Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

Blog

Good heavens, where is the year going?

So here we are, nearly in July, the year half over, and in some ways I feel like the year’s just started. Instead, it’s just about time for a retrospective: What are the best books I’ve read this year so far? I do keep a list of books acquired and books read, though generally I get behind and then have to try to remember what all I’ve been reading lately. But let’s just take a look:

January: I must have been busy with something else in January, as I only read nine books . . . oh, right, the puppies were born January 4th. Yep, now I clearly remember which book I loved best that month: Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand. I loved it partly because hey, Laura Florand, and partly because she very kindly emailed me a copy on January 3rd when I mentioned on Twitter that particular book would be perfect as a distraction from a tense situation and wasn’t it a shame it wasn’t out yet. I was right, it was perfect to while away the last uncomfortable day of Honey’s pregnancy, when nothing would stop her from having mild contractions but I knew the puppies’ heartrates sounded all right and didn’t want to rush into an emergency c-section. Of course that all turned out okay, but what a long day that was, and Bitter Orange made it much more bearable than it otherwise would have been.

February: Looks like I re-read The Goblin Emperor. Again. Other than that one, I really liked Grave by Michelle Sagara West. I notice I also bought The Cold Eye by Gilman. Huh. I still haven’t read that, mostly because I really want to re-read the wonderful first book before opening the second. Maybe I will do that soon now that I have reminded myself about this series.

March: I was revising this and that, and also writing fifty or so pages of this and the other to see if any new project seemed particularly inspirational, so just about the only fiction I read all month was a lot of the Shadow Unit series. I dipped into it all along the length of the series and then read the final book, the fifteenth, which had only recently come out. It was a brutal ending in a lot of ways, but it provided a good and appropriate wrap-up of the series. It’s a great series, btw, if you haven’t ever tried it. I think the first book is permanently free in ebook format if you want to test the waters.

April: Again, I barely read any fiction in April. I did read Silence Fallen, the latest Mercy Thompson book, and liked it a lot.

May: Ah, yes, in May I read a lot more books! More than five times as many as in April – seventeen compared to three. I concentrated on those from my physical TBR shelves, which had overflowed onto the floor and it would be nice to get the overflow whittled all the way down before the end of the year, though I’m not making any promises about that.

Let’s see, well, you know Thick as Thieves by Megan Whelan Turner came out in April. I loved it, although it practically drove me crazy that MWT never referred to Costis by name till right near the end. I was sure it was him, but I would have liked confirmation, especially after he gave a false name!

I finally read Railsea in April, and liked it far better than I’d thought I would. As is usual with China Mieville, I didn’t really believe in his world, but I enjoyed it anyway once the protagonist kind of grew up a little.

But I have to say, the standout for the month was Naomi Kritzer’s Freedom’s Gate trilogy. Excellent series, truly impressive, I’m sure it’ll go on my best-of-2017 list at the end of the year.

June: We’re only halfway through June, so it’s not really fair to pick out my favorite of the month yet, I guess. Especially when I can’t really because the month has been super-eclectic, filled with whipsaw transitions from sweet MG (Burgis’s The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, of course) to end-of-the-world apocalyptic military SF (Ringo’s Dark Tide Rising series. Historical romance (Carla Kelly’s Courting Carrie and a re-read of some of Bujold’s Sharing Knife books have been in the mix too.

So how about you? What books have you read this year that you particularly enjoyed?

Please Feel Free to Share:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

7 Comments Good heavens, where is the year going?

  1. SarahZ

    I was really excited about Thick as Thieves, but I didn’t connect to Kamet very well, so I didn’t love this one as much as MWT’s previous books.

  2. mona

    I forgot about Thick as Thieves! Gotta get that.

    Hmmm if I had to choose, The Paper Menagerie stands out because it’s something I wouldn’t normally pick up. Likewise The Gate of Sorrows.

    But also, Sorceror to the Crown, Spinning Starlight, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, and the Elemental Blessings series. The Ghost Bride is up there too. I enjoyed the first Jaran novel, but not the rest :/

    I’m looking forward to trying Havemercy and Freedom’s Gate. Thanks, as always, for the recs!

  3. Pete Mack

    I haven’t been supremely impressed with many new books this year. Obviously, Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is an excellent book. Otherwise:
    Apprentice to Elves, Elizabeth Bear –finally got around to reading

  4. Pete Mack

    Oh, and one other: White Road of Winter. Speaking of Winter, any hints on the sequel to House of Shadow ?

  5. Jen Birren

    Some that I already knew I’d like: Summer in Orcus, Apprentice to Elves, The Murderbot Diaries. I still really like Tessa Gratton’s New Asgard series and Andrea Host’s Pyramids of London on rereading those.

    In fact, hm, have I found any new authors I love this year? *checks Kindle* oh yes, Sylvia Hunter- it took me a bit of time to pick up The Midnight Queen, but it was great. Definitely like the alt-kingdoms-of-France-and-Britain setting. I’ll get the sequel to read on vacation. Janet Edwards’ Earth Girl, YA SF with archaeology, was fun.

  6. Rachel

    The Murderbot Diaries was right up there for me too, I can’t wait for the sequel. I’ve been saving Pyramids of London because it’s the only thing by AKH I haven’t read yet, but eventually when I’m in a reading slump I will probably open it; I sure am looking forward to it.

    Thanks for your tips about Tessa Gratton and Syvia Hunter, and for reminding me about Sorcerer to the Crown. I didn’t really get into the sample but since every. single. person. ever. seems to really love it, eventually I’ll have to pick up a full copy and give it a serious try.

    Thanks, Pete! Don’t know, but if I don’t have any traditionally published book scheduled for next summer — and at this point I’m thinking that’s unlikely — I think I will probably look very seriously about bringing out the H of S sequel. Also, I should see about getting rights back to Islands, since I have a sequel to that one sitting here too.

Leave A Comment