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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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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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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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.

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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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Top 10 Best Books of 2016

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t usually participate, but it just so happened that the idea I had for my next blog post corresponded with their theme, so I decided to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Brook and the Bookish. Read the original version of this topic here.

These are my top ten favorite books I read this year in no particular order.

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The first two books in the Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin are phenomenal. The world-building is some of the best I’ve seen. I liked the first book more than the second, but the second is still good enough to make this list.

I read the first book in the middle of a massive reading slump and with a lot happening in my life, but it managed to get through to me all the same. That’s impressive.

I wouldn’t recommend this to the younger readers of this blog because this is definitely an adult book, but for everyone else reading this who likes fantasy I highly recommend picking these books up.

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I loved the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crow’s Duology, and the sequel was just as good. I loved the way the cast meshed so well with one another. One perspective never overwhelmed the others. I loved reading from each and every character. The anti-human trafficking message is great as well.

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This book surprised me. I expected it to be terrible, but this prequel is better than the main series. I love the complexity of Darkstalker’s character: how I’m never sure if he is the hero or the villain. It’s something I don’t see a lot of in middle grade novel, but I do wish the author had chosen a name other than Darkstalker.

Darkstalker is a prequel to the Wings of Fire Series, but can be read as a standalone.

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And Then There Were None is my first Agatha Christie novel, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. This book is a classic for a reason. Agatha Christie knows how to tell a mystery. My only qualms are that I had trouble connecting with the characters because of the distant narration, and I’m quite glad to have read the modified version as opposed to the original . . .

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These two books are very different but technically part of the same series, so I’m lumping them together.

The Bands of Mourning is the sixth book in the Mistborn Series, and you definitely need to have read from at least the first book in the spinoff, The Alloy of Law,  and preferably the original trilogy too to understand what is happening.

The Bands of Mourning has a different tone from the previous books in the series with more focus on discovery, but was still excellent.

Mistborn: Secret History is a novella that it’s impossible to say anything about without spoilers except that “There is always another secret,” and you need to have read at least the first three Mistborn books before this one, and preferably most of the books in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe too. I highly recommend Mistborn: Secret History to fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere, but no one else because you will be too confused.

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This Savage Song kept me up late into the night, and I read it twice: once in physical form and once in audio because I liked it so much. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads of next year.

I love August’s internal struggle as a monster who wanted to be human, and can’t wait to see what happens next in this fascinating world.

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Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not asked to put it on this list. Opinions are my own. 

The Diabolic had great timing for me. It’s the book that marked an end to the reading slump I mentioned earlier. It also contains some of my favorite tropes. I love space operas and characters from one social group masquerading as a character from another social group.

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I love Morning Star for similar reasons to the book above as it contains similar reasons to the book I mentioned above as it is also sci-fi and contains a character from one group masquerading as a person from another group.

This is the only book on this list I went to the book store to buy because I couldn’t wait the amount of time it would take for shipping to get this book. I was not disappointed.

Favorite Books of 2015

I was planning to make a top ten list, but was having too much trouble narrowing it down in a way that didn’t make just about every book fall into a particular category written by a particular author. Instead I will be listing my favorite in each category.

Note that this is a list of favorite books I read in 2015. Not all were published in 2015.

Young Adult Fantasy

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Picking a book for this category was hard. It was a close call between this book and several others especially the Seven Realms series and later too books in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

In the end I chose Six of Crows because it has so many different elements that were well executed as discussed in my review.

Adult Fantasy

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Words of Radiance is the second book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series which is part of the Cosmere, which is the larger fictional universe in which Sanderson’s adult fantasy novels take place.

I read just about all of Sanderson’s currently published Cosmere works this year, and I am now a huge fan. It was hard to chose only one, but this is my favorite Cosmere book so far.

I would not, however, recommend readers start with Words of Radiance, not just because its the second book in a series, but also because it’s hard to get through books in the Stormlight Archive for readers not used to long books. Starting with Mistborn: The Final Empire or Warbreaker might make Sanderson’s work easier to get into.

I have not yet reviewed Words of Radiance, but I have reviewed the first book, The Way of Kings.

Middle Grade Fantasy

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I have always loved books about dragons, and look for novels with nonhuman narrators. For these reasons, this book written from the perspective of a young dragon was almost exactly what I was looking for.

If I had read this book while I was part of the intended age group it would probably have become one of my favorite books ever. As it was, I still enjoyed it enough to make it my favorite for this category, and I plan to continue with this series.

Young Adult Sci-Fi

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Choosing a favorite for this category was hard. In the end I chose Illuminae in spite of the fact that I had a little trouble getting used to the formatting at the beginning because the second half makes up for the first. I have not yet written a review, but hope to soon.

Adult Sci-Fi

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Really enjoyed this book. Have read it around three times now. Golden Son is the second book in the Red Rising Trilogy. I have reviewed both Golden Son and Red Rising in which I express my enjoyment.

Middle Grade Sci-Fi

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This book is in the hazy area between YA and MG, but for the purpose of this list I will consider it middle grade. This book was very thought provoking, and I think it would be a great novel for discussion in a book club or classroom. It’s also the only book I’ve read set in Mexico, even if it is called something else in this novel.

Contemporary

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This book is unlike anything else I’ve read. So different that I haven’t been able to compose my thoughts into a review. It’s hard to adjust to the disjointed way the story is told at first, but once I adjusted this book was heartbreaking and thought provoking.

Classic

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I’ll admit that I don’t enjoy classics as much as some people seem to, but I really enjoyed reading and learning about the symbolism involved in this one. The fact that a large canvas painting/picture of myself I’d forgotten about arrived soon after I’d finished was a coincidence that finalized making this one of my favorite classics.

Non-Fiction

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This book was shocking for me because I had no idea any of what it discussed was taking place in the medical community. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks explores the ethical questions of who owns body parts after they have been removed for medical reasons though the true story of Henrietta Lacks and her decedents.

My favorite Books of 2014

The books I’ve read in 2014:

The Iron KnightThe Iron QueenFangirlThe Iron DaughterThe Iron KingGrave MercyOut of the Silent PlanetA World Without PrincesThe Iron TrialAbhorsenLiraelEverfound1984Ruby RedSilver ShadowsFinnikin of the RockUndividedThe Blood of OlympusIllusions of FateEverwildNaked Economics: Undressing the Dismal ScienceAfterworldsThe Infinite SeaThe Indigo SpellEverlostHeir of FireIf I StayThe Fiery HeartThe Revenge of SevenStarglassThe Poisonwood BibleThe Golden LilyHow to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the LinesBloodlinesLast SacrificeSpirit BoundOpalBlood PromiseOnyxThe Kiss of DeceptionSinnerShadow KissWhat's Left of MeClosed HeartsEona: The Last DragoneyeThe School for Good and EvilPoison StudyLament: The Faerie Queen's DeceptionUnhingedSplinteredCaptivateCity of Heavenly FireThe OneThe Maze RunnerObsidianOpen MindsSteelheartIllusionThe Great GatsbyThe Bone SeasonRuinsFrostbiteInfiniteThese Broken StarsIgnite MeAlienatedCressWorld AfterAngelfallPhoenix OvertureScarletCinderThe DivinersSabrielInvisibilityReal Mermaids Don't Need High Heels

In 2014, I read a total of 77 books, all of which are pictured above, and I ended the year currently reading three: The Winner’s Curse, Pride and Prejudice, and The Fire in Fiction.
 The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
Of these I will be choosing my 10 favorite books and series I read in 2014. Before I continue I would like to point out that just because a book I read didn’t make this list doesn’t nessissarily mean I did not like it, or I don’t think the book is worthy of the praise it is given. For me how much I enjoy a book has a great deal to do with timing. I need to be in the mood for it, and I realize that this list is heavily influenced by this fact.
 City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
10. City Of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments book 6) by Cassandra Clare
This book made the list not so much because of it’s content, but because of the circumstances under which I read it, and the length of time which I have been reading this series. I read around a fourth of this over 700 page book while in the middle of a lock down that lasted the entire school day, and an additional roughly two hours after school ended.
Without this book I would have been bored out of my mind, focusing on the fact that there was no way to access a bathroom, and pacing back and forth in the confines of our small classroom complaining about how much I never wanted to see the room again. Instead this book inspired me to write a middle grade story about faeries, quite a bit of which was planned during this time period, along with other stories planned but not yet written inspired by the event itself.
What kept this book from being higher on my list is that I felt some of the content setting the stage for the next series in the Shadow hunter Chronicles was unnecessary, and I feel that the characters’ personalities weren’t entirely constant with previous books in the series.
Vampire Academy (Vampire Ac...Frostbite (Vampire Academy,...Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academ...Spirit Bound (Vampire Acade...Last Sacrifice (Vampire Aca...
9. The Vampire Academy Series by Rachelle Mead
 I have put off reading this series for years. Back when I was 12 I was a fan of Twilight, but have made an effort to avoid books Vampire related ever sense, especially those with the word “Vampire” is in the title. I like this series for its suspense. Once I start reading I can’t seem to put these books down. These books made it extremely difficult to stop in the middle of a series to finish my summer reading.
Poison Study (Study, #1)
8. Poison Study by Maria V. Snider
This book was fast paced and engaging. It reminded me a lot of the Throne of Glass series which I also enjoy quite a bit. What kept it from being at the very top of this list is that I’m not sure I want to continue. The other books in the series don’t seem to have very good reviews. If anyone has read the other books in this series I would appreciate them leaving their opinion in the comments below.
SplinteredUnhinged (Splintered, #2)
7. Books one and two of the Splintered Series by A.G. Howard
I really enjoyed this retelling/reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. I had a hard time getting into book one, but once I got engaged in the story I absolutely loved it. This version of Wonderland was well thought out, and the small details helped make the world feel real to me. My one complaint is the love triangle.
Sabriel (The Old Kingdom Trilogy, #1)Lirael (Abhorsen, #2)Abhorsen
6. The Old Kingdom/Abhorsen Original trilogy by Garth Nix
I have been a fan of Garth Nix since I was about 11-years-old when I read his Keys to the Kingdom series. I often struggle to get into his books, but I love the world building which is what keeps me coming back to read more of his novels.
My favorite book in this series is book two, and I’m not sure that it’s necessary to read book one first although it would be helpful. A prequel to the trilogy was recently released, but I’m not sure if I will read it as it seems to be getting mixed reviews.
Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)World After
5. Angelfall books one and two by Susan Ee
I read book one in a single day on a school night. This almost never happens because it usually takes around 50 pages or so for a book to truly engage me. Also, if it happened all the time I would never get any sleep and would have terrible grades.
My favorite of the two was AngelfallWorld After was still very good, but I liked the first book much more.  My only major complaint about this series is the cannibalism as I feel it is unnecessary, and a distraction from the overall plot.
Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)
4. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
This is the first Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read, and even though superheros aren’t something I typically enjoy, I loved the world-building in this book. I already own the box set of the first three Mistborn books. If I weren’t so intimidated by their length I would have started them long ago. I want to read the Mistborn books when I have a lot of time set aside to read uninterrupted which is unlikely to happen until next summer. The sequel comes out in a few days on January sixth, and I can’t wait to read it.
EverlostEverwildEverfound (Skinjacker, #3)
3. The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
Neal Shusterman is one of my favorite authors. I love the way his world-building is so thought out, and how his books make me think, but at the same time how I never feel as if he is trying to manipulate the reader into thinking a certain way. The first book in the Unwind Dystology will always be my favorite, but this series and Bruiser are really good too. I can’t wait to read more of his books.
This series falls somewhere between middle grade and young adult whereas I feel Unwind is most definitely young adult rather than being able to fit into either category.
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2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
My favorite book out of the three is Cress, but I enjoyed all three of the books that have been released so far. Most series seem to have an amazing first book, but then the rest of the series ends up being either just okay or downright terrible. Not so with this series.
I love the way this series incorporates familiar fairy-tales, but is still it’s own original story. The interaction between characters is great, and I love the way each book introduces a new story arc while still incorporating the old ones. I theorize this is how the series succeeded while others have failed to keep my interest after the first book: by having each new novel focus on a new character but still having old characters narrate. The symbolism from the fairy-tales is another one of my favorite aspects of this series.
I have some problems with the believability of the world building in this series, but am willing to overlook this because everything else about it is amazing.
Undivided (Unwind, #4)
1. Undivided (Unwind Dystology book 4) by Neal Shusterman
This is the best conclusion to a series I have read in a long time. It’s also one of the only books to have actually made me cry. Books often make me teary-eyed, but this is one of the only ones that has made me sob. I wasn’t prepared to like this book as much as I did since book three was my least favorite book in the series, but it’s a tie between this book and the first as to which I love more.
I’ve been reading this series since my freshmen year of high school, and it’s hard to believe it is finally over. At the same time, I can’t wait to read more of Neal Shusterman’s books. His ability to shuffle between many characters and still give each a unique voice and personality is amazing, the world building in all of his books I’ve read has been well thought out, and I said this already, but I love the way his books make me think.