Best books of the year: January – June 2017

I found it incredibly frustrating to write this post, because while there are certainly books I’ve enjoyed this year, there’s been nothing that’s really blown my mind. I think I’m getting more and more difficult to please the more I read! A 5 star rating is becoming somewhat rare from me, alas. #readerproblems

However, like I said, there are books I think are still really good, so while I haven’t really gained too many new favourites in the past 6 months, the following are pretty deserving of acclaim:

Sleeping Giants & Waking Gods (Themis Files #1 & #2) – Sylvain Neuvel

I devoured this series. Entertaining as all hell, thrilling, and left me wanting more. While the first book was a 2016 release, Waking Gods came out in April this year. There’s no news as yet as to the forthcoming books, but I am keeping eyes peeled for updates.

See my reviews for Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods

Hunger: A Memoir of My Body – Roxane Gay

I’ve been reading loads more non-fiction of late, and Gay’s memoir was stellar stuff. A combination of anecdotes from her life growing up and her food issues stemming from a past trauma, combined with commentary about our current society and the way we treat bodies.

See my review for Hunger.

Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner

I don’t read nearly as much YA these days as I used to, but my word, this book shattered me and shredded me and put me back together again. A searing exploration of grief, combined with moments of rib-aching humour.

See my review for Goodbye Days.

The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) – Jane Harper

A 2016 release which I am so, so glad I picked up. Just my type of mystery – not heavy on the gore, but rather focused on the investigative work, the small-town atmosphere, and flashbacks from the past.

See my review for The Dry.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

Well-deserving of its literary success, The Hate U Give not only tackled incredibly topical societal issues, but was also well-written and contained some unexpected moments of delightful humour.

See my review for The Hate U Give.

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) – N.K. Jemisin

The second in NK Jemisin’s post-apocalyptic fantasy series was a fantastic addition, following the journey of a mother and daughter at odds in a world of those with geological powers and the societies that shun them. Highly recommended, if you haven’t checked these out already.

See my review for The Obelisk Gate.

Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times – Carolina De Robertis

A collection of essays from a diverse range of contributors for those of us in need of hope in these turbulent political times. Food for the weary spirit indeed.

Read my review for Radical Hope.

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So that’s it from my side. Any of your favourites on this list? Hoping for some more gems to come my way in the last half of this year!

Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014

Yes, I know we’re technically a day into 2015, but bear with me here. I’m doing The Perpetual Page-Turner’s 5th annual end of year book survey, looking back on the literary highs and lows of 2014. You can find more info about the survey here.

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2014 Reading Stats:

Number Of Books You Read: 250
Number of Re-Reads: 3
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Best in Books:

1. Best Book You Read In 2014? 

(I am cheating and making this my best books of the year, since picking one out of 250 is just impossible.)

  • Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – Leslye Walton
  • Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaira
  • All The Truth That’s In Me – Julie Berry
  • The Deep End of the Sea – Heather Lyons
  • The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
  • Chimes at Midnight – Seanan McGuire
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor
  • Murder of Crows – Anne Bishop
  • Cress – Marissa Meyer

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Body Electric by Beth Ravis. People were raving about it, but unfortunately the book and I just didn’t have any chemistry. Same goes for Splintered by A.G. Howard. I just didn’t see the appeal, even though so many people loved it. I was looking forward to it too!

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block. I wasn’t expecting it to be as weird and enjoyable and diverse as it was.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

I shout about Melina Marchetta to anyone who will listen. Hopefully I’ve converted some people!

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Best series started: October Daye – Seanan McGuire, Hidden Legacy – Ilona Andrews, The Young Elites – Marie Lu, Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Best sequels: Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas, Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater, Murder of Crows – Anne Bishop, Havoc – Ann Aguirre, Cress – Marissa Meyer, The Unbound – Victoria Schwab

Best series ender: Into the Still Blue – Veronica Rossi and Unmade – Sarah Rees Brennan were both satisfactory series-enders. Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach, Guardian by Alex London and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers were also pretty great, but Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor was my favourite.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Definitely Seanan McGuire! As well as Cat Winters, Danielle Jensen and Abigail Haas.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller. Historical fiction isn’t really my thing, but this was beautiful.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I Am the Mission – Allen Zadoff. I devoured it in a few hours.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I don’t generally reread unless its a series and I’m trying to refresh ahead of the sequel. But probably Blue Lily, Lily Blue – I read it in fits and starts, which led to a rather disjointed experience.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

There were lots of pretties. Too many to name.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Celaena. DUH.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld

Tease – Amanda Maciel and The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu, for dealing with the issues of slut shaming and bullying.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

To be honest, there weren’t any that made me go “Wow. What took me so long?”

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

She was not afraid. She would remake the world – remake it for them, those she had loved with this glorious, burning heart; a world so brilliant and prosperous that when she saw them again in the Afterworld, she would not be ashamed. She would build it for her people, who had survived this long, and whom she would not abandon. She would make them a kingdom such as there never had been, even if it took until her last breath. Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas

&

Any one of us could be made to look a monster, with selective readings of our history. Dangerous Girls – Abigail Haas

&

‘Humans are in love with the idea of our persisting,’ he said. ‘We fetishize it, really. Our retirement funds, our genealogies. Our so-called ideas for the ages.’ Flight Behavior – Barbara Kingsolver

&

Every revolution believes it can return something that had been lost, but nothing is ever the same. The only thing that endures are people. Syd saw that clearly now, and perhaps so too did Marie. You could serve a revolution, an idea that ended up an echo if itself, or you could serve people, with their maddening contradictions. You couldn’t serve both. You had to choose. Guardian  – Alex London

&

Adam finally sat down on one of the pews. Laying his cheek against the smooth back of it, he looked at Ronan. Strangely enough, Ronan belonged here, too, just as he had at the Barns. This noisy, lush religion had created him just as much as his father’s world of dreams; it seemed impossible for all of Ronan to exist in one person. Adam was beginning to realize that he hadn’t known Ronan at all. Or rather, he had known part of him and assumed it was all of him.The scent of Cabeswater, all trees after rain, drifted past Adam, and he realized that while he’d been looking at Ronan, Ronan had been looking at him. Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

Shortest: I’ve read quite a few novellas, so one of those.

Longest: 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami (1300 pages!)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

  • Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. I didn’t see that ending coming.
  • Testimony by Anita Shreve – just so, so disturbing (psychologically) on so many levels.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

  • Toby/Tybalt
  • Meg/Simon
  • Ronan/Adam

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

  • Calaena/Rowan
  • Blue/Ronan

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

See #1 and #5.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

None, but I have a whole lotta recs just waiting for me to get stuck into!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

It’s a tie between Rowan and Tybalt.
 
23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Again, see #1 and #5.
 
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

This survey is starting to become very Throne of Glass-heavy. Ahem.
 
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

  • The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
  • A Little Something Different – Sandy Hall
  • Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosch 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

  • All the Truth That’s In Me – Julie Berry
  • Testimony – Anita Shreve
  • The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

  • In the Shadow of Blackbirds – Cat Winters
  • I’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson
  • The Deep End of the Sea – Heather Lyons

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

See #26.
 
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Grasshopper Jungle – Andrew Smith
 
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

  • Plus One – Elizabeth Fama
  • Virgin – Radhika Sanghani

Looking Ahead:

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

My TBR pile, let me show you it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

  • A  Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas
  • Raven Cycle #4
  • Throne of Glass #4
  • Vision in Silver – Anne Bishop
  • The Mime Order – Samantha Shannon
  • Shadow Scale – Rachel Hartman
  • Lair of Dreams – Libba Bray
  • Black Iris – Leah Raeder
  • A Red Rose Chain – Seanan McGuire

Yeah, it’s a long, long list. You can see the rest here.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

See #2.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Get this lovely new baby blog up and running properly.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

None of the Above – I.W. Gregorio

Most Anticipated Reads of 2015

It’s almost 2015, which means a new year full of some fantastic book releases. In no particular order, here are my most anticipated reads:

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A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas New adult fantasy by my queen? Give it! Now! *grabby hands*

Vision in Silver – Anne Bishop One of my favourite urban fantasy series. Meg and Simon make my heart grow three sizes.

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Shadow Scale – Rachel Hartman It’s been a long wait for the sequel to Seraphina, but I’m sure it will be well worth it.

Golden Son – Pierce Brown Judging by ARC reviews, this next installment is just as epic and brutal as the first.

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Lair of Dreams – Libba Bray Supernatural mysteries in prohibition New York – it’s been a long two years since the delightful Diviners.

The Mime Order – Samantha Shannon The author set up an intriguing premise in The Bone Season, and I’m looking forward to diving back into the world of psychic London.

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Lion Heart – A.C. Gaughen The final book in the Scarlet trilogy, Lion Heart promises to deliver the action, adventure and romance we’ve come to expect.

Black Iris – Leah Raeder After the explosive Unteachable, I’m incredibly excited for the next offering from Leah Raeder.

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The Uninvited – Cat Winters After Cat Winters’ beautiful debut, I’m absolutely going to be checking out her next historical/supernatural novel.

Pocket Apocalypse (InCryptid #4) – Seanan McGuire Funny and fast-paced with plenty of mysterious beasties, the InCryptid series is wildly entertaining.

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Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard There’s been so much hype about this book – I hope it lives up to my high expectations!

And the beauties without covers:

The Gift of Power – Tamora Pierce Another novel in the Tortall universe! Fans, rejoice.

A Red Rose Chain (October Daye #8) – Seanan McGuire My favourite UF series. Toby/Tybalt FOREVER.

Hidden Legacy #2 – Ilona Andrews One of my auto-buy authors. So much UST, and a great magic system I hope they explore further in this book.

The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick Huntley Fitzpatrick writes exquisite contemporary novels. I’ve read and adored her previous work.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo After the popular Grisha series, it seems Ms Bardugo is back with another series set in the same universe. Intrigued!

Throne of Glass #4 – Sarah J Maas NEED I SAY ANY MORE? REALLY?

Winter – Marissa Meyer A series which has just consistently gotten better, the finale to Marissa Meyer’s interconnected retellings of popular fairy tales is set to make us laugh and cry.

Raven Cycle #4 – Maggie Stiefvater PLEASE DON’T KILL GANSEY. Also, Ronan/Adam = hearts in my eyes.

Passenger – Alexandra Bracken A new series brought to us by the author of The Darkest Minds trilogy, one of the strongest YA dystopias out there.