TOP TEN TUESDAY: Best (so far) of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme thing hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is best reads (so far) of 2017! As of writing this post, I’ve read 65 books this year, and here are the ten that I think absolutely shone. Some were released this year, but not all of them! These are also not in any kind of order!

  1. The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher. I think, like a lot of people, I regret not having read any of Carrie Fisher’s writing before her death. This memoir is one of the funniest memoirs I’ve read in a while, and she writes with an openness and a frankness I someday aspire to have.
  2. Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman. It’s Gaiman. It’s Norse mythology.
  3. The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden. A really lovely, atmospheric fairy tale with bits of Russian and Western fairy tale essences woven in. I’m really excited for the followup because so much excitement of the story seemed to happen in the last third.
  4. Moby-Dick; or The Whale, by Herman Melville. Uh, if you would have told me a couple of years ago that Moby-Dick would become one of my top favorite novels of all time, I might have laughed in your face. But seriously, my dudes. This is a classic case of learning about the history surrounding a novel and then diving into it, because it makes the experience all the richer. I devoured this monstrous beast of a novel in mere days. DAYS.
  5. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. So heartbreaking, so touching, so relevant. I’ve been telling everyone to read this book.
  6. The Stars are Legion, by Kameron Hurley. I pitch this to people who are looking for new science fiction to read like this: Do you like military-esque, dramatic sci-fi? Do you like weird sci-fi? Do you like gross sci-fi? How do you feel about womb-punk? (What? they often ask.) I respond with a: this book is like a birth-is-war and war-is-birth kind of thing. I generally get one of two responses: I’M SOLD OMG and YOU READ SOME WEIRD SHIT, MEG. Read it, now.
  7. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, by Ken Liu. THIS JUST WON A LOCUS AWARD and has a lot of other accolades. The stories range from fantasy to sci-fi and are all well written and full of life. It’s just a good anthology, period.
  8. The Whole Art of Detection, by Lyndsay Faye. I don’t think I can stop babbling about this or thinking about this collection of Sherlock Holmes pastiches. They’re just so well done and evoke Doyle’s atmosphere so well while at the same time being fresh and modern. I’ll read anything Faye writes, and she’ll always be at the top of my recommendations lists.
  9. Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer. Flying bears? A blobby, morphing person-thing? Examinations on what it means to be a person? Yes, yes, yes. This feels like an Atwood extension that’s thoroughly VanderMeer’s stuff. If you’ve read his Southern Reach trilogy and liked it, why haven’t you picked this up yet? It’s dystopian, but it’s not an in-your-face one. Everything is centralized, and the characters are so well developed.
  10. Wake of Vultures, by Lila Bowen. THIS ONE CAME OUT OF NOWHERE?? I’ve seen lots of writers I like mention this and blurb for it, so when it was a Kindle daily deal, I bought it. I didn’t start reading it until a bit later, and it was everything I needed at that moment: a protagonist dealing with gender identity and expression, the old west, MONSTERS and creepy things, AH so many things that I’ll get into in a proper review soon.

THIS CONCLUDES THE TEN. I’m thinking I’ll do a ten best for the second half of the year and then do a final post narrowing those twenty down to the overall best ten of 2017!

Have you read any of these?

Waiting on Wednesday :: SF/F Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we’re impatiently waiting for! This week, I’m going to focus on a few upcoming YA/MG science fiction and fantasy reads coming out this fall that I can’t wait to read!

Claudia Gray’s Leia, Princess of Alderaan is super high on my list for this fall’s reads because Star Wars and Princess Leia. It was just recently announced and there isn’t much out there regarding a synopsis, but I am loving this cover and I’m hoping it’s about Leia’s life on Alderaan before she’s on the Death Star at the beginning of A New Hope.

Libba Bray’s The Diviners series is one of my favorite YA series of all time. It’s a dense, well-built series that’s worth the effort to get involved in it, and the audio books are spectacular. I’ve been waiting for Before the Devil Breaks You for what seems like ages, and I’m so excited that we’ve got a title and a cover for a fall release. It combines all of my favorite things: the 1920s, supernatural horror, a slow slow slow burn romance, and, in this third one, ghosts.

Last year I read everything Leigh Bardugo wrote (except for the ebook only short stories which I’m sure I’ll get to this year), and this year she’s got two coming out that I’m super excited to read. I don’t know much about Wonder Woman, but I’m excited to read her WW novel. AND. The Language of Thorns is a collection of fairy tales from the Grisha universe!!

What are you looking forward to?

#TomeTopple Recap!

#TomeTopple is a readathon I found on Twitter at the end of March, and I decided to take the challenge! Readers were challenged to read “tomes” from their TBRs, and the books had to be 500+ pages! I picked the following titles to read:

The Mirror Empire – Kameron Hurley (608 pages)

Moby-Dick, or The Whale – Herman Melville (896 pages)

A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab (512 pages)

The Dinosaur Lords – Victor Milan (592 pages)

I picked four thinking that I’d get through at least two of them with a decent chunk out of the third, but I ended up finishing three! I read a total of 2,016 pages for those first three tomes, and I know I read a couple hundred pages from other books that I’ve been reading (mostly from my Kindle because I was too lazy to hold up those bricks in bed).

I really enjoyed all three of the books I read, and Moby-Dick was probably my favorite read out of the three. After reading Melville’s letter to Hawthorne that was all over the internet literature sphere last year and after having read Beauregard’s The Whale: A Love Story, Moby-Dick shot up on my TBR. I think it’s one of those classics that truly benefits from historic and personal context. I also really enjoyed the second in the Shades of Magic trilogy and can’t wait to read the final book. And I’m also looking forward to reading the next book in the Worldbreaker Saga!

This was my first readathon ever, and I can’t wait to participate in the next one!

TOP TEN TUESDAY :: WHAT MAKES A MUST-READ?

Every week, The Broke and the Bookish hosts a top ten list with a bookish theme, and this week’s theme is Ten Things That Make You Instantly Want to Read a Book! I feel like I read across a variety of genres and reading levels, but I am also always drawn to specific things, too.

  1. An amazing cover. This probably is a no-brainer for me because I’m always attracted to shiny things. For the most part, a really fantastic looking cover is often the first and major initial draw to a book. With so many books out there to read, I am more likely to reach for an amazing cover before anything else. I also tend to buy editions with prettier covers even if it’s a little bit more money because I know it’ll look nice on my shelves and I’ll enjoy reading it a little bit more with a nicer cover!
  2. Complex, well-written villains. I don’t like my villains to be evil for evil’s sake. I want them to have as much depth as the “hero,” and I want to feel for them. Characters that toe the line between good and bad and live in that morally grey area are my favorite.
  3. Complex, well-written characters in general. I want for female, male, and non-binary characters to be well developed and as well rounded and not forced into a stereotypical, list-checked box.
  4. Space travel and alien cultures. If I’m reading a story about characters in space, I want the main characters to be at least slightly alien, and I want the main characters to explore alien cultures. Give me all of the weird stuff!
  5. Fairy tale, folklore, and mythological retellings. Especially Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I wish there were more retellings of Rapunzel and the Little Mermaid, too. I like retellings even more if they subvert the familiar stories, too.
  6. Historical fiction. I feel like I grew up on historical fiction. After reading series like Dear America and The Royal Diaries, I just consumed whatever the local libraries had. I’m really partial stories set in the Regency era, Wars of the Roses, Victorian + Edwardian eras, WWI, early America, ancient Egypt, and ancient Greece.
  7. London. Honestly, if it’s set in London, I’ll most likely gobble it up. It’s one of my favorite cities, and I miss it so much.
  8. Castles and the Gothic. Give me all the things set in ancient, spooky castles, and throw a few thunderstorms, a full moon, a lot of rain, subversion, and a woman out of her time, and I’ll be the happiest.
  9. Epistolary. I love stories and narratives created entirely through letters sent between characters. Even if it’s more modern with text messages and emails and social media posts.
  10. Libraries and author histories. Lately, I feel like there are a lot of books out being released that are set in libraries or revolving around libraries, or even about the (fictional) histories of books and authors. I love fictional accounts of famous authors’ lives, and I feel like it better fits this subheading than historical fiction!

What things make you want to read a book?

FIRST CHAPTER, FIRST PARAGRAPH: The Gentleman, by Forrest Leo

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First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday is hosted by Bibliophile By the Sea!

I received Forrest Leo’s The Gentleman in a Muse Monthly box a few months ago, and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. Oops. The Gentleman is Leo’s debut novel, and is about a Lionel Savage, a popular poet in Victorian London, who has discovered he has no money, marries a woman for her money, and realizes he does not love his wife because his muse has left him. The description on the inside cover says that Lionel believes he meets the dark lord/devil at a party, and once Lionel’s wife disappears he believes he accidentally sold her to the devil himself. After his wife’s disappearance, Lionel, with some help along the way, plans a rescue mission to Hell to rescue her.

One: In Which I Find Myself Destitute & Rectify Matters in a Drastic Way

My name is Lionel Savage, I am twenty-two years old, I am a poet, and I do not love my wife. I loved her once, not without cause – but I do not anymore. She is a vapid, timid, querulous creature, and I find after six months of married life that my position has become quite intolerable and I am resolved upon killing myself.

After flipping through several pages after the introduction, this looks like a very well-paced, humorous novel, and I’m excited to start it after I finish up a few of my current reads.