Top 10


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Most Recent Reads.

I’m changing the prompt to the one Wyrd and Wonder has: Top Ten Recent Fantasy Reads. I was shocked when I looked at my lists of recent reads and realized that I haven’t read much fantasy. About half of these are from this year and the rest from 2020, in order from the newest to the duology I read last summer.

1, Trish Heinrich: Fire&Ice

She’s now writing as T. L. Heinrich. This is a superhero book set in 1960s USA. The main character is a black woman so the story deals with racism and sexism, in addition to her difficulties with being the daughter of a mob boss and being attracted to a police officer and having to juggle a secret identity as a vigilante. This is the second book in the series. It can be read as a stand-alone but you’ll get more out of it if you read Fahrenheit’s Ghost first.

2, Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Moon Maid

Technically, this is science fantasy or planetary romance. But it has people living in the inside of the Moon, so I consider it fantasy. If you liked Burroughs’ Barsoom books, I think you’ll like this short pulp read, too.

3, S. A. Chakraborty: Empire of Gold

The final book in the Daevabad trilogy. I loved the first two books which are heavily influenced by Middle Eastern mythos. They’re lush and very political fantasy books. The final book didn’t live up the others, but it was a good ending.

4, Kim Newman: Anno Dracula

This book has a very interesting premise: Queen Victoria has married Count Dracula and now vampires are taking over English society. It has a strong atmosphere and fascinating setting.

5, Kim Harrison, Melissa Marr, Jeanine Frost, Vicki Pettersson, Jocelynn Drake: Unbound

This is a collection of novellas and short stories set in these writers’ own worlds, except for Marr. If you enjoy the series, I think you’ll enjoy the short stories. But if you haven’t read any of these, it’s not a good place to start.

6, Nikki Haverstock: There’s no Business like Mage Business

The third book in the Casino Witch humorous fantasy cozy mysteries. About a year ago, Ella’s dad was murdered and she found out that she’s a mage. Her father’s death is still a mystery, and she has had to adjust to a different life. One of them is her cat familiar. Another is a lot of practicing with magic and third is solving murders.

7, Jacqueline Carey: Starless

A stand-alone epic fantasy which follows Khai from their early years as a warrior monk in training to their final destiny. It has a lush, rich history and deep characters. The writing style is also lush and beautiful.

8, Joseph Nassise: the Heretic

The first book in the Templar Chronicle urban fantasy series. Cade Williams in the Knight Commander of his own elite team of Knights Templar. The Echo team has a reputation for getting things done, but Cade himself is called the Heretic and many of the deeply religious knights fear him and think he’s damned. This is a very action-packed urban fantasy book.

9 and 10, T. Kingfisher: the Clockwork Boys and the Wonder Engine

This is a duology, or rather a very large book chopped in two. This was probably the funniest duology I read last year. A forger, a fallen paladin, an assassin, and a scholar are sent on pain of death to find out how to stop the mechanical enemies of their country. Hilarity ensues!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Animals in Books.

I haven’t read many books with animals recently so these are some of my favorite animals:

1, The jhereg from Steven Brust’s Jhereg and the others in the series

Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series has a variety of fantasy animals. Vlad’s familiar is Loiosh. I don’t think you can call Loiosh an animal because he’s intelligent. In general, the jhereg are flying lizards and scavengers.

2, Meeka from Shawn McGuire Whispering Pines cozy mystery series

Jayne O’Shea is a former detective who is drawn into solving cozy mysteries in the small and quirky Whispering Pine town. Her service animal is the West Highland White Terrier Meeka. Meeka is a former cadaver and drug dog, but she has been trained to assist with Jayne’s emotional problems. They go almost everywhere together.

3, Pantalaimon from Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass

Pantalaimon is Lyra’s daemon in the series. Every human has their own animal daemon in the series.

4, Talat from Robin McKinley’s Hero and the Crown

Talat is a retired warhorse. The main character is a headstrong girl, Aerin, whose father owns Talat. Aerin manages to befriend the proud horse.

5, Tim from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five

Tim is a large mix-breed dog who adores his owner, the tomboy George(tte).

6, Temeraire from Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series

This series has lots of gigantic dragons who can easily carry a whole company of soldiers. Temeraire is the main character and, yes, a dragon.

7, Woola by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Barsoom, Mars, is full of strange creatures. Perhaps one of the most endearing is Woola, a six-legged Barsoomian dog who becomes very loyal to John.

8, The Black Stallion from Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series

This was one of my favorite series when I was growing up.

9, Patagonia by Nikki Haverstock

Patagonia is a gigantic cat who is the familiar to Ella who has just become a witch at the beginning of “Of Mages and Murders”, the first book in a humorous cozy fantasy mystery series.

10. Willie Garwin’s elephants in the Modesty Blaise comic

I can’t end the list without mentioning these. Willie is a part owner in a circus and he loves and cares for the three elephants there. They’re also involved in a couple of Modesty and Willie’s adventures.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Characters Whose Job I Wish I Had.

1, Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next is a literary detective which means that she can go into books! Who wouldn’t want to do that?

2, Irene Winters in Genevieve Cogman’s Secret Library series

Irene Winters has one of the the coolest jobs ever: she buys or steals books from different dimensions. She’s also a spy and problem solver.

3, Ororo Munroe/ Storm by Chris Claremont and various others in the X-Men comics

Especially if I got her powers to go with the job.

4, Amelia Peabody-Emerson by Elizabeth Peters in the Amelia Peabody series.

She’s a amateur archeologist and an amateur sleuth in Victorian times. She also has a wonderful husband and son to support her.

5, Pyanfar Chanur by C. J. Cherryh in Pride of Chanur

Pyanfar is the captain of a small merchant starship, Pride of Chanur. Her six crewmembers are all women from her own family and most are experienced space travelers.

6, Will Laurence by Naomi Novik in the Temeraire series

The captains of huge war dragons aren’t well thought of in English society, but they have wonderful cameraderie and of course, the companionship of intelligent dragons.

7, Elma York by Mary Robinette Kowal in the Lady Astronaut of Mars series

Elma York is a brilliant woman but she lives in 1960s US which means that she’s constantly put down and belittled even though she’s a former WASP pilot and now a calculator for the space program. But she doesn’t allow the men to stop her reaching her dream: to become an astronaut.

8, Penric by Lois McMaster Bujold

In Bujold’s fantasy novellas, Penric is a scholar and a sorcerer. He has a demon inside him and the demon can work magic.

9, Lady Sybil Ramkin by Terry Pratchett

Pratchett has quite a few very interesting characters and it was difficult to choose from them. Sybil is very high born and very wealthy. She doesn’t have a job, as such, but rescues dragons. But the best thing about her is her relentless kindness.

10, Isaac Vainio by Jim C. Hines

Isaac is a libriomancer: he can pull out objects out of books. And that means fantasy and SF books, too! He’s a secret agent in a secret organizion dedicated to protecting humans from supernatural threats.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud.

Many of the authors I love have at least some humor in their books. However, many have an understated humor, such as Lois McMaster Bujold. Their humor isn’t laugh out loud variety, at least to me. However, I read quite a few very funny books, too.

1, Terry Pratchett

Pretty much all of his books are laugh out loud variety to me so it’s hard to single out any of them. If anyone is trying to figure out a book to start with, I’d recommend Guards! Guards! for the City Guards and Wyrd Sisters for the witches.

2, Wodehouse

Another favorite, especially the Jeeves books.

3, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fford

The Thursday Next series has a lot of funny things, starting with the wacky alternate reality where Thursday lives and including the books where she can visit, as a literary detective.

4, Steven Brust: Jhereg

Brust’s Vlad Taltos series is full of sardonic banter between the main character and, well, pretty much everyone else, including his familiar, Loiosh.

5, Martha Wells: All Systems Red

Another series which specializes in sardonic humor, the Murderbot often makes me laugh.

6, Andy Weir: the Martian

If Mark Watney didn’t have a great sense of humor, I don’t think he would have survived alone on Mars.

7, A. Lee Martinez: Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain

This is a silly and funny stand-alone book about Emperor Mollusk, the former Warlord of Terra.

8, John Scalzi: The Android’s Dream/ Redshirt

Scalzi also writers funny books. Redshirts is a parody about Star Trek. In the Android’s Dream, farting starts an interstellar war because an alien race has incredibly sensitive noses.

9, Nikki Haverstock: Of Mages and Murders

The Casino Witch Mysteries is another first in a funny series. After Ella Ramono’s father died, she realized that she’s a witch. Her problems are just starting.

10, Lisa Shearin: Magic Lost, Trouble Found

Raine Benares comes from a family of crooks and criminals but she’s trying to be an honest Seeker. Of course, things go wrong.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Goals and Hopes for 2021.

Like everyone, I have lots of hopes and dreams for 2021. Since this is a book blog I’ll list out my book related hopes.

1, Reading at least 24 books from my TBR

I joined the Mount TBR challenge again and I’m hoping to read at leat 24 TBR books, hopefully plenty more.

2, Reading at least 30 books and comics with action heroines

This one I’m hoping will be a easy one, thanks to my Marvel Unlimited subscribtion

3, Reading at least 14 action/adventure books

I again joined the Action/Adventure Bingo Card challenge at GoodReads and I’m itching to read about spies, lost worlds, mysteries, hot environments, travel, and lots more.

4, Reading at leats 12 collections worth of Marvel comics

Another easy one, I hope.

5, Read ten books for the Pick&Mix challenge

These are going to be SFF books not in my TBR, mostly audio and ebooks, I think.

6, Getting rid of books I won’t reread

I have loads of books I don’t think I’m going to reread so I need to harden my heart and take them to a second hand book store.

7, Comment more on blogs

Often I read and enjoy posts but don’t end up commenting. For example, I really enjoyed Lynn’s December countdown on at her blog. I want to change that and comment more.

8, I want to read some specific books this year

Obviously, I want to read all of my books, right now. (If someone invents a way to just dump them in my brain, let me know.) But there are some I really want to read, like Goldman’s Princess Bride and Kowal’s the Relentless Moon. And Newman’s Anno Dracula but am I currently reading it.

I will also continue to write. I’m aiming for 12 short stories this year.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2020.

I read less than usual this year but that’s because I’ve concentrated on my writing. Also, most of the books I’ve read this year have been solid three or four stars so they were very entertaining but with only a few stand-outs. I did manage to read or listen and review 55 books and 38 comics. Also, I loathed the WordPress change. I want the classic design back. 😦

1, Martha Wells: Network Effect

The first full length novel in the Murderbot series and I loved it to bits.

2, Alison Morton: Insurrectio and Alison Morton: Retalio

Yes, they’re two books but Retalio continues were Insurrection left off, so I must include them both. Great alternate reality thrillers with a headstrong and independent female main character, who is in her forties.

4, T. Kingfisher: The Clockwork Boys and T. Kingfisher: The Wonder Engine

This is a really big book cut in half. It’s a fantasy comedy with a cursed ex-paladin, a burglar, an assassin, and a naive young scholar as the main characters.

5, Alex White: A Big Ship at the Edge of Universe

This was a fast-paced, fun space adventure that mixed magic and sciences fiction

6, Heist with Michael Caine

This is actually a series of podcasts about real life heists around the world. Fascinating stuff.

7, Trevol Swift: Justicar Jhee and the Cursed Abbey

This is a murder mystery in a fantasy world, where the characters aren’t human but feline. The main character is a middle-ages magistrate who stumbles on murders in an abbey.

Comics

This year I started a huge reread of Modesty Blaise comics. I love them almost as much now as when I was quite a bit younger. So I had far better luck with reading comics this year than books.

Peter O’Donnell and Neville Colvin: the Scarlet Maiden

It’s very hard to pick just one favorite MB album. But I’ll go with the Scarlet Maiden simply because that name story is one of my favorites because of the whimsical elements.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Terra Incognita

I can’t resist a bit of Terran Empire every now and then. These stories focus on Mirror Universe Barcley who is undercover in the usual Enterprise and they were quite entertaining.

Takuma Morishige: My Neighbour Seki vol. 1-3

This goofy school manga series was a great change of pace. Rumi Yokoi is a studious and quiet girl who just wants to study but unfortunately, she sits next to Seki who does everything else than study. To amuse himself, he invents the most elaborate games from building long domino rows to inventing a whole new games with chess pieces.

Fantastic Four/Avengers: Domination Factor

I also reread some comics from 1990s. I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed this goofy time-traveling Avengers/FF crossover.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top ten books on my winter TBR list.

All of them! I’d very much like to read every unread book on my shelves. I’m also thinking of rereading books next year.

1, Fire & Ice by Trish Heinrich
The second book in the Heroes of High Tide superhero series. I thoroughly enjoyed her Vigilante series and I’m looking forward to continuing the journey with Colleen and Karen.

2, Domesticating Dragons by Dan Kobodlt
I enjoyed his Gateways to Alissia series where a stage magician ended up in a world were magic was real. This sounds like Jurassic Park except with dragons rather than dinosaurs.

3, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
I bought this alternate reality book over a year ago and I really want to read it. I love the concept where Count Dracula has married Queen Victoria.

4, Princess Bride
I love the movie. Another book I bought over a year ago and I really should read it already.

5, Mary Robinette Kowal’s the Relentless Moon
The third book in the Lady Astronaut of Mars alternate reality series. I loved the first two.

6, Aliette de Bodard’s the Citadel of Weeping Pearls
“The Citadel of Weeping Pearls was a great wonder; a perfect meld between cutting edge technology and esoteric sciences-its inhabitants capable of teleporting themselves anywhere, its weapons small and undetectable and deadly.
Thirty years ago, threatened by an invading fleet from the Dai Viet Empire, the Citadel disappeared and was never seen again.” I enjoy de Bodard’s inventive scifi and really want to read this one.

7, Feed by Mira Grant
Mira Grant is Seanan McGuire’s pen name and I love McGuire’s Toby Daye series. This is very different, a zombie apocalypse book but in a blog format.

8, Elizabeth Wayland Barber’s Women’s work, the first 20,000 years.
Another book which has been on my selves for way too long.

9, S. A. Corey’s Babylon’s Ashes and Persepolis Rising
The next two books in the Expanse series are waiting for me.

10, Marvel comics
I broke down and bought a year of Marvel Unlimited so next year will feature a lot of Marvel stuff and Star Wars.

So many books, so little time.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top authors I’ve read the most books by.

Goodreads doesn’t seem to have the features anymore where you could just see which authors you’ve read the most so I took these from my blog.

1, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: 28
Rusch writes in pretty much every genre and has several pen names. I’m most eager to read her SF, both the Diving universe books and the Retrieval artist books as well as stand-alones. I also enjoy her historical mysteries series under the name Kris Nelscott. She also has lots of short stories. She’s also written Star Trek and Star Wars novels and some other franchise books, as well.

2, Lois McMaster Bujold: 26
I adore Bujold’s Vorkosigan series and I’ve enjoyed her fantasy, too. The newest Penric novellas are delightfully light reading. But if you want complex world-building and mature characters, her Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls are just what you need.

3, Elizabeth Bear: 24
She writes both fantasy and SF. I’ve enjoyed almost all of her books and most of her short stories, too. She writes trilogies and stand-alone books rather than long series.

4, Kerry Greenwood: 24
Phryne Fisher got her own TV-show a couple of years ago and now has a movie coming out. The books are similar and I must confess that I like the books more. I also enjoy her Corinna Chapman mysteries.

5, Elizabeth Peters: 23
I’ve through enjoyed her historical detective stories in the Amelia Peabody series and I’m saving the last few until I’m ready. I’ve also enjoyed her Jacqueline Kirby and Vicky Bliss series which have a similar blend of detective stories and humor

6, Steven Brust: 18
I adore Brust’s Dragaera series, the world and the characters. I’m eagerly waiting for the next one.

7, Seanan McGuire: 16
She writes fantasy and horror and comics. I love the world and the characters in her Toby Daye series about fairies in the modern world.

8, C. J. Cherryh: 16
I’ve mostly read science fiction from Cherryh.

9, Terry Pratchett: 14
I’ve reviewed only fourteen of his books but I’ve probably read more over the years.

10, Edger Rice Burroughs: 12
I’ve only reviewed the Barsoom series and one Venus book from him, but when I was much younger, I read a lot of Tarzan.

This was a fun topic and it reminded me that I’m behind on reading some of my favorite authors.

Of course, a top 10 comics authors would look quite different.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Yesterday, the topic was Top 10 books with single word titles.

Some of my favorite series have single-word titles, so it was really difficult to choose only ten. I also limited myself to just one book per series.

1, Lois McMaster Bujold: Barrayar
I love Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga.

2, Steven Brust: Issola
My favorite of Brust’s Vlad Taltos series but it’s the ninth book, so I don’t recommend starting with it. 🙂

3, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Paloma
Part of Rusch’s Retrieval Artist science fiction series which I also love.

4, Robin McKinley: Sunshine
“Besides, I’ve always had a guilty preference for fiction. Since I seemed now to be living fiction, this proved to have been an entirely reasonable choice.”


5, Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer
The first book in a series where magicians can pull magic items from books!

6, Alison Morton: Perfiditas
The second book in the Roma Nova alternative history thrillers.

7, Teresa Frohock: Miserere
An intense, darkly atmospheric novel with flawed characters set in a dark, desperate place.

8, Anne Logston: Shadow
A short book where the main character is an elf thief. It’s full of quick decisions, some swashbuckling, loyal friends, and a bit of magic.

9, Jocelynn Drake: Nightwalker
The first in the Dark Days UF series where the main character is a 500-year old vampire. I’m calling the series “the nice vampires vs. bloodthirsty elves”. 🙂

10, John Scalzi: Redshirts
The ensigns on starship Intrepid start investigating why so many of them seem to die during away missions.

The hosts of SciFiMonth have gathered cool prompts and top ten lists. Today, I’m going to list my favorite AI characters. This turned out to be very difficult.

Many, many SF franchises and various films, tv-show, games, books, and comics have AI characters. Some are good, some are evil. Many of them have some sort of bodies, either machines or fully human. Others are ship intelligences.

One of the things I find fascinating with AI characters is our tendency to give them genders and often they seem to have the biological parts, as well. After all, except for sex bots (which tend to be almost always female) they don’t require a gender to function. Most of them don’t have story lines that require a specific gender, either. It seems that we humans are most comfortable when a human looking machine has an identifiable gender, even when it doesn’t have the parts.

Here are my favorites over the years:

1, Lieutenant Commander Data
My favorite Star Trek series has one of my favorite AI character, so of course he had to be first. In many ways Data is physically superior to humans, and other organic lifeforms. He’s saved the Enterprise many times. But it’s his exploration of what is it to be human that really set him apart. Yes, some of them are cringe worthy, especially in the first two season but most bring some insight not just to Data himself but to humanity.

Star Trek has other AI characters as well, such as Data’s “evil brother” Lore and ST: Voyager has the Doctor who is hologram.

2, Cameron
The second choice was much harder but I just had to go with Cameron from the too-brief Sarah Connor Chronicles. Cameron is a Terminator sent from the future to keep the Connors safe. She poses as John Connor’s sister. Like many of the other Terminators, she pretty emotionless but she seems to have been learning the value of life from Sarah and John.

3, The Oracle
The Matrix series has many AI characters, most notable Agent Smith and the Merovingian. But I really like Oracle. She’s integral to not just the story line but to Neo’s development.

4, C3PO/R2D2
Of course the list wouldn’t be complete without the two lovable droids from Star Wars. They complement each other so well the I can’t just choose one of them.

5, KITT
Knight Industries Two Thousand is the second main character in the Knight Rider tv-series. It’s very independent and often tries to advice it’s rider, Michael Knight. It’s also programmed to protect Michael. It’s been many, many years since I watched the show but I remember it having sarcastic lines and a sense of humor.

6, The Vision
Marvel cinematic universe had three prominent AIs: Jarvis, Ultron, and the Vision. The last two had very brief appearances, although the Vision is in Disney+ -channel’s WandaVision. I’m patiently waiting for the channel to expand outside just one country.

But I’m talking about the comics version. When I started reading the Avengers in the 80s, the Scarlet Witch and her husband the Vision were an integral part of the team. Unfortunately, that didn’t last. As is usual for Marvel (and to a bit lesser extend DC), they were separated. Wanda’s powers made her crazy and the US government dismantled the Vision. The current Vision has been rebuilt many times but my favorite versin is still the original.

7, Gideon
The AI piloting the Waverider is just as much a Legend and the rest of the team in Legends of Tomorrow. It has a female voice and a female appearance. It functions as the navigator and the doctor. It’s also sometimes the voice of reason for the team.

8, Marvin the paranoid android
Still one of the more memorable characters in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Marvin had “the brain the size of a planet” and is depressed and bored because he’s not given much to do. He’s also immortal and lives through all of time (IIRC).

9, Athena
In the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica, Sharon Valerii, or Boomer, thought she was a human. But as the season progressed, she found out that she was actually a Cylon. But she sided with the humans and became a trusted and valued member of the battlestar.

10, Murderbot
My newest favorite AI character is the delightful protagonist of Martha Wells’ novels. All Systems Red has been a hit and with a reason. Written in first person is brings out Murderbot’s sarcasm and introverted nature. It just wants to be left alone and view it’s shows. But as a security unit, instead it must protect humans from all the stupid things they get up to. (Technically, I think Murderbot is a cyborg but so are the terminators.)

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