Michelle’s Tantalizing Treats

Because I have no time to read anything outside of the textbooks I need for class, I have decided to write about all the books that I want to read, but can’t because school is evil.

These books aren’t in any particular order. I looked around my room and picked the first four books I saw. Also note that these are not the only books that I own, but have yet to read. I have about thirty others, but that would make one hell of a long list and nobody likes long lists.

Firstly, there is Sever by Lauren DeStefano.

Though the second book was not fantastic, I have to finish the series. The last book ended on a cliffhanger, so I need to find out what happens next.

Then, there’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is my favourite author and everything he touches is magical, so why wouldn’t I want to read it. I am just waiting for the price to go down a little bit. It’s less than 200 pages and yet it’s nearly $30.

On the same note, The Graveyard Book also by Neil Gaiman.

Again, everything he makes is magical.

Lastly, I really need to read John Dies at the End by David Wong.

A friend of mine recommended this book to me during the summer, but I haven’t had time to dive into this one. I got through the first few pages and I was immediately hooked. It was a bit of a shame when I had to put it down, but Game of Thrones was calling me. This one is first on my reading list, though last in this list.

Advertisements

Great Characters!

Hey! Sarah here, and today I’m going to be writing about something more writing oriented.  Keep a look out for a book review soon though, on one of the books that Sam and I received as part of our Random House Canada fall preview!  I’ll also be posting on my own blog soon, about everything that went down there! (http://sressiambre.wordpress.com/)

For now though, I have a post that was inspired by our recent trip to Comic Con Montreal (Sam, Meli, Michelle, and I). And it’s all about great character writing!

Alright, so what is it about characters that make them so memorable?

On the surface, when wandering around Comic Con, I think it would appear that cool looking costumes and weapons are the sole reason for a cosplay choice.  Upon deeper speculation however, I think there’s much more to it.  I believe that good characters have the ability to capture the love of an audience, and that if well written, they can last for many years, even when the book/film in question is not in the spotlight.

Firstly, and perhaps the most popular costume choice is that of a superhero.  Everyone wishes to be more than they are at some point in their life.  Imagining that you can save the world, and protect those you care about? Who doesn’t think that would be great?

Now, when writing our protagonists, they will most likely be heroes and heroines of some sort.  Not always with powers, not always with disguises, but they are almost all inherently good at heart and want to take action to overcome the antagonist or obstacle in their way.  We want to write protagonists that our audience will cheer for.  And we want our audience to be able to empathize with them, and many times, wish to be them in some way (though not the situations we put our characters in!).

Next, villains! Writing good villains can be harder than writing our protagonists.  They can come out looking like stereotypes; card board cut outs of what evil looks like, with no redeeming qualities.  Though this type of monolithic evil can work occasionally, I have found that I prefer my villains be more complicated.  I think that a good antagonist had justified reasons for what they are doing, and that it should be less certain that they are wrong in their beliefs.  Having villains as complex and real as your antagonist is what’s going to make your story levels better, and stop it from falling flat.  It keeps readers on their toes, not always sure if good will actually conquer evil, and questioning even where the line between the two lies.

Some of my favourite characters are not necessarily good ones.  And of course, this is my time to once again rave over George RR Martin’s character building in his Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones, for the HBO viewers).

Though there are characters you hate (Joffrey, anyone?), many have gathered a following of fans.  Tywin Lannister, for one.  The things he does are so heart breaking to Stark fans, and yet he still commands a certain respect from readers who see he uses his skills to accomplish what’s best for his family (though the way he treats them is not particularly admirable).  Then there’s a character like Theon Greyjoy, who is so cowardly that he loses all respect, and yet still manages to get pity for the situation he’s in (though I’ll admit, I’m in the minority of those who actually enjoys his character and POVS).  And who can ignore a reader’s (and viewers) favourite: Tyrion Lannister.  Though he’s witty, and relatable, he has still done terrible things (read the books!) and it’s amazing that Martin can still make him so loveable.

The line between a protagonist and an antagonist is not always clear, and I’m sure that’s why the more complex characters are so much fun to choose for cosplay at an event like CC.

Lastly, I want to talk about the more obscure costumes I saw.  Which brings up the topic of secondary and minor characters.  They may seem insignificant, but in reality they run the story just as much as the main ones do.  Now, continuing on with Martin, there are so many characters that this point really becomes important.  A character like Beric Dondarrion may not be on as many pages as Tyrion, but he holds a lot of power and is a fan favourite because of his endurance and skill.  Jaqen H’ghar (a personal favourite) plays a seemingly small role in the books, but has a remarkable presence (I also believe he will have a much larger role in the next books).

Looking at JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, it’s characters like Fred and George, Dobby, Luna and Neville (though I’d argue that they’re main characters by the end of the series) that make readers laugh and cry; sometimes more than I would for the main characters.  Writing good secondary and minor characters could make or break your story.  They can greatly influence the main plot, and can certainly capture the hearts of your readers just as much as your main characters.

So who are your favourite characters of all time? Why?

Do you prefer a more complex villain to a monolithic evil?

How do you go about writing diverse and riveting characters?

Let me know!

A book review should be my next post here.  Til then, hope you’re all enjoying yourselves! Feel free to recommend your favourite books to me!

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Every week they post a different topic and we create a list.

June 18th: Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

Michelle’s List:

1) A Clash of Kings
2) A Storm of Swords
3) A Feast of Crows
4) Clockwork Princess
5) John Dies at the End
6) This Dark Endeavor
7) The Friday Society
8) Divine Misfortune
9) The Ocean at the End of the Lane
10) The Hittite

Meli’s List:

Top Ten Books for the Summer

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman  I’ve been wanting to read a good fantasy book and I’ve come across this book in stores many many times, let me tell you, it has a bloody map in it and the whole look of it reminds of those old times stories mum&pa use to read to me before bed. So for those reasons I want to own it.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes  So I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones and I am so sad that it has come to an end, so somehow I found this little beaut and thought “yes! I can still live a life within the realm of kings” so I want it.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter  Now the typical Alice story was good but add a twist of zombies now that just makes me a little more happy. Frail girl turn bad ass (I hope) I just want this book in soft cover first but yes!
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst  A young girl meant to be embodiment of a god to save her people but failed, now she must journey away to prove her worth! Me thinks magical times again.

Crewel by Gennifer Albin  A powerful weaver who can make anything appear, imagine if that could be applied to real life, I would have taken up knitting ages ago.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor  The sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bones I am too thrilled to get my paws on this action-packed, star-crossed lovers and betrayal bent, secret seeping book.

The Demon’s Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow  Enough said the title alone gives me some kicks and giggles, Francesca Barnes is no mousy librarian, and the end of the world is upon us can she save the day?

In the Shadows of Blackbirds by Cat Winters  its 1918 and we’ve entered the apocalypse. If that wasn’t all to worry about, Mary Shelly Black has to deal with the dead spirit of her first love coming back…unfinished business much?

Blood Red Road by Moira Young  Now funny how I won’t read hunger games but something about this book makes me wanna go into a world of total chaos and flights to survive with a female lead which makes girls say “wow I wish I could be like her when I grow up”

The Carny by Brooke Moss  Forbidden romance between a high class girl wanting to break away from stereotypes and find her own path, and the carny boy who makes every one of her impossible dreams possible.

Sam’s List:
In no particular Order
1) Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman
2) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
3) Dreams and Shadows by Robert C. Cargill
4) The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant
5) You by Austin Grossman
6) Saga (series) by Brian K. Vaughan
7) Fables (series) by Bill Willingham
8) Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
9) Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru
10) Amazonia by James Rollins

Let me explain my choices, a lot of them have been on my To Be Read list for a while and I thought this summer would be the best time to get around to it. I’ve also been going through a graphic novel craving. All in all, I can only hope all these books meet my expectations. Has anyone read any of these books? Any thoughts? I’d like to hear it :)

Until Next time~

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books Featuring Travel

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Every week (on Tuesday) they post a different topic and we create a list.

June 4: Top Ten Books Featuring Travel In Some Way (road trips, airplanes, travelogues, anything where there is traveling in the book!)

Michelle’s List:
Top Ten Books Featuring Travel:

1) Neverwhere
2) American Gods
3) Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
4) Pawn of Prophecy
5) Belgarath the Sorcerer
6) Paper Towns
7) The Angel Experiment
8) An Abundance of Katherines
9) Misguided Angels (Blue Bloods #5)
10) Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)

Sam here! I attempted to make a list… but apparently I don’t read enough to get a complete one… that or my memory is failing me. I’m a little disappointed. Oh Well…

Until next time~