TTT: Mid-Year Best Books Read in 2017

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Crap, I’m a bit behind on books, so hopefully I’ll remedy my lack of reading for an entire month during my summer break. Which, let’s be honest, will probably happen because this is Day 2 of vacation and I managed to clean and organize two rooms in my house. Two more rooms to go and I’m pretty much done with a majority of my summer to-do list where my house is involved!

Anyway, this mid-year list is likely to change by the end of the year, though I’m pretty sure A Conjuring of Light is going to stay way up there, because Schwab is love.

Top Ten Best Books Read in Mid-2017

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Hands down my favorite read of the year. The feels for this book was strong. SO MANY FEELS. I can’t even begin to describe how much I adore this book and how much of the book was pretty much me crying over the sad bits and dancing giddily over the smutty awesomely lovely bits. But yes. If you haven’t heard of this series and Victoria Schwab yet, I highly recommend this series.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Baaaah. Another one with so many feels, mostly because I totally ship two people who probably aren’t going to end up together, because they’re both practically two peas in a pod. Also, Helene is badass, and um, really badass. And I am totally excited to read her POV in the second book, because I’m pretty sure she shows up again as a POV by then.

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Helloooo Prague. I mean, the beginning of the book totally mentioned chocolate and I was already sold. This was a great installment to the Mercy Thompson series, mostly because Mercy is out of her element, and out of the country, to boot. She’s fighting off vampires and foreign wolves and still rocking it on the survival level. Also, Adam POV. How could I not love this book?

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher – The late Carrie Fisher (may the Force be with her in peace) has a distinctly funny voice when it comes to narrating her audiobooks. I loved this one to bits because she’s so candid, and she’d made me laugh in her narration. The book was on the short side, but still pretty succinct in her discussion about the problems she’d faced in her life.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – Loved this book because of the magic system in place here. Clairvoyance isn’t something I tend to gravitate toward as far as magical systems go, but this one worked in the world’s favor. Also, there was a bit of steam rising by the end of the first book, and by the end of the book, I was seriously clamoring for the next book, just so I could go back to the Warden again.

Q & A by Vikas Swarup – The movie Slumdog Millionaire was loosely based off of this book, and all in all, I enjoyed the movie just as much as I enjoyed the audiobook narration of the book. There were different scenarios that took place, though the framework largely remained the same. The book could have done with a few scenes edited out, but the movie, IMHO, could have added a bit more to the richness of the scenes.

The Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England by Margaret C. Sullivan – I’m actually not sure whether this handbook was meant to be cheeky or not, but occasionally I found it rather serious and to the point, while other times it has that tone of sarcastic British witticism. I still enjoyed it, and it’s definitely a book to grab and read if you’re a Janeite.

Gilded Cage by Vic James – One of the ARCs I enjoyed reading this year was definitely this book. It’s a dystopian YA focusing around several characters, some of whom have special powers, while others do not. It’s an interesting book, and to be honest, something like this has been done before; it reminded me of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard some, but I honestly thought the story in Gilded Cage was better executed. For one, the females in the book were not shat on and actually had more interesting personalities as opposed to them all fighting for the same effing guy.

Fables: Camelot, Vol. 20 by Bill Willingham – Loved the cover for this volume! Also loved the sister tension between Rose Red and Snow White in this, as well as the fact that characters I loved took larger roles in this book. Also, it is coming off of some crazy storyline direction from Vol. 19, which was, quite honestly, a clusterfudge of “OMG I CANNOT.”

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – This was a beautiful, old-school fairy tale retelling! Also grabbed this as an ARC and did not regret it, because it was just SO GOOD. But now it’s going to take a while to get to the second book, which I am excited to read because more of the Frost-King and the girl he protects from his evil brother.

What made your top list so far this year?

TTT: Fictional Fathers

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So last month, I’d done a TTT in commemoration to Mother’s Day and the book moms I’d encountered in stories. With Father’s Day also coming up this month, I thought it was high time to talk about the fictional dads as well! Like fictional mothers, the fathers in the stories I’ve read are also pretty nonexistent. Half the time, we get the deadbeat dads who want nothing to do with their offspring, and on the rare occasion that they do, it’s because down the line, they want to use their kid for a greater purpose.

And then, of course, there are the father figure type role models, which are cool, in a sense. And I do want to mention them at some point, but I can wait to do so at a later time on a category about mentors and parental figures. This TTT is for the fictional fathers who’ve raised fictional daughters and sons.

Top Ten Fictional Fathers

Arthur Weasley – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – Well, honestly, I couldn’t include Mrs. Weasley without her other half! Rarely do we see both parents playing positive and amazing roles in books, so honestly, the Weasley clan is lucky (for the most part…hem hem). I took to Arthur much easier than I took to Molly when I read the series, and for good reason. He’s unambitious but brilliant in his own way, and he’s personable and enthusiastic. He’s definitely one of the father figures in Harry’s life, but let’s not forget he’s managed to rear five individualistic boys as well! (And on a related note, my heartstrings almost snapped when he got bitten by Nagini in the fifth book!)

Easier said than done, Arthur.

Mr. Murry – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – The Murry children are exceptional, and all of them are mathematically and scientifically gifted. I’d say it’s in the genes, considering both Mr. and Mrs. Murry are geniuses in their fields, but I believe half of it is also how the kids were reared. Meg, in general, is practically mathematically inclined, and her love of the subject can be attributed to the fact that her father often played math games with her to bolster her learning. That’s A+ in my book.

George Cooper – Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce – George and his mother weren’t exactly living the high life, and even as a healer, mom wasn’t earning respectable wages. So George, being the young man–well, young man chosen by the Trickster–that he was, decided to go in the way of the criminal folk. The man was the bloody King of the Rogue for a good number of years until he’d decided things needed changin’. And that’s where Alanna and the crew came in. At the end of the Song of the Lioness Quartet, the thief-king turned a new leaf and became a nobleman spymaster, and he went ahead and taught his only daughter the tricks of the trade. Even with his feisty wife objecting quite a bit.

By the ever talented Minuiko.

Terciel – Sabriel by Garth Nix – I mean, this could go either way, to be honest. I didn’t think Terciel was very present in terms of his rearing Sabriel, and honestly, he was pretty deadbeat when it came to raising Lirael. However, for a man who’d been the only Abhorsen left during a tumultuous time, I think he tried his best to do right by his first heir. Sabriel did admire her father, and while he couldn’t physically make his way down to magic-less Ancelstierre, he’d occasionally send his spirit-form out in order to spend some time with his daughter. Which is a good thing, because his ass needed saving, and there was clearly only one woman who’d loved him enough to even bother looking for him.

Hans Hubermann – The Book Thief by Markus Zusack – Hans Hubermann! He and his wife were the adoptive parents of Liesl Meminger, and they were amazing. I will admit I am basing this off of the movie first, and then the audiobook of The Book Thief, but I mean, come on. How could anyone not love a father who teaches his adoptive daughter to read? And then proceeds to turn his basement to a mini-dictionary?

Maxim Maresh – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Here’s another father that kind of came off as standoffish and surly on first impression. Admittedly, it wasn’t until the beginning of the third book where I even changed my mind about the man. That said, he loves his family, and in his own way, he tried very hard to protect them. It was heartbreaking to see the ordeals he faced in the third book of Shades of Magic, though in a way, I was glad that it happened, if only because the Steel Prince came into action one more time.

Adam Hauptman – Moon Called by Patricia Briggs – Honestly, I could put Bran AND Adam on this list of fatherly werewolves (because honestly, Mercy was raised by the Marrok, and he is absolutely lovely as well). I went for Adam mostly because he’s got a human child, and he’s terribly fond and protective of her. The first book pretty much puts this out in the open when he goes ahead and brings down his fury on those who’d gone over to harm Jessie. His protective side shows up again in Iron Kissed in much the same extent, and you really don’t want to be on the receiving end of that anger.

Bigby Wolf – Fables: Vol. 18, Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham – Here’s another werewolf father! It’s interesting to see how Bigby changes throughout the series. At the beginning he’s pretty much the lone wolf with a powerful pull on the Fabletown community. By the time the Adversary arc comes to a close, he’s more than happy to give others the reins just so he can spend more time with his children. And honestly, with the group of kidds he has, it’s no wonder he chose to settle down! All the same, when his children get in trouble, Bigby–and his wife–is the first to spring to action in order to help save them. To a certain extent, that is, but uh, spoilers.

Mr. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Yes, yes, of course I was going to put Mr. Bennet in here! If I was going to put his wife in the Mother’s Day TTT, I was going to have him down as well. Unlike Mrs. Bennet and her theatrics, I like Mr. Bennet for his cynicism. He does get as ridiculous as his wife, but hey, he tries. And he dotes on Lizzie, which is something.

Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – My high school life pretty much revolved around this book and how much I actually admired Atticus Finch. Of course, it also helped that the fantastic Gregory Peck had starred as Atticus in the classic To Kill a Mockingbird movie. But yes, it’s kind of easy to do so in the eyes of Scout, who pretty much venerated her father and respected his views.

Who are your favorite fictional fathers?

TTT: Summer Yellow Reads

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They call me mellow yellow! *hums*

Except not really, because when I think of summer, I’m more along the lines of Olaf and summer. I’ll probably melt occasionally, but I cannot wait. It may also have something to do with the fact that I’ll also be on vacation then, which is definitely much needed…

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, summer reading. And I don’t mean that in the “this is your assignment for the summer” kind of “summer reading,” and honestly, I’ve mostly given up on TBR lists because I never follow them anyway. So this time around, I decided I’d do a TTT based on the color yellow! Yellow book covers are shiny and bright and quite happy! For the most part. Erm. Yeah.

Top Ten Summery Yellow Books

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany – This is definitely an easy and pretty light read. I’m typically a slow reader, but I got through this in a couple of hours during a mad, impromptu read-a-thon with my friend.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – My sister was a big Artemis Fowl fan, so we have the series sitting neatly at home. I practically grew up on Eoin Colfer, J.K. Rowling, and Tamora Pierce, so you can bet that if they had yellow book covers, I was putting them up here!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – Chyeahboi. Summer break may be over for Simon Snow and Basilton Grimm-Pitch, but not for us! I’d totally take my two boyz with me to the beach if I wanted some beach-reading material to squee over.

Wish Memorial Illustrated Collection by CLAMP – I will admit that the Wish covers had some of the most aesthetically pretty illustrations I’ve seen of CLAMP’s stuff, and that’s saying something, because normally CLAMP knocks their artwork out of the ballpark. I loved this short series, though admittedly it’s not my favorite of CLAMP’s. That is normally reserved to Magic Knight Rayearth and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – Cannot stop recommending this enough! I love this book, and Yelena, and Valek, and this cover is pretty much my favorite of the covers that have come out. Not sure why, but I did like the simplistic juxtaposition of the red and yellow colors. That could be just me, though.

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card – Orson Scott Card is largely known for his science fiction stories, especially in the Ender’s Game series–well, and also known for his outspoken, often-controversial political views–so it’s often a surprise to people when I say of the books he has written, Enchantment still remains my favorite. But I’m just biased, considering it is based on a fairy tale, and it is a fantasy entrenched within Slavic history and folklore.

The rest of these books are books I’ve yet to read but really, really want to.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Another dual cover book! And it’s by Laini Taylor, who is a goddess of the written word. This is supposed to be a duology, so THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – Yeah. Laini makes it on this list twice, lol! I’ve started Days of Blood and Starlight so Dreams of Gods and Monsters will probably be something I’ll read either in June or July. Yep. Need my Karou-Akiva fix that’s for sure.

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – This cover is just gorgeous, and I really want to read this! Who knows when I’ll get to it, though… *twitch*

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – Same for this book! I adore Gene Luen Yang’s spinoff stories in the Avatar: The Last Airbender world, and I would love to read something based off his own perspective and not that of Team Avatar (though I could do with more of the latter as well).

What are some fabulous yellow-covered books you’ve read?

TTT: Book Moms

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With Mother’s Day having just passed, I thought this was a cool topic to delve into. Not to mention the fact that I’d just finished talking about Briar Wilkes, a mother in a particular steampunk book (which also fits into my scheme of book moms…) I’ve reread recently.

Book moms are far and few, and often they’re likely dead of something or other. Gosh, why are most of my fave heroines lacking in a mother figure anyway? But that’s a completely different topic altogether (which, now that I think about it, I wonder if I can do a “Top Ten Heroes that Received the Batman Special”…damn, that’s depressing). In any case, I wanted to celebrate the cool book moms in books I’ve read that had book moms.

Top Ten Book Moms

Snow White – Fables: Vol. 19, Snow White by Bill Willingham – This is practically the latest volumes I’ve read of Fables, but hell, I’ve always admired Snow White. I thought she’d been sidelined for many volumes, but she shined once more in this volume. She’s a mother of seven wolf cubs and while her husband Bigby tends to be the muscle and grand protector of the family, there’s no denying how overly formidable she can get when her children are on the line.

She’s somethin’ FIERCE.

Emira Maresh – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Um, OF COURSE Emira. She wasn’t as active as I’d hoped she’d be, but again, she’s a mother who has a ton of love for her two sons (and one of them’s adopted!). She’s also a waterbender. And I like waterbenders. Almost as much as I like firebenders. Um. And metalbenders. Wait. I’m in the wrong fandom…but whatever!

Molly Weasley – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – What Harry Potter fan is going to forget this iconic lady and her “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” line? Frankly, it was one of the best goddamn things in the seventh book. After having a child die and seeing a few of her sons maimed eternally by dark magic, she was having NONE OF IT when it comes to her daughter. Ginny’s got one fiery-haired mum, that’s for sure.

I still get the shivers when I see this scene.

Briar Wilkes – Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – I mean, obviously I was putting Briar on this list. At some point in the book she mentions at how bad a mother she is. Then, quite literally the next day, she’s boarding a smuggler’s airship, aidropping onto a ravaged Seattle, and braving the perils of zombie gas, rotters, and mad scientists in order to get her boy. Yeah, she’s totally a badass book mom.

Catelyn Stark – A Storm of Swords by G.R.R. Martin – Oh yeah. She also gets thrown in here for being a staunch supporting mother of all her children. I was between Catelyn and Cersei, but honestly, Cersei annoyed by in the fourth book and my heart goes out to Lady Stoneheart and her taste for vengeance. Also…DEAAAAATH.

The “I cannot even” is strong in Catelyn Stark.

Mara of the Acoma – Mistress of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts – I will admit I haven’t read this book. I absolutely loved Daughter of the Empire, and I’d read Servant of the Empire but I couldn’t bring myself to reading the third book after I was a little bit disappointed with the second. Mara, however, is still one of my favorite characters, and she becomes a mother by the third book, which upped the stakes even more in this finale of the trilogy.

Mrs. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Mrs. Bennet isn’t really the ideal mother, but hear me out. Listen. She’s still the most comedic character in all of the Austen novels put together, because she practically tells it how it is. She wants her daughters married off, and she’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks of men who scorn her daughters for their lack of wealth and standing. The woman has a screw loose in her head and she definitely has to relabel her priorities, but come on, she totally meant well.

Eleni Cooper – Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce – She’s practically a secondary character, but a strong one in the Tortallan world. Now, honestly, I would have said Thayet hands down, but Eleni has a quiet strength to her, and she gets major kudos for having reared a felon without dying of a heart attack soon after. That said, George kind of came off fine in the end, and Eleni can rest easy that her son has a comfortable life.

Mrs. Frisby – The Secret of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – I really liked this book as a kid, and I absolutely loved the animated movie that came out in the ’90s that was based on this story. Mrs. Frisby was the type of mother who went the extra mile in order to save her family from destruction. And boy oh boy, does she go places.

Queen Ashen – Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – You don’t get much of her essence in Graceling, even though much of the story happens to have taken place when Leck is still alive. That said, much of Ashen’s past comes back during Bitterblue’s story. Ashen was a queen who, like almost everyone in the Monsean court, fell victim under Leck’s Grace. This brought about all sorts of horror upon Ashen; however, she still manages to pull through when it came to the thought that her daughter would get hurt. Ashen is solely responsible for Bitterblue’s initial survival, and it is thanks to her that her daughter is queen of a once-doomed kingdom.

How about you? Which book mothers made your list?

TTT: Time Periods

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I was sitting here contemplating on whether I should write a formal blog review of the last book I read, but then it hit me that I’m mostly on a time crunch, and I was better off looking at a Top Ten Tuesday topic.

Now, it took a while to figure out what I wanted to write about, and eventually I thought: hey, well, I know WHAT time periods I’d rather not read about for the foreseeable future, but what about the time periods I’d love to read more about?

And thus the birth of this wibbly wobbly timey wimey take on this week’s topic.

Top Eight Time Periods I’d Love To Read About

The Jazz Age – Make no mistake, I love the era for its glitz and glamour, and the fact that it comes right after the Industrial Age makes this an even more interesting time period, what with the technology and the Prohibition and the booze and the jazz. Especially the booze and the jazz. And how.
Some notable books: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Diviners by Libba Bray, Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood

The ’50s – Baby Boomin’ 1950! This is mostly because I’ve watched too much Mad Men and at some point I wanted to read more stories taking place here. Also, I mean…this was more or less along the years of the Golden Age of Hollywood (well, 1940s, but we’ll count the ’50s along with it). More fiction there, plsthx!
Some notable books: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, England Expects by Sara Sheridan, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Feudal Japan – Honestly, I’d love many fantastical spins that take place in this country, provided they’re done right. Which makes me picky, because I tend to avoid fictional books of Japan unless they’re manga. All the same, I’d love to read more books set during feudal Japan, with all the samurai and the shogunate and all the lovely pre-samurai killing, technological advancements.
Some notable books: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, InuYasha manga series by Rumiko Takahashi, Shogun by James Clavell

The Salem Witch Trials – There was a time where I’d been obsessed with this time period. I don’t know why, considering the witch hunts were scary and psychotic, but I always found my fascination ran on the morbid side of things when it comes to witches and Salem. I have found this time period kind of lacking in good fiction books, but that could just be me not looking hard enough.
Some notable books: The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Witch of Blackbeard Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Ancient Ireland – Honestly, I should probably just say “Ancient Celtic” time periods, but that limited the amount of books I’ve already read to maybe one or two. Anyway, I love Ancient Celtic myths just as much as I love other stories, and the Celts were always rich with tales of magic and ritual. Also, faeries. Loads of faeries.
Some notable books: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Hounded by Kevin HearneDaggerspell by Katherine Kerr

British Regency – Honestly, why wouldn’t I want to traipse down the English countryside and visit Pemberley Manor? I’m actually reading The Jane Austen Handbook at the moment, and I just couldn’t resist adding the British Regency time period onto this list. OF COURSE it was being added onto this list.
Some notable books: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermere, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Victorian London – Well, honestly, Victorian ANYTHING suits just fine. I wouldn’t necessarily limit myself to reading just Victorian England tales. Victoriana refers to a time period within England, but I’m personally referring to the time period for around the world. Most of the books I’ve read are steampunky in nature (which is FABULOUS).
Some notable books: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, Soulless by Gail Carriger, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Historical Russia – For a time I’d been obsessed by the Romanov dynasty, and on some days, I still am! I’d love to read more fiction taking place in the past Russia. I might even slug through authors like Tolstoy. That said, I love the fiction that pulls from Slavic mythology the best, which explains why I’ve always got a soft spot for Russian fantasy.
Some notable books: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

I’ll cap it at 8 because my brain is now turning to mush.

What about you? What time period do you normally like reading about?