Top 5

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Best Books You've Read So Far in 2018

A classic but always interesting. I’ve read and reviewed 36 books so far. This year the quality has been pretty good. I’ve finished completed series and I’ve found a new favorite author. Only one book got less than three stars, so it was hard (once again) to choose just five. But here are the ones I chose today:

1, Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Miracles
The final book in the Divine Cities series was just as good as the previous two. It’s a noir revenge story, espionage mystery, and fantasy all rolled into one. Excellent ending.

2, N. K. Jemisin: The Stone Sky
The final book in the Broken Earth fantasy (sf) series. This series (including the last book, of course) deals with lots of heavy themes, such as bigotry, survival in harsh conditions, and motherhood.
While it’s good it’s also quite grim. There’ not a lot of humor in the books and the world itself is… well awful. And many of the people are also awful and I find myself wondering just much can a person hate people they don’t even know and force other people, including children, to suffer because of such abstract hate? It’s of course very worthwhile read.

3, Trish Heinrich: Serpent’s Sacrifice
An indie superhero series set in the 1960s US. Pretty much the only thing I didn’t like in this series is the romance. Otherwise, all three (Serpent’s Sacrifice, Serpent’s Rise, and Shadow Dreams) are very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to the next book.

4, R. J. Theodore: Flotsam
This was another wonderful new author. Flotsam is steampunk/science fiction book and the first in a series. Wind Saber is a small airship with the total crew of four. They captain works hard to keep the ship intact and the crew fed. Sometimes they have to do illegal stuff to get by.
It’s very hard for me to choose the final one. I’ve read a couple of others very good first in a series books but also old favorites and it’s always very hard to choose between.

5, R. E. Stearns: Barbary Station
Another great first book in a science fiction series. It has a committed lesbian couple as the main characters and I just loved them. Also, space pirates!


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

Favorite Fathers/Father Figures
Literature is full of fathers and father figures, both bad and good. I’m going to list some of my favorite fathers from various comics.

1, Jonathan Kent by DC comics
As the foster father of Superman himself, Pa Kent is an iconic father figure. Not only did he raise young Clark to defend all innocent people, and the whole planet when needed, the adult Clark can always come to him and Martha with his troubles (at least in the universes where the Kents are alive).

2, Ben Parker by Marvel comics
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Another iconic father figure, Ben raised young Peter Parker but Ben’s death taught him the ultimate lesson.

3, Cutter from Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini
When we first meet Cutter he’s the brash and headstrong young chief of the small Wolfriders tribe. But he adjusts surprisingly well to fatherhood and is an excellent father to the twins. Of course, being a chief sort of means be a parent to the whole tribe so I guess it’s not such a big leap.

4, Reed Richards by Marvel comics
These days Reed and Susan have two kids and I think for the most part they’re excellent parents. Even though Reed has the tendency to get buried in his work, he usually manages to come out and hang out with his kids and Susan. Not surprisingly, they also make sure that the kids Franklin and Valeria have the best education possible. However, sometimes Reed’s questionable choices (such as keeping secrets from his family) comes to bite them.

5, Donald Duck by Walt Disney
Another male raising alone a child (or in this case three children) who aren’t his own. Donald could be either on the worst dad list or best dad list. He’s usually a caring father figure to his three nefarious nephews, giving his last cent to get them a birthday or Christmas present. They also have wacky adventures together. On the other hand, he can also lose his temper in half a second and chase them down with a rod in his hand.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. Today the topic is Summer Reads
–With summer finally kicking off, now is the time to recommend your favorite summer reads, whatever that means to you!

I don’t really change my reading habits by season, but I guess summer reads are light and fun. I do like to read a lot of light and fun books (and comics). Here are some of my favorite fun fantasy series:

1, Anything by Terry Pratchett
Personally, I recommend starting either with the city guards series (with Guards! Guards!) or the witches series (with Wyrd Sisters) but any of the Pratchett books can be read as the first one. While they’re very funny they also always have a more weightier theme.

2, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The first book in the Thursday Next series introduces us to the wacky alternate universe where books and authors are the biggest celebrities. Thursday begins her career as literary detective.

3, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
While it’s not as funny series as the previous two, this is still lots of fun. The Library is a nexus of sorts to many alternate universes with various levels of chaos and order. The main character Irene in a junior librarian whose job is to rescue books from various worlds.

4, Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Penric novellas are feel-good fantasy and they’re short enough to be read on the beach.

5, Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff
This is the first book in a funny fantasy trilogy set in Canada. Claire Hansen is a Keeper, a person who sorts out magical accidents. She and her talking cat Austin get a bit bigger problem than usual in the first book.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. This month is a rewind month, a chance for everyone to do topics they haven’t or did long ago.

My third choice is Favorite character Tropes

1, Enemies forced to work together
This is a great troupe when used well. There’s a bigger or different evil and to defeat it, enemies are forced to work together. They’ll snark and snap at each other and there’s probably going to be a betrayal at some point. It’ll highlight their differences and maybe mirror each other. In the end, they might end up hating each other more or perhaps understanding each other more but unwilling to let go of the hatred. Perhaps they’ll find out that for just a lucky chance they might have been on the same side. Or in the case of enemy soldiers, that they aren’t so different after all but they’re still loyal to their own country.
Examples: Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, various comics and tv-shows

2, the hero with the heart of gold (or a knight in a shining armor)
Too often this type of character is written as boring. Often, they need better challenges.
Examples: Prince Valiant (the comic), Aral Vorkosigan by Lois McMaster Bujold

3, former friends/lovers are now arch enemies
Example: Magneto and Xavier by Marvel comics

4, An eclectic group of characters become friends/family
A very common troupe in the fantasy and science fiction. It could be a blood family, too, but those are actually pretty rare.
Examples: Flotsam by R. J. Theodore, the X-Men, Avengers, Firefly, Farscape etc.

5, Established couple
Lovers who fight crime together, stay together! I’d love to read more of these but they’re very rare.
Example: Barbary station by R. E. Stearns, Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. This month is a rewind month, a chance for everyone to do topics they haven’t or did long ago.

My third choice is Fictional Jobs You’d Want to Have.

SF/F books have a lot of interesting jobs. Or at least they seem interesting when I’m reading about them and not even capable of doing them.

1, Starship captain/pilot
Perhaps the ultimate in a small-time entrepreneur jobs. I’m talking about a small ship with just one or two crew, like Millennium Falcon. A larger crew would require all sort of leadership and even diplomacy skills. But a small-time captain traveling around the galaxy, looking for the next job, meeting interesting people, and seeing a lot of strange places sounds great.

2, Jedi
Keeper of peace and defender of people sounds pretty awesome.

3, Superhero
Especially if I get powers to go with it.

4, Time traveler
I’d love to be able to actually experience past rather than just read about it. And going to the future would be pretty great, too.

5, Fairy Godmother
She solves problems for a lot of people both with her wits and her magical powers. (From Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms series.)

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. This month is a rewind month, a chance for everyone to do topics they haven’t done or did long ago.

My second choice is Books Without Romance

This was a topic in July 2017.

I’m not a romance reader and one of my pet peeves is that it’s so hard to find a book these days without a courtship romance. I also love books with established couples and find it very frustrating when I read a book or a series where the characters only get together in the end… and the it ends, when I’d love to see the characters slaying demons/undead/other enemies together. However, I have come across some non-romance books especially lately. Maybe I’m getting better at picking books.

Of course, short stories don’t necessarily have romance.

1, Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Stairs
This is a gorgeously wonderful fantasy book. Shara Thrivani is a government agent who comes to the conquered city of Bulikov to find a murderer and finds quite a lot more.

2, Retrieval Artist by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Rusch writes a couple of great science fiction series which don’t have romance for the main POV character. One of them is the Retrieval Artist series where former police detective Miles Flint in mostly the MC, except for the Anniversary Day saga (miniseries inside the series). Another is her Diving series which starts with Diving into the Wreck. There the (female) MC is a very solitary person who doesn’t trust anyone.

3, R. J. Theodor: Flotsam
The first book in a new fantasy/steampunk series where the main characters is the captain of a small airship. They have to take both illegal and legal jobs.

4, Curtis Craddock: An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
Another steampunk fantasy book without a romance. It has two main characters: a young princess and her older musketeer-like protector who is a father figure to her. Granted, the princess is destined for an arranged marriage so there might be a romance in the next books.

5, franchise books
Most large franchise books don’t have romance, unless 1, it’s one book fling (the canon character remains single at the end), 2, it’s between non-canon character, 3, or it’s a canon relationship.
So, if you’re fan of Star Trek (various shows), Star Wars, or similar big franchise there’s plenty of non-romance books to read (unless it’s a one book fling in which case it’s either terrible or makes you angry because it’s not canon).

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week. This month is a rewind month, a chance for everyone to do topics they haven’t had a chance to do or did long ago.

This week I chose Favorite sidekicks. We all know John Watson and Sam Gamgee; and they’re certainly earned their place.
Most of my favorite characters are secondary characters and some of them can be considered sidekicks, too.

1, Morrolan e’Drien by Steven Brust
He’s a Dragaeran sorcerer and a warrior. He would also scoff at the very idea of being a mere Easterner’s sidekick.

2, Aral Vorkosigan by Lois McMaster Bujold
The most brilliant strategist of his generation, admiral, and a count. He’s also very honorable even when his emperor tries to put him in morally difficult position.

3, Luidaeg by Seanan McGuire
The Sea Witch is one of the Firstborn fae and one of the most powerful ones, too. That means that she doesn’t have to care about social niceties or… well, anything she doesn’t want to. And implying she’s anyone’s sidekick would have… terrifying results.

4, Kai by Genevieve Cogman
The Invisible Library series takes us to a lot of interesting place. It also has interesting characters. Kai is one of the most entertaining ones. The librarian Irene is saddled with him in the first book and at first disliked him. However, Kai has his own charm and secrets.

5, Magrat Garlick by Terry Pratchett
I could fill this list with just Pratchett characters but in the end I chose young and romantic Magrat. She’s such a perfect foil for the older and grouchier Granny Weatherwax and the older but more cheerful Nanny Ogg.

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