Totally My Cup of Tea

totally-my-cup-of-teaThis is a reverse post from one I did a couple of months back, where I ranted about my book-related pet peeves: Not My Cup of Tea. So, to stay positive and have some balance here, I’d like to talk about features in books (themes, characters, whatever) that I will always fall for when I hear about them (photo by me).

  • Assassins and thieves – I will always, always be tempted to read stories about such less-than-savory individuals. I can’t help it.
  • Orphans – I recently discovered that half of my favourite fantasy heroes are also orphans. I’m not sure what that says about me but there you have it.
  • Smart(ass) – and not necessarily badass – hero(in)esLocke Lamora is a perfect example, because he can rarely back up his mouth with his muscles, but he’s the best. Kvothe is another (when Doors of Stone comes out, I’m not leaving the apartment until I finish it).
  • True gentlemen – hello, Mr. Darcy (and his contemporary counterparts).
  • Dragons – see my blog name. And check out this list of awesome books with dragons.
  • Bakers and cookie makers – I have a huge sweet tooth so reading about sweets is a logical step. Jenny Colgan is a great example.
  • Friends-turned-lovers romance – because he already knows how she takes her coffee and she was there for him when that ex of his broke his heart and now they’re sleeping together and it’s really awkward but also sweet and they live happily ever after.
  • Animal characters in high fantasy – think Robin Hobb’s Nighteyes. While I do appreciate all-animal stories (especially for kids; Animal Farm, on the other hand, was… heavy), I really like talking furry companions.
  • Non-linear timelines (switching from past to present) – this is more delicate and is only good when it’s done really well, but I love it when it is (think Vicious and Lies of Locke Lamora).

Ummm… so, go read Lies of Locke Lamora. ;)

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What are your favourite elements in books? Are you a sucker for a good fight scene? Do cheesy sweetheart reunions make you tear up? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)

  • Ooh, I’m tempted to do this on my blog too! I’m such a sucker for heist stories, superheroes and paladins…

    • Kaja

      Yes, yes, do that :) I find that ranting about things we DON’T like is all good and well but it’s sometimes nice to remember all the things we LOVE about the stories we read :)

  • Seriously, Mr. Darcy. Talk about DREAMY! Do you read historical romances? I just started reading Once Upon a Kiss which is sort of a historical romance retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It’s not exactly a retelling, but you can see where the author (Jayne Fresina) was inspired. I think you might like it.

    • Kaja

      I do, I read loads of historical romances (hence the “Hearts” in my blog’s name!). Thanks for the recommendation, I’m always looking for a new read. My favourite authors at the moment are Karen Hawkins, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean, Stephanie Laurens, and Tessa Dare.
      Darcy is like the One Ring in romantic literature – he rules them all. He’s the prototype others can only aspire to ;)

  • I love this idea and your list. And the fact that your overall conclusion is go read Lies of Lock Lamora. I agree! I’m quite on board with a number of yours and would throw in pirates and SSF/western mash-ups off the top of my head. For the Bakers and Cookie Makers have you read Sunshine by Robin McKinley? Just thinking about that book makes me crave cinnamon rolls.

    • Kaja

      Thanks, Stephanie! :) Oh, pirates are great – you know, Red Seas Under Red Skies ;) Ok, I’m going to stop with Lynch now!
      I don’t read much sci-fi though – do you have any reccomendations for the western-style sci-fi?
      And I’m definitely checking out your cinnamon roll book! :)

  • You know, I’ve been curious about Locke LAmora, I may just have to go and read those. It would be nice to read an epic fantasy about a rogue…I do keep hearing how good they are.

    • Kaja

      Yes, yes, go read it! :) It’s really good. The swearing alonemakes reading it worth it!
      Thanks for stopping by, Greg!

  • This was so funny! I also love Animal Characters and bad-ass hero/ines. I’ve been meaning to read The Lies of Locke Lamora since last June e_e and Patrick Rothfuss is SO TALENTED. OMG. Too many amazing books. Brilliant post!

    • Kaja

      Thanks, Ashana :) Locke is great, I think you’ll love that series if you like Rothfuss! They aren’t SIMILAR per se but both are excellent fantasy series.

  • Maraia

    I followed the link you had on your Tough Travels post, and I’m sorry that I didn’t discover your blog sooner. I guess I’ll just have to link hop. :D

    I also have a fondness for orphaned characters. When I was a kid, I was always an orphan or a twin when playing make believe. I’m an only child so the twin thing makes sense, but your guess is as good as mine with the orphan thing.

    This entire list is great. I love all of those things. If you like animals in fantasy, I definitely think you’ll enjoy Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series. It’s hard to pick a favorite quartet, but Daine has the coolest magic for sure. (Still sad about Nighteyes.)

    • It’s like you’ve read all the books I have (+ the ones I still want to read). How do you manage that?! :D

      I have a younger brother so I probably spent half my childhood wishing I was an only child :D Not really, we get along great, but he can be challenging sometimes – especially since he’s only 2 years younger and there was a point when he grew to be taller and stronger than me and I could no longer win the fights… :)

      GAH yeah I know, I need to start with Tamora Pierce’s books but there’s so little time. I sometimes start hyperventillating a bit when I think about how short my life will be (even if I live to see a 100) and how many books I want to read… Oh well :)

      • Maraia

        Haha, I guess we have good taste in books! It helps that I don’t have a baby or a husband, or really much of a social life right now, since all of my friends have scattered. Also, I’ve been devouring books my entire life, so I’ve had a lot of time. My parents are both huge readers, so I never stood a chance. :D

        Hahaha, I think having a brother would definitely flip flop between being wonderful and being super obnoxious. Having siblings as an adult, though, is really important. I always worry about what happens when my parents die, because I won’t have siblings to share that with. Do you keep in close touch with your brother these days?

        YES this is a real fear I have as well. On one hand, I NEVER want to run out of books to read. On the other…well, it’s best not to think about it, because there are so many amazing books, and fortunately people haven’t stopped writing more amazing books yet. I’ll just try to read as many as I can and not worry about the ones I can’t. (HAH, right.)

        • Scattering friends –> do you mean like they moved away after college or something? I was the only one from the capital (which has the largest – and best – university in Slovenia) in my group of friends at uni so when we graduated, they all moved back to their home towns and I was left here *sob* It’s not quite as bad as that, we still see each other (Slovenia is TINY but one friend did move to the US for his PhD) but it’s not as effortless as before. And yes, babies and husbands do take up SOME time (HOW DARE THEY?!) ;)

          My parents read a lot, too, especially my mom – it’s great to have such a background, I think. I hope I’ll raise my children to be readers, too – I’m kind of afraid I’ll be TOO enthusiastic about books and make them rebel against them :o

          Yeah, my brother and I are pretty close :) We live in the same city and we see each other every week or so. He’s great. I still call him my baby brother though he’s taller than me and possibly looks older.

          • Maraia

            Yeah, my state has one of the worst job markets in the country, so it’s hard to stay here. I do have a few friends still in state, but that doesn’t mean much. I just looked up the stats on Wikipedia. My state has a population of over 9 million and is 251,500km squared (as opposed to 20,300km squared). One friend lives 6 1/2 hours away, which is 3 1/2 hours closer than her university, which is also in the state. Where is your friend studying in the States? After living in such close quarters in college (or seeing my friends every day in high school), even living a few hours away is a huge adjustment. I actually talk to my Internet friends more often than a lot of my old school friends. Maybe because the friendships started out that way?

            I’m not sure if you ever went through a book rebellion, but I certainly didn’t. I think normalizing reading is the biggest thing you can do for your son. (That and keeping the TV in the closet, like my parents did, haha.)

            Aww, that’s wonderful. It’s hard not to be jealous, but I am. :)

          • Yeah, I often find myself wondering whether some of the friendships I had during my studies were more for the sake of convenience than anything else – a pretty horrible thought, I know. But hey, if we can’t be bothered to meet more than once a year even if we live 2 hours apart… Eh. And it’s hard to keep track of everyone by e-mail and such, we never had the need to communicate like that when we saw each other nearly every day in class so we’re not used to writing to each other… You’re right – I’ve realized recently I spend more time chatting with people online (people I’ve never met in person and people I sometimes don’t even know the real name of) than with my “real life” friends. What does that say about me? I don’t know. But I like talking with like-minded people and I found some of them through this blog and I couldn’t be happier :)

            That friend of mine is studying at the University of Conneticut.

            I think that reading loads of fantasy, rather crappy series and romance is/was my way of rebelling against my parents’ taste in books – they’re more classics readers themselves (including modern must-reads, not just the old stuff). I would get a heap of books from the library and then read and re-read them under the covers at night :) I think my mom knew all about it but if felt cool to be all sneaky!

          • Maraia

            It may be a horrible thought, but it’s one I’ve had many times. I’m still really close to my friends from elementary/high school, and since we have over twenty years of history now, seeing each other after months or years apart is easy. We don’t talk much in between those rare visits, but it never seems to matter. With college friends, not only do we have nothing left in common now that we’re not in school together, we also don’t have years of history to fall back on. My college friendships really were “convenient,” sadly. That’s why these new Internet friendships are so amazing. You and I, for example, do have a ton in common, and clearly we’re not running out of things to say. I’m certainly a lot happier than I was a year or two years ago now that I’ve found this community. (Of course, I wish we all lived closer together.) I’ve thought about this a lot. Part of it is that many people in the book community are introverts, so we kind of flourish in this type of environment. Also, I think having friends as adults is a relatively new phenomenon, historically speaking. Our ancestors didn’t have the luxury, and when people finally did have time for friends, they were limited by people in their close environs. I’m sure those were all friendships of convenience rather than genuine interest.

            Haha, I would have rebelled against my parents as well if they stuck to classics. I love how kids always think they’re getting away with so much, but really, parents aren’t dumb. I’m sure they preferred you sneaking books in than many of the alternatives! I miss the days of massive library book hauls. I still get 99% of my books from there, but they’re either e-books or physical books that I’ve put on hold ahead of time. It’s not quite the same.