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 Favorite Book Settings.

I have lots of favorite settings, it was hard to choose just ten.

1, Libraries
Libraries actually aren’t very common, outside of mysteries. Two of my favorite libraries are Dream’s Library in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book and the Invisible Library which exists between alternate realities in Genevieve Cogman’s fantasy series. Dream’s Library contains not just every book written but also the ones dreamed about while the Invisible Library has almost all books from dozens of alternate worlds.

2, Space
I love space opera. Lots and lots of books and series are set in space ships, not the least the various Star Trek and Star Wars books. Also, Becky Chamber’s Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is set on a spaceship, the Wayfarer. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving into the Wreck has a main character who dives old spaceships.

3, Magical cities
Lots of urban fantasy feature real-life cities with magic or magical creatures, but lots of books also have purely imagined cities, such as Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs and Roger Zelazny’s Amber series.

4, Historical London
Another city which is used quite a lot in books. I love Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series which starts with Midnight Never Come. In this series, there’s a faerie court underneath London.

5, Alternate worlds
Another very broad subject. My favorites include Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series, where elves (called Dragaerans) rule the world and humans are second-class subjects, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

6, Mars
No matter if the setting is fictional, a far future, or near-future Mars I’ve always been fascinated with it. I love Edgar Rice Burroughs’ planetary romance Barsoom and also Andy Weir’s the Martian.

7, Parallel Worlds
I love parallel worlds stories in SF shows but they’re far rarer in books. Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library books has alternate versions of worlds but not so much characters. V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic has four parallel worlds which are quite different from each other.

8, Alien Planets
Another setting that covers a lot of books and depending on the planet, the reading experience is quite different. Martha Wells’ All Systems Red is set on a rather hostile planet.

9, Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt has fascinated me since I was a child. One of my favorite murder mystery series in Egypt is Lynda S. Robinson’s Lord Meren series which starts with Murder at the Place of Anubis.

10, Time travel
Not really a setting but I love time travel stories, even when they’re cheesy. Connie Wills’ To Say Nothing of the Dog or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump At Last is one of my favorite comedies and mostly set in Victorian England. On the other hand, Forever War by Joe Haldeman has some profound things to say about war and human nature.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Books Guaranteed to Put a Smile On Your Face

This could be nothing but Terry Pratchett books, but there are other very funny writers, too. Also, humor is tricky. One person’s laugh-out-loud books will have another frowning. So here are some of mine.

1, Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters

If you like quirky older women as the main characters and have even a passing knowledge of MacBeth, this book will most likely make you laugh out loud. Several times.

2, T. Kingfisher: “The Clockwork Boys” and the second part “The Wonder Engine”

A forger, a fallen paladin, a young cleric, and an assassin are forced on a quest to save their land. Hilarity ensues.

3, Jasper Fforde: The Eyre Affair

Thursday Next is a literary detective. If you like the idea of people able to climb into a book, do yourself a favor and read it. It’s great fun.

4, Steven Brust: Jhereg

Vlad Taltos and his sarcastic familiar Loiosh banter throughout the series. Vlad lives in a world where the elves, called Dragaerans, rule the world and humans are second-class citizens, at best. Vlad is an assassin, but he grows a lot during the series.

5, Genevieve Cogman: the Invisible Library

Irene is a junior Librarian, spy, and secret agent for the Library between parallel worlds. Her mission is to save books from various worlds. To do that, she often has to use cover identities and get into places where she shouldn’t be.

6, Connie Willis: To say nothing of the dog or how we found the Bishop’s Birdstump at last

Ned Henry is an Oxford historian who has done too many time jumps between the 1940s and the current day searching for a bishop’s bird stump from the ruins of Coventry Cathedral. Because of the too many jumps, he’s suffering from a severe time lag which causes among other things “tendency to maudlin sentimentality, like an Irishman in his cups or a Victorian poet cold-sober”, dizziness, difficulty in distinguishing sounds, and blurry vision. The cure is two weeks of bed rest. Unfortunately, it does not look likely that Ned will get that.

7, Andy Weir: The Martian

Mark Watney was left accidentally behind on Mars. What might save him are potatoes and his sense of humor.

8, A Lee Martinez: Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain

Mollusk’s hobbies include inventing new technology and conquering worlds. He conquered Terra with mind control but ended up tinkering with their problems until he realized that his presence brought more harm than good to the poor planet. Then, he stepped down as the Warlord of Terra but the mind controlled Terrans still practically worship him. Naturally, he has a lot of enemies outside of Terra.

9, John Scalzi: Redshirts

If you’re familiar with Star Trek, this book that stars the junior members of a rather strange starship, might very funny to you.

10, Elizabeth Peters: Crocodile on the Sandbank

The Amelia Peabody series is set in Victorian times. Amelia and her family are Egyptologists and amateur detectives. The books are fast-paced and fun.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Secondary/Minor Characters Who Deserve More Love.

I tend to love secondary characters, so it was hard to name just ten. Some writers also write such interesting characters that I had to name just one character per writer. Otherwise, the list would be just full of Bujold, Brust, and McGuire’s characters. Of course, many of the series I read have multiple POV characters. I feel that in those series most of the interesting characters have their POVs. But not all, of course.

I’ve also included characters from myths and legends. Especially women characters have starred in their own books in recent years. For example, there are several series from the POV of Guinevere, Morgan Le Fay, and Maid Marion/Marian. But some minor characters, whom I’ve enjoyed a lot, haven’t been reimagined much or at all.

1, Sethra Lavode by Steven Brust

In the Vlad Taltos series, the Dragaerans live a long time but Sethra is an immortal vampire so she has witness most of the Dragaeran Empire’s history. Yes, there is a book named ”Sethra Lavode” but she wasn’t the main character. (And now I want to reread the series…)

2, Learned Hallana from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Hallowed Hunt

Bujold has many interesting minor and secondary characters. Miles’ cousin Ivan already has his own book and so has Ista who as a minor character in Curse of Chalion and then the main character in Paladin of Souls. Hallana seems anothere fascinating character. She’s a physician, a sorceress, and a divine. She’s also happily married and has three children.

3, Luidaeg, the Sea With by Seanan McGuire

McGuire is another writer who creates fascinating minor characters. I’d love to read about Tybalt the Cat King (who actually has a short story) or about Toby’s ”twin sister” May and what it was like to be a night-haunt. But the character who I really want to read about is the Sea Witch. Another immortal character who has witnessed a lot of history. She must have fascinating tales to tell.

4, Catherine Harcourt by Naomi Novik in the Temeraire series

One of the few female captains who command giant fighting dragons, Harcourt was promoted to admiral and the old boys’ club didn’t know how to deal with that. No doubt her life hasn’t been easy but I’d love to read more about her.

5, Paloma by Kristine Kathryn Rusch in the Retrieval Artist science fiction -series

This series has multiple POV characters. But I wanted a POV from Paloma, the Retrieval Artist who trained the main character Miles Flint. She an elderly woman and a sort of private detective.

6, A fae character in Genevive Cogman’s Invisible Library series

In this series, dragons are creatures of order while the fae are creatures of chaos and each fae is an impersonation of an archtype. I think it would be fascianting to see the world through the eyes of a fae.

7, Lord Vetinari by Terry Pratchett

Pratchett was also very good at giving interesting side characters their own books. But Ankh-Morpokh’s Patrican Vetinari remained on the sidelines. I supposed his own story would have involved lots of sighing and headshaking while the other characters were messing things up.

8, Circe by Homer in the Odyssey

She’s not described kindly, as is usual for the times. She’s a minor goddess and a sorceress. She was also independent in a time when women were supposed to be under the rule of her father or husband so so many writers use her as an example of the bad things that happen when women are given power. Madeleine Miller has written a book about her but I haven’t read it yet. I enjoyed Miller’s Song of Achilles, so I’m hoping to get my hands on ”Circe”.

9, Little John in the Robin Hood mythos

Robin, Marian, and Will Scarlet have starred in several books in recent years. But I haven’t seen any story from the POV of Robin’s loyal second hand man.

10, Inspector Lestrade by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It would have been very interesting to see the great detective from the POV of the police.

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 in my summer TBR list.

Of course, I want to read and listen all books in my TBR so it’s a bit difficult to choose among them. But right now I really want to read:

1, Steven Brust: the Good Guys

I just started listening this one. It’s urban fantasy but so far hasn’t the humor that Brust’s Vlad Taltos books have.

2, William Goldman: the Princess Bride

Of course, I love the movie and I’ve wanted to read the book for a while now.

3, Lois McMaster Bujold: Masquerade at Lodi

I’m shamefully behind reading the delightful Penric and Desdemona novellas and I need to correct that.

4, Leigh Brackett ed.: The Best of Planet stories

This short story collection has been in my shelves for years so it’s finally time to tackle it.

5, Scott Lynch: the Lies of Locke Lamora

Another book which I’ve owned for a long time. I’ve heard so much good things about this whole series, but on the other hand, it’s apparently still not finished.

6, Age of X-Man comics

These seem like a fun alternate reality so I really want to more of them.

7, Michael White: Equinox

Another long-time TBR book. It seems like a Dan Brown type of thriller but set in Oxford.

8, Daniel H. Wilson: The Clockwork Dynasty

I bought this a while back from Audible sale and it sounds like a very interesting steampunk book.

9, Mur Lafferty: Six Wakes

The other book from the Audible sale and I really want to listen to this SF book, too.

10, Zara Altair: the Grain Merchant

Her historical mystery stories, the Argolicus series, are set in Middle Ages when the Ostrogoth ruled Rome. The newest book sounds very interesting!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is a freebie so I chose Top Ten Books I want to Reread.

I want to reread quite a few books. Most of them are, of course, series I’ve read for a long time and it always fun to return to familiar characters. Maybe I should start rereading a book a month? Right now I most want to reread:

1, The Empire trilogy by Timothy Zahn (Star Wars)

I read these three books when they first came out quite a few years ago and it would be fun to see if I’d still love them as much as back them.

2, Witches abroad by Terry Pratchett

Most of Pratchett’s books are worth a reread and I adore the witches.

3, Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold

A fantasy with a middle-aged female protagonist is always a rare find. As usual for Bujold, I throughly enjoyed most of the characters and it would be fun to revisit them again.

4, The Divine Cities trilogy byt Robert Jackson Bennett

I throughly enjoeyd the whole three books.

5, Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

The Phryne Fisher series is always fun!

6, The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth Peters

It’s been too long since I read about Amelia Peabody and her family solving cozy mysteries in Victorian Egypt.

7, Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

I read this years ago and remember that I quite liked it. But it’s over 900 pages…

8, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

I’d like to revisit Thursday Next’s adventures in literary world.

9, Temeraire by Naomi Novik

Temeraire and his fellow dragons left a place in my heart and I’d love to revisit them.

10, The Stepsister Scheme by Jim Hines

The adventures of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White were enjoyable.

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.

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