Tag Archives: didn’t finish

Best and Worst of 2017

One last post to look back on 2017 and I’ll be ready to post new book reviews. Let’s start with my favorite books of the year. I’ll group them by genre to give them a bit of focus and link to my original review:


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a book club choice and a reread for me. I loved it just as much the second time as I did the first. Beware the epistolary nature of the book.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. I’m a sucker for books about bookstores, and this book didn’t disappoint.

Science fiction/fantasy:

The Three-Body Problem was some hard science fiction set in China that dealt with first contact with aliens. That reminds me – I want to finish that series this year as well.

Norse Mythology was a beautiful retelling of the Norse myths just begging to be read aloud or consumed via audiobook.

Station Eleven was a lovely addition to the post-apocalyptic oeuvre. Almost everyone has died of a virus, but we still need entertainment. We follow a traveling theater group around on their wanderings.


Scythe was set in a world where death had been conquered, but people still needed to die. A job was created to kill a portion of humanity on a regular basis, and what happens when you give people that kind of power? The next book in the series is coming out this year, and I need to pick that one up as well, for me and Mr. Curiosity.

I devoured Carry On and then made Mr. Curiosity read it. Miss Adventure has even read it several times. A slightly more mature version of Harry Potter that I didn’t get annoyed at the adults as much when reading.

Middle grade:

Tuesdays at the Castle was a fun read about a young girl that had to save her royal family, with the help of a half-sentient castle.

Wonder was just as good as I’ve heard, and made me cry while I was reading it to my kids. I can’t wait to see the movie.

Stella by Starlight was a beautiful description of how racism can affect black families, while still being hopeful so it’s perfect for tweens.

The Hammer of Thor was the second book in the Magnus Chase series that focuses on Norse mythology. The third book came out at the end of the year without me realizing it, so I’ll be finishing that series this year as well.

Graphic novel:

Ghosts was a story about not being afraid, while adding diversity to graphic novels with a character with a chronic disease (cystic fibrosis) and a celebration of the Day of the Dead. Perhaps something to read after watching Coco.

March: Book One, Two and Three. This is a bit of a cop-out since I read the first book the previous year, but I love the whole series. If you want to read about the Civil Rights movement and are too old for Stella by Starlight, read this graphic novel series.

And now for the worst books of the year. Again, I did pretty well and only had three books I didn’t finish:

A Light Between Oceans was a book club choice and I just couldn’t get into it. I even read 150 pages (when I usually only give 50) and I just didn’t care to finish. I’m not even sure why I didn’t like the book because on the surface, it seemed right up my alley.

Sleipnir was boring military fiction, which I didn’t think was possible to write. The author probably tried to be too realistic for the soldiering since it was a lot of standing around doing nothing.

Bridget Jones’ Diary was a bit too much in the lines of a woman’s magazine, focusing on losing weight and getting a man. Not my cup of tea at all.

Overall, not a bad reading year. I’m hoping I can find more good stuff to read this year!


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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

This was my library book club’s choice for September.

Published: 2012

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 362 pages

Setting: Australia, 1920s Continue reading

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Sleipnir by Linda Evans

When I first got a Kindle, my husband loaded it with a bunch of ebooks published by Baen books, and this was one of them. I needed a random book from my Kindle to read while we were on another bike trip. I picked it solely based on the title.

Published: 1994

Genre: military urban fantasy

Length: 336 pages

Setting: a cave in Scandinavia in the 1990s and the Middle East sometime before that Continue reading


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Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

This is #75 of the BBC’s The Big Read books, compiled in 2003. Every once in a while I choose a book of the list for some British literature.

Published: 1996

Genre: fiction

Length: 267 pages

Setting: London, England, 1990s Continue reading


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Best and Worst of 2016

It’s a new year and time to start some new reading challenges. But, before I do that, I want to look back at my favorite and not-so-favorite books of the year. I read quite a few excellent books, so I’ll break them up by genre and link to the original review.

Science fiction/fantasy:

Rosewater by Tade Thompson was an ARC I loved because of its Nigerian setting. There were aliens slowly taking over the Earth and providing some people with special abilities.

I reviewed (but didn’t read) a couple of books in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I wholeheartedly recommend the early books in the series. This year I reviewed book four, The Lunatic Cafe, and book five, Bloody Bones.

The Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie, including Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy were a compelling space opera full of political machinations and some interesting gender politics.

The Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach, including Fortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight, and Heaven’s Queen was another great space opera series, although this one had more fighting involved. The books all end on cliff-hangers (except the last one), so be prepared to read the whole series if you start it.


Still Alice was a book club choice that I read a previous year whose narrator was experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George started out my reading year with an excellent book about a literary apothecary – a bookseller that can find a book for what ails you.


A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle was a surprise hit. I loved her writing as a kid, and found this collection of writing about her early writing career to be delightful and lyrical. I’ll be finishing the series this year.


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – based on how much I enjoyed Eleanor and Park, I’m not surprised I loved this one as well. It’s all about a girl who goes off to college and is worried she won’t fit in, but finds some good friends and writes fanfic in the process. This was one of Mr. Curiosity’s favorite books of the year as well.

Middle grade:

Nearly all of the middle grade I read is for read alouds to my kids or listening in the car, so you can also take this list as a recommendation for bedtime stories.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex was an awesome audiobook. Six months later, we’re still quoting bits from this alien invasion story in the Boov voice. There are illustrations in the book, though, so the hard copy is also worth checking out. This was one of Miss Adventure’s favorite books of the year as well.

Seedfolks was a short read about a neighborhood coming together to create a community garden in an abandoned lot.

Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon is a fairy-tale princess story about a hamster princess who does things her own way.

I did pretty good in not picking bad books since I only didn’t finish three: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco because I just couldn’t handle the writing style; Stay Crazy by Erica Satifka because I stopped caring about the characters; and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving because it was long and boring.

I’m pretty happy with that collection of great books, with just a few that left me wanting something different.



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The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

I needed an E author for my Reading the Alphabet Challenge, and this book was on the BBC’s The Big Read list.

Published: 1980 in Italy, translated into English in 1983

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 512 pages

Setting: 14th century Italian monastery
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Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka

Published: 2016 (it comes out today)

Genre: science fiction

Length: 256 pages

Setting: a town in Pennsylvania, present day

Interest: I was provided a copy of the book to review (but my opinions are my own) Continue reading


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