It’s the end of another year! In light of this fact, I thought it might be fun to do a summary post of different books I read. I wish I had kept up writing book reviews, but I can at least give a one sentence blurb for each book/series I read! So here you go! 2017!
Fiction Books Read This Year:
- Beauty by Sarah Pinborough: A quick read that is an interesting and dark twist on classic fairytales.
- The Green Rider Series (Green Rider, Rider's First Call, The High King's Tomb, Blackveil, Mirror Sight, and Firebrand) by Kristen Britain. The first three of these books were a re-read for me. I had been hoping to wait until the series had finished and for some reason...I thought it was finished. But it is most definitely not. Firebrand just left me wanting more! This is an epic fantasy series in length and breadth, but starring a female main character who is awesome. I highly recommend this series for it's fun, it's depths, and it's exploration of imperialism and colonialism. And...time travel? Yeah I didn't expect that either but it happened. I am still waiting with anticipation for the next book and hopefully, eventually the conclusion!
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Honestly before I saw the trailer for the TV series, I thought this book was about a mouse? I know, weird misconception. It's most definitely not. I highly recommend this book, even if you've seen the Hulu series. The writing is beautiful, the world terrible, and Offred compelling. Definitely a must read.
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. This is a Middle Grade Fantasy book about a girl who is basically left as a sacrifice for a witch, and about a witch who doesn't understand why a nearby town leaves an infant in the woods once a year. I highly enjoyed this book for it's magic, it's setting (a dystopian fantasy town!), as well as it's compelling characters. Definitely recommend for any younger readers in your town.
- A Purely Private Matter by Darcia Wilde. My husband picked this book up for me because it looked like a regency romance meets murder mystery, and that's....basically exactly what it is. Highly enjoyable.
- A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer. This book was recommended to me by a good friend and had been sitting on my shelf for a while. A regency romance about a couple who get married for basically monetary reasons and how over time they fall in love. My husband and I both read and enjoyed it.
- Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card. This was a reread of one my favorite books of all time. If you want to hear me gush about this book, for well over an hour, listen to the podcast I guested on where this book was the topic! (Hence the re-read!)
- Burning Brightly by Alexa Donne. This book actually hasn't come out yet, but I got the honor of reading the manuscript. This book, you guys, it made me like Jane Eyre. I hate Jane Eyre. All my problems with Jane Eyre this book fixed and made more intriguing and exciting and SPACE. Yes it's Jane Eyre set in space. Amazing. It comes out in May, you must read it!
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Do you like Star Trek or Firefly? Do you like Space shenanigans? Are you looking for a book where you get to know the crew of a little ship really well? Then read this book. Two thumbs up from both me and my husband.
- The Raven Cycle (The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; and The Raven King) by Maggie Stiefvater. This series is like an intense dream sequence that last for four books, and I mean that in the best way possible: intense, dreamy, filled with magic and mystery. One of my favorite things about this book is that it features several boys who are best friends, something I feel like YA books don't do enough. My experience in high school is that boys move in crews, and these Raven Boys are the perfect example of that. Blue--a local girl--gets caught with them and falls a bit in love with all of them. Together they chase an Arthurian type legend, and well, it won't end the way you expect, that I can guarantee. I devoured this series in like three days--including while I was at DragonCon. I literally stayed up too late at DragonCon reading this series. Which...is unheard of. So that's a high recommendation.
- The Broken Earth Series (The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky) by N.K. Jemisin. I contend that N.K. Jemisn is one of the masters of modern fantasy. Her works are always amazing, and this is no exception. It follows a woman in a world undergoing an apocalypse. This series will give you much to think about.
- The Awkward Path to Getting Lucky by Summer Heacock. I don't normally read romance, but this book you guys, it's hilarious. When my husband read it, he literally giggled out loud while reading it several times. It's about a woman who is trying to fix her broken vagina (you read that right) and get her cupcake business of the ground. This book is basically wall to wall shenanigans. If you're looking for a hilarious read, this is the one you want to read.
- Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston. It's not a year in my life if I don't read at least one Star Wars book. When I heard that the Clone Wars' Ahsoka was getting her own book and it would cover what she got up to after the end of the series and during the onset of the Empire, I had to read it. If you like Star Wars, this is definitely recommended.
- That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston. After reading her Star Wars novel, I had to read E.K. Johnston's original story, and boy am I glad I did. The story is set in a future where the British Empire never fell. A princess in disguise visits Canada, hoping to experience her coming out in society as a normal girl instead of a princess. Romance! Balls! High Society Tea! All set in a wonderfully diverse future. A heartwarming, adorable romance that resolves itself in a very refreshing way. I'd totally read a sequel about our main characters as they move forward in their lives. (Though sadly I don't think one is forthcoming.)
- Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey. This was a re-read and while Anne McCaffrey's novels don't always hold up like I would like, they still fill my heart with warm memories and nolstagia. I spent my middle school years devouring the Dragonriders of Pern and am hoping to re-read them all in the next year or so.
- They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. The title is a spoiler and a warning. This bittersweet romance is set in a future where you get a phone call the night before you die, so that you can live your last day to the fullest (so sort of a science fiction/magical realism thing.) Two incredibly different teenage boys get the call, and we follow them on their last day. Despite this not being a love story that is going to end with "they all lived happily ever after" it can at least be said that before they died, they lived.
In total that's 25 books I've read this year. I would have to say my favorites are a tie between The Broken Earth trilogy and They Both Die at the End, but the two are so radically different that I can't pick between them!
Non-Fiction Books Read* This Year:
(I listened to them on audible, but that still counts!)
- Torn by Justin Lee. Actually wrote up a review on this very website! Spoiler: I loved it.
- The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns. I loved this book, and learned so much. This book asks hard questions and instead of giving trite answers, it dives deep into them, exposing the issues and looking at why ancient people might have written something a certain way, even if it doesn't reflect "factual history" as we imagine it might. Enlightening and engaging, and written in a very readable manner. Also I really wish I had read it before I taught my Middle Schoolers about Moses so I could explain to them how the plagues of Egypt correlate to God defeating the various Egyptian gods!
- Love Wins by Rob Bell. I'm gonna be honest, I only read this because I wanted to read the book that caused Rob Bell to fall from grace of the evangelical church. And having read it...I don't get the fuss. Instead of being a hotbed of heresy, it's really just a book that asks questions that we've all asked at some point. It really doesn't have answers. But still a very easy listen, as well as one that makes you think about why you believe what you believe, and makes you confront what parts of "heaven and hell" are Biblical verses Christian culture.
- For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. This book was not written for me. I'm not a mom, and this book is clearly written for moms--for women who are drowning under the balance of life. Despite that fact that i wasn't this book's intended audience, Hatmaker's voice is so engaging that I couldn't stop listening to it. Hatmaker also confronts parts of our Christianity that are cultural with the idea that if a piece of theology doesn't work for a working single mom in Haiti then it doesn't work, which I think is a concept many in the church could use.
- Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue: I really enjoyed the first half of this book that was Mike McHargue's testimony and not so much the second half which was talking about brain science--but that's ultimately because I'm squeamish and any discussions of brain injuries is going to nauseate me--which is no good when you're driving. That said I would still recommend this book--but don't be fooled by the subtitle. This is not a book about using science to prove God. Ultimately it's about how something explainable happened to a man who considered himself an atheist, and how God wouldn't let go of him.
- Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. A personal exploration of one woman's wanderings through the church and to faith, all presented in the context of the sacraments. Beautifully written with both hilarious and poignant moments. Anyone who has ever questioned the church or their faith or why they do this thing called Christianity will find solace in this book, in knowing that they are not alone.
Fiction and Non Fiction books, I'm at a grand total of 31 books for the year, which didn't quite meet my goal of 100, but what can you do? And of course this doesn't include the mountains of fan fiction I read this year, which is much harder to quantify and keep track of.
I plan to start my 2018 on the right foot--reading!--so if you have any book recommendations just leave them in the comments!