Friday, October 31, 2014

Feature Friday: Edgan Allan Poe and His Raven

Happy Halloween!  Here are some fun facts about Edgar Allan Poe to get you in a festive mood:

1. Poe carried on writing even after he’d died. At least, if you believe the rather outlandish claim of Lizzie Doten, the psychic medium whose 1863 book,Poems from the Inner Life, included poems which Doten claimed to have received from the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe.  (Though, I have to admit, it does seem like something ghost-Poe would do...)

2. The American football team the Baltimore Ravens are named in honour of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem ‘The Raven’. This is the only example of a sports team being named after a work of literature – at least, to our knowledge. We’d be interested to hear of any others… (Can you imagine a real live game of Slytherins vs. Gryffindors??)

3. Poe often wrote with his Siamese cat on his shoulder. Poe would place the cat on his shoulder before he commenced writing a poem.  (Which is a seriously great mental image.)

Want to get creeped out?  Click here to read Poe's The Raven for yourself.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Rating: 4.25 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it."

Review: Seeing as I spent half of my childhood pretending I was Christine Daae, this Phantom of the Opera retelling was a no-brainer.

Although a part of me will never believe that another setting could be as perfect for this story as an old Parisian opera house, somehow a mid-century, Asian-inspired slaughterhouse worked just as perfectly.  (I don't think there was an actual date or country assigned to this story - it was appropriately left vague - but judging from the character descriptions and the technology available, I think it's safe to say mid-century and Asian-inspired.)  Regardless of time or location, the slaughterhouse was truly a perfect setting.  It is large, busy, hierarchical, dangerous, and carries an ever-present atmosphere of death.

The aura surrounding the Ghost was so well done.  You could tell that these people were highly superstitious, and could understand why they would want to believe in the Ghost.  It's sometimes easier to believe in something you haven't seen when there's precious little to believe in at all, so the little coins and hard-won trinkets offered to him were both touching and sad.  

Wen has recently lost her mother when this book opens, and she is dealing with her grief along with her strained relationship with her father while learning the ropes in this hardened factory.  She struggles at first, but eventually adapts.  I wouldn't say that she becomes a force to reckon with, but she certainly progresses, and I appreciated her growth.

The Ghost was equal parts brilliant, childish, and cruel.  He was a fascinating and really well-drawn character, and I loved every scene that featured him.  The Raul character in the original book and in the famous musical always seemed kind of weak to me, but Melik was fabulous.  He was layered, strong, and devoted to the causes he believed in. I did quite like Wen and Melik together, even though I pictured Melik as, like, twenty-seven years old, and Wen is clearly stated as sixteen.  I do not approve of such shenanigans in real life, but in this story their wistful romance worked.

Seeing as the original story doesn't factor in any event outside the Opera House itself, the background of political unrest and racial prejudice was an interesting additional layer to this story.  I actually quite liked the added weight it gave to the characters, and it left me really curious as to how the next book will play out.

I greatly disliked the lack to female friendship in this novel, however.  Wen starts with friends, but either they abandon her or she abandons them by the end of the novel.  I wished she had a friend with whom to navigate her difficult situation, or at least someone on whom to rely.  I also disliked that every man with whom she came in contact either wanted to rape her or marry her.  Ms. Fine apparently elected to have a strongly patriarchal and misogynistic environment in which to place her story, which is certainly her prerogative.  But I found it to be irritating.  Not all women are rivals, and not all men can't control their hormones.  Some variation there would have been appreciated.

Still, I blew through this whole book in a single afternoon.  It was chilling and gripping and haunting and really, really exciting.  I loved reading it, and definitely recommend it!

Review in a GIF:

Bottom Line: This haunting and exciting Phantom of the Opera retelling is perfect for Halloween season!  Pull out this book and get delightfully sucked into a world of contention, mystery, intrigue, and ghosts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Book Characters Who I Would Totally Want (My Daughter) To Be For Halloween

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Book Characters Who I Would Totally Want (My Daughter) To Be For Halloween

So, the original prompt was to tell which characters you would dress up as yourself.  I have nothing against dressing up for Halloween, but pint-sized costumes are just so much cuter.  Wouldn't you agree?  So I did this week's list with my almost two-year-old in mind.  (Though these would all work with adults as well.)

Mary Poppins costume
Hello, gorgeous dress that I would probably dress my daughter in just to go to the grocery store.

The 25 Best & Totally Unique Halloween Costume Ideas for Baby
Hilarious.  Though this would only work for warmer climates.

Madeline Costume for Halloween
I die.  It looks fairly simple to make too, at least compared to some other costumes.

Amazing bookish Halloween costumes for children: the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.
A little girl with a big personality could have so much fun with this.

best halloween costume ever
Voldemort is kind of creepy, but I bet this costume would get a lot of love from Potter fans.

So cute! Little Mermaid Tutu Halloween Costume
Seashells are unnecessary when the rest of your costume is this adorable.

Amelia Bedelia costume 24 cute & creative costumes inspired by kids’ books | BabyCenter Blog
The flowers make this whole look.

Hobbit, Lord of the RIngs | 17 Awesome Literary Halloween Costumes
If you look closely you can see fur glued to his flip flops.  THAT'S dedication.

16 Literally Awesome Book-Inspired Halloween Costumes
I actually considered Olivia when choosing a costume for my daughter.  I didn't go with it, largely because I couldn't totally imagine it.  Seeing this makes me wish I had checked Pinterest first.

Kids & Living History..... YES!  :)
Because that is just hilarious.

Don't have a Halloween costume yet, but like the idea of dressing up?  Here's a great chart to help you figure it out, bookish style:
Find Your Character: browse Bookish's Halloween character costume guide now!
(All images via Pinterest)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Words: Purple Apple

Friday, October 24, 2014

Feature Friday: Framing the Pages of Books as Art in Your Home

Have you noticed this trend?  Images of people who have used the pages of books as art in their home seems to be popping up all over my Pinterest feed lately.  I love this trend (shocker) and am fighting the urge to completely redecorate my daughter's room immediately.  Really, though, a lot of these ideas are really inspiring and totally doable.  Take a look:

Framing pages from picture books is darling in this nursery.
Pages of a favorite storybook framed - great nursery gallery!  --- nursery rhymes would be cool too

Use the pages of old books as wallpaper in a guest room!  It's a conversation starter, as well as entertainment if your guests get bored.  (Not that your guests would ever get bored...)
Book pages as wallpaper. This would be awesome for an accent wall in a study!

Take a page out of a classic and put a silhouette of the story on top!  I don't think I would ever be capable of purposefully removing pages from a book, but I have to admit the end result looks nice:
What an awesome idea...take a page from your favorite story, draw silhouettes of the characters over the words, and frame it. Easy and cheap!

Another really cute collection of images from children's books.  Seriously, wouldn't these just be adorable in a kid's room?
great idea of a nursery. Just frame pages from a vintage nursery rhyme book.

And, my personal favorite, enlarge the cover (or just a single page) from a favorite book and frame it in your front room.  I seriously love this idea.
enlarged framed book page (or extended excerpt), use of floor lamps behind couch which frees the surface of small end tables. The New Victorian Ruralist: FABLE + FLAME

What else would you add?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Rating: 4.5 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to a heinous villain — a king who killed his brother's children to secure his crown? Grant seeks what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower."

Review: This is one of the shortest and most intelligently written books I've read this year.  I've always liked history, and I've read Shakespeare's Richard III more than once, but this book turned upside down everything I thought I knew. 

Alan Grant is clearly a Sherlock Holmes-inspired detective.  Moody, passionate, brilliant, arrogant, and several other adjectives could be used to describe both detectives.  But rather than feeling like a cheap knock off, I found the similarities to be more of a reflection of what makes a good detective.  Grant really feels like his own character, complete and whole, and so the inevitable Holmes comparisons feel more like a compliment than an accusation.

The rest of the cast is funny and memorable in their own way, but the focus isn't on them.  The focus is on Richard III: who historians say he is, and how the facts about his life agree or don't agree with their summations.

I spent an extremely large amount of time lost in the Wikipedia rabbit hole, researching medieval English royalty.  That's what this book will do to you: it will make you obsess over trying to figure out one of the great mysteries of medieval history: Did Richard III really murder his nephews?  It was a dangerous and tumultuous time, which naturally gives way to a great story and is why this time period receives so much attention.  But is this particular bit true?  Tey argues no, and by the end of the book, I was prone to agree with her.

Watching Grant put the pieces together was an absolute delight.  Truth be told, the present-day plot was pretty much nonexistent.  But other than noting that a comparable, present-day plot might have been nice, I didn't care.  I was too fascinated with the story Grant was uncovering to bother with the lack of plot.  

In addition to the story of Richard III, Tey makes a phenomenal case against taking history books too seriously.  We've all heard the phrase, "history was written by the victors," and that phrase has never felt so real.  There are always two sides to every story, and for much of history, we only get one side.  Who the good guys are and who the bad guys are is often completely subjective.  (Unless you're Hitler, because duh.)

I've finished three other novels since reading this book, but this is the book I'm still talking about.  It's extremely thought-provoking, and fantastically enlightening.  I'd definitely recommend it to history lovers as well as mystery lovers, since the subject matter should appeal to both equally.  

I'd also recommend it to Game of Thrones fans, since George R.R. Martin is known to have drawn heavily on the War of the Roses as inspiration for his books.  I could definitely see parallels between his fictional story and this real one.  And, bonus, reading in greater detail what happened during the War of the Roses gave me some foreshadowing of what may be coming in GoT.  We'll have to wait and see if my GoT speculations pan out, but it was certainly interesting to compare the two.

Review in a GIF

Bottom Line: Do you like history or mysteries or The Game of Thrones?  If the answer to any one of those is yes, definitely read this thought-provoking (and short!) book.  It will fuel your dinner parties for months to come.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top New Series I Want To Start

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

Top Ten New Series I Want to Start

I am REALLY REALLY excited about some of these.  I feel like I've just finished a few series and am in the mood for some new ones!  These are a few that have caught my eye:

10. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Seriously, I've been wanting to read this series ever since I first heard of it ages ago.  Don't know why I haven't started yet.

9. The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles) by Mary E. Pearson
Book One is sitting on my nightstand even as we speak.  Must. Read. Faster.

8. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Now that the last book in the series is out, it might be a good time to start this one!

7. The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern) by Shannon Hale
I've read most of the rest of her work and thoroughly enjoy her writing style, so this should be a fun series.

6. Cracked (The Soul Eater Series) by Eliza Crewe
Ever since I read a glowing review of this book I've been itching to give it a try!

5. The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles) by Cinda Williams Chima
Chima's Seven Realms series is one of my favorite fantasy series.  I'd love to read more of her work.

4. Mark of the Thief series by Jennifer A. Nielsen
I interviewed Ms. Nielsen this past August, and hearing her passion and excitement for this new series really got me excited about it!  Plus it takes place in ancient Rome, so. 

3. The Talon series by Julie Kagawa
One word: Dragons.

2. The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
Seriously, I NEED THIS BOOK.  It sounds Am. Az. Ing.

1. 97 (Rise of the Battle Bred series) by V.L. Holt
Ms. Holt is a friend, full disclosure.  Her fantasy series is one that sounds really innovative and exciting, and I can't wait to dig in!

Have you read any great series lately?  What should I add to my series-radar??

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekly Words: Anne Dillard

Friday, October 17, 2014

Feature Friday: Books I'd Love to See as Choose Your Own Adventure Novels

These books really would make great Choose Your Own Adventure books, don't you think?

From Quirk Books:


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Play as the great detective himself or Watson. Will you be able to crack the mystery? Or will you fail? Will you be able to chronicle all of Sherlock’s mysteries?  What will happen if you can’t solve the mystery? Will you spot all the clues? 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Lizzie- Will you land Darcy? What if you didn’t go to Pemberly and ended up with Wickham?  Can you master all the rules and etiquette of English society? 
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: While Hunger Games is also about overthrowing an unjust government, wouldn’t it be fun to see if you’d survive the initial Hunger Games? Will you rise? What will be your fatal mistake? As they say, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” 
Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: Can you deal with the evil Chillingsworth while seeing your lover Dimmesdale’s life literally dimming away? What about Pearl?  
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: How long will you survive? Evil lurks at every corner and you’re stuck on an island with nine other people, one of whom may be a murderer. Wait for it… and then there were none.
What other books would make good Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book-to-Film: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

TheWrap has revealed that Asa Butterfield of Hugo and Ender’s Game is being eyed for the lead opposite Eva Green in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The high-profile movie is a Tim Burton adaptation of the novel by Ransom Riggs. Butterfield would play 16-year-old Jacob Portman, who seeks the truth about his grandfather’s past after he’s murdered by a “hollow,” a vicious creature (which understandably, Portman had thought to exist only in fantasy). He meets a girl named Emma, who can control fire, and she introduces him to Miss Peregrine and the other peculiar children through a time loop.

The movie is slated to hit theaters on March 4, 2016, and is being financed and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Production is expected to begin in February of 2015. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

Let's just jump in, shall we?

10. Paris from 
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I didn't love this book, but I did seriously crave some  baguettes and a visit to the Arc de Triomphe when I finished.

9. Rivendell from
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The movie let me envision it in greater detail, but I still wish I could see it for myself.

8. Gabriel's Keep from
Archangel by Sharon Shinn
The white marble walls and the constant background singing make this place sound both calm and luxurious.

7. The Little Palace Where the Grisha Train from
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
This place is just rad.  I loved seeing it in my head.

6. The Circus from
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This magical, mystical place was the highlight of this whole book.

5. Paris from
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
I realize this book doesn't highlight the grandeur of Paris, but it's vividness and history still make me want to go there.

4. Pemberly from
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It's where Elizabeth Bennett fell in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Need I say more?

3. The Paris Opera House from
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
I can't tell you how badly I want to explore this building in search of secret lairs.  (Also, seeing as this is the third time Paris has appeared on this list, apparently I really want to go to Paris.)

2. Jay Gatsby's Mansion from
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I'd love to experience once of his over-the-top, insane parties.

1. Hogwarts from
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
A part of me thinks I should have made "Hogwarts" the answer to all ten of these, because duh.

What book locations do you want to visit?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekly Words: The Good Vibe

Friday, October 10, 2014

Feature Friday: Retro Harry Potter Travel Posters

I could wallpaper my house with these posters.  They're seriously gorgeous.  

From Etsy:

Which is your favorite?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4.5 stars
Source: Book loaned to me from a friend
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.

He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Ruler himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn."

Review:  Mistborn has been sitting on my nightstand for... a long time.  I don't even know how many months.  After ignoring it in favor of something else for a very long time, Cassie at My Thoughts Literally gave me the push I needed to finally give this book a go.  And I'm glad I did, because by the end of this book, I was in love.

At its inception, the world of Mistborn is kind of how you might expect Middle Earth to look if Sauron had beat Frodo and company. It's dark and oppressive and full of bad guys.  There is a Lord Ruler (main bad guy) and a dozen or so ruling houses (comprised of other bad guys) who live in wealth and luxury, and who seriously oppress a large group of people called the skaa.  A few of these skaa want to change things.

That's the simple version.  The real story is much more nuanced and complicated, which made it delightful to read.  

I really liked how extensive this world building was, and how complicated the politics and magic system were. It was slow going in the beginning, and I think probably should have been edited down a little.  But once I got a handle on how this world functioned, I was completely drawn into the story.

I grew to care for the characters quite a lot, a fact that became clear to me when at one point in the novel several of them were in danger and I found myself suddenly extremely nervous that Sanderson might kill one (or more) of them off. The beginning was so slow that I didn't realize how attached I'd become until later.  It was a happy realization, albeit a stressful one since it occurred right when the characters were in grave danger.  

I blew through the last two hundred pages like a madwoman.  I'm glad I proceeded through those earlier slow chapters in order to get there.  A few events punched me in the gut, and I'm still recovering from them.  So many things happened right in the end that made me feel overwhelmed - in a good way - with the implications of each action.  My mind was racing with different thoughts and emotions as I finished the book, and I was still thinking about this book days later - always a good sign.  I find that I'm liking it more and more as time goes by as well.  It's a book with a good aftertaste.

So although the beginning was slower, this book built into a really strong, compelling story that I couldn't get out of my mind for days.  Although this book is the start of a trilogy, Mistborn alone had a very clear hook, rising action, climax, and conclusion.  It doesn't lean on cliff hangers to make its readers continue to the next two books.  I was pleased with how strongly it stood on its own.  I will definitely continue the series, and am looking forward to spending more time in this world.

Review in a GIF:

Bottom Line: Though it's a little long, the reward is great.  Fantasy fans are sure to enjoy this rich world, this complex magic system, these diverse characters, and the political intrigue in Mistborn.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Third Quarter Reading Report

A little known fact about me is that I am head-over-heels in love with Excel.  

No, I do not have a pet named Excel.  

I am referring to the Microsoft program that allows you to make charts and graphs to your heart's content.  I have a strongly analytic personality, so being able to break down information into informative and visually appealing charts appeals to both my organizational and my creative sides.  I love it.  

(I can just feel your eyes glazing over.  Who publicly professes their love for Excel??  But bear with me, I have a point.)

As you may or may not have guessed, I also love books.  (Shocker.)  So when I saw that  Janssen from Everyday Reading was hosting a link up showcasing everyone's third-quarter reading lists for anyone who want's to participate, I immediately saw an opportunity to merge both my love for books AND my love for Excel into the same post, and I jumped at the chance.  

(Yes, I do tend to get excited at really small things, why do you ask?)


I loved going through these books, and remembering the best and worst of those three months.  I invite you to participate as well, should you feel so inclined.  (And if you do, be sure to link up at Everyday Reading!)  

Without further ado, I give you my...

This third quarter was an overwhelmingly positive one.  Many of the books I read I rated at least 4 stars.  From July-September 2014 I read 11 books.  They are:

  • After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid - Rarely do I simultaneously disagree and completely adore a book like I did this one.  The premise reminds me a little of Landline by Rainbow Rowell, but I liked this one even better.
  • Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn - I am a major Shinn groupie, I admit it.  I read this one and Archangel to hold me over until she released the last book in her Elemental Blessings series.  Both were worth it - her characterization is incredible, and her books always have a really awesome aftertaste.
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown - Well this book certainly won't make you feel neutral.  You'll either love it or hate it.  Fortunately for me, I loved it.  (Despite a little disgruntlement that it didn't pass the Bechdel Test.)
  • Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson - I wanted to like this book.  Really, I did.  Unfortunately it did not sit well with me, and I was really glad when it was over.
  • Archangel by Sharon Shinn - See Mystic and Rider above for my Sharon Shinn fangirling.
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - Part of it was the narrator and part of it was the story, but I really despised this book.  Surprising, since I generally love fairy tale retellings.
  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Rowell does it again.  Though it wasn't my favorite of hers, Rowell is still is miles above 95% of the world in terms of storytelling.
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo - A brilliant and heartwrenching ending to a phenomenal series.  
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - I can't tell you why I loved this book without giving anything away, but suffice it to say, I really did.  Love this book, that is.  If you have read it, I'd love to discuss.
  • Dangerous by Shannon Hale - Just when I think I've got Hale figured out, she throws this book at me.  I was surprised at how much I liked it, since I usually prefer her adult work to her YA or MG work.  But like it I did.
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - This book left me with a major book hangover.  I couldn't read anything else for days afterwards, until I finally came to terms with the fact that none of the next fifty books I read will have a plot this carefully and precisely written.  Really, really good, despite having nearly every character by unlikable.
And here are some graphs breaking down my third-quarter reading:

It's been fun analyzing my third quarter reading!  Thanks to Janssen for hosting the link up, and for giving me an excuse to use Excel.  :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

I'm participating in today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's prompt is:

Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

I feel like this week's topic could also be titled, "List All of Rainbow Rowell's Books."  In addition to Rowell, here are some other fabulous character driven books for you!

10. Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
I will continue to press this book on everyone around me until the end of time.  You've been warned.

Just try not to fall in love with every single person in this book.  I dare you.

8. The Assassin's Curse and The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
These characters are spunky and heartfelt and just extremely lovable.  Especially that manticore.

7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
This book kind of reminds me of The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Both are spectacular.

6. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
I was surprised at how deeply I cared for these characters by the end of the book.  I expected it to be a more plot driven book, but the characters stole the show.

5. The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The depth of each character is just as astonishing as the versatility among them.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
There's a reason this book is so widely beloved.

3. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
This fantasy series is fabulous.  The characters are a large reason why.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I had to include at least one of Rowell's books.  Obviously.

1. The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
I will be shocked if this is not on every single list this week.

What am I missing?  I'm a sucker for character driven books, so if you've got a good one send it my way!!