The Top 10 Secondary Characters Who Need Their Own Story

Top Ten Tuesday topic is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is a freebie!

When this idea popped into my mind, I was worried I had already done a topic like this one once, but the closest I found was My Top 10 Most Memorable Secondary Characters, which I wrote in 2013 and was a list comprised primarily of secondary characters from The Hunger Games. Since then I have read a lot of great books with interesting characters and feel I could create a more varied list, PLUS, make the focus be about the story they could tell. This week’s list is in no particular order.

1. Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles

throne-cressSource for Thorne art here

Marissa Meyer gifted us all with a short story about Thorne (that I still have not read!), but seriously, all Thorne fans know only a novel would suffice our desire for more Thorne.

2. Sturmhond from The Grisha Trilogy

sturmhond-grisha2

Sturmhond is basically the same person as Thorne, and again, we all want more. I would love to know what happens to him after the Grisha trilogy, but I would also love to know more about his life before!

3. Kiggs from Seraphina

kiggs-seraphinaI love Kiggs, and I would like to know how he grew up and what made him the way he is.

4. Elend from Mistborn

elend-mistbornOK, so I’ve only read book one, and I imagine there’s more of him in the next two books, but I would love to know the details of his royal upbringing, his antics growing up, and what got him started reading those forbidden books.

5. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley from The Harry Potter Series

weasleysAgain, I haven’t finished all these books either, but I just love Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and I’d love to know their backstory. Did they meet and fall in love at Hogwarts? How did Mr. Weasley end up at the Ministry of Magic? Did they always want a large family?

6. Finnick from The Hunger Games Trilogy

finnick-odairOf course, this list would not be complete without someone from The Hunger Games, and like many fans, I’d love details on Finnick’s backstory!

7. Gemma from The Young Elites

gemma-youngelitesImage on left found on Marie Lu’s The Young Elites Pinterest board

I find the whole thing about Gemma being from an aristocratic family and a malfetto, but not condemned like Enzo, really interesting within the world of The Young Elites, and I want more of her story!

8. Harriet from Emma

harriet-emma2I know this ship has sailed, at least for Jane Austen’s perspective, but I would love to know more about Harriet’s life after she married Robert Martin. I was a little surprised when, while watching Emma Approved, I became way more excited about Emma and B-Mart hooking up at the end than Emma and Knightley! It was just really cute! (Those paper cranes!) But when I read Emma, I also found myself really endeared to Harriet there. More please!

9. Caleb from The Divergent Trilogy

caleb-divergentI have some unanswered questions about Caleb, and I honestly found him so much more interesting and complex than Tris or Four. I need more!

10. Marguerite St. Just in The Scarlet Pimpernel

Marguerite-scarletpimpernelI know there are more of these books so there might be more about Marguerite, but I found her really interesting when I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, and my favorite chapter in the book is when she’s at home discovering who her husband actually is.

I was surprised to see this list was mostly guys! But I guess that’s because most of these books focus on a female character. In YA it’s a little more rare to get the guy’s POV, but sometimes I wish I could read their story too!

Which secondary characters would you like to see get their own story? 

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Book Review: Emma

I think Emma has possibly maybe taken over as my favorite Austen story. The 1996 film adaptation with Gwyneth Paltrow was my first exposure, and I enjoyed it, but then I saw the 2009 BBC mini-series version and I fell completely in love with it! Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller were truly perfection in it. And then with Emma Approved coming out this year, I decided my Austen read for the year needed to be Emma. And though as the longest of Austen’s works it did start to eventually wear on me and feel a little too long, overall it was still the most enjoyable experience I have had so far reading an Austen novel.

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Emma is not the most likable character (though more likable than I think some people have made her out to be… mostly she’s just young and naive), and I don’t relate to her as well as Lizzie. I find all the interactions with her friends and family to be the most interesting out of any Austen story I’ve read, however, and there is just something so sweet about the Knightley and Emma romance. He has known her for her entire life and he knows her faults extremely well, and he’s not afraid to point them out to her. And yet, he loves her deeply. And for her the revelation that she loves him is, “Of course!” It makes sense.

emma-knightley2I also love how many quirky characters are in the story, like Mr. Woodhouse, Miss Bates, and Harriet Smith. They are far from the air of perfection certain characters (the Eltons and Frank Churchill, namely) try to give off. Harriet is a nobody with very little in the way of social graces, but she is kind and loyal. Much can be the same as Miss Bates, though she is less charming and more chatty. Mr. Woodhouse is well-meaning and loves his daughter with great devotion, but is an extreme worrier and germaphobe who is basically afraid to live any life outside of his house. But we see just as many flaws in the characters that supposedly have it all together, including Emma. And I like that about the story.

emma-approved-harrietIf you enjoy the story from its various adaptations, I think you’ll enjoy the book. It might get a little tedious, and Austen’s writing is not the easiest to read in general, but I think it’s worth the journey.

4stars2Have you read Emma? What are your thoughts? Which Emma adaptation is your favorite?

 

My Top 11 Favorite Classic Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Favorite Classic Books. I decided to do my Top 11 because I honestly didn’t think I would be able to come up with 10 classics I really liked, and then when I did that plus one, I didn’t have the heart to cut anything. So here they are, in no particular order… (BTW, I’m defining “classic” as those typical high school reads.)

1. The Scarlet Pimpernel

GR-thescarletpimpernelThis is my most recently read classic, and while I found the beginning a little slow and the ending a little too quick, I enjoyed the in-between, and might have to read one of The Scarlet Pimpernel sequels sometime!

2. Pride & Prejudice

GR-pride&prejudiceI don’t love Jane Austen’s writing, but I love her stories. Out of the three books I’ve read by her so far, Pride and Prejudice, my first Austen read, is still my favorite. Even though there are some slow and/or moments (OMG SHUT UP LYDIA), it has also some very notable swoon-worthy moments!

3. Little Women

GR-littlewomenObviously I love Little Women, since part of my blog name is dedicated to Jo March. I think this book will forever be the quintessential coming of age tale. And Jo and Laurie are still my OTP, no matter how much Louisa May Alcott broke my heart with the two of them.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird

GR-tokillamockingbirdI have to admit I don’t remember a lot about this one from my high school days, except the basic premise, the main characters, and that I really did like it. Harper Lee made her one book writing career count.

5. Crime and Punishment

GR-crime&punishmentI know, some of you are probably thinking, seriously?! Believe me, when I had to read this over the summer before my senior year for AP English I was not looking forward to it, but it surprised me! It’s really a psychological thriller of sorts! So the book is a little bloated with a dumb subplot about Raskolinkov’s sister, but I forgive it. This book impacted me so much I made a short film based on the book for my Honors College thesis project four years after reading it.

6. The Giver

GR-thegiverI didn’t read The Giver until almost two years ago and I wish I had been required to read it in school! It’s simple enough for older children to understand, and yet still completely thought-provoking.

7. The Picture of Dorian Gray

GR-thepictureofdoriangrayI read this one the same summer as Crime and Punishment and I quickly became an Oscar Wilde fan. We read one of his other stories for my English class that year, and I even read another for fun since it was in the same book. All of his stories are witty, but this one also makes you think.

8. The Hobbit

gr-thehobbitI was determined to hate this one when I was required to read it in 8th grade, but caught up in my first-ever true fantasy read.

9. The Crucible

GR-thecrucibleThis is another one that really made me think and has continued to impact me over the years. This play actually serves an important purpose in the first novel I ever wrote.

10. Rebecca

GR-rebeccaOh, the suspense! My sophomore year English teacher recommended this to me when we had to pick a classic to read for a film project, and I’m so glad she did!

11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

GR-sherlock-holmesI don’t have this one linked because it’s too confusing to choose among the variations of Sherlock Holmes on Goodreads. I’m not even sure if I have actually read the complete adventures or just some of the short stories, but I absolutely love what I have read. I even “re-read” some of Sherlock’s adventures earlier this year via audiobook and I loved them just as much as I did in high school.

What are your favorite classics? Any from my list you plan to read? 

Mini Reviews: Shadow and Bone & The Scarlet Pimpernel

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

gr-shadowandboneI bought Shadow and Bone on a bit of a whim. I spotted the paperback for cheap and remembered that basically everyone loved it, and thought maybe I ought to check it out. You see, not long before this purchase I realized I haven’t actually read anything I would classify as fantasy except The Hobbit, and I felt I needed to remedy this. I enjoy science fiction, so obviously I have no problem with other worlds. Even though I like the idea of fantasy, the blurbs on fantasy novels (YA or otherwise) often turn me off because they sound so confusing. I figured Shadow and Bone would be a good gateway into fantasy.

And I was right. Bardugo did a great job laying out the world without info dumping. The world naturally unfolded throughout the story and I was never really confused, even when I sometimes couldn’t remember what a certain kind of Grisha was. So if you’re a little uncertain of fantasy and haven’t checked this one out, I’d definitely recommend it. Though really, I feel like I’m the last one in the blogsphere to read it. 🙂

I flew through this one, so it pretty much felt like I blinked and it was over. I think I remember the story and yet sometimes I wonder if I missed something, even though the story felt complete, because I read it so much faster than I normally read. Even though it didn’t feel like anything was truly missing, there was just a little something that separated me enough emotionally from what happened and the characters to give it a 5. The story was great, I can’t even think of any one particular thing that I didn’t like, but for some reason it didn’t have all the BANG I wanted. But I did really, really enjoy it. I liked Alina and felt she was very realistic. She wasn’t super courageous, but she didn’t curl up in a ball and cry when things got too hard either. I liked Mal, and I’m almost always a sucker for a friendship-turned-romance. The Darkling was interesting, but I definitely cannot get on that team bandwagon because he is a bad dude. And the ending left me interested in how the story will continue.

4-5stars-editThe Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

GR-thescarletpimpernelAs mentioned in a previous post, I also bought The Scarlet Pimpernel on a whim when it was on the cheap. I LOVE Across a Star-Swept Sea, a retelling of the story (as if you haven’t heard a million times before from me), so I was hoping to really love the original story as well! And… it started out slow for me. Real slow. I have this problem with most classics though, where language and unnecessary details bog me down.

(Hey, classic authors, why do you elaborate on some of the most random stuff and then not elaborate on the really awesome stuff?!)

About halfway through though, the story really picked up for me. The chapter where Marguerite finally talks to Percy about how she feels – WOW, the feels really came through there! And it continued to be exciting, and the last few chapters were really tense, even though I knew it would all turn out OK.

But I have two complaints about this book, one being the slow beginning, and the other being the ending. The ending was really shaping up to be great, but then after the climax, we basically get a couple of paragraphs of wrap-up and then THE END. I always hate rushed endings. I would rather have drawn-out Return of the King (movie, can’t speak for the book) style endings than super short ones (though obviously a happy medium is most preferable). I really, really, REALLY expected/hoped to see a nice scene between Marguerite and Percy at the end where they would finally be all happy and lovey dovey and give me feels like they did in that one chapter, but sadly… no. And that alone actually downgraded a potential 4.5 star book down to a 4 for me. It’s a great story filled with intrigue and trickery, and I definitely saw the foundation of my beloved Across the Star-Swept Sea in it, but the feels were lacking in the end when they showed so much potential earlier in the story!

4stars2Share your thoughts on Shadow and Bone &/or The Scarlet Pimpernel! And please feel free to recommend other fantasy books you think I might like! 

Top 10 Beach Bag Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag or Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer.

Well, I just came back from the beach not too long ago (sad), and since I live in a landlocked state (more sad) there isn’t much opportunity for me to go back again this summer. So first I’ll share what I did take with me to the beach (and enjoyed!), what I would take if I was so fortunate to go again later this summer (after I acquired said books), and books I’ve read that you might enjoy reading when you hit the beach.

beach-bag1

Bag source: Scout

The 5th Wave: Thankfully there was no sign of an alien apocalypse on my vacation, so it was a fascinating world to delve into while I relaxed.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight: A light contemporary read that made for a fun, fast read by the water.

Shadow and Bone: Something about immersing myself into this new world while in a place far from home I think made this read even more mesmerizing.

The Scarlet Pimpernel: I bought this one while on vacation and started on it. Unfortunately, the book didn’t pick up for me until after I got back home, but it has some fun moments!

beach-bag2

Bag source: Life is Good

Split Second: I STILL need to read this follow-up to Pivot Point, and needing a book for the beach seems like just a good a reason as any.

Siege and Storm: Can I go back to Florida to continue the Grisha trilogy, please?

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: Coming June 24, how can the book adaptation of our favorite web series that was a retelling of one of our favorite love stories not be a perfect beach read?

beach-bag3

Bag source: Stuffosaurus

The Scorpio Races: This book takes place on an island with a much more deadly beach than what you are likely to encounter. So while you read about this mystical place, you can be glad that you’re not there and delve into the fascinating culture of Thisby Island.

Across a Star-Swept Sea: I know I talk about this book a lot (and spoiler alert – it’ll be back for next week’s TTT again), but when I read this book in December/January, the descriptions of the tropical island setting really left me aching for warmth and beachiness!

Rebecca: So there isn’t really anything about the beach here, though there is water, but this is a great, suspenseful classic that you will leave you on the edge of your beach chair. And personally, I like some intrigue in my beach reads since I can gobble down the pages with hours to read at my disposal.

What would you pack in your beach bag this summer?

The Top 10 Books I Wish I Had Read for School

Top Ten Tuesday topic is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic was Top 10 Contemporary Books That Would Be Great Paired With A Required Reading Book OR Top Ten Books That You Wish Were Taught In Schools. Even though these are both great topics, I struggled with coming up with ten, and decided to focus on the books I wish I had read in school. Some people have read these for school, but every curriculum is different, and these are ones I wish I had been assigned to read (especially in place of some of my least favorites, like Heart of Darkness. Bleh!). This week’s list is separated by category.

The Classics That I Still Haven’t Gotten Around to Reading

classics

Brave New World, The Bell Jar, The Screwtape Letters, Fahrenheit 451

Classics are intimidating, which is why they make us read them in school, right? Because otherwise, we might not pick them up. Or are we intimidated by them because they were required reading in school? Hmmm… Regardless, they can’t make us read them all, because there are so many of them! But some I kind of wanted to read, or want to read now, but I might be intimidated for one reason or another, or just haven’t gotten around to it for one reason or another. I could easily compiled a list of 10 classics I still want to read, but stuck with just a few. But seriously, why couldn’t I have read The Bell Jar instead of The Scarlet Letter? It pretty much has to be better!

(Somewhat) Classic Books I Enjoyed After Graduating

somewhatclassic

Anthem, Ender’s Game, The Giver

I’m noticing that there was a severe lack of dystopia reading in my school curriculum, which makes me sad. I missed out the poignant The Giver and the interesting Anthem, both which are nice short reads might I add. And while I don’t really consider Ender’s Game dystopia as much as sci-fi, I think it would still be a good school read that can get kids to thinking about the future.

Published After Graduating High School (or College), but Would Have Been Awesome to Read for School!

newbies

Cinder, The Book Thief, The Hunger Games

These were published in 2012, 2006, and 2008 respectively, all after I finished high school and Cinder after college, so I never would have really had the chance to read these in the classroom. But how great it would have been! You could read the original story of Cinderella before Cinder and then compare the two! The Book Thief offers a unique perspective on WWII you’re not going to find in history books, plus the prose is lovely. And then The Hunger Games is a true dystopia (much more so than many other YA “dystopias” that have emerged since), but is more interesting and friendly to read than, say, 1984. I think these more contemporary books would be great required reads.

What do you think? What books do you wish you had read for school?