Top 5 Sidekicks (aka: Happy Birthday Dr. Watson!)

According to Goodreads, today is Dr. Watson’s birthday! In order to celebrate, they have posted a list of their 14 Favorite Sidekicks. While their list is totally awesome, they didn’t include a few that I might have picked, so I’m making my own list! 😀

Note: I’m leaving off Dr. Watson, since this is basically a tribute to him, so I’m considering it implied that he’s a great sidekick. 😉

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

bdc3c1f9b2d2f1b64a50d373f3529049--hair-looks-hermione-hairLook, I love Ron as much as the next person, but if I had to choose between them: Hermione all the way. She’s loyal, honest, and smart. She will tell you to your face when you’re being a jerk, but also have your back against anyone who you might have (accidentally on purpose) offended AND she will know just where to look to figure out how to save your butt when you do something stupid.

Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)

ROTK-Sam-Faces-Shelob-2I am not a huge LOTR fan when it comes to the books (partying for a month in a tree when you are supposed to be saving the world? really?), but you can NOT have a best sidekicks list without Sam. He is completely loyal to Frodo, to the point of being willing not only to die for him, but also carry the ultimate evil just to give Frodo a break. Sam is DEFINITELY the kind of sidekick you want to have with you during an adventure.

Pantalaimon (Golden Compass)

hisdarkmaterialsthegoldencompass2007_91927Who wouldn’t want a little friend who follows you everywhere and knows you better than anyone? I guess daemons are not really sidekicks, considering they are technically like your conscience in physical form, but Pan was basically another character, so I’m counting him. 😉 He was a good balance for Lyra, his cowardice causing her to at least think before she leapt; a fine trait for any good sidekick.

Robin – Tim Drake (Batman)

Tim Drake List 10One of the original sidekicks in comic-dom, there has almost always been a Robin covering Batman’s back. And while each Robin brought something unique to the role, Tim Drake will always be my favorite. I’ve always felt that he was the one that most resembled Batman “The Detective”. He was smart, thought things through, didn’t jump in recklessly…but that caution didn’t stop him from leaping into danger when necessary. He took down some of the most powerful Batman foes all on his own…Joker, Lady Shiva, and more…and he never let it go to his head. That’s MY Robin. 🙂

Merlin (King Arthur legends)

7-7-2017 12-37-44 PMOk, this might be cheating a bit, since I dunno if you can really call Merlin a “sidekick”, but can you imagine having him as your best friend? Granted, he’s definitely not the most noble of characters (especially in the original legends), but he WILL fight fiercely to protect his friends. Also, he can basically do any magic imaginable AND see the future, so that’s pretty awesome. Now, my favorite version of Merlin has to be the one from BBC’s Merlin (2008-2012). He made mistakes, but he always really tried his best to do the right thing. It also helps that Colin Morgan is pretty adorable. 😉


I’m going to leave it at 5, though I could probably write all day on this topic. Feel free to add more in the comments! Who are YOUR favorite sidekicks? 🙂

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One Check Mark for the Bucket List!

Ok, this is NOT going to be a book post (obviously). But I finally got to live a childhood dream and, hey, I wanna brag about it. 😉

This past weekend, my friend Melisa and I got to finally see New Kids on the Block in concert!!! It was AMAZING. Even people who don’t like their music would have to admit they put on a heck of a show.

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Say “Hi”, Melisa!

Even the sideliners were awesome! The starting bands were…wait for it…Boyz II Men & Paula Abdul! Each group did about half an hour, mostly featuring their classics.

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Boyz II Men did a great set with everything from ‘In The Still Of The Night’ to ‘End Of The Road’. They even handed out roses during ‘I’ll Make Love To You’! Paula danced for half an hour straight; I don’t know how she does it! She also did a nice homage to Gene Kelly. 🙂

The New Kids themselves did a full hour and a half! They started out with a bunch of new songs, which I will admit I mostly didn’t know. 😉 They were jammin’ though! The boys were all over the place: on the back stage, the front stage, lining the audience…Donnie even crowd surfed!

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Towards the end, they did a wonderful timeline montage of older songs (they even did a quick change to look the part!). Joey pulled out ‘Please Don’t Go Girl’ and Jordan gave us ‘I’ll Be Lovin’ You Forever’, both in their signature falsettos. The boys all sang a cute little Christmas song and Jonathan even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to one lucky audience member. 🙂

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Ah, the denim romper; how I haven’t missed thee. 😉

My friend and I had REALLY good seats, but we still couldn’t resist rushing the stage when the boys came down to the secondary stage to sing ‘Summertime’ (even though it DID end up putting us in the line of fire for a couple of overly-enthusiastic fans who almost got in a fistfight over who got to stand closest to Jordan! Eep!).

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Look how close we got! 😀

All in all, it really was the concert of a lifetime. I had an amazing time and am ridiculously happy that I was able to attend. 🙂


What are the best concerts that you’ve been to?

T5W – I Don’t Want Your Love

Ack! I go away for one week and miss my perfect Top 5 Wednesday topic!!!

Today’s T5W topic is: Books Without Romance. (See, told you!)

To be fair, this is actually a hard topic, even for me. Half the lists I’ve seen include children’s books or at least children as the main character. I myself was tempted to include a couple non-fiction books. But I really think all the books listed should be adult (or YA) fiction in order to hold true to the spirit of the topic.

Doctor Sleep (Stephen King)

16130549I’ll admit, it’s been 2 or 3 years since I read this one, so I can’t be 100% sure there WASN’T romance in it. But if there was, I definitely don’t remember it. Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining; it follows Danny into adulthood and depicts a brand-new adventure with horrifying vampire-demon things and a new kid sidekick with mental powers. It was actually REALLY good. If you like Stephen King, I’d highly recommend it.

The Buntline Special (and subsequent Weird West Tales) (Mike Resnick)

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This is a fun series. It pulls in a lot of real-life ‘old west’ characters, such as Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Geronimo, Billy the Kid, Teddy Roosevelt, and more; but the stories actually take place in an alternate universe, where shamans can do real magic and are holding the border at the Mississippi River. Doc Holliday, the main character, does have an on again/off again with a saloon owner, but it is not AT ALL part of the main plot.

NPCs (Drew Hayes)

22088245Now, I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, but this first book is fairly limited on the “I love you so much” scale. In this first novel, the NPCs (non-player characters) in a role playing game suddenly have to take on the roles of the heroes in order to save their town from a tyrannical king. The characters are much more focused on their adventure than romance, though there IS some foreshadowing that romance might occur in the future.

The Shack (William Paul Young)

1812457This is probably the closest I’ll get to cheating. A book where the main character spends 80% of the time having a face-to-face with God and 10% of the rest has to do with his child being kidnapped? Yeah, not much time for romance in this one.

Welcome to Night Vale (Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor)

51IZUXor7hL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_The creators of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast really outdid themselves on their first novel. They managed to take a bunch of very minor characters from the show and create an entire novel, with those characters coming together to solve a huge mystery that started out as an off-hand comment. It’s amazing! There ARE a few hints to a previous relationship…and of course Cecil can’t ever NOT talk about Carlos, but the majority if this story has nothing to to with romance.


So how about it? Do YOU know any great stories that don’t have any romance in them? I would LOVE to get some feedback on this one, so I can start a TBR list! 😀

T5W – Dopey Grins & Snotty Tears

Hey all! Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Hate to Love Ships.

Since, as you all know, I am not overly fond of romance novels…or romance IN my novels period…this one is a little tricky for me. As such, I’m tweaking it a bit and am going to instead give you Romances That I Actually Loved.

(Edit: Apparently many people are interpreting the topic as ‘relationships that went from hate to love’, so I’m not as off topic as I thought! Hooray!)

The Princess Bride (William Goldman)

17572327Well, I mean…duh. Who doesn’t like The Princess Bride? This is the ultimate romance novel, full of swashbuckling, monsters, and daring-do. The movie version of this book is in my Top 5 movies of all time, so when I finally got around to reading it, I was nervous. Turns out I didn’t need to be, the book was just as great as the film! I loved the extra back stories for my favorite characters and, even though I’ve seen the film probably a good hundred times, still found myself rooting for true love to win the day.

The Fault In Our Stars (John Green)

11870085Not many books can bring me to tears. This one came close. For those of you who don’t know, this is the story of two teenagers who meet at a support group for cancer patients and end up falling in love. Its heartfelt, bittersweet, and completely touching. Just, be prepared for possible gross-crying. Seriously.

Carry On (Rainbow Rowell)

23734628Having loved Fangirl, I was completely ecstatic to find out that the author had published a full-length novel based on the “fanfiction” written by the main character. Yes, it’s basically a royalty-free Draco/Harry slash fic, but it’s got a ton of action, intrigue, and…let’s face it, the boys are super cute together. I highly recommend this one to fans of Fangirl or Rainbow Rowell in general…and definitely to my fellow Drarrys/Harcos. You know who you are. 😉

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (Katarina Bivald)

23346496This was honestly a really cute book. It’s about a girl named Sara who travels from Sweden to meet her penpal, Amy. Unfortunately by the time she arrives, Amy has passed away. So Sara starts a bookstore using Amy’s old books….Yeah, it’s a bit odd and very bibliophile-y (probably why I liked it so much), but it’s nice little story about finding where you’re supposed to be.

The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion)

18015965This was a really interesting book. Written from the perspective of someone with autism, this book gives you a slight glimpse of what it might be like to go through life on the spectrum. Don’t expect too much in-depth thought on the subject, though, this book is more of a comedy than a drama…think ‘Sheldon in Love’ rather than something really introspective. It was cute though and I really enjoyed it.

Honorable Mention

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (Multiple Authors)

lbdlogoWhile not technically a book, LBD is a vlog that is BASED on a book, so I feel that it deserves an honorable mention. I am not ashamed to admit, I have a REALLY hard time reading 19th century literature. Is it the garrulous prose? The lengthy scenery descriptions? The tedious plots? ::shrugs:: I dunno, but my brain reads them like they are in another language. And, as I’ve repeatedly mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of romance. So, of course, I’ve had absolutely zero interest in ever reading Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I’ve never even been able to sit through the movie (any of them).

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As such, when I stumbled across a vlog named The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I honestly had NO CLUE it was a spoof of the novel. It took me until episode 5 to realize what was happening (yes, I AM a little embarrassed about that, lol). By then it was too late; I was hooked on the characters and honestly wanted to know what was going to happen. I laughed, I choked up, and I ended the series (each of the 4 times I’ve watched it all the way through) with a giant dopey grin.

Mini-Reviews – SuperWhoLock 2 & 3

Hi all! Well, I’ve finally caught up on the Jackaby series and wanted to give you a couple of mini-reviews about how the series is going so far.

Series: Jackaby — Author: William Ritter

Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Mystery

Beastly Bones (#2)

Description from GoodreadsIn 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never 24001095quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

My Review: Ok, so how to do this without spoilers? Hmm…

Well, there’s a fun mixture of creatures in this one. I especially liked the homage to ancient creatures; I admit to squee-ing a bit when I realized what the ‘big bad’ was going to be. 😉 I liked the new characters too. The paleontologists and reporter were a nice nod to real-life people from around that time period (see the Bone Wars & Nellie Bly) and the Huntsman was affable and played off Jackaby and Abigail well. We also got to see the return of our favorite rozzer, Charlie Cane (aka Charlie Barker).

I will admit that the story will probably be a bit draggy for those who aren’t into paleontology. There was quite a lot discussion about digging and bones and such. With my love of geology, archaeology, and paleontology, I quite enjoyed it, but I can see where it might put some people off. But it was still a fun story and a nice lead into the next book.

Ghostly Echoes (#3)

Description from GoodreadsJenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has 28110857enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected. Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

My Review: The action is really ramping up in this novel. We finally get some answers to what happened to Jenny and a little bit of closure on that case…though it ends up leading into an even bigger over-arching mystery. This new mystery is really interesting and brings in all sorts of new characters and creatures! We even get a little peak at the Annwyn, along with a wonderful mixture of afterlife mythology.

There was a lot of character building in this novel. We’re given a lot more backstory not only for Jenny, but also for Jackaby, both of which look like they will be integral to the overall storyline. (Spoiler?) I’m happy Jenny gets some closure, but that she will still be in the books; I love her character.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t go into too much detail, but the ultimate foes sound wonderfully evil and it looks like the final showdown will be utilize an impressive mixture of science and magic. I can’t wait for the next installment!

T5W – I Don’t Like You, But I Love You

Howdy-Ho! Today’s Top 5 Wednesday Topic is: Favorite “Unlikable” Protagonists!

I’ve actually read surprisingly few books where the main character is the bad guy (I’m not sure why; I’ve always loved a good villain), so I’m actually going to have to throw a few antagonists into the mix on this one.

Artemis FowlArtemis Fowl (Eoin Colfer)
Protagonist

249747At the start of this series, 12 year old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius, and criminal mastermind. He kidnaps a faerie so he can study magic and wackiness ensues. To be a bit fair, Artemis DOES do some good along the way, but my favorite bits are when he’s being a bad guy. He’s like a tech-savvy Moriarty, only without all the murder. This is a fun series, even for adults. I highly recommend it!

The MasterDoctor Who (Multiple Authors)
Antagonist

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I adore The Master, in all his incarnations. He’s dastardly, clever, witty, and completely unpredictable…everything a good villain should be. And he’s the only antagonist who seems to truly be the Doctor’s equal. His newest regeneration, Missy, is fabulous. She’s every bit the character I remember from previous incarnations and I love her to bits.

Captain HookPeter Pan (J.M. Barrie & Others)
Pro/Antagonist

34262I know, I know, odd choice, right? I’ve just always loved Captain Hook (I blame Dustin Hoffman 😉 ). I am ecstatic that, now that the book is partially under public domain, other authors have started to explore this character more in-depth. There are a TON of good pre-Peter Pan novels out now, including several about how Capt Hook became Capt Hook. I’ve you’re looking for a good one, I’d definitely recommend Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson.

QStar Trek: The Next Generation (Multiple Authors)
Pro/Antagonist

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Ah, Q. How can anyone not love Q? He’s such a pest! 😉 An all-powerful being from an alternate dimension, the writers of Next Gen brought Q in as an antagonist for the pilot, where he tests the crew’s resolve and worth. He became such a fan favorite that he came back not only for several more episodes, but also appeared on several of the other shows, in books, comics…he even took on Spock himself in an audio drama called Spock vs. Q. Heck, John de Lancie is so well-loved as that character, that they spoofed him on My Little Pony…AND GOT HIM TO DO THE VOICE! Seriously, he’s totally awesome.

The JokerBatman (Multiple Authors)
Antagonist

A vicious (though funny) psychopath hell-bent on destroying Batman, he’s done everything from personally beating one of the Robins to death to letting someone CUT OFF HIS FACE. He’s completely unpredictable because he honestly doesn’t care what happens. And that’s the mark of a really good villain, isn’t it? The Joker is the epitome of chaos; with him in the story…anything can happen.

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Who are YOUR favorite unlikable protagonists (or antagonists, same diff 😉 )?

 

Book Review – The Shack

Book: The Shack – Author: William Paul Young

Genre: Christian Fiction, Spirituality

Description from Goodreads:

Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his “Great Sadness,” Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

My Review:

I’ll be completely honest, even as a Catholic, I’m not usually comfortable reading Christian books. Most of them come across as ‘holier-than-thou’ and really pushy; like, “I’m right, you’re wrong, and if you would only let God into your life, maybe you wouldn’t be such a horrible person”. Yeah, there’s a reason there’s such a stigma about Christians these days. :/

This book is not one of those books. Yes, it’s super religious. I mean God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are actually main characters and the entire book is about Mack learning to love and believe in his faith again. But it really comes across more as a family conversation rather than a push to get people to believe in Christianity. It’s very much a “we’re here for you and we love you, please don’t push us away” kind of novel. It was touching and honestly something I needed to hear in my life right now.

For those of you nervous about the kidnapped daughter plot…yes, it is very sad. But they don’t really dwell on the details of what happened to her. They do discuss her being taken and then give closure to that part of the story, but it’s not the focus of the book. This is a story about Mack, not his daughter.

On the technical side, I thought the writing was really good. The descriptions of everything happening at the shack were beautifully done and the dialogue was very believable. Dialogue can be tricky even in the simplest of books…and this was NOT a simple book. There were some very deep questions being raised and the author answered them as thoroughly and understandably as he could, considering he is not actually God.

And yes, I understand that these answers are just his opinion. Everyone has their own and that is completely fine. I felt that a lot of what he said aligned with my personal beliefs and that’s why the book really felt true and comforting to me. I would recommend this book for people who are either of the Christian faith or want to learn about our beliefs. And if you end up thinking it’s all a load of crap, that’s totally ok too. 😉

Similar Books:

Not necessarily religious books, but books that make you explore what it means to be you.

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit – Daniel Quinn

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom