Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is the Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017.

Having read over 120 books this year, it’s hard to narrow it down to my ten favorite books. But after a lot of consideration, I was able to decide on ten…well, eleven, but it was the best that I could do. These are listed in no particular order.

  1. Erased by Kei Sanbe. This is for the first three volumes of the series, as they are all fantastic. I stumbled upon this series randomly over the summer and I’m so glad I did. The story is so rich and the characters are wonderful.
  2. Sacred Seas by Karen Amanda Hooper. The long awaited sequel to The Sea Monster Memoirs was just what I needed. This book has everything that a series ending should. Highly recommend.
  3. Your Name: Another Side: Earthbound by Arata Kanoh. I absolutely love Your Name, so getting to see an extra side to this story was great.
  4. Orange by Ichigo Takano. This was another series I randomly stumbled upon this year and oh boy was it great. I already plan to reread it next year because I want to enjoy the story again.
  5. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. While very short, as novella’s tend to go, there is so much depth of story within these pages that it makes this a truly wonderful book.
  6. A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori. The imagery alone in this series makes it well worth reading, but the stories within each volume are also highly enjoyable.
  7. Cowboy Up! by Mike Flanagan. I love a good western, but I especially love them when they also involve rodeos. This book was fantastic as it made me feel like I was actually sitting watching rodeos happen.
  8. Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta. A short story collection that has such tragically beautiful stories that I already want more.
  9. A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima. I never thought I would so thoroughly enjoy a story about bullying, but this series was great.
  10. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples. This series is strange yet fantastic. Honestly, it’s not at all what I expected based upon the covers and everyone’s ravings, but I’m loving it so far.
  11. Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. This book helps to fill in some gaps from The Clone Wars series and I really enjoyed reading it. Anything that involves Asajj is bound to be entertaining.

So there you have it, my favorite books of 2017. There were quite a few others that I wanted to add to this list, since I read so many great books this year, but to keep it manageable I restricted it to eleven. What are some of your favorite books of 2017.

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Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
The Further Adventures of Xena by Various Authors

What I did Last Week

Read

Last week I managed to read a whole book, granted it was a fairly short one. I read Your Name: Another Side Earthbound. I really enjoyed this book that helped to add a new level to the story of Your Name. I’ll be posting a full review of this book in the new year.

 

 

Watched

As we continue to watch a different Christmas movie every day, we are giving our TV plenty of attention. This week we watched Jingle All The Way 2, The Claymation Christmas Celebration, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Phineas & Ferb: A Very Perry Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I Want A Dog For Christmas Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The boy and I also watched Your Name again, because we love this movie and had a strong desire to watch it on the weekend. I did also watch a couple of episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol as well.

Life

Last week was one of those weeks where it felt like I was doing nothing, but looking back on it, I did quite a bit. I got most of my Christmas baking done over the course of several days. I cleaned out and reorganized our freezer. I also reorganized part of our laundry room, and now there is lots of free space in it. I spent several hours one day working on various posts for the blog, since I have been slacking on keeping up with those lately. Of course I played plenty of World of Warcraft as well.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

I’m not sure what I will be reading this week. I have a small stack of books I’m hoping to get through either this week or before the end of the year, so I will likely be working on those.

Watching

Well, one thing for certain, is that I will be watching Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi this week. I’m sure excited to watch this movie. Otherwise, I don’t really have any solid plans for this.

Life

I need to finish up the last of the baking this week, which basically is down to baking and decorating gingerbread cookies. It’s supposed to be another super cold week, so I’ll be spending my time inside likely playing World of Warcraft for hours on end each day.

Book Review: The Further Adventures of Xena

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ever since discovering that there is a book series of Xena: Warrior Princess stories, I have been searching for them in used book stores and buying whatever copies I can find. My latest find was this short story collection, which I was eager to read.

This book contains fifteen different short stories which are spread throughout the Xena series. For the most part I really enjoyed the stories, though admittedly there were one of two which I found less entertaining and more tiresome to read. Even so, I thought this was a great way to add some new stories to the series and allow a multitude of authors to contribute.

It also showed how each author interpreted certain characters. I feel that nearly all of them portrayed Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer’s personalities and attributes properly. There were some where I questioned how much of the series they had watched, because in their stories the characters just didn’t feel right.

One great addition to this collection was a story told from Argo’s perspective. I thought this was a fantastic way to really embrace all the main characters of the series. We all know what Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer are like, their reasons for doing what they do. But there isn’t much know about Agro except that she is Xena’s horse. The story wasn’t overly long, but I felt because it didn’t focus on the main three that it was one of the better stories. Agro was in the other stories, but she wasn’t the main attraction of them. Also, there were two stories in this collection where the authors made Agro a stallion and I was a little annoyed with that, since these authors have claimed to be huge fans of the show, so they should know that Argo is female.

Overall, I felt this was a really great book and added something new to the Xena universe. Fans of the show will surely enjoy this and the other books in the series. I’m looking forward to reading more of these books as I find them.

Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
None

What I did Last Week

Read

I did a bit of reading last week, however I didn’t get any books done. Though I did make some progress with Rhapsody, as book that has been half read since October, so I’m happy with that.

Watched

I sort of ignored the TV this week. I didn’t watch anything I normally do each week. We did start our Christmas movie marathon and so far we watched Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas Special, Santa Buddies and A Garfield Christmas Special. I also watched Your Name again, because I just love this movie so much.

Life

I feel like this week I did nothing and yet I did quite a bit. I did a major cleaning of the house and discovered a pile of things I forgot to donate a while ago, so I took those to the donation place. I wrapped up some presents, make some decorations and placed them in my reading corner. I had a baking order, which was a bunch of dog treats, so that took up a good chunk of one day. Then I finally made a carrot cake, something I had been promising hubby and the boy for weeks now. Since the weather was quite nice, I took the dog for a walk several times, since it’s rare we have nice warm weather this late in the year. I also played a crap ton of World of Warcraft. I have been absolutely loving playing this game again, even though I had only stopped playing for a month, it felt like an eternity and I’m definitely it catch up mode.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

I’m hoping to get some reading done, but I have no idea how much reading time I will have. I do really want to focus on Rhapsody, because that book has been partially read for more than a month, so it would be nice to finally finish it.

Watching

Not real solid plans here, except that I know we will be continuing to watch a Christmas movie every day, I just don’t know which movies we will be watching yet.

Life

There will be lots of World of Warcraft for me this week. I also have some holiday baking that I want to get done, name gingerbread and some cookies. The weather is supposed to stay decently warm, so I will be taking advantage of that and walking the dog as much as I can. I will also be setting aside a day or two this week to work on reviews and some misc blog posts that I have been putting off for far too long.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is the Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR.

Winter is my favorite time to read, because it’s usually too cold and snowy to want to leave the house for several months on end. So of course I do a majority of my reading during this time. So here are ten books from my winter TBR – though I’m hoping to get through a good chunk of these before the year is done.

  1. Prophecy: Child of Earth by Elizabeth Haydon
  2. Winter by Marissa Meyer
  3. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  4. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  5. Howl`s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  6. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  7. Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
  8. From A Certain Point of View by Various Authors
  9. Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
  10. Leia Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Binti by Nnedi Okoafor

What I did Last Week

Read

Didn’t do any reading last week. I thought about reading at several points, but never made the effort to pick up a book and read.

Watched

Last week I watched The Hunt, which was a documentary about predators, narrated by David Attenborough, and I quite enjoyed it. I caught up on the latest episodes Alaska The Last Frontier and Recovery of An MMO Junkie. Then I watched Hidden Figures and this movie was so darned good, I’m glad I finally got a chance to watch it.

Life

Last week was one of those weeks where I just didn’t want to do a darn thing, so I didn’t, but this also resulted in me being bored for the most part, wishing I was doing something. On the weekend, I started playing World of Warcraft again, which was awesome and I spent way too many hours playing it, but had tons of fun.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

I don’t have any set plans here, but I do want to get some reading done. I need to see what catches my eye from my shelf and then read that. This is the start of pushing towards reading as much as I can before the year ends, trying to get those last few books from my 2017 TBR read.

Watching

I’m not sure what I will watch this week. I’m sure I have a number of things on the PVR that needs attention.

Life

Let’s be honest, I will be playing way too much World of Warcraft this week, but that’s okay, because it makes me happy and gives me something to do during the long cold winter days.

Book Review: Binti

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About a year ago I noticed the book Binti. I can’t recall exactly where I started seeing it, though it was probably on Twitter or several book blogs, but I was admittedly intrigued. I made a note to get the book and read it. But I then got absorbed into my already enormous TBR and swept Binti to the bottom of the pile. Then recently I started seeing more people talking about this book, and it’s sequel, and I was once again reminded of my desire to read this book. Fast forward to October, when I received a copy of this book from a friend and I finally got around to reading it.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Despite all the times I had seen this book online, I had never paid attention to what it was about, nor any details in various reviews – minus the fact that everyone seemed to love it. So, I decided to not read the blurb and dive right in.

I really loved this book. Right from page one I was pulled into the story, wanting to know more about Binti, her world, her purpose, all the technology, just everything. The world building in this novella is great, with each section you learn something new and more of the story fall into place. There is a nice variety of characters, though the focus is on Binti and the Meduse. The pace of this story is very solid. There are no slow parts, and despite very little action, there is always something happening, always new pieces to the puzzle been placed, Nnedi’s writing really brings this story to life

Really my only complaint is that it was too short. I get it, it’s a novella and therefore it’s supposed to be short. And yes, I do agree that the story was wrapped up nicely so there wasn’t too many questions, but enough left open to lead into the sequel. But I still wish it was longer. I wanted to know more, see more of the worlds, learn more about some of the species that appeared near the end of the novella. I’m sure that will happen over the course of the series.

Overall, I’m very happy that I finally got around to reading this book and I will definitely be continuing on with the series to see where the story leads. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.