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!

Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples & Characters in Fiction

In honor of Pride Month, I wanted to do a post celebrating my favorite LGBT+ characters and coupes in fiction.  Some of these books were not my favorite (and some of them are)- but if there was one thing that stood out about them, it was the characters.

The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt

Captain Callie & Dr. Elena Oh – The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt: I do remember the beginning of this relationship felt a little forced, but by the end I was rooting for this couple all the way.  I’m more fond of this book for the fun level than the romantic factor- but The Wrong Stars is such a rollicking good space romp I don’t think it matters.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang Tensorate 1

Akeha – The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J.Y. Yang:  It’s been awhile since I read this, but one thing that stands out to me when I think of it, is that I remember how heartbroken I was for Akeha throughout. IIRC, in this world, children are brought up genderless until they choose the gender they want to be.  Akeha struggles with the choice, because not only does he not want to choose, but when he thinks about choosing, he realizes he’s not leaning the way everyone expect’s him to.  This is a quick novella, and well worth reading.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Niclays & Jannart – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: I wanted to put Ead and Sabran here, but one of my complaints about this book was that Ead and Sabran never felt like they had chemistry together, while it was very obvious how much Niclays cared about Jannart.  I won’t get too spoilery- but Niclays reminiscing about Jannart was one of the highlights of this book.

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Tracker & Mossi – Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James: Admittedly, the romance between Tracker and Mossi is a very, very small piece of this book.  This couple works because Mossi provides so much balance to Tracker.  He breaks up Tracker’s icy exterior and makes the reader realize that yes, Tracker does have a heart somewhere behind his violent shell.  If James ever wrote a novel/novella exploring this relationship in more depth- I’d 100% read it, despite the issues I had with this book.

Mycroft & Saladin – Terra Ignota series by Ada Palmer: Someday I’ll make a list Terra Ignota isn’t on.  Today is not that day.  Mycroft and Saladin are one of the more twisted couples I have on this list… and I’m not telling you why because it’s a huge spoiler.  We don’t often get to see them together (Mycroft’s Servicer duties and general genius keep him busy) but their relationship feels very Shakespearean.

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Jesper & Wylan – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Like Mossi & Tracker above- I feel like these two balance each other out.  Jesper’s a loud, in your face, hot mess and Wylan is quiet and cool headed.  I loved every scene they were in.

Ariel Corta – Luna series by Ian McDonald: Ariel Corta is one of my favorite female characters in literature ever.  She’s ambitious and cunning, and she prints a killer wardrobe.  She’s on this list because she’s one of the first ace characters I encountered in fiction.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Omat & Brandr – The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky: I love Omat & Brandr because neither one of them is your typical protagonist.  Omat is dealing with his own identity issues.  His gender doesn’t match his physical body, and internally he struggles to come to terms with that.  Brandr is a Viking with a soft side. Between the two of them, Omat takes the lead, and Brandr is perfectly happy with that.  He never questions Omat’s choices, never challenges them. He accepts Omat as he is and that’s what I loved about them.

Guilty Pleasures Anita Blake by Laurell K Hamilton

Jean Claude & Asher – Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton: I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I have read these books, considering the direction Hamilton took them in, but please know that the first ten(?) books are actually pretty good (and everything after that would make E.L.James blush).  From the moment I met Jean Claude & Asher I adored them as a couple.  Asher is physically scarred and a thoroughly damaged character because of it, and JC is the only person who’s ever really able to make him feel better about it.

Ninth Step Station by Malka Older Fran Wilde Jacqueline Koyanagi Curtis Chen

Detective Miyako – Ninth Step Station from Serial Box: I haven’t actually finished this season of Ninth Step Station, but Detective Miyako has grown on me so much.  She’s smart but grounded.  I find her much more relatable than Emma.  Her relationships don’t come into play so much- but I wanted to mention her anyway.

Do you have any favorite characters or couples on the list?  Anything else you can recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite books of the past decade

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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.

First- a belated Happy Memorial Day weekend to all my American friends!  I hope you enjoyed it!  I’m sorry to kick this week off with a T10T when I haven’t posted a single review in weeks, but it was a hectic weekend for my family, filled with grilling, guacamole, sunshine and sprinklers.  My huge library book haul seems to be doing the trick as I will have a couple reviews for you all later this week.

Anyway, I’m looking at this topic and relieved because it seems easier than some of the last topics we’ve had this month, but I’m also wondering if I have a favorite for each year of the past ten.  I guess we’ll find out!

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

2019: The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky.  I’ve read significantly less 2019 releases than probably most other book bloggers- but I don’t foresee this changing.  I read this all in mostly one sitting. Not bad for a 500+ page novel! Honorable mentions to: The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, and Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald.

The Mere Wife Maria Dahvana Headley

2018: The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley.  I also haven’t read that many 2018 releases apparently.  In my review, I only gave this 4.5 stars because the ending disappointed me, but months later I find myself craving more fierce, unapologetic fiction like this book, and wishing for ANYTHING with a similar voice. It really does deserve five stars. Honorable mentions: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, and The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark.

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2017: The Moon and the Other by John Kessel.  I think this is another that I gave 4.5 stars to instead of 5.  My reason for including this and The Mere Wife (above), is that in the end, I’ve held these novels to a higher standard.  If we’re going by literary accomplishment, I have more respect for them than I do for some of my 5 star reads for 2017.  The Moon and the Other is beautifully written, metaphoric, entertaining, and manages to give lots of food for thought. Honorable mentions: The Will to Battle and Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer, and Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell.

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2016: Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer.  This is a weird one for me.  I absolutely will not recommend it to anyone to read, but it remains as a favorite.  I think if you can read it with buddies who can help you understand the intricacies of the plot and the world building, you’ll get more out of it.  If you are patient, this is one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read. Honorable Mentions: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

2015: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  I suspect I’m not the only person to slot this for their 2015 favorite.  SoC is the reason I will still occasionally pick up a YA novel despite being disappointed with most other YA offerings (it’s not them, it’s me).  It’s dark and gritty with just the right touch of romance. Honorable mentions: The Just City by Jo Walton and Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell.

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2014: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. These books are fast paced and the characters and their banter are fabulous.  There’s not a lot of magic- but a little, and I’m more than okay with that.  Fun fact: the author is an actual fencer, and his dueling scenes are better for it. Honorable mentions: Revival and Mr. Mercedes both by Stephen King.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

2013: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.  This is about a vampire from Christmasland.  I know that’s odd.  Don’t question it.  Just go with it.  Honorable mention: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie and The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

Gone Girl Gillian Flynn

2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I know Amy Dunne is a sociopath, but she’s a disciplined and brilliant sociopath.  For some reason- along the with The Mere Wife, I’ve been thinking a lot about Gone Girl and wishing there were more stories like this available.  Honorable Mention: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson and The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.

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2011: Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. Much like Amy Dunne, I find Jorg to be a very compelling as a character.  Also- this is just a delightfully wicked book. Honorable mention: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.

Sh*t my dad says by Justin Halpern

2010: Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern.  So this is a weird place to end up.  Anyway- apparently I didn’t read much and definitely wasn’t tracking my reading in 2010.  Don’t let that stop you from checking out this hilarious book. Justin’s dad is definitely a guy I wouldn’t mind drinking a beer with.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“On [Justin’s] Response to Having [His] Tires Slashed ‘Oh, don’t go to the goddamned cops. They’re busy with real shit. I don’t want my tax dollars going to figuring out who thinks you’re an asshole.'”

And that’s it!  What about you?  What are your favorite books of the past ten years?