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text 2018-01-20 19:19
2017 Year in Review: Stats
Shadowhouse Fall - Daniel José Older
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas
Food of the Gods: A Rupert Wong Novel - Cassandra Khaw
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley
The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth) - N.K. Jemisin
Clean Room Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fall - Gail Simone,Jon Davis-Hunt
Did anyone else end up with a broken counter on the Goodreads stats page? I know they had an issue with the date read field earlier in the year. While that eventually worked itself out, my total for 2017 is way off. The states page claims over 100, but the list is really only 79.
 
My breakdown of the 79 "books" I finished in 2017:

anthologies: 0
collections: 0
Adult novels: 50
YA novels: 8
MG novels: 0
graphic novels: 1
art book: 0
comic omnibus: 15
magazine issues: 0
children's books: 2
nonfiction: 3
 
I make a demographics list every year as a way of giving myself the opportunity to think about who I've read and how I can do better.
 
Across all categories:
  Written by Women: 53 (67%, down from 72% in 2016)
  Written by POC: 29 (37%, up from 17% in 2016)
  Written by Transgender authors: 5 (6%, up from 1% in 2016) 
  Written by Non-binary authors: 2 (3%, up from 1% in 2016)
 
While this looks like a large improvement from last year, I should note that this is not unique authors, but total across all my reading. I went on Cassandra Khaw and Daniel José Older benders this fall that account for a lot of my non-white reading. I also went on a Courtney Milan bender in January that is helping inflate the written by women category. 
 
My favorite book from 2017 were really hard to select! It was a great reading year, but I narrowed it down to 10. Please don't ask me to order them as that's clearly an impossible task. They should all appear in the banner at the top, but here's a list, alphabetically:
 
 
I reviewed all 79 titles read in 2017, which is really more than I expected. Not all those reviews are great, but in terms of quantity, I beat my expectations. 
 
My favorite new-to-me author of 2017 is Cassandra Khaw. She's talented and her range includes (nay, celebrates!) splatterpunk. 
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review 2018-01-12 14:10
Stormy: Older Couples Romance novels, Second Change Romance (Baby Boomer Romance Book 1) - Tina Gayle

Stormy by Tina Gayle
Book starts out with Karen and she's arrived at his house one snowy night but hadn't been able to reach him by phone.
Daniel is surprised to find her in his home after leaving the bathroom and they find they have much in common-having held it all in for too long.
Hot steamy sex scenes. They each had lost their spouses and are overcoming their grief.
Story also follows the children and how they assume Karen will show up at the hospital with her ex's heart attack although he's got a new woman in his life.
He was her boss, now he's her lover. Gets a bit confusing as the other families come into play with their lives.
Like all the turmoil that goes with the story as the people are the older age and not much drama as 20s couples.
Received this review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.

 

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review 2017-11-26 10:27
Modern charades....is it a book? Is it a film?
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Deborah Moggach

I generally get a sense of foreboding when I read on a book's cover, "NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE", even more so when I have seen said movie. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a good example, in that it is a glorious 'feel good' film, with a host of wonderful actors, setting the bar high for the preceding novel, which I notice was previously entitled, "These Foolish Things". But, notwithstanding this book has apparently inspired a successful cinema formulation, would it be any good?

 

The answer is 'yes', Deborah Moggach's original novel is really well conceived and the interplay between the cast of characters is comical, poignant and even touching at times. However, the downside to seeing the movie first is a sense of disappointment that the book has not been faithfully reproduced on the screen. Some parts that have been 'bigged up' for the cinema-going public proved to be relatively modest on reading the book. Unsurprising perhaps, when the talents of Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith et al are at hand, but the young charismatic Indian entrepreneur (played by Dev Patel) shown on the book's cover with his beautiful girlfriend, doesn't actually exist in the intervening pages. Instead, Sonny is middle-aged, rather dull and a 'bit part', compared to his central role in the screen version.

 

In contrast to the Hollywood meets Bollywood makeover, the book is earthier and the characters' back-stories more authentic, in turn making the plot lines more plausible. At a time when the UK's National Health Service is creaking under the pressures of an ageing population and traditional family loyalties are equally stressed, the advantages of shipping out to a new retired life in a strange land is a tantalising prospect   The comparing and contrasting of cultures within the book was also arguably more nuanced and the author holds up an interesting mirror on what it is to grow old in modern societies. East and West both have their 'hidden' populations of the 'uncared for'. But, perhaps the message of the book is that for those with an adventurous or courageous spirit and a willingness to share and create new social circles, life retains a wealth of possibilities.

 

The title is an interesting aside, but for me the book is much more explicitly about the characters and the dilapidated hotel merely a backdrop, albeit a useful metaphor, for which the original title may have better preserved the distinction. Still, despite the apparent temptation to ride the coat-tails of a successful movie, this book is, of itself, worth a read and perhaps for people of a certain age provides important fuel for thought.

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review 2017-11-22 23:39
I want an open road summer...
Open Road Summer - Emery Lord

 

Book Title:  Open Road Summer 

Author:  Emery Lord

Genre:  YA | Contemporary Romance

Setting:  On the road across the USA

Source:  Kindle eBook (Library)

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plot:  5/5

Main Characters:  5/5

Secondary Characters:  4/5

The Feels:  4.5/5

Pacing:  5/5

Addictiveness:  5/5

Theme or Tone:  5/5

Flow (Writing Style):  4.3/5

Backdrop (World Building):  5/5

Originality:  4/5

Book Cover:  4/5

Ending:  4/5  Cliffhanger:  Nope.

Steam Factor 0-5: 2

Total: 4.5/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

 

 

A super-cute YA romance/coming of age story.  Effortlessly readable, with characters that felt real and were likable.  A realistic look at a celebrities life from their side of the camera.  Seriously, It would suck to read about your supposed life on the front of a magazine cover at the grocery store…the price of fame, I guess… While the ending had a bit too much drama, especially when the book had stayed away from overdone drama most of the way through, I found this a refreshing read, and just what I needed.

 

Will I read more from this Author?  Yeah, I may do so soon, actually.

 

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review 2017-10-23 21:14
A very worthwhile story once you get past the beginning...
If There's No Tomorrow - Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

 

Book Title:  If There's No Tomorrow

Author:  Jennifer L Armentrout

Genre:  YA, Contemporary Romance

Setting:  Virginia

Source:  Kindle eBook (Library)

 

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plot:  4.3/5

Main Characters:  4.5/5

Secondary Characters:  4.5/5

The Feels:  5/5

Addictiveness:  For the first 1/3; 2 for the rest 4 = 4 3/5

Theme or Tone:  5/5

Flow (Writing Style):  4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4/5

Originality:  4/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Ending:  5/5  Cliffhanger:  Nope.

Steam Factor 0-5:  3

Total:  4.5/5 STARS - GRADE=A-

 

 

 

If I rated this just from the first third of the book, I would rate closer to a 2-star.  At the 36% mark on kindle, which is right when part II starts, this book became a completely different kind of story. Where the first part is mostly just teenage kids behaving as teenage kids are liable to do.  Permeated with too many conversations between too many characters.  The rest of book is a heartfelt and genuine look at the aftermath of a tragedy, with a sweet romance that has all the feels. 

 

I wholeheartedly recommend this to all teenagers, if I could get my daughters to actually read a book, I would have them read this.  There are some important life lessons in here told in a very compelling way…instead of telling them don't do this, and don't do that…this gives them why of those don'ts.

 

Will I read more from this Author?⇜  Of, course!

 

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