Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Befriend

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is characters I could be best friends with.  Outside of my first pick for this topic I have a hard time imagining being best friends with any of these characters, so this is more of a, characters-I’d-like-to-have-on-my-side kind of post.

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Nina Zenik (Six of Crows) – Finally, a friend who doesn’t make me feel guilty for never ordering a salad when we go out to eat.

Pig Gif

Circe (Circe) – That person who cut me off in traffic?  Bam! Pig.  That person who orders $50 worth of food at the drive-thru when you just want your morning coffee?  Bam! Pig.  If nothing else, I’d never run out of bacon.

ARTtistic Cat GIF • Cat vs Squirrel soon gonna catch you naughty squirrel blah blah blah

Reichis the Squirrelcat (Spellslinger) – Listen, I just really want a squirrelcat, okay?

Legal Trouble

Ariel Corta (New Moon) – I’m going to need an all star legal team after I’m done transforming all those people into pigs…

Hold on to your butts

John Hammond (Jurassic Park) – I am actively rejecting modern science. Jurassic Park is going to be a thing in my lifetime.  And I will be first in line.

Patrick plotting

Mycroft Canner (Too Like the Lightning) – Because knowing all the world’s secrets is a super power all by itself.  This is weirdly probably also my most dangerous choice of friend, considering what happened to his other friends…

Not quite ten- but I prefer quality friends to quantity.  Who made your list this week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Fearsome Females

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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Today’s topic is character freebie, and this post is long overdue.  The truth is, all my all time favorite characters are male, and most of my favorite authors are men.  I can’t answer why because I honestly don’t know. So today I’m going to give a shout out to the strong female protagonist (or sidekick), which I probably don’t talk about enough.

The characters below, listed in no particular order, are not only not damsels in distress, but they are probably bailing their male counterparts out of a sticky situation.

Mackayla (Mac) Lane of the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning – Admittedly, we know we can count on Barrons to show up when Mac gets in over her head, but let’s not forget the Mac does a pretty good job of holding her own most days.  I mean- I wouldn’t survive a rhinoboy… especially not while keeping my fingernails painted.  I love that she manages to still be very feminine while also being tough.

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Inej Ghafa of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Inej has had a really traumatic life.  Honestly I think she should be far more broken inside than Kaz considering what she’s been through, but mentally and physically, she’s a warrior.  I adored her for it.

Kinsey Locke of Locke & Key by Joe Hill – This is one book (graphic novel) where the girl really was my favorite character.  She might be tough due to in-book magic, but she also experiences a lot of growth over the course of all six books.  Far and away my favorite character from that series.

The Mere Wife Maria Dahvana Headley

Willa Herot of The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley – Have you ever heard the song “Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood?  I feel like Willa Herot is the wife in that song.  Like if you cheat on her- she’s not coming for the mistress, she’s coming for you.  And she’s probably going to laugh about it later over tea.

Ferius Parfax of the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell – She’s a fast talking, card slinging, Argosi wanderer with a thousand tricks up her sleeve and a soft spot for a kid named Kellen.  If you’re in a sticky situation- Ferius is the person you ask to clean it up.

Hild of The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell – Sorry Nona Grey, Hild is the original warrior nun.  She don’t take no shit from nobody, and I love that she’s one of the few character’s that’s ever allowed to put Uhtred in his place.

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Nemesis of The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – Here’s one I don’t mention.  Nemesis is actually a bioengineered weapon.  Only death will stop her.  Seriously.  It’s the way she’s programmed.

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Sarah Harding of The Lost World by Michael Crichton – Here’s something you might not know: Michael Crichton was writing strong female protagonists before it was the cool thing to do.  Sure they probably all resemble Lara Croft, but I remember reading the scene where she literally carries Dr. Ian Malcolm out of the trailer hanging over the cliff on her back and I think I might have actually cried.  A) Because he was taken from us too soon, and B) because fuck you Steven Spielberg for changing that scene.  Harding spent this whole novel rescuing the boys and I just loved her for it.

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Circe of Circe by Madeline Miller – Circe spends a lot of the early pages being a doormat, but those later chapters when she figures out she doesn’t have to remain a doormat?  Ugh- loved every minute.

Yennefer of The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski – In the debate between Triss Merigold and Yenn, I’m always going to be team Yenn.  I love that between her and the supposedly emotionless Geralt, she manages to be the least emotional.  I don’t see this dynamic often in literature or anywhere but it never gets old for me.

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

Gaela of The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton – I had a lot of complaints about this book, and even some about Gaela, but damn it, it didn’t stop me from admiring her.  I can’t really explain why I loved her so much without spoilers – but I was cheering her on the whole time.  If the tragedy in this book had been that the antagonists won, I wouldn’t have shed a tear.

Thisbe Saneer of Terra Ignota by Ada Palmer – Something happens to Thisbe early on in these novels and we don’t actually get to spend a lot of time with her, but we do know that Mycroft is terrified of her.  Which says a lot considering Mycroft’s history.  Also- I really, really want a pair of her killer boots.

Madame D’Arouet of Terra Ignota by Ada Palmer – If Thisbe is the lady putting the knife in your enemy’s back – Madame is the woman framing you for it.  She just gets ickier as the books go on, but she’s never boring.

Gone Girl Gillian Flynn

Amy Dunne of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (major spoilers ahead) – So Amy is the one most readers love to hate, and while I sort of hated the ending too, I have to admit, I’m not sure Amy would be the same character if the book didn’t end that way.  I mean- she’s cunning enough to frame a man for a murder that, never mind he didn’t commit, but didn’t even happen.

That’s actually more than 10, and I feel like I could keep naming names, so we’ll stop here.  I do want to say that while my list has an excess of women you wouldn’t want to double-cross, I don’t think that’s the only way to portray a strong female protagonist, it’s just those types of characters I gravitate to most, regardless of gender.

What about you? Did you do a Top Ten Tuesday too?  Leave me a link below so I can check it out!

Top Ten Tuesday: Audiobook Narrators I wish I Had

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I might not make it to ten this week- but I’ll try.  This week’s topic was an Audio freebie.  To be honest, I’m a terrible listener.  Typically I save audiobooks for nonfiction or short stories.  That way if I miss a few things it’s not detracting from my enjoyment.  That’s all a very long way of saying: I struggled with this.

Before I figured out what a terrible listener I was, I considered an Audible membership.  As I was checking out what they had on offer, I discovered Sean Bean’s name as a narrator for an abridged version of one of the Richard Sharpe novels.  I would have been all over that book… if it had been the full version.  But it got me to thinking about how enhancing the audiobook experience would be if there was an honest to goodness actor behind the voices. Thus my topic: Actors I wish were readers.

Sean Bean Richard Sharpe

Sean Bean.  He narrated that first Richard Sharpe novel because he actually played Richard Sharpe in a miniseries (above).  I’ve yet to read or watch either.  But I would really, really love if he would narrate Cornwell’s other series- The Saxon Stories.

Roger Clark.  If you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption 2 yet: A) go play it! (what’s wrong with you?) and B) the voice acting is phenomenal.  Imagine my surprise when the cowboy extraordinaire got up to accept the award for best voice acting and his accent was… Irish.  (What?!)  I’ve never read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, but RDR2 made me want to read it.  Even better if it was narrated by Arthur Morgan himself.

Nolan North. Anytime I pop a new game into my PS4, fire it up, and hear North’s voice, it immediately puts a smile on my face.  I would recognize his voice pretty much anywhere.  To me, he will always, always be Nathan Drake, but I’d love for him to extend his talents elsewhere.  I think he’d make a fantastic Jackal of The Grey Bastards, even though it wasn’t my favorite book.  Otherwise I’d love him for him to read any book with Drake-esque characters.

Roger Craig Smith. If this name is not familiar, don’t feel too bad.  I had to look it up.  He is the voice actor for Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio Auditore da Firenze.  Revelations wasn’t even a good game, but it still managed to make me ugly cry.  If someone could go ahead and hire Smith to read the entire Greatcoats series to me… That’d be great.  Thanks.

Claudia Black.  She plays both Morrigan in Dragon Age 1 and 3, as well as Chloe Frazer in Uncharted, and her voice is heavenly.  It’s soothing and sultry and leant itself to two of my favorite female video game characters of all time.  As for books I’d like her to read, really anything, but I think she might be good for Circe by Madeline Miller or The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.

Commodus

Joaquin Phoenix.  There are too many reasons to list here as to why I adore Joaquin so much.  Of course, my favorite performance will forever be: Emperor Commodus from Gladiator.  I’d love for him to read The Iliad or The Odyssey, or any of Shakespeare’s tragedies.  Hey- I can dream right?

Honorable mentions: Idris Elba (I wanted to add him, but I couldn’t think of a good book to pair him with, something punchy and hard hitting and set in London), Matthew McConaughey (probably any John Grisham novel ever written but I’ve never read Grisham), James Earl Jones because why not?, and Gideon Emery (the voice of Fenrir in Dragon Age 2).

What about you?  Do you have the perfect narrator for a book?

 

 

 

Circe by Madeline Miller

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Rating:  ★★★★★

Blurb (from GoodReads): In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus….To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

 

This may very well be the last book I have time to finish this year, and I am not sad for it. This book deserves all the praise that has been heaped on it, and I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical.

There aren’t any words I could say to do it justice. The blurb doesn’t do it any justice at all because it was the blurb that put me off it for so long. Truthfully- it just seemed boring.

It’s not. This isn’t so much a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey, (though in some ways it is) but a saga of Circe, the least loved of all the gods, the least powerful, the least pretty, the least wanted. Time and time again she is thrown low and overcomes it. That is not to say she is without faults- she is far from perfect. But by the end of it, regardless of what she may have done, you can’t help but cheer for her.

The writing is lush and beautiful.  It is everything I would have wanted from a Greek retelling.  It has a sweep-you-away quality that just makes you feel like you’re sitting by a roaring fire on a cold winter night listen to your grandmother tell stories of her childhood.

The characters were also fantastic.  Circe was my favorite and a lot of that is due to the time we spend with her.  Other characters flit in and out of Circe’s life, and they all have their own voices and characterizations, but it is harder to connect with them since they might have only a few chapters they were involved in.

Aside from Circe, there is plenty of other greek mythology to go around. There is the birth of the minotaur, Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, Jason and the Argonauts and the golden fleece and his wife, the witch, Medea. There is story upon story upon story, all beautifully and carefully told. Many of them were easily recognizable and they all brought a smile to my face.

I have been hesitant to try Miller’s The Song of Achilles because I enjoyed The Silence of the Girls so much, but now it’s become a must-read.  If you have ever enjoyed any Greek tale at all- pick this up. You will not be disappointed.