Top 5 Wednesdays: Freebie – Top 5 Sci-Fi or Fantasy Books On Your TBR

It’s been surprisingly difficult to pick topics each week, when left to choose our own! I spent a very long time browsing through all the past Top 5 Wednesday topics, including those I’ve done before, and I really had a hard time narrowing things down to pick something. In general, I find I tend to enjoy looking forward to books I have on my TBR, sometimes more than discussing the books I’ve already read. Recently, most of the additions to my TBR tend to be either contemporary or thrillers, but I also really enjoy fantasy and I’ve started to branch out a bit more often with sci-fi. For this week’s topic, I decided to repeat one that I last did in April 2017, and find some of the fantasy or sci-fi books that I’ve added to my TBR.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

31423196The main reason I added this to my TBR is because I found an ARC copy of the sequel, Defy the Worlds, at my library book sale and mistakenly thought it was the first in the series. I took it home and even added Defy the Stars to my TBR, and only realized this minute that it was the wrong book! I haven’t read any books by Claudia Gray although I’ve heard her Firebird trilogy is pretty good. I’ve always been on the fence about adding that series to my TBR because I wasn’t sure how much I would like it. Defy the Stars is about a soldier named Noemi who is forced to work with her enemy, Abel, an advanced robot, to stop a long-running war. Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of space journey books, but this one sounds pretty interesting. I tend to find robots pretty interesting characters, and although space isn’t my favourite setting, I’m willing to give this one a chance.

2) Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

25733990I added this book to my TBR after seeing it in a recommendations video by Emily Fox, and especially after seeing it compared to Illuminae! This book is about a physicist named Rose who is hired to find the metal remains of a Giant who may have been created by aliens, and whose parts are scattered around the world. Like Illuminae, it is told in the form of journals, interviews, and other kinds of documents. I’m pretty much a sucker for books told in this kind of unusual format, so that alone was enough to spark my interest. This book has been out since 2016, and although I had heard about it a couple of times before, it never really caught my attention until very recently. I think it probably helped that I loved Illuminae (and currently have the next two books waiting for me in my library pile!), so that really opened my mind to more sci-fi in general.

3) The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

23592175I actually intended to read this book last year for one of my reading challenges, but ended up losing interest and replacing it with something else before even giving it a chance. It is about a girl named Faith who seems to be a “proper young lady” but also knows that her family had to move because her father, a scientist, had to run away from a scandal. She also knows that when her father was soon found dead, he was actually murdered. While going through his things, Faith discovers a tree that only grows fruit when she tells it a lie, and eating the fruit delivers the truth. Faith decides to use the tree to help uncover what really happened to her father. In all honesty, I don’t think I had any idea what the book was about when I put it on my list for a previous challenge, which is why I was quick to abandon it. The plot actually sounds very interesting and I’m curious to find out more about how that tree works.

4) The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

35297394This book is a new release that just came out in early March. it is about a cursed town called Sparrow, where three sisters were sentenced to death by drowning for being witches, and they return each summer to steal the bodies of three girls as revenge by luring and drowning boys. The book focuses on a 17-year-old girl named Penny who has accepted the town’s fate, and a new boy named Bo Carter who arrives to Sparrow not knowing about the dangers he may be facing. This sounds like such an interesting storyline, and I tend to love stories involving witches (although I haven’t actually read too many of them!). This book seems like it will probably be pretty romance-heavy, but I don’t mind that as long as it is done well. So far, the reviews have generally been quite good so I’m excited to eventually give this one a chance.

5) Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

35707056I’d seen this book mentioned for a couple of months already, although it just came out last week. I overlooked it for a long time because I assumed it was about zombies, and this is not something I generally read. I finally decided to look into it after seeing some rave reviews for it on Youtube, and by several of the Goodreads reviewers that I follow. This book is about a girl named Mila, whose best friend and two other mean girls die under suspicious circumstances which is passed off as a suicide pact. Refusing to believe that her friend would do that, Mila casts a spell to bring the three girls back to life, but they have only seven days to uncover what happened before they return to their graves. I guess technically this one really is about zombie-type characters, but it sounds a lot more interesting than I expected! It sounds like such an original concept for a story, and I’m very interested to see how it plays out.

 

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Top 5 Wednesdays: Freebie – 5 More Books I Bought Recently From Book Outlet

Earlier this year, Top 5 Wednesdays gave some room for a Freebie topic, which I used to discuss some of the books (found here) I’d recently bought in a Book Outlet haul. This month, Top 5 Wednesdays has opened up to a full month of free choice topics. Ideally, I was planning on picking from the backlog of topics that had been used before I started blogging, but there was an absolutely overwhelming amount to choose from! Instead, I decided that since I recently had a huge Book Outlet haul, it was a good time to mentioned a few of the books that I picked up. This was my third (and biggest yet!) order from Book Outlet and I was again impressed with the general quality of the books I received. There were one or two books that were a tiny bit more banged up than I would have liked, especially considering I purposely pick from the “Bargain Books” section, where damage is less likely. Despite some minor wear and tear, the books all arrived in great condition and I’m so excited to have my own copies of many of these! One small complaint — this is the second time in a row now that I’ve forgotten the same book from my order! Below are just 5 of the 20 or so books that I got.

Once again, I would like to give a disclaimer that this post is in no way sponsored by or associated with Book Outlet. I am merely commenting on my own experiences with them.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Confessions by Kanae Minato

19161835I bought this one almost completely on a whim because it was only about $4. Although this book has been on my TBR since 2016, it was pretty low on my priority list. I noticed that while going through my wishlist to pick what I wanted to order, I kept coming back to this one and ended up deciding just to throw it in. This book is set in Japan, focusing on a middle school teacher whose 4-year-old was killed in an accident involving some of her students, causing her to take revenge. This is definitely a book that is outside my comfort zone. Although I love thrillers, this one seems to go a bit beyond the typical thriller, especially since the main character is targeting schoolchildren. This book has received excellent ratings on Goodreads so far, and it just sounds really creepy!

2) Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

8922184This was by far the most expensive of the books I picked this time, at almost $9! Normally, I try to spend no more than $5 per book on Book Outlet, but I made an exception for this one since I’d wanted to read it for a long time and it was hard to find otherwise. Plus, with the deal that was on, I essentially got this one for free. This book is about a high school student named Abby who has been chatting online with a guy named Luke, who is not what he says he is, and Abby goes missing after meeting up with him. I’m always a little wary with these kinds of storylines by now because I almost feel like we have generally moved past this to a much wider range of stories about online friendships. This book is from 2011 though, so it’s not too surprising that it is still part of the “online predator” trend. As I’ve mentioned before, I think online safety is absolutely essential and it is all too easy for people to fall into the trap of thinking they know someone when they really don’t. I read another book with a similar storyline earlier this year, and may fit this one into my reading challenges as well, so it will be interesting to see how the two compare.

3) The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

37653503I’m realizing now that this order seemed to be a bit thriller-heavy, or at least darker plots, but I did add in a couple of other genres to balance things out. The Knockoff is another book that is kind of outside my comfort zone since I have zero interest in fashion or the fashion industry, but this book just seemed like so much fun! It is about a woman named Imogen who works for a magazine called Glossy, who returns to work after 6 months away to find her younger former assistant now in charge, and eager to update the company for the digital age. This book has been compared to The Devil Wears Prada. I loved that movie but hated the book, so I’m hoping I have better luck with this one. It seems like this book will focus more on the generation gap and technology instead of fashion, so it sounds like something I would like better.

4) The Good Neighbour by Amy Sue Nathan

23848035I only discovered this book at the end of 2017, although it has been out since 2015 already. This book is about a newly single mom named Izzy who moves back to her childhood neighbourhood with her 5-year-old son, and makes friends with the elderly Mrs. Feldman next door. When her ex shows up with his new girlfriend, Izzy decides to invent a boyfriend and blog about him, which becomes complicated when her blog suddenly becomes popular and she has the chance to become an online dating expert. Izzy soon realizes that telling the truth now can ruin everything, and Mrs. Feldman decides to step in and show her just how much of a problem lies can be. I’ve mentioned before how much I tend to love stories that focus on social media, but in my experience, most of these tend to be YA books. I think it would be really interesting to read this from an adult perspective, although I’m still a little confused about how Mrs. Feldman fits in. It sounds like another one that will be fun.

5) Violent Ends by multiple authors

23341259This book is unique in the sense that it is co-written by 17 different YA authors, as an anthology of short stories that all work together to tell one story. The book is about a student named Kirby Matheson who perpetrated a school shooting, with each chapter by a different author giving the perspective of a different character. If I’m completely honest, I had no idea that this was how the book was set up when I added it to my TBR or when I bought it. I’m sure at some point in between I’d noticed the list of author names, but clearly it wasn’t memorable enough at the time to leave an impression. I’m not usually a fan of anthologies, but this one is very interesting because of how all of the stories should come together to show who the shooter was and how he got to that point. I’m a little worried that this book will be a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen” but it has received excellent reviews so far from most of the reviewers I follow and on Goodreads in general. It definitely seems like a unique approach to the story and I’m interested to see how it works.

 

 

Top 5 Wednesdays: Favourite Fandom Items

This was a pretty tough topic for me since I’m not really a huge collector of fandom items. The only items I have at all have been gifts. As it is, my room is currently overflowing with books and I wouldn’t even have space to put any fandom merchandise. In fact, I’m not sure how much I would really consider myself a huge part of any particular fandom. There are books, movies and TV shows that I like but nothing that I would really obsess over enough to want to collect all kinds of items. I’ve found that most fandom items tend to be mugs (which I don’t use), t-shirts, and figurines (which I have little room for). Below I have photos of the few items that I own, and a couple more that I might like if I had the space.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Harry Potter 

I don’t think the pictures really do them justice, but these items were both gifts from my boyfriend, who knows of my love for the Harry Potter series. The wand was a birthday gift, and the quill and ink were an anniversary present, along with a notebook that I’ve been too scared to use because I don’t want to ruin it.

2) The Addams Family

27891959_1784587695184115_7197468974450212864_n.jpg

Can a book count as a fandom item? I was lucky enough to see the original Addams Family show on Broadway, and then again with a new cast (and new songs) when it came to my hometown a couple of years later. The soundtrack above is the original cast recording featuring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, and the book is a collection of the original Charles Addams cartoons that, if I recall correctly, came out as a companion to the play. I got it as a birthday gift a while later, since it was quite a pricey book and I was always hesitant to get it for myself.

3) Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I don’t have these, but I would if I had the space for them! These are Funko figures that were released for the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The ones shown above are Vampire Spike, Dark Willow, Giles, and Buffy, but there are others as well. I don’t generally collect these kinds of items because I have nowhere to display them, but these were just so cute that I kind of want them anyway — especially Spike, since it looks so adorably menacing!

4) A Series of Unfortunate Events

Again, these are items that I don’t have but I would definitely buy them if I ever actually used any of my notebooks. I love the idea of these kinds of notebooks, but I never end up using them because I never want my nicest ones to get damaged. I picked notebooks for this series because some of the characters keep commonplace books where they record their observations and other information that interests them, and because this series is full of amazing quotes that would be perfect for a book cover.

5) Wicked

This was a tricky one, and has more to do with the musical than the book for sure. I kept coming back to these two because they have two of my favourite quotes from the musical. The second one says “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” It’s probably a bit hard to read from that image. I was actually planning on picking a Hunger Games-related item but had trouble finding something that I would realistically use. I could actually see myself wearing both of these shirts.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Top 5 Ideal Mash-Ups

I think this has to be hands-down the most difficult Top 5 Wednesday topic for me so far, because I’m just not creative like that. This week, the prompt was to list some of our ideal mash-ups that could include books, TV, movies, etc. The problem I tend to have with this kind of topic is I tend to think the author writes the story the way they did for a reason, so it’s hard for me to imagine fitting in other worlds and other well-known characters. I guess in a sense I tend to think of the worlds as pretty self-contained, so it doesn’t really come naturally to me to think of how to combine them. It was actually nearly impossible for me to just combine two books, so most (if not all) of my ideas involved movies and TV series as well. This was a very, very difficult one! (Apologies in advance for not linking to any of the books or other media mentioned, but I think most of them are well-known enough that it is unnecessary).

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Addams Family

I’m not entirely sure how well this would work, but I think it could be really interesting to see the Baudelaire children sent to live with The Addams Family. I have always thought that the Addams Family, although eccentric, are pretty much the ideal family. The family members all love each other, they genuinely enjoy spending time together, and are completely supportive of each other’s interests. Although the Baudelaires would definitely not be into the more macabre side of the Addams’ interests, I feel like the family would be completely open to accepting the children as they are and treating them as family. Plus the blend of darkness and humour in A Series of Unfortunate Events seems to be a perfect fit for the Addams Family. This would definitely work better as a TV show or movie than a book, but I would definitely watch it. It also helps that Barry Sonnenfeld is responsible for the Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix series, and the Addams Family movies in the 90s, which probably explains why they have a similar feel to me.

2) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and The X-Men

Honestly, I just think it would be pretty cool for the Peculiars to be exposed to Professor X’s school and learn how to develop their abilities. The children in the series actually seem to have a pretty good understanding of what they can do, and it seems interesting to have the potential to train them to be another group of X-Men. I’m not entirely sure how well it would work because of the whole issue of the time loops and how the Peculiars are stuck repeating the same day, but I think it would be really interesting to see Miss Peregrine and Professor X work together to try and protect and teach the students. In a sense, it’s probably not the best mash-up since they actually fit so well together. The Peculiars are essentially the same idea as the mutants, but on the other hand, it might also be interesting to see how the Peculiars deal with ideas that come up in the X-Men movies. For example, in one of the movies, the idea of a cure for the mutation that gave them their abilities was raised. It might be interesting to see how the Peculiars would feel about being “cured” and losing their abilities to have a normal life instead.

3) The Monsters of Verity Series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I absolutely love Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology, and I think the morally gray characters would be a great fit for the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The world that Victoria Schwab built is actually one that is dangerous enough where it might be necessary to have a Slayer, and I can see both Kate and August fitting in with Buffy and her group of friends. The show itself often delves into moral gray areas about what it means to be a monster, including characters such as Angel and Spike who “should” be evil because they are vampires but aren’t necessarily, friendly demons like Clem, and horrible normal people like Principal Snyder. I think these two worlds would blend so well together. I can see Buffy being called to Verity to help deal with keeping the monsters under control. I can see August having some very interesting conversations with characters like Anya or Spike about what it really means to be a demon/monster or a person. The more I think about this one, the more I see it working.

4) Death Note and House or Bones

Mostly, I thought of this one just because I want to see L try to interact with either Gregory House or Temperance Brennan. All of these are extremely intelligent and logical characters, and I think it would be really interesting to see them attempt to work together on a case. I can’t necessarily see either House or Bones in the actual Death Note world since it would require them to believe in the supernatural more than either of them are prepared to do, but on the other hand, it could also be really interesting to see Brennan trying to do a forensic analysis on someone who was killed by the Death Note, or House try to find a medical explanation for symptoms. Mostly, I just think the characters would end up hating each other and getting into a complete power struggle about whose ideas fit the case best, and what course of action they need to take. They are definitely too similar to really work well, but it would be very entertaining to see.

5) Harry Potter and The Hunger Games

I’m not entirely sure how I want this one to work, since I definitely don’t want any more characters to die. I think it would be kind of cool to have Hunger Games-style competitions that are along the lines of the Triwizard Tournament, but without needing to kill each other to win. It would be interesting to see a group of very different witches and wizards put in an arena where they need to rely on their own skills and magical knowledge to survive and overcome a variety of challenges, with one ultimate winner. I would imagine that in order to make this feasible, the Hunger Games element would involve somehow preventing your opponents from continuing. There would need to be rules in place to stop competitors just running around and stunning everyone else, so possibly some restriction on directly casting spells on other people. Again, I’m not entirely sure exactly how this would work out, but it could make a very interesting story.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Top 5 Auto-Buy Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy Authors

I have to modify this one a little to authors I would automatically add to my TBR, instead of automatically buy. It’s pretty rare for me to buy books anymore because of a combo of the price and my complete lack of shelf space. The exception of course is buying from BookOutlet because of the great deals, but for my favourite books, I’m very picky about getting them in proper condition. There are many fantasy authors, many of whom I only started reading in the past couple of years, who have quickly become new favourites, and I always add their books to my TBR. These are authors whose books I also would be interested in buying, so I guess it still technically fits the actual topic. One of the challenges I had is that many of the authors I wanted to pick (ie. Suzanne Collins or J.K. Rowling) have only ever written one fantasy series, so although I’m definitely interested in reading more of their books, I’m not sure they will write any more in that genre.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Maggie Stiefvater

I have only read one of Maggie Stiefvater’s books so far, but I immediately fell in love with it! As soon as I read The Raven Boys last year, it reminded me of how I felt when I first read Harry Potter. I adored the characters and the writing style, and this is a series that I actually did end up buying. I even went back and added her Wolves of Mercy Falls series to my TBR, even though I’m not always a fan of werewolf stories. Her writing style is absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to read more of the Raven Cycle series and Maggie Stiefvater’s other books.

2) Laini Taylor

This is another author that I only discovered last year and immediately fell in love with. I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone last year, and it quickly became one of my favourites of the year. It is another series that I ended up buying just by the strength of the first book alone, and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest. I actually was under the impression that all Laini Taylor had so far besides this trilogy was Strange the Dreamer and its sequel, but according to Goodreads she also has written 2 Faeries of Dreamdark books, which I’m not sure I’d be interested in. That doesn’t really change the fact that I’d now consider her an auto-add author though, at least for her works from Daughter of Smoke and Bone onward.

3) Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

This is another case where Victoria or V.E. Schwab is mostly an auto-buy author, but she has some older series that I’m not sure I’d like. I think it’s fairly safe to discount the middle grade series since that is not a genre I really read anyway. My first experience with Victoria Schwab’s writing was This Savage Song, and I thought her characters and world-building were both amazing. I’ve finished that duology, and I’ve actually had her Archived series on my TBR since 2016. I’m not even sure I realized they were the same author when I added them. I have all of the books she’s written under V.E. Schwab on my TBR already as well, and plan on starting Vicious later on this year.

4) Marissa Meyer

I think this is the only author on the list where I’ve actually completed the whole series. I’ve read all of the Lunar Chronicles series, excluding the between-the-numbers books, and I have Heartless in my current stack from the library. I avoided reading the Lunar Chronicles for such a long time because they seemed very overhyped and I wasn’t sure it was something I would be interested in, but as soon as I picked them up, I was hooked. Cinder was a tiny bit too predictable but still thoroughly enjoyable, and I was very eager to read the rest of the series. I’ve since added all of Marissa Meyer’s books to my TBR, including all between-the-numbers books (and I usually hate those), and the new Renegades series.

5) Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I haven’t really been able to separate these two yet since the only book of theirs that I’ve read is Illuminae, which absolutely blew me away! Although I haven’t necessarily added all of their books to my TBR yet, many of them interest me and I’ve definitely added a lot more that I would have if I hadn’t tried Illuminae. I’m actually not a huge sci-fi/space fan, but Illuminae convinced me that I could like that kind of setting if it was done well. Of Amie Kaufman’s books, I’ve so far added the first book in each of the Starbound and Unearthed series. Her only other series so far is Elementals which is middle grade, so I think I’ll wait and see more of her style before deciding if I want to try that. I also have Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight series on my list and just added Stormdancer as well. I also immediately added the untitled book from the upcoming Andromeda Cycle that Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman wrote together, due out next year.

Honourable Mentions

Tahereh Mafi
Seanan McGuire
Ransom Riggs
Erin Morgenstern
Sarah J. Maas
Noelle Stevenson

Top 5 Wednesdays: Favourite Pranksters

In honour of April Fool’s Day, this week’s topic focuses on our favourite fictional jokesters, pranksters and funny characters. This may seem a bit strange, but I’m not always a fan of these kinds of characters because it is so highly dependent on whether you share the same sense of humour as the characters. There have been several books I’ve read where there is a character who is obviously intended to be funny, but I just find them irritating. Greg and Earl from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl are the perfect example. It was clear that they were supposed to be funny, but I did not like their immature kind of humour at all. However, when the humour works, it can really add a lot to the story! I don’t think any of the characters I picked are particularly surprising or groundbreaking, but they are all great pranksters.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Weasley Twins (and Peeves) from The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

This series was the perfect example of pranks and jokes that really work in the story. I’m sure the Weasley twins would be pretty frustrating to actually live with, but their jokes are generally harmless and actually quite funny! Of course, the highlight of their pranking occurred in Order of the Phoenix, where they purposely used their best tricks to torment the horrible Dolores Umbridge. They were so devoted to their humour that they left school, and opened their own joke shop to keep the legacy alive. I think Peeves was another great prankster and it was unfortunate that he was excluded from the movies. As a poltergeist, his role was to cause general mischief and wreak havoc on the students. His role throughout the series, although small, was definitely some excellent comic relief.

2) The Cat in the Hat from The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss

These were two of my favourite books when I was first starting to read, and mischievous Cat is still one of my favourite fictional pranksters. The Cat visits two children who are stuck indoors during bad weather, and entertains them with a bunch of silly games and tricks. I think the most memorable is unleashing Thing One and Thing Two who run rampant through the house. In the second book, the Cat comes back while the children are stuck home during a snowy day and somehow manages to leave a pink spot in the bathtub, which he and the children must try to remove. These books were both so much fun to read and absolutely hilarious!

3) Tom Sawyer from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

This one is a classic, probably best known for one specific prank. In this book, Tom is asked to help “whitewash” (paint) a fence. He is not interested in working, and tricks his friends into doing the job for him by convincing them that it is a lot of fun. This is definitely Tom’s most famous prank, In another very famous scene, he manages to trick the entire town into believing that he has died, while he was actually off playing pirates with Huck. The boys did not like the way they were being treated by adults, and decided to run off to play pirates instead. As soon as they realized people were worried about them, they decided to keep up the deception because they like hearing how much everyone missed them and eventually show up at their own funeral. Tom Sawyer is definitely one of the most famous fictional pranksters.

4) Matilda Wormwood from Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is another very famous prankster, whose jokes were often part of her attempts to teach the cruel adults around her a lesson. Matilda mostly plays pranks on her own family, including supergluing her father’s hat to his head, switching his hair products for bleach, and hiding a parrot in the chimney to make her family think the house is haunted. When she starts going to school, Matilda decides to use her brilliant mind, including special powers, to protect her teacher, Miss Honey, who happens to be the neice of the horrible, abusive headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Most impressively, Matilda also uses her telekinetic powers to frighten  Miss Trunchbull and intimidate her into leaving the school and especially handing over her neice’s rightful home and fortune. I was absolutely obsessed with this movie when I was younger, but did not read the book until much later.

5) Minnie Jackson from The Help by Kathryn Stockett

There is one very specific incident that puts Minnie on this list, but unfortunately I do not want to reveal it because it would ruin the scene for those who haven’t read it yet. Those who have read the book will know exactly which incident I mean, and those who haven’t yet should definitely give the book a try. I would not consider Minnie a prankster in the same sense as the other characters on this list. Instead of pranking people just for fun, her behaviour is an attempt to get back at a person who has treated her very badly. She viewed her act as justified for the horrible treatment she received, and although she definitely got some enjoyment out of it the same way as most pranksters do, Minnie is not necessarily a joker in general. Aside from Minnie, there are a few other events in the book that could be interpreted as pranks, or as protests against injustice. In any case, this memorable incident alone was enough to put Minnie on the list.

Top 5 Wednesdays: Favourite Teachers or Mentors

It really bugs me that we’ve been asked not to include any Harry Potter characters for this week’s topic! I agree that between Dumbledore, Lupin, Sirius, McGonagall, and even potentially Hagrid, it would be way too easy. These kinds of topics are always difficult for me because I don’t necessarily keep track of which characters fit into different categories, so it’s hard to think of after the fact. It was also a very tricky one since many of the options that I came up with are from TV series. The prime example would have to be Mr. Feeny, the iconic teacher from Boy Meets World who somehow manages to follow Cory Matthews and his friends throughout their school lives and acts as an incredible teacher and mentor to all of them. He teaches them countless valuable lessons. He is tough but fair, and pushes his students constantly to improve themselves. It was actually pretty difficult to find any teachers or mentors from books that measured up.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Once again, this is probably cheating because it’s primarily because of the TV series, but because there are several books about characters from the series and the continuing seasons in graphic novel format, I think Giles still counts. Giles is Buffy’s Watcher who is responsible for training her to hone her Slayer abilities and teach her demon lore, but his relationship with her quickly became much deeper than that. Throughout the series, it is clear that Giles has become more of a father figure and mentor not just to Buffy herself, but also to the rest of her group, especially Willow as she learns to control her magic powers. Giles goes above and beyond his duties as a Watcher and develops genuine affection for Buffy and her friends, and does everything in his power to protect them but also to prepare them to deal with life on their own. In the last few seasons of the TV series, Giles actually separates himself from the group and moves back to England in attempt to force Buffy to stand on her own and function as an independent adult. He is such an interesting character, and a great mentor.

2) Uncle Press Tilton from The Pendragon Series by D.J. MacHale

In the first book in this series, Bobby Pendragon is visited by his favourite Uncle Press who takes him on a strange adventure, explaining that Bobby is a Traveler who has a duty to help save all of Halla (basically every time and place that has ever existed) from calling into chaos. Press introduces Bobby to the idea of Travelers and trains him to become one himself. It has been several years since I read this series, but if I recall correctly, Bobby mentions that his Uncle has taken him on many outings over the years to a wide variety of unusual activities, and comes to realize that Press was training him to have the skills he might need to use as a Traveler. Part of what is interesting about this character is that a lot of his role as teacher and mentor actually happened before the series even began, and his part in the actual books is very limited. This is an incredibly underrated series in general, and a huge reason that it works as well as it does is because of the strength of the characters. Although Press’s role is relatively small, his impact is often felt throughout the series and he definitely helped to shape Bobby into the Traveler and person he became.

3) Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus Series by Joanna Cole

Again, this probably has more to do with the TV series than the books, but the episodes were adapted into a series of educational children’s books about a variety of topics, including dinosaurs, the human body, and space. Miss Frizzle is an eccentric teacher who takes her class on bizarre field trips using her magic school bus, that allows the children to change in size and transform into other things to be able to see how things work up close. Her philosophy that she quickly passes on to the children in her class is “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” and it is this line that I think makes her such a great teacher. One thing that has always stuck with me from elementary school is when my first grade teacher told us “Mistakes are how you learn,” and Miss Frizzle’s entire teaching style seems to encompass that idea. She teaches her students to experiment and test out theories to discover things for themselves, and allows them to follow the topics that interest them to satisfy their curiosity. She teaches them not to be afraid of getting the answer wrong, and to work together to figure it out. Of course, the teaching methods she uses are extremely dangerous and would never be allowed in real life (ie. bringing her class face-to-face with live dinosaurs), but it’s safe to say that her class will never forget what they learn!

4) Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In a way, this can be seen as a bit of an unconventional choice given Haymitch’s struggles with alcohol, but he is definitely a mentor to both Katniss and Peeta both during their time in the Hunger Games and long afterwards. Haymitch is a Hunger Games victor from District 12 who mentors tributes for each Hunger Games competition. It is immediately clear that Haymitch’s own experiences in the Games have deeply traumatized him and he initially seems like a poor source of support for Katniss and Peeta due to his drunken behaviour. However, once he begins to recognize that the two of them are real contenders in the competition, he offers a lot of useful and practical advice about how to survive, and helps to guide Katniss especially by finding a way to subtly communicate with her while she is in the arena. He also plays an active role in trying to protect Katniss during the rebellions against the Capitol. Katniss seeks him out for help and confides in him throughout the series, and it is clear that she trusts his advice and that they have developed a very strong bond.

5) Miss Honey in Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda has always been one of my favourite movies, and I saw the movie many, many times before ever reading the book. I’m sure a lot of my reason for picking this character is because of the film version, but from what I remember, the book is pretty similar. Miss Honey is Matilda’s first teacher at school who quickly recognizes that Matilda has a brilliant mind, and immediately seeks to help move her up to a more advanced class to appropriately challenge her. She tries to speak to Matilda’s parents, and even braves a conversation with her abusive aunt and Headmistress of the school, Miss Trunchbull because she knows that it is in Matilda’s best interest. Miss Honey and Matilda quickly form a strong connection, bonding over their difficult family lives, and both try to help each other. Matilda begins to hone her telekinetic abilities to help scare away Miss Trunchbull and restore Miss Honey to her home and the money that is rightfully hers, and Miss Honey recognizes Matilda’s difficult home life, eventually coming to offer a home with her instead. It was great to see a teacher who was aware of her student’s abilities and needs, and did everything in her power to make sure that student was given appropriate work to actually move her forward, and not let her just stagnate in a class that was too low-level for her.