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!

Top 10 All-Time Favorites

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Shanah @ Bionic Book WormEach week, she posts a new topic and gives us all a chance to respond.   This week’s top 5 is actually a top 10: Top 10 All-time Favorites. Here are mine!

I’ve talked about Beauty by Robin McKinley many time before. After all these years, it’s still my favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling of all time. There’s just something so soothing and beautiful about this book. I love the characters and the plot and just everything about it.

Another book by Robin McKinley, Outlaws of Sherwood was my introduction to Robin Hood (outside of the Disney movie). I mean, Prince of Thieves came out around the same time I read the book, so I knew who Robin Hood was, but I didn’t see the movie until many years later. I guess, this was my literary introduction to Robin Hood, and it remains a favorite. It has everything I want: a noble hero with a bit of a temper, colorful side characters, my all-time favorite trope, and people who are in love with each other but don’t admit it out of a misguided sense of nobility. I love it.

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire is my all-time favorite Star Wars book. There’s nothing about this book I don’t love. The characterization of the movie-characters is spot-on. The villain is terrifying and brilliant and set the standard for all villains for me. The new characters, especially Mara Jade and Talon Karrde, are so interesting, I could read novels devoted to just them. It reawakened my love for Star Wars and got me creative in a way only a few books had ever done for me in before.

I have to confess: I saw the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice before I read the book, but I just couldn’t get into it until I could properly visualize the characters. Once I had an idea of the language in my head, I was able to read it and I’ve loved the book ever since. I also have to confess that I’ve never been as in love with Darcy as the rest of the world is; to me, the book is all about Elizabeth Bennett and how awesome she is. Darcy is just the cherry on top of all that awesomeness.

Persuasion is one that sort of snuck up on me. I was in my twenties when I reread this, and I appreciated it so much more than I had originally. And when I got to Wentworth’s letter to Anne, I just melted and fell in love.

I only fell in love with Northanger Abbey a few years ago, but I love it so much, I had to include it. Catherine is just so funny and so real. I love how she’s romantic and dreamy, but when she’s tested, she’s able to get through hard times. I love her family and how supportive they are of her. And I love the sarcastic and charming Henry Tilney. It’s just a delightful book.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book in the Harry Potter series. I liked Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, but the expansion of the world in PoA just got to me. I loved the Marauders and the map. I loved Remus Lupin when he was introduced and his relationship with Harry. It was just a great book.

Lady of the Forest was a book I discovered in college at the library. I was about halfway through when I ran out and bought it for myself, because I loved it that much. It was a Marian-centric retelling of Robin Hood and I loved the Marian it gave me. I also loved Robin, who was suffering of PTSD after being a prisoner of war for many years. It was just so, so good.

I was very much into pirates and age of sail stories when I was a kid, so True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle felt like it was written for me. It’s not about pirates, but it is about a girl who finds herself on a ship where the crew is being oppressed by a cruel captain. She finds herself in the middle of the conflict and eventually must choose a side. I love Charlotte and wish Avi had written more of her adventures.

I got into Star Trek: The Next Generation in high school when I watched the same episode four times in one week and thought, “This is good. I should see another episode.” I was a huge superfan and spent hours and hours watching, reading, and writing about Star Trek. Peter David was my favorite author and Q was my favorite recurring character. This book is perfect. It is so good, I wish they had filmed it as the final episode instead of All Good Things (or, at least, in addition to). I’ve read it over twenty times and will probably read it another twenty in my lifetime. (Well, maybe not that much, but you get the idea).

So, those are my top 10 favorite books of all time. What are some of yours? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Debut Novels

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Shanah @ Bionic Book WormEach week, she posts a new topic and gives us all a chance to respond.  This week’s topic is Top 5 Debut novels.

This was really hard for me, because generally I’m not aware what novels are the author’s debut. Once I started looking, though, it was hard because so many of the books I love are debut novels! But, I was able to whittle it down to my top five. And here they are!

Beauty by Robin McKinley is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I had no idea it was a debut until I started looking for books to write about! I talk about it all the time. Despite my initial rejection of the book ( I remember crouching down in my middle school library, scoffing at what I thought was a first person retelling of Sleeping Beauty), when I finally gave the book a chance, I loved it so, so much. There was just something about an unlovely, awkward, bookish Beauty that pinged me right in my awkward, bookish soul. Even though almost everyone who’s read both this and Rose Daughter prefers the latter, I’m all about the debut.

Count Anne of Green Gables as another book I didn’t realize was a debut. For some reason, I thought the Emily books or Story Girl came first; I’m not sure why. I was introduced to Anne via a friend in sixth grade. She had an Anne of Green Gables tea party for her birthday, and soon after, my family watched the miniseries. From there, I read the book and fell head over heels in love. It helped that I was an imaginative, talkative, fiery-tempered kid, although, to my great disappointment, I didn’t have red hair.

I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Harry Potter. I was in high school when my mother, a substitute teacher, first brought it to my attention. She’d been in many classes where it was the read aloud and eventually bought the book so she could read the whole thing. Initially, I couldn’t get past the first chapter, but I finally got a chance to sit down and really give it my full attention. I loved it. I loved every moment of it, I loved Harry, I loved Snape, I loved the world, I loved everything. I became a lifelong Harry Potter fan and have never turned back.

I think I assumed Marissa Meyer was an established author when I first read Cinder. It’s just so well done and the world building is so complex. I’m so jealous of the imagination these author’s have, the ones that can build whole worlds and magic systems and create such complex characters. I love the characters and the plot in this book. Cinderella retellings are my second favorite fairy tail retellings and this one was done perfectly. Cyborgs, lost princesses, and plagues? Sign me up.

My sister recommended Legend by Marie Lu to me soon after it was published. She told me it was loosely based on Javert and Valjean from Les Miserables, only gender-flipped. How could I turn that down? I highly enjoyed the book. Day was a great hero of the downtrodden, and June was amazing as a military star whose world starts crumbling around her. I think it was a strong debut and although none of Marie Lu’s other books have lived up to this series, I think this one shows how talented she is.

Top 5 Summertime Reads

Tuesday has come around once more and it’s the last Tuesday of the month. It’s almost summer! I have eight more days of school before I’m free to lounge around and read as much as I want. I cannot wait.

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 topic is Top 5 Summertime Reads. I don’t actually have any summertime reads, so I’m changing this a bit to be the top 5 books I read every summer when I was a child. And, honestly, despite being many years away from childhood, these books still spark that summertime joy.

Boy-Crazy Stacey I was a huge Baby-sitter’s Club fan when I was a kid, and this and the super special where they went to Disney World were my favorites. It’s funny, because Stacey wasn’t even my favorite baby-sitter–Mary Anne was–but I loved this book. The idea of getting to go the the beach every day (and I already went once a week) without adults was just the best idea ever. I thought it sounded like heaven. Nowadays, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it (doesn’t help that I’ve moved to where the ocean is ice cold all year round), but as a kid, the idea was heaven.

Bummer Summer by Ann M. Martin was another favorite of mine. I loved stories about camp, because I never got to go to camp for longer than a week. I thought that staying at camp all summer sounded amazing, which is funny because I couldn’t last five days without getting homesick. I envied the freedom kids had in camp books, because at the camp I went to, we were watched all the time. I don’t remember much about this book except the main character’s father broke his toe, he had a new wife and a baby that didn’t have a name, and the girl didn’t like the outdoors or sports. Was this the book where she played volleyball and sprained her ankle, or was that another book? I read so many camp books, it’s hard to keep them straight.

Yours Till Niagara Falls, Abby by Jane O’Connor is another camp book. Once again, I don’t remember much about it. I think the main character, Abby, was supposed to go to camp with her best friend, but the friend ended up not being able to go. I vividly remember one scene where they go to the beach that has these stones shaped like chairs. The girls sat in them and got hit by the waves coming in from the ocean. I think there was also an obligatory poison-ivy scene, as well. I loved this book and read it over and over again. In fact, I’m pretty sure I still have a copy of it.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume isn’t really a summer book, but I read it every summer. Davey’s father, who managed a convenience story in Jersey City, is killed. Her mother falls into a deep depression and is unable to really function, so her sister-in-law and husband invite the family to come live with them in New Mexico. The book is all about grief and healing. It’s a bit of a heavy book for summer, but I loved it. I still do love it.

Who Stole the Wizard of Oz? by Avi is a huge summer time book of mine. As a kid, I tended to find books I liked and reread them to death, but I was having problems finding books to read one particular day and my mom suggested this one. I was resistant, because it was a mystery and mysteries scared me, but I ended up loving it. It follows Becky and Toby, twins living in a small town. Becky is accused of stealing the book The Wizard of Oz and four or five other books from the library sale. She and her brother investigate, trying to find who stole the books. In their course of investigation, they uncover a secret about the town and its inhabitants. It’s such a great book and I pull it out every once in awhile just to relive the magic.

So, those are my top 5 childhood summertime reads. What book say summer to you? Any childhood favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

Top 5 “Unputdownable” Reads

It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Top 5 Tuesday! Yay! 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 topic is Top 5 “unputdownable” reads.

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. When I was in seventh grade, I had finished all my books and my work in English class. Having nothing to read, I must have complained, because a boy in my group handed me this book. I was only able to read the first chapter before the period ended and he had to take it back (it wasn’t his book), but the damage was done. This book was like drugs to me: I couldn’t think for the rest of the day and I was addicted for life. I mean, I’ve always been a Star Wars fan, but this book took it to a whole new level. I don’t think I thought of anything but Star Wars for the next two years, when the trilogy was finally over. I definitely couldn’t put it down.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I was always a kid who liked to be prepared, so when I knew I was going to have to read this book the next year for English class, I decided to get a head start. I had an old, beat up copy of my nana’s (which has since completely fallen apart) and I started reading. I read for most of the hot summer evening, well into the night sitting on the tile floor of the kitchen in front of the back door. I was fascinated by Scout and her brother, by Boo Radley and everything that was happening. I could not put the book down.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Shortly after this book came out, I went to the book store determined to find a book with the following criteria: YA, dystopian, and about a girl. But, I couldn’t get into this at first. Still, it was the book I took with me to Disneyland/DCA when my family and I went to see World of Color. We were taking a break in the shade and I decided to put it out. Four hours later, the lights went down so the show could start and I had to put the book away. I missed all the singing, games, and performing of the preshow just so I could keep reading this book because I was so enthralled.

Seize the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I am honestly embarrassed to include this on my list because I didn’t really think the book was that great, but I could not put it down. I got it for free at ComicCon one year and I started reading it and could tell it wasn’t my taste, but there wasn’t much going on that day. Any time my sister and I sat down, I’d pull it out and start reading. I read the whole thing in bits and pieces throughout the day, the entire time lamenting the fact I couldn’t stop because it was so over the top silly. To this day, all I can remember is the main character feeds her romantic interest penis-shaped pasta and that he, at one points, sucks garlic butter off her breast. I won’t say this book was bad, because a) I know the series is wildly popular and scratches an id and b) it wasn’t badly written. I tried to read others in the series, but could never get into them. But this, for that day, was glued to my hand.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. Yes, it’s taken me years and years to read. But I finally did and couldn’t put it down. When I saw its size, I thought it might take me three or four days to get through. But then, I got home from work yesterday, pulled it out, and read way past my bedtime. I didn’t want to put it down and I was dying to see how it ended. Despite my initial reservations, it was a very fun read and very unputdownable.

What are some books that you’ve had a hard time putting down? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Books I Want to Reread

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Top 5 list! 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 topic is Top 5 Books I Want to Reread.

The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman. Lately, I’ve been thinking about this series a lot. Maybe it’s because I like to mention AIDAN any chance I get, and I feel like I’ve been talking about it a lot lately (which, I’m not sure if I have, but I feel like it). Or maybe because I started reading the books around this time last year and am feeling nostalgic. Whatever the reason, I’ve been seriously thinking about doing a reread of these books.

I’ve also been thinking about reread Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice again. It’s been years since I read it, and I’ve been hankering for a reread. I don’t actually own the book anymore, but found it when I was browsing a used bookstore. I was going to buy it, until I realize they were charging the cover price for a used book! I mean, I know $7 isn’t that much, but the spine was cracked a little and the cover was a little worn and it was a used book! Used books should be cheaper, right? The nerve of them. So, I ended up not buying it, but was left with the desire to reread it.

On a similar theme, I want to reread The Queen of the Damned. I loved this book when I read it in high school. I thought it was amazing. I loved the backstory of where the vampires came from, I loved the story of Armand and Daniel, I loved the humans and the vampires and what Akasha did to the vampires. It was such a great read. But I think I only read it one or twice. I’d like to give it another read through and see if I like it as much now as I did then.

The Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw. This amazing book is about a woman named Charis who wants to be a doctor in 4th century AD. She disguises herself as a eunuch and runs away to Alexandria to train. It’s a really fascinating story that’s completely enthralling. I happened upon it by chance in the library, thought it sounded interesting, and fell completely in love. The problem is, I can’t find it anymore at the library and it’s not in print. I’m so sad because I desperately want to reread it and have no way to do so.

Last, I want to reread the last 3 books in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. I’ve read the first two multiple times, bu the last three only once. I remember really liking them a lot, and would like to revisit the story. I vaguely remember a few things I really liked, mostly involving the vampires, but there’s a werewolf love story that starts in either Blameless or Heartless that I really like and would like to read again from the beginning.

So, technically that’s more than five books, because of the two series that I threw in, but I think that’s fine. I hope I’ll get around to rereading at least some of them. There just always seems to be so many new things to read, I don’t get to reread as much as I’d like.

What books do you want to reread? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Mind-blowing Mysteries/Thrillers

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @ The Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a different topic to explore. This week is the topic is top 5 mind-blowing mysteries/thrillers. These are mine!

First You Fall by Scott Sherman. This book follows the adventures of Kevin Connor. When a good friend of his is found dead and that death ruled as a suicide, Kevin, a hustler, decides to investigate. This book is suspenseful, funny, sad, and compelling all at once. It was also one of the first books I ever read on Kindle, although I guess that doesn’t really matter. But it was a great introduction to a wonderful series.

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry is one of my favorite books period. It’s about a man named Joe Ledger, who is about to enter the FBI when he’s taken in by a mysterious organization for questioning. Once there, he’s attacked and forced to kill a man. Problem is, he’d already killed that man earlier that week in the line of duty. He’s then introduced to the world of the Department of Military Sciences and a weaponized zombie virus. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I read this. It not only has a remarkable protagonist, but the villains were nicely fleshed out. This is another first in a series, and while I love the other books, this one has a special place in my heart.

The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz. This was a recent read for me, and while it took me about halfway to get into, once I was in, I was hooked. The book is about Jane Hawk, who, after her husband commits suicide, starts investigating the steady rise of suicides in the US. This leads to her being contacted by a shadowy organization that threatens her and her young son. She goes on the run, hiding her son away with people that can’t be traced back to her, and starts her own investigation into this conspiracy. The answers you get in this book have horrifying implications. I loved it and can’t wait to read the next.

Bitch Factor by Chris Rogers was one of the first contemporary adult mysteries I remember reading. The main character, Dixie Flannigan, is a bounty hunter who goes after Parker Dann. Dann is accused of killing a child in a dunk driving accident. But he claims he didn’t do it, and Flannigan finds herself drawn into the case, trying to find out what really happened. I remember being super engrossed in this book. I had a hard time putting it down, but it was late and I wasn’t understanding what I was reading anymore, so I went to bed. Then, in the middle of the night, I woke up with the realization of who the murder was, immediately picked up the book and finished it. It was that engrossing.

The Anatomists Wife by Anna Lee Huber maybe isn’t the most exciting of mysteries, but it was powerful. It’s the first in her Lady Darby series and it introduced me to a wonderful world of characters whom I love. Lady Kiera Darby is a widow and an artist living in disgrace with her sister and brother-in-law. Her husband had been an anatomists and forced her to draw pictures of the dissections he did in order to get an accurate anatomy book. However, he did not always procure his bodies through approved means and when that came out on his death, scandal came out and tainted Kiera. In this book, her sister is having a house party and there’s a murder. Sebastian Gage is the son of a noted gentleman investigator and is asked to investigate, as is Kiera, because of her past. It’s amazing and interesting and romantic and just one of my favorite mysteries ever.

Those are my top 5 mysteries/thrillers. Thanks again to Shanah for hosting this meme.

What are some of your favorite mysteries/thrillers? Have you read any of the books I listed? Drop a comment below and let me know!