Top Ten Tuesday #27: Best Books So Far in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic:

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2017

I was surprised, upon completing this list, to find that I have given exactly 10 books high ratings of 4.5 or 5 stars so far this year. The books are listed below, followed by two comic books that also received high ratings. Rereads were not included.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

★★★★★

Summary: A book of advice columns that Cheryl Strayed wrote as Dear Sugar for the online literary magazine The Rumpus.

Why I enjoyed it: Because some of the advice she gave were ones I needed. Because Dear Sugar is relatable and felt like a real person. Because the letters resonated with me and although I haven’t experienced the same things, I empathized with the writers and appreciated that Dear Sugar helped them to realize what they knew all along or acknowledge what they refused to admit.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

★★★★★

Summary: A thriller novel about a man whose wife disappears on their anniversary.

Why I enjoyed it: It’s entertaining and gripping and kept me on edge. I liked Amy’s voice and that the characters are unreliable, which kept me guessing and laughing at myself for believing them.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

★★★★★

Summary: A high-fantasy novel about a former soldier who returns home mentally and physically scarred and wanting only a safe place to live but becomes adviser to the princess of Chalion and uses death magic, which no one believes works, to protect her.

Why I enjoyed it: It’s engrossing and well written and refreshing in comparison to fantasy novels I usually read because the protagonist is older, in his 30s, I believe. But most of all, I LOVE how religion and gods function in the story.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

★★★★☆ 1/2

Summary: This is the comedian’s autobiography about growing up in South Africa during apartheid.

Why I enjoyed it: Because the book is both insightful and entertaining. It exposes the injustices of apartheid and the inanity of discrimination, but also tells us of the crazy shenanigans Noah got up to as a kid and the love and support of his mother, who undermined the opposition set against her to carve out a better life for herself and her kids.

Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann

★★★★★

Summary: A book of writing advice.

Why I enjoyed it: I just appreciate how McCann wrote it and how honest he is.

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

★★★★★

Summary: A horror novel about a vampire-zombie apocalypse that starts in New York City.

Why I enjoyed it: Because I freaking LOVE the TV show and am glad that it’s similar to the book though there are some changes. I like how the vampire myth is mixed in with scientific explanations to make the story plausible.

Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

★★★★★

Summary: The second novel in the Liveship Traders series about a family of traders, a pirate, and ships that can talk.

Why I enjoyed it: Because of the character developments and MAJOR revelations and expansion of the world.

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

★★★★★

Summary: A book of short stories all set in Argentina.

Why I enjoyed it: Because the stories are dark and unsettling yet provide some commentary on society.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

★★★★★

Summary: Cahalan’s memoir about a month she spent mentally disabled.

Why I enjoyed it: It was an intriguing read because Cahalan’s condition was hard to diagnose. I got hooked on the story because of the writing and my curiosity kept me reading.

Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher

★★★★★

Summary: Hornbacher’s autobiography about her struggle with bipolar disorder.

Why I enjoyed it: Well, “enjoyed” isn’t the best word. It’s a great read because the structure of the book and the way Hornbacher wrote it created a visceral reading experience that often made me feel uncomfortable and had to take breaks from the book. It is a good read that shows what living with bipolar is like and why it’s important to educate ourselves and others about mental illness.

Honorable Mentions: Comics
Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, illus. by Rags Morales

★★★★☆ 1/2

Summary: A murder mystery set in the DC Universe concerning the spouses of the Justice League of America members.

Why I enjoyed it: Because the plot kept me guessing and the illustrations are great. The illustrations here are some of the best I’ve seen in comics so far because it does a great job of conveying characters’ emotions.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen, illus. by Jamie McKelvie

★★★★★

Summary: The second volume of The Wicked + The Divine comic book series about gods who are incarnated as humans every 90 years but live for only 2 years. We get some backstory in this volume.

Why I enjoyed it: I forgot why because I read volumes 1-4 back to back and now they are all jumbled in my head. I believe I enjoyed this one more because of how the plot progresses here and because we get some backstory. It’s with this volume that I began to like the series.

That’s all my best reads for now. Let me know below what’s your top 2 best reads so far.

Top Ten Tuesday #26: Series Starters I Haven’t Started

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic:

10 series I want to start but haven’t

There are many series I want to start and I’ve seen several mentioned in blog posts I read this morning. I tried leaving comments on some, but I think WordPress is blocking me from commenting on posts because none of my comments show up after I submit them. It’s highly frustrating because I’ve already forgotten what I said on those posts. Has anyone else encountered this problem? If so, how did you fix it?

Anyway, here are 10 series that quickly came to mind:

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Top 5 Wednesday #18: Favorite Minor Characters

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic:

Favorite minor characters

For this, I chose characters who don’t figure prominently in their respective stories. Meaning instead of side characters, such as Hermione and Ron, to use the example Sam listed, I instead focused on characters with minor roles, such as Seamus and Dean. So, speaking of Harry Potter, I’ll start with

Crookshanks

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Top Ten Tuesday #25: Summer 2017 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a summer reads freebie, so I’ve decided to do my

Summer TBR!!

And since this was also the topic for last week’s Top 5 Wednesday, I’ve decided to list 15 instead of the usual 10 books (I’m just looking for a reason to list more stuff), though I hardly ever read what I place on my TBR, smh. Just once it would be nice to complete my TBR list.

Of the 10 books I listed for spring, I read five, one of which I’m currently reading. I guess I should count that as a success since reading 50% of my list is an improvement over the usual 0%. I still would like to read the other five books I didn’t get to so though I won’t list them all here, I’ll keep them in mind as I read through summer.

The plan for summer is to focus on reading my own damn books, so here’s what I plan to get stuck in:

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Top 5 Wednesday #17: More Books by These Authors, Please

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic:

Authors you want to read more from

I went crazy with this list at first and then had to remind myself that we’re limited to just 5; so I chose 7.

Lois McMaster Bujold

Bujold is first, of course. So far this year, her Curse of Chalion is the best book I’ve read. I was so hooked on that story that upon completing it, I bought the book (I’d read a copy a borrowed from the library) and the following two books in its series — Paladin of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt. I must read at least Paladin of Souls this year.

With Curse of Chalion, I was immediately drawn to Bujold’s writing and was sucked in by her storytelling. The fact that the story mixes magic with religion was icing on the top. I can’t wait to get stuck in the other books.

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Top 5 Wednesday #16: Classics and SFF

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

I skipped last week’s topic because I was too busy to post and it was difficult to think of answers for it. Last week’s topic was

Future classics

which refers to books that we think will one day be considered classics. I consider a book a classic not because it’s old or very popular, but because it presents an idea/topic in a novel way, sparks conversation or change by upseting norms, or is a forerunner of a genre, type of writing, or certain trend. Such books are also well composed. With that in mind, I chose these 5 books as my future classics:

Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

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