10 for 2010: Favorite Male Characters

Favorite Male Characters

We kick-off the 10 for 2010 series with my Favorite Male Characters in 2010. I like strong, male characters in books, but by strong, I don’t mean macho or all gung-ho and just masculine. I like guys that leave an impact — guys who are not afraid to admit their weaknesses, guys who aren’t afraid to cry, guys who know how to respect the people around them and still stand up for themselves or their family when needed. In short, I like my male characters real, as real as they can be in fiction.

Not all of these characters listed below are the main heroes. Some of them are sidekicks or supporting characters, and they deserve as much credit as the heroes do. The heroes won’t be heroes without them!

And now my 10 Favorite Male Characters from 2010 — these came from books I read this year, and in no particular order.

1. Happyface (Happyface by Stephen Emond) – He has no face except for a happy face. He’s probably one of the most real characters I’ve read this year, and I cannot stop expressing my love for this guy. He’s just…aww. To quote my review:

Happyface is the dorky boy in school who you would never have a crush on, but would be really good friends with. He’s the guy who’d draw stuff for you, join you in shopping and hand you a Christmas gift that he made himself, looking all awkward and blushing. He’s the guy you will call when you’re dating someone and you need someone to encourage you or tell you that everything will work out — heck, he may even help you work things out with the guy. Happyface is the guy who is secretly in love with you, and you may never ever know because he’s too shy to tell you about it.

2. Radar (Paper Towns by John Green) – one of my favorite John Green sidekicks. I love that he’s black, and I love that he’s the ultimate geek in their little trio. I also love that Radar’s parents have the biggest collection of black Santas in the world. Radar is the type of friend who you’d normally forget, and he knows it, but when you need him, he will be there. Q is lucky to have him as a friend.

3. Jinn (As You Wish by Jackson Pearce) – for a paranormal creature, Jinn is not perfect. I really liked how the author wrote him, and how I was given an opportunity to see his side of the romance in the story, instead of just seeing everything from the girl’s side. Jinn is snarky, sarcastic and vulnerable at the same time. I rooted for him from the start all the way to the end. :)

4. Curran (Kate Andrews series by Ilona Andrews) – Ah Curran. I wouldn’t have discovered him if it weren’t for Chachic and Michelle pushing me to get the books. And I am very, very thankful for giving in because Curran is awesome. How do I describe the Beast Lord more accurately? I don’t have the words. Let’s just say he’s the guy who’d go through hell just to save his Mate. Who would not like that? I cannot wait for Magic Slays.

5. Bennett (Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick) – Another sidekick that won my heart. Bennett is your standard sci-fi geek who has a blog, a Twitter and is normally there to annoy the heck out of other people. However, he’s also the guy who you can count on to be there when things get ugly. I liked how complex his character was in Tweet Heart, and that’s saying a lot because that’s a book written in tweets and emails. :P

6. Shaun Mason (Feed by Mira Grant) – I love Shaun because I love brothers. And I like that while he can be reckless, he’s also very loyal to his sister, Georgia. This is a guy character who supports the female character and he still shines with his own wit and personality. I cannot wait to read more about him in the next book, Deadline.

7. Arnold Spirit / Junior (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexey) – As I mentioned in the review, Arnold reminds me of Happyface and that was already an ultimate plus for me. I liked that he fought for what he wanted even if he knew no one really believed in him. I liked how he let things roll off his back and he keeps on standing up again. We could all learn a lot from Arnold Spirit. :)

8. Hassan (An Abundance of Katherines by John Green) – I am conflicted between Hassan and Radar as the best John Green sidekick, but who says I cannot love both. Just like Radar, Hassan is funny and loyal. I love that he’s Lebanese and even if Colin has been ditching him for all the Katherines, he stuck by him and he’s always there to pick him up after a break up.

9. Brigan (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – I loved Brigan the moment he first showed up in Fire. He’s the kind of guy that you’d initially be intimidated with, but you’ll also find him quite attractive. He’s the kind of man you know you could trust with your life, and would do everything in his power to keep his loved ones safe.

1o. Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins) – Etienne St. Clair is probably the most popular guy character in the contemporary world now, ever since Stephanie Perkins’ debut novel came out. And who wouldn’t like him? He’s funny, he’s witty, and he’s wonderfully imperfect. His British accent really helps up the hotness factor, too. :P

Runners-up:

Oh, and you do know I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway, right? Win awesome books such as Stephen Emond’s Happyface — this happy/sad graphic novel like book has one of the most real heroes I’ve ever read, and it deserves more attention! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

T’was the night before Christmas

Overtime by Charles Stross
Publisher: Tor Books
Number of pages: 25

Introduced to readers in the novels The Atrocity Archive and The Jennifer Morgue, the Laundry is a secret British government agency charged with preventing dark interdimensional entities from destroying the human race.  Now, in “Overtime,” the Laundry is on a skeleton staff for Christmas — leaving one bureaucrat to be all that stands between the world and annihilation by the Thing That Comes Down Chimneys. Written especially for Tor.com’s holiday season, Charles Stross’s novelette is a finalist for the 2010 Hugo Award.   Charles Stross is the Hugo-winning author of some of the most acclaimed novels and stories of the last ten years, including Singularity Sky, Accelerando, Halting State, the “Merchant Princes” series beginning with The Family Trade, and the story collections Toast and Wireless.

* * *

I think Overtime is the only Christmas-themed book I have in my Kindle, and I really scheduled to read it in December. I have never heard of Charles Stross before, but who am I to deny myself of a free ebook, right?

In Overtime, Bob Howard ends up being the night shift guard on duty on Christmas — he didn’t want to, but he wasn’t able to file his holiday leave so he was left with no choice. Bob was prepared for an uneventful night alone in his temporary office, but memories of the Laundry Christmas party and some strange noises and temperature drops tell him that something else is coming — through the chimney.

I have never read any books from the Laundry Series, so the characters and the settings in Overtime were all new to me. I was kind of wary about that and I thought I would get lost in the story, but I was surprised that I wasn’t. While I would want a better explanation of who the other characters were and what Laundry was really all about, I felt that this novella was still complete enough to stand on its own. It’s very reminiscent to Jasper Fforde’s work, with the same British humor (although I think Stross is Scottish) with urban fantasy tones. And I liked the Christmas twist on the story, too.

I’m not sure if I want to splurge on the other Laundry series books, but I am definitely curious. I think I would need a little more convincing…but not so much. Any words to convince me to do so?

Rating:

My copy: free ebook from Amazon Kindle store
You may also read the ebook from Tor.com

Cover and blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:
The Scattering

In My Mailbox (11)

I really did not mean to get any books these week (yes, I know I always say that), but Fully Booked Eastwood is on sale…so how can I resist? It’s not like Cyber Monday, but still. Resistance against books is always, always futile.

Oh, and I got some awesome galleys and some books I won arrived this week…and that’s totally free. I can’t help that too, right? ;)

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. Here’s this week’s stash!

BOUGHT:

  1. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I got the UK edition after Chachic, Aaron and I browsed it in Fully Booked Gateway during the last FBB meet up. This hardly looks like a book at all, with its layout and designs inside. Plus it’s pretty cheap for somewhat of a “hardcover”.  Look:
  2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. Grace and I were browsing through the 80% off table in Fully Booked Eastwood when I saw a very familiar spine. I picked it up and yes! It’s this book! Hard cover, 80% off! :) Of course I had to get it. Talk about steal. :P
  3. Naermyth by Karen Francisco. I was originally planning to get The Giver by Lois Lowry (yes, I haven’t read that yet!), but when I wandered over to the Filipiniana section in Fully Booked and saw this. I read the blurb and my pulse quickened — could it be? Local dystopian fantasy? It seems like it! I started reading this yesterday but my copy had a printing error so I returned it to Fully Booked. Now I have a proper copy and I can continue reading. Watch out for my review soon. :)

WON:

On the Edge and Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

I got great news almost a month ago that I won Dee’s 100+ Follower Giveaway. I get to pick any book (or books) worth $15 from Book Depository sponsored by The Book Quoter. I was wondering when the package would arrive and I was kind of worried, too, since we moved to an apartment and I don’t know if they would get delivered to me. Friday was a good day, though, when I saw the packages waiting at my dresser. Yay! I now have more Ilona Andrews books to read! Thanks again Dee and Book Quoter. :)

FOR REVIEW:

Lots of awesome books from Netgalley and Simon & Schuster! :)

  • The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (currently reading The Iron Daughter, review of The Iron King up!)
  • My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (must finish reading My Soul to Keep)
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • Choker by Elizabeth Woods
  • Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
  • Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
  • Haven by Kristi Cook
  • Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

So many books, so little time! :o I have no idea when I’ll be able to read this and my mountain of TBR…but I guess I should be used to that already, right?

What’s in your mailbox this week? :)

Fairy Dust and Warlocks

To Kill a Warlock by HP MalloryTo Kill a Warlock (Dulcie O’Neil # 1) by HP Mallory
(Dulcie O’Neil # 1)
Indie, 208 pages

The murder of a dark arts warlock. A shape-shifting, ravenous creature on the loose. A devilishly handsome stranger sent to investigate. Sometimes working law enforcement for the Netherworld is a real bitch. Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. And not the type to frolic in gardens. She’s a Regulator—a law-enforcement agent who monitors the creatures of the Netherworld to keep them from wreaking havoc in the mortal world. When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth before she’s either deported back to the Netherworld, or she becomes the next victim. Enter Knight Vander, a sinfully attractive investigator sent from the Netherworld to work the case with Dulcie. Between battling her attraction to her self-appointed partner, keeping a sadomasochistic demon in check, and fending off the advances of a sexy and powerful vampire, Dulcie’s got her hands full. As the body count increases, Dulcie finds herself battling dark magic, reconnoitering in S&M clubs and suffering the greatest of all betrayals.

I’m still fairly new to the urban fantasy genre, and I am still avoiding paranormal romance (maybe I should make a post about that sometime) so when I received a review request from HP Mallory for her books, I was kind of hesitant to accept it. But I’m not really one to say no to free books, so I thought, why not?

I finally found the time to read To Kill a Warlock when we started moving a week ago. I figured after reading about zombies, I need to take a break from the gore so this should be  a perfect read. And since we were moving, all my books were packed, so all the reading I could do was in my Kindle.

So Dulcie is a fairy and one of the best Regulators from the Association of Netherworld Creatures (ANC) in California. As a Regulator, she monitors the activities of the different paranormal creatures in her area and makes sure they act in accordance to the laws. But after her Regulator job is finished, Dulcie hides in her house and works on her novel, which she hoped to published so she can be rid of her Regulator job. Her more or less regular Regulator (ha, sorry, I can’t resist!) job is disturbed when a warlock dies and she was the last one who saw him. The story follows Dulcie as she tries to figure out who killed the warlock, work on her novel and figure out her relationships with the different men in her life which included a vampire, a demon, an elf and a Loki.

To Kill a Warlock is generally a fun read, with a spunky heroine who’s had a broken heart and dreams of being a published writer. The story is pretty tight, with a good — although not really unique — concept about a group that regulates paranormal creatures among humans, and of course, lots of romance for Dulcie. That being said, however…I don’t think To Kill a Warlock really worked for me. :( I hate it when this happens, especially since it seemed like many readers liked the book and the characters (and that I got this book for review). I did not hate any of them, really, but they just failed to make an big impression on me that I just didn’t care about them as much as I normally would. As the story got to the climax, I found myself just flipping to the next pages, eager to finish because I was getting tired of how they seemed to be going in circles. When the major action has finished and everything has settled, I thought it was over, but it wasn’t…and it led me wondering, “What else could happen after all that?” I didn’t feel very satisfied at the ending because I felt like it was a bit of a cop out — everyone sort of at peace with each other, with Dulcie having three guys going after her. In the end I was just confused.

It’s not that it’s a bad book. I have to give some merit to the author because I enjoyed myself in some parts of the book, but as a whole, I was underwhelmed. I think I can put the blame on Ilona Andrews and their Kate Daniels series with how I viewed To Kill a Warlock. The Kate Daniels series is my first time to read adult urban fantasy and I loved every bit of it, so I got kind of spoiled with their world building and character development in those books. So much so that my expectations were a bit too high when I read To Kill a Warlock. Perhaps if I read this first before any of the Kate Daniels books, I’d think otherwise.

Rating:
→ I was pretty much underwhelmed with To Kill a Warlock. It’s a good urban fantasy novel, but it just didn’t work so much for me.

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 94 out of 100 for 2010

My copy: ebook, review copy from author

Cover image & Blurb: Goodreads

Other Reviews:
ALPHA reader
quillsandzebras

Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Kate Daniels # 4

Publisher: Ace Books
Number of pages: 349
My copy: paperback, bought from PowerBooks

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it rose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

* * *

Since I loved how Magic Strikes ended, I knew I couldn’t wait to read the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series, even if it meant finishing the book would make me itch for the fifth book already. But when the last book has left you smiling and the fourth book is just waiting to be read, well…you just have to grab it to keep the magic going. That, and I needed to know what happened to Kate and Curran. Yes, I needed to.

Magic Bleeds opens up a whole lot of doors into Kate and Curran’s lives, both individually and in their lives together. It picks up right where the previous book left off, of course we know that there will be a bump in the road where their relationship is going. The book starts off with that, and it left me wondering what will happen once their paths cross again. That doesn’t mean the story revolved only around their romance. Kate is faced yet again with a problem of epic proportions, and it truly is epic because of the connection to her past. Here we get to see and know just who Kate is preparing to fight. The result of all the fighting leaves me wondering if she is really capable of winning the fight of her life and still save the people she cares for. Of course we know she’ll win in the end, but how she will win is the big question. Kate is stronger here but also she’s grown softer now that she forming relationships with the people she works with. She’s still as snarky as ever though, and the book is littered with a ton of quotable quotes and funny anecdotes with the same deadpan humor that somehow lifted the feeling of impending doom.

We also learn more about Curran and how he became the Beast Lord, and why he acts the way he does. I like that he’s not the perfect guy, and I like that he’s just as flawed as Kate is. This just goes to show how good they are for each other. More Pack dynamics were discussed in this book, which showed that there was even a more complicated world inside the magical one that they live in. The diversity of the Pack and their politics were so well-thought out that we absolutely understand why Curran acts that way. It’s been said many times already, but I must say it again: Ilona Andrews knows how to build worlds, down to the smallest details.

Which brings me to the Kate and Curran scenes in this book: wow. Totally absolutely satisfying (and if you don’t mind this tiny spoiler — there is lingerie involved)! I have to admit that sometimes I like the sparring and the romantic tension more than the actual relationship itself. Sometimes I don’t want the characters to “level up” because when something finally happens I know things will change. I was afraid for that to happen with Kate and Curran, but the authors did a very good job in keeping the relationship exciting while making it grow. I’m content with the fact that Kate would still be the same snarky heroine that I loved from the first book, and Curran will still be the control freak Beast Lord, despite all the developments. :)

One more plus point about this book: Kate adopted a dog. IMHO, you can never go wrong when the protagonist adopts a dog. ;)

And like with the rest of the fans of the series, I absolutely cannot wait for the fifth book. When, oh when will it be out? :o

Rating:

Other reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook
Angieville
Artseblis
Janicu’s Book Blog
Book Harbinger
Emily and her Little Pink Notes
Attack of the Book