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.
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.
Defy the Stars (Constellations #1)
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.
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.
Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis #2)
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.
Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)
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.
What are your favorite books of 2017? Have you read any of these? Do you have trouble choosing favorites like I do?
These past few months were eventful to say the least. So eventful that I am wrapping-up my reading experience for three months in one post. Seriously though, there is a lot to cover.
I read some books that disappointed, others I loved, went to two author events, and finished the first draft of a novel.
I read eight books in August, September, and October.
Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2)
A princess proving her worth. A captain on a dangerous assignment. A boy with enchanting music.
I was hoping to enjoy this book as much as the books in the original series, but like the previous book, the characters didn’t seem as memorable, and the story didn’t seem as compelling as the Seven Realms series.
Adulthood Rites (Xenogenesis Trilogy #2)
Akin is the first human-alien composite male, but looks human. This makes Akin a subject of interest to the sterile human survivors of the apocalypse.
Akin must act human enough to avoid their wrath, while remembering his true nature.
I need to read more of Octavia E. Butler’s works. I’ve really enjoyed the two I’ve read so far and can’t wait for the others.
My main complaint is that this was too short, but that has more to do with the style of writing that was popular at the time it was written than the author. Still thought provoking even though it was published about 30 years ago.
Amid Stars and Darkness
After being kidnapped by an alien, Delaney must impersonate an alien princess or else the entire human race will be enslaved.
I was waiting in a long line at the library and picked this up on impulse as I walked by. I’m not sure I would have read it otherwise.
It’s too romance heavy for my taste, and I prefer more science in my science fiction, but it was otherwise a light, fun read.
If you’re looking for a book you can’t put down, this might be for you.
The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4), The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12)
Books four and twelve of the Wheel of Time series.
Some of you are probably wondering if I indeed skipped from book four to book twelve in this series. The answer is that, yes, I did. At the risk of annoying some of the Wheel of Time fans, I must admit my motive for reading this series lies in the fact that Brandon Sanderson wrote the last few, and I want to read all his books.
I like the other Wheel of Time books, especially book four but not enough to read the eight 1,000 page long books in between books four and twelve.
Darkness of Dragons (Wings of Fire #10)
The final book in the second arc of the Wings of Fire series.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, it’s probably no secret that Wings of Fire was one of my favorite middle grade series. To some extent it still is. However, this book is probably one of my least favorite in the series, though my least favorite overall would have to be book nine.
It came across as a little anticlimactic to me, and I wasn’t a fan of the characters’ resolution of the conflict that’s been building in the last few books. Still, it was a fun read.
Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1)
Sierra must uncover the mystery of her family’s magical heritage before anyone else dies for it.
I wanted to love this book so much. The atmosphere is great. Older seems to have captured an otherwise realistic portrayal of Brooklyn with some magic thrown in.
Unfortunately, this book didn’t capture my attention enough for me to give it a higher rating.
That said, if you’re looking for a detailed, diverse portrayal of Brooklyn this may be the book for you.
The Silver Mask (Magisterium #4)
Fourth book in the Magisterium series.
Oh, look, the only book I read in October. *Hides in shame.* If this isn’t an indicator of how busy I’ve been I don’t know what is.
There is something about this series that makes me always come back to it even though there are some less than amazing elements to it. I think it’s the premise. I love “hero destined for evil” stories so much.
In the past three months I went to events for Leigh Bardugo and R.L. Stine. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bardugo twice before, but I don’t see how I can go to too many signing events when one of my favorite authors is involved.
Even after attending her events in the past, I still learned something interesting about Bardugo’s writing style. She uses a modified version of the beat structure outlined for scripts in the book Save the Cat. She outlines most of the beats mentioned in the book, but skips a couple because she’s never sat down and read the book to find out what the others were.
Hey, when it comes to writing, the right way to write is the way that works.
R.L. Stine was a first for me. My biggest takeaways from his event were that sometimes life takes us in unexpected directions, that one of the best ways to succeed is to be open to these directions, and that ideas come from unexpected places.
If you would like to see a full post about these events, leave a comment to let me know.
My months have been so distinct from one another in terms of writing progress that it almost seems wrong to sum it all up in one post like this.
August was a great writing month. During the first half of the month, I averaged around 5,000 words per day. My first draft ended up being 70,000 words. This makes it the longest first draft I’ve ever written, though still shorter than the longest thing I’ve written (90,000 words).
I took a break after finishing my first draft midway through the month, intending to get back to my writing in September.
I started some short stories in September, but the progress I made was interrupted due the disruption Hurricane Irma made to my schedule. I’ve put those short stories on hold for now.
Little writing progress was made in October until the end of the month when I began reading through the draft I finished in August.
Have you read any of these books? If you could meet any author who would you choose? How do you go about revising your first drafts?
I didn’t have much time for reading in March, but I’m okay with that because of how busy I was, and how much I accomplished in terms of writing.
Short Synopsis: After the destruction of Earth, Lilith finds herself abducted by mysterious captors.
Thoughts: This science fiction novel is very different from what I normally read, making for a nice change in pace. I liked the first half better than the second, as by the end some of the sense of wonder had worn off.
An interesting take on alien invasions.
Short Synopsis: First book in the Infernal Devices series, the sequel to the Mortal Instruments series and companion series to the Infernal Devices.
Thoughts: This book was very addictive once I got past the first few chapters, but at the same time I felt it could have been much shorter and still have been effective.
The new characters are enjoyable, and I’m excited to see where this series goes in the sequel.
Edit: After publishing this I realized that a book I’d thought I read in February was actually read during March. That book’s details are listed below.
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, but all in all it was a nice debut.
Short 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.
During March I met my goal of writing at least 500 words each day on my work in progress with 16268 words total for the month bringing my manuscript over 4o,000 words in length. I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, and my goal is to write 20,000 words.
I’m really sorry about the relative inactivity lately. Unfortunately, it will probably continue until I finish my rewrite.