1. Ellie Carmichael (On Dublin Street, by Samantha Young): Ever met a character who’s not a protagonist or main character, and yet all but steals the spotlight? Well, Ellie’s one of those. Characters just don’t come any cooler than her. I liked her sunny personality very much. Ellie is enthusiastically friendly, fun, and has one of the purest minds. Not to mention she’s adorable. She’s strong and finds it hard to be bad or angry towards people, although Jocelyn Butler’s snappy traits rub off on her, to amusing effect. Ellie’s optimist view of life is contagious. She’s hard not to like. Ellie would be an awesome BFF. If there were anyone just like her in the world, I’d want to meet her.
2. Andrew Parrish (The Edge of Never, by J.A. Redmerski): I identified with this character very much. Like him, I seek something different from life. I want to be anything but ordinary. Andrew also knows how ladies are supposed to be treated. He could really give lessons to a few thick-skull yahoos I’ve met over the years. He’s wise for his age, and his taste in music is as eccentric as mine. Andrew’s incorruptibility and good sense of humor also make him a great role model. He’s become mine, sort of.
3. Camryn Bennett (The Edge of Never, by J.A. Redmerski): I felt I couldn’t mention Andrew in this list without mentioning Camryn. I admire her because she’s a woman who, for the most part, is not afraid to seek what she desires. And it’s great that the author made Camryn a strong character. I liked the way she stood up to that jerk in the bathroom. She can also be sexy and endearing. I’d love to see the pool table scene on a movie; the scene where Camryn lets Andrew believe she can’t play. And last, but not least: she can sing! Nothing’s more attractive than a beautiful woman who can sing.
4. “Chandler” and “Fleming” (Flee, by J.A. Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson): Yeah, I couldn’t resist including them both. They’re virtually one and the same anyway, as they’re identical sisters. They’re both really badass. I find Fleming particularly cool because she’s a total whiz at computers and technology. I like women who aren’t intimidated by those things. Even though Fleming is confined to a wheelchair, antagonize her at your own risk. It was so cool when she engaged those guards while driving a sort of mini-tank she built. Chandler also has awesome fight scenes, the best of which is electrifying…literally. And when she fought a horde of cartel men in nothing, let alone a mini-tank? Those men died happy. ‘Nuff said. Oh, and another great quality about Chandler and Fleming is that, despite killing for a living, they still don’t lack a sense of moral.
5. Michael Gideon (Burning Man, by Alan Russell): One reason that I included Gideon is because he’s what I once wanted to become: an incorruptible cop. However, wanting a ‘glamorous’ job just because it’d be a cool job to have isn’t everything. You need vocation. I don’t have that, so I didn’t become a cop. But that’s good, because I can do what I truly love: to write great novels. Okay, back to Gideon. I also admired the way he hid his PTSD. It takes a mind of steel to keep that hidden and not have others notice it. I also like dogs, especially German Shepherds. I’ve always wanted one. And it was funny how Gideon came up with his method of “classifying” people.
6. “Valentine” (Die for Me, by Cynthia Eden): This is a very interesting villain. Valentine is in love with the protagonist, Katherine Cole. When Kate found out her fiancé was a serial killer, she left him. As to Valentine, he seemed a bit like the Joker to me, the way he taunts the police. Valentine’s dreadful childhood made him the way he is. As Kate also had an early life full of pain, Valentine thought she’d turn bad. He wonders how she managed to remain pure of heart. Kate’s love for him—before she left—made Valentine have a case of Jekyll and Hyde. He enjoyed killing, but knew it was wrong. Kate made Valentine want to be better. Unfortunately, his darkness was there to stay.
7. Elise Laird (Ricochet, by Sandra Brown): You never know what a person is like just by looking at them. This is especially true for Elise. With supermodel-like beauty, a dubious past, and a marriage to a wealthy judge, people jump to the conclusion she’s a gold-digger. No one knows Elise has different intentions. She married the judge to try to fulfill a noble quest. When things go awry, Elise turns to the help of a cop who caught her eye. To her chagrin, he doesn’t believe her. I admit I had trouble believing her. I found the woman hard to read. One moment, she seemed good, and on another, I thought she was one of the bad guys. I only believed in Elise near the end of the book, and even then she pulled a stunt so convincing it had my mind in knots. You may just ask yourself, “Who is she, really?” many times as you read.
8. Josh Hollows (Pieces of Truth, by Angela Richardson): This is another example of the kind of character who surprises you. There is such a revelation at the end of the book. Who would have thought Josh would benefit from something he came across years ago? It makes him look like such a smart-ass. Josh gets away with what he wants, and then some. I never saw through him until he revealed his secret. Unfortunately, if I say anything more I’ll give Josh away. I don’t want to spoil his surprise for you.
9. Samuel Edwards (Always Remember, by Emma Hart): This is a fun character, and well fleshed-out. And his nickname, Bing! When I first read that, I thought Emma Hart had nicknamed him after a search engine. I’m still not entirely sure what the nickname really means, but it must have something to do with Samuel’s promiscuity. He dates girls faster than kids go through cookies. Despite that, Samuel is in love with Jennifer Mason, his sister Lexy’s friend. They’ve known each other for years. It takes Sam a great deal of effort to win Jen’s love and trust, but it’s well worth it. I admire him for that. When your forever girl is involved, you just can’t give up.
10. Rachel Knight (Guilt by Association, by Marcia Clark): This book is the first by Marcia Clark, and I liked Rachel’s character from the start. She’s an assistant D.A. from Los Angeles. When we meet Rachel, she comes upon the news that her colleague Jake has been found dead. Now, Rachel must take over his toughest case. However, she also takes it upon herself to find out how and why Jake died. Assisting her is best friend Detective Bailey Keller, a tough woman to cross at your own risk. Rachel Knight grew on me more when I read the second book, Guilt by Degrees. She takes up a case she didn’t have to take, in order to help a man most people wouldn’t have given a damn about.
11. Joclyn Despain (Kiss of Fire, by Rebecca Ethington): This character’s kind of like Katniss Everdeen meets Harry Potter. She’s a seemingly normal girl who suddenly finds out she has powerful magical capabilities. Not only that, there are some who will rely on her to save the magic world. That’s a lot of burden to put on someone’s shoulders. And I think Joclyn handles it admirably. She never really breaks down, even when her boyfriend’s mind is erased. Despite the walls Joclyn had built around herself, I found her a likable character. She would make a great friend. And I found her story better than that of the Mortal Instruments, which some people are comparing to the Imdalind saga.
12. Sky Stone (The Profiler’s Daughter, by P.M. Steffen): This book is a hidden gem; don’t let the insipid cover fool you. Sky (full name: Skylar Winthrop Stone, which I liked and found impressive) is a psychologist and police consultant following in the steps of her father, legendary FBI profiler Monk Stone. She has just come back from a self-imposed exile after she had a sad experience. Not long after entering a recent murder case, Sky finds herself fired. What’s worse, her recent depression doesn’t lend her credibility when she tries to convince her team who she believes the culprit is. Sky will have to rely on her detective skills and steely determination to solve the case. She goes far and beyond her abilities to bring justice. Sky’s conviction and her refusal to give up make her one of my favorite characters. I hope there is a sequel to this book.
This is my last post of 2013. Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! See you next year. Thanks for joining me in my writing career.