Best Books of 2017

Happy almost New Year everyone! It’s a fitting way to end the year with a list of my favorite books that were released this year. Most of the books I read this were less than noteworthy. There were a few that stood out as ones I’ll think of often.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767-_uy200_

My favorite book of the year! It was not perfect, but I absolutely loved the way it showed that it is dangerous to make assumptions and to judge others. Read my review here.

Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire

30688517

The best book in the series yet, and the first one featuring Antimony as a MC. I was surprised to like this as much as I did. The glimpses of Antimony from the other books didn’t make me look forward to being in her head. It all worked out for the best though.¬†Read my review here.

The Soul Eater series by Pippa DaCosta

The last three books in the series were released this year, and what a wild ride it was! It’s a blend of fantasy and urban fantasy. It’s not often that Egyptian mythology is featured in this type of story. It was great and completely original. All three received 5 stars from me. Read my reviews here and here.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

51mebqxpwcl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

I’m not usually a fan of books with carnival themes, but this worked for me. I devoured this in three and a half hours. It was that damn good! Read my review here.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

51jpv68vvzl-_sx333_bo1204203200_

The best book no one is reading. This had a few surprises, and it was YA that wasn’t obnoxious. I’m hoping for a sequel. Read my review here.

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

23383896

As you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a Seanan McGuire fangirl. This is my favorite series ever! If you haven’t read it, please check it out. If you don’t like the first few books, keep reading. I promise it gets much better. Read my review here.

Double or Nothing by Craig Schaefer

35100125

It’s dark UF with a slower pace. Nonetheless it is compelling read. I love this series! It always manages to surprise me with the way Daniel Faust gets himself out of impossible situations. Read my review here.

The Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews

Ignore the cheesy covers. This series is amazing! It’s UF, not romance. I waited a long time for these to be released, and they did not disappoint. Read my reviews here and here. I went to a book signing of theirs this summer. ICYMI here is the post I wrote about it.

The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

91mpjtaddjl-_ac_ul320_sr180320_

I loved this series! It’s PNR with gothic mysteries. Definitely worth the read. Read my review here.

What were your favorite books from this year?

Advertisements

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

32667458Rating: 3 stars

Series: Iskari #1

Asha was the Iskari, the dragon slayer. That’s what irked me from the start. Dragons are awesome! I couldn’t get behind the MC killing them especially when they weren’t a threat. She went out of her way to hunt them down. They weren’t actively going after people.

Asha was very hard to like. Blinded by her own hatred, her view of the world was skewed. Her greatest pride was her ability to kill dragons. There were reasons for her desire to kill them, but it was clear she never looked deeply into the situation to see if there were more to the story. She genuinely believed that she was better than the people her people had enslaved. These are not qualities I want in a MC. Obviously things happened that began to change her views, but she was obstinate.

All of the side characters were one dimensional. Jarek was a power hungry evil bastard. Safire was cool, but there wasn’t a chance to learn much about her. Dax had a lot going on, but most of it happened off page. The details of what he was doing were nonexistent. Torwin was by far the most prominent side character. I liked him.

It was the romance between him and Asha that I couldn’t get behind. It wasn’t insta-love because Asha resisted for a long time. For half of the novel she referred to him as the slave. If that doesn’t say true love, then IDK what does. I would have been happy if he told her to fuck off. It was one of those relationships where they developed feelings for each other for no apparent reason. The second half of the book focused on their romance more which is why I didn’t like that part as much.

The Breathless by Tara Goedjen

Rating: 3 stars

A year after Ro’s death, the people who loved her were still deeply affected. Her younger sister Mae desperately wanted to know what happened when she died. Unexpectedly Ro’s boyfriend, Cage, showed up at their house wanting to know what happened to Ro which didn’t add up since he was there when she died. Mae was the only one who believed Cage didn’t kill Ro. The two of them tried to figure out what happened when Ro died.

Ro had secrets. Mae knew they had something to do with an old family book. It was filled with vague spells and cryptic writings. Some of the things Mae uncovered from the book and around the house were spooky. All the while she was meeting with Cage while he regained his memories of what happened a year before.

It was interesting at first. The things going on were eerie and mysterious. After a while it was boring because nothing of significance was happening. Although Ro was dead, her presence was strong because many of Mae and Cage’s thoughts were about her. She was a major obstacle in becoming deeply invested in the story. I didn’t like her. Two boys were in love with her and fought for her attention, and I couldn’t understand why. Ro was obnoxious. She used various methods to manipulate people, some of them cruel. She thought she was hot shit and flaunted it. The rest of the characters were one dimensional. I was never invested in their fates.

The ending was lackluster after all of the build up about magic. The key to completing the spell seemed quite obvious to me, so I didn’t get why it was shocking to the characters. There were a lot of little things that weren’t explained in the end. What was up with Fern seeming to be in the know? Why was Lance different after being away for a year? Why did Cage have severe headaches all of the time? The main thing that should have been explained and was not was what happened to Cage during the year he was missing. Leaving those things open ended would have been okay if this weren’t a standalone.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

34050917Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Winternight Trilogy #2

Vasya was independent as ever. She refused to do the only two socially acceptable things which were get married or go to a convent. With the help of Morozko she went out to see the world. The only way to do it was to pretend to be a boy. After inadvertently getting the attention of the Grand Prince, she put the lives of her siblings in danger.

I admired Vasya for being bold and brave. She was willing to risk it all to live life on her own terms. However risking it all meant possible death. She had no desire to die, but didn’t do much to prevent it either. Her recklessness aggravated me. It was hard to believe someone could be so cavalier about their own life. It was that behavior that made her seem immature. Even with everything she had been through she managed to be incredibly naive about the dangers of the world.

In those days the world did not favor women, so pretending to be a boy seemed wise in the moment. Some things about it did not seem entirely plausible. It was always emphasized that Vasya was not pretty, but would she have passed for a boy? Masculine was never used to describe her. It was unusual that two of her siblings lived in the palace yet no one thought it odd that they had a brother whom they’d never heard of show up. It irritated me that Vasya was blind to the consequences of her actions. Her rouse put her siblings and nieces in danger.

Morozko was my favorite character. He stole every scene he was in. I really like him and Vasya together although when I think about it I don’t understand why he feels the way he does about Vasya. She always doubted his motives. Creatures like him don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts. OTOH how many times does he have to come to her rescue before she sees the truth? Almost everyone in her life let her down at one point or another, so that may be why she was hesitant to trust him.

It didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but a lot was left open ended in regards to Vasya’s fate and her relationship with Morozko. I looking forward to the next book especially since this was even better than¬†The Bear and the Nightingale.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

30969741Rating: 2 stars

I desperately wanted to like this. It was one of my most highly anticipated books of the fall. I love the fae. I should have loved this, but it fell flat. Although this was YA, that wasn’t the issue. The characters were mature enough. I thought this was a fantasy with a side of romance when all it turned out to be was a romance. You take out the romance and this book literally has no plot.

Isobel was a talented painter who did portraits for the fae. Her ability was so impressive that she was commissioned by the autumn prince to paint her portrait. She did the unthinkable and painted him with human emotions. Apparently this warranted the prince to kidnap her and drag her to his court to stand trial for her crime. Somehow this was meant to repair his reputation.

At the point she was kidnapped, she had known Rook the autumn prince for a fairly brief period of time. They had no meaningful interactions in the time they had known each other, but when the painting was finished, Isobel thought she was in love with him. The idea that they could be in love by this point in the book was ridiculous.

This had the potential to be good. The Wild Hunt wasn’t functioning normally. Three of the four fae courts were being weakened somehow. Many zombie like fae creatures made from human bones were rising. There was a fascinating world to be explored and developed, but it wasn’t. None of that stuff mattered in the end. The world building was awful. The explanations for how things worked were vague. I wanted to know so much more. I could have forgiven the mediocre romance if the world building had been focused on more.

It was emphasized that Rook was one of the most powerful fae in existence, which perplexed me since he often seemed weak. Even though he was often the most powerful man in the room, somehow he was always very close to being killed. Isobel was okay. She didn’t do anything too stupid but didn’t make the best decisions either. Since the romance was the plot, the big conflict impeding their relationship was the Good Law, which was a fae law that prevented humans and fae from being in love. It wasn’t having sex or procreating that was illegal but simply loving each other. It was stupid. The end was disappointing. The resolution to their crisis was too simple. It annoyed me that they defeated their powerful enemy with such ease.

I’d definitely be willing to give another book of hers a shot. This one wasn’t for me, but I’m sure most people will like it more than I did.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

510te6onegl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Rating: 3.5 stars

It didn’t live up to the hype. It started off with a bang. Then it got really boring for quite a while. The school shooting happened. Then the events of it were immediately rehashed through police interviews. Considering one of the MCs was at the school shooting it seemed unnecessary. The tragic murder from the beginning was also written about two more times. Too much felt repetitive. I didn’t care about much of anything that was going on until about half way through.

By the end I warmed up to the characters but I can’t say that I ever liked them. Considering I hated them for most of the book it was an improvement. Charlie was a bitch. Most of the book she felt bad for herself about her marital situation. It annoyed the hell out of me because she was the cause of most of her problems. It was hard to sympathize with her. Sam didn’t intend to but came off as pretentious. I hated it that she ignored her family for so long. I liked her better than Charlie but couldn’t sympathize with her much either. Rusty meant well but was a shitty parent in many ways.

Around 60% of the way through I finally became invested in what was going to happen although this book never reached page turner status for me. I probably would have liked the book better if it had been 100 pages or so shorter. I loved the ending. It was twisted and I didn’t see it coming.