Monday, May 30, 2016

TTT: Beach Reads II

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme from The Broke and the Bookish. I just don't post on Tuesdays. ;)

As this is my second installment of the Beach Reads theme (sanctified bovine, has it already been a year!?), I don't want to go repeating myself. Last year, bonafide definition of 'beach read' in hand, I scoured my past reads for any title that matched with the description. This year, I'm throwing the definition out of the window. I'm not much of a trend follower any way. So here, in no particular order, are ten books that I wouldn't mind reading on a beach. Not that I'll be reading on a beach any time soon. [sad face]

1. Pop Sonnets: Shakespeare Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Didriksen
Oh my freaking heck. This book is brilliant. Didriksen has rewritten everything from Living on a Prayer to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as SHAKESPEARE STYLE SONNETS. They're hysterical, clever, and none of them is even a page long, so perfect for light beach reading.

2. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Not exactly a 'light' read, but it's so strange and ridiculously funny it would make a good beach read all the same. The first book in Fforde's series featuring literary detective, Thursday Next, it takes place in an alternate reality where the Crimean War is still being fought and people take literature very seriously. Like incite gang wars over the true identity of Shakespeare seriously. And yes, you read that right: in the midst of such a world, Thursday is a literary detective. Each book in the series, er, involves a literary classic, and the classic for this one is Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.
I have read this; I loved it. To my shame, I haven't read any more of the series. I was young enough the first time I read it, that most of the political and historical changes in the alternate reality went completely over my head. I think I'd understand much more of it now. And since this would be a reread, it wouldn't suffer tremendously at the distractions one might find at a beach.

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This is on a lot of my lists. Great story, beautiful and dark magic, and such a colorful world. It is a love story, but it's not just a love story. There's so much more unfolding here than that alone. In fact, the pair of lovers aren't even my favorite characters. Another thing that's fascinating about this book -aside from the skillfully crafted story- is the non-linear timeline in which its told. This book is candy to me. I've read it once a year since I discovered it and I'm due for another taste.

4. Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
I have read this book on a beach. It's a fond memory. And it's a book I need to reread anyway. Especially if there's a chance for the Wheel of Time series to come to television. Seriously, I am so excited about this prospect.

5. Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales
Fairy tales. For time lords. This is both a retelling of classic fairy tales with a specific brand of science fiction twist, AND an extension of the Time Lord universe, as the tales within are actually touted as the fairy tales of the Time Lords. Can't you just picture the Doctor as a child, listening to these fairy tales?

6. Artemis Fowl/Supernaturalist/The Wish List/Airman/Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
These are my all-time go-to books. Bored? Need something to cheer me up? Need a laugh? Just need to inspire myself with a fantastic book? No problem. I grab one of these off my Colfer shelf. Yes. I HAVE AN EOIN COLFER SHELF.

7. The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
It seems appropriate to read these outdoors and there is never a bad time to take these up for a re-read.

8. William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher
Why not? They're short, perfect for reading aloud in a gentle murmur, and you won't mind (too much) being interrupted because you already know the story. You better know the story already.

9. A book of fairy tales and/or mythology
I love fairy tales and mythologies from all over the world. They're not only interesting and -many of them- unheard of for me in the wake of 'popular' fairy tales, but they also make excellent fodder for a fantasy writer, especially when she's in the middle of fairy tale-centric project. ;)
Fairy tales, for the most part, are short stories, so it's easily broken down into bite-sized pieces for the moments in-between all the beach fun.

10. TBD
Going on vacation is the perfect time to grab that book you've been 'meaning' to read for ages. Or that book you bought last year that you haven't gotten around to yet. Make that book your beach read. Check it off your TBR list!

What's on your Beach Reads list?

NEW RELEASE SPOTLIGHT: Day's Hunt by Cheree Alsop (Girl From the Stars)

Check out the final installment to Cheree Alsop's YA science fiction series, GIRL FROM THE STARS.

Find the rest of the series: Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Amazon

Confronted with the truth about her origin, Liora has to make a difficult choice that can change the entire fate of the Macrocosm. Battling loss, Ketulans, and the desires of her own heart, Liora confronts an evil she thought long banished from her life and the cosmos. The fight she faces turns out to be the most difficult of her life in more ways than one. Can she survive the consequences of her own actions long enough to defeat the greatest peril of her existence?

Find Cheree on the web:
Get the book now!
Amazon for paperback & ebook:
Barnes&Noble for ebook:
Smashwords for all ebook formats:

Monday, May 16, 2016

TTT: Books I Picked Up On A Whim

Top Ten Tuesday is a super fantabulous book blog meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a fun one. What books have you picked up on a whim, whether at the library, Barnes & Noble, or the used book store? Mine are hard to narrow down to just ten, but I'll give it a go.

1. Dragon and Thief by Timothy Zahn
Long before I delved into the massive and complex Extended Universe of Star Wars, I fell in love with the science fiction works of Timothy Zahn through his Dragonback series for young adults. This was the perfect find for my teenage self who was obsessed with fantasy but hadn't discovered much exciting in the way of sci-fi (namely L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time and Annette Curtis Klause's Alien Secrets). Featuring a 14-year-old protagonist, Jack Morgan, who is a thief and conman and his new companion, a dragon-like alien called a K'da named Draycos, who can switch between three- and two-dimensional forms and needs a host to survive, on whose back he stretches out, like a dragon tattoo.
It's action-packed: Jack must help Draycos save his people from extinction at the hands of their enemies by pulling off one con after another to gather information.
It's fun: Jack's uncle has some of THE BEST swearing substitute exclamations. Plus, SPACE HEISTS. LIVING DRAGON TATTOO.
The concept was mind-boggling: Did I mention the TWO-DIMENSIONAL aliens? For a girl who hadn't read much sci-fi, this was a mind-blowing idea.

2. Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
I was looking for a very specific book to scratch an itch. Long story short, there was a book I wanted to write (and am still working on) that has a very particular feel to it and I had been searching for any books to help me nail that feeling down. From the cover, description, and writing style, I thought it would be this book. It wasn't. Unfortunately, it also turned out to be a book I didn't like, not because it wasn't what I was looking for, but because its Literary Fiction style made me impatient and I found the ending -and subsequently the story- wholly unsatisfying. But you can check out my review with all the juicy details right here.
For anyone interested, I did find a few books more in tune with the 'feel' I was looking for: The Ghost in Love by Jonathon Carroll, which was an interesting story, and The Returned by Jason Mott, which I adored, and don't seem to have reviewed. Apologies.

3. Toads & Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

This was a thrift shop find and it was the title and cover that really sold me on it. 'Toads & Diamonds' is obviously a retelling of the classic fairy tale, while the cover shows what is clearly a young woman from an Indian or Middle Eastern culture. Jackpot.
I haven't had the chance to read this yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Believe it or not, I was actually on track when this fanbase broke out. I picked up a copy on a whim from Fred Meyer of all places, because I was earning my own money for the first time doing odd jobs. I saw it, I kind of wanted it, and I realized I actually had money to buy it.
I consumed this book about book lovers and books literally coming to life faster than you can say 'duct tape', dragged my sister down the same rabbit hole, and we've been fans of Funke's ever since.

5. Larklight by Philip Reeve
Victorian England -if they had discovered steampunk space travel. With pirates. And aliens. And sentient top hats.
I honestly don't remember if this was recommended to me or something I just picked up. As a kid, my sister and I walked to our local library almost every afternoon after we finished schoolwork and we would spend hours picking through the bookshelves looking for hidden gems. This was just one among many we found one stack hauled home at a time. And can you believe all that book hauling didn't give me muscles? Like, any muscles?

6. Almost everything published by Future House Publishing
Okay, so there's a reason for this. Future House recently had a huge Star Wars giveaway/contest/blowout sale for May the Fourth and a load of their ebooks were up for 0.99. I only perused the titles out of curiosity because I don't have a Kindle and I dislike reading books on my computer. But, but, but THEN I realized Future House was behind Marrow by Preston Norton, which I read and reviewed in the height of my superhero fiction craze and I LOVED it.
So I bought all the ebooks they had on sale. Literally. I now have almost 20 ebooks on my PC's Kindle app I can't wait to try out. I'll just need to configure a comfortable seating arrangement for it all. (Pinterest, maybe?) They're mostly YA, which is a genre I have a love/hate relationship with. There are so many books there I want to like, but I usually wind up disappointed. So why did I decide to buy so freaking many? Part of my 'thing' as a book reviewer is to support smaller publishing companies and, considering how much I loved Marrow, this is both my thanks for that book and my hope that everything they produce is just as good. We'll see how they all stack up.
For anybody curious, here's the master list:
That Girl, Darcy by James Ramos (gender-swapped Pride and Prejudice story)*
Sands & Storms by Kevin L. Nielsen
Caretaker & Guardians by Josi Russell
Etherwalker by Cameron Dayton (seriously awesome manga-style cover art)
Parrish by Shannen Crane Camp (love story with ghost hunters)
Got Luck by Michael Darling* (compared with Dresden Files, which is a concept I love, but a book I couldn't get through, so I'm hoping this one will act as a suitable alternative)
Pwned by Shannen Crane Camp* (popular cheerleader/mean girl who's actually a closet gamer geek)

*Titles I'm most excited to read

7. After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn
Yet another I found during my superhero fiction craze a few summers ago -when I searched 'superheroes' on my library catalogue to find everything I could. It was not at all what I was expecting and it was fantastic. I'm also just remembering I never got around to writing a review on it. I should work on that. I did give it a 4/5 star rating and I've been itching to read it again.

8. Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey
Why this book? Ninja + Librarians. I literally needed not other encouragement to check this one out, but it also had fun cover art AND it referenced The Princess Bride within the first chapter. With a main character who loves books, her library, and sword fighting, this is a fictional version of me as a child. Plus a brother who quotes Star Wars all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.
And excuse me for a moment, because I just realized the sequel is coming out next month and I need to go request an ARC...

9. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
It was the dawn of My Adventures in Science Fiction and I was on the prowl for another good sci-fi to sink my teeth into. I saw this audiobook at work and debated it for a good five minutes. If I wanted to delve into sci-fi, I reasoned, John Scalzi would be a good place to start because, not being a sci-fi reader, even I know who John Scalzi is. On that same note, if he's such a big name in sci-fi, it's entirely possible he would write exactly the kind of sci-fi I don't like.
What really sold me was the fact that Wil Wheaton narrates it. I'd heard Wheaton had started narrating, but I had yet to experience it for myself. "Two birds with one stone."
The book turned out to be hilarious, Wheaton's narration fantastic, and it also made me loosen up a little on swears in books. Not too much, but just enough to start really enjoying more adult fiction.

Last but not least...

10. Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach
The one, the only, the first installment of the Ever Afters series no one can get me to shut up about. Released only about a year, I stumbled on this goldmine browsing my library. (Fun fact: I picked it up at the same time as The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, both because of their colorful and fun cover art.) If you don't know how this story ends, you can check out my reviews for the whole series, as well as my first ever Blog Party thrown in honor of the series finale.
Note: Just recently my sister told me that her oldest finally read the copy I sent for her birthday and SHE LOVES IT. They went out and bought the whole series and now I just have to wait.

I'm dying to know some of yours, good and bad!
What books have you picked up on a whim?
Did you love or regret them?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Amanda & the Star Wars Summer -Episode V

Amanda & the Star Wars Summer

Because what better way to celebrate Star Wars day than a new chapter in my Star Wars adventure?
Absolutely nothing! 

Except maybe being in the Star Wars universe and getting to fly an X-wing. Now that would be something!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
3/5 stars

This is the novelization of the movie and we're going to cut right down to the chase: I didn't love this book. I do like that they got Alan Dean Foster to write it, since he wrote the first Star Wars novel ever -Splinter of the Mind's Eye, and no, I haven't read it- but I didn't like the writing style, so it was hard for me to get through.

The Highlights:

There are a couple of very intriguing conversations between Kylo Ren and Snoke. For example, Snoke tells Kylo Ren at one point that the Galactic Empire fell because Darth Vader had one moment of emotional weakness -of sentiment; there are other conversations where they speak of Rey as 'the girl', always in italics, so you know something's going on there. And when Rey calls the lightsaber to her just before the epic duel, Kylo Ren mutters, “It is you.”

So yeah. Significance.

It is worth noting, too, that Rey's vision when she finds Luke's lightsaber is a little bit different in the book. She sees things we didn't see in the movie, but she also doesn't hear Obi Wan's voice. *shrug*

I think a big reason I didn't love this book is because it did not contain what I felt was missing from the movie, which was more interaction between Rey and Han. Really, really wanted to see that here, like deleted scenes that made it to the book, but there weren't any, and my heart had been set on that.
The other big thing. I really hated Han's death scene. It carried a completely different feel than the scene in the movie. In the movie, we have Han reaching out to Ben, even as he dying. He touches his son's face and gives him this look like he forgives Ben for everything. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the scene, but I always felt that in that moment after Kylo Ren stabbing him that Han came to peace with it. Han has to know that anger and pain and hatred are paths to the Dark Side; so in his last moment, he still reaches out to Ben. That one gesture tells his son that he loves him and he forgives him.

That is not at all what we see in the book. It's a very dark moment for Han and there is no indication of this and an even bigger piece of my heart died and just no. No no no no no no. Okay, so despite the fact that I didn't find what I wanted in this book, the writing style did drive me nuts, and there was no greater familiarity with the characters one hopes to glean from a novelization, so The Force Awakens does get 3/5 stars. It has a couple of extra scenes, but it didn't offer up much more than the movie itself whereas, I don't know, I feel like novelizations should delve even deeper into the story than the movie. Maybe I'm nuts.

Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka
4/5 stars

Want a good Star Wars book? Give this one a try. It tells the prequel stories of Finn, Rey, and Poe. I actually really, really loved it. I'm not always a fan of prequels, but these focused on moments in the characters' lives that were truly important or major. My favorite story in here is Finn's. It was very interesting to see him in the life of a Stormtrooper. Bonus? More Phasma.

Rey's story is also good; it also answers the question of how someone who has never flown a spaceship can fly so well! Maybe not everyone will like the answer, but it works for me. I'm cool with it.

And of course Poe's story. Poe is awesome, but we also get to see more of General Leai. So each of these stories has a bonus in it! Plus, they're all interesting stories, they're not just 'normal life' stories, they're specific and important moments from the lives' of the character prior to Force Awakens.

I love this series of books they've been doing alongside the new chapter in the Star Wars saga. I've reviewed in one of my last videos more from this series and they've all been really good books. They are classified as Juvenile Fiction, but don't let it stop you from reading it.

I've also just learned that there is an anthology in this series called Aliens Vol 1, so I'll be looking for that.

Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
4/5 stars

This book has a convoluted origin, because it was initially intended for the Classic Cannon, the last of a trilogy of stand alones, but it hadn't been published before they dismissed the Classic Cannon as the Legends, so they switched it over and made some changes, and it's now considered part of the New Canon. The title of this book was actually changed as an homage to Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, widely considered the beginning of the EU. It's convoluted, yeah. Anyway.

I really enjoyed this. It takes place between IV and V so Luke is still pre-Jedi and trying to learn new things; he's more rash and naive and impulsive and he's still pretty much the farm boy of Tattooine. I feel like Kevin Hearne had a really interesting and kind of clever way in showing us how Luke can explore a different avenue of the Force and how he figures out what it means to him and for his life. Let's face it; we had plenty of stories dealing with this topic in the original EU. Now we're starting ALL OVER again? But Hearne puts his best foot forward on this and manages to keep the story interesting, even if the character development Luke goes through is technically 'old hat'.

The big thing I liked actually involves the love interest we find here. I recently read Truce at Bakura, which is interesting because the Alliance and the Empire have to join forces against an alien threat and they're still enemies and at each other's throats, but the one thing I didn't like was the love interest. She paled in comparison to Mara Jade and I had just finished The Last Command. So compared to Mara, I found the love interest in Bakura boring. I didn't like that the story spent so much time on this potential relationship that I already knew wouldn't go any where. So far, most of the books I've read have Luke with a love interest, so he's becoming a bit like James Bond to me. :P

Back to Heir. There is a love interest, but it's handled really, really well. With how everything turns out, the love interest actually has an affect on the greater Star Wars story and Luke's personal development. There's a purpose for this romance; it's beneficial to the further story, whereas the romance in Bakura felt more like a Bond fling. Kevin Hearne did a brilliant job making it work; he also created a much more interesting character, so even though I was griping about yet another love interest in the first few chapters, she was so clever and funny that she won me over pretty quick. She worked for the greater development of Luke Skywalker. It satisfied me. It was fantastic!

I was browsing through the library catalog one day and came across something amazing. Cue up that Star Wars music in your head.

This is a graphic novel of one of the original drafts of Star Wars that George Lucas ever wrote. This is a completely different story than what we have now. It's a completely different universe, world, and characters. It was so interesting and I loved every minute!

So much is recognizable, because so much of it was eventually used in the original trilogy. And then other things. Like Darth Vader wasn't originally intended to be a Sith Lord. He was just a dude, a general. And then. And then! One of my favorite characters was the Sith Lord whose actually in this story, and I'm quite miffed because it ends off at a cliff-hanger, especially for this character. This is based off a first draft of a story that never technically officially existed so I”m nerve going to find out what happens to this version of this character who doesn’t actually exist in the Star Wars universe!

I'm a little miffed.

But the big thing about this story is that the more I read it, the more so many confusing questions about the prequel movies started to find answers. One of the major differences in this story and the original trilogy is that Luke Skywalker is old -an Obi Wan-like General of an army on a world -and Annakin Starkiller is the padawan he gains in the first couple chapters. The personality between Starkiller and the eventual Annakin Skywalker is almost identical!

The BIG THING is that Leia is essentially Padme! She resembles very little of the Leai we know and love -obviously, since Luke and Leia are not twins.

Just in reading this I could suddenly understand how the prequel movies could turn out the way they did. So much of what's in here was eventually recycled to the prequels! I think Lucas took it as an opportunity to use so much of this that didn't make it into the original that it blinded him from realizing they weren't great stories. He was excited!

You can obviously tell there's a lot that would eventually be recycled into the prequel movies, and I think that's why the prequel movies never quite meshed up with the original trilogy and they were never quite up to par either.

An I'm not saying this as an excuse that should have or could have been -I just think I understand now how we could have gone from the Original Star Wars to the prequels.

It's just a very interesting look at almost was and then how it actually evolved into what eventually came about. If you're a Star Wars nerd and you want to know more about the inner workings of the Universe and the minds of the people who made it, you'll want to check it out.

I do only give this one 3/5 stars, because as interesting and fascinating as it was, the story wasn't quite coherent. It jumped around a bit and I got lost a few times. There was a lot going on. Still, totally compelling.

The Star Wars. Check it out.

And speaking of the prequel movies! I have found a really interesting series of YouTube videos. The first one is called What If Episode I Were Actually Good? by Belated Media. It is a very interesting idea because basically this guy goes through and tells a different version of The Phantom Menace, the premise being that if he had been an executive at Fox when George Lucas said 'Hey, what about this idea?' he would have said 'Hey, we think this is awesome buuuuuuut what about this?' or 'this doesn't quite make sense' or 'this would make a much better story!'

So it's very interesting. He has a video for I, II and III. I don't agree 100% with the stories he comes up with, but he has some very interesting ideas, my favorite being that the prequel trilogy should have been focused on Obi Wan as the main character. That would have been so complimentary, going from the prequel movies as Obi Wan's story, into the original trilogy which is Luke's story instigated by Obi Wan, and between the two, the overarching story of Annakin Skywalker!

So anyway, that video series is called What If Episode I Was Good? and it's by the channel Belated Media. The first video does contain a lot of swearing, but he did publish a censored version which is what I watch and you can find that link on the original video. Here are the subsequent links for Episodes II and III.

Speaking of a fantastic YouTube series for Star Wars! There is one I've found that's absolute gold. The YouTube channel is called Jamie Stangroom and he is doing a show called These Are the Actors You're Looking For. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and what he's decided to do is find the actors behind some of the iconic minor characters of the Star Wars universe to talk to them about what they're doing now, their experience working on the movies and how it's affected their lives. He also has each one of them do an audition to see whether they could score a role in the new movies.

They are absolutely fascinating and he is very entertaining so I highly recommend them, because he is a SW nerd and he really owns the SW nerd so it makes it very fun to watch for, well, fellow SW nerds.
He has interviewed the actors who played Greedo, Boba Fett, Jar Jar Binks -which was very interesting. They are all great and fantastic stories and they're hilarious and I would love to see this show continue on forever.

The Last Command by Timothy Zahn
5/5 stars

I finished it ages ago but I haven't done another video since then. The final book in the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn was absolutely magnificent. I loved it. As of now, with the very few EU books I've read, this series is my favorite by far. It's fantastic; Zahn tells the story in such an entertaining way. I love Mara Jade as a character, I also love Talon Karde, so those are two high, high points right there. Zahn also handles the original cast so well and I loved seeing this continuation of the original trilogy and the more I delve into the Classic Canon the more miffed I am it's been dismissed and no longer considered real.

Why? Why would you do that?!

Anyway, Thrawn trilogy, Timothy Zahn, fantastic, all the way through. Just another one to get 5/5 stars. Thank you, Timothy Zahn, for writing such a wonderful and complex SW trilogy.

May the Force be with you!

How are YOU celebrating Star Wars Day?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

TTT: Childhood Characters You'd Love To Revisit as Adults

This blog meme courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish

These are five of the characters from my childhood and/or child characters whose adulthood I'd like to see.

1. Alex Rider from the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
Now, if I'm being honest, I haven't finished this series yet. I have yet to read Scorpia Rising or Russian Roulette (although writing this and having just watched Spectre, I'm finally feeling the need to finish it off).
Appropriately, I discovered Anthony Horowitz's series about a reluctant teenage spy when I was 14, the same age Alex himself is for much of the series. One of the things I found so interesting about Alex as a character is how he never wants to become involved in the danger and conspiracy that comes his way, but he can't turn his back on evil megalomaniacs, either.
It's this simultaneous reluctance to be a teenage spy and the inability to ignore what good is in his power to accomplish that really intrigues me about Alex, and especially makes me wonder at his eventual adulthood.
Would Alex give in to the life he's been unwittingly training his whole life for? When he grows up, is he going to willingly step into the role of a spy, on his terms? Or will he be so tired from the life by then that he turns to something else entirely? And if that's the case, of course the next logical question is, would he get pulled back into the role of a spy again anyway? Is it a fate he will ever be allowed the choice to escape?
What the adulthood of Alex Rider would entail is probably one of the biggest post-book questions that have continued to plague me. I have actively considered -and resisted- thoughts of fanfiction. That is how seriously I take this question, so it is definitely my #1 on this list.

2. The Triumvirate from The Ever Afters by Shelby Bach
Okay, so this is cheating. The Triumvirate consists of the core three characters: Rory Landon, Chase Turnleaf, and Lena LaMarrell. As one of my reigning favorite series of all times, I would love to take a peak at their lives ten or twenty years down the road from where we left them, just to see how things turned out.

3. Red Sharkey and Fletcher Moon from Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
Unlikely schoolyard detective partners 'Red' Sharkey and Fletcher 'Half' Moon are a pair of my favorite dynamic duos. Snarky, underage, and bursting with gumshoe gumption, I discovered this middle grade book while in my late teens and still loved it to death. Even now, at 25, I leaf through it for a good laugh when I'm feeling particularly blue.
What makes the question of their future so intriguing is their unlikely friendship. Red, son of the city's resident crime boss, with a surprising heart of gold; Fletcher, the would-be greatest detective the world has ever seen. Fletcher is the brains and Red is the muscle, but Red is also a victim of a long-lasting and well-deserved prejudice against the Sharkey name. By the end of the novel, Red has convinced his Papa Sharkey that neither he nor his little brother need resort to his criminal lifestyle and their father is determined his two sons will grow up on the straight and narrow. Mostly. But of course we know that the slight against the Sharkey name will continue to plague them.
So do Red and Half Moon develop their schoolyard detecting agency into the real deal when they grow up? Or do they join a police academy instead? Does little Herod Sharkey follow in his brother's footsteps or take after his criminal father?
And what, for the sake of all that is good and just on this green earth, is Red Sharkey's REAL NAME?!

4. Merry and Pippin from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Okay, now technically Merry and Pippin were NOT children in Lord of the Rings -but they were also the closest thing to it.
In all honesty, I want to see where their lives led after the destruction of Sauron and the Ring because -while all the characters certainly grow and not only undertake but survive great burdens- Merry and Pippin were the two who truly matured. They also wound up pledging themselves to the services of two separate kings on the other side of the map, allegiances that are hinted could be called on at any time. So I want to see where Merry and Pippin found themselves, down the road. While Sam satisfied himself with a family and a garden and Frodo retired himself to rest across the sea, I can't see these rambunctious hobbits settling down for a good while yet.

5. Modo and Olivia Milkweed from The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
I loved this series that mixes up Victorian literature into a steampunk spy series with a shape-shifting hero. (Seriously, check it out.) This series had, I felt, a fantastic ending, especially as far as Modo's character development, but I still want to know what happens next. Especially regarding Mr. Socrates. Do they ever meet again? Do they ever work together again?

I'll probably think of even more fantastic ones as soon as I hit the 'publish' button, but this will be it for today.

What favorite childhood characters would you like to check up on?