Saturday, January 6, 2018

Books of 2017

It is a truth universally acknowledged that bookdragons are nosy little creatures, always snuffling around each other's shelves to see what friends are reading, buying, and reviewing.
I say that fondly, being a nosy bookdragon myself. And I'm counting on the fact that most of you are of the same species, because here's a look at all the books I read in 2017, with miniature reviews to boot! Aren't I a helpful dragon?


Knife // R.J. Anderson
reread // better than I remembered // fairies // loss of magic // musings on the nature of art // human interaction // big tree
The Purpose Driven Church // Rick Warren
how to foster healthy church growth // rather textbook-ish // better for pastors, maybe?
The Lightning Thief // Rick Riordan
hilarious // best chapter titles ever // camp half blood // grumpy adults // powerful kids // the humor, though
Blue Lily, Lily Blue // Maggie Stiefvater
pretty prose // Blue is relatable // poor Noah // wandering plot, in a good way and a bad way



The Five Love Languages (Singles Edition) // Gary Chapman
practical // excellent advice for how to love people better


Winter // Marissa Meyer
best series finale in the history of ever // crazy Winter // space // everyone gets separated // all the sass // putting rice in Cinder's head // heartbreaking stuff // did I mention best ending ever?
The Spirit Contemporary Life // Leon Fontaine
down to earth // inspiring // reaching people with God's love can be so natural
The Shack // William P. Young
meh // heavy on the sermon, light on the story


Storm Siren // Mary Weber
incredibly relatable protagonist // deep themes // cool world // the guy smells like "pine and honey and sunbeams" but shush, that's normal // crazy horses // tattoos // lightning storms
Outriders // Kathryn Mackel
reread // nifty world // tech fused with medieval-like lifestyle // sporadically inspiring
Trackers // Kathryn Mackel
same as above // decent, but should've had a sequel to wrap things up
The DNA of Relationships // Gary Smalley
changed my life // relational hurt springs from a vicious cycle of fear // be the bigger person // communication


Finally // Wendy Mass
twelve-year-old drama // cute // killer rabbit // everything goes wrong
Crazy Dangerous (audiobook) // Andrew Klavan
reread in audio format // creepy and endearing at the same time // magic Sam Hopkins // trains // bad choices // eerie girl // intense ending // awesome narrator
The Purpose Driven Life // Rick Warren
reread // sorry, not my cup of tea // a few good lessons, though // learned the most from studying the parts with which I disagree
Green Rider // Kristen Britain
classic high fantasy // horses // fantastical creatures // Karigan needs to get a backbone // twisty ending // will probably continue series


The Shadow Throne // Jennifer A. Nielsen
kingdoms at war // the sass // friends // "catastrophic levels of bad behavior" // saw the ending coming // loved it anyway // smashing finish to the Ascendance Trilogy
The Reluctant Godfather // Allison Tebo
delightful // quirky characters // fluffy chocolate cake // Burndee is Howl with a mixing spoon, basically // quotable humor
The Raven King // Maggie Stiefvater
more pretty prose and a pretty cover to match // Gansey // social agenda, no thank you // too much swearing // ultimately a disappointing conclusion


Scorpia // Anthony Horowitz
secret agents // double agents // exotic locations // fun Mission Impossible vibes // gadgets // narrow escapes
Solitary (audiobook) // Travis Thrasher
reread (except in audio format) // creepy little town // creepy little high school // creepy pastor // old vinyl records // no cell service // dark beginning to an ultimately hopeful series
Reapers // Bryan Davis
dystopian Chicago // escorting souls to the afterlife // ethical dilemmas // prison // standing up for the defenseless


Ink and Bone // Rachel Caine
Library of Alexandria didn't burn // withheld knowledge // magic // Oxford // black market // classmates // the muddiness of war
The Penderwicks // Jeanne Birdsall
childhood whimsy // summer // romping escapades // curious neighbors // butterfly wings // Hound // friendship
The Fatal Tree // Stephen R. Lawhead
the universe is shrinking // nobody panic // British loveliness // ley lines // sprawling adventures // redemption
Some Kind of Happiness // Claire Legrand
blue days // depression // finding wholeness through the Everwood // cousins // summertime // "giving up is not an option. and if you have to keep going, you might as well smile while doing it."
The Five Times I Met Myself // James L. Rubart
regret // what if you could give advice to your younger self? // consequences // second chances
The Beast of Talesend // Kyle Robert Schultz
fairytales in 1920's-esque world // detective  work // brothers // beastliness // spunk and humor // throwing rolls at people's heads


Spindle Fire // Lexa Hillyer
sisterhood // sight and touch and speech tithed away to fairies // snow // intrigue // travel // at times enchanting, at others stilted
Five Magic Spindles // Rachel Kovaciny, Kathryn McConaughy, Grace Mullins, Michelle Pennington, Ashley Stangl
heartwarming Old West // exotic eastern-like mythology // glowing ghosts and crazy castles and also a chicken // classic romance and dragons // sci-fi tombs and virtue names


Beyond the Gateway // Bryan Davis
ramping up the suspense // I am so hooked // the Gateway // corrupt authority figures // radiation // motorcycle // more ethical dilemmas // cliff-hanger
Reaper Reborn // Bryan Davis
exhilarating action // even worse ethical dilemmas // fires and disasters // manipulation // battle of wits and morals // who to trust? // aftermath


Prodigy Prince // Natasha Sapienza
colorful world // epic superpowers // evil shapeshifters // a prince and his sentinels // fast paced
The Tomb of the Sea Witch // Kyle Robert Schultz
mermaids // Nick goes undercover as a teacher // chaos and hilarity // the Mythfits // grouchy dragon // so many twists // "I don't suppose you have any chalk?"
A Time to Die // Nadine Brandes
a countdown, obviously // wolves and crazy people and trains and cities and wilderness // confusion // finding purpose // made me think a lot
A Midsummer Night's Dream // William Shakespeare
capricious fairies // double-crossed lovers // forest // Puck // comedy of errors // love looks not with the eyes // amusingly uneducated folks putting on a play


Hollow City // Ransom Riggs
peculiar children // long quest // rescue the bird // war-torn London // killer bees // gypsies // creepy wights // another cliff-hanger
The Phantom Tollbooth // Norton Juster
philosophical and charming // words versus numbers // common sense // a watchdog, a humbug, and a boy in a car
Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King // William Joyce
Santa is a Russian bandit king with a soft spot for children // magical village // moonbeams // nightmare creatures // a merry spectral boy // North's compass always points to himself, of course
The Maze Runner // James Dashner
no one tells Thomas anything // lots of running // Newt is his awesome, grouchy self // unremarkable writing but exciting plot // the moral of the story is that boys like food and insults


This year I read 40 books, amounting to 13,119 pages! (That's not counting the six college textbooks I finished or the one nonfiction book on leadership I'm still reading.)
Here's the breakdown on genres:
It's no surprise that once again, fantasy dominates! I am, however, surprised that I read no romance or historical fiction like in previous years. And there's more nonfiction here than I have ever read in a single year, thanks to leadership college. Oh, and hidden among those listed categories are four rereads, two audiobooks (also new for me), and four indie books! I'm rather pleased to have upped my indie game, which was woefully nonexistent before 2017.

(By my estimate, I also bought or was given about 38 new books! Yikes! Some I read this year, but most are on my TBR. At this rate, I may never catch up!)

According to Goodreads, my average rating this year was 4.4 stars--coincidentally, the same as it was the year before. Either I'm too kind with my ratings, or I just tend to read really good books???
Most-read authors: 3 by Bryan Davis, 2 by Kyle Robert Schultz, 2 by Maggie Stiefvater, and 2 by Kathryn Mackel.
Favorite new-to-me authors: Rick Riordan, Mary Weber, Jeanne Birdsall, Kyle Robert Schultz, and Nadine Brandes! All of whom have lots of other books I need to dig into this year, come to think of it . . .
Least favorite book: Um, probably a toss-up between The Shack and The Raven King. Neither one was completely horrendous, but the former was poorly written and the latter was a soup of disappointment flavored with nice writing.
Favorite books: Dear me, how do I choose? There were quite a few really good ones this year! All right, if I forced myself to narrow it down, I would say . . .
  • Winter
  • Crazy Dangerous
  • Ink and Bone
  • The Fatal Tree
  • The Penderwicks
  • Five Magic Spindles
  • The Tomb of the Sea Witch
  • A Time to Die
  • The Phantom Tollbooth
  • the entire Reapers trilogy
Ahem. I did not just list a quarter of the books I read this year, noooo . . .

All in all, it was a good reading year! I would have liked to have read more, but much of what I did read was satisfying, and I did top last year's total by five books. I also digested some nonfiction, discovered some new series and wrapped up some old ones, and spent half my time in the wonderful world of fantasy.

Okay, bookdragons, now tell me: what were YOUR best books of 2017?


  1. *devours post like a dehydrated camel*

    SO I LOVED THIS FORMAT SO MUCH?? It was really unique and I looooved the feel of your mini reviews. <3 (Way more creative that the wrap-up post I have coming eventually, but hush. xD)

    Whoa, girl, you seriously read a LOT with your crazy schedule. I AM IN AWE. o.o I read waaaay more than I expected and probably should have...I can't resist. *grins*

    BUT I AM SO PLEASED THAT YOU LOVED THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. I saw it on your favorites list at the end and almost squealed because eeeeep happiness. <33333

    I read some of my favorite books of all time in 2017, but I also read way more 2 and 3 star books than in previous years. So it was kind of a mixed bag? I hated some books and loved others. Guess that's just the way it goes. ;)

    Here's to a fantastic year of books in 2018! I'm already behind on my reading challenge so wish me luck. *cough*

    (Let's just ignore the fact that this is the most nonsensical comment I've probably written to date. I blame my red-eye flight and just the lack of sanity that comes with being sick. xD)

    1. Your similes are THE BEST. XDDD

      REALLY? AWWW! *squishes Mary in giant hug* Apparently this mini review thing is being well-received... I'm undecided as to whether I should adopt that method for my Subplots and Storylines posts, or keep writing longer reviews. Hmm... But pshhh, I am so looking forward to your wrap-up post, regardless of whatever format you use! ^_^

      I guess so! I'm kind of gratefully amazed myself. XD DON'T RESIST THE BOOKS!

      THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH WAS SO QUIRKY AND UNFORGETTABLE. I shall have to reread it sooner rather than later! <333

      That's so awesome you read some of your absolute favorites last year! But...ugh, 2 and 3 star reads as well. Oh well. I feel like I had a spell of "meh" books during part of the year, and then by August I basically fell into book heaven for a while! (Thanks, Realm Makers and family vacation!)

      I'll drink to that! (Tea, that is.) Good luck on that reading challenge. Don't let it take the joy out of books, though, okay? <3

      (Nonsensical is my normal, sweetie. And it's honestly not that nonsensical anyway. XD You're so nice to leave a comment when you're dead from a red-eye!)

  2. Ooh, I'll have to check some of these books out! XD

    -Gray Marie |

    1. That would be awesome, Gray! :D Hope you have a splendiferous reading year!

  3. All of these have such pretty covers! I need to read some of these.

    1. Right??? I noticed lots of blues as I was compiling the pictures, which is one of my favorite colors! :D

  4. Eeep congrats on all the reading! And YAY for all the fantasy love! I actually ended up reading more contemporary this year which is pretty much weird and unusual for me haha, but fantasy is such an incredible genre. <3 I love The Raven Cycle to death though so I'll have to admit my rereads of it where some of my favourites for 2017. 😍 Ink and Bone is so so good too!! And some of my other favourites were Our Dark Duet, A Conjuring Of Light, Autoboyography, Gemina and Lord of Shadows!

    I hope you have a great reading year this year too!!

    1. You're too kind! (I am in awe at how you read like six times as much as I managed, lol! Go you!) I love how limitless fantasy is--that's one reason I just keep coming back. ^_^ Stiefvater's writing is #goals, so I can see why it'd be a favorite reread! Speaking of which, The Scorpio Races is high on my TBR for 2018. And the rest of the Great Library series too!!!

      Sounds like you had an awesome reading year as well! Here's to an even better 2018!

  5. That first sentence tho. XD It's soooo true! I'm always wanting to know what my fellow bookdragons are reading. Mainly because I love having book suggestions...despite the fact that I have like 29348 unread books waiting for me. *COUGH* It's a sickness!

    SO OBVIOUSLY I LOVED THIS POST! Allll the books! Your little snippets about each book were too fun! So many of them made me smile. Like this one: "throwing rolls at people's heads" Yeppp. XD And: "Santa is a Russian bandit king with a soft spot for children" Um. WOW. More reason why I need to try that book! Also North's compass always points to himself? Too great! XD Plus I agree with the few things you said about The Maze Runner. "the moral of the story is that boys like food and insults" Pretty much, yeah. I just didn't get anything from the characters (except Newt...) and the writing was meh. Not a bad plot though, but the boys were so infuriating. Heh.

    Anyways! I'm so happy you enjoyed the majority of what you read this year. And huzzah on you for reading some nonfiction. I basically NEVER do that anymore and it's bad. This year I do hope to read some writing help books though. *nods*

    Oh, oh! I received Beyond the Gateway for Christmas! :D So maybe hopefully soon I can FINALLY continue that trilogy. (Though I may go ahead and buy Reaper Reborn, and reread Reapers and just read them all together because my memory is the worse. XD) Also whyyyy have I not read Five Magic Spindles yet??? I MUST DO THAT!

    I could chat about books 'til the end of time, so I'm gonna have to force myself to stop. BUT I LOVED THIS POST. It made my bookish heart happy! I do hope you'll find many more amazing reads with this new year! ^_^

    1. We're such snoopy creatures! I'm the same, though--my TBR is long enough to last me about 5 years, but I still LOVE getting recommendations and finding new books to add to it! We are hopelessly infected.

      EEEP, THANK YOU! Cordelia's roll-throwing is certainly endearing. XD And YES, you do need to read NSNatBotNK! (Ahem, that acronym is just as bad as my previous title for Mirrors Never Lie... xD)
      I think I had a lot more patience with the characters because of seeing the movie? Like, I know I would've been annoyed if I'd read the book first. But most of the characters were portrayed as less grouchy and snappy in the movie, so I kind of blended the two versions in my head. XD

      Yeah, there weren't too many meh/awful books this year! I'm actually really enjoying nonfiction now...I just don't have the time right now with school and alllll the textbook reading I have to do. :P So I'm hoping to read some more over the summer, and I DEFINITELY have ideas for all kinds of topics to read about once college is over for good! Good for you for reading more writing craft books--that's something I need more of myself.

      YOU GOT BEYOND THE GATEWAAAAAYYYY! :D I heartily approve of this plan of reading the whole trilogy at once. I don't usually do that with series, but for this one it was super fun for some reason! ALL THE YES ABOUT FIVE MAGIC SPINDLES. <3

      Haha, so can I, apparently. *glances back at my long comment* I'm so thrilled you enjoyed the post. Here's to a new year full of lovely books!

  6. Aaaaaahhh, yessss to Percy Jackson!!! That series is awesome, and then of course you must read The Heroes of Olympus. *nodnod* Percy Jackson = amazing.

    I gobbled up all these little reviews like my last meal, eep! I really want to read the Reapers books, but they're not at any of my local libraries. *pouty face* Amen, amen, and amen to the moral of The Maze Runner *more nods* (lol!), and BOY does Miss Peregrine look intriguing. :D

    Goodness, this bookish post makes me want to get back to my own reading. *scampers off* xD

    1. I REALLY need to keep reading Percy Jackson! The many sequel series currently confuse me, but a quick poke around Goodreads or Google will fix that, I'm sure. XD

      Awwww, Lila! <3 So sorry your libraries don't carry the Reapers trilogy! Is there a way to request them, or do an inter-library loan? The Miss Peregrine books are quite unusual! They're different than what I expected, but quite good!

      Aha, mission accomplished! ;D

  7. Fun post, Tracey! :) Hmm, my favorite books of 2017.....most definitely the Great Library series by Rachel Caine (desperately waiting for the fourth one!:), "Moriarty" and "House of Silk" by Andrew Horowitz, the Raven Cycle (although I do have issues with them *cough* language and other things) the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books, and "The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater.
    I'm going to buy "A Time to Die" with some Christmas money, and I'm so excited! It looks awesome:).

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Ooooh, the Great Library series is one I'm very much looking forward to continuing. The first book was so good! I haven't heard of House of Silk, but is that the same Andrew Horowitz who wrote the Alex Rider books? (Sadly, yes, there are some issues with the Raven Cycle... I so badly wanted to love them 100%.) Scorpio Races is high on my TBR as well!

      A Time to Die blew me away! I hope you enjoy it!

  8. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that bookdragons are nosy little creatures, always snuffling around each other's shelves to see what friends are reading, buying, and reviewing." Yes, this is very true- but I prefer the term 'bookwyrm'.

    So many beautiful books! But the only ones on this list that I have read are 'Knife' and 'the Shadow Throne'. I'm working my way towards reading the Fatal Tree, though.

    2017 was a fantastic year for reading, and I found many a new favourite! For example: 'The Cost of Discipleship'; 'A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold'; 'The Warden and the Wolf King'; 'Cyrano de Bergerac'; 'Strong Poison', and the first three of the Bright Empires Series.

    1. Ah, bookwyrm! Even better! Traditional pronunciation of bookworm, but with the fantastical "dragon" thrown in. I like it.

      That's right, I'd forgotten you were reading Bright Empires! Oh, I can't wait to hear what you think of the finale. :D

      I'm so glad you had a wonderful year of books. ABoSaBoG (lol, I still can't get over the acronym!) is one that I MUST READ SOON. Also the Wingfeather Saga! I hope your 2018 books are just as good. :D

  9. Wow! Lots of books! I liked your mini reviews of them. Much easier for me to read than a lengthy, wordy review. I hope 2018 holds some fun reading material for you!

    1. Thank you, Sarah! That was my thinking--short reviews are easier to digest. I'm debating whether to start doing it this way for my monthly Subplots and Storylines... we'll see!

      Same to you--may your 2018 reads be riveting!

  10. Oh yes! Ascendance Trilogy! :D Like Sarah said, your review style is fun and easy to read. It's like a mini sum-up of the books.

    Let's see. This year, my best books of 2017 was the 'Red Badge of Courage' by Crane, 'The Royal Ranger' by Flanagan, and 'The Black Arrow' by Stevenson. Can't wait to see what 2018 brings! :D

    1. Wasn't the Ascendance Trilogy FABULOUS? :D Awww, thank you. It was fun to write them that way!

      Yay, another Ranger's Apprenctice fan! *high fives* I haven't read the other two you mentioned, but I hope your 2018 books are marvelous, DG. Thanks for the follow, by the way!!!

  11. I am impressed with the graph. And I like your mini-reviews. I should probably come over here for recommendations in Fantasy. Haven't read one that was my cup of tea for awhile.

    1. They were super easy to make! I used a site called :) And of course I'm ALWAYS happy to provide fantasy recommendations! Hope you find a winner or two!

  12. Some of these look really intriguing! I got book money for Christmas and have practically spent it all already on books (in my head; not ordered any yet), so I should really stay away from this kind of thing. . .

    The Pyramus and Thisbe play is the best part of Midsummer, I think. The Phantom Tollbooth is no end of fun too. We quote it regularly.

    Best book of this year. . . probably Orthodoxy or Pendragon's Heir? But they're both re-reads. The best new book would be The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

    1. Haha, I know what you mean about spending money in your head! I do that all the time with book money, iTunes cards, gift cards, etc... What are you planning to buy?

      That part cracked me up! Bottom the Weaver is just the best. XD Oh, yay, another Phantom Tollbooth fan! I wish I knew it well enough to quote it.

      The Girl Who Drank the Moon has been on my TBR for a little while. It looks like a good one. Hope you have a wonderful year of reading, Sophia!

  13. Fun recap! I'm putting a bunch of these on my TBR pile....

    1. Thank you, Jenelle! Mwahaha, mission accomplished. ;)

    2. When the pile topples over on me, crushing me beneath its enormous mass, I'm sending my doctor bills to you and Deborah..... mwahahahahaha :-D

    3. Aha, so it's me and Deb who are responsible! Good thing I got TBR insurance the other day. ;)

  14. Nice job reading 40 books! There are several in here that I need to check out :P Happy reading in 2018!

    1. I'm always happy to grow TBR piles! ;) I hope 2018 is full of wonderful books for you too.

  15. I just ordered A Time to Die and I'm super excited!! And I also read Some Kind of Happiness (at the end of last year) and LOVE IT! It was so good and deep and meaningful ASDJKFHASD. Also, I recognized your quote from The Shadow Throne immediately. It's from one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. It's so great ahhhh I JUST LOVE THAT BOOK. That whole series *swoons* Thanks for sharing your 2017 reads!

    1. *whispers* Also, I read 40 books last year too so YAYYYY!! *high fives* We rock.

    2. *flails* ALL THE BOOK LOVE! A Time to Die is fantastic and I am in desperate need of the sequels. Some Kind of Happiness was such a sweet, sad, hopeful book--deeper than I expected for middle grade. ^_^ Heehee, the sass is one of the best things about the Ascendance Trilogy. So happy to find a fellow fan! *high fives* Yay for 40!!

  16. Percy Jackson really does have the best chapter titles...XD

    AGH WINTER WAS SOOO GOOOOD. O_O Putting rice in Cinder's head. XD

    I really love the format of this post! Just a nice, simple tiny review type thing. :D

    And yay for 40 books!! That's awesome!! I only got in 30 this year, but thankfully they were mostly all good ones! ^_^

    1. I still remember the one about three old ladies knitting the socks of death. XD

      Thanks! Writing it was super fun.

      30 is great, especially if so many of them were solid reads! Here's to even more this year! *clinks teacups*