My Favorite Books of 2017

December 1 2017 | I set a goal of reading 50 books in 2017. I did it.. and then I read 7 more and I expect I’ll finish another 2 or 3. Like my 2016 post, I want to preface this with some information about me as a reader. I read mostly 300-500 page fiction, usually of the general narrative, fantasy, mystery, science fiction or romance variety. These books are my escape. I very rarely read 600+ page or non-fiction books. So before everyone is all “how do you have the time?!” know that I can polish off a 300 page romance novel in about 72 hours, reading it post my children’s bedtime. I also read a lot while traveling. I loathe airports and books absorb me, so I turn to them while flying. I usually knock back 2-3 books per trip. Also, I count graphic novel volumes as a book. I do not count individual comic books/issues.

New this year I included a few chapter books I started reading with our kindergartener at bedtime. Because I’m going to start including the books and graphic novels I read with him – and eventually our daughter – that are read in multiple sittings and are 100+ pages and I’m going to set my 2018 goal at 100 books!

Logistics aside, I want to share my favorites of the year and hope that others will share theirs! A full pictorial list of my current 56 is below too. The reviews here are mostly what I wrote on Goodreads directly after finishing the book. I figure those reviews are the most fresh and frankly, putting this together was enough work. I don’t have time for more in depth reviews, but always happy to talk about books!

As I mentioned, finishing my goal doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reading until 2018, so please, join me on Goodreads and finish out 2017 with me!

Finally – SHOUTOUT LINCOLN CITY LIBRARIES! Only two books of my entire 50 were purchased. Thank you for being an important resource to me and my family.

In no particular order, my favorite books of 2017:


Written in Red (The Others #1)

by Anne Bishop
writteninredGood Reads Summary: As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others. Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

My Review: I read another “first book in a series” by Anne Bishop earlier this year. I believe it was her first published novel. I enjoyed it, but uffda it was overly complicated and the sexual overtones (in a book I would NOT consider a romance novel) were… awkward at best. Fast forward to her most recent series, “The Others” and this book. Over-complicated turned into detailed world building. Awkward sexual overtones turned into a slow building, interesting, character nuisance. These books (I’m currently already into the second one in the series) are slow paced, but well crafted. If you’re into fantasy, human v. fantasy storylines check these out. Great fiction.


Once Broken Faith + The Brightest Fell (October Daye #10 + #11)

by Seanan McGuire

toby2Once Broken Faith Goodreads Summary: Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches. Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.  Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe. As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save. Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.

toby1The Brightest Fell Goodreads Summary: For once, everything in October “Toby” Daye’s life seems to be going right. There have been no murders or declarations of war for her to deal with, and apart from the looming specter of her Fetch planning her bachelorette party, she’s had no real problems for days. Maybe things are getting better. Maybe not.

Because suddenly Toby’s mother, Amandine the Liar, appears on her doorstep and demands that Toby find her missing sister, August. But August has been missing for over a hundred years and there are no leads to follow. And Toby really doesn’t owe her mother any favors. Then Amandine starts taking hostages, and refusal ceases to be an option.

My Goodreads Review of the Brightest Fell: I loved this ending. I loved this leg of the story. This story feels like a transition so I can see how some felt this installment was boring or lacking, but it was clear. Darkness this way comes. Toby is no longer a novice, she’s all woman.

Blog Review: If you’ve talked to me about books in the past four years you’ve heard me scream READ SEANAN McGUIRE! You’ll note her name appear again on this list. The October Daye series has stolen my heart. Adventure. Silliness. Diversity. Extreme world building. Flawed but strong characters. These books are a joy and just get better and better.


The Quiet Child

by John Burley

quietchildGoodreads Summary: It’s the summer of 1954, and the residents of Cottonwood, California, are dying. At the center of it all is six-year-old Danny McCray, a strange and silent child the townspeople regard with fear and superstition, and who appears to bring illness and ruin to those around him. Even his own mother is plagued by a disease that is slowly consuming her. Sheriff Jim Kent, increasingly aware of the whispers and rumors surrounding the boy, has watched the people of his town suffer—and he worries someone might take drastic action to protect their loved ones. Then a stranger arrives, and Danny and his ten-year-old brother, Sean, go missing. In the search that follows, everyone is a suspect, and the consequences of finding the two brothers may be worse than not finding them at all.

My Goodreads Review: That book was… haunting? Comforting? I don’t know, but it’ll stick with me. Amazingly well crafted and I loved the shifting viewpoints.

Blog Review: I was right. I still don’t know if I even liked this book, but it’s still with me. I think of it often and consider.


North to the Orient
by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Goodreads Summary: In 1931 Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh set off on a flight to the Orient by the Great Circle Route. The classic North to the Orient is the beautifully written account of the trip.

northMy Goodreads Review: Anne is witty and poetic in her writing. The antiquated terms are at times charming and at times jarring. Her descriptive paragraphs about viewing rivers generally from above was just beautiful. I was saddened by the last 20 or so pages and their account of the massive flooding in China. The horrifying situation was covered rather topically, which I found odd. She seemed somewhat disconnected from it.

I appreciated her humor in regards to the ridiculous questions she faced as a woman. I was curious too about how she felt about leaving her son and undertaking this journey as a parent. I got the impression to was common for women of means to leave children in the care of nannies, so perhaps she (oddly) faced less criticism for that decision then, than a modern mother would now.

 


Down Among the Sticks and Bones(Wayward Children #2)
by Seanan McGuire

sticksGoodreads Summary: Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is the story of what happened first… Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline. Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got. They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted. They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

 

My Review: Holy Shitballs. This discussion on the influence of parents and the theme of gender as an obligation is well crafted, remarkably intellectual, and delivered in a consumable and easy to grasp fantasy story. This is whimsical, but be warned it is also desperately sad. Also, a must read for parents in my view. The Wayward Children series is shaping up to be one of the best collections out there.


Witches Abroad (Discworld #12)
byTerry Pratchett

witchesGoodreads Summary: Be careful what you wish for… Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother named Desiderata who had a good heart, a wise head, and poor planning skills—which unforunately left the Princess Emberella in the care of her other (not quite so good and wise) godmother when DEATH came for Desiderata. So now it’s up to Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg to hop on broomsticks and make for far-distant Genua to ensure the servant girl doesn’t marry the Prince. But the road to Genua is bumpy, and along the way the trio of witches encounters the occasional vampire, werewolf, and falling house (well this is a fairy tale, after all). The trouble really begins once these reluctant foster-godmothers arrive in Genua and must outwit their power-hungry counterpart who’ll stop at nothing to achieve a proper “happy ending”—even if it means destroying a kingdom.
My Review: I love Pratchett but admit his quirky style is sometimes a bit exhausting for me to read – so I love the audiobook versions. Perfect. I feel like Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg are my constant companions. These books are so damn clever and fun. 


Ready Player One
byErnest Cline

playerGoodreads Summary: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
My Review: Is this a very tightly crafted story? No. It is a joyride for pop culture loving, 30-something nerds? Yes. I hope the movie doesn’t screw it up.

Paper Girls, Volumes 1 and 2 (Paper Girls #1)
by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang(Illustrator), Matthew Wilson(Illustrator)

paper1In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.
paper2My Review: Can I just stay up all night reading comic books? These make me want to.
I did not love Cliff Chiang’s artistic style in the Wonder Woman Blood/Guts/Iron/War/Flesh/Bones volumes/series, though it grew on me – but I am obsessed with his work in Paper Girls. Just swooned by it. It’s possibly retroactively making me like the wonder woman art more. Vaughn is great here too. I’ve heard that the story is too out there or confusing, but I’m loving it. Space and time travel with teenage paper deliver girls is (apparently) sort of my jam.

Everything Else:

To be fair there are a LOT of good books down here (and some shitty ones) but they can’t all be the MVPs

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