Salutations everyone, Jeff here and today I will go into detail of my top 10 books I like!

*Should have expected this*

Given I either talked about video games or anime or movies I’ve seen, I thought this would give a different perspective of me that I don’t just do all that majority of the time since even an anime/game man child needs a break from the “Chinese” cartoons (lol).

So in my 2015 review blog I pointed out I liked reading books since its part of my dream to be a writer of something so reading fiction is essential since it can give one inspiration. It’s also relaxing after a hard day of work.

This will mostly be RL authors and the stories I’ve read even so no Light Novels today but they are also good reading material even though it can get bundled with tropes.

10 – Animorphs

*Best part of my childhood*

Animorphs takes the number 10 spot for actually getting me started with reading! This series began in 1996 and I was in 5th grade. The author is K.A. Appelgate from Scholastic.

I discovered this series when the school had its annual book fair to get kids into reading with a variety of books. When I heard the synopsis of it I didn’t give it much thought since it felt odd, teens changing into animals to save the world? Along with this was around the time Goosebumps was running fancy free which scared me with the covers so seeing kids turning into animals was an acid trip.

I believe I got over my misgivings after about a year after and got the 2nd book because a pretty blond (Rachel) was turning into a cat. When I first read it I found it strange but intriguing and then after a month or so (going by memory so who knows) I tried it again and enjoyed it. I soon asked my mom to start buying me the books as they came out every couple of months which she did since I was reading and she liked that.

Animorphs details 5 normal kids, who are around 13 years old, named Jake, Rachel, Tobias, Cassie and Marco, who are either friends or acquaintances with one another go to middle school and deal with normal problems. Who would have thought after leaving and going through an abandoned construction site they’d see something beyond comprehension; an alien ship with a blue-furred alien that resembles a centaur but with eye-stalks on top of his head, 6 or seven fingers, a tail-blade and no mouth and the only way to talk is through “thought-speak”.

The alien is named Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul, he’s a war prince and informs the protagonist that the earth is in danger from a secret alien invasion by the Yeerks, slugs that can control their host by being put in the body through the ear canal where they usurp control against the person’s free will.  He also informs them he is dying due to the wreck but gives Jake and the others a fighting chance by giving them the Andalite technology through a blue box that will give them the power of absorb any animal’s DNA. The catch however is the tech is not perfect and the person can only remain in the designated form for only 2 hours or risk being trapped inside forever.

Jake, Cassie, Rachel, Tobias and Marco are just too stunned by being in this situation but through some prompt that the alien seems genuine and final wish they all hold onto the cube and are granted the power before they scatter due to a warning that Visser 3 is approaching and cannot be found out.

The story soon goes after that; 5 teens in a secret war with an alien race for the fate of the world. It seems kind of tacky given what can they do with animals but it actually holds truth with how they can try to fight this enemy who have infested anyone or people they love. They don’t know who to trust but one another along with maintain normalcy since they are technically still normal to anyone outside their group.

Eventually they get another ally/friend in the shape of Elfangor’s younger brother, Aximil-Esgorth-isthill, a cadet. He is conveniently the same age as them even though slightly taller due to his alien stature.

Do they save the world? Well that’s what reading the story is all about. The series has a lot of themes which hit well with me like ones of loss of innocence due to war changes people in unexpected ways along with if these changes will be a huge impact on the team themselves; growing up and in the process of changing from kids to young adults. Another theme is one of morality and if it’s right to kill another being which has been addressed in the series.

Friendship is also a factor and even love with some of the characters and along with if any of them will live through the series. Horror and war is another theme along with slavery in a way since the captive people that the Yeerks while inhabiting human bodies against their will (another is the future human hosts trapped away in secret havens throughout the city).

The book series is unique that one book is dedicated to a character’s POV as they rotate the lead; book 1 was from Jake’s, 2, Rachel, 3, Tobias, 4 Cassie, 5, Marco, and it continues with the middle being replaced with either Tobias or Ax when the books got into the middle number.  It also showed their home life and what they go through when detailing fighting or at times arguing with their friends (the group as a whole) or maintaining the everyday know how with parents, grounding, etc.

Another tidbit, the characters are telling the story to you as if they are talking to you. As a side note the characters are very careful so they never reveal to the reader their last names or where they live since anyone could have a Yeerk in the head. The summary behind the book starting at 1 was this.

We can’t tell you who we are. Or where we live. It’s too risky, and we’ve got to be careful. Really careful. So we don’t trust anyone. Because if they find us… well, we just won’t let them find us…The thing you should know is that everyone is in really big trouble. Yeah. Even you.

And when the Sharing (the organization that the Yeerks use) find out who they are around Book 51.

Here’s the deal these days: They know exactly who we are. They know exactly where we live. We’ve got a few secrets left, and we’re gonna use them. But just know that the end is coming. And we don’t know how much longer we can do this. How much longer can we fight. What about you? Where will you be when it ends? Think about it. Think hard. Because the countdown has already begun…

I’m very glad I read this series as a kid to my high school years. The series started from 1996 to 2001 with a total of 54 books, 4 specials which takes place between certain volumes called “Megamorphs”, 4 Chronicles which explains the past of certain characters like Elfangor, the alien race Hork Bajir, the mysterious Ellimist and even the Visser, along with a 2 create your own adventure books called “Altermorphs”.

I did see Altermorphs at the local Wal-Mart when I was a young teen but never got it due to I didn’t want myself “dying” in my imagination and keeping the memory. Yes, I did peak once and it stayed with me to this day (lol).

Animorphs was a hit and a successful book series from Scholastic with pre-teens which got pimped out with the short lived television series which was only 2 season, some minor games, even action figures due to the tv show.

The titles for each were always two words, “The Invasion”, “The Capture”, etc. It always had “The” in the title except for the chronicle book: Visser.

The characters were enjoyable and each had a personality which you could match at times; like me, I think when I was a teen I found myself relating to either Jake or Tobias but as of hindsight I think the one I was most like was Marco. He’s funny, smart, and shrewd. Pretty much he was cool.

Since this is one of my favorite childhood books I’ll give a brief exposition on the characters.

Jake was the leader, serious, responsible, nice, likes comic books, brown hair. His best friend is Marco and becomes good friends with the others during the time and has romantic feelings for Cassie, typical American teen and Caucasian. He finds out his older brother Tom becomes infested with a Yeerk and a high person within the Sharing. Jake does everything in his power to beat the Sharing and free his brother.  Jake being the leader feels the pull of leadership at times and worries if he can get his friends out of any situation given one misstep on his part and they are dead.

He also earns the ire of a being beyond comprehension named Cryack, the enemy of the Ellimist due to what happen in Book 26. After that he at one point perceives this being which scared him (going by memory can’t remember but during Memamorphs 3, he dies which was a part of Crack’s plan but is revived after to continue being in the series).

*The Leader*

Rachel was the rebellious one which she was a deadly beauty; blond hair/blue-eyes but not a dumb blonde; she had the nick name “Xena Warrior Princess”. She’s also confrontational and can be hostile, especially with Jake, who are paternal cousins. Her best friend is Cassie which is rather strong in the beginning but as time moves on its somewhat strained due to the different ideals. She becomes romantically involved with Tobias at some point.

Rachel’s fate is a sad one at the end of the series. I won’t reveal what happens but you can google it.

*No dumb blond just violent*

Tobias is a guy with low self-esteem and has a crappy life being an orphan; he lives with either his uncle or aunt but they are negligent. He has a hero-complex for Jake given he helped him from some bullies. He’s the loner of the group along with is the only member to exceed the limit of being morphed and is stuck in the form of a Red-tailed hawk but as the series continues it’s hinted he might have done that on purpose given his own home life.  He is on good terms with the rest of the team but his more prominent relationships deal with Rachel, love interest and Ax, his close friend and uncle. It’s discovered at some point (along with due to time travel) Tobias is the son of Elfangor; the latter traveled to earth and fell in love with Tobias mother (he stayed in human form, which he got from some random but handsome guy), she gave birth to him and the trio were happy but due to interference from the Ellimist, who explained that Elfangor had a greater destiny along with his son, the Ellimist changed time so Elfangor didn’t stay on Earth but Tobias was still born.

*Solitary one*

Cassie is the peacemaker of the group; she’s black, best friend is Rachel, love interest with Jake and confidant for the others at times. Her family runs an animal clinic so she is knowledgeable with animals and is a key factor in the group getting the animals for any mission they have. She might seem plain but Cassie is very perspective and the most sensitive one. She is the moral compass and it’s this that changes the dynamic later in the book series which is pretty big.

*Never mess with Mother Nature*

Marco is Hispanic and the wisecracker of the team; he’s all into pop culture and is nerd but one of the colder ones with making choices that go into dark territories. At first he didn’t want to fight due to his mom dying earlier before the start of the series and his dad is a recluse due to it and Marco always says that if something happened to him, his dad wouldn’t be able to bear it. He soon discovers his mother is alive and is Visser one which gives him incentive fight.  He goes between the moral gray ground of the series at times.

*The funny one*

Axamil (nicknamed Ax) is the brother of Elfangor and an alien. He hides with Tobias in a selective point in the woods. He is smart and logical but has his own deapth which is expressed through his interactions with being on Earth and experiencing the culture. He LOVES food given the taste of it gives him a major sugar (Andalites don’t have mouths) which makes him get rather extreme at times when he eats candy or anything for that matter. Ax is especially fond of wordplay and cinnamon rolls.

*Long from home*

I was like 16 when it ended; I was shocked by the ending of it along with melancholy since it ended. I take it as a testament of my childhood and growing up; I liked how it went along with made me less lonely since the way the characters acted made me feel being part of a team (being the reader and imagining what was going on).

When I become a parent one day I will make my kids read this series!

*Forever and always in my heart*

9 – The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Popping in like a ghost is The Lord of The Rings at number 9!

*Needed an image so why not the movie?*

Anyone who is either into High Fantasy or into nerd culture should have at one point read this series in one point in life and that happened to me in my freshman year of high school.  The series was written by J.R. Tolkien.

Being considered an achievement of Tolkien with his use of various themes along with the backstory and attention to detail, LOTR is a very good read if not exhausting.  I say that given the exposition of detail can be a tad bit much and at times I breezed through some scenes or words since I just wanted to get to the meat of the characters.  I actually finished the first book in like in like a couple of months before moving to the second one which went into the 3rd one in my junior year of high school.

I know I took my time with it since it seemed pretty important given the movies were coming out around that time along with I consider myself a “purest” with thinking the book is superior to any form of media entertainment since the movies don’t add every little detail, and don’t get me started with those annoying “bonus” scenes in extended editions; that was the movie trying to pimp itself out for the major of fans out there that liked Peter Jackson’s work.

This is number 9 since even though it had an impact on me with the interactions, themes and downright good story of a tale of destroying the first ring, it killed it with the exposition at times. Yeah, I just said exposition is a good thing but at the same time it can exhaust your brain with thinking of the landscapes even if you have an active imagination and can see it.

I liked how Tolkein went into the Elven lore which fascinated me just like how Samwise Gamgee was deep into it along with the information about magic even though it was just as mysterious (only the Ring or the Druids could use it but with like manipulating some elements of nature).

To this day I still remember the extra bit of information from Return of the King that explains what happened to the characters at the end of the book in a kind of glossary.  Like for instance the love story between Aragon and Arwen in there almost King Arthur/Guinevere love story and how he becomes a king, somewhat uniting the elven folk with humans and having a certain amount of sons and daughters to his end (FYI, after his death Arwen rules for a time before vanishing in the wood to return to her folk).

Did you know Samwise becomes a mayor of his hometown for a long time, has a family and in later life (and it’s hinted) he might have gone with Frodo to that mysterious area across the sea after he left the Shire. Speaking of that place along with the movie never did this, there was a battle for the Shire at some point after Frodo destroys the ring due to a remnant of an enemy made shop there and with Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry, they rallied the other hobbits to taking back their home.

I also enjoyed the underdogs to any story and this would be in the form of Eowyn; the strong willed niece of the King of Rohan; she longed for a different life of being not a maiden in waiting but a warrior (more or less) as Eowyn stated she was a bird in its cage with no freedom.  She had skill with a sword and was pretty much the independent woman; she had an unrequited love for Aragon and heard of his tales of grander but she knew he loved another.

Eowyn was a major player in Return of the King when the Battle of the Pelenor Fields occurred where she dressed as a man since no woman were allowed to fight (typical) and Merry snuck with her since he didn’t want to be left out.

In the battle as her fellow man fell to the wraith Witch-king of Angmar, she had confronted him and the wraith declared that no man would ever slay him and he’d torture her (lots of words he used to describe it as well) before she did the epic wonder of removing her helmet and shocking him as she gave her quick speech of declaration!

Eowyn: But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.

*Best part!*

She slays his steed and after a brief scuffle with her shield-arm getting broken it looked like Eowyn would be killed but Merry was there and distracted the creature of darkness by stabbing him in the knee and with that, Eowyn drew her sword and killed him with a thrust “between crown and mantle.”

Eowyn shot up to one of my favorite characters in this trilogy due to her resilience of not being held back by naysayers.  Her fate is she falls in love with Faramir (brother of the deceased Boromir from the first book) after the battle and being taken to the Houses of Healing where after she decides to become a healer.

If I had to decide a rank system than it would be Samwise, Eowyn and Legolas as my top 3 characters I enjoyed even though I liked the others (depending on who they were). Hell, due to the movies I would add Gimli to 4th place due to his unique friendship with Legolas.

So even though this is 9th place in this, I will always hold this book series in high regard and encourage to read this book, just don’t let it be your first read if you are getting into reading since it’s a long process.

Even though I have a friend that read that book series rather quickly (looking at you Mike!)

*To Mike*

8 – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Driving in from a bar fight is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo coming in at number 8!

The book was written by Stieg Larsson and it’s a trilogy.

I never expected to read this at any point but when Hollywood decided to make a movie about it (along with an independent which went straight to DVD) I decided to check it out for myself. I was in in my early 20’s more or less.

I didn’t expect it to be that deep before it got very heavy with the graphic details about the main character getting raped along with her eventual revenge. Now I don’t remember the specifics given it’s been sometime but it was different since I didn’t really read anything out of my comfort zone.

The story’s premises aside I did enjoy it for what it was along with having an affinity with some European books or television shows. I enjoyed the development of the two main characters Mikael Bloomkvist & Lisbeth Salander along with the page turner of the politics behind it along with the corruption of anyone in power.

Okay so I did like how the two eventual meet up to given Mikael was on the run due to him being a journalist and finding a key factor in a murder case and Lisbeth’s own circumstances of being a computer hacker.

Now I’m cheating and looking up the general information to refresh my memory but that’s the gist.  Yeah, took me a minute to remember these two characters names but I did read the 2nd book which escapes me but I know I finished it, I just neglected to read the 3rd one, which I should do.

7 – The Sword of Truth

Rolling down this hill, The Sword of Truth series is number 7!

The series is written by Terry Goodkind. I discovered this series when I was at Barnes and Noble around 2008 or 09 and I did enjoy the exploits behind the story and the characters.

Now the thing is I would go into detail of why I liked it at the time but in some recent years I started noticing some points of this convoluted tale of an epic fantasy book…the main character Richard Cypher (Rahl) is a dick along with that annoying main female lead Kahlan the Confessor.

I DID enjoy it when I read the entire book series and the last trilogy of it but when I re-read the final 3 again (Chainfire, Phantom & Confessor) I realized all the characters depend on Richard. I know, he’s the main protagonists and that’s what happens but his fucking ideals are what killed him and Kahlan for me! Not only is he completely devoted to his own ideals and its “My way or the highway” I find him to be arrogant along with rather cold; he at one point didn’t think two females should get together and he doesn’t know when to admit when he’s wrong.

Kahlan is the same way in a small regard since she’s pretty generic in my opinion; she’s got no depth to her other than she can take care of herself and fight but she and Richard are made for one another. They call her confessor due to the unique magic she has of making people fall in love with her and she can get out any information due to the extreme amount of devotion the other person feels. She could even tell the person to kill themselves and they will do it with fervor. This ability has helped her in the series so I won’t fault her with this.

This actually was a point in the first book as the duo are forming feelings for one another given if one who is to fall in love to a Confessor would be doomed due to the confessor title carries a heavy (infamous) burden of said confessor, who wanted to carry on her line (childbirth) would just take a random guy (and he might even be married) use her powers on him and…that’s that.

Anyway the challenge besides the main plot is that Kahlan is afraid to be with Richard since, given the nature of her power, she could use her powers in a moment of passion if they were to have sex. Given that Richard is the MC, this douchebag is able to figure out a way to love Kahlan (it’s something basic but I forget along with I add the magic he wields is just as big and mysterious) and save the day.

Pretty much I’m anti Richard/Kahaln as a whole and dismissive of them as characters and couple.

Another thing about this series is Goodkind likes to explain the situation too much in different context! There is no need for the characters to give exposition twice or thrice in the same length, we got it!!

So fuck Richard, Kahlan and his whole mess of ideals and his fucking temper! Did I forget to mention that as well? He’s just a douche.

But even through my grievances I DO enjoy the other characters linked to this series and they are either linked to Richard or Kahlan.

My favorite character for this would be Nicci; she’s an underdog but her character had far more development into her creation along with her no-nonsense way of handling Richard through his BS.

Nicci is the opposite of Kahlan in many ways along with through the course of the middle part of the series, she is an enemy to Richard but eventually falls in love with him through her interactions with the douche but it’s genuine in a way.  She is his biggest supporter in the latter part of the series when the Chainfire mess occurs but I didn’t falter or give her crap to loving Richard since I think she’s too good for him but the way the story explained why she loved him (along with reading the book that detailed why it occurred) was something I enjoyed immensely.

My opinion is this; Nicci would be good for Richard since in the series, she never faulted when he got angry, sure she might have gotten hesitant but she knew when to lay down the law and didn’t baby him with being devoted to saving the world or whatnot.  There are aspects I’m missing with her but general info; she was once part of the Sisters of Light before turning to the Sisters to teach Richard about his gift but she was really part of the “Sisters of the Dark” before fleeing. In the course of the series she allies herself with Emperor Jagang and becomes a feared Lieutenant with the names of “Death’s Mistress” or “Slave Queen”. Nicci is a powerful being who has use of the Addictive and Subtractive side of magic (the term used in the books), the latter which is granted to those devoted to the keeper of the underworld.

Given she has been bathed by both light and dark, Nicci’s character can be considered tragic but one who has grown from the experience and thanks to Richard changing her views on life and the circumstances becomes a strong ally to him (which I don’t mind).

Her own feelings for him are unrequited due to him being devoted to Kahlan but during the Chainfire event where many characters forgot the confessor existed (Richard remembered due to his sword protecting him) he did depend of Nicci and did realize he had feelings for her and she with him.

I’m positive if anything happened to Kahlan in that event than Nicci would have been the one to be with Richard, even though my own dislike of him.

Another character I liked was Verna as she was also someone who got to know him and just treats him like a regular person and not someone to be praised.  Verna is a strong wielder in the addictive side of magic and Sister of Light (spoiler aleart; she becomes Praetor during the course of the series). Her character development is also crucial in the story as she starts learning truths about the place she works in along with grow as well even as a woman.

The book describes her as someone who appears in her mid to late 30’s due to not being in the vicinity of the place where the Sisters of Light are; they train kids with “The Gift” and the area has a kind of containment spell which halts aging. Since Verna is chosen to find Richard (as dictated by some prophecy scrolls/books, long story) she leaves on a journey which spans 20 years, too her shock given the “boy” she was supposed to meet was an adult.

Verna did find Richard difficult with certain aspects of his personality but in time grows fond of him as a friend and someone who is a good ally to have when it came to revealing the Sister’s of Dark (going by fragmented memory on this).

Later in the book series, and I kept this noted, when she and some other characters arrive at the Rahl palace where Richard is ruling, the residents do this chant/prayer where they praise the Lord Rahl. Verna, who is rather perplexed by this given “She didn’t think of him as the Lord Rahl; he’s just Richard!” which says a lot.

My last one in the series I liked (and didn’t take crap from him) is Shota, the Witch woman. She is an enigma of a woman who speaks in riddles, has lived a long life and appears as someone’s mother (example, she appears as Richard’s mom in the first novel) however in her original form she isn’t an old crone; Shota is has a mysterious beauty too her but she is not to be trifled with under any circumstances.  Shota can see the future is a powerful individual that few dare not infuriate.

Despite my fucking frustration of Richard, the story itself is good and it might get convoluted with its themes, its good (frustrating) but good.

6 – It

Appearing from under the sewers to scare kids is It at number 6. This thriller book is written by Stephen King!  I happened across this book in my early 20’s when I started doing the adult thing of getting a job.  I never read any Stephen King novels in my teenage years since I wasn’t aware of this dude but I did happen to hear of a movie of the same name and watched it.

The movie sucked even if it had John Ritter (may he rest in peace) or that dad from Sister-Sister. So when I was walking around Barnes and Nobles and saw the book I gave it a chance and it blew my mind!!  Not only did it give far better exposition with the actual plot as a whole it gave a better view of the characters and their interactions with the mysterious clown vintage terrorizing them.

The book has different points of time; one where it begins in 1957 which shortly goes to 58 than moves to the present (at the time) of 1984-85 where the kids are now adults in their late 30’s/early 40s. It keeps you absorbed on what happened in the summer of 58 to the consequences that occurs in the mid 80’s to finish what they started.

Memory plays a heavy factor in this story detailing Bill, Ben, Beverly, Richie, Eddie, Mike & Stan trying to figure out how they defeated “It” as kids due to returning in their adult years.

Unfortunately Stan Uris is the first victim of this childhood evil to get 86’d but before dying is able to give some kind of clue to spur The Losers gang to get back together. I truly enjoyed the bonds they share, I’m a strong believer in that term but nothing lasts and in the end after finishing off that metaphysical evil beyond comprehension they all start losing their memories of the incident due to some cause and effect and the friendship they shared.

It really speaks to you about friends we met as kids that had an impact on us then but sadly we move on and glamorize the good more than the bad.

ll probably read it again down the line and suggest you do it as well.

 5 – To Kill a Mocking Bird

One of the best reads and national treasure, To Kill A Mockingbird arrives here at number 5.

What can one say about this classic written by Harper Lee that details the sleepy Southern town called Maycomb, Alabama.

Rich in the culture to capture that time period we follow Jean Louise Finch or as she goes by her nickname “Scout”, a girl and tomboy and her experience of growing up in this rural town in 1933.

Little Scout is a wonder and curious girl who gets into mischief but loves her father Atticus Finch, very much as he teaches her various things.  There’s her older brother, Jeremey Atticus Finch or as he likes going by “Jem” and the cook/caregiver Calpurnia, who is black and is practically family to the Finch given she’s the mother that Scout never had and their arguments is always funny and touching.

History is this story’s strong suit along with the pivotal part in the middle where Atticus, the true protagonist of this story in away, has to defend Tom Robinson, a black man due to an accusation of that he abused Mayella Ewell, a white woman.  Words can’t express how powerful Atticus’ argument is along with the deep impact it had on me since no matter what, it will always bring a tear to my eye.

Atticus is a humanitarian and just in what he does with trying to tell the jury that you shouldn’t be accusing this innocent man of something he clearly didn’t do! But sadly given the time period (racism) it goes on deaf ears which is truly a shame.

But there’s also the factor of growing up and learning about acceptance and racism as Scout does when it comes passing judgment on someone who she doesn’t know, Boo Radley, who lives in a creepy house which she is afraid of him given the stories she’s heard.

In the end of the novel during some play her class were doing, she and Jem are walking home until Bob Ewell, the antagonist tries to murder Jem and Scout due to (and implied) he was abusing his daughter Mayella and pinned it on Thomas but got humiliated in the court after the event that happened when Tom ended up shot by the guards after trying to escape.

It’s thanks to Boo Radley (as he does kill Bob in defending the kids) that Jem and Scout are ok albeit with Jem getting his arm broken and taken back to the Finch home.  It’s there Scout learns Boo is a kind individual but just reclusive as she reaches for his hand before he leaves.

The situation about Bob getting killed (justice in its finest form for starting the entire situation with Thomas and trying to kill Jem and Scout) by Boo is put under the rug for his sake, which I truly agree with; society can be heartless at times and come to baseless conclusions on anything.

I’ve read this book 2 times in my life and I know it will be a go to read again given it’s a wonderful book and makes you appreciate that even though bad things happen there is just the same amount of good too.

 4 – A Skeleton in the Family

Dancing down the line is A Skeleton in the Family novels at number 4! This was an unexpected surprise given it was my mom that got me into this series written by Leigh Perry.

I was skeptical when I saw a skeleton on the cover watching television and wondered what that was about! Well I decided to read and after reading the first chapter, I could not stop laughing! This book is a mystery novel where are main character, Georgia Thackery, is a single mother with a teenage daughter Madison Thackery, back to Georgia’s parents’ house.

Georgia is an adjunct whose specialty is English. Even though she has a doctorate and is a “Doctor” she hasn’t gotten full status of being full time and her job is “hire when needed”, which is frustrating for her but due to some luck, she goes back home (somewhere in New England) she is hired by McQuaid University, where her parents are and have that precious word every adjunt wants; tenue.

They are on sabbatical which gives Georgia and Madison a roof over their heads along with being at a distance with Georgia’s sister, Deborah, the more successful one who is a strong-willed, independent, “I can kick ass if I need too” woman, to Georgia’s annoyance.

Life would be “normal” but the thing is the Thackery’s have a secret which is beyond comprehension; a skeleton lives in the attic of the Victorian home. Yup, you heard right but it’s not like it’s scary, far from it, the skeleton is a walking, talking skeleton that followed the Thackery’s home when Georgia was six years old and saved her life from someone while she was exploring a “haunted house” at some fair.

The skeleton is named “Sid” and nothing more. He doesn’t know why he can walk and talk like a regular person (minus the skin, muscles, blood, etc.) but he’s generally likeably. Curiously you’d think the parents would be scared but due to Georgia’s parents being professors they found him fascinating along with Sid saved Georgia’s life so he just stayed with them.  Sid is a guarded secret for Georgia given it would be a field day for anyone to discover a walking/talking skeleton that is into any social media and pop culture along with a fan of anime/manga.

The way the book dives into Georgia getting involved with some random murders with Sid helping her along with maintaining his secret from Madison, who doesn’t know about Sid, for the first book.

I found myself getting engrossed with the goings on between Georgia and her skeletal friend, who has a heart of gold. There are a total of 3 books in this series with the fourth one coming out (hopefully) this year because it’s become another go to read for me! It’s sometimes hard reading on the metro due to if I come across how a sentence is getting said by Georgia (takes place from her POV) given she has a deadpan sense of humor with her phrases or what Sid says, (he uses bone words for cuss words) and how they go about solving a mystery in the hometown.

Never know what to expect until you read something.

3 – The Dresden Files

Stars and stones, The Dresden Files comes in at number 3!! This book series is written by Jim Butcher.

Harry Dresden is a detective wizard and lives in Chicago where things go bump in the night. He’s an unorthodox wizard given one: he’s a detective that uses his powers to help people, 2…well he’s a wizard and bluntly telling ones who hire him he’s a wizard.

The books are fun and can be serious with what adventures he gets in and it takes place from is POV for the series even though the acceptations are in some side stories where his brother was one and another with Karin Murphy

. Anything you can imagine or not is involved in this little universe of noir-esqe stuff going on; werewolves, ancient fairy’s, wizard counsels, having an apprentice later, etc. I’d say more about the character on how he’s sarcastic, corny, doesn’t know the difference between an Xbox or PS3 or how he actually has game in attracting the ladies with his unscrupulous behavior or the fact he owns a cat and later a dog which they steal the show at times or the fact he has a talking skeleton head that offers out magical lore.

Now if you think Harry waves a wand, you’d be mistaking. He does have little bracelets to channel his magic or a duster for that cool effect but he has stated his spells go for more of that “make things go boom” affect.

Apparently his parentage is the awe of the magical community along with the mystery of his birth from his mother. I won’t go into specifics (you can just read the books or wiki them) but it is interesting.

His sense of humor for the story really makes you stick around of course he’s not always perfect given his life can be a big mess, especially in the latter part of the series.  So if you are looking for a wizard with bite, than he’s your guy.

Just please remember, his wages are big so make sure to have money so he can get something to eat.

 2 – Xanth

Welcome to the mystical world of Xanth, place where puns run rampant and far more interesting than the stuff that goes on in Mundania (Earth). The Xanth novels are written by Piers Anthony, is one of my favorite authors with is his sense of humor of using puns for words (Non-exist-Ant, Isle of View) and sexual innuendo of the power of panties and where a person can have a single magical talent.

The Xanth novels have a massive collection of characters that range from men, women and children which can be the hero of one story by being a main character to appearing in another novel as a supporting character.  Centaurs, mermaids, griffons, Demons, or any mystical creature’s live in this place and is ruled by a hierarchy of a kingdom (more or less).

Where a grumpy gnome, married to a gorgon and knows all the answers for a character of the book seeking his advice but only offers one answer as they need to experience what he means or how naughty princesses cause mischief but turn out to be central players in the goings on in the world of Xanth.

Piers began this series in the 70s with the first book being called “A Spell for Chameleon” and it has grown to more than a hundred characters and storylines along with interesting titles for the books. It has humor, heart and more than your fair share of puns, if you don’t go crazy with the wordplay.

Given the extensive history of the book series I will only start from the beginning

The MC for the first two books of the series is Bink, an average guy from a small village and he doesn’t know what his talent is. A talent (magical ability) is a phrase that people in this world only has one and it’s the most natural thing in the world. Ones discover their talent as a kid but Bink unfortunately never had that luxury and got teased for it. However he’s not just some helpless guy as he has ingenuity so that helps him. To discover it he goes to the Good Magician Humphrey to ask a question on what it is and that is how it begins.

Once there he has to solve 3 challenges at Humphrey’s castle in order to prove himself to speak to said magician. The rule of thumb in this series is that given Humphrey has answers there are people who would want to get free answers and constantly bother him, he established challenges for people to do. If they can solve them and get by all 3 then he will give them the answer.

However he is notoriously grumpy so he comes across as mean but in reality he is a geninune old man who explains why so and so adventure and plot had to happen by the end of the book; pretty much the characters discover the answer in the course of the journey of the book series.

Bink is able to get by the challenges to speak to Humphrey. The problem is Humphrey is unable to do so due to coincidences preventing him from saying it.

With that Bink is banished to Mundania (Earth; our world) to spend the rest of his days since he doesn’t have a talent (or so we are led to believe).

Through the course of the book Bink befriends others along with another central character to him, Chameleon; a woman who’s natural ability is shapeshifting. Her talent is a lewd joke in a way given it’s based off the synodic lunar month and her menstrual cycle and is called different names depending on the process; the ugly she gets the more smart she is (Fanchon), average appearance and intelligence (Dee) and the last Wynne (radiantly beautiful but stupid).  They aren’t different persona’s but the same being; she fall’s in love with Bink in the course of the book.

Trent, the person who tried to usurp the throne 20’s years previously and banished to Mundania is trying to get back inside Xanth and captures the duo. However he isn’t “evil” given he is regal and nice but has ambitions. His talent is can change a person into a different form (magician-calibur magic).

Iris is the mistress of illusions and that’s what her talent is. She has her own plans and craves power however she cannot rule due to the throne needing a king. By the end of the book she chooses to marry Trent and they have a consensus of marriage out of convience and not love (which is proven later in one of the books she did eventually fall for him).

And it is discovered by Trent what Bink’s talent is; he cannot be harmed by magic. His magic takes the form of random coincidence when magic “harms” him or even guiding him to another possible better mate (the latter which is explained in the Source of Magic but he doesn’t do anything as he loves Chameleon ).

Down the line the MC becomes Bink and Chameleon’s son, Dor, his talent of talking to inanimate objects (magicin-calibur)  own adventure in a tapestry of the past and finding self-worth and even further down the line of Dor being a teenager and finding love with Trent and Iris’s daughter, Irene, whose talent is growing plants.

I forgot to mention about the “classification” of magic, there is a system that is established if a person’s magical talent is strong. Magcian caliber is the highest while another is sorcerer or sorcerous (I believe) and under. Even though some talents might seem weak it’s not really the case given how it is used given through the books there have been random characters who have below par talents that proved useful.

Bink’s descendants however are considered magician-caliber talents; from Dor’s to his own kids, Ivy and Dolph to their children.  Another wonder is no one really “dies” in the series, they do get older but there is a ploy for anyone old to use a “Youth elixir” and have a second chance so it gets convoluted at times if you happen to read the books when it gets to the latter half.

Now it might seem lack luster but the book series isn’t, it holds many wonders along with connections to Earth for the most part. Would you believe me if I told you the planets of our universe are upper level beings who rage war with one another in bets on what will happen to said character in the grand scheme of things to earn themselves points? Or the fact that the adult conspiracy is a legitimate claim of keeping “interesting” things away from children to prevent their innocence from being spoiled? Or the fact that if I, being a guy, would look upon a maiden’s panties, I’d “freak out” and stay frozen until someone snaps their fingers in front of my eyes till I’m better?

How about if I say that the Xanth characters are really well developed in the books they are in, have a grand adventure that is advantages to Xanth and they actually get a happily ever after and maybe see them later in another book where they have a kid or still enjoying sending ellipses to the stork to get kids?

Yeah, I want to send many ellipses with my future wife a lot as well! Oh yeah and cussing is blurted out by something getting destroyed, like a plant or flowers? That’s some funny stuff from Piers!

 1 – Shannara

The Shannara series is number one for my list of top books!!  Now when I first heard of this I thought it would be like a rehash of Lord of The Rings as they are similar; humans, elves, etc. but the plot differs in a way with the extensive material (ok not truly proving my point…)

This series is created by Terry Brooks and he did the first trilogy of Shannara in the 70’s.  The  first book “Sword of Shannara” is about a young half-elf/human named Shea Ohmsford, who is the descendant of the first King of Shannara, Jerle.  His destiny comes to head when a druid by the name of Allanon appears before him one day telling him a great darkness will overshadow the land in the form of the Warlock Lord. Only finding the Sword of Shannara wielded by Shea can banish him.

Through the course of this series Shea with his foster brother and others from human to elven, help our main character find the sword along with fighting or avoiding the dark forces. A theme in this book is for one to find courage and believe in yourself to accomplish something (which Shea does learn to have self-confidence).

Given this is the first trilogy of Shannara we go into the second book called “The Elfstones of Shannara” which involves Shea’s grandson, Wil and his quest to aid the elven princess, Amberle Elessdil, a Chosen for the Elcry’s, a tree that protects humanity from demons trapped benethe it’s roots. The third story is called “The Wishsong of Shannara” which stars Brin Ohmsford and Jair, Wil and Eretria’s children.   Allanon appearing once again wakes from the Druid sleep as a grimoire (made by the Warlock Lord) got in the hands of some evil being.

Terry continues the series in “The Heritage of Shananra” where hundreds of years have gone by with the original characters blood lines continuing (Ohmsfords, Elessdil, Leah, etc.) where magic is forbidden by the Federation and another evil threatens the 4 lands.  The Shade of Allanon gathers the Scions of Shannara and bequeaths them various charges which center in the four books each contained but one big story as it comes together by book 4.

The books for these are The Scions of Shannara, The Druid of Shannara, The Elf Queen of Shannara and The Talismans of Shannara.

The next arc in this Brooks story  “The Voyage of Jerle Shannara” which is another trilogy in the form of Ilse Witch, Antrax & Morgawr.

After that is “The Druid of Shannara” with Jarka Ruus, Tanequil and Straken.

The next bit is “Legacy of Shananra” with Wards of Faerie, Bloodfire Quest & Witch Wraith.

Out of all the arcs in Terry Brooks series my top favorite would have to be The Voyage of Jerle Shannara books detailing how on how Grianne Ohmsford was turned to being turned evil and called Ilse Witch before finding redemption by her brother, Bek Ohmsford.

The Druid of Shannara” books continued the same generation but as adults with only 20 years have occurred and evil in the form of Politics and demons plays a factor.  Granted I’m not going into much specific detail since there is a lot of information I am either forgetting or can’t explain well since this is a top 10. I might add a review of one of the books down the line or maybe not.

There is something different about Brooks series I truly love. It could be the amount of magic involved or how it’s explained thoroughly that magic can corrupt and not all fun and games or the fact of heroes being “normal” with mundane lives and have an adventure that changes their views on life. But the central theme is confidence, which I do need in my everyday life.

So that’s my top 10 favorite books, I know it was a ramble fest and me just giving general information since it gives me an escape from the anime community at the moment of I just don’t care about it deeply right now.

Anyway reading can be a good outlet when you get tired of watching the same old crap on TV or when your bored. It’s always good to have an active imagination no matter how old you get.

With reading I hope this helps in whatever writing outlet I do and I won’t get tired of it.

Hope this was somewhat good and I’ll see y’all later!