Friday, January 5, 2018

Favorite Reads & Reviews of 2017

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had fun with friends and family over the holiday! We enjoyed the family and friends side of it, the sudden plunge into below freezing weather? Not so much lol.

Last year my family went through a crazy year of accidents and health issues, but thankfully everyone's happy and healthy now. I learned a lot about writing - namely - don't try to write five books at one time. (obviously) I also came back to the book blogging world. My way of giving back to the community I love best <3

As we dive into 2018 I wanted to share my favorite reads and reviews from this past year. Would love to hear yours in the comments below! 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's rare for a sequel to surpass its predecessor but Intrinsic was simply fantastic. While I loved the characters and story of Phobic, I connected more with Everly. Also I'm a die hard fan of anything with fantastical libraries, old Russia, the 20's and time travel, which Intrinsic has in spades. Lovely paranormal romance for any age.

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-0.5)The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Each novella weaves together effortlessly so many elements from the series. A wonderful, fun, devastating prequel to Throne of Glass.

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laini Taylor never disappoints. Strange the Dreamer is written with dreamy prose and fantastical word pictures. A book to sink your sweet tooth into, sumptuous and seductive. Her prose is perhaps the best in her genre and something to aspire to. Some compare her work to striding the right side of the line of “purple prose." It’s rare in this modern “minimalist” age to get away with writing the way Taylor does. People don’t seem to have the patience for it anymore. Thankfully, Taylor is unafraid to let her prose be both beautiful and inventive in hand. She’s a bit of a modern L.M. Montgomery (Author of Anne of Green Gables + Emily of New Moon). So it’s a breath of fresh air to read Taylor’s work. In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend it. As strangely terribly lovely as you'd expect from Laini Taylor. Prepare to devour quickly and readers beware, lest the book swallow your soul into its dreamscape.

An Enchantment of RavensAn Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So breathtakingly beautiful in prose and form, An Enchantment of Ravens will spirit you away and hold you as captive as the fair ones. A unique faerie tale of the same vein as Robin McKinley, I could not put it down until I had devoured every last delectable word.

Halfway Drowned (Halfway Witchy Book 4)Halfway Drowned by Terry Maggert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Typically, I don't read books out of sequence, but the premise for Halfway Drowned intrigued me. I've always been a fan of Viking myth/lore. Throw in some heavy paranormal elements and a formerly vampire Viking? Count me in.
I loved the relationships between the supernaturally special citizens of the town, in particular the main character and her witchy responsibility to protect them. A lifelong fan of magical realism and fantastical elements in a modern setting, I enjoyed how Maggert wove both past and present myths into a cohesive plot. I had no trouble following the story as the characters were always engaging and kept the adventure and mystery alive. Without having read the previous books, I often sensed I was missing the story behind the story. But this in no way inhibited my enjoyment of Terry Maggert's compelling world.
A perfect cocktail blend of fun for fans of Practical Magic and True Blood.

The Duality of Nature (The Monster of Selkirk #1)The Duality of Nature by C.E. Clayton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton really surprised me. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the premise, besides wicked elves and what sounded like a historical Scottish setting. What I found was a kick butt heroine who not only knows how to fight (thanks to her Knighted cousin), but a cast of colorful characters in a very grounded fantastical world. Selkirk is actually an island, largely forested, where the humans have kept elves at bay for hundreds of years. Ever since the elves went feral and lost their ability to speak intelligibly, humans have treated them like animals. They even host frequent clearings, destroying the elves homes and killing without mercy. So is it any wonder the elves might decide to fight back?

Our main heroine, Tallis is somewhat unconventional from a small age. Her eyes are a little too big, her hair a little wild, but everyone seems willing to accept her as their own. Her village is poor but this doesn't stop Tallis from soaking in as much she can through books in the nearby abbey, learning how to fight from her cousin Donovan, and causing mischief whenever she gets the chance. From the beginning we can already see hints of what Tallis may become, but this doesn't detract in any way from each reveal.

It's been a while since I've read a story that takes the time to give you backstory like this. As we grow up with Tallis, we are drawn deeper and deeper into Clayton's imagination until we feel every injustice she witnesses just as keenly. Besides Donovan, Tallis draws a makeshift family of her own through her pick-pocket friend Rosslyn and monk-in-training/inventor, Tomas. Everything is set up for a hero's journey and we know we will see these characters see Tallis through to the inevitable end.

I can't say more without giving away spoilers for the book, but suffice to say, this was a privilege to read. Not only am I anxious to read the sequel, but I would highly recommend this series for fans of Shannara Chronicles and The Wheel of Time Series.

View all my reviews

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