Top Ten Books Read in 2017

It’s that time of the year!

Or two weeks later… Last year I posted my list in March, so I’m calling this an improvement. This one of my favorite things to determine because, guys, I read so many good books this year! Some of the ones that didn’t make the cut for my top ten would have made it to the top five in previous years. Out of the 93 books I read, I can honestly say these ten will stay with me for quite a while.

Note that my list is ranked leading up to my fave of 2017. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll probably guess the top two, but there were quite a few surprises for me when putting together this list. A few dark horse snuck in as the year drew to a close. Moreover, I have refrained from including re-reads and more than one book per series, because that is just not fair.

Continue reading “Top Ten Books Read in 2017”

Advertisements

2017 Bookish Survey

2017-book-survey
This and all the other graphics in this post are by the lovely Jamie

This survey was created by The Perpetual Page Turner, and I think it’s a lovely way to round up the year (even though I’m like 3 weeks late oops). I read more than ever before this  last year, so it’s nice to take a moment to reflect beyond what my favorites were.

reading-stats-2017-1024x278-768x209

Number Of Books You Read: 93
Number of Re-Reads: 7
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

Continue reading “2017 Bookish Survey”

December Recap

 

lifethings

December was a really hectic and intense month wow. So many things happened.

The first half of the month featured me trying to frantically get things done. It was the end of the semester so I was writing papers left and right, though thankfully I only had one final. I also had to make the last preparations for a three-week long trip. It was my first time travelling truly alone (well, some places I had my best friend with me), so I had to take care of reservations, confirmations and favors. Add to that the traditional Christmas plans with friends and family, doctors appointments and I barely had time to breathe. Continue reading “December Recap”

My Top 17 Songs of 2017!

If you reed my monthly recaps then you might know music is very important to me. I especially love how certain songs just remind me of a period of time and of how I felt then. In a few years time, I know that this songs will remind me of this year, of the ups and downs. Some of these I would dare to include in my all-time favorites list (and I do have a list if you’re wondering). That’s why I’m straying away from my usual topics for this post.

Note that not all of these came out during 2017, nor did I discover them this year necessarily. I just happened to listen to them a ton, so now they have an inescapable 2017ness to them. Some of them are writing songs, though most are not. Without further ado, these are my top ten songs of the year!

separator2

Local Natives just create the greatest texture. This was the first song with which I fell in love this year.

Okay, so Blame might be my favorite Bastille song… If this were 2016 it would definitely make it to the list, buuut I’ll have to settle for this haunting rearrangement.

This song just enchanted me since the first time I heard it and the spell hasn’t faded 10 months later. Sorry, The Night We Met, but Meet Me in the Woods is the best Lord Huron song for sure.

Totally a writing jam for the weird creepy scenes I aspire to write. But seriously I was in a really bad place when I stumbled upon it, and it’s one of the few silver linings from that period.

Wow, this song is such an experience in its 7:47 glory. Just listen to it.

 

This song still gives me chills and makes me want to cry. The outro is just so captivating. And I have a thing for baritones, sorry.

Few songs convey a feeling quite as well as this one. And how it builds omg…

My favorite in the entire album… that also ended up being the song I put on repeat while I wrote the last few lines of my four-book series. The opening just brings me back to that final scene so quickly.

The riff is annoyingly catchy… but only because one cannot sing it. I found myself humming this for days on end.

To Kill a King are seriously underrated! Just listen to how they build an atmosphere only to build and build!

This is such a writing song, omg. I’ve spoken about it before, but something flipped in my head and I managed to finish a draft mostly while listening to this. (AND I KNOW IT’S AWFUL I’M SORRY)

 

No song sums up better my year. Period.

Daughter are my favorite band ever, and their lead single remained my favorite of the album. It dropped one day and I just remember being so excited and happy with how good this song is.

 

Guys, they wrote this song to their baby and its just such a simple yet beautiful message. I cry.

I love the lyrics. haha. But you don’t want to hear me trying to sing them.

Okay so this song was a real surprise. I had this post scheduled and everything, so it bumped off The Night Starts Here by Stars. Though, I admit I had no idea of who Tonya Harding was when I first listened to this song. D major is the best version, fight me.

separator3

Soooo, this is the part where I ask what your favorite songs of the year were! I’m always on the look out for recs so pleaseee leave them in the comments!

Book Review: The Diviners

7728889Title: The Diviners

Author: Libba Bray

Series: The Diviners #1

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Release Date: September 18th, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Format: Audiobook narrated by January LaVoy

Rating: ★★★☆

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

First let me preface this saying the audiobook is absolutely fantastic. January LaVoy is a really great performer (she even sings) and the writing never gets dull or repetitive.

Bray has a beautiful style as it is, but what took me by surprise was how well it reflects the period. The slang was so fun to read, though it also served characterization. The characters’ personalities just leapt from their words (also LaVoy is great with accents). The atmosphere was similarly enchanting because of how well it is written. The descriptions of places are just so vivid. These aspects alone were going to make this a five-star read.

I didn’t find this book too spooky, though. In fact, the horror scenes felt taken out of a movie at times, which doesn’t necessarily translate well to page. The mystery was nothing too new but it was well executed, and I do love a good killer. Even though you as a reader more or less know what is going on it was fun to see the characters try to figure it out. And also, much to my surprise, the dream sequences worked well! I found myself enjoying them much more than the horror/general creepiness.

As I mentioned before, I think the historical aspects are really well done. From the way the characters speak to the references they make to the setting descriptions you truly feel in 1920s New York. A lot of research went into this and it shows.

Also thankfully, Bray doesn’t use the setting as an excuse not to include diversity. Harlem and its culture are prominently feature because of Memphis, one of the protagonists (and my fave). There is a Jewish main character who comes from a socialist family (a cause that is never vilified because of later beliefs though maybe a bit ridiculed) and a gay main character, who is kind of underused. Moreover, Bray does paint a vivid picture of several belief systems that were clashing at that time.

Now, my main frustration with this is that is so clearly a first book. It promises a lot about the world and characters and yet… this first part doesn’t deliver that much. Something that really bothered me is that it is written as an ensemble, with seven main-ish characters getting a fair amount of PoV chapters (the gay character is the one that gets the least *groans*). And yet, the climax only revolves around two. Most of them haven’t had much interaction with the others, with Memphis being the one furthest apart. I thought the male lead was going to be him, but it turned out to be the dullest of the white boys. I really hope this changes for future books because boy was it frustrating.

Tied to this is that I didn’t like how the romances developed like at all. I found the two main ones rushed and underdeveloped. And I wanted to like the first one so much but it goes from “just met” to “my life can never be the same.” Evie similarly developed feelings for her love interest so fast despite the vaguish love triangle set up.

I am also proud of myself because I’d been this close to reading so many times for two years. Finally! This was a solid beginning, if a bit overstuffed in places and underdeveloped in others. I will definitely be continuing this series on audio.

Stray Observations

  • Evie is such a lovable main character! And her personality just come across so well on audio.
  • I really like Will’s role as the curmudgeonly adult with all these crazy kids.
  • This book made me want to read about all the folk tales and ghost stories.
  • Ugh I want to know everyone’s backstory now.
  • Also good thing I didn’t have to suffer that 3-year wait between books 1 and 2 and I can just buy the audiobook next week when my credit comes in.
  • The song is just the creepiest.
  • Also I was surprise by how much the teenage characters drink… it is not a complaint, I just rarely see it in YA books unless a big Lesson is included at the end.
  • The first cover was the best, and I’m still sad they changed it (twice).