TTT: New-To-Me Authors of 2017

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Happy New Year! Last year I experimented a lot on different authors, especially because of the amount of audiobooks I borrowed and listened to. I also didn’t stray too far from my favorites, and ended up reading a fair share of familiar authors as well. What I did like is that regardless of what I’d read earlier on in the year, a number of authors wrote their stories so lovely that I wanted more. Here are just a lovely few!

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2017

Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes) – Admittedly, I was very dry on high fantasies in 2017, which is sad, because some really epic stories are going on in the high fantasy/epic fantasy genre that I really need to pick up more on that front. I may have yelled at Sabaa a bit in my mind (and maybe once or twice on Twitter…), but AEitA was SO GOOD.

Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season) – Not sure why I enjoyed her debut book so much, because strip the worldbuilding away and it’s almost a typical YA story. That said, clairvoyant magic system. Yaaaaspls.

Katherine Arden (The Bear and the Nightingale) – Arden has certainly built up my kind of historical fairy-tale setting! Arden’s TBatN and its sequel The Girl in the Tower remind me of something Juliet Marillier would write about if Marillier wrote about Russian fairy tales. All the same, I love both authors now, so yay!

Raina Telgemeier (Sisters) – Telgemeier is my new Satrapi, except I actually related more to Sisters, which is, as its moniker would have it, a story that is exactly about sisters. I’m pretty keen on reading the rest of Telgemeier’s graphic novel series, because she really did make me laugh.

Carrie Fisher (Wishful Drinking) – HERE COMES THE GENERAL (RISE UP!). Been meaning to read through her work, and her passing early in 2017 propelled me into getting a copy of at least one of her biographies. Loved the voice, loved her humor.

Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine) – I was mostly on the fence for some of the volumes of this series, but I will admit that the writing is absolute crack and altogether ingenious. Loved the illustration as well in his TW+TD series, but when it came down to writing in so many different voices, Gillen has many beat.

Vikas Swarup (Q&A) – Loved the perspective in this book. I read this as an audiobook, so it was easier to imagine the setting (though to be honest, imagining the setting wasn’t hard when most of your head was ingrained in Slumdog Millionaire…). I really liked the story, though.

Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See) – All the Light We Cannot See is Doerr’s highest-rated book on Goodreads, but I might have to try his other books. That said, I had a love-hate relationship with his ending in AtLWCS, so if his other books end in a similar manner, I might just nope out of it. He writes beautifully, in any case.

Vic James (Gilded Cage) – This was one of the NetGalley ARCs that I thoroughly enjoyed reading in 2017. I will definitely be interested in reading more from this author, and I really should get myself a copy of the second book somehow!

Margaret C. Sullivan (The Jane Austen Handbook) – Enjoyed this book! I also realized I actually did read another book of hers, so she’s technically not new to me, but we won’t really count the other Jane Austen book, since it was mainly one about covers! So there.

How about you? Which authors would you like to read more of that you read in 2017?

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TTT: Best Books of 2017

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I haven’t done these in a while, but it was the perfect time to get back to Top Ten Tuesdays! I’ve had to reflect on the books I’ve read this year, because lately I’ve been reading meh books. Might be because I’m on a reading funk, and I really just need to get back out of it. In any case, the audiobooks I’ve listened to so far haven’t been hitting it out of the ballpark either.

However! I do have a current top ten list, and save for maybe one or two, there isn’t much of a change!

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda – I am loving this world and this series so far, and for me, the second volume knocked it out of the ballpark as well. Loved the first, the second was just as strong, and I cannot wait for the next volume! Maybe it’ll be up by this upcoming BookCon 😀 (review)

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – WHY WOULDN’T THIS BE IN MY TOP TEN. I cried, I laughed, I squeed. It was just such a great end to a trilogy, and I’m SO STOKED that Schwab’s got more in sights in this world! (review)

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Mercy and Adam POVs always make me happy. And this book started off with chocolate, so that made me doubly happy. (review)

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher – I loved Carrie Fisher’s voice, and the fact that she narrates this memoir on top of it was fantabulous.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – THIS HURT ME SO MUCH. But the rewards at the end was absolutely worth the pain and agony. Also, I ship Liraz and Ziri so hard it’s not even funny. (review)

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier – Pretty much defines my life with my siblings. This was a book I picked up because I’d assigned it to my kids, but holy hell, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much. (review)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – This was one of my favorites because I totally have a girly-crush on Elias which is a little strange, considering how old these characters are, but my brain is that of a 20-year-old so we’ll pretend that’s what I am. Okay, I also really adored the gladiator-like competition in this book. And the fact that you have strong female characters that knock it out of the ballpark. (review)

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie – For the most part, I am on a roller coaster effect with this series. It’s really good, and I absolutely love the artwork, but the fifth one was by far my favorite.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – One of my dark horses on this list. I was really impressed by the magical system in this book, and I got into the characters very quickly. I should catch up to this series, but considering it’s a planned 7 (or 8?) book series, I have some time. (review)

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – I haven’t read much from NetGalley lately, but this was something I’d picked up last year and ended up reading and finishing in January of 2017. It was definitely my favorite of the NetGalley books I’ve read this year, and for good reason! (review)

How about you? What books made your top ten of 2017?

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?