Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2017

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

I am well into my second year of blogging.  In is interesting to note that I have read so much less because I am writing about books instead of reading them and also because I have been sucked into the time warp that is Twitter.  Send help.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: February 28th 2017
Rating: Full review of The Hate U Give
Times read: 1
Recommended by: The whole world really but I first say it on Goodreads

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” 

This is such a gimme. The Hate U Give is both a pointed social commentary commentary and a warm hearted story of a girl learning to unify the two worlds that she inhabits. I have lost count of the number of times that I have recommended it.  It has gotten huge amounts of accolades and awards and frankly it deserved every single one.


The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill

Goodreads Amazon Audible
Series: no
Published: August 9th 2016
Rating: How have I not reviewed this?  SHAME
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

“A story can tell the truth...but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed. And who could benefit most from such a power?” 

The writing was beautiful, the atmosphere enchanting, and There was also a tiny dragon "no bigger than a pigeon" who spends the book convinced that he is "perfectly enormous' and that he just happens to be in a land of giants.  I could have died of the cute.  The book manages some super dark concepts with a light touch and after I finished reading it I felt better about the world.


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Published: 1908
Rating: Full review of Anne of Green Gables
Times read:1
Recommended by:  So many people over the years but my friend Mary finally tipped the balance when she sent me an article about what the books vs. the films.

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” 

Oh, the shame of not having read this book as a child.  But now that I have I am going to feel forever sad that past me was so stubborn. It also makes me want to plan a trip to Prince Edward Island.


To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
by Jenny Han

Goodreads | Amazon  | Audible
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Published: April 15th 2014)
Rating: Full review of To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Times read:1
Recommended by:  I have had it on my TBR pile since 2014 so I have no idea anymore

“It’s not like in the movies. It’s better, because it’s real.”

Another one that I help out on reading for an embarrassingly long time.  I am going to be honest and admit that it was the "boys" part of the title. In my head Lara Jean was somehow juggling 5 or 6 guys and I wasn't interested in that story. But after seeing it recommended over and over again I was finally convinced to take the leap and I am so glad that I did. Sisters! baking! The most adorable fake relationship in the history of fake relationships! I heart Lara Jean forever!


The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertal

The Upside of Unrequited
by Becky Albertalli

Goodreads | Amazon  | Audible
Series: Yes-ish?
Published: April 11th 2017
Rating: Full review of The Upside of Unrequited
Times read:1
Recommended by:  Becky Albertalli is an autobuy for me.

"I don’t think there are words to explain how I feel. Okay, you know the emoji that’s laughing and crying all at once? It’s that. I am that."

I loved this book but it made be think a whole lot about high school me and holy crap was I exhausting.


Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl

Kids Like Us
by Hilary Reyl

Goodreads Amazon
Series: no
Published: November 14th 2017
Rating: Y U No review, Tara?
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Cait at Paperfury

"Layla says that neurotypical people project on us a lot. They think we can be happy only if we become like them. They don’t understand that the way we are is the only way we can be, like having blue eyes, or being male or female, or being human even. It’s not something we can change, Layla says, and they should stop making us try. I’m not sure what my own opinion about this is, but I think about it more than once every day."

I have been thinking about this line ever since I read it.  


Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin
by Nic Stone

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 17th 2017
Rating: Full review of Dear Martin
Times read: 1
Recommended by: The whole internet but I think that Goodreads' algorithm steered me to it first.

“You can’t change how other people think and act, but you’re in full control of you. When it comes down to it, the only question that matters is this: If nothing in the world ever changes, what type of man are you gonna be?”

I might love this book more than The Hate U Give which is saying a whole lot. It hasn't gotten nearly the same amount of attention as THUG and that is a shame. I have been shamelessly tossing this at everyone because I will not rest until the whole world has read it.


“Only the ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.”

The Night Circus
by Erin Morganstern

Goodreads Amazon
Series: nope
Published: May 24th, 2012
Rating: Full review of The Night Circus
Number of times read: 1
Recommended by: It escapes me

“Only the ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.” 

This book has a different feel than anything than I can remember reading before.  It was magical.


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer
by Laini Taylor

Goodreads | Amazon| Audible
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Published: March 28th 2017
Rating: Full Review of Strange the Dreamer
Number of times read: 1
Recommended by: Autobuy author

“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn’t sleep at all.”

This is a fairy tale.  Or a dream made into a book.  If it was a movie it would be shot in that gauzy soft focused way that flashbacks are shot in.  Oh, my GOD the writing.  I loved every word and am DYING to read the next book.  


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: kind of a spin off...
Published: February 2nd 2016
Rating: Full review of Salt to the Sea
Number of times read: 1
Recommended by: myself as soon as I say Ruta had another book out

“I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself.” 

I read Salt to the Sea in one sitting and immediately bought my mother a copy so that I would be able to talk to her about it.  It is the story of a disaster at the end of WWII and yet the commentary of refugees, war, and guilt are especially relevent in today's world.  

Do we have any of the same favorite books?

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Mini Review Monday: Under the Light, Saints and Misfits, The Serpent King, Learning to Swear in America, and The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

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It's that time again... 


Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb 

Under the Light
by Laura Whitcomb 

Goodreads Amazon 
Series: (Light #2)
Published: May 14th 2013
Rating: Pretty but kind of a letdown.
Times read: 2
Recommended by: sequel to a book I love

“Perhaps it wasn't that time had frozen but that it was now moving at the pace of infinity. A moment now becomes a century.” 

I loved A Certain Slant of Light and was very worried that if I didn't love this book with all my heart, my enjoyment of A Certain Slant of Light would be diminished.  This sequel follows the teenagers Jenny and Billy whose bodies Helen and James had taken over as they try to figure out the connection between them and what happened to them in the time that they don't remember. It was okay, but I found it a bit forced.  It wasn't necessary as the first book had tied things up already and this book unraveled things a bit to work.  


Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali 

Saints and Misfits
by S.K. Ali 

Goodreads Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: June 13th 2017
Rating: How is a book this serious this adorable?
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Kelly Jenssen on the Hey YA podcast

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” 

The main character of this realistic contemporary is Janna Yusuf, a charmingly relatable Arab Indian-American hijab-wearing sixteen-year-old trying to figure out where she fits in at school and with her community.  I was interested in the Muslim community aspect of her life because there are so few books that show how it looks day in and day out.  The best part of this book is Janna who is portrayed not as an Islamic paragon or as a victim but as a human being. She is getting over a traumatic event that happened over the summer, dealing with a crush, and just trying to figure herself out.  I will be throwing this at everyone because this is the feel-good book that we all need. 


The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: March 8th 2016
Rating: Star after star
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Cait at Paperfury

“Nothing makes you feel more naked than someone identifying a desire you never knew you possessed.”

I went into this book thinking that it was a fantasy book because of the title.  It wasn't, but it is one of the best contemporary YA books that I have ever read.  There was excellent characterization, personal growth, family struggles, and just all around fantastic writing. Also, I cried.  I was fully committed to all the characters.  I wanted Dill to escape his life, for Travis to become a writer, and for Lydia to blossom.  It managed to walk that fine balance between heart-wrenching and heartwarming. I laughed and cried and laughed and cried and then laughed and cried some more.

 


The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher 

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
by Brian Katcher 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: none
Published: May 19th 2015
Rating: pretty boring
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads?

“Because that's the way the world works, isn't it? You can work hard and be miserable, or do nothing and be happy.” 

Should I be laughing this hard at a book where an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth and, the main character is a teenage  Russian genius trying to prevent it? Yuri has no social skills whatsoever, and his attempts at interacting with others and especially a girl he might like are gold.  I can't think of another character like him in YA.  The math and physics in the book seem well researched and plausible although, would I know if they weren't?  Yay, for books with math. The ending was a bit anticlimactic for me, but it's awesomeness remains.

 


Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Learning to Swear in America
by Katie Kennedy

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: July 5th 2016
Rating: Different but good
Times read: 1
Recommended by: someone on Twitter

“I was thinking," Yuri said, licking blood from the corner of his mouth, "that since I bothered to save the world, people might shut up during movies.” 

Should I be laughing this hard at a book where an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth and, the main character is a teenage  Russian genius trying to prevent it? Yuri has no social skills whatsoever, and his attempts at interacting with others and especially a girl he might like are gold.  I can't think of another character like him in YA.  The math and physics in the book seem well researched and plausible although, would I know if they weren't?  Yay, for books with math. The ending was a bit anticlimactic for me, but it's awesomeness remains.


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Ten Bookish Settings I'm Still Mad I Can't Visit

Ten Bookish Settings I'm Still Mad I Can't Visit
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Awesome people over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Here's the thing: I love fantasy but I almost never want to live in the worlds. Think about it.  Would you want to accidentally end up in Pannem, or Westeros, or the universes of the Red Queen or An Ember in the Ashes? I do not think so.  First I would have to shriek in horror and then I would have to hide.  I have absolutely no practical skills so I am pretty much guaranteed not to survive.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone  by J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (Harry Potter #1)
Published: June 26th 1997
Rating: a homecoming
Times read: almost inumerable
Recommended by: basically the whole world

“Don’ you worry, Harry. You’ll learn fast enough. Everyone starts at the beginning at Hogwarts, you’ll be just fine. Just be yerself. I know it’s hard. Yeh’ve been singled out, an’ that’s always hard. But yeh’ll have a great time at Hogwarts — I did — still do, ’smatter of fact.” 

Listen, I am an adult.  I didn't read the books until I was 19 years old. I am still pissed that I didn't get a Hogwarts letter and that I am forever doomed to be a Muggle.  It is boring.


The Dragonriders of Pern  by Anne McCaffrey

Pern

The Dragonriders of Pern
by Anne McCaffrey

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (Dragonriders of Pern #1-3)
Published: January 1st 1968
Rating: I want a dragon dammit
Times read: dozens
Recommended by: Myself and strangly later on I found out that my paternal grandmother was into the books as well.

"Rukbat, in the Sagittarian Sector, was a golden G-type star. It had five planets, two asteroid belts and a stray planet that it had attracted and held in recent millennia."

This isn't a new desire.  I have wanted to go to Pern and impress a dragon since I ran into Dragonsong at the library when I was in middle school. I had a name picked out and terrible fanfiction written and everything. Which I sent by snail main to Anne Mccaffrey as a twelve year old. She actually sent a postcard of the Masterharper back.  Which is in my mothers attic because I couldn't bear to get rid of it. My life is still annoyingly dragon free and that is not okay. 


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  by C.S. Lewis

Narnia

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (The Chronicles of Narnia #1)
Published: October 16th 1950
Rating: magical
Times read: a lot, okay. 
Recommended by: My fifth grade teacher read it aloud to us at school.

“She stayed behind because she thought it would be worthwhile trying the door of the wardrobe, even though she felt almost sure that it would be locked. To her surprise it opened quite easily....” 

Did I know what a wardrobe was the first time that I read this book?  Of course not.  Does that even matter?  If you have a huge amount of money and haven't spent it on a house in the country that has a secret room with a Wardrobe made from applewood that was brought back from the beginning of the world that leads you into a magic world of perpetual winter with a Faun who makes you tea then you are spending your money wrong and should give it to me.


Dealing with Dragons  by Patricia C. Wrede

The Enchanted Forest

Dealing with Dragons
by Patricia C. Wrede

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1)
Published: 1990
Rating: Dragons!
Times read: 7 or 8 probably
Recommended by: I found it at my library in middle school

"Linderwall was a large kingdom, just east of the Mountains of Morning, where philosophers were highly respected and the number five was fashionable."

Wrede, Patricia C. (2015-09-14T22:58:59). Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles) (Kindle Locations 101-102). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition. 

Think of every fairy tale, myth, and folktales that you have ever heard. Add a sense of the ridiculous.  Stir in an independent Princess and serve with cherries jubilee.  It has been so many years since I have first read these books and I still find them HILARIOUS.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Geisha Verse

Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads |  Amazon  | Audible
Series:  Six of Crows #1
Release date: September 29th 201
Rating: Full review of Six of Crows
Times read: 2
Recommended by: pretty much everyone who has ever read it

"If you couldn’t walk by yourself through Ketterdam after dark, then you might as well just hang a sign that read “soft” around your neck and lie down for a beating."

This might not be the nicest place to live. I mean. Ketterdam is basically hopped up on all the worst parts of capitalism and thats the safest place.  However, I could be hanging out with Kaz and the gang and that is enough for me.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Shire

The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Middle Earth .5
Published: September 21st 1937
Rating: precious
Times read: 5
Recommended by: my mom got the audiobook version to listen to in the car when we drove from New York to South Dakota.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” 

ONLY THE SHIRE.  Terrible things are going on everywhere else in Middle Earth and I want nothing to do with it.  I want to live where there are second breakfasts and seed cake.  Is that too much to ask? Additionally, casual research suggests that adventure is quite easy to find there if you know where to look.


Wonder Woman: Warbringer  by Leigh Bardugo

Themyscira

Wonder Woman: Warbringer
by Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: (DC Icons #1)
Published: August 28th 2017
Rating: girl power
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Fist saw it on Goodreads

"The island seeks to please, her mother had told her. It was why Themyscira was forested by redwoods in some places and rubber trees in others; why you could spend an afternoon roaming the grasslands on a scoop-neck pony and the evening atop a camel, scaling a moonlit dragonback of sand dunes. They were all pieces of the lives the Amazons had led before they came to the island, little landscapes of the heart."

I might be very happily married but I wouldn't mind planning a vacation to a beautiful island inhabited only by wise woman.  The patriarchy is getting me down. 


Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Other Side of the Wall

Stardust
by Neil Gaiman

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: August 29th 2006
Rating: I actually like the film better...shhhh
Times read: 1
Recommended by: I read it after I say the film

"A warm wind stroked Tristran’s face: it smelled like peppermint, and blackcurrant leaves, and red, ripe plums; and the enormity of what he had done descended on Tristran Thorn. He was walking into Faerie, in search of a fallen star, with no idea how he would find the star, nor how to keep himself safe and whole as he tried."

So there is a witch and some murderous princes.  Every place has it's problems.  I still want to visit.


22055262.jpgA Darker Shade of Magic   by V.E. Schwab

Red London

A Darker Shade of Magic  
by V.E. Schwab

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Shades of Magic #1
Published: February 24th 2015
Rating: Worth more than one London
Times read: 2
Recommended by: I think Cait at Paperfury

“You don’t know anything about these worlds,” he said, but the fight was bleeding out of his voice. “Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.” 

Again, I have to be quite specific here.  Red London and Red London ONLY.  Grey London is boring and 19th century gross.  White London is not a place that I ever want to see in real life.  Black London is the stuff of nightmares.  Red London on the other hand is awesome in it's magic, beauty, and having Kell doesn't hurt anything either.


If you could spend some time in another world which one would you choose?

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