Top 20 Books of 2017

I set my Goodreads challenge to complete 15 books, and I read 73.  There’s something to be said for underestimation.  I low-balled it because last year, I put 20 on my challenge, but only finished 19; however, I discovered that by putting books on my schedule/to-do list, I could complete them like a fiend.  At some points I was reading eight at a time, but I mostly stuck with my favorite number: seven.  That…was too much though, and while I love to read, I also want to have enough time to do other things.  So I cut down to four, which might still sound like a lot, but one is a Kindle that I read on my lunch break; one is a fiction/fantasy; one varies between a classic or a non-fiction/reference (before I was reading one of each); and the last is a graphic novel/manga, which are easy to breeze through.  Compare this to two Kindles, one fiction/fantasy, one classic, one non-fiction/reference, one graphic novel/manga, and one library book. I’m currently borrowing Death Note from the library for my manga, and I’ll borrow fictions/fantasies from there, too.


Total Books Read: 73

  1. Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin
  2. In the House of the Wyrm by George R. R. Martin
  3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Rest in Piece by B. W. Ginsburg
  6. The Missing Orchid by Fia Black
  7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh
  9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  11. Descendants by Rae Else
  12. The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton
  13. Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob
  14. The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh
  15. Radiance by Grace Draven
  16. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K, Vaughn
  17. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Eidolon by Grace Draven
  19. A Father’s Protection by K. J. Hawkins
  20. Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  21. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (edited) by Patrick Thorpe
  22. Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn
  23. Silent Child by Sarah K. Denzil
  24.  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  25. Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K, Vaughn
  26. Saga: Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn
  27. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
  28. Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn
  29. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  30. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  31. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn
  32. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  33. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  34. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  35. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
  36. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Volume 1 by Katie Cook
  37. Poetic Edda: The Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Anonymous
  38. Never Never: Part One by Colleen Hoover
  39. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  40. Never Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover
  41. Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover
  42. The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  43. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson
  44. Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
  45. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss
  46. Monstress #1: Awakening
  47. An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
  48. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  49. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  50. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  51. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  52. Abstract Clarity by B. W. Ginsburg
  53. Chobits, Vol. 1 by CLAMP
  54. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
  55. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  56. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba
  57. Master of Crows by Grace Draven
  58. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
  59. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson
  60. Promethea, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  61. Blink Once by Cylin Busby
  62. Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba
  63. The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
  64. The Daemoniac by Kat Ross
  65. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
  66. Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run by Tsugumi Ohba
  67. Death Note, Vol 4: Love by Tsugumi Ohba
  68. Gyo by Junji Ito
  69. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  70. Parallel by Anthony Vicino
  71. Death Note, Vol. 5: Whiteout
  72. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  73. Death Note, Vol 7: Give-and-Take by Tsugumi Ohba
Total Fiction/Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 46 (63%)
Total Classic: 3 (4%)
Total Non-Fiction/Reference: 4 (5%)
Total Graphic Novels/Manga: 20 (27%)

I was going to do this whole shebang with “Most Read Author,” “Favorite New Author,” “Favorite Series,” and all this other stuff, but I decided on just doing a Top 20 with that number as an increase from the original 10.  I marked around 14 books as potential Tops and figured I could find six more.

20. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

The cover of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David EaglemanOne of the best parts of reading this book was the perfect timing when I read it: in the midst of watching a Let’s Play of SOMA, which I’ve spoken of at great length (even though the review/essay is still to come).  Incognito explores the intricacies of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious processes and how the latter two form the foundation of the first.  It’s written in such a way that psychological novices can still follow with relatable analogies and examples, but the volume is not without some major issues, which I started noticing around Chapter 4 with Eagleman’s views on beauty/attractiveness that spiraled unfortunately towards racism (yes…really).  He also didn’t fully explore the reasons behind why we have unconscious biases, which never just come out of a vacuum.  While the author has a flair for piquing interest in subjects that could easily come off as tedious, his essentialism and (seemingly) unwillingness to take environmental influences into account raises my brows (and hackles) a bit (e.g. his insistence that having a Y chromosome essentially makes one more violent without considering this propensity could be due to how those perceived as having a Y chromosome are treated from [often before] birth is only one of many).  While I enjoyed the book for what information it imparted, especially for those unfamiliar with psychology, the fore mentioned (and other) issues prompt me to insist it be read with a discerning eye and copious grains of salt.

19. Dweller by Jeff Strand

The cover of Dweller by Jeff StrandThis novel was like a more fucked up version of Harry and the Hendersons, if the Hendersons were a once brutally bullied loner and Harry was a man eating abomination.  I really wanted to know where the monster came from.  Was he some government experiment gone wrong?  A throwback from an early time?  A creature from an alien dimension?  Everything about him just breeds more questions, but his relationship with Toby is both poignant and disturbing.  A lot of fucked up things happen in this book.  I was initially unsure about Strand’s writing style, but it grew on me as did Toby’s character.  It made sense why the author wrote it in this way: it perfectly reflected the MC’s mental state.  This is one of those books that has the perfect ending, as in there’s no other way it could’ve ended for these characters that would’ve been as satisfactory.

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The State of the Writer: 12/3/17

<–The State of the Writer: 10/26/17          The State of the Writer: 12/17/17–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished This Month: 1

Project: Essay
Status: Finished Written – Editing Audio

I’d love that number to say “2,” but I’ve already spoken of my NaNo tale of woe, though I did write something in November for a collaborative project soon to be published.  The written part is entirely finished and proofread but I’d like to have the audio recording edited before it’s posted.  The essay is a comparative between two games that have had a long standing flame war with their respective fans, focusing on one aspect in particular.

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The State of the Reader: 10/18/17

<–The State of the Reader: 10/11/17          The State of the Reader: 10/25/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Instituting some updates/changes to this weekly update.  The way it’s currently done is too time consuming to sustain, so I’ll be removing and altering sections.  In terms of the former, the Sample section has been axed.  It’s redundant insofar as I include those books when I add them.  If I decide not to keep something per sample that will be noted; otherwise, assume if I add it to my TBR section that I’m planning to read it.


Books Purchased This Week: 3

Title: Ubik
Author: Philip K. Dick
Date Added: August 29, 2017
Date Purchased: October 13, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.99
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 10/11/17

<–The State of the Reader: 10/4/17          The State of the Reader: 10/18/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton: Kept – The second book in the Flipped Fairy Tales series seems just as promising as the first.
  2. The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin: Kept – This is one of the books I broke my “one book per author” rule for since I had it on my “Blogger Recommendations” list.  I own the first book in Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, so chances are I’ll read that first, but it was hard to turn down a book in a series called Dreamblood.
  3. The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue: Kept – Another book I broke my fore mentioned rule for.  I always think of A Monster Calls whenever I see this book.  I guess because “monster” is in both their titles.  The beginning of this has potential in the prologue with its “dream house” setting.
  4. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: Kept – This completes the triad of books that break my “one book per author rule.”  The “wonder” is a little girl who apparently lives off of air.  Curious how the author is going to tackle the “breatharian” controversy.
  5. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Kept (RWTR) – It only took the first two sentences.  I’m not even joking: “On the morning we were to leave for our Grand Tour of the Continent, I wake in bed beside Percy.  For a disorienting moment, it’s unclear whether we’ve slept together or simple slept together.” I laughed aloud at my desk.  It’s just the most appropriate line and exactly what I’d expect from a story with this title and premise.  I initially put it on my library shelf, but just switched it on my to-buy shelf.
  6. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss: Kept – It opens with a funeral.   My favorite thing!  I’ve already read and liked the author’s other work, and a story about the daughters of fictional monsters sounds interesting enough to borrow from the library.

Books Purchased This Week: 3

Title: The Stillness of the Sky
Series Title: Flipped Fairy Tale
Author: Starla Huchton
Date Added: August 16, 2017
Date Purchased: October 3, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.99
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Writer: 10/8/17

<–The State of the Writer: 10/1/17          The State of the Writer: 10/15/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include (but not be limited to) any and all work(s) in progress (WIPs) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, and reviews.  Additionally, this post will showcase what writing projects I’ve completed in the past week as a sort of weekly roundup, as I’ve seen other cooler bloggers do.

Finished This Week: 0


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 260,204
Prior Word Count: 260,270
Word Difference: -66
Status: Revising
Progress: Chapter 2

Did I make progress in my revisions this week?  Kind of…I did more prep than actual revising, but I guess that’s what happens when you decide to go back to the beginning.  I finished Chapter 1 fairly quickly, because there wasn’t much to change in Chapter 1, just some clean up of stuff I somehow missed in my multitude of edits.

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The State of the Reader: 10/4/17

<–The State of the Reader: 9/27/17          The State of the Reader: 10/11/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell: Kept – I’m blanking on what I read of this sample,but I know I loved the cover of this book, which mimics the Auryn on the cover of The Neverending StoryIt takes place in modern NYC where anyone with magical power who dares to enter becomes trapped by something called the Brink.
  2. Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin: Kept (RWTR) – I’m reading a book with a similar mien Blink Once where there’s a comatose and/or locked in person serving as an unreliable narrator due to the nature of their condition so we, the readers, aren’t quite sure what’s going on.
  3. Lock and Mori by Heather W. Petty: Kept – After downloading the correct sample, I decided to keep it even though I only skimmed the first page or two.  I’m also reading a book similar to this in The Daemoniac, showing Sherlockian motifs are still alive and kicking.  Just realized the title has a similar sound to Rick and Morty with the “ck” ending of the first name, and the “ry” sound of the second, especially since Morty’s “t” is very soft.
  4. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: Kept (RWTR) – Holy shit yes…I want to read this so badly.  It’s a bit pricey for Kindle, though I don’t know if that’s the correct belief tbh.  I think digital should be less, because there’s no physical materials to deal with, but I’ll probably change my tune when I get more involved in the publishing biz.  This seems like something I’d like to own though.  The first paragraph has the main character wondering how mermaids pee, and despite Rick and Morty’s exclamations about “mermaid puss,” I think it’s a valid question (second Rick and Morty reference ftw).
  5. The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger: Kept – I already like the character of Raven, and I’m already pissed off for her.  She stood up for herself against bullying/verbal abuse, and now she’s in trouble?  Absolute bullshit.
  6. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: Kept – A home for wayward fairy tale children.  Curious to see how this all comes together.  Also every time I read this title, I immediately think of this lyric in the song “St. Theresa” by Joan Osbourne.  “Every stone a story like a rosary.”  I think it’s because the title has the same cadence as the lyric (at least up until “story”).  I have this weird thing about cadences.  I definitely remember songs in what I call my “auditory memory,” but it works for cadences, too.  So even something not sung, but said in a particular way will activate that.
  7. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker: Kept – Two sisters go missing; one returns.  What happened to the other one?  An odd influence for this add came from a DNF read Vassa in the NightEven though the book didn’t hold my interest, I still love the title.  Since I’ve seen it in more than one place, I won’t feel like I’m “stealing” if I use it as a naming convention for a story or chapter.

Books Purchased This Week: 0


Books Finished This Week: 1

Title: The Diamond Tree
Author: Michael Matson
Date Added: January 26, 2016
Date Started: September 28, 2017
Date Finished: October 1, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days

Media: eBook/Kindle

This was a cute, little fairy tale with all the proper elements, though I could’ve done with a bit of a shakeup from the typical enchanted princess/love at first sight Rescue Romance.

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The State of the Reader: 9/27/17

<–The State of the Reader: 9/20/17          The State of the Reader: 10/4/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. Ink and Bone by Rachel  Caine: Kept (RWTR) – A world where the Great Library of Alexandria wasn’t destroyed, and the opening chapter/prologue is one letter from some pompous ass who happens to be royal stating that women don’t need to be education and/or only need such education as men decree, and the answer letter from his “inferior” essentially telling him to fuck off and that his daughter will be educated.  I’ve dabbled in the idea of the Library of Alexandria existing, and I have intentions of writing a story where education is freely given to all, so I’m very interested in reading this book.
  2. Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris: Kept – More psychological and depraved thrills!  Things are never what they seem when the veneer is perfect.
  3. Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Kept – When I was in Target I read the first few pages of this book, so I count that as a “downloaded sample,” since I “downloaded” it into my brain.  Regardless, I read a sample, liked it, and added it.  It’s about a world where death only exists through Reapers whose job is integral to keeping the balance.
  4. We Are the Ants by Shaun Hutchinson: Kept (RWTR) – So this book has a gay main character who consistently is abducted by aliens who tell him he can press a button to stop the end of the world in 144 days…but he doesn’t want to do it for reasons that will be explored.
  5. Eon by Alison Goodman: Kept – It’s given away right in the blurb that Eon is really Eona, a girl masquerading as a boy, because only boys are allowed to use dragon magic *huge sigh* I guess no one i this universe has read A Song of Ice and Fire.  I like the eastern influences I see in this book so far.  I hope they continue and are properly conveyed.
  6. Legend of the Guardians by Kathryn Lasky: Kept – I must have missed this one when I was doing my sample downloads, because I added it a long time ago.  This is the book that owl movie Guardians of Ga’hoole was based on.
  7. Reliquary by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: Kept – I passed on the first book in the series The Relic, but was told that this one might be a better fit.  It seems good enough to add to my library list.
  8. The Swan Riders by Erin Bow: Kept – I’m not even sure why I downloaded the sample for this since I loved the first book in the series The Scorpion Rules, so I knew I was going to continue the series.

I finally, finally caught up on all of my samples, meaning I’ve downloaded everything up to what I’ve currently added.  There may be a few I missed, but as of now I’ve either read samples of everything on my TBR list or they’re not books I’m going to or can’t download samples of (non-fiction/reference, graphic novels/manga, pending publication and not available for download),  Bow when I add something, I’m going to try to remember to download the sample as well if applicable.

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