Book Series I Fell Out of Love with Over Time

orangutan list

Hello all! I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about falling out of love with series. I guess part of this comes from realising certain books simply don’t interest me like they used to- which is a pity- but is all part of growing up I suppose 😉 We have our childhood sweethearts and then drift apart… However that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. What I want to talk about today is the books that leave a sour taste in my mouth, the ones which feel increasingly tainted and the series that really broke my heart. Let’s get to it, before I chicken out…

mortal instruments

Anything in the Shadowhunter-Verse– this is the most obvious to me right now and the inspiration behind making this list. Sorry to the people that are still diehard fans, but the more I think about it, the more I’m bothered by the direction the series took (or in some ways, the lack of direction). The recycled characters and plots, the endless cliffhangers, the insertion of politics- it began really grinding my gears at the start of the Dark Artifices and had driven into a ditch by the end. And while I may continue to look back on my first foray into this world with fondness- ie the Infernal Devices trilogy- the more recent books are actually managing to taint my original view of the series as a fun paranormal romance. Sadly, its lost the entertainment value for me.

divergent series

The Divergent Series– I’m gonna confess, I was never a massive fan of this series. That said, I consistently rated it around 4* for enjoyment alone- always stating “don’t think about it too much”. Well I guess I couldn’t take my own advice, because the more I’ve thought about it over the years, the more I think it fails as dystopic fiction. The world building is nonsensical and the messaging (super important in this genre) is all over the place. And certain decisions in the last book are. so. frustrating (and I’m probably not even thinking of the one you are- which just goes to show how many issues there are with it!!)

twilight series

Twilight– unfortunately I have the awful claim to fame of being one of those peeps that liked Twilight before it was cool (I definitely ought to bury this fact somewhere- but for some reason I keep bringing it up 😉 ). Anyway, I think it’s fairly obvious why I stopped loving a story about sparkly vampires- not only is a concept like that bound to lose its shine over time, but that series GOT SO MUCH WORSE. I’m just sad I staked any energy in it 😉

kingkiller-chronicles-books

The Kingkiller Chronicles– ooh controversial opinion time. I actually LOVED book 1- however I ended up hugely disappointed with Wise Man’s Fear– in a way that made me question why I even liked the first instalment. My increasing despondency to this series hasn’t been helped by the huge wait between books. That said, this is the sole book on the list where I’ll happily read more and the only one that I think has a strong chance of redeeming itself with a killer finale.

poison study series

The Chronicles of Ixia– ah this is another one it pains me to think about these days cos I *loved* the first book. Unfortunately, it didn’t keep up its unique momentum in book 2 and managed to get progressively more generic as the series dragged on. Such was my disappointment that it’s even tainted the earlier books for me and, as much as I still have a soft spot for some of the characters (*cough* Valek *cough cough*), I always feel a twinge of sadness when I think about this series.

maximum ride series.png

Maximum Ride– now I didn’t want to include a lot of books from my childhood, because I know that my tastes have changed over time, I usually just read things based on what was available in libraries and mostly I look back on them with rose-tinted glasses even if they were lousy- BUT I can’t forget how much this series crashed and burned. It started out as a great concept and then flew wildly off track. Such a pity.

There you have it, these are all the series that cut me to the quick! 

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So do you have any series or books you used to love, but don’t anymore? Let me know in the comments! 

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Fantastic Folklore-Inspired Stories from Around the World

orangutan list

Hello all! Since I’ve been speaking a lot about fairy tales and folklore in the last week, I thought it would be fun to just to a little list for this Sunday’s post. I decided (cos I’m a fussy reader that’s picky about retellings) to go with books that I think are great, which aren’t necessarily retellings, but rather are simply awesome stories, inspired by mythic tales. And these they are:

shadow of the fox

Shadow of the Fox– it’s not just that I really enjoyed this book- I also thought Kaguwa’s light touch was perfect when it came to representing the wonderfully complex creature that is the kitsune.

ForbiddenWish_BOM.indd

Forbidden Wish– I don’t think I talk about this book enough on this blog, even though I really enjoyed this unique Aladdin retelling.

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the nightingale– I think it’s fairly obvious how much I love this book. Bound up in Russian folklore, it’s become an instant favourite for me and is perfect reading for this time of the year.

anansi boys

Anansi Boys– this was the first Gaiman I really fell in love with- and for good reason. Not only does it absorb fascinating mythic elements, but Gaiman also puts his own unique humour and twist on the story, elevating it to the levels of genius.

circe

Circe– ah Greek mythology is so close to my heart- so I’m delighted to have read what I believe to be the *definitive* retelling of the Odyssey. It’s simply sublime.

Hobbit_cover

The Hobbit– I went back and forth about putting this on this list, because it doesn’t necessarily correlate with any one story. Instead it’s an amalgamation of so many stories and goes far beyond a traditional retelling in that it becomes the backbone for future British mythology- which meant I’d be remiss to leave it off. Besides, it’s one of my all-time favourite books and I’m biased 😉

through the woods

Through the Woods– this graphic novel is not only visually stunning, but an excellent example of unique retellings. It not only incorporated elements from the original Grimm’s tales, it also embodied something of the spirit from Angela Carter’s work. For that alone, it’s a worthy read.

 

What do you think of any of these? And do have any favourite retellings or novels inspired by folklore? Let me know in the comments!

Some HAPPY Books to Brighten Up Your Day!

orangutan list

You know me, I love my dark books. But today, I figured it was about time I shared some books with a lighter touch. These are just some of the books that make me happy:

the martian

The Martian– starting with a book based around the catastrophe of being stuck on Mars with a depleting air supply, I absolutely expect you to read that synopsis and think has this monkey gone bananas? Why has she put this on a happy books list? Well, for all the tension in this book, there’s an equal amount of humour, thanks to the hilarious protagonist Mark Watney! I guarantee if you pick this up, you’re in for a bundle of laughs

the hating game

The Hating Game– with a book title like that, you might not expect to see it on a list like this- but this quirky, funny contemporary is practically the definition of a HAPPY book 😀

isla and the happily ever after

Isla and the Happily Ever After– the clue is in the title 😉 I am a sucker for “happily ever afters” and this delivers for sure!

to all the boys

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– Lara Jean and her family never fail to bring a smile to my face.

simon vs the homosapien agenda

Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda– do I really need to give any introductions for this book at this point? While this deals with some serious issues, Albertalli’s lighthearted touch make Simon a pleasure to read.

carry on

Carry On– I mention this book *a lot* but I can’t help it if this brilliant parodic fantasy fills me with the utmost joy!

going postal

Going Postal– One of my favourite Discworld books- need I say more? Also, it happens to be one of the funniest.

nimona

Nimona– this is a newish one for me- but as another twist on its genre, I thought it fit perfectly. Playing with ideas of supervillains vs superheroes, this graphic novel is a whole lotta fun!

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– I adore this fresh take on alternative history. A completely unexpected ride, this doesn’t just toy with historical accuracy, it laughs in its face and rewrites the history books- in the best possible way!

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Emma– I mean, it’s Austen- do I need a reason? I also happen to love Mr Knightley the most of all Austen’s male leads (oh and there’s great character development- but pff- we’re talking about what makes me smile)

little women

Little Women– rounding off with possibly an unusual choice, this certainly has its poignant and sad moments- HOWEVER for every bit of sadness this book brings, it also delivers its equal parts of joy. I would have felt remiss not to include it.

So do any of these books bring you joy? And what are your favourite happy books? Let me know in the comments!

Bookish (and Some Non Bookish) Resolutions for 2019

It’s that time of the year again! You know the drill- I’m gonna say a bunch of resolutions I plan to do this year and then spend the whole year not doing them 😉

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Bookish:

number 1

10 More Books from My Challenging list

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I considered making this less because I didn’t manage to read 10 in 2018, but then I thought, where’s the fun in that? I figured it would be more of a challenge this way 😉

number 2

10 Non-Fiction Reads

non fiction 2019.png

Again, I didn’t make it to 10 non fic reads in 2018, but I figure I have a whole year to try and hit this goal!

number 3

5 Rereads

Because I had so much fun doing this last year! I have some really fun books lined up for this one!

number 4

5 Poetry Collections

Cos, why didn’t I read any last year? It’s gotta be the first year where I didn’t even pick up *one* collection- FOR SHAME!

Non Bookish:

number 5

Compile notebooks

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Another old ‘un but a good ‘un. Not only does the weird part of my brain that likes organising get a kick out of it, but it’ll make my life so much easier in the long run if I do this annually. There aren’t that many for me to go through this year, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

number 6

Complete another language on Duolingo

This is probably the most challenging one on the list and I could easily fail this due to lack of time… but no pain, no gain, right? I have previously completed two languages on there, yet the only way I ever seem motivated to go back and practice is if I’m learning a new language at the same time. I actually enjoy doing this (even if I’m still far from fluent in the ones I’ve tried 😉 ) so why not? Plus, Duo keeps sending me messages saying it misses me:

duolingo sad

I probably shouldn’t pay attention, because it’s a bit like a needy ex at this point, but I MISS WHAT WE HAD TOO 😉

number 7

THE DREADED EDITING

Okay, you got me, I’m exaggerating for comic effect 😉 I not-so-secretly actually like editing. HOWEVER, I’ve never undertaken *so much* editing at once. In fact, I’m a little scared about reading my last WIP (it’s not in good shape!!) I have so much to do in this regard, that I figure all the remaining points can be for this one!

And that’s all I’m doing this year! I decided to have some self-control and not add a bunch of resolutions I don’t plan on doing. Maybe I’ll add more goals as the year goes on instead of taking them off the list!

What do you think of my resolutions this year? Do you have any resolutions you plan not to do? Let me know in the comments!

My Top Ten Books for 2018

Woohoo my top ten is here! Nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy inside than looking back on the year’s greatest hits. It’s like I get to curl up with my faves and get all cosy with my positive thoughts for them 😀 What could be better? *Cue the satisfied monkey*!

my top ten of 2018.png

As always, not all of these were published in 2018, I’m not including rereads and all book covers link to reviews! Alrighty then, enough of the preamble, let’s get to my semi-incoherent-adoration-addled-reasons as to why these books are *awesome sauce with a side of bananas*:

number 10

ravencry

Ravencry– as many of you know, last year I was blown away by Blackwing, so when the second instalment in the Raven’s Mark series stormed onto the scene, I had to pick it up. What’s so cool about this is the immense depth behind the hysterics. Though there can be no doubt that the world was well drawn, the plot was compelling and the characters were to die for, what I liked the most about this was there’s more to this book than meets the eye. Already in the first book psychological complexity was established- but this delves deeper into the psyche with one of my favourite folklore motifs of venturing into the wilderness and returning changed (you may notice a trend in some of the books on this list 😉 ). Incorporating this idea is just one of the ways there’s more to this story than meets the eye- and that’s what keeps drawing me back and back and back to the Misery. I can’t quite get this haunting story out of my mind.

number 9

guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– when I read this I just *had to* share this with my sister- contrary to my review, I didn’t actually write her a letter- instead I immediately put it in her hands and said READ IT. Because that’s what everyone should do. It’s one of the best historical fiction books I’ve ever read and one of the finest in the oft-oversaturated market for WWII. I’m not usually a fan of epistolary novels and only recently discovering how well collaborative books can work- and this one really does work. Guernsey will take you on quite the journey- I can’t recommend this enough.

number 8

titus andronicus

Titus Andronicus– it’s absolutely staggering how shocking this is hundreds of years after publication. Even though I knew what was coming, I still ended up scarred by this story- and that’s quite the feat! Now it’s obviously redundant to describe the finesse of Shakespeare’s language or the substance of his place- but I can say that this is now a firm favourite. I also recommend the 1999 film version- it’s a truly sensational adaptation (and this is coming from someone super fussy about takes on Shakespeare)

number 7

grey sister

Grey Sister– what is most incredible about this book was its ability to drag me out of a slump. I was super busy in June and yet I still managed to read the entirety of this book in one sitting- I just couldn’t help myself! For pure entertainment value alone, I’d have loved this book. However- as I often say on these posts- IT WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! All the intricate details from Red Sister were taken to another level. Most importantly, this book *excited me* and whenever I think about this book I want to jump right back in- and for a bookworm it doesn’t get much better than that!

number 6

words in deep blue

Words in Deep Blue– I need a little courage to talk about this one, because *this book broke me*. I cried from beginning to end. I’m not joking (kinda wish I wasn’t that much of a sap, but there you go). It’s think of book that holds you under its spell- I felt breathless and emotional by the end. The characters, the romance and the story were all *swoonworthy*. I’m also *a complete sucker* for book love in books and this did explored that topic so well. With some genius strokes to the narrative structure, this plunged into much deeper waters than I expected.

number 5

circe

Circe– even though I read this right at the end of the year, I knew while I was reading that I *had to* find a place for it on my top ten. In fact, it rose in my esteem as I got further and further into the book. I often find myself at odds with Goodreads choice awards, but I can safely say this deserved its win. Forged from myth, its epic proportions are well balanced and creatively engineered. It’s more than simply well researched- the stories woven into the narrative feel lived-in. I’d say this is Miller’s aristeia, only I predict she’s going to keep being victorious with every book she releases. Dorky classics allusions aside, it’s such a wondrous retelling that I know I’m going to love this more and more with time. Needless to say, Circe has me under her spell and I can’t wait to see what this author pulls out of her repertoire in the future.

number 4

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– this book combined two of my favourite things: fairy tales and stories within stories. What a match made in heaven! Yes, this goes at a steady pace, yet this still managed to be twisty and unexpected. Perfectly drawing up the veil between a dreamscape and the real world, I was enchanted by how I couldn’t quite pin it down. Somehow it manages to be a retelling of folklore with a Gothic flavour- whilst also having a life of its own. That indefinable quality made feel like it has its feet in multiple worlds- and that’s why I love it!

number 3

girl in the tower

Girl in the Tower– I loved stepping back into Arden’s reimagining of Russia’s mythic past. For me, this exploration seems so enticing and different and lovingly evoked. One thing I adore about the Winternight Trilogy is how each book seems to stand so well on its own. Like the first book, this presented a world that most people cannot see. However, what made it stand apart was that the uncanny elements were ratcheted up and it was darker than its predecessor. That haunting note clung to every facet of this beautiful venture. The writing was just as lyrical, immersive and gorgeous as Bear and the Nightingale; the characters made me fall in love all over again. I’m so freaking wowed by this series- I can’t wait for the last book! Bring on January 9th!

number 2

strange the dreamer duology

Strange the Dreamer/Muse of Nightmares– yes I am putting them both on the list and counting them as one- but you guys should know cos I do it every year… so really this is your fault for letting me get away with it 😉 Anyway, shh, these books are both brilliant, deserve to be here and I couldn’t pick between them! I adore Taylor’s writing and am always spirited away by her world building. I can’t help but feel like her series embody escapism and brilliant stories. They leave nothing behind in terms of what I look for in a book: the characters, romance and intrigue are top notch. Laced with a dreamy quality, this duology lived up to every hope I had for it.

number 1

the master and margarita

The Master and Margarita– simply speaking, I haven’t read a better book in a really long time. Where some of these I had to squeeze into position, I didn’t have to think when it came to placing this book. Describing what I feel about it though? Now that’s nigh on impossible! Perhaps it makes sense, since this is a book of where the impossible meets reality. Surreal and hard to pin down- and yet not totally otherworldly- Master and Margarita deserves more than the accolades and bananas I can give it. It’s strange on the surface- however lurking at its core are more truths than I can possibly articulate. A true artistic endeavour and literary masterpiece, it feels more real than reality. If you’re searching for a classic that’s more than a little magic, look no further.

So have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2018? Let me know in the comments!

My Most Disappointing Books of 2018

my most disappointing 2018.png

Thanks in a large part to blogging I pick up fewer books on a whim. That means a lot of what I read tends to be vetted and I’ve been choosing a lot of better books this year. Even so, a number of stinkers have slipped through the net- and that’s what this post is about! Of course, as the title suggests, these are mostly just books that let me down in some way. As always, if you click on the book covers you can click on the book covers and see my less-than-glowing reviews- however you’ll also see I haven’t completely slated all of these. Evidently, *fumbling to insert quick disclaimer*, I’m not saying these are the *worst* books on the planet- a lot of them merely didn’t live up to what I hoped they would be- starting with…

number 10bone queen

The Bone Queen– I actually gave this one a middling rating- see I told you they weren’t all terrible! Still, this made the list because I thought it would be *so much more*. I loved the Pellinor series when I was younger, so when this prequel rolled around I was PSYCHED. Sadly, this didn’t end up building on my pre-existing love. Instead, I got a book that was stuffed to the brim with infodumps and all the dramatic moments being told not shown.

number 9

lonely hearts hotel

Lonely Hearts Hotel– this one might be the most controversial one on the list, because a lot of people love it. And I get why. It’s a really well written book- but boy this was not my cup of tea. Honestly, the biggest flaw with this book is that it’s totally miss-marketed. Described as “the next Night Circus”, I was expecting delicious magical realism; what I got was a heavy dose of stomach-churning historical fiction on topics that were too much for me.  That’s not to say it’s bad- it just wish I’d had some inkling of the actual material going in. If you’re into gritty (bordering on gross) topics, then go for it; otherwise maybe give it a miss.

number 8

ashes to ashes

Ashes to Ashes– it pains me a little to put this on here, because I really enjoyed the rest of the series. Ultimately though, this was a great example of a series fizzling out. There was a lot of potential here- yet I didn’t feel like the ending lived up to it. It felt rushed, unsatisfying and underdeveloped. *Sigh*- and it could have been so good!

number 7

forest of hands...

Forest of Hands and Teeth– years ago I saw this title and swooned- it’s a thing of perilous beauty. Unfortunately, the charm ends there. There’s nothing remotely thrilling about this all-too-generic read. It’s so meh that I wouldn’t have bothered putting it on this list if not for the fact the title got my hopes up. Unless you’re a massive fan of love triangles and the regular host of YA tropes, I’d give this one a miss.

number 6

life's golden ticket

Life’s Golden Ticket– I kind of feel duty bound to put this on the list based on the simple fact that it wasn’t well written. And while I can handle a little cheese, this one stunk to high heaven. Turns out allegorical, glorified self-help books are not for me.

number 5

ransom my heart

Ransom My Heart– I’m disappointed in myself for reading this one when I had reason to suspect it was gonna be bad! I’ve had a hit and miss relationship with the author to be fair- so I should have known not to give this one a chance. But it sounded different and I liked the idea of it being one of her character’s novels and *excuses excuses*- I read the damn thing and now I have to live with myself. As historical fiction, this isn’t remotely believable- unless you count the misuse of archaic words. Since this is supposed to be Princess Mia’s (from Princess Diaries) book, it could be a comment on how celebrities sometimes manage to get their crap books published just cos they’re celebs… somehow I doubt it though. It seems more likely that this is simply a crap book.

number 4

truth or dare

Truth or Dare– I think I’ve wiped most of the memory of this book from my mind. All I can remember from it was that it was aggravating and nuts. There’s lots of virtue signalling and infodumping and even an instruction at the front of the book to go read other, better books. Seriously. Even this author thinks you should choose something else. So go do that- cos I ended up wondering why I didn’t take that advice.

number 3

falling fast

Falling Fast– there were very few things this year worthy of having a banana peel slung at them- and this was one of them. Everything about this sucked. Worst of all though, it wasn’t sure what it wanted to be. There was mature content written in such a childish way that I couldn’t pin it down. Not to mention that the characters were horrible and the romance was awful.

number 2

mysteries of udolpho

Mysteries of Udolpho– oh man, this pushed me into a realllly long slump. Not to mention the fact that I couldn’t even finish it cos it was BORING AF. I was hoping for thrills and I got overindulgent descriptions of the landscape. I got *zero* pleasure out of this when I all I was looking for was a good bit of escapism. The only horrifying thing about this was that it was horrifyingly dull. Pick this up at your peril I guess.

number 1

foxhole court

Foxhole Court– I can’t believe I read this. There seems to be a chain of foolish readers who pick this up out of morbid curiosity (I read it cos I saw Angelica’s negative review, Lucinda then went on and read it, and who knows read it after that!). We’re all completely daft obviously– because this book is on big, steaming hot pile of NOPE. Want to read a book about a bunch of rapey weirdos obsessed with a made up sport that makes no sense? No? Well, I suppose you could read this book anyway, cos that’s what I did. And I don’t suppose this disappointed me by living up to its reputation-though it would have been nice if it wasn’t quite this awful- but I had to put it on the list cos it’s definitely, objectively the worst, most bizarre-in-a-bad-way thing I’ve read in a long while. The only explanation I can give for its existence is to give me the opportunity to exclaim “why god why?” at random intervals. And what makes me even more bemused is that this is massively popular in some groups- well I guess I’m (happily) not down with the tumblr kids, cos I don’t get why this is a thing.

So- dare I ask- what do you think of these? Have you read any of them? And what were your worst books of 2018? Let me know in the comments!

Book characters I would fight! – Inspired by Paperback Dreams

orangutan list

Not much of a preamble for this: I saw this over on Paperback Dreams and thought it would be fun to do. Especially after I’ve been talking about being all girly

orangutan in dress

I thought it was time for a transformation!

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I think you’re supposed to see a load of characters and decide whether you want to fight them- but I figured why not just take down a bunch of peeps I really don’t like. Let’s go for the traditional twelve rounds in the ring shall we…

Round 1

Harry_Potter_and_the_Order_of_the_Phoenix

Dolores Umbridge– she deserves a smackdown even more than Voldy- am I right?!

Round 2

game of thrones book

Joffrey Baratheon– there are a lot of villains worthy of being beaten up in Westeros- however I don’t think I could even manage to lay down the law with the likes of Cersei, let alone anyone else. Joffrey on the other hand is not only a total weasel, he’s also a bit of a wuss- I think I could take him

Round 3

selection

America– THE MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER EVER! Supposedly in the prime position to help save her country and marry a prince, this “charming” whinger spends three books deciding which bloke she prefers.

Round 4

new moon

Jacob Black– Ok I put him on this list knowing full well I couldn’t win. I dunno, I could distract him with pictures of babies and maybe I’d have a chance… see why I’d want to fight this one now?

Round 5

lolita

Humbert Humbert– speaking of perverts, this one would deserve it more than most. If I’d made it this far, I think my worry wouldn’t so much be his strength as that he’s a slippery snake and I’m not sure I could beat him there.

Round 6

hunger games

President Snow– I don’t think the odds are in my favour for this one- yet he seems keen on poison- maybe I could try that?

Round 7

armadale

Lydia Gwilt– talking of poison instantly brought this villainess to mind. Her villainy stems more from cunning, so I reckon this fight would be more about outwitting her.

Round 8

court of thorns and roses

Tamlin– moving on to brute force, I don’t stand a chance of winning this, BUT Tamlin is officially the WORST example of an alpha male in fiction and I gotta give it my best shot. Now, I recently heard Maas saying this was intentional and he was designed to be a douchbag (although, while I can rest easy in the comfort I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG, it does make some of the things Rhys does in book 1 more questionable). Regardless, I reckon I’d even have the author’s approval for this one.

Round 9

tess

Alec D’Urberville– on a similar note, this guy is a douchbag and deserves a beat down.

Round 10

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Alexander– ugh this two timing creep perving on the mc totally deserves a smack round the head- at the very least!

Round 11

after the fire

Father John– because blech!

Round 12

gone with the wind 2

Scarlett O’Hara– this might be the least popular choice I make, cos she’s technically a heroine. But after recently reading the book, I had to go with it. Granted she could probably kill me (and doubtless wouldn’t blink at it) but she’s a terrible person and she’d deserve it.

Phew, that was more exhausting than I expected! And I think I got my ass whooped a few times there. But it was worth it. Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Which characters would you chance if you got the chance? Let me know in the comments!