Top 5 “Main Males”

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she posts a new topic and gives us all a chance to respond.  This week’s theme is Top 5 “Main Males”.

I’m going to be totally honest here: I’m not entirely sure what “main males” means. Does that mean favorite main characters that are male? Or top 5 favorite male characters? Whichever it means, I’m going with the latter because I tend to like the side male characters better than the main characters. So, here are my top 5 favorite male characters.

Talon Karrde from Star Wars: Heir to the Empire and other books by Timothy Zahn.

Timothy Zahn introduced a lot of wonderful characters to the Star Wars universe, but my favorite is probably Talon Karrde. A man who deals with information, he’s smart, witty, introspective, and noble. Although he tries desperately to stay neutral and play both sides, time and again he finds himself doing what it right and siding with the New Republic. In my head, he’s also very handsome (he looks almost exactly like Gary Oldman for some reason). He’s a smuggler and probably THE head of all smugglers five years after Jabba the Hutt’s demise, and I love the stark contrast between Jabba’s repulsive decadence and Karrde’s minimal elegance. I wish there was a whole novel about Talon Karrde and his organization, but now that the EU is defunct, I doubt I’ll ever get it.

Professor Randolph Lyall from The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger

I love the power behind the throne, probably more than I love the power itself, so I was bound to love Professor Lyall from the moment he appears. He’s the Beta to the head of the Woosley pack and he deftly gathers information (sensing a theme?) and manages his Alpha with aplomb and dignity. I love how elegant he is, because werewolves seem to be more feral (I’m more of a vampire girl). I love that he’s either gay or bisexual (I don’t remember which right now) and when I realized who he was going to be paired with, I just about melted with happiness. It was just so perfect. He does have a novella focusing on his romance, which made me super happy, and I just love him.

Robin Hood from Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

So, I like this Robin Hood the best because he’s so reluctant. He is perfectly willing to run off into the woods to save his life, but he doesn’t want others coming with him. He doesn’t want to put anyone else in danger. However, he is also extremely kind and can’t turn anyone away. He lets anyone who needs refuge into his camp, even going so far as to set up another camp for families. He allows women in his band and lets Alan and his wife stay even though they aren’t suited to outlaw life. And I love his relationship with Marian. It remains one of my favorite romances in fiction ever.

Toys (Alexander Chismer) from the Joe Leger series by Jonathan Maberry

Toys starts out as a bad guy. He’s the personal assistant (power behind the throne, check) to Sebastian Gault, one of the main baddies in Patient Zero and King of Plagues. He’s information hungry, reserved, driven, and a great assistant. He’s also a nasty piece of work until he gets a rather humbling slap in the face. From then on, he spends his life trying to atone and become a better person. And I love him so much. I loved him when he was bad, I love him when he’s trying to be good. He’s just so cool.

Severus Snape from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Look. I know Snape is decisive, but I’ve loved him from the first book. And not because he’s played by the late, great Alan Rickman, because as much as I love him, I have really grown to dislike his Snape (blasphemy, I know). I just… despite all Snape’s flaws and the terrible way he treats people, there’s just something about him I love. I love his passion, both the good and the bad of it. I love his commitment to Dumbledore. I love that he does whatever it takes to protect Harry, even though he loathes him. And although I can find that loathing tedious at times, it makes his drive to protect Harry interesting. I like dutiful characters, even when they hate their duty. (And I also love dutiful characters that completely believe in their cause… but that’s another top 5 list). So, yeah, I love Snape and I love reading about him.

So those are my top five favorite male characters. Do we have any overlaps? Any characters that, based on this list, you’d think I’d love? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Title: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Author: Kiersten White

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 287

Format: Hardcover

When Madame Frankenstein takes Elizabeth Lavenza away from the poverty and abuse she’s lived in, she tells Elizabeth that she must be a special friend to Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant but solitary boy. Elizabeth, knowing her salvation lies in fulfilling the request, does just that: she becomes Victor’s closest friend and a gentling influence to his sudden and violent outbursts. The two children become inseparable, with Victor becoming more and more obsessive about her. Elizabeth lives her life as an actress, learning to use her beauty and charm to manipulate those around her. When Victor leaves for school and then disappears, her place in the household grows precarious. She knows the only way to keep her place is to bring Victor back. But when she finds him, she discovers unimaginable horrors that she knows she has to cover up, lest she lose Victor forever.

I really liked this book a lot, and I liked it because it was so completely horrifying. It wasn’t even the whole Frankenstein plot that made it horrifying, but Victor and his possessive and controlling nature. He was terrifying even before Elizabeth reveals some things that were kept hidden early in the book. It was also horrifying because of how helpless Elizabeth was. As a young child, she was abused by her caretaker and then taken in by the Frakensteins, who tell her she has to calm their violent son. She twists her whole personality and life around Victor. She goes out of her way to protect him from the consequences of his actions. She never seems to worry about it being right or wrong in the grand scheme of thing; her whole worry is on her safety and security. She’s one mistake away from being flung into the streets and she knows it. She has to tread carefully.

I wish I had reread Frankenstein before I had read this. It was perfectly understandable without reading it, which is a definite plus, but I wasn’t familiar with the characters and couldn’t remember what was going to happen. In some ways, it was fine, because it was shocking when things happened, but I think having that sense of impending doom from knowing what was going to happen would have enhanced the experience, too. Maybe, some day, I’ll reread the original and then this to see how it goes.

This book was very well done. The characters, especially Elizabeth, were amazing. I love her strength and resilience. I love how she would catch herself reacting in a way that wasn’t working to get what she wanted and would course correct. I liked her relationships with the other characters, especially Justine and Mary. I also like the twisted, sick relationship she had with Victor. It was not healthy and it was wonderful to read, if that makes sense. It added to the ambiance and sense of wrongness.

Sunday Post June 16

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the Caffeinated Reviewer . It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things you’ve received. The rules are here: The Sunday Post.

This week was a really relaxing, chill week. I slept in (sort of; cats still get me up at about 5:30 and I get up to feed them at 6, but then I get to go back to bed), went to the gym, read, went to the movies, and just generally relaxed. I also got very much into watching YouTube videos on packing tips and travel bags in preparation for my conference next week and my trip next month. The result is that I can’t wait to start packing, but I’m not leaving until Tuesday, so I’m going to wait at least one more day. But, I’m thinking about what I’m going to pack.

Speaking of being away, I’ve got most of my posts scheduled for next week, save for Wednesday. I usually write it the night before, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it. I’m just taking my work iPad, and while I’ve got the WordPress app loaded on it, we’ll see if I have time, internet, and ability. So, if I don’t post, that’s why.

Monday: With the Fire on High (review)

Tuesday: Top 10 All-Time Favorites

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Girls Made of Snow and Glass (review)

Friday: Mid-Year Freak -out Book Tag

Saturday: City of Ember (review) AND The Elite (review) (this was a mistake on my part; I forgot to update my content calendar and double posted. Oops!)

Monday: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 “Main Males”

Wednesday: possibly WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Clockwork Princess (review)

Friday: Coffee Book Tag

Saturday: G is for Gumshoe (review)

I like the book a lot, but I love the TV show. I’m in the middle of my second watch through. I just love Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowely. I thought I was going to like them, because I like both the actors, but I adore the way they play these two dorks. And they are so in love! It’s so adorable to watch! I love it, I love it, I love it!

Here’s one of my favorite vids, created by Spellbound. Spoilers, of course.

How was your reading week? Got any plans for the upcoming week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: City of Ember

Title: City of Ember

Author: Jeanne DuPrau

Publisher: Yearling Books

Pages: 270

Source: Library

Lina is twelve years old and eagerly looking forward to her assignment. When she picks Pipeworks, she’s dismayed. The last thing she wants is to be stuck underground all day, fixing pipes. She’s even more disheartened when Doon, a classmate, picks Messenger, the best job, and throws a fit… until he offers to trade. Now Lina has the job of her dreams, running around the city of Ember and delivering messages all day. Sure, time are rough; there shortages of everything from food to clothes and the power goes off all the time, leaving the entire city in total darkness. But the mayor will know what to do, right?

Then, Lina discovers a box in her apartment that contains a message. It’s been ruined, but she can tell it’s important. Together, she and Doon work to decipher the message and find a way to save the city of Ember for good.

This was an interesting book with a fascinating concept. It’s a children’s book, so there are things that were very obvious to me that may be a surprise to a kid. I think I was also spoiled for part of it by my mother, who recommended the book for me, too, but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book.

I liked the character of Lina. She’s twelve years old and she reads like a twelve year old. A lot of time, it seems like young characters read a lot older, but she was believably her age. I like that she wanted nothing more than to run around all day, delivering messages. I also liked her love of drawing. Doon read as slightly older to me, with his concern with the city and how it was failing and his seriousness. However, there are children who are serious and concerned about the world, so it wasn’t unbelievable.

I thought the plot was solid. Lian finds a message left by the Builders, but her baby sister chews on it so all that’s left are parts of words. I liked how Lian and Doon worked together to decipher the messaged, recognizing words parts and connecting them to the world.

The book ends on something of a cliffhanger, and it was intriguing enough for me to want to read the next book. I’m interested in seeing how the story unfolds.

Review: The Elite

America Singer is part of the Selection, a competition to win the heart and hand of the prince of Illea, Maxon. Once, there were 35 girls, but now it’s been narrowed down to the Elite few, and America is one of them. Despite the rocky start she had with Maxon, the two of them have made a deep connection that puts America on top of the girls for his hand and the crown. The only problem is her first love, Aspen, is a guard in the palace, and despite her deepening feelings for Maxon, America can’t help but learn for the familiar and loving Aspen. With increasing attacks from the Rebels, an ever close competition, and her own inner conflict, America isn’t sure she’ll ever know her own heart, or even if she has what it takes to be the princess.

I didn’t review The Selection because I didn’t have much to say about it. It was enjoyable and I had a good time reading it. I liked the characters and interactions, I thought the world was interesting, and I thought it was a cute romance.

I had a lot more trouble with The Elite. Part of it stems from the love triangle. I don’t particularly care for Aspen because I don’t feel he has much personality outside of “loves America.” And, the more I think about it, Maxon doesn’t have much of a personality either. He has more of one because he’s in it more, but I don’t really feel I know his likes, his desires, or what he wants out of his life/rule. And, therefore, I don’t really think I’m rooting for one over the other. Plus, I hate, hate, hate when characters put themselves in danger for love, which is what America is doing. I especially hate it when I can’t figure out why she’s in love with Aspen other than he’s her childhood friend and first love. The constant waffling back and forth is annoying, boring, and very frustrating.

I did like the mounting tension among the girls. I liked how America thought she was making friends, only to have the other girls remind her that, no, this is a competition. She entered the competition not really planning on competing, and even when she started falling for Maxon, that attitude didn’t change. I liked the reality check and I also liked her commitment when she decided she was really going to try to compete. I wish there had been more on her lessons and what she was learning after those started.

What I’m really interested in is what the book spends the least amount of time on: the rebels and the politics. This is America in the future, with the population divide into castes. There’s some hints on how it got this way, but not enough. Same with the rebels: we’re told there are 2 kinds and there are attacks by both, but we don’t get more than that. My interest in the politics and the rebels is why I’m going to read the next book, because I’m getting tired of the romance and the triangle. I hope that the politics are explored more in the next books.

So, I’m waffling on what to rate this. I rated The Selection three stars, but I don’t think The Elite is a three star books. I think I’m going to rate it 2.5 stars because I still like America and the world, but the book overall fell flat and I didn’t really like it all that much. However, despite not liking the book that much, I’ll l give the next a try because I want to know what’s going to happen.

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

I can’t believe it’s half-way through the year already! Despite having some moments where it’s dragged on, I’m still stuck thinking that it’s March or April, not June! And I’m out of school, too, which is fantastic!

I’ve seen this tag in a few different places, but forgot to write down where I saw it last.

The best book that you’ve read so far from 2019?

Best sequel that you’ve read so far in 2019?

New release that you haven’t read yet, but want to?

Most anticipated release for the next half of 2019?

Biggest disappointment in 2019?

This wasn’t a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. It was very well done and well written. However, it was dark and depressing and left me feeling down, which was not what I expected.

Biggest surprise in 2019?

How much I liked the Infernal Devices series.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)?

Bridget Kemmerer is a new-to-me author who has become a favorite.

Newest fictional crush?

Grey from A Curse so Dark and Lonely.

Newest favorite character?

Audrey Rose from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.

A book that made you cry?

But out of happiness.

A book that made you happy?

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received in 2019?

The Infernal Devices trilogy. The books are gorgeous, right down to the spines.

What book do you need to read by the end of 2019?

A Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, dammit!

Tag, you’re it!

Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 384

Source: Library

When she’s sixteen years old, Mina learns the terrible truth about herself: her heart is made of glass and, therefore, no one can love her and she cannot love herself. When she and her father move away from the warm South to Whitespring, a land of eternal winter, she decides that she will stop at nothing to earn the love she deserves. She concocts a plan to marry the king, securing his and his daughter’s love as well as the adoration of the kingdom.

Lynet is king’s daughter. Constantly told she is delicate and looks just like her mother, she rebels by spending her days climbing trees and running outside. When she discovers a secret about herself and her looks, she is devastated. Then, her father proclaims it’s time for her to become queen, taking Mina’s place. Now, she thinks Mina hates her. When Lynet’s father is hurt in an accident, Lynet’s very life is at stake. Will Mina take her revenge on Lynet and reclaim her crown, or will Lynet triumph?

I somehow missed that this book was a Snow White retelling when I first picked it up. The summary on the back also made me think that Mina and Lynet would be enemies, and I wasn’t interested in reading that. A year after first discovering it, I decided to give it a try, and I’m sorry I waited as long as I did. This book was really good! I loved the relationship between Mina an Lynet so much, and I loved that while this was a Snow White retelling, it was subverted and turned on its ear. I’m also frustrated that no where does this say that there is a f/f relationship, because that definitely would have made me pick up the book the first time I saw this. Why the people writing the blurbs felt like that had to be kept a secret, I don’t know. It’s not a huge part of the book, but it is an important part and it deserves to be celebrated.

My only complaint about the book itself is that Lynet read very young to me. I thought she was supposed to be a child and was shocked when it turned out she was fifteen or sixteen. I thought that she was much younger and that I’d be following her as she grew up, not that she was already a teenager. I’m not sure if that was intentional by the author, though; part of Lynet’s arc is that she’s very sheltered and babied by her father, so maybe she’s supposed to sound young. But I think that, even taking that into account, she sounded younger than she needed to.

I liked that the book goes between the two perspectives of Mina and Lynet. Both were fascinating and I’d get so wrapped up in one, I’d be disappointed when it shifted until I started reading and got enthralled in that new perspective. Both stories were sad and a little horrifying, and I felt deeply for both women. They were both so well done.

The ending of the book was a satisfying conclusion all around. The book was well written and well paced. I loved the characters and the plot. It was a great book.