It feels strange writing this and knowing that it’s the middle of November and I am in no way shape or form prepared for the holidays. This year has been a whirlwind and a very busy one at that. With the release of The Cursed and starting the final book in the Allseer trilogy, things have been moving right along. Despite the frantic pace of this year, I’ve still carved out time for my favorite hobby of all – reading!
A little about myself as a reader – I’m slow. I read slow. I’m slow picking out my next book to read. I’m just a slow creature. I’m pretty sure the sloth is my spirit animal. So, my goal this year, keeping well in mind that I’d be writing/editing and that I’m slow as molasses, was to read twenty books. Not a great number. Not a terrible one. It is, however, a goal I accomplished! Woohoo!
Below you’ll find most of those books split into categories: Favorites, Meh’s, and Currently Reading.
FAVORITE READS OF 2017
These are the books that stole my heart and soul and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
These are all highly recommended.
After reading this post of course.
THE BITTER KINGDOM: Fire and Thorns #3 by Rae Carson
This was the very first book I read in 2017 and it was soooo good.
This was the third book of the Fire and Thorns series – a series I didn’t even know existed after reading the first book years ago. I’m so glad I discovered the second and third book or my life would have been dull and dark and empty. As a whole, this series showed amazing character growth and a realistic, relatable female protagonist that had a brain. This was just a lovely series and I’m pretty sure some happy tears were shed after this one. And also some sad ones because it was over. As I write this, I think I might add this entire series to my ‘Read Again’ pile.
SHADOWS OF SELF and THE BANDS OF MOURNING – MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson can very rarely do wrong by me. I’ve enjoyed many of his books and The Mistborn Trilogy is still one of my favorites to date. While this series hasn’t quite reached that same level for me, they’ve still been really enjoyable and have a great cast of characters. It’s nice to have more material set in the same world so if you liked The Mistborn Trilogy, these are worth taking a look at.
BORNE by Jeff VanderMeer
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. This book was amazing.
It was such a strange blend of beauty and bleakness. There was a giant flying bear, an intelligent, lovable, terrifying, mutating plant creature, and experiments gone terribly wrong. I’ll tell you right now, this book isn’t for everyone. I didn’t even know if it would be for me, but I loved every minute of it and give it my full stamp of approval. If the description of it even sounds remotely interesting, I’d recommend picking it up.
THE VAGRANT by Peter Newman
This is a perfect example of how taking risks with your writing can really pay off. And what a risk this was. The main characters are a mute, a goat, and a baby. It’s just as strange as it sounds, but somehow Newman does a damn good job making it work. As was stated in my Goodreads review of it, you have to approach this book with an open mind and a love for sassy goats, and if you can do that, you’ll find something magical in a this-world-is-bleak-and-terrible-but-I’m-laughing-at-a-goat-and-a-baby sort of way.
SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
Oh my, this was a fun read! Nothing gets me hooked quite like a cast of colorful characters and witty banter. Having not been familiar with her previous Grisha books, I liked that I could hop into the world she’s created without feeling like I was missing anything. This was great and I’m really looking forward to reading Crooked Kingdom! Also, let’s all take a moment to appreciate that cover.
Meh Reads of 2017
I’m going to start by saying that these are not books that I didn’t enjoy. These are books that didn’t quite hit the mark for me in terms of overall feel. Whether it was the plot, characters, or setting, something about these books just didn’t do it for me.
THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman
The whole premise of this series seemed interesting, but I made a terrible, terrible mistake.
I watched the show first.
Because generally shows are inferior to the written work and I fully expected that to be the case. It wasn’t at all. In a bizarre twist of fate, the show was actually really enjoyable and when I sat down to read the book, I was sorely disappointed. The show basically took the bones of the story and turned it into something interesting. The book was well written, but had me bored to tears a quarter of the way through. I’ll stick with the show on this one.
A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN by Sarah J Maas
“But Kaitlyn, how could you not love this book!?!?!??!?!”
First off, let me say that overall, I enjoyed this series. It had some great characters, interesting lore, witty banter, and some really great moments that made my heart happy.
On the flip side of that, as an ending, I found this book kind of…well…meh. The pacing was slow. Certain scenes were at times grossly overwritten and entirely nonsensical given events. There were certain plot points in the beginning that I hoped would be given much more time and detail and were rushed through in favor of other events. As an ending to a trilogy, it just didn’t deliver what I was looking for and thus has ended up in my ‘Meh’ reads of the year.
THE BIRD AND THE SWORD by Amy Harmon
This book was sweet and simple, but lacked the depth I was craving from it. The main antagonists throughout the book were not given much time to develop and thus made the entire last half of the book feel flat. It was an enjoyable and quick read with a beautiful writing style and a likeable main character, it just needed a bit more meat on its bones to fill in the story.
THE SORCERERS LADY by Paula Volsky
I don’t know what it is about Volsky’s writing style, but I have always loved it. I own almost every book she has ever written and have enjoyed each one. There is something quirky and different and poetic about her writing style that I can’t get enough of, and that is no different in this series.
Unfortunately, after the first book, things go downhill fast. One whiny character about killed the second book for me and a major time jump forced me to put down the third. I really wanted to like this series but it had some definite flaws and not even her writing style could keep me reading this one.
THE INNOCENT MAGE/THE AWAKENED MAGE by Karen Miller
Karen Miller really needs to be given an award for writing the most frustratingly unlikeable main characters. What makes it even worse is that I’m pretty sure she wrote them that way on purpose. I didn’t think she could so thoroughly make me not like a main character as she did in Empress, but lo and behold, Asher comes along in The Innocent Mage and I was ready to reach through the book and slap that man silly.
At one point, he finally got his act together and even started to grow on me a little, only to be reverted back to the most despicable waste of a human being ever. There were so many things that were done well with both of these books, minus a couple hundred pages of fluff. I found a lot of it really interesting and loved some of the plot elements, but nothing will kill a series for me like characters can and this…just…iwegoinaoubnjnrg. I have no words.
Asher, I hate you.
CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo
The follow up to Six of Crows is my book of choice at the moment.
I’m about 11% through the book and so far, it’s off to a really great start!
THE MALICE by Peter Newman
Part two of The Vagrant series is patiently waiting to be read. After I finish up Crooked Kingdom, this will be my next read and I’m very excited about it.
And that’s all folks!
Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What was your favorite read of the year? What are you planning on reading next year? Have any recommendations?
Let me know in the comments below!
There will be another blog post next Thursday, so check back soon and have a great weekend! 🙂