My Favorite Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Let’s be honest, 2017 has been far from my best reading year, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find some new favorites. It does feel odd writing about my favorite books with half a month left to the year, however. So, even though this is called top ten Tuesday, I will be sharing my top five picks of the year instead.

No promises, but given how much more free time I will have for the rest of this month than I’ve had for the rest of the year, how much I anticipate the books I plan to read next, and the fact that I finished one of the books on this list yesterday, I suspect there will be a part two with five more books to come.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is the top ten books of 2017.

Bluejay Feather

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Title

The Caves of Steel (Robots #1)

Thoughts

I did not expect to enjoy this nearly so much as I did, but Asimov’s works have been so praised so highly in sci-fi cannon for a reason. This isn’t actually the work in this series that impacted me most. I just figured choosing the first book in a series is most appropriate, so don’t be surprised if one of the sequels appears in part 2.

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Title

Defy the Stars (Constellations #1)

Thoughts

So, I just really like Abel (this book’s robot main character) okay?

This book has a lot in common with the one above it. While Asimov’s world-building is better and more complex, this book is more character driven with a more modern appeal.

Read my full thoughts in my review.

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Title

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)

Thoughts

Laini Taylor has a way with words. I love the way she combines lyrical prose with her fantasy settings. Her characters were awesome too. For my full thoughts read my review.

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Title

Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis #2)

Thoughts

Yet another work often praised as sci-fi cannon. I enjoyed the first book in the series last year, and this book proved just as good.

Just about my only complaint about the Octavia Butler books I’ve read so far is that they are so short, but that seems to be part of the style during the time period when most of her novels were written.

 

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Title

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Thoughts

Most of you who follow this blog must be shocked, (AKA surprised that this book wasn’t the first one they saw on this list) but I loved Oathbringer. I usually wouldn’t put a book I’d finished the day before on a list of favorite books, but there is little doubt in my mind that this one would make the list even if it had been the first book I read this year.

I don’t think I loved it as much as the second book, but I still loved it enough that I didn’t feel in any way left down. I also read this over 1000 page book almost entirely in two days. If that’s not a sign that I love it, I don’t know what is.

There will most likely be a full review to come once I have more time to process the book’s events and possibly reread it.

Bluejay Feather

What are your favorite books of 2017? Have you read any of these? Do you have trouble choosing favorites like I do? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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April 2016 Wrap-up and Announcement

Monthly Wrap-Up (1)April was an insanely busy month for me. While I did not accomplish much in the way of blogging I did manage to read six books and two novellas.

Before I begin I’d like to mention the two books I forgot to put in my March wrap-up, but have since edited that post to include. Not because I didn’t like these books, but because I forgot to mark them as read on goodreads until more recently.

Honorable mentions from March

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Short Synopsis: The queen of an alien civilization and a half human, half alien boy must team up to save themselves and humanity.

Thoughts: This book was a light and fun read. The writing was a little hard to follow at times. I sometimes wondered how the characters had gotten from one scene to another, and wasn’t too keen on the romance, but all in all it was a nice debut.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

 

13638125Short Synopsis: Two college students uncover the key to getting superpowers which subsequently ruins their lives.

Thoughts: Very different from the other V.E. Schwab books I’ve read in the A Darker Shade of Magic series. I really enjoyed the way the novels’ two timelines interwove, and how  this book toyed with the traditional concept of good verses evil.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

April Reads

223236592360443525711360Short Synopsis: The second story arc of the Wings of Fire series following a new group of young dragons as they attempt to prevent a prophecy unrelated to the one in the first half of the series.

Thoughts: I like the direction the author has chosen to go with these new characters, but think these books should probably have been considered a spin-off as opposed to a continuation of the original series.

These books are highly addictive, and I look forward to the next installment.

Rating: 4 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: A novel about a girl trying to win a motor cycle race in order to kill Hitler, and its prequel novella centering around the events in the same race the year before.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed these. I’ve written a full review of Wolf by Wolf which can be found here.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

 

28698036Short Synopsis: There is always another secret.

Thoughts: This novella is definitely not for everyone. Seriously, those who haven’t at least read the original Mistborn trilogy should stay far, far away from this novella. Those who haven’t read at least the first six books in the Mistborn series, and even some other Cosmere novels not part of Mistborn series may want to avoid this as well.

Beyond that this novella has an unusual structure without a typical beginning, middle, end feel. This is all I can say about the novella itself without spoiling it.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

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Short Synopsis: First book in the Spin-off series to The Seven Realms.

Thoughts: I have a lot of conflicted emotions with regards to this book. The character death at the beginning felt a lot like a plot device, and knowing what I did about this individual from the previous series I found their death a little out of character.

I like our new cast, and am glad it looks like we’ll be seeing more of this world than we did in the previous series. I’d recommend reading the original series before this one if only because I enjoyed it more, but that could change as this series progresses.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

Writing

Camp NaNo Graph April 2016Last month I participated in the April 2016 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. My original goal was  to write 20,000 words, but I lowered that to 15,000 words halfway through the month.

As the chart on the left shows, I ended up writing a significant amount on the last day of the event to meet my original goal. My total word count for the event was 20,084 words.

 

Announcement

Next week I’ll be attending Bookexpo America in Chicago. I’m very excited for the chance to interact with people who enjoy books as much as I do, get lots of books, see Chicago, and experience this thing people living in temperate climates refer to as “spring.” (I live in the sub-tropics. This is technically in the temperate zone, but it’s just not the same.)

February 2016 Wrap-Up

book signing books
Books I got signed at the book signing I went to this month. Note: the ARC in the image was acquired indirectly from someone who had received it from BEA, but gifted it to me when she learned about the signing. 

I read significantly less in February than I have in the last few months, but I’m okay with that. February was a much busier month for me, and I still managed to read some great books. I also managed to go to a book signing where I met Melissa Landers, Carey Corp, and Lorie Langdon. I rarely get a chance to go to book signings, so that was exciting.

Reading

25551332Short Synopsis: An anthology of short stories set in the Unwind universe.

Thoughts: Some of these stories were really good, but others I didn’t really care for. For this reason, I’m not going to give it a rating, but left me wanting more books set in this world.

 

 

 

 

 

18966806Short Synopsis: Final book in the red rising trilogy.

Thoughts: Of the books I read in February this was my favorite. See my full review here.

Rating: five blue jays

15704486Short Synopsis: Final book in Brandon Sanderson’s YA trilogy about superheros.

Thoughts: This was the series that introduced me to Brandon Sanderson’s work, and I am very grateful for that. All the same, I think the second book in this series was the best. The pacing at the end of this book felt very rushed though as a whole this was still a good, fun read.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

20764879Short Synopsis: Second book in a series about traveling between parallel world versions of London.

Thoughts: This was quite addictive, and I read it in an extremely short period of time. The character development was also great.

That said, I felt like the plot didn’t develop much in this book. I was hoping to learn a lot more about a certain parallel world than I got to. Hopefully more will be explained in the sequel.

Rating: 4 blue jays

7932356Short Synopsis: A group of rabbits struggle to survive surrounded by enemies who take the form of everything from foxes, to humans, to rabbits themselves.

Thoughts: Listened to this one in audio book format. My favorite part was the world building surrounding the rabbit’s culture, but I also felt like the world building sometimes went to far and took away from the story. This book probably could have been much shorter, but it was still very interesting to read from rabbits’ point of views.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Blogging

I didn’t blog much in February as what little free time I had went to reading new releases, but I did post two reviews.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 4.5 Stars

Morning Star by Pierce Brown 5 Stars

Writing

I finally started writing again in February. It went pretty slowly, but I did manage to make it past the 25,000 word mark in the story I’m rewriting. This month I’m participating in the twitter challenge #MarWritingChallenge. The official website for which is writingchallenge.org. The goal of which is to write at least 500 words every day in March. I apologize to my twitter followers about the sudden increase in writing tweets, but it’s been really motivating.

January 2016 Wrap-up

I read eleven books and a novella in January. I’ve been keeping track of how many books I read each month since January of last year. This is the largest number I have on record.

Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1)Fire Falling (Air Awakens, #2)

Short Synopsis: A teenage girl might be the only one who can determine the end of a war.

Thoughts: These books are very fast paced and addicting. This would be a good read for people who either haven’t read a lot of fantasy, or are looking for a fast paced fantasy novel. I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy, and these novels contained several common tropes that kept me from loving the story entirely.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

25403108Short Synopsis: Alcatraz discovers most of the world is secretly ruled by a cult of evil librarians. He must stop them by going on a quest to rescue a bag of sand believed to have the potential to allow the librarians to complete their quest for domination.

Thoughts: This book left me conflicted. On one hand, it had me frequently laughing out loud, the way it purposefully broke the “rules” of narration sometimes left me staring in awe, and the concept of a world ruled by librarians was interesting to consider.

On the other hand, the “rules” of narration are “rules” for a reason, and I sometimes found myself annoyed. This is also far from my favorite work by this author, and I’m interested to see what he would have come up with had this book been written more recently.

I listened to this one in audiobook format, and the reader did an excellent job. I looked at the text and saw parenthesis everywhere. I am not a fan of parenthesis, though I know they were used on purpose in this case.

Rating: 4 blue jays

17910048Short Synopsis: An 18-year-old, half-goblin, half-elvish young man who has lived his life in exile inherits an elvish kingdom.

Thoughts: Normally, books that don’t build to a dramatic climax are a pet peeve of mine, but this one just works somehow. I think I just found the court intrigue so interesting that the lack of frequent action and a climax didn’t bother me much.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)16100976The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire, #4)18527497

Short Synopsis: Books 2 through 5 of a series that follows five young dragons who are prophesied to end a war.

Thoughts: I continue to enjoy that this story is told from the perspective of dragons rather than humans, though parts of it were a little formulatic. It started to break the formula a little towards the end which I appreciated.

The end of book five feels like a complete story arc, and I’m not sure whether I will continue. However, the narrator of the next book is of particular interest to me so there is a high possibility of it.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

Short Synopsis: Human and space alien exchange program gone wrong. The second book in a trilogy.

Thoughts: The first time I tried to read this book I started reading Mistborn: The Final Empire not long after. Those who frequent this blog are probably familiar with how much I enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s works, and will not be surprised when I say that this book didn’t stand a chance of being finished then.

In January I ended up trying again with this book from the beginning after I learning I would have the opportunity to attend the author’s book signing. I enjoyed this book much more the second time around and am looking forward to reading the author’s newest release.

4 blue jays

Legion (Legion, #1)

Short Synopsis: A man uses hallucinations to solve crimes.

Thoughts: This novella was a lot of fun, and very creative. The Emperor’s Soul remains my favorite of Sanderson’s novellas, but I’m interested to see what direction the sequel takes.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Carry OnShort Synopsis: Magicians try to save the world from the magic depleting creature known as the Insidious Humdrum and solve the mystery behind a murder while sorting out their complicated love life.

Thoughts: There were some aspects of this book that I really liked, and others that I didn’t like so much. The pacing was too slow at the beginning and too fast at the end. Some of the point of views seemed unnecessary. There was also the use of parenthesis, which I actually thought were used exceptionally well in this book, but were still often unnecessary. I think I’ve already mentioned my feelings on parenthesis in fiction earlier in this post.

At the same time, the characters were well developed and really liked the magic system and the concept of the Humdrum.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)Short Synopsis: Book six in the Mistborn series.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. The characters’ had great synergy, and there were several twists that I didn’t see coming. This is my first five star read of 2016.

Rating: five blue jays

Writing

I didn’t accomplish much in the way of writing last month. Hence the large number of books I had time to read, but I’d like to change that in February. I haven’t written much since the end of November, and the long break has given me a better appreciation of how much I enjoy writing.

This month I plan to either begin rewriting part two of my high fantasy work in progress, or start on the first draft of one of the many ideas I’ve been longing to write.

Pastry Book Tag

I’d like to thank Windie @ Geek Apprentice for tagging me! This tag was created by @Writing on a Vintage Typewriter.

CROISSANT: Name a popular book or series that everyone (including you) loves.

The Lunar Chronicles

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I don’t love this one as much as I used too, and I wouldn’t say that everyone loves it. However a lot of people do.

Macarons: Name a book that was hard to get through but worth it in the end.

Carry On

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I had a little trouble getting into this book as the beginning was so slow, but I ended up reading it very quickly as it picks up after that.

VOL-AU-VENT: Name a book that you thought would be amazing but fell flat.

The Maze Runner

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I had really high expectations for this book, but I just felt too distant from the characters to connect to the story properly.

PAIN-AU-CHOCOLAT: Name a book that you though would be one thing but turned out to be something else.

The Name of the Wind

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I wasn’t expecting this book’s plot to go the way it did. Probably going to get some hate for this, but the whole book I felt like I was waiting for a climax that never really came. So in that way the story was not what I expected.

PROFITEROLE: Name a book or series that doesn’t get enough attention.

Unwind

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I have to agree with the one who tagged me on this one. The Unwind series does not get enough love.

CROQUEMBOUCHE: Name a book or series that’s completely complex.

The Stormlight Archive

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The fictional world where this series is set is one of the most — if not the most– complex I have ever read about.

NAPOLEON: Name a movie or TV show based off a book that you liked better than the book itself.

The Maze Runner

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Didn’t really like the second movie, but I enjoyed the first one more than I did the book which, as I’ve mentioned, did not live up to my expectations.

EMPANADA: Name a book that was bittersweet.

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3)

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That ending . . . This is all I can say without spoilers. Anyone who has read this book will know what I mean.

KOLOMPEH: Name a book or series that takes place somewhere other than your own country.

The House of the Scorpion

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This book takes place in a combination of a fictional country located on what is now the border between the US and Mexico and a somewhat futuristic version of Mexico though it is called something else in the book.

PATE-A-CHOUX: Name a food from a book or series that you would like to try.

The Stormlight Archive

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I would like to try some of the foods Lift from the Stormlight Archives steals from the tables of the wealthy.

Spread The Love (of Food)

I tag Kat @book box by Kat and Chelsie @Chelsie’s Book Addiction.

10 Most Anticipated 2016 Book Releases

I’m anticipating far more books than will make it on this list, but these are the ten I am most looking forward to. This list is in order of my very most anticipated of the ten to least anticipated of the ten. Though if the book has made this list at all it still means that I really want to read it.

Before I begin I would like to give an honorable mention to book three in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. If this book is somehow released this year than it is absolutely my most anticipated.

Morning Star (Red Rising Trilogy, #3)

1. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

Release Date: Febuary 9, 2016

After the end of the second book, Golden Son, I am eagerly awaiting the third book in the Red Rising trilogy.

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)

2. The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6/Alloy Era #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Few who follow this blog are likely to be surprised in my choice of a Brandon Sanderson novel. Even if Stormlight #3 does not release this year I’ll still be satisfied by a combination of this book and Calamity.

Flamecaster (Shattered Realms, #1)

3. Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1)

Release Date: April 5, 2016

This is the spin-off series of Seven Realms taking place a number of years later. I really enjoyed the world of Seven Realms, and the way the series ended left a few left ends in terms of this fictional world as a whole so I am curious to see what has changed in the time between the two series.

4. The Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 22, 2016

I really enjoyed the first book in Six of Crows, and I’m curious about the direction the second book will take.

A Gathering of Shadows  (A Darker Shade of Magic, #2)

5. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Release Date: February 23, 2016

The first book was addictive and fun. I’m curious to see which direction the second book takes.

6. Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Release Date: Fall 2016

I really enjoyed the first book, and hope that it means more YA novels set in space will gain popularity in the future as I would like to read more of them. I’m also very curious to see the direction the second book takes.

Beyond the Red

7. Beyond The Red by Ava Jae

Release Date: March 1, 2016

I follow this author’s blog, and find the writing advice she gives to be very useful. The setting of an alien planet in a YA novel also interests me greatly.

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)
Not the final cover.

8. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Release Date: September 27, 2016

I really enjoy this author’s writing style, and suspect that this will have continued to grow in her newest series. This book sounds like it has the potential to be very good.

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

9. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Release Date: February 16, 2016

The summary of this book sounds very interesting to me. Time travel interests me, and I figured this list needed more novels from debut authors.

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)

10. The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Rick Riordan’s books always have a tendency to put me in a very good mood. It was hard to choose the final book in this list, but in the end I chose this one for that reason.

2015 Reading Statistics

2015 was a really good reading year for me. In 2014 I didn’t feel entirely satisfied with the books I was reading, and struggled to chose favorites. In 2015 I tried to focus more on trying to love everything I read, and in this I was very successful. It’s the cause of my average rating of books I read in 2015 is 4.3 as opposed to the 3.99 average I had before the year started bring my overall rating to 4.04 on goodreads.

For this list I’m going to try to focus on statistics not already covered in goodreads gorgeous “my 2015 in books feature.”

Pages Read in 2015 Vs. 2014

2015 Statistics Pages

In spite of the fact that I read fewer books in total in 2015 than I did the previous year (73 as opposed to 77) I read slightly more pages in 2015, so I consider the amount read to be a success.

Age Groups

2015 Statistics Age Groups

These statistics surprised me a little, I’d thought I’d read more middle grade books. Next year I’d like to read more of those, but since most of the eight middle grade books I read were completed towards the end of the year I suspect this goal will be easily achieved.

This year I read far more adult fiction than I have in previous years though I do not have statistics to confirm this. I was always scared off by all of the content I was told there was in adult books. While most of the adult books I read this year were probably on the tamer side of the genre, I’m glad I decided to read more adult books as some of them are new favorites.

I’d like to see the division between intended audience look more evenly divided into thirds.

Genre

2015 Statistics Genres

This graph is a little disappointing, but not all that surprising. This year I discovered my love for epic fantasy novels, particularly those written by a certain author. Hence, the fantasy section being so large. I also decided to focus more on trying to read what I enjoy in 2015, and this graph reflects that. I think I’ll continue with this goal for next year and see how my preferences towards genres change naturally.

Where Books Took Place

2015 Statistics Locations

I made this chart because I was curious about where the books I was reading took place. I was expecting more books to take place in space, fictional locations, and North America. I was expecting fewer to take place in all of the slices not previously mentioned.

All but one of the books taking place in North America took place in the US or alternative worlds/future equivalents thereof. I considered Mexico/alternative future equivalents thereof as part of North America as that is where the book that did not take place in the US counted in that segment took place. A significant number of the books taking place in the section labeled “Europe/UK” took place in London.

It is interesting to note that I read more books that took place off of Earth than on it.

The reason the books do not add to the total number I read this year is because several books had significant portions taking place in more than one location.

Most Read Author

Brandon Sanderson: 12 Books

I’m actually surprised this number is this low. As many of the Sanderson books I read were over 600 pages, it feels like I read more than 12 of them in 2015.