Top Ten Characters I Want As My Classmates

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where a different theme is posted each week and book bloggers respond. This week’s theme is: Back To School Freebie, where it’s a bit more opened ended, as long as you tie your list into a school theme in some fashion. I wanted to write about some of the characters who I’d love to go to school with, whether it’s because they’d get into antics with me, save me from them, are amazing storytellers/nerds or would teach me better than the professors could.

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  • Hermione Granger
    • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
    • I mean, it probably comes to no surprise that it’s no school worth attending without the presence of Hermione Granger. Her intelligence would keep me humble, her love for books and ability to read would be a challenge to keep up, her humor is something I can appreciate and I think we’d get along really well.
  • Kip Guile
    • Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks
    • Kip is the outcast, the new kid at school, who I’d want to bring into my group of friends. Smart but not overly so, sassy to a fantastic degree, with a fun balance of brave and stupid, he’d be someone I want by my side, as he’d make the day just a little bit brighter.
  • Kvothe
    • Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
    • If you’ve read Rothfuss, then you know Kvothe is as much of a “duh” choice as Hermione. He’s smart and talented and will outshine anyone in class, and many people might find that annoying. Personally, however, I’d admire him and want to learn everything I could from him.
  • Wayne
    • Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
    • You know Wayne would be the start of every prank and practical joke and I want in on the hilarity.
  • Bob the Skull
    • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
    • A soul stuck inside a skull with raunchy humor and the inability to shut up. Um, yes please.
  • Alanna
    • The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
    • Alanna was the main character in the books that first really got me hooked on reading. You can bet that she’d be one of the characters I’d want to continue chasing that passion with.
  • Astrid
    • The Chaos Quintet by Christopher Husberg
    • Astrid is a vampire who’s lived a lot longer than any humans have and her snark is my favorite characteristic; though her long lifespan and wealth of knowledge being contained in a child’s body is a juxtaposition that serves as a close second. I’d love to sit next to her in class and listen to her own every professor we had.
  • John Watson
    • Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • A knowledgeable gentleman. Could you ask for a better classmate?
  • Arlen
    • The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
    • Arlen has lived a very difficult, yet also very amazing, life. His perspective would be something I’d love to learn from, spending every lunch period enthralled by his stories.
  • Frodo
    • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • He’s known as a lot of things: The Ring Bearer, the savior of Middle-Earth, amongst many others. But the fact that he loves to read is something you can’t forget, as well as the fact that he’d be my best friend in school, passing notes written in Tengwar.

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I hope you enjoyed this list! Let me know which characters you’d love to sit through school with in the comments below and don’t forget to head over to The Broke and The Bookish to see all the other fantastic memes from this week!

Read on!

Breath of Fire

Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet was a whirlwind and in the best way.

**Slight spoilers abound after this line**

I really enjoyed the first book of the trilogy, A Promise of Fire (you can read my review here), which I embarrassedly started reading without realizing it was a romance, which did make for a really fun surprise. This time around, I was ready to witness the romance between the couple I’d come to adore so much.

And then I read the first chapter.

I’m one of those readers of romance who absolutely hates it when the main couple has any sort of conflict whatsoever. Especially considering, for so long, I read romance novels to fill a void in my own, non-existent love life (I know, sad, but true), when the couple fought or reach that “threatening-conflict” stage, I always hated that part; because dammit, if my love life was going to suck, at least let me pretend to be in love with X dashing character without having that love threatened! So, naturally, when I started reading Breath of Fire, my stomach immediately twisted in knots and I was completely unprepared to go deal with that kind of conflict in the first chapter.

Just as I was equally unprepared to deal with what happened in chapters two and three.

Let’s just say that reading those (and other sections) while sitting at work was probably not the best move.

Flushed face. Accelerated breath. Chills everywhere. Amongst other things.

I’m sure you’re catching my drift, here. This is a romance, after all.

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Needless to say, I still continued to read it while at work, being turned on by Griffon be damned. I had a book to devour. Which I pretty much did, reading in 100+ page chunks. My favorite aspect of this series is that the balance between romance plot and fantasy plot is done well. I’m just as interested in the romance between Cat and Griffon (which evolves in this book in some fantastic ways, particularly when you look at that last chapter) as I am in figuring out Cat’s destiny and the power bid going on between Sinta and Fisa.

Though that balance and blend between both plots is probably my favorite aspect of the book, there are so many other aspects I adore, as well. Griffon. The incorporation of mythology. Griffon. The banter between everyone in Alpha Sinta. Griffon. The growing familiarity we get of Griffon’s family and Cat’s association (and role) with them. Griffon. The little bits of humor slipped in, especially in terms of word play or the style that the book was written. Griffon. The way that Cat overthinks like I do, making her so relatable.

Have I mentioned I also have a major crush on Griffon?

I will say that although I enjoyed this book thoroughly, I did find some moments a bit cheesy and sometimes, I thought the dialogue between Cat and Griffon to be a bit…much (then again, I’ve never had a man love me that much, so maybe I’m just inexperienced). But other than that, I really had no complaints and thought this was a strong follow up to an already really strong debut. I’m jazzed for the final book, Heart of Fire, to come out in January (which is, by the way, not soon enough, especially after that teaser provided in the back of the book) and I’m pretty sure I’ll be looking up Bouchet’s next series after this one. You should check these out. I bet you’ll enjoy them.

Read on!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Burning White

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: The Burning White by Brent Weeks
Publication Date: Fall 2018 by Orbit Books

Stripped of both magical and political power, the people he once ruled told he’s dead, and now imprisoned in his own magical dungeon, former Emperor Gavin Guile has no prospect of escape. But the world faces a calamity greater than the Seven Satrapies has ever seen… and only he can save it.

As the armies of the White King defeat the Chromeria and old gods are born anew, the fate of worlds will come down to one question: Who is the Lightbringer?

I absolutely love The Lightbringer Series. It’s probably one of my favorite book series of all time. So I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m absolutely jazzed for the final installment, especially because while I still loved The Blood Mirror, it felt more like a Part One of the end, with the ending feeling a little lackluster to me (especially compared to the ending of The Broken Eye, which floored me to the point of being stuck frozen in my chair for ten minutes after finishing the book). So I’ve been particularly eager for the next book, which finally has a title (I can’t wait for the cover reveal), to experience the epic conclusion of such a fantastic series.

Read on!

Top Ten Recommendations for Dashing Duos and Sassy Sidekicks

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where a different theme is posted each week and book bloggers respond. This week’s theme is: Top Ten Book Recommendations for ___________, where each of us gets to choose what category we want to discuss. I choose to highlight some of my favorite secondary characters.

Everybody loves a good sidekick. And for me, I’ve found that some of my favorite books become so esteemed, in my opinion, because of the surrounding cast of characters and how they interact with not only our main character, but the rest of the world and the conflicts they find themselves facing. So why not give them a little love?

This list is by no means in any order nor complete. It’s simply the characters that stuck out to me immediately (with a little memory help from Goodreads).

Butters and Mouse
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

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Why: The infamous rallying cry of Butters–“Polka will never die!”–plus Mouse’s goofy antics yet amazing prowess makes it hard to not fall in love with these two throughout the series. Someone has to keep Dresden company.

Deet
Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja

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Why: Deet is the [EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE]. This is a character who has stuck with me since I read this book and I can’t help but be attached to the little droid.

The Cast of Middle-earth
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Why: I don’t think this even needs a rationale, but it’s hard to think about a great cast of characters and not pay homage to Tolkien and one of the best stories of all time. Just sayin’.

Wayne
Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

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Why: I think Wayne’s character was the perfect complement to Wax and their relationship made this series.

Rowl
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

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Why: The second animal to make this list, but by no means that does signal that Rowl is somehow lesser. Trust me, he’ll correct you in a heartbeat.

Logan Gyre
The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

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Why: Logan was such a complex character and he was forced to deal with one of the most visceral scenes I’ve read in literature. Logan’s stuck in my memory whether he wants to be there or not.

Niko
The Cal Leandros Series by Rob Thurman

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Why: His calm demeanor and his unending loyalty and support for Cal–not to mention all of his quirks–makes Niko one of my favorites.

Gentleman’s Bastards
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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Why: I don’t think there is a band of characters I love as much as I loved Locke and his company of Gentleman Bastards.

John, Jack and Charles
The Chronicles of Imaginarium Geographica by James A. Owen

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Why: It’s been ages since I read this series (and I still need to finish the last two books), but the relationship between the three central characters was always so enjoyable and so organic.

Kaladin
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

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Why: You may argue that Kaladin is one of the main characters (because he is) so he doesn’t count, but considering there is such a large cast of characters in Stormlight, I’m going to count him anyway (especially considering so many in this list loops the main characters into the sidekick grouping). But I love Kaladin and I will always love Kaladin.

Bonus: Tibs
The Scorched Continent by Megan E. O’Keefe 

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Why: Though he’s listed as a bonus character, Tibbs and his relationship with Detan is the reason this list exists, because they are the first duo I thought of.

Any amazing sidekicks that I left out (hint: trust me, there are tons)? Any favorites that you have? Tell me who and why down below in the comments!

Read on!

A Monster Calls

Two of my closest friends told me to read this book weeks months ago and one of them even let me borrow it so I’d have no excuse not to read it. It’s still no surprise that weeks months after my friend gave me the copy, I still didn’t touch it. I even carried it around with me with every intention of reading it, yet time always slipped away from me.

Last weekend, I finally sat down and read it.

In one sitting.

The one sitting part isn’t impressive, like it would be with a 600+ page fantasy epic. This book was only 200 pages, so that’s an easy feat. Why reading it in one sitting is important is because I literally tried to put it down multiple times and yet I couldn’t. I was curled up in bed, 100 pages in, and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I was helping my family pack the next day, it was already 1am and I was tired.

Yet the pages kept turning; kept turning until I started swallowing sobs and sniffing quietly to not wake up the dog at the end of my bed; kept turning until it was 2 in the morning and the book was finished and I was just feeling so many emotions that the only thing I could think to do was curl into a ball and pass out.

It was a fantastic story. A heart-warming story. But it also was a hard story to read, because of how well it captured the reality of battling cancer.

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The puking. The tiredness. The hair loss. The way it looks like a person is fading away right before your eyes and you are powerless to help. The chapped lips. The smiles that don’t reach their eyes. The tiptoeing around difficult topics and avoiding terrifying questions, dreading the answers.

Ness captured this all too well.

So it was hard for me to read. And my Mom is a survivor. I know this much: I’m not sure, if the monster showed up at my window during that time, if I could have been as strong as Conor. I would have wanted to. But if things turned out differently; if my reality had mirrored Conor’s, I’m not sure if I could have been as strong as he was. Especially if I was as young as he was, in a family that wasn’t entirely whole, but wasn’t entirely broken, either.

Yeah, this book was as good as my friends said it was. And the art, even more captivating. I’m glad I read it. If you’re looking for an inspiring, heart-wrenching (yet also heart-warming) story to spend a few hours cuddled up reading, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay (and inspired by the original idea of Siobhan Dowd) might be the book for you. Just bring some tissues.

Read on!

Invasive

Warning: if you decide to read this book outside while you’re laying out by the pool and you’re only a third of the way through it and then you glance down and notice ants marching underneath your chair and then suddenly you find yourself only reading the book indoors, you should not feel ashamed.

You also shouldn’t feel ashamed if you accidentally flinch every time a new chapter starts and you just so happen to read those pages a little quicker, just in case those printed ants suddenly have the power to come off the page and then rip pieces of your face off.

But Nicole, they’re just ants. Ants don’t

You obviously haven’t read Invasive by Chuck Wendig.

Yes, they can. 

*ahem*

So, I discovered this book in a sorta roundabout way. I stumbled upon Wendig’s blog, which I immediately fell in love with. There’s hardly a week that goes by when I don’t share one of his posts and wonder how he manages to write directly to me and what I needed to hear. I started following him on Twitter and had the same effect, though I suck at social media, so I didn’t follow that as often. But one day, I remember him writing about anxiety, replying to a comment from a reader who was discussing a book he’d written, called Invasive. This was months ago and I wish I could find the comment exactly, to reference it. But it was enough that I wanted to read that book. I wanted to experience what those other readers were experiencing. Honestly, I wanted some advice on how to navigate and control anxiety and I thought, hell, maybe Invasive can teach me.

Granted, it took months before I made that happen, but a trip to the library and three days later and I can successfully claim that I’ve finally, indeed, read Invasive. 

It wasn’t what I imagined it to be.

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Though I can’t recall the conversation on Twitter precisely that piqued my interest, I assumed that the anxiety the character dealt with–which, in this case, is Hannah Stander–was similar to my own. A naive assumption, because anxiety comes in so many different forms and demons. The kind that Hannah dealt with–one that was ingrained because of her survivalist parents and is brutal enough to cause panic attacks–is a kind I have never experienced and one I’m not super familiar with. But as I kept reading, it’s also the kind I can’t imagine trying to cope with, because it’s intense. It’s difficult.

Yet Hannah did.

That, in and of itself, was inspiring as hell.

Because I was intrigued about how Hannah dealt with and managed her anxiety, I didn’t really know much about the plot before I picked up the book. I had no idea it’d be a murder investigation surrounding genetically modified ants. Yet it was a great break from my traditional epic fantasy and light science fiction niche.

Honestly, I didn’t truly get into the book until the ants started killing people.

Don’t get me wrong: the first third of the book was still great. Hell, I enjoyed this entire book thoroughly and will definitely be taking a look at Wendig’s other series. But once the investigation switched from figuring out the clues and piecing together the culprit(s) to being a battle of survival, told in glorious, gruesome detail, I was hooked. I flew through the last 200ish pages like a fiend (even to the point where, when I had to go to work and only had 20 pages left, I snuck the book back out once I got in my cubicle so I could finish it. Proud to report that I only nearly got caught, because I’m a sneaky sneak thief).

It was also written in such a way that you can’t help but fly through the pages. The shorter chapters, the breaks within the chapters, the short sentences, the well-tuned balance between in-scene description and fast-paced dialogue; all of those elements together, paired with a compelling plot and a fascinating focal point through Hannah, made this book practically impossible not to inhale.

It also, inevitably, inspired both an appreciation and a fear of ants. I also experienced formication at least a dozen times.

Including now.

Dammit.

I highly recommend this book, friends. Just, maybe read it inside in a sealed room while you’re covering head to toe in anti-fungal spray.

Just to be safe.

Read on!

Waiting on Wednesday: Nanoshock

waitingonwednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we readers salivate over the books we wish were on our bookshelves yesterday.

This week’s victim: Nanoshock by K.C. Alexander
Publication Date: November 2nd, 2017 by Angry Robot

As Riko works to rebuild her shattered cred, following the events of Necrotech, she’s stuck fighting off every jerk looking to raise their standing on the streets. But when a corp with some serious influence ups the stakes, Riko’s going to have to take the fight to them, put this nonsense down for good. Nothing is what it seems when corp politics are in play, and another necro blight right where her answers are buried might very well be the end of the life she didn’t know she’d borrowed.

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Nanoshock is a sequel to Necrotech, a book that I reviewed and was positively awed by. It was a book that wasn’t necessarily within my comfort zone (i.e., it dealt with some tech that was a bit over my head, being that I’ve just recently gotten into the science fiction genre, and the main character was completely my opposite in every way, yet I still sympathized with her) yet I still enjoyed the hell out of it. So needless to say, I’m pretty stoked to see what happens in the next installment of Riko’s adventures and who else (foolishly) tries to get in her way. Also, it gets published a day before my birthday, so that’s pretty freakin’ neat.

Can we also just adore that cover for a second? If that doesn’t scream badass motha-fucka coming through, I don’t know what does. And personally, I could use a few more badass women in my life.

Read on!