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T5M: Top 5 Dream Fictional Vacation Spots

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.

Hello, friends! It’s my birthday today, and I just moved into my first apartment over the weekend, so I am BEAT! My muscles have never been so sore, even when I first started going to the gym and lifting weights. In fact, one could even say I need a vacation! Here are my top 5 dream fictional vacation spots ;D

5. Middle Earth

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I mean, I wouldn’t want to visit when Sauron is doing his bit with the Ring, but the scenic imagery in these books is unparalleled. Tolkien was a master of placing you in the environment so exactly, you’re surprised to look up from the book and realize you’re not there. Especially in the fall time! Autumn is my favorite season, so I’d love to visit then. Perhaps the elves, or the hobbits, to wander the explosively colorful forests or sample some cider. If I were braver I’d venture underground to visit the dwarves, but alas! I’m not made of such stern stuff.

He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

4. Pellinor

 

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One of the things I love most about this series is the imagery. The descriptions of the countryside the characters journey through is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, but I also love the food descriptions. Just as in Middle Earth too, there are many different regions with different types of food, and Alison Croggon details them all lovingly. I love to eat, so I’d travel to Pellinor for the food alone!

The taste on her palate was pungent and rich, the flavor of woodlands and dark earth simmered in sunshine. ― Alison Croggon, The Naming

3. Assassin’s Creed series

This one is a little unusual, as the Assassin’s Creed series takes place in real history, with some sci-fi elements. The biggest being that the main character relives the memories of his ancestors, which are locked in his DNA, by use of a machine called the Animus. Therefore, the games are highly accurate to their respective time periods, and totally immersive. I’ve since fallen off with this series (Black Flag was where I stopped playing), but I go back to the early games again and again. It’s easy to lose myself for hours in their landscapes.

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Assassin’s Creed is stylistically my favorite, as it takes place in the Middle East during the Third Crusades. Middle Eastern art and architecture is my favorite style, and was a joy to study in school. Playing a game within that place in history is a wonderful experience for me.

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The runner up would have to be Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which takes place in Constantinople in the 16th century. That sprawling city, with it’s eclectic mixture of Middle Eastern and European elements, made me curious enough to research and seek out information on Constantinople, and the Turkish empire, on my own.

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And of course, who WOULDN’T want to visit the Renaissance Italy of Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood, and rub elbows with the master artists??? I think I need say no more ;D Hurry up and invent that Animus already!

2. Themyscira

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I mean, come on! It’s also known as Paradise Island! There are beaches to lay on and tan with the ocean steps away. There’s ancient Greek art and architecture galore for an art nerd like me. Plus, it’s protected by the Greek gods, so there’s a guarantee your vacation will be uninterrupted by mortal danger… and even if there is, the entire island is populated by badass warrior women, so you’d be safe. Who wouldn’t want to visit???

1. Agrabah

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Daring sword fights, magic spells, princes in disguise… wait, I think I’m mixing up my Disney movies, but I daresay the sentiment remains the same ;D The lush textures and flavors of Broadway and live-action Aladdin adaptations were totally spellbinding for me. What I wouldn’t give to wander the marketplaces of Agrabah: to run my hands over the silks and jewels, to taste the fruits and delicacies, and drown in all the scents! And visit the royal palace, to lounge sunbathing beside the fountains and make friends with a certain tiger ;D And, of course, if you’re up for a little adventure, the Cave of Wonders is only a camel ride away.

Any of my dream fictional vacation spots make your list, too?

Kathleen

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Thought You’d Hate But Ended Up Loving

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.  This week’s topic is: Books you though you’d hate but ended up loving.

Manifest Destiny

I hated this first volume that re-imaged the Lewis & Clark Expedition by Chris Dingess. I said “So Image Comics takes history, government conspiracies, and re-images (get my pun?) the events by shaking it all together into what I consider a convoluted mess.” It took me two years to reluctantly pick up the second volume and then I quickly read through the sixth volume. I then said ” I have discovered that I should not always give up on a series when the first volume rubs me the wrong way, as this recently happened in Northlanders (hint for my next book!) too. Yes, I still have issues with some of the depictions of the characters but the way that history, colonization and government conspiracies are shaken up together have made for some interesting stories. And the art- well, that’s what has truly made the series. Matthew Roberts has done his research on the era and regions in which they are traveling through. His creatures rival Lovecraft’s with detail and imagination. I admit, I will be picking up future volumes and read it to the end of their journey.”

Northlanders

I am big fan of author Brian Wood and his historical fiction graphic novels, but I have to admit if this was the first time I read his work, I would have stopped here.  The main character Sven is not likable in the least from his childhood on, and the tired trope of a good woman taming a bad boy is used here. The artwork was a mixed bag for me, but I really liked Enna, the woman Sven eventually marries. I only picked up the next volume when I knew Enna was in it, but the other standalone Viking tales in the second volume were good, and I ended up really enjoying the entire seven book series.

My Friend Dahmer

I heard that this graphic novel gave a unique take on serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, but I was skeptical. I felt weird reading it and the art style took some getting used to, so it took me awhile to read it in it’s entirety.  But this disturbing book about a serial killer’s youth was heartbreaking, as the book makes us witness to Jeffrey Dahmer’s slide into madness, from the viewpoint of a former classmate and “friend” of his. Derf Backderf, the author and illustrator, gave a nuanced take on the background of Dahmer, so I ended up pitying Dahmer and wondering if tragedy could have been diverted if just someone had noticed his problems and stepped in to help. Worth a read!

Fun Home

I picked up this book, read a bit, and put it back down a dozen times. Not because it isn’t excellent- it most definitely is- but the author’s relationship with her unhappy and distant father is much too similar to mine. This book breaks my heart, and brings up many painful memories for me. But I persisted, and am glad I did. Author and illustrator Alison Bechdel chronicles her childhood through her early years of college, plus her coming out, in a non-linear memoir. Bechdel’s raw autobiography was turned into a musical play that showed on Broadway, and she shared her feelings on that representation of her family in this enlightening nine-panel drawing Play Therapy.  That this book, and perhaps the play, can affect people deeply is a testament to the power of family and how it shapes us.

Transcendence

I typically am not a romance fan. Sure I don’t mind some romance in a novel, but as a genre- no thanks.  But a co-worker and fellow book lover told me this book was a combination of Clan of the Cave Bear and Outlander, so I had to give it a try based off that review. I ended up loving this book- I devoured the book in 24 hours, and then started over and re-read it again. Usually I stay away from romance novels that are historically inaccurate (admitted by the author Shay Savage), but I could not get enough of Ehd and his devotion to Beh. I loved his perspective of everything that was happening and what he thought of Beh’s habits. Beh was able to resist this sexy caveman much longer than I ever would have! I dearly hope the author writes a book from Beh’s perspective, so we can see what she was thinking during their time together.

So the moral of the story is- don’t give up! Just because you didn’t connect with a book right away, or that it’s not your typical genre, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth a second try. You might just be glad you read it after all.

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Independent Ladies

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week the topic is: favorite leading ladies who aren’t distracted from getting shit done by their love interest.

Princess Leia from Star Wars

Princess Leia was getting shit done before a certain flyboy and scoundrel came into her life! She was a member of the Imperial Senate and a member of the Rebel Alliance when she was just a teenager and later became a General of the resistance. Her romance and later marriage to Han Solo were fit in between her amazing adventures.

Wonder Woman from the Kingdom Come storyline

When a new generation of heroes was failing and an impending apocalyptic event looms, Wonder Woman comes out of retirement to retrieve Superman who was in seclusion to save the world. The two of them, plus Batman, put everything right again and only after that does a romance between Diana and Clark develop. Loved the epilogue of this story!

Tyleet from the ElfQuest saga

Tyleet is a favorite character of mine from the ElfQuest series who is kind, patient and steady. As a second generation of the Wolfrider clan, she was single for hundreds of years before she unexpectedly “recognized” (when two elves are drawn together to create a child) an older elf Scouter. Despite her subsequent pregnancy Tyleet remained true to herself and in helping neighboring tribes of humans. Scouter learned to help her instead of stopping her from assisting those he had previously viewed as the enemy.

Officer Dana Cypress from the Revival series

Inexplicably, twenty three people come back to life in rural small town Wisconsin.Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. Officer Dana Cypress, a single mother and daughter of the sheriff, is asked to head the unit looking into this phenomenon. A problem arises when she discovers her younger sister is one of the “revivers”. She meets a scientist who is there to study the undead, and he becomes a love interest, but it is completely secondary to her solving the mystery.

Faith Herbert aka Zephyr of the Harbinger Renegades

Faith is a kick ass heroine! Not your typical scantily clad model type superhero chick, she transcends that stereotype and it becomes a non-issue. In this series, Faith has taken a break from the Renegades to discover herself. She still fights crime, but works as a journalist as her alter-ego. A new romance with another hero Archer is hinted at but her friendships remain a priority. She is a worthy adversary of any super villain, with promising future story lines.  You go girl!

I love how all these women are examples of how a woman can remain true to themselves while in the midst of a relationship. Women should be partners with the men they love and not subvert who they are.  These five examples of independent ladies are fantastic role models!

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Disappointing Reads of 2018

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week the topic is the most disappointing books you read in 2018.

Vox by Christina Dalcher

I was so excited at the premise of the story, that detailed what would happen if females were limited to 100 words daily, and how American society would shift because of this discrimination. Since our current administration seems to revel in discrimination, I felt this book was going to carry a deep and timely message, such as The Handmaid’s Tale did. Unfortunately, I could not connect with the main character Dr. Jean McClellan despite the strong start of the narrative, and felt her withering contempt for her husband was too much, especially in light of what he did at the conclusion. I wanted to like this book more, but it didn’t touch me as THT did.

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

I was terribly disappointed with this book, especially after seeing many positive reviews by others. I am a fan of the zombie/dystopian genre (Revival, TWD, World War Z) so I thought this book would definitely be up my alley, but after a promising start, it fell apart for me.

Temple is a teen surviving alone in a world that collapsed about 25 years ago in a zombie apocalypse. She is practical to a fault, knowing how to fend for herself, but haunted by her memories of a younger brother who is no longer with her. During her travels she happens about a conclave of survivors in a nearby city but her independent streak makes it an ill fit for her. While there, she thwarts a sexual assault, and in self defense she kills the man. His brother vows revenge, and the rest of the book details the ridiculous pursuit between them, and reminded me of Jean Valjean and the obsessive Javert saga in Les Misérables. The people they encounter on their travels range from Southern Gothic wannabes to a deranged mutant family and of course endless zombies. The whole time people keep on remarking on how amazing and deep Temple was which annoyed me- for I felt it was pretentious, show don’t tell this characteristic. I kept on putting this short novel down which is never a good sign, and by the time the conclusion wrapped up everything, I simply did not care about any of the characters.

Artemis by Andy Weir

When I read The Martian, I was sucked into Andy Weir’s plausible science fiction story. His resourceful hero was funny and appealing and readers rooted for his survival. So I eagerly looked forward to his next book and was pleased to find a heroine living on the moon in his second novel. Imagine my dismay when my opinion of the book plummeted chapter by chapter.

You can read more about my dislike for the book in my previous blog post.

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Vaguely reminiscent of Grisham’s book, The Litagators, this story delves into the world of everyday lawyers, not the high paid corporate lawyers from his famous earlier books. Students Mike, Todd and Zola are in their last semester at a third rate law school, and up to their eyeballs in debt, when a good friend commits suicide. Shaken by his death, they all impulsively drop out of school and start to masquerade as a law firm despite no degrees.

This is when the story went absolutely sideways for me. Upset that their loans are overwhelming and with no job prospects, they decide that committing fraud and hustling unsuspecting clients is a legitimate way to live their lives. They bumble around, get caught, but then decide to double down by getting involved in a mass torts case against the bank that worked with their law school giving loans to unqualified students. In the midst of this Zola is dealing with her undocumented family getting sent back to Senegal. Mike and Todd, who quite frankly are interchangeable, manage to keep one step ahead of the authorities and the whole ending is just preposterous.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I listened to this book on audio, which had received the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album, and was prepared to love it. I didn’t.

At first, hearing Carrie Fisher’s voice was both wonderful and melancholy, due to her passing. I’ve been a big fan of hers for years, as she surpassed her Princess Leia persona, and was a well respected author plus funny as hell. The new set of Star Wars movies yanked her back into the fandom and people are eager for any tidbits about the original trilogy, so the finally confirmed romance between Fisher and Harrison Ford was big news. She writes of their romance, but yet I still did not feel it was fleshed out. She has every right not to share details there were too intimate between the two, but the romance remained an enigma to me.

She ends up being very repetitive elsewhere in the book, and much of it seemed filler. She speaks wryly of life for an actor after their biggest fame is over, and the struggles and concessions they need to make to remain relevant and earn an income. As she re-imagines some conversations she has had with her fans at conventions, I had to skip ahead on the audio as they were painful to listen to. So I ended up feeling disappointed by the end of the novel, and felt guilty thinking so. Nevertheless, her candor and humor make me want to look up more of her past works.

I rarely give up on books, and most of these books had promising starts, but they all ended on unsatisfactory notes. Did anyone else have similar feelings about these books?

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Give Realists as Gifts

I’m back with a T5W post, after a very long break from it!  Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week the topic is creating a recommendations guide for a certain type of person. I am a practical lass, and a bit of a pessimist truth be told, so I am choosing books a realist would like.  For the last year and a half, ever since I discovered Briggs Land, I have been having a reading affair with Brian Wood who takes real and edgy to the extreme.

Continue reading “Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Give Realists as Gifts”

T5W: Favorite Teachers/Mentors

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.

Today’s theme: favorite teachers and mentors! As a bonus challenge, the moderators told us not to pick any HP characters… but that was no problem for me =P

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5 . Brom – Eragon

Brom was a mentor to Eragon even before he became a Dragon Rider. He would tell Eragon stories as he was growing up. After Eragon finds Saphira and sets out to avenge his uncle’s death, Brom joins him without a second thought. Brom teaches Eragon survival skills, the history of the Dragon Riders, and more. In many ways, Brom serves as Eragon’s compass and helped shape him into the man he would become.

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4. Qui Gon Jinn – Star Wars

I have kind of a soft spot for Qui Gon, partly because he’s played by Liam Neeson and partly because we got so little screen time with him. Qui Gon is perceptive and calm in the face of danger. He believed so much in the prophecy that Anakin was the chosen one that he was wililng to break the rules and take on a second apprentice. When objections were made by the Jedi Council, he did not hesitate to point out that Obi Wan was ready for his trials to become a Master Jedi. He had great faith in Obi Wan as his student – that’s awesome!

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3. Mikhail – Jill Kismet series

Mikhail is Jill’s teacher. He died soon before the series began. It’s interesting to me to begin a series after the teacher is already dead – most of the time, they’re killed off sometime after the series has begun! It’s evident that Jill is still in mourning. Mikhail saved her from a violent life before she became a Hunter, and taught her not to fear the darkness. Jill remembers lessons he taught her throughout the series, making it seem as if he’s still teaching her from beyond the grave.

 

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2. Ted Grant (Wildcat) – Arrow

After Sara died, Laurel was filled with a rage she couldn’t control or get rid of. While working a case for the Arrow, she came across Ted Grant’s boxing gym. He offered her lessons to give her an outlet, which she initially refused, but came back and took him up on it. Ted was a lot more willing than Oliver to train Laurel, to teach her to use her anger as an outlet for doing good instead of continuing to let it chew her up from the inside (as Oliver would have done). Without Ted, there wouldn’t have been the Black Canary. Wildcat is a mentor to Canary in the comics, and it was great to see their relationship brought to the screen.

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1. Gandalf – Lord of the Rings

Come on… who doesn’t love this wizard? Gandalf is by turns fiercely protective and intensely compassionate. He is, of course, very wise. He sees things that most people overlook – Saruman ridiculed Gandalf for hanging out with hobbits all the time, but as it turned out, there were some very important hobbits to hang out with! Gandalf saw their inner worth and helped Bilbo and Frodo see it for themselves. That’s what a mentor should do above all!

Any of my favorite mentors make your list, too?

– Kathleen

Top 5 Wednesday: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. I am actually using last week’s prompt (don’t arrest me T5W police!) about children’s books that adults should read.

As a mother, former teacher, and now a librarian- I love children’s books! All of these books are worth revisiting as adults and should be read and re-read multiple times! I am sticking to picture books for the illustrations completely elevate the stories.

When Jessie Came Across The Sea written by Amy Hest and illustrated by P.J. Lynch

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This beautifully illustrated book shares the immigrant experience of many eastern Europeans through the eyes of Jesse, a Jewish teen, who is awarded a ticket to America. She reluctantly leaves her beloved Grandmother and travels on the boat that will take her past the awe inspiring Statue of Liberty to Ellis Island. Other passengers of various ethnic backgrounds are shown, and Jesse befriends a young man named Lou. Taken in by a dressmaker in NYC, Jesse sews lace, and by chance re-meets Lou and a romance develops. Years go by with Jesse learning to speak and write in English, and all the while saving money for a ticket for her Grandmother to join her. Jesse has put off marrying Lou until she is reunited with her Grandmother, so the final page of the reunion is lovely and heartwarming. I cry every time I get to the end of this book.

Pink and Say written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

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Patricia Polacco has written many picture books that are beautiful, heartbreaking, and memorable but Pink and Say is the one that makes me cry every single time I read it. The author shares the story that she claims has been passed down through the generations from her great great grandfather Sheldon (Say) Curtis about his friendship with Pinkus (Pink) Aylee during the Civil War. Say is a teenaged white soldier from Ohio who is injured in battle in Georgia and discovered by Pink, an African American soldier and brings him back to his home to be tended to by his mother. While he mends, Say bonds with Pink and his family but the two young soldiers are eventually caught by Confederates and sent to the prison camp Andersonville. Pink’s fate breaks your heart, but Say keeps his memory alive as he survives the war, and the book puts a human face on the devastation of this terrible time in our nation’s history.

The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural written by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

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This is an outstanding collection of ten supernatural/horror stories for older youth. Author Patricia C. McKissack sets the African-American tales in the deep south, and the evocative back and white pictures by Brian Pinkney add atmosphere to these Gothic type stories. What really adds weight to the dark and spooky stories is that they are based on real happenings during the slavery era, in addition to stories on civil rights brutality and modern day lynchings. An eye-opening compilation that I highly recommend.

Jenny and the Cat Club written and illustrated by Esther Averill

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I adore these books about the shy black cat Jenny Linsky set in NYC. The books were old fashioned when I was a child, but have such enduring appeal. I read them to my children when they were younger and they loved the books too. The adventures that Jenny, her two cat brothers, and all the members of the cat club have are so flippin’ cute. This is the first of a series of books about the cats with The Fire Cat being the most popular. My teen-ager recently made a joke about the cats dancing the Sailor’s Hornpipe and red scarves…the stories stay with you!

The Old African written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

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Author Julius Lester and illustrator Jerry Pinkney team together again to tell a beautifully told magical realism tale for mature youth that is based on fact. The re-imaged story is based off the 1803 slave revolt in Georgia and mass suicide that occurred when newly captured Igbo people took over the ship that was transporting them to the various plantations that had bought them after they survived the Middle Passage.

As the Wiki article states “The event’s moral value as a story of resistance towards slavery has symbolic importance in African American folklore and literary history” and is captivatingly told by the talented author and illustrator. The leader of the slaves in this story is The Old African, who as a young man was kidnapped from his home along with his wife Ola. The Middle Passage is described in heartbreaking detail and does not shy away from the horrors of the conditions that were endured and the reality that women were sexually abused. We witness Ola committing suicide to avoid rape, and Jaja’s mentor Obasi being beaten to death.

Many years go by after he is sold into slavery, and Jaja is now an elderly man who is mute but has magical powers that he uses to help ease suffering on the plantation on which he lives. When an escaped slave is brought back and savagely whipped, he steps in to help, but knows his help has earned him a death sentence. He then leads a group of slaves to the ocean and leads them home to Africa. That the escaped slaves have a triumphant conclusion is symbolic for staying strong in the face of adversary and resisting oppression. I highly recommend this complex and thought provoking book, and would suggest it to readers who are ready to think critically about this book’s message.

Some honorable mentions would be all books written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton, especially The Little House and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

If you haven’t read any of these books, make sure you check them out and/or revisit these books again if you’ve read them in the past. And most importantly- SHARE them with youth today!

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Nostalgic Book Boyfriends

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week’s T5W topic is about characters you swooned over when you were younger!

History is my jam, so every single character is from earlier centuries. I loved me some historical fiction series, and read these books over and over (and over) again.

Almonzo Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie series. This guy was actually real, and truly a hunk. He saved a town from starvation, drove Laura home every week from her far away teaching job, and was willing to take the word obey out of their wedding vows! Hubba-hubba.

Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series.  I was reading the book series during the same time as the mid to late 80’s tv mini-series with Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie so the handsome, kind and ever so patient Gilbert shall forever look like Jonathon.

Westley from The Princess Bride. While it was a book first, this is a major cheat, for it is Cary Elwes’s portrayal  in the movie that truly made my heart go pitter-patter. Look at the swoop of hair! So dreamy! I wanted to say “As you wish…” to Westley/Cary as he swept me away to a grand adventure.

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This is where my picks start to get embarrassing. The Sunfire series consisted of 32 books of questionable historical fiction. The main character was always a sixteen year old young woman at a pivotal time in America’s history that had to pick between two men who loved her. My favorite was the Jessica book set in 1873 Kansas and she had to pick between Wheeling Hawk or the widowed farmer Will. Spoiler alert- she choose Will and I was distraught. How could she not pick the far superior Wheeling Hawk? I mean look at those arms! For a funny review of this gem of a book read this post from Young Adult Historical Vault.

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I saved the worst for last. In addition to the Sunfire series, I was a fan of another atrocious historical series, White Indian. Set in New York State before the Revolutionary War, a white baby boy is kidnapped and raised by Indians to become a Seneca warrior. Renno was the greatest warrior of the tribe, and just happened to have blonde hair. My grandma had been reading this multi-generational saga and gave the books to my mom to take home and read herself. I swiped the first book and covertly read it in the car on the long way home from Florida. It had history, sex and  a hottie- I was hooked!

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So there you have it, my nostalgic boyfriends of yester-year. While I cringe at some of my selections, they all make me wistful for a time in which I was young and naive. But luckily for me, my real life boyfriend turned husband, turned out to be better than any of these book boyfriends! ♥

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Zombies!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This month’s T5W topics center around Halloween, and when asked to pick my favorite type of scary creature, I knew zombies was it!

Revival is a favorite of mine, and I have written a lot of posts about it. In this now completed series, twenty three people inexplicably come back to life in rural small town Wisconsin. The “Revivers” are not your typical zombies looking for braaaiins. Instead they quietly rejoin their former lives, not even realizing or remembering their deaths. Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. The series is being developed into a movie through Shatterglass Films.

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Deluxe Edition Two

Deluxe Edition Three

Deluxe Edition Four

The Walking Dead is the grand-daddy of all zombie series.  A fascinating premise, that is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but is still beloved by many. I list the three compendiums I have reviewed on my blog, but I have also been keeping up with the smaller volumes as they come out, and putting reviews up on my Goodreads account.

Compendium One (Volumes 1-8)

Compendium Two (Volumes 9-16)

Compendium Three (Volumes 17-24)

This book must be listened to on audio…it was beyond good. The story covers the history of the world wide war against zombies, and the narrative covers a reporter getting first hand accounts from survivors that tell about the beginning of the epidemic, the resistance, and the aftermath of the zombie catastrophe.  Some of the standout characters/stories were Todd Wainio, the Redker Plan, the North Korea speculation, the female Russian soldier, the pilot of the downed plane, and the family at the Manitoba campsite. A tiny criticism, is that I figured out every supposed surprise in the stories, and the connections between the world-wide characters strained credibility. The actors voicing the characters in the audio edition were perfect- Mark Hamill! Nathan Fillon! Denise Crosby! Jeri Ryan! Common! Alan Alda! I will definitely be listening to this story again and again.

Negan has been a prominent villain in the long running The Walking Dead series, and is a perverse mix of monster and savior. The question of how he became so twisted and his backstory during the zombie apocalypse is explained in this book that just came out the same week of Volume 28.

After is a strong collection of nineteen short stories about life “after” a catastrophic event. As with any compilation with various authors, some are stronger than others. One of the standouts was  After the Cure by Carrie Ryan. It  took the zombie story trope and subverted it. Vail is a teenager that was previously a zombie like creature but was given a cure to rehabilitate her. Society has a hard time accepting those rehabilitated people back into their communities, and the people themselves still feel some degree of hunger and a need to be back with their undead packs. Despite the melancholic nature of this story, there was a nugget of hope built into the end.

Who would have thought that zombies could be so appealing, but my reading list doesn’t lie!

-Nancy

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