kill your word count.
3. Don't worry about writing a masterpiece. And if the story isn't coming, throw in something crazy and random and keep going. You can always edit/rewrite the minute December rolls around.

So that is my super random (and very last minute) NaNo idea. Would you read it? Any thoughts? Do you like alternate history? (I love it!) Are you doing NaNo, and if so, what are you writing about? Feel free to add me as a buddy!

*Boyfriend is not technically an accurate Victorian term (1909 is the first recorded usage in the romantic sense, I believe). But that is hair-splitting for the purpose of my BP post.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

TTT: Top Ten Author Dream Teams (And What They Should Write)

So, I had this all set up to write Tuesday - and then I some friends and I decided to go to the Extended Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies instead . . . *more on that in the footnotes. And then Wednesday happened and I was training a new employee, so nothing happened on the blog. But I'll pretend it's still Tuesday and finish this because it's fun! (For info on TTT & The Broke and the Bookish, click here)
Image Credit
So this week's theme was Top 10 Author Duos we'd like to see (write a book, obviously). But since this is something I think about all the time, I also have exactly the type of novel I'd like them to write together!

My Top 10 Author Dream Teams (and What They Should Write:

This is one of my pet ideas. Eoin Colfer's snark and Neil Gaiman's humorous gravity would be a perfect match. I'd want them to write a creepy steampunk novel with tons of gadgets and a mysterious underworld. And naturally, a young protagonist. Think the Graveyard Book meets + Neverwhere Artemis Fowl.

They're a pair of fangirls who aren't afraid of the indulgently awesome, or just the indulgent. And they both are surprisingly good at writing lovable male characters (it goes without saying that they're good at girls). And they both have this Asian fusion vibe. I think they could do a great cyberpunk/science fantasy novel - think Samurai 7 + Lunar Chronicles + The Iron Fey

This inspired idea came to me a while back, when I was reading one of the final volumes of Naruto. Maberry and Kishimoto have similar strengths and interests: young male protagonists, brotherly love, courage, honor, and of course-traditional Japanese culture. I want them to write a graphic novel arc about ninjas versus samurai set after some sort of apocalyptic event (past or future doesn't matter to me). They'd have to use a translator (that would be a fun job!!), but it would be awesome. The Last of Us + Naruto + The Matrix + Lord of the Flies. I dare you to tell me this wouldn't be epic . . .

They even know each other, so I think this could be arranged. I want them to do a series of obscure Grimm's fairytale rewrites, focusing on sibling relationships. It would play to their strengths as authors and I think their writing styles would mesh well. Think Princess of the Midnight Ball + Fablehaven + Once Upon a Time. And if anyone could retell The Marsh King's Daughter, it might be these two.

After reading Six of Crows, I really want to see one of Leigh Bardugo's worlds. I also think her knack for morally ambiguous but lovable characters would be awesome in a manga. So I'd bring in mangaka Matsuri Hino. Her scenery and settings are gorgeous (and her people are too!), and I think she has a visual style** that would really amplify Bardugo's imagination. I'd want to see them do an intense graphic novel arc that involves thieves and monsters and magic. So think Six of Crows + Vampire Knight + Catch Me if You Can.

I feel like the vampire/monster thing has been really overdone. But if anyone could write the ultimate vampire hunter book, it's these two. I'm envisioning Hellsing Written in Red + Blade + Dresden Files. The pages might not be able to handle the cool.

Regency Romance! They're both splendid at manners comedies, but the have the depth and gravity to save it from being a total fluff-fest. It would be sweet and accurate and sincere, and hilarious. I'm picturing a charming story that is also a mystery, so Northanger Abbey + Sorcery and Cecelia + Newt's Emerald.

I want these two to write a classic-style sci-fi novel. Both are strong story/action novelists, and I feel like they would complement each other as writers. Card is better at endings and writing male characters, and Collins is better at action. They've both written for film/TV too, so they know how to structure a story well and work with other writers. I'm envisioning Star Trek + Lost in Space + The Martian + Hunger Games.

Two more authors who have experience with co-authoring books, I feel like their styles/themes/characters could be very complementary. I'm thinking an epic hardcore fantasy, but set in a Middle Eastern and/or Persian Folklore inspired world. It would have a large cast of complex characters and a beautifully described landscape. Arabian Nights + Prince of Persia + Mistborn + The Blue Sword.

With a knack for the gothic sort of creepy, and a predisposition to humor and fun characters, I think these two could write a great old fashioned horror/thriller/mystery meets video game story. Maybe characters get their minds stuck in a historical haunted house game, or something like that? Nancy Drew  + Heir Apparent + Lockwood & Co. + Supernatural sounds like a good mix to me.

So what do you think of these pairings? Do you have an author "dream team?" If you do, what sort of book would you like them to write?

*Weeeelll, BotFA Extended was better than the Theatrical release, I'll give it that. There was actually a funeral for the Sons of Durin, and Thorin had the Arkenstone, like he was supposed to. There were also some more delightful sassy-Thranduil moments. And a ridiculous (but vaguely funny) cart that decapitated trolls . . . I really don't know how I felt about it. In my opinion, the Extended Desolation of Smaug is the best of three (even with the incredibly boring and pointless Smaug-Dwarf-Dragon chase on the end).

Image Copyright Matsuri Hino/Viz Media - Shuriken to Pleats

Above and Below Images Copyright Matsuri Hino/Viz Media - Vampire Knight

Tell me you don't want to see one of Leigh Bardugo's worlds drawn like this ;