Top 5

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Yesterday, the topic was Monsters.

Vampires, goblins, crytpids, oh my! What are some of your favorite reads that include monsters? Share as many different (or same) monsters for this prompt!

I don’t read much horror but I do enjoy the odd undead, especially in a fantasy setting. And of course dragons, faeries, and other fantasy monsters.

1, Tanya Huff: The Blood Books

This is one of my favorite monster series. Victoria “Vicky” Nelson is a former police detective and now a private investigator. She and her two love interests encounter one classic monster in each book. In the first book “Blood Trail” it was a serial killer who drains his (or her) victims of blood. In the second book, “Blood Price”, Vicky agrees to help a family of werewolves.

2, Bram Stoker: Dracula

Dracula was published in 1897 so the book’s structure is somewhat different from the modern style, but it still works.

3, Richard Matheson: I am Legend

This is the closest to pure horror on my list. The book is quite different from the movie. It’s different from most other vampire books but works very well.

4, Anne Rice: Interview with a Vampire

I’ve read 10 books in this series so I really liked the first one, too. The main characters are vampires, of course.

5, Genevieve Cogman: The Invisible Library

This fantasy series has both fae and dragons, as significant secondary characters. Irene Winters is the main character who is both a librarian and a spy.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Yesterday the topic is Recommendable.

When a friend comes up to you for a recommendation, what do you normally suggest? List your top five most recommendable books for today’s prompt!

1, the Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.

For historical mystery and humor, I recommend the Amelia Peabody series. Amelia is the first-person narrator in the series which is starts in 1884. Amelia is an amateur Egyptologist. So, while her family and Amelia work on various digs, they also solve murders. The first book is Crocodile on the Sandbank.

2, the Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

For people who enjoy alternate realities, spies, dragons, and fairies, the Invisible Library is the series to go to. The main character Irene Winters 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.

3, The Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is a long-running science fiction series that focuses on the characters. I’d start with Shards of Honor which is the first one in a duology where the main character’s mom Cordelia is the main character. Or you can start with the hyper-energetic Miles in Warrior’s Apprentice.

4, Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

For urban fantasy, I always recommend the Toby Daye series which is also very much character-centered.

5, Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge: Black and white

Black and white has a great superhero feel. It’s not too gritty, like Watchmen and the Batman movies, but it’s also not a parody or a comedy. It incorporates the current media and commercial cultures with superheroes. Iridium and Jet were best friends when they were in the Corp-Co’s Academy for teenaged extrahumans, training to be superheroes. But five years later, they are sworn enemies. Jet, who has Shadow powers, is New Chicago’s most celebrated heroine, the Lady of the Night, and Iridium, who has light powers, is a supervillain and running the city’s underworld.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Yesterday, the topic was rereads.

There are some books that are fantastic no matter how many times you read them. What books do you want to reread soon?

I want to reread quite a few books. Sadly, many of them are so thick it’s unlikely I’ll revisit them. Also, I usually want to reread the whole series and not just one book. But I have so many books I want to read for the first time that I don’t often reread.

1, Timothy Zahn: Heir to the Empire

The first sequel to the Star Wars trilogy. I remember that I loved it and could hardly wait the next book to come out so I’m very curious to see how if it is still as good.

2, Jasper Fforde: The Eyre Affair

Fforde’s series is funny and fun. Thursday Next is a literary detective, diving into books.

3, Robert Jackson Bennett: The Divine Cities trilogy

I throughly enjoeyd all three books.

4, Steven Brust: The Khaavren Romances

This series is set in his fantasy world’s history. They imitate Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. If you can stand the writing style, they’re very funny.

5, Seanan McGuire: Rosemary and Rue

The Toby Daye series has so many interconnected characters and events that it would be great to reread them back to back.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Back to School.

By this point, most schools are probably in session! What books remind you the most of school? They can be about school, something you read for school, or something else, so interpret the prompt as you’d like!

I don’t read books about schools very often. Also, many would-be wizards or warriors are apprentices to mentors, rather than going to school. However, quite a few of my favorite characters have graduated from one school or another.

1, J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter

The first wizard school that came to my mind was, of course, Hogwarts.

2, Terry Pratchett: Light Fantastic

While the first two books in the Discworld series aren’t my favorites, I adore the Librarian and this book has his first appearence in the series. The Unseen University itself makes a gentle mockery of the real world universities and particularly Oxford and Cambridge.

3, Various X-Men comics

The Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach is also X-Men’s headquarters which means that it’s attacked quite often. But it was moved to another dimension where the young mutants can hopefully concentrate on going to school.

4, Susan Wright: The Best and the Brightest

Starfleet Academy is mentioned quite a lot throughout all of the series, but only a few books have been set in it. This book focuses on new characters, but quite a lot of familiar ones also make appearances.

5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer omnibus vol. 2

Sunnydale High has quite a high mortality rate, even though Buffy and her friends are working overtime to keep it lower. This comic book collection has one-issue-length stories, a couple of them are set before the TV series, the others during various seasons.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Top 5 Long Series.

I don’t know about you, but I love a long series, which is anything more than three books. What are your favorites?

I love long series and I read many of them. Choosing just five was very hard, but here goes:

1, Lois McMaster Bujold: The Vorkosigan series.

This is a long-running science fiction series, but it’s very character oriented. No aliens. Instead, the various planets have their own human cultures. The first two books are Shards of Honor and Barrayar (combined in the omnibus Cordelia’s Honor) which follow the parents of Miles Vorkosigan who is the main character for the rest of the series. You can also start with Miles in the book Warrior’s Apprentice.

2, Steven Brust: The Vlad Taltos series.

Another long-running series, this time fantasy. The main character Vlad Taltos is human, a witch, and an assassin. He lives in a world which is ruled by Dragaerans and humans are second-class people, at best. Vlad and his familiar Loiosh banter a lot in sarcastic tones. The first book is Jhereg but the first three books are collected in the omnibus called Jhereg.

3, Genevive Cogman: The Invisible Library series.

Cogman’s series is a newer one. It’s a delightful mix of librarians on secret missions, alternate realities, magic, fairies, and dragons. The first book is the Invisible Library.

4, Kerry Greenwood: Phryne Fisher series

A wonderful cozy mystery series set in the 1920s Australia. Phryne is an independent, stubborn woman who becomes Australia’s first female detective. She has many lovers and lives her life the way she wants to. The TV-show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is based on this long series. While I loved the TV-show, too, I adore the Phryne in the books. The first book is Cocaine Blues.

5, Elizabeth Peters: Amelia Peabody series

Another long historical mystery series. This is set in Victorian Egypt. Amelia and her husband are amateur Egyptologists who solve murders while working on the digs. The first book is Crocodile on the Sandbank.

The hosts of SciFiMonth have gathered cool prompts and top ten lists. Today, I’m going to tell you about my favorite male characters.

I couldn’t choose just one so here’s my current top five.

1, Captain Jean-Luc Picard
My favorite spaceship captain, Picard is a real Renaissance man. He’s not “just” a diplomat and a leader of soldiers. He’s also interested in archaeology on various planets, he acts, rides horses, and plays a flute. He’s also dappled in painting. As a diplomat, he knows many alien cultures and customs. He keeps his private life private from his crew. However, during the seven years of Star Trek: TNG we get to know him very well. He’s ethical to a fault and never takes the easy way out.

2, John Crichton
Another man who lives up to his ideals. At the start of Farscape, he’s a scientist and an astronaut who is flung accidentally through a wormhole across the universe. There he meets a lot of new cultures. His sense of humor keeps him sane even though he knows that it’s quite possible he’ll never return home. He’s brave and loyal but also quite mischievous.

3, G’Kar
Babylon 5 has lots of very interesting male characters so it’s was hard to pick just one. G’Kar is the Narn ambassador to the Babylon 5 space station. He despises the Centauri who occupied his home world for years, keeping the Narn as slaves. But on B5 he must be at least civil to the Centauri. He has a wonderful character arc through the series.

4, Doctor Emmet Brown
I love the Back to the Future Trilogy and the Doc is one of the best things about it. He’s so upbeat and optimistic all the time in addition to being a genius inventor.

5, Magneto
Magneto’s childhood was cut off horribly when he was sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Now, he wants to protect all mutants from similar oppression. His methods sometimes are questionable, but at other times, he’s a full member of the X-Men.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Top 5 SFF BFFs
— Discuss your favorite friends in Scifi and Fantasy, or characters you’d be BFFs with.

Even though a lot of main characters are loners (especially in fantasy) and romances tend to take the center stage, fantasy and SF have some great friendships, too. Because May is the Wyrd and Wonder month, I’m going to my favorite friendships just in fantasy:

1, Sam and Frodo by Tolkien
An obvious choice but they go through so much together. Tolkien has some other great male friendships as well: Merry and Pippin and of course Legolas and Gimli.

2, Shara Thivani and Sigrud by Robert Jackson Bennett
Shara and Sigurd are both spies, essentially. Shara has essentially rescued Sigurd and he’s very loyal to her and she to him. I think of them as fantasy’s Modesty Blaise and Willie Garwin; very close and loyal friends but not lovers.

3, Loch and Kail by Patrick Weekes
Loch and Kail are former soldiers and now they’re conmen and thieves. They’re gathering a group for a heist job to get back Loch’s property which was stolen while she was in jail.

4, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser by Fritz Leiber
Fafhrd is a tall fighter from the frozen North while the Grey Mouser is short and nimble fingered Southerner with some magical skills. However, they’re united by their thirst for wealth and for adventure. They’re also great friends.

5, Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, and Rupert Giles
I just can’t end a list of fantasy friendships without the original four from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Top 5 Favorite jokesters.

Actually my favorite funny characters come from comics or TV-shows but these are from books. While I’ve read a lot of funny books, I don’t remember a lot of jokesters from them.

1, Mark Watney (Andy Weir)
I laughed out loud several times while reading the book.

2, Loiosh (Steven Brust)
Loiosh is the familiar of Vlad Taltos. They joke around to each other a lot.

3, Nanny Ogg (Terry Pratchett)
Often enough, Pratchett’s characters aren’t really cracking jokes but Nanny does that from time to time.

4, Isaac Vainio (Jim C. Hines)
Isaac is a Libriomancer who can pull items from books. He’s also really funny.

5, Cisco (The Flash tie-in novels)
Cisco is one of my favorite jokesters from TV-shows and he was just as funny in the two tie-in novels I’ve read.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Top 5 Independent Ladies.

–Favorite leading ladies who aren’t distracted from getting shit done by their love interest (they can still have a romance subplot – this is going to be subjective based on what you think would be ~too much~).

Many, many of the leading ladies I’ve read aren’t too caught up in romance. It was quite difficult to choose just five.

1, General Turyin Mulaghesh by Robert Jackson Bennett in City of Blades
Turyin is a middle-aged career military woman and a governor of a conquered city when we first meet her in the City of Stairs. In the City of Blades she’s the main character and travels to the City of Blades to do some investigating or rather spying. No romance.

2, Ista by Lois McMaster Bujold in Paladin of Souls
Ista is a middle-aged woman whose daughter already has a family of her own. Ista doesn’t want to just lay down and die; instead she goes on a pilgrimage which turns into high adventure. And she gets rewarded with a man (not the other way around).

3, Irene de Winters by Genevieve Cogman in the Invisible Library
Irene is a junior librarian in the Library which exists between worlds. She travels to alternate worlds and steals, er, rescues books. She also gets entangled with fae and dragon politics and while she has two love interests, she doesn’t let them get in the way.

4, Phryne Fisher by Kerry Greenwood in Cocaine Blues
Phryne is a flapper, living in 1920s Australia. She lives by herself, well, with her maid Dot and a couple of other servants. She’s independent and stubborn and the first lady detective in Melbourne. She has a romance in almost every book but they don’t stop her from investigating and solving various crimes.

5, Pyanfar Chanur by C. J. Cherryh in Pride of Chanur
Pyanfar is the captain of her clan’s starship, crewed by her female kin. She’s married but her people’s tradition says that the females go out and the males stay at home.

Honorary mentions to Joanna Baldwin by Rachel Caine in the Ill Wind, Mira by Jocelynne Drake in the Nightwalker, Alice Seymour by Trish Heinrich in Serpent’s Sacrifice, Vicky Nelson by Tanya Huff in Blood Price, Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters in Crocodile on the Sandbank, Cordelia Naismith by Lois McMaster Bujold in Cordelia’s Honor, The Boss by Kristine Kathryn Rusch in Diving to the Wreck, Mitchie Long by Karl Gallagher in Torchship, Ky Vatta by Elizabeth Moon in Trading in Danger, Jenny Casey by Elizabeth Bear in Hammered, and Samarkar-la by Elizabeth Bear in Range of Ghosts.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Top 5 Nostalgic Ships
— Discuss the first fictional couples you ever got butterflies over, or couples you used to be really into when you were younger.

These are my most nostalgic couples from comics:

1, Cutter and Leetah from Elfquest
The hotheaded young chief of the Wolfriders and his gentle healer lifemate, who is much older, sound like a cliche these days, but they’re excellent together.

2, Cyclops and Phoenix from X-Men
You know, before Scott lost his mind. The graphic novel ”The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix” where Jean and Scott are transported to a bleak future to raise Nathan together is exactly how I always think of them.

3, Reed and Susan Richards from Fantastic Four
Still going strong after all these years. Even though Reed sometimes keeps secrets from Susan, most of the time they support each other very well.

4, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson-Parker
Married Spider-Man worked really well for me.

5, Meggan and Brian Braddock from Claremont and Davis’ Excalibur
They had quite a rocky road but were often really great together.

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