Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and participants get to answer.  This week’s topic is Top 5 Books I don’t talk about enough.

I thought I’d never talked about Odd Thomas on my blog before, but apparently I have. I’ll assume I told the story, about how I’d never had any interest in Dean Koontz and then I saw him talk at Comic Con about how Odd came to him. I knew that the character had to be something special, so I read the book, and I was so glad I did. Odd really is something special. He can see the dead and does everything he can to help them. He had a terrible childhood, but pulled himself out of it and forged his own path. He sweet and thoughtful and humble and just wonderful. I liked the whole series, but the first book holds a special place in my heart.

Yet another book I thought I’ve never mentioned, but I have. I first read Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede when I was in seventh or eight grade. I have a confession: I’m not hugely into dragons, but this book is the exception. The princess is amazing, the dragon is fantastic, and the bad guys can be defeated with soapy water. It’s an fun romp that turns the damsel in distress trope on its head and leaves you guessing.

I picked up Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry because the cover and title intrigued me. I almost put it down right away because I thought the main character, Joe Ledger, sounded like a sexist dick and the book was going to be in the vein of OH JOHN RINGO NO. But, for some reason, I kept reading and found that my initial impression was very wrong. Joe might like looking at “beach bunnies”, but he’s not going to have sex with anyone who’s drunk and grieving and can’t properly consent. He also is highly competent at his job, has a wicked sense of humor, and has a pet cat named Cobbler. The villains in this book are numerous, varied, and all interesting in their own way. It’s a fantastic beginning of a long series that’s still going on, much to my pleasure.

Love Underground by Alicia Fields is a retelling of the Persephone myth, which has always been my favorite. In this book, no one is a god or goddess exactly, but Hades is a mysterious man who has a kingdom in a cave under Persephone’s village. When someone is sick or injured beyond help, the villagers leave the body by the entrance of the cave for him to deal with. He take them in, does what he can, and is never seen by the villagers. Then, he sees Persephone, kidnaps her, and they eventually fall in love. Yeah, it’s problematic, but I liked it.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield was one of the books I couldn’t put down. It’s about a reclusive author who invites a woman named Margaret to write her biography. Her tale is twisted and weird and left me on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what would come next. It also blew my mind. In some ways, it’s similar to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but it’s much more gothic. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

And those are the top 5 books I don’t talk about enough. What’s a book that you loved that you rarely talk about? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and participants get to answer.  This week’s topic is Top 5 Dystopians.

My first pick is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’ve talked before about how when I finally started reading the book, I couldn’t put it down even though I was at Disney’s California Adventures. My other story about the book is how I bought it. I was at Borders (RIP) and in the mood for a book that delivered 2 things: 1) It had to be a dystopian book and 2) the main character had to be a girl. I picked this book up and immediately knew it was the book I was looking for. I’ve often lamented how I wanted to read this book for the first time again; it was just that great of an experience.

The Giver by Lois Lowry may have been the first dystopian I ever read (although I may have read Animal Farm first). I loved how chilling and disturbing the world was. I loved Jonah and his journey. I hated the ending, because I was a very pessimistic child and was sure something bad had happened at the end, but I still loved the book.

I read Legend by Marie Lu when I was deep into my dystopian love. My sister recommended it to me, saying it was based on Javert and Valjean from Les Miserables but genderflipped and a romance. I loved Day and his quest to do what’s right, and I love June and her sense of duty. This trilogy devastated me, absolutely, completely killed me. But, there’s a fourth book coming out soon, so either I’ll have my heart ripped out again or will be happy. We’ll see.

I read Scythe by Neal Shusterman last year. I’ll admit: I’ve been a little burned out on dystopians, but this one sounded interesting. A world where death has been conquered and can only be delivered randomly by people assigned the job? Color me intrigued. And I’m so glad I read it, because this book is amazing. I loved all the characters, especially Scythe Faraday, and the villains were terrifying. I cannot wait for the next book.

So, I feel I have to go with The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for my last pick. I almost went with Divergent by Veronica Roth, but, honestly, I feel like that book is best read as a coming-of-age novel and doesn’t fully succeed as a dystopian. This book, however, does. It’s terrifying, especially in today’s political climate. I’ve read it twice,and each time it’s basically given me nightmares. It’s like something out of my worst dreams and, yet, somehow totally feasible. I haven’t see the TV show, but I think this is one of the best dystopian books out there.

And that’s my top 5 for the week?

What are some of your favorite dystopian novels? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and participants get to answer.  This week’s topic is Top 5 Books Under 300 Pages.

My first book under 300 pages is The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles. At just 200 pages, this book packs a lot in it. There’s intrigue, magic, romance, sex, ghosts, and tattoos. It’s a great book that I’ve read multiple times. Each time, it makes me smile. If you are at all interested in m/m paranormal romance, I highly recommend this one.

I first read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle I think when I was in middle school. I was deeply into pirates and all things nautical. This book hit the sweet spot. It’s about a girl who is traveling by boat from England to America to be with her family. The crew is out for revenge on their cruel captain and Charlotte gets caught in the middle. She ends up joining the crew and changing her life. I love it.

The Stone Rainbow by Liane Shaw will be published on September 17. It’s about a boy who’s gay and struggling when another boy moves to town and is open about his sexuality. They become friends and decide to plan a Pride parade in their small town. It was so sweet and made me cry tears of joy. I can’t wait for more people to discover this gem.

I’ve talked many, many times about Beauty by Robin McKinley on my blog, so I won’t say much about it. Only, there is just something so comforting and magical about this book. I love the character of Beauty so much.

The last best book under 300 pages is Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Charles. This is a heist book, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first because one of the characters was not such a good guy. But he turned out to be a very romantic guy and won me over with his declaration of love for the other character. Seriously, I melted. K.J. Charles is a genius for writing wonderfully romantic love declarations. This book was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for more in the series.

So, those are my top 5 books under 300 pages. It wasn’t easy, but I genuinely do love all the books on this list.

What’s one of your top books under 300 pages? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and participants get to answer.  This week’s topic is K, L, M, N, O!

K is for King of Fools by Amanda Foody. The sequel to Ace of Shades really lets Enne Salta come into her own as she creates her own girl gang that’s just as powerful as any other gang in the city, but on Enne’s terms. There’s a lot of politics and political maneuvering in it, and I just loved it.

I’ve never met a Cat Sebastian novel I didn’t like, but this one is probably one of my favorites. The Earl of Radnor is convinced he’s mad when he’s just brilliant and thinks differently from everyone else. Georgie Turner is a swindler on the run and together they find a love they’d never thought they’d deserve. It’s beautiful.

Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner is probably the most beautifully written play I’ve ever seen and read. It’s poetry in the guise of prose and when I first saw and read it, it blew me away. My college did a production of it and while I only got to see it once, I was in a play in the next theater and spent my moment’s offstage with my ear pressed to the theater door so I could drink in the beauty. It truly is magical.

Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels. I love the lighthearted air of it. I so identify with Catherine Morland and her love of novels and the way she lets her imagination get run away with her. And Henry Tilney is just a delight. There’s just something about his humor and his manner that really gets to me. I love him so much.

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz is a favorite of mine. I’d never read anything by Koontz when he was speaking at a panel I was at during Comic Con. I don’t think I was even there for that panel, but a following one, but when Koontz started talking about how he started writing Odd Thomas, it just sounded magical. I knew that the character was special and the book had to be too. And it really is. Odd is an amazing character who’s been through a ton of trauma and come out with a deep sense of humility and openness to the world that’s wonderful to read. I love this book.

Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think of them?

Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and participants get to answer. This week the theme is books starting with F-G-H-I-J!

F is for Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I love stories about fans and online life, and I related hard with Cath and her world. Like Cath, I am a huge fangirl and got through college by writing fanfic. While I wasn’t as popular as she was, I had a strong following and had that same sense of obligation to get fic out. So, I loved reading Cath’s story and her life and really seeing myself in her.

G is for Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas. This book was formative for me. I discovered it either in high school or college when I was a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I loved Irene in these books. She was dramatic, clever, a detective in her own right, independent, and stubborn. I also loved the narrator, Irene’s faithful friend Penelope, whom I saw myself in. I also appreciate that this is one of the few Irene Adler books that did not assume that her marriage with Godfrey was a shame or went bad quickly and all Irene really wanted to do was sleep with Sherlock Holmes. She was fascinated by him, but as a rival, not as a love interest, and that’s really refreshing.

H is for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I think I’ve told the story before of first reading this book (I was at Disney’s California Adventures, we’d taken a short break, I pulled out the book, and walked around with my nose in it until the lights went out for World of Color), but I love, love this book. I’ve frequently told my sister that what I want more than anything is to read this book again for the first time. It was so engrossing and compelling, and I’ve never quite found a book that replicated that feeling.

I is for Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I almost didn’t finish this book. It was about a quarter of the way through and I didn’t know what was going on or who the characters were and was so confused. I was ready to give up, but everyone said it was so good and I wanted to like it. So, I went back into it and really paid attention to who was speaking or writing at any given time, and it was so worth it. This series is amazing. I love Kady and I love AIDAN to death. Seriously, I have never loved an AI as much as AIDAN, and I was Mary Sue married to Data for awhile. But AIDAN, I am obsessed with.

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a wonderful kid’s book about what happens to Cinderella after the ball. She has to go through training to be considered a proper princess and she can’t seem to find the right fit. I like Ella and how she tries to hard and yet can’t make things work. I like how she tries with the prince, who is terrible. And I love the ending and the choices she makes. It’s a great read.

This was so much easier now that I know how to organize my GoodReads list by alphabetical order! It’s so cool to see all the great books I’ve read listed out like that.

Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think?

Top 5 Fantasy

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  Fantasy.

You had to know this was coming, right? I can’t talk about fantasy without talking about my favorite fairy tale retelling of all: Beauty by Robin McKinley. I never get tired of this story. I love the characters, I love the first line, I love the journey Beauty and the Beast take in falling in love with each other, and I just love it.

I read A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer earlier this year and was totally bowled over. I love Harper so much. I love how she goes out of her way to do what’s right and to stand up for others. She’s amazing. I liked Rhen and how he realizes how he can’t just isolate himself due to his curse, he still has to rule. And I loved Grey with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. (So much so, that I’m wondering why I didn’t include him on my list last week). It’s just a wonderful story and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out.

Dragon Rose by Christine Pope is yet another Beauty and the Beast retelling. In this, the Dragon Lord comes every few years and selects a bride to come and live in his castle. Rhianne is a painter and I think she volunteers to be the bride. Once there, she begins to experience strange moods and finds that the curse goes deeper than just the Dragon being cursed. It doesn’t have great reviews on Goodreads, but I loved it to death.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is my favorite Cinderella retelling ever. I love Ella’s personality and her strength. She’s cursed to obey every command given her, so she does whatever she can to subvert the curse. I adore her relationship with the prince. They letters they write to one another are adorable. I just think this book is fantastic.

The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy is a King Arthur reborn novel. Arthur has been reborn as a young boy named Arthur Blessing, who finds a strange cup that feels warm and reacts in ways science can’t explain. Unfortunately, a dangerous man is after the cup and soon Arthur and his aunt are on the run. Along the way, there paths cross with an ex-cop who is more than he seems. This book cemented my love for Arthur and Merlin as well as sparked a deep, abiding love for Galahad. It’s magical and beautiful, and I will always be so sad that the sequels failed to live up to the magic that this book created.

What are some of your favorite fantasy books? Have you read any on my list? Let me know in the comments below!

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!