Saturday, October 1, 2011

What I Like…and Why I Like it

I honor of my re-opening to submissions, I thought I’d do an in-depth explanation of what I love to read and what I'm craving to represent. Below is a list of all the books I read over the two weeks of my honeymoon, and what I specifically liked about each one; the list is only fairly comprehensive in terms of my reading tastes, but should give some great examples:

Some Like it Wild* by Teresa Medieros (Historical Romance)

What I Loved: The yummy yummy Scotsman. I really could not wait to get back to the delicious hero in this book every time I put it down! What is more, is that I loved the characters; the heroine is spunky and she’s not Venus come to life or some nonsense; her beauty and passion are sparked purely in the eyes of the hero. I love that kind of book because it makes the romance feel so much more private and personal. It’s also an extremely well-executed book, and the level of passion is just what I like.

One of my all-time favorite Highlander books is Temperance by Jude Deveraux

Queen of the Dead* (Ghost and the Goth, book 2) by Stacey Kad (Contemporary Paranormal YA)

What I Loved: Whenever I dive into this series I am always struck by how smart the heroine is. She’s the stereotypical blond cheerleader – with brilliant people-reading skills. I love characters that break the mold like this; this character acts the same way that stereotypical cheerleader would, but she’s given depth and dimension which make her entirely likeable. I also love the dry and sarcastic voice; a must-have for me in any contemporary! I do love me ghosts, too…

One of my all-time favorite ghost books is The Mediator series by Meg Cabot

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Science Fiction/ Dystopian)

What I Loved: This was so amazingly gritty and relentless; and so real. The world building was so well done; for a dystopian, this is crucial: I knew the food dishes they ate, the politics, the fashions, the history, the technology, everything. All the little details that make up a world were explained which made it read so vividly. The main character’s thought process , working things out with me as she went, also drew me in as a reader; nothing was told to me – I lived this with her.

The Heiress* by Lynsay Sands (Historical Romance)

What I Loved: The blunt heroine. This story had a holy mother of a complex plot, but really, I was drawn in by the fresh, sassy heroine. This hooked me with the unique plot, and kept me reading for the feisty heroine.

My three all-time favorite historical romance writers: Julia Quinn (witty and sexy), Lisa Klypas (passionate and delicious) and Johanna Lindsay (fiery and passionate)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Dark Contemporary w/ Fantastical Elements)

What I Loved: if anyone has ever wondered what “beautiful dark” means in my bio – this is it. Beautiful writing with such a dark and tortured subject. The heroine was so real and vivid – her memories and moments bubbled up to me like snapshots, giving me a 360 view of each and every character in this chilling and morbid situation. To quote the book, “so many things become beautiful when you really look” (343); not only her life, but my life, came into focus as I read.

Atlantis Awakening* by Alyssa Day (Paranormal Romance)

What I Loved: to be honest, I was a little hesitant to post this one up – because it’s a vampire book. A shape-shifter, werewolf, vampire book – and I do NOT (repeat: do NOT) want any vampires or wolves. However, there were also some very unique elements to this story – the warriors of Atlantis (who isn’t fascintated by Atlantis?) and the “gem singer” – a woman whose witch powers include being able to sing emotions and power through gemstones. Loved that. Call me a sucker for a glittery jewel, but any kind of “gem speak” is up my alley. The hero was, admittedly, a little too animalistic in his possessiveness of her heroine, but I appreciated how spunky and fiery she was in the face of it.

When it comes to paranormal, I’m really looking for fresh; I’m open to time-travel as well – one of my favorite books in that category is Remembrance by Jude Deveraux.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Dark Contemporary – Issue Book)

What I Loved: I know I’m like ten years late to the party on this one, but this truly is such a powerful and heartbreaking book. Another beautiful dark for me; the heroine’s emotional journey was so gritty and raw – I could feel every ounce of her shame, frustration, the injustice of it all – and above all, was so incredibly inspired by her courage as she grows and finds her voice. The “issue” was very secondary to my connection to the heroine; that’s how I like “issue” books – more about the emotion and the character/s than the issue or message.

I didn’t read a fantasy or a gothic-inspired ghost book, but I’d love to have those too – especially creepy, dark and chilling ghost (or fantasy) YA.

The only kind of picture book I’m really looking for is along the lines of Square Cat* by Elizabeth Schoonmaker – short, funny text, preferably character-driven (650 words or less) – and I’m being VERY very selective on PBs.

I also didn’t read any middle grade, but I particularly love middle grade with heart, along the line of The Higher Power of Lucky* by Susan Patron, and middle grade with fantastical, paranormal, or sci-fi elements.

There’s more in my bio, but this is what I’m particularly craving right now.

Be sure to take a look at the “For Writers” tab in my blog to make sure you submit the best possible manuscript. Here are tips on revision…and finally, how to write a hook to knock me dead!

Submission guidelines are here.


  1. Hmm, interesting. It seems you really focus on the heroine and want a book to suck you into its world.

  2. Thank you for the in-depth list! And welcome back to submission land. :)

  3. Fantastic list, Natalie. I was surprised (and pleased!) to see Teresa Medieros in your list. Her books are positively addicting!

    Anyway, I'm so glad to see you've reopened to submissions. I can't wait to see the books you acquire for Bradford Lit.

  4. I swear there's some sort of subliminal message going around. I posted a list of my favorite books yesterday, and yours is the second blog I've seen in the last hour with the same thing today! Thanks!

  5. Congratulations on getting married, but reading on the honeymoon? Mon Dieu!

  6. I really loved one of your posts, Natalie, where you said if you're not writing just to sell, you may have a real page turner. I'd rather be the exception in the crowd. Thanks for this blog. It's the only blog I read. Makes my morning!!! :)