Book Series Winter Wrap-Up

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In January, February and March and April (yeah, we still have snow shower in April, so for me, it still counts as a last winter’s month) 😉 I read around 41 books. I think this is the year I read most so far, not counting the years I wasn’t registering every book I read on Goodreads, but with this large enough number, I considered writing a blog post with short reviews on all the series I will (or not) go on reading.

 

Series I won’t go on reading.

 

In the last four months, there were around four first-in-a-series books that I would react to with, “Nope! Not at all,” either because the books were written to another audience, or because the books were really beyond terrible, so I decided to drop their series, even if I am a series follower at heart.
I considered talking about these books here, but on a second thought, that would make this post too ranty, so if you are curious to see which ones, take a look at my list of “series-I-will-not-finish” on Goodreads.

 

Series I will (eventually) go on reading (or not, it depends on my TBR)

 

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
A quite dark dystopia, this first book just felt like an introduction to the story world since not many questions were answered here. Let’s see what the next books will bring.

 

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
I found this story quite original. I also liked the characters and their original world. Blue with the clairvoyant mother and friends and the raven boys. That said I think that things moved at a much slower pace than most YA books I’ve read lately, not many answers were given at the end and the characters seem to be still at the beginning of their journey. Even though it was an original book, so I may go on with this series even if I rated the first book 3.5 stars.

 

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

I liked the story world and most of the characters. The story wraps up quite well in the end, without giving many hints on how the characters or the story could go on. So I’ll probably go on reading this series, even if I see no reason to hurry.

 

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

This book is slower paced than most science-fiction dystopia books I’ve read, but this perhaps due to the characters relationships being in the foreground. This slower pace, in my opinion, also created a better world description and story development, so it was all right. I liked the way the story was told even if the book finishes with a hook. And the touching role the Dylan Thomas poem played in the story was so beautiful, that it alone won my good opinion on this book. I’ll probably finish this series later.

 

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

I wasn’t too impressed by the first book of this series, but it could be due to me getting a vampire story overload? At the moment I’ve already read more than thirty books with vampires on them, so I feel I’ve seen a lot of the tropes already. This book was written in 1993 before vampires acquired the twilit hype that would also weaken them, so it’s not the book’s fault and I’ll probably read a couple of books more to make up my mind about this series. I’m just not in a hurry.

 

Series I will (definitely) go on reading.

 

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

This book is so good you will take your time reading it, so it lasts longer. And so far I can remember, it’s one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read. So I’ll definitely go on reading this series.

 

Queen of Hearts (Queen of Hearts Saga #1) by Colleen Oakes

I really liked this book and I’m curious to read the next book in the series. IMO the first book of a series has to leave enough mystery, enough hooks for the second book, otherwise, I don’t feel so eager to read it. But this first book was quite successful in that, so I can’t wait to read the sequel.

 

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t start reading this series now in winter but read The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 – 0.5) and Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) in January.  So even if I rated both books 4 stars and felt a bit wary of the heroine changing her mind about love interests all the time, I’ll go on reading this series.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

After reading the Throne of Glass series from the same author I was seriously underwhelmed by two-thirds of this book. The story only starts to go at a faster and more interesting pace after page 250, when the heroine finally starts to commit to her journey and Rhysand, the best character in this series, finally gets a more central role in the story. I found the second book much better than the first. This was a book I felt like fist pumping and shouting ‘yes’ with the heroine choices. I couldn’t put the second book down. So let’s see how the rest of this series will develop. I’m even afraid of the next book not managing to be as good as the second one.

 

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

I’ll go on reading this series even if I always complain in the reviews about the science fiction component of the story being forgotten in name of romance and action.

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

I read Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) and read that the next book will be again someone getting kidnapped, a plot similar to other books in this series, but since I like the characters I’ll go on reading this series, for now.

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews

This year I was waiting for Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) for a couple of months. The same day it was released, in the same paperback size as the rest of my collection, I ordered it. I gave it five stars and now I must wait full of curiosity for the next book.
Oh, the joy of long book series!

 

 

Series I finished.

(In the rain, a violin plays a dark melody of longing.)

 

The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

I read the five books in this series in one week and consider them all highly entertaining page-turners. An ideal series if you just want a break.

 

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha Trilogy, in my opinion, deserved all its hype. I read it on my e-book reader, but I’m seriously considering buying the whole series in paperback just to have it. I liked the series enough for that.

 

And you, have you read any of these series and had a different opinion on them? What is your favorite unfinished or finished series? Do you know any YA, Fantasy or Science fiction series you would like to recommend to me? Or do you prefer reading stand alone books?

Let me know in the comments.

 

Yay, I won the awesome Fiction-writing book Giveaway from Re:Fiction!

 

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I’m happy to announce that I won the awesome giveaway from Re:fiction

(More about  Re:fiction at the bottom of this post.)

My prize was an Amazon gift certificate of one hundred euros to buy Fiction-Writing books.

Among many interesting recommendations from Tal Valante from Re:fiction , I had the following Fiction-writing books recommended to me. I didn’t get these only because I already have them, but I would also recommend them as very helpful books:

Wonderbook : The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer (Goodreads Author), Jeremy Zerfoss (Illustrator), John Coulthart (Illustrations)

And the Angela Ackerman‘s Thesaurus series

My Fiction-writing book choices were:

 

1) Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

2) Word Painting Revised Edition: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively Kindle Edition by Rebecca McClanahan

3) Writing the Breakout Novel: Winning Advice from a Top Agent and His Best-selling Client by Donald Maass

4) The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself by Susan Bell

5) The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction: Your Blueprint for Building a Strong Story (The Writer’s Toolbox Series) by C. S. Lakin

6) MASTER LISTS FOR WRITERS: Thesauruses, Plots, Character Traits, Names, and More by Bryn Donovan

7) Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost

Now I wish to find enough time to enjoy all these awesome books! But summer is coming so I’m quite hopeful this will happen.

 

About Re:fiction

” Re:fiction is a fast-growing resource website for writers. We host everything from practical articles and tips to writing prompts and a story idea generator. In our newsletter, you can practice your skills by entering free, prize-bearing writing challenges. Need professional feedback for your work? Try our free editing scholarships.

Our mission statement:
We seek creative people who write with authenticity about a diversity of subjects, all while in pursuit of literary quality. Our mission is to find, nurture, and reward these writers in any way we can.”

 

 

My Favorite Booktube Channels

Here is a list of my favorite Booktube channels.
They aren’t listed in order of preference. Some of these channels I have followed more closely, some less. In any case, I found all of them very inspiring when looking for a new book or comic to read. The first link is the channel and the second my favorite video from that channel.
 

1 – BookswithEmilyFox

Favorite Video: 2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Reading Goals

Favorite Video: READATHONS IN 2017

Favorite Video: BOOKSHELF TOUR!

6 – Epic Reads


8 – Book Riot


10 – BEmpoeirada

This last channel is in Brazilian Portuguese.

My contradictory reader relationship with the YA genre.

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In my teens, the young adult genre wasn’t yet so clearly defined. I remember reading Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, books based on the Star Trek’s first generation universe, and Brave New World and thus discovering Science Fiction.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were starting points for Romance and Anne Rice books were my first Paranormal Fantasy. Then I had my favorite Gothic novel, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, although I must confess to reading Hugo’s discourse on books substituting architecture only once.

Later, as an adult, I heard of Harry Potter, more than a couple of years after its hype had started. I found the books interesting while at the same time thought that the characters acted way too mature even if they were children. YA was then leaving its Tolkien-like station and getting faster on its tracks, like the Hogwarts express.

Then, during my thirties, I had a bit of a reading slump. I had discovered computer games, life was bumpy, and I didn’t have Goodreads to hold me accountable on reading more books. Those crazy times. 😉 Even though, I still had my  favorite books and series.

And now that I’m slowly reading a higher number of books per year, I’m reading also more YA. Some books in the genre didn’t impress me much, but some were quite entertaining. I could also make a list of the YA books I didn’t like, but I won’t because it could happen easily that the same books would entertain other readers. Especially when it comes to books, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure.

My favorites YA book list isn’t yet as extensive as the ones from the happy booktubers out there. Still, see the books in it as entertaining enough for someone who doesn’t list YA as one of her favorite genres. Fantasy and Science Fiction still occupy the first and second place as my favorite genres, even if I must confess to lately reading more fantasy than sci-fi. I don’t like the dark cloud of dystopia that has taken over the sci-fi sky, even if the present reality events calls for concern and make everybody read 1984 from George Orwell. These worrisome times emphasize the need for reflection. But this is a topic for another blog post.

So, here are the YA books whose series I’ve read entirely and liked. I didn’t include the Harry Potter series here because everybody puts it on the top of their list, so it’s an assumed point that it should be read. The books here had all a really interesting story world, great characters, fast paced action and an interesting premise and plot, even if I didn’t always rate them five stars. I also posted the first books in every series in the order I read them since I’m still waiting for the final books in the last two series. (Watch this post for new additions in the not so distant future.)

YA Favorites:

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman.

The Magicians’ Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy #1) by Trudi Canavan

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

And you, what is your favorite YA book/series?

My favorite books in 2016

Most books I read this year were worth at least three stars. One or two were too slow paced, were made for another audience or took a wrong turn at some point, but most were quite entertaining. So I decided to list here only the ones I found surprising, funny and incredibly smart, because when you have read your share of books you’ll find this important, that special zing. So here they are:

Historical Fiction:

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

I usually don’t read historical fiction, but this book is worth reading even if you aren’t a fan of this genre. Lovely, awesome book, with an amazing story. If you liked Downtown Abbey you are in for a delightful treat.

Paranormal Fantasy:

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

The start of an awesome series, which I was quite happy to read until book eight quite fast. Fun, page-turning, with very interesting characters and world.

Books on writing craft:

5 Secrets of Story Structure by K.M. Weiland (Goodreads Author)

I found this book quite helpful, it’s about story structure in a summarized and easy to understand way. Great if you want an overview of Story Structure before you go into too many details. For me, this was helpful because I usually want to have a look at the whole subject before I look at each element in detail. So, if you are having difficulties to understand story structure read this short and concise book, you’ll get it in no time.

 

Fantasy with Science-fiction elements and LGBT Characters:

Mating Flight: A Non-Romance of Dragons(Mating Flight #1)
by Bard Bloom (Author), Tod Wills (Illustrator)

This book is very entertaining and it’s page-turner reading. I read this book in three days because I didn’t manage to put it down. I liked the main character, a fiery-tempered dragoness and all the witty dialogues and funny situations with the other dragons. I’ll be reading the next book in the Duology to see how this adventure ends.

And if you want to check out which books I read this year, here’s my Goodreads link:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/31638675

My top 10 books of 2015

Top Fiction Books

 

1Death

 1. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

I would surely recommend this book to anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice, even if you aren’t into the Mystery genre. P.D. James is an awesome writer. This book is what I would call a “modern classic”. It is also a fun, surprising book. The kind you won’t manage to stop reading and you will feel sad when you finish because you can’t dwell longer in its world with its great characters.

2Martian

 2. The Martian by Andy Weir

This book is lots of fun, its main character is one of the funniest I ever met while reading. It deserved to be the 2014 Goodreads Choice Winner.
 
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 3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

If you lived during the 80’s and liked games this is the golden book for you. Back then I wasn’t the geekiest around, but even though this book brought back a world of memories while having a page turning story.

 

4Magic

4.  Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews

This great series gets better with each new book. Kate is a kick-ass heroine and the plot is surprising, with great characters and settings. In my case it made me to stay awake until  midnight to read it. A totally fun read that hooks the reader until the end. I found this one of the best books of this great urban fantasy series.

 

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5. The Spirit of a Witch (The Briley Witch Chronicles #1) by Sarah Jane Avory

I found this book lots of fun. The protagonist reminded me a bit of detective Monk. Briley is a different kind of hero, refreshing and fun due to being most of the time humanly uncertain, almost until the last minute, when her ingenuity saves the day. I also loved Smokey because he really sounded like a cat. I recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy stories with witches. And to anyone who understands how great is to befriend a cat.

Top writing Books

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6. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne, Dave King

This is an objective, goal oriented book for revising your manuscript. The checklists are quite useful and the explanations surely helpful. I recommend it as revision reference.

 

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7. Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction (Busy Writer’s Guides #4) by Marcy Kennedy

This book is very helpful, with direct and goal oriented tips for finding balance between showing and telling in your writing. I will use it while revising my first draft and I definitely recommend it.

 

8Dialogue

8. How to Write Dialogue (Busy Writer’s Guides #3)  by Marcy Kennedy

A great guide on writing and revising your manuscript’s dialogues. The “take to the page” sections are a great resource while revising.

 

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9. Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints(Write Great Fiction) by Nancy Kress

This book is part of a great series on how to write a fiction book. It has detailed information on Point of View and Characters, two important aspects of fiction writing.

 

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10. She Sat He Stood: What Do Your Characters Do While They Talk? by Ginger Hanson 

This book is a good solution against the talking-heads problem on dialogue. I enjoyed it. Writers can benefit from thinking like settings-designers and prop masters while creating their settings.