Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic asks us to list our “Book Characters that I’d love to be besties with!”

Haha this was an interesting question! After all, not every character I would love to be friends with would be open to being friends with me too. I might get stabbed! (I do love stabby characters.) Instead, I tried to pick characters that might mesh well with my personality or vice versa, characters that I could “realistically” see getting along with. This was so much fun.

Harry Dresden

From Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, and my favorite series, it makes me happy to think that we actually have a lot in common. We’re both introverts who prefer paperbacks over parties, we both love our animals and treat them like members of the family, and we both value our friends above all else, loyal to a fault. I don’t know how much help I’d be with all of the crazy things he gets himself into, but I’d definitely be there to commiserate and buy him a beer at Mac’s.

Rhysand and The Inner Circle

From A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas, I loved the vibe of this misfit group of friends. I would love to be a part of it. The intense loyalty and love they have for each other, the diversity in backgrounds and experiences, the lack of judgement, the acceptance of all oddities, these are only some of the wonderful things I feel this friend group offers. They may all be misfits, they may all be a little bit broken, but- hey, so are we all, right? I feel like I would fit right in.

Hermione Granger

I feel like my girl Hermione is going to make a lot of lists this week! From Harry Potter by JK Rowling, I had to include her. We have too much in common. Love to read, love homework, compulsively takes too many classes, loves her friends fiercely- we’d have a lot to bond over. I feel like she could also use a few more gal pals to balance out the boys too.

Ginny Weasely

I almost included Ginny and Hermione on the same point, since they’re from the same book, but I didn’t. I would also love to be friends with Ginny, but I feel like we would have a very different relationship. Ginny is bolder, says what she wants and means, feels loudly and isn’t afraid to confront a problem. I feel like she could teach me a lot and challenge me in ways that friends are supposed to challenge each other. Plus, I could go watch all of her Quidditch games!

Ian & Jenny Fraser

Hahaha this one would be so interesting. From the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Ian and Jenny have been book “friends” of mine for a long time and definitely made this list easy. Though I do have to say that I think it would be much easier to befriend Ian than Jenny, but hopefully if I start there he’ll put in a good word for me. I would love to visit Lallybroch and see their family and way of life, be taken care of in the firm, matter-of-fact way that Jenny does. Their relationship dynamic is somehow so soothing to me and I can imagine a lot of happy moments in their home as a friend.

Warren Smith & Kyle Brooks

From one of my favorite series of books, The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Warren and Kyle are #relationshipgoals. They are one of my favorite couples to ship and I would love to go hang out with the two of them. Warren is warm and calming, while Kyle is provocative and sarcastic, and I love them both. Every time I read that scene in Blood Bound where they’re watching Queen of the Damned with Stefan and Mercy, I just want to hop into the scene and join them. Weekly movie nights at Warren and Kyle’s house!

Anna Cornick

Another character from Patricia Briggs, this time from the companion series to Mercy Thompson, the Alpha and Omega series. Anna is musical, creative, kind, introverted, and works hard to soothe, comfort, and support her friends. I think we have a lot in common and I would love to have a friend like her.

Leah Burke

From Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli, I feel like we would have a lot to talk about. She’s a grumpy, overweight, bisexual teen and my HS self would have had so much to talk about with Leah. AND she could bring her adorable girlfriend, Abby (who I totally ship), to hang out with us. We have a lot of common and a lot that is different but that might work in our favor. As a bonus, I feel like I could give Leah some social tips that might help her come off less…prickly. She gets so withdrawn and surly when she’s upset and I’ve been there, I feel like we could help each other and have a lot of fun along the way.

Stella Lane

From The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. Stella probably has better things to do than hang out with me, her fancy job, sexy boyfriend, and meticulous routine, but we also have so much in common. I would love to hang out with her late at night with a bottle of wine, talking about our struggles and victories with dating and relationships and sensory issues. I feel like she could also help me organize my closet. Where are you, Stella??

Theodora Sanderson/Crain

From The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Theodora is a sarcastic, takes-no-shit, badass and I could definitely use a friend like her. She isn’t afraid of haunted houses or ghosts, she says what she means, and she enjoys an adventure. I think she would be a good influence on me haha. I will say, I love the book and the show, and either Theo would be a fantastic friend. In my mind they’ve just merged into one amazing multi-Theo.

This was a hard one!

Who are some characters you’d like to be friends with?? Any on the list here?

If you participated in TTT this week too, drop a link in the comments below!


The Bride Test

“You can kiss me,” she said, her voice half whisper, half husky rasp. “Anytime you want, you can kiss me.”

Damn it, Helen Hoang. This was so good. Reading this stole a perfectly good day from me! I mean it was worth it, but I couldn’t put this book down.

The Bride Test, like its predecessor (not prequel) The Kiss Quotient, is probably one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.

Hoang’s second novel follows Vietnam-native Esme Tran on a journey across the world to meet Khai Diep, who she may very well decide to marry, if all goes well.

Khai has no interest in marriage though, whatsoever. He is reserved, exacting, and convinced he can never actually love someone else. Khai feels that his autism means that his heart is cold and made of stone, and incapable of love or grief or a number of other emotions. However, his family knows otherwise. His mother, in fact, is all the way in Vietnam looking for a bride for him, convinced that her son can be happy too.

Esme Tran, a mixed-race Vietnam native, works cleaning rooms at a hotel and lives her life to support her family and her young daughter, Jade. On an auspicious day at work, she meets a woman with an intriguing proposal: Come to America, meet her son and potential husband, and see if love blooms. Wondering if this could be the opportunity that she, her daughter, and her family need, Esme can’t turn down the offer.

Meeting Khai, let alone getting inside that quiet exterior, is more work than she expected it to be, but there’s something about him that makes her want to know him more deeply. And there’s something about her that might just make Khai finally realize that he can love in his own way, and that he can love with all of his heart.

The Bride Test was an absolute delight to read. 

The story is charming, relatable, romantic, and the perfect amount of sexy. From beginning to end, the characters draw you toward them like a moth, and the pacing sets a smooth, easy rhythm that I couldn’t break out of.

A few of our favorites, from The Kiss Quotient, make an appearance (Stella and Michael are getting married!!), but mostly we are treated to an introduction to the other side of the family we were only given a glimpse into before. The characters that make up Khai and Esme’s families are every bit as special, wonderful, and real as I expected them to be, coming from Hoang. Each character, even side characters, sounded and felt like a whole being, and by the end of the book I was heartbroken to part with any of them.

I also love to see a story that encompasses so many voices that we don’t hear often enough, from the immigrant and neurodivergent communities in particular. Hoang’s personal experience gives her an innate and spectacular talent of letting her readers peek inside the mind of someone who’s different from themselves, and this book was no exception. Understanding Khai was Esme’s goal in this book, but it also becomes the reader’s reward; every piece of information we glean from him, every moment inside his thoughts and feelings, is precious and paints a new world for her readers. For Khai and Esme too, as they fumble and trip over themselves to know one another. 

I personally love how Hoang can take a character who lives in their own world and introduce them to a new one, while never compromising who they are. Her books make me want to be more honest and accepting of myself, look for the good in people and, yes, have some steamy moments too!

This sweet strangers-to-love tale will take you through a spectrum of emotions throughout its rollercoaster of a ride, and will leave you incredibly satisfied at the end. Hoang delivers exactly what she promises in The Bride Test, a beautiful and romantic story about love, the importance of family, and the value of each of our unique perspectives.

“Everyone deserves to love and to be loved back. Everyone.