Sunday, December 31, 2017

Books Read in 2017

141 things this year, including 91 novels! Crazy.

Middle Grade: 3
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy
Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

Young Adult: 19
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar
Temping Fate by Esther Friesner
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly

Adult: 69
S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
Jeweled Fire by Sharon Shinn
Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
The Turning Season by Sharon Shinn
The Queen in Winter by Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Sarah Monette, and Sharon Shinn
Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold
Blackout by Connie Willis
The Shores of Spain by J. Kathleen Cheney
The Human Division by John Scalzi
Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Olympos by Dan Simmons
The Seer’s Choice by J. Kathleen Cheney
Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
Don’t Stop Believing by Gwen Hayes
Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl
Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins
Forever Mine by Erin Nichols
Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
Knit Tight by Annabeth Albert
The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell
How Not To Fall by Emily Foster
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Winterfair Gifts by Lois McMaster Bujold
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
Redshirts by John Scalzi
I Shot the Buddha by Colin Cotterill
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
After the War by J. Kathleen Cheney
The Barbed Rose by Gail Dayton
Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren
The Amok Runners by Colin Cotterill
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
Mine to Break by Joely Sue Burkhart
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold
Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Artemis by Andy Weir
Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds

Beta Reads: 3
The Rise and Fall of the Blackbird by S. Eli
A Matter of Scythe and Death by J.J. Litke
The Lady and the Pack by Akaria Gale

Short Stories: 3
“Stormfront” by M.C.A. Hogarth
“The Scharz-Metterklume Method” by Saki
“A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short” by Christina Lauren

Non-Fiction: 11
Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet
The Plot Whisperer Workbook by Martha Alderson
Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs
Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan
Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
Knot the One by Stacey Becker
Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
Eat Fat, Get Thin by Mark Hyman, M.D.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Graphic Novels: 28
The Iron Hand by Scott Chantler
Ms. Marvel: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson and Takeshi Miyazawa
Lumberjanes Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson and various artists
Lumberjanes Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson and various artists
Lumberjanes Vol. 5: Band Together by Noelle Stevenson and various artists
Giant Days Vol. 4 by John Allison and Max Sarin
One Hundred Night of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke
Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn and Mallory Knox Ostertag
Ms. Marvel: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson and various artists
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
Giant Days Vol. 5 by John Allison and Max Sarin
Lumberjanes Vol. 6: Sink or Swim by Shannon Watters and various artists
Jedi Academy: The Force Oversleeps by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Monstress Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke
Giant Days Vol. 6 by John Allison and Max Sarin
Rat Queens Vol. 4 by Kurtis J. Wiebe and various artists
Tag and Bink are Dead by Kevin Rubio and Lucas Marangon
Lucy and Andy Neaderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown

Web Comics: 5
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Stand Still. Stay Silent. by Minna Sundberg
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee
Vattu by Evan Dahm

I read 1/5 the amount of Middle Grade I usually do. This makes me a little sad, since it's a by-product of The Son growing up. We mostly listen to Young Adult books now.

For my wrap-up, I'm going to do a series of top 5's.

Top 5 Greatest Stand-Alone Books I Read This Year:

1) S. A truly unique reading experience. The story didn't come together perfectly in the end-- a little too much of Abrams's beloved "mystery box"-- but I 100% don't care. This book made me more excited about books than anything else I read this year.

2) Ready Player One. The Son's new favorite book, and my favorite book to have shared with him this year.

3) Mother Tongue. I thought I knew a lot about the English language, but I learned a ton from reading this.

4) Station Eleven. Best book I read for book club this year.

5) War and Peace. Duh. A classic. A major accomplishment to finally finish it. Also a damn good book.

Top 5 Ongoing Series I Was Most Satisfied By:

1) Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn. I read books 3 and 4 in this series this year, and they were perfection. I hear Sharon Shinn is having publisher problems, and now I'm super worried the fifth book in this series will never be published.

2) The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey. I read book 2 this year and I LOVED it way more than book 1. Avasarala is the actual best and I want her to be the terrifying grandma I never had.

3) The Vorkosigan Saga series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read 4 books this year, and they were all so incredibly good. A Civil Campaign is a desert island book for sure.

4) Penric and Desdemona series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I read 4 novellas this year, and am continually blown away by how good they are.

5) Family Fletcher series by Dana Alison Levy. I'm not sure This Would Make a Good Story Someday counts as part of the series since it doesn't feature the Fletchers directly, but it takes place within the same "world". This book is amazing and I loved it so much.

Top 5 New Series I'm Most Excited to Have Discovered:

1) Trouble series by Stephanie Tromly. YA Investigative goodness. I did that thing where you read a book and love it, and after a while you still remember you loved it but don't remember why exactly, and then you read book 2 and are like, "Ohhhhhhh, right."

2) Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. I wasn't sure about this, since I loved Westerfeld's book Uglies but then DNF'd the rest of that series. But this was amazing steampunk awesomeness: robots vs. monsters in WWI, complete with friendship, romance, and talking lizards. I listened to the whole trilogy with The Son, but would totally read more books set in this world if Westerfeld would write them.

3) Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. Intriguing, dark, and fun.

4) The Themis Files trilogy by Sylvain Neuvel. This fast-paced "found footage" Sci-Fi series hooked me in on page 1 of book 1 and hasn't let go yet. I'm counting the days until the final book comes out this May.

5) The Interdependency by John Scalzi. I finished Scalzi's Old Man's War series this year and am delighted to start another space opera series by him. Long may it prosper.

Top 5 Books That Happy-Surprised Me:

1) The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I'm not a giant fan of the Anne of Green Gables books, so although I'd heard raves about this book, I was worried that Montgomery's particular brand of whimsy would just be too much for me. But no. I loved this. The perfect slow burn romance.

2) Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. This is Lit Fic written by a music artist, so I was highly skeptical and very ready to dismiss it as pretentious poser garbage. But I was enraptured by it while reading it, and haunted by it long after.

3) Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins. I read a bunch of Romance this year, but this M/M standalone blew my socks off.  So, so well-written.

4) Wild Seasons series by Christina Lauren. Most of the Romance I read this year was book 1 of a series, but this is the only series where I felt compelled to read book 2.  It's New Adult, smutty, and occasionally ridiculous, but I developed a genuine affection for the characters and enough curiosity about all their happy endings to read 4 books and a companion short story all this year.

5) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.  I DNF'd a whoooooole bunch of YA Fantasy this year. I'm just over a lot of the tropes. And on the face of it, this sounds trope-y as hell. But for whatever reason, it grabbed my eyeballs in its tropey little fists and wouldn't let go until I'd finished the book, practically in one sitting.

Top 5 Books That Disappointed-Surprised Me:

1) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I really thought The Son and I were going to puffy-heart LOVE this, and I did love the beginning. But then I didn't love how it progressed, and was pretty meh by the end. I was expecting something really dark and creepy and quirky, but instead it was more like a muddled X-men story with time travel. It wasn't bad at all, but not what I expected. 

2) Knot the One by Stacey Becker. This was presented as a woman's memoir of being left at the altar, and how she put her life back together afterwards. I admit I bought this to gawk at another's misfortune, so shame on me. But a lot about this annoyed me. For starters, her fiancĂ© broke up with her EIGHT MONTHS before the wedding. That is not "left at the altar", dammit!  And Becker strikes me as a pretty annoying person, and her family is a boundary-less nightmare, and by the time the fiancĂ© dumps her I was feeling kind of sorry for him and not blaming him at all for his second thoughts. And finally, a big portion of the book is about her starting to date the guy she did eventually wind up marrying, and she does a lot of "look how much better my husband is than the jerk I was engaged to", but... they are exactly the same, down to the commitment waffling. In fact, I think the guy she married is actually more of an asshole than the one who dumped her. He was less willing to jerk her around.

3) Rat Queens Vol. 4. This one hurts. I fucking loved Rat Queens. But Vol. 3 left off on a cliffhanger, which Vol. 4 completely ignored, picking up the story apparently months later with no explanation of how the previous situation resolved itself. Nope. Not okay. And I'm sorry to say it, but the art has gone downhill since they canned Upchurch. Doesn't mean they were wrong to fire him, but still.

4) The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I'd heard amazing things about this, and picked it for book club on the basis of those reviews. And it wasn't bad... but eesh, the writing got on my nerves. I always think I like Magical Realism, but I think I just like Garcia Marquez and Allende. This was like Magical Realism bingo. Family saga? Check. Tragic love stories? Check. Obsession with birds? Check. Pointless, shocking violence that comes out of nowhere and clashes tonally with the rest of the book? CHECK.

5) The Amok Runners by Colin Cotterill. Another one that hurts. Y'all know I love Cotterill; I've read the entire Siri Paiboun series so far and have every intention of sticking with it to the end. This book was a prequel to the Jimm Juree series, which I also love. Cotterill self-pubbed it, but that alone wasn't cause for concern: probably his publishers weren't interested in continuing the Juree series, but he had an idea for another story. Why not self-pub when you have the readership? And Lois McMaster Bujold has been self-pubbing novellas in her World of the Five Gods series, and they are magical. But, sadly, this book wasn't up to his usual standards. I don't know if he didn't want to pay an editor or what, but something was definitely off. It was riddled with typos and copywriting errors, too.

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