Monday, July 3, 2017

Mid-Year Book Freakout 2017

Original picture via
Hey'a, everyone! We're halfway through the year, which means it's time for the first half of the "Best of 2017" roundup. As you might remember, last year, I did the Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag instead of the standard Top 10 list. Although I haven't been tagged again this year, I decided to do it again anyway, because answering a list of questions is a lot easier and more fun than trying to sort out my top ten books from however many I've read up to this point.

That number, by the way, is 62, which is pretty close to what I'd read last year around this time. Again, the number is probably off by a little because of webcomics and anything I reread in January. I think I need to raise my Completely Arbitrary Challenge to 111 instead of 99 . . . oh well. Anyone interested can see my full challenge at Goodreads.

1. Best book you've read so far in 2016:
. . . Wait, why did I think this was a better idea than a list? I still have to pick. Help. 
Oh. Wait. There's a very obvious answer here.

I am still convinced that Genevieve Cogman's The Invisible Library and its sequels were written specifically for me; they pack so many of my very favorite book-things into each deliciously devourable volume. There's dragons and intrigue and steampunkery and mystery and a magical library and amusingly-dramatic-but-also-creepy villains and brilliant endings and fabulous characters and did I mention the magical library? The only thing that could make me happier than rereading this book (which I plan to do in the next week or so) would be living in it.

A couple other books which I loved:
Hexwood was strange and confusing and delightful and brilliant, as befits a Diana Wynne Jones novel. It's sort of sci-fi and sort of King Arthur retelling and sort of fantasy and sort of a bunch of other things and 100% awesome.
The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue is a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, "The 12 Dancing Princesses." It's not as good as Entwined (what is?), but it has dragons and sisterly sisters and a creepy villain who I don't know what to do with. Oh, and I've said this before, but I want to be Neylan, because anyone who's fabulous enough to have dragons sitting in their hair is obviously someone worth aspiring towards.

And Plenilune was magnificent, though rather dark in places. The prose is beautiful, the story is full of simmering suspense, and Dammerung is just amazing. I don't think you can review Plenilune without mentioning him, because he's possibly the best part of the book. I did sometimes have trouble keeping names straight, but . . . such is life.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2016:
Oh, that's an easy one! Hands down, the answer is Samara's Peril by Jaye L. Knight.
The Ilyon Chronicles definitely get better with each new release. I absolutely loved Samara's Peril: the focus on family, the plot, the epic battle at the end, the adorableness of Jayrin, and Jace's character development (and other stuff relating to Jace that made me immensely happy), and the theme of atonement and there's just a lot of awesome, ok?

Also, speaking of books that have a lot of awesome, the sequels to The Invisible Library, The Masked City and The Burning Page are both just as amazing as the first book. Just saying.
3. New release you haven't read yet but want to: 
I don't know why I haven't read Thick as Thieves yet, but I think I'm going to blame the library, 'cause I'm 99% sure I requested it but it didn't come in for some reason, and so I had to request it again and now I'm hoping very, very hard that it arrives in the next couple weeks. I need more Eugenides, people. 
Also, almost everything on my Spring 2017 Reads list would qualify except for Dragonwatch. I would be done with the whole set by now, but I sort of got distracted by the Invisible Library books . . . I regret nothing.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:
Oathbringer Oathbringer Oathbringer give me my Oathbringer please! It's supposed to release in November, and I can't wait! I haven't had new Sanderson in a whole year. I'm hoping very hard that it doesn't get pushed back, but I haven't heard anything really about it since the cover released so I'm a little worried? But I need more Sanderson, and White Sand volume 2, which also releases this fall, isn't going to cut it.

I'm also super excited for Lightporter, the newest IDIA book from C.B. Cook.
That said, I already read the book (perks of being a beta reader/friend of the author!) so I mostly just want it to come out so I can properly fangirl over it. For now, let me just say that it's better than the first book and I had a theory but the theory was wrong but it was still awesome.

5. Biggest disappointment:
Can we count rereads? If so, I was kind of disappointed that I didn't enjoy Showdown more. I mean, it never was my favorite Dekker book, but I'm pretty sure I read it twice, so I must've enjoyed it to some degree. But this time it just seemed . . . lacking. Also I realized I disliked most of the characters, so that didn't help.

If we're going with new-to-me books, I guess Coralina. Again, I didn't expect to enjoy it that much in the first place, since Coralina and I never got along in the first book either. But I hoped I would like it more than I did.
6. Biggest surprise:
I'm going to go with another Nine Princesses novella: Heidel by Anita Valle.
Heidel is definitely my favorite of the Nine Princesses now. She loves cooking, she has a temper and no interest in dressing up or romance or whatnot, she's practical and competitive and she's just fun, ok? I think we'd be buddies. And the story is fun- not perfect, but fun, and I enjoyed the plot.

Another surprise was The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud.
After The Hollow Boy, I nearly gave up on the series because of Lucy's angst, but now I'm glad I didn't. We've got character growth and answers and questions and revelations and just a lot of fun. If the rest of the series is more like this than The Hollow Boy, I'll look forward to the books a lot more!

Finally, while I expected to enjoy Nimona, I didn't expect how much I'd love it:
It's an urban fantasy graphic novel with a pair of villain protagonists- one considerably more honorable than the other- and it's kind of sad in some respects but it's also a lot of fun. It's got science and magic and shapeshifting and sharks and yeah.  
7. Favorite new-to-you author:
I think y'all can guess this, but: Genevieve Cogman, author of the Invisible Library series. Which, as previously mentioned, is amazing and awesome and Made For Me. Y'all need to go request the books from your library now, ok? Just trust me; you won't regret it.

8. Newest fictional crush/ship:
Leilani and Brick from Beggar Magic are adorable, ok? Brick is deaf and uses sign language, and Leilani is into languages and gets him to teach her sign language (slowly) so she can talk to him and he's so loyal and protective and I love them to pieces.

As for fictional crushes- for once I have one that I can entertain without feeling vaguely guilty, because Marcus Altair from the Ilyon Chronicles is currently unattached and he's definitely my type and if he were real, I would date him in a heartbeat.

9. Newest favorite characters:
(See? There's an s on the end. I totally didn't add that just now. Why in the world would I do that? Just because I don't want to choose . . .)
  • Irene from the Invisible Library series is basically what every bookworm aspires to be (capable, confident, trained as a spy, able to gallivant about different magical and sci-fi worlds and access a magical library containing at least one copy of every significant book ever), but she's still human and relatable.
  • Also Silver from the same series, even though he's an antagonist, because he's dramatic and creepy and witty and has a strange enemy-mine relationship with Irene and is just generally fun to read.
  • Dammerung from Plenilune is just awesome and intense and surprisingly funny? But also Fey and terrifying and yeah.
  • Mordion from Hexwood because, well, he's Mordion. He's possibly the best part of the book. He needs a blanket and a large mug of hot chocolate. I can't really explain him; you just have to read the book so you can meet him.
10. A book that made you cry:

11. A book that made you happy:
Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke was absolutely delightful. It has steampunk and mystery and an adorable ship (see the aforementioned Brick and Leilani) and a lovely friendship between Leilani and Zebedy and a very interesting magic system. I'd quite like a sequel, but I have a suspicion I'm not going to get one.
12. Favorite book to film adaptation you've seen this year:
Um. Do comic books count?

If so, Doctor Strange, which featured time-based superpowers and an egoistic, skeptical hero who basically does an entire about-face by the end of the movie, without losing what makes him interesting, and reality warping and generally a lot of awesome.

If comic books don't count, we're going with Merlin again, 'cause it's awesome and I need a modern-day reboot please.

13. Favorite post you've done so far this year:
As per the usual, I can't pick just one, but a few favorites:
  • My Mistcloak Tutorial, because it's a project I wanted to do for a super long time.
  • February Beautiful People: Couples Edition because I got to write Jared and Bianca interacting again.
  • March's Character Encounter, in which I met my characters and a bunch of author-friends at Indie E-Con.
  • Also, I started posting Fight Song, and if you aren't reading it, you should be. Or, at the very least, I'd appreciate it if you read it. Prologue is here, if you missed that.
14. Most beautiful book you've bought/received so far this year:
I actually haven't bought or received many books yet this year. I guess in terms of cover, I'm going to go with Storm Siren, which my roommate gave me for Christmas (but I didn't actually get until January):

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
There's plenty of those . . . but a few of the top ones:

Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan  
(and however many other Wheel of Time books I can manage)

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

Shadow Run by Adrianne Strickland and Michal Miller

Exiles by Jaye L. Knight
Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
I'm not going to tag anyone, but feel free to steal the tag anyway if you feel like it. Or, if you don't want to make your own post, I'd still love to hear your answers in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 


  1. Such a beautiful hoard of books! But I think The Invisible Library interests me the most.

    1. Good! I hope you can read it soon!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wait wait wait -- Lightporter is already finished? And you got to beta read it??! eeep! So jealous! ;D XD
    Seriously, though, I can. not. wait. for that book!! And it was even better than the first, you say? You've got me on the edge of my seat right now!!!
    Do you know if C. B. has given a projected release date yet?

    1. Yep! I don't know how you get on the beta list, but you could probably ask the author on her blog.
      It's supposed to release in September; we don't have a specific date yet.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Oh that's awesome, I thought we were going to have to wait till around Christmas! And even better, my birthday is in September!! I already know what I'll be asking my family for... ;) XD


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