I saw this thing making its way around the blogosphere and decided to give it a try. I mean, Taryn did technically tag me in hers. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017
I’m going to cheat and pick two books that I really enjoyed, one of which is a new release and another which has been around for a little while.
HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring-Blake is absolutely wonderful. I was fortunate enough to read an ARC before it came out.
I mean, a bisexual protagonist with a biracial lesbian LI? A pianist and ballet dancer falling in love? Complicated family relationships? Strong friendships? What the heck isn’t there to love in this book?
My review is literally just me gushing about it for a few hundred words and I have zero regrets. I want everyone to read this book.
The other favourite book this year (and that doesn’t mean there weren’t others I really loved too), is SIX OF CROWS. I jumped on the bandwagon extremely late and I won’t get to read CROOKED KINGDOM for a while yet so please don’t spoil me!!
I think this book is best described by a line I wrote in my review:
Most of us know SIX OF CROWS is a fantasy heist novel populated by lovable assholes.
Also, you know a book is good when the m/f pairings don’t annoy the piss out of me.
2. Your favourite sequel of 2017
I don’t think I’ve read any sequels yet this year, but I have NOW I RISE by Kiersten White sitting on my bedside table waiting for me to pick it up. I’m going to talk about it later on in this post so I won’t bless your eyes with the glory of the UK cover yet.
3. A new release you haven’t read but want to
I’ve been looking forward to THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE for most of the year, but sadly I won’t get to read it for a while because I have to prioritise getting my hands on books for the Diversity Bingo, and my local library doesn’t have very many diverse books that are written after, like 2008 or so, especially if they’re not by Australian authors.
I’ve read the excerpts posted in advance and really enjoyed them so hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on it later in the year.
Why is money a thing? Honestly. It ruins everything and yet we can’t function in this society without it. Boo, capitalism.
(I have more issues with capitalism than merely the fact it prevents me from getting my hands on books I want. That just happens to be a side-effect. Please buy books or get them from the library. Authors need to survive in this capitalist hellhole of a society as much as we do.)
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
I’m going to cheat again and pick two, because I want both of them already, dammit.
Everything about 27 HOURS sounds freaking amazing. A super diverse queer cast set in a science fiction universe is, honestly, what draws me to it far more readily than the blurb. But the blurb’s also pretty exciting in and of itself.
Queer kids fighting monsters is what I need in my life, like right now.
I also really love Tristina as a person and follow her on Twitter. She’s a sweetheart.
The other book I’m really anticipating is WILD BEAUTY. I mean, that cover alone should make you excited. It’s a thing of… well, beauty.
While the blurb doesn’t really give this away, I have also been informed that the book is extremely gay. And… I’m sold.
I’m looking forward to the bi rep, and I always love seeing Latinx ownvoices books. Some readers whose opinions I trust have already read ARCs of this and are raving about it.
I’m hoping to get e-ARCs of these two at some point. WILD BEAUTY is a “wish for” entry on Netgalley at the moment, so hopefully it’ll be available properly in due time.
5. Your biggest disappointment
GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT was a book I was really looking forward to reading. And then I did… and it was a bigoted mess.
I actually get angry every time I think of it or see someone recommending it on social media. Like… have you even read it?
How am I, a white Australian, one of the few people who noticed how downright racist it is? Not to mention the ableist treatment thrown at an intellectually disabled character. And the casual bimisia/biphobia.
It’s just such a mess and a real waste of a pretty cover. My copy is still lying around the house because I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t want to donate it to the library and expose more people to it.
Just… read my review. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Dishonourable mention goes to Meg & Linus for being a bi-erasurey mess.
6. Biggest surprise of the year
A lot of my friends were gushing about THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO so I requested it on Netgalley. I was initially underwhelmed and kinda wanted to DNF, but I don’t like DNF-ing especially when it’s an arc, so I kept reading.
And I was pleasantly surprised. After a rocky start, Genie’s hilarious voice really took over and I came to care a great deal about the characters. I still wanted Quentin to get punched a little bit, but I think that’s just a natural reaction he inspires in people. I also didn’t see the plot twist coming at all, though in hindsight I probably should have.
I am not very observant.
7. Fave new to you or debut author
How the heck can I pick this? Most of the authors I’ve read this year are new to me and I typically pick my favourite books rather than favourite authors, because I vastly prefer to read m/m and f/f rather than m/f and most of the authors who are candidates for a favourite tend to write a variety of pairings.
So I’ll just narrow it down to a few authors:
- Ashley Herring-Blake
- Austin Chant (whose first solo work released this year)
- Leigh Bardugo
- Zoraida Córdova
- Angie Thomas
8. Your new fictional crush
I don’t really get fictional crushes these days *laughs in grey-ace/grey-aro/whatever the heck I am* but I do find myself mentally adopting characters as my children. It doesn’t matter if they’re older than me. They’re my children now.
That’s what has happened to both Kieran and Seth in COFFEE BOY. What do you mean Seth is roughly a decade older than me? I don’t care. He and Kieran are both my children now.
Anyway, here’s Wonderwall–I mean, here’s my review of COFFEE BOY.
Honourable mentions go to the vast majority of the SIX OF CROWS cast, and Grace and Eva from HOW TO MAKE A WISH.
9. New favourite character
There were a lot of candidates. Starr from THE HATE U GIVE. Alex and Rishi from LABYRINTH LOST. Grace and Eva from HOW TO MAKE A WISH.
But, I had to go with Kaz Brekker from SIX OF CROWS. What a douchebag he is. And yet, what a compelling character he is to read. I’d call him a jerk with a heart of gold but he’d probably just find a way to get the gold extracted to make some extra cash. He’s also really bad at dealing with caring about people. That’s relatable, man, even if it’s a little more extreme in his case.
I also admire his determination and, like pretty much everyone who reads SIX OF CROWS, am remarkably sad about what happened in his past and wonder what kind of person he would’ve been if he hadn’t had everything ripped away from him in such a horrible fashion.
I also really love Nina, Jesper and Inej from that book as well.
10. A book that made you cry
I’m not really a huge crier when it comes to reading. The last time I had a huge cry over a book was 12 years ago when I was a twelve-year-old reading Dumbledore’s funeral. So, for this question, I’ll just pick a book that had a huge emotional impact on me instead.
It’s been a while since I read THE HATE U GIVE, but I remember having a huge “oh shit” moment when I realised the moment described in the blurb was about to happen.
This book is heartbreakingly real because everything that happens within it is something that happens in real life to real people.
This book was sorely needed and I’m so glad it’s still on the NYT bestseller list because it deserves to be there. People need to keep reading and talking about this book. Racialised police brutality is still ongoing and we cannot sweep it under the rug while black children are being murdered in the streets.
I did write a review, though I would recommend seeking out ownvoices reviewers as well.
11. A book that made you happy
I read LABYRINTH LOST early in the year and was really into it for a variety of reasons. I was excited to read a fantasy based on Latin-American traditions and for there to be some bi rep.
While Zoraida Córdova herself is heterosexual, I was really impressed with the way she treated Alex’s bisexuality. As in, she didn’t pull the same stereotypical bullshit I’ve seen from other authors… even other queer authors. Now, the word bisexual isn’t used because Alex is still figuring stuff out, but I’m fairly optimistic for future books in the series.
I also really love the writing style and was pleased to find that a character who did something pretty much unforgivable hasn’t been easily, well, forgiven like a lot of #BookBoyfriends tend to be.
It was just a really fun read, even with the creepy dead people.
Here’s my review.
12. Fave book to movie adaptation you’ve seen this year
I don’t think I’ve seen any this year. I haven’t been to the cinema in what feels like forever.
13. Favourite post you’ve written this year
I missed this question so I’m editing this post to add it.
I’m most proud of my trio of posts about how not to be a dick to bisexuals, because they took forever to write and are fucking important because a lot of writers still haven’t gotten the memo. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received
Mum just bought me a copy of NOW I RISE from the local bookstore. Look at this cover. It’s a thing of beauty. I also love the fact that Lada, the protagonist, definitely looks like she wants to murder everyone who dares gaze upon her, which is… pretty much in character for her, really.
I really want more covers like this to happen, especially for ownvoices books. Lada’s brother Radu, also a POV character, is gay, though obviously Kiersten is a woman so it’s not ownvoices, even though I’m not 100% sure how she identifies. In any case, I wanna see some more cool painted shit like this.
I need to read this soon, but I want to work my way through the book I’m reading at the moment first. It’s taking me a while, but I’ll get there eventually.
15. What are some books you need to read before the end of the year?
I’m not even going to try to list the covers for all these. I imagine my WordPress is freaking out at me enough already.
So, these are some of the books I really need to read before the end of the year:
- CHAMELEON MOON by RoAnna Sylver
- NOW I RISE by Kiersten White
- 27 HOURS by Tristina Wright
- WILD BEAUTY by Anna-Marie McLemore
- UNDER THE UDALA TREES by Chinelo Okparanta
- ANOTHER WORD FOR HAPPY by Agay Llanera
- SAINTS AND MISFITS by S.K. Ali
- SHADOWSHAPER by Daniel José Older
- THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon
- REDEFINING REALNESS by Janet Mock
I always feel weird tagging specific people in these things so, if you’re reading this and haven’t already done the book tag, I TAG YOU.