Tag Archives: favorites

5 Favorite Series of 2017

After posting my massive reading spreadsheet, I thought I would pick a few highlights that I thought deserved more attention. Some of the series mentioned were not published this year but were read by me this year. This is my top 5 favorite series that I read in 2017 in no particular order.

Shades of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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Books in the series: A Darker Shade of Magic (#1), A Gathering of Shadows (#2), and A Conjuring of Light (#3)

What it’s about: There are 4 Londons: black, white, grey, and red. While red is rich in magic and luxury, grey falls into anarchy and ruin, white remains blissfully magic free, and black… no one has set foot in black London for centuries. Kell is one of the only ones who can traverse these worlds to keep diplomatic peace and do a little trading of magical good on the side. These worlds remain in a delicate harmony until Kell accidentally unleashes black magic.

Why you should read it: 4 Londons with mad King George III in the background, a pirate-aspiring woman thief, a foppish yet strong prince, magic galore, and so much more. What really drew me in was the dynamic between the four worlds and the characters in them. You root for everyone, even the villains/antiheroes, and at times, you aren’t sure who is a hero and who is a villain. It has a ton of action, but that never comes at the expense of world-building or character. The amount of texture in this book immediately made it a highlight for me.

The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

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Books in the series: The Bear and the Nightingale (#1), The Girl in the Tower (#2), The Winter of the Witch (#3 – forthcoming 2018)

What it’s about: Vasilia lives in the Russian wilderness with her family, honoring the old ways and gods of the hearth and home and of course, the winter king. That is, until a new priest comes to the village. Full of fire and fervor, he threatens to tip the balance of nature and all the creatures that stand behind it. Only Vasilia, who can see the spirits of the old world, can save Russia from destruction, but first, the big-eyed witch must save herself.

Why you should read it: Russian folklore, a young girl pretending to be a boy, a demon fighting his humanity, a talking horse, and lush atmosphere. I loved the first book so much that I screeched when I was approved to get an ARC of book two. The world is realistic and rich, combining fantasy with history seamlessly without sanitizing the past. There were times I held my breath from the tension.

Hexworld by Jordan L. Hawk

Books in the series: “The 13th Hex” (#0), Hexbreaker (#1), Hexmaker (#2), Hexslayer (#3), “Wild Wild Hex” (#3.5)

What it’s about: A magical version of Edwardian NYC where there are humans, witches, and familiars. Familiars can transform into animals but are treated as second class citizens and often abused by witches who can bond with them and use their power to create hexes. A police force in NYC seeks to stop magical crimes and protect familiars and humans alike.

Why you should read it: Foxy thieves, sassy crows, Irish cops who take no shit, Teddy Roosevelt (who I really wish had a bull moose familiar), an intriguing magical system, PoC representation, and a great use of NYC landmarks. The romances are so damn sweet. Not in a corny, saccharine way, but in a way that you absolutely love the characters and want them to do well and become better people. Each story focuses on a new couple, so you get a wide range of stories and personalities while still seeing your favorites in the background.

Sins of the Cities by K. J. Charles

Books in the series: An Unseen Attraction (#1), An Unnatural Vice (#2), and An Unsuitable Heir (#3)

What it’s about: A murdered drunken clergy men sets of a chain reaction of death, blackmail, and family secrets that threatens to destroy the Talleyfer family and those in their orbit.

Why you should read it: A very well done mystery that runs through all three books, diverse representation that includes characters of color, varying sexualities, a character with autism (also well done), a character struggling with gender identity, and differently abled characters. I want to gush over the first book especially because Clem and Rowley are just so sweet, and a well-written character with autism is hard to find. K. J. Charles pays wonderful attention to detail in terms of not only the setting and time period but the characters different issues.

The Captive Prince Trilogy by C. S. Pacat

cs pacat

Books in the series: Captive Prince (#1), Prince’s Gambit (#2), Kings Rising (#3) and several short stories that aren’t necessary but are worth reading if you like the series

What it’s about: Damen is the heir to Akielos, but when his father dies, his half-brother kidnaps him and sends him to their rival power, Vere, as a bed slave. Stripped of his identity in enemy territory, Damen must navigate the complex world of Vere’s royal court and its equally complex heir Laurent. Laurent is more than his cold exterior, he’s calculating, strong and at the mercy of his uncle, the Regent. Together Damen and Laurent must find a way to win back their kingdoms.

Why you should read it: court intrigue, a slow burn romance, an incredibly interesting story structure (so many parallels you don’t notice until later), complex characters, an intricately woven plot, and an interesting world. There are some trigger warnings for this story, mostly involving bed slaves, but this is set in an Ancient Greek style world, so I felt it should be expected when reading it. The story is so much more than sex or sensuality. Court intrigue and war sit at the heart of it, which isn’t my usual style of story, but Damen and Laurent balance the story so well. Ruthless ambition meets bravery while both exhibit and incredibly amount of heart and humanity.


Well, I hope this post introduced you to a few new series you might check out. In my next post, I’ll highlight a few of the books I loved in 2017.

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Bookish Favorites

We all know what we hate to see in book, but what makes us giddy with anticipation? As a follow-up to my Bookish Bitching post, I will now list 20 things I love to see in books.

  1. Leather-bound, embossed, gilded books
  2. Artistic book covers
  3. A series that matches yet each cover is unique
  4. Vibrantly colored book covers
  5. Old book smell
  6. Box sets for series, especially with pretty/illustrated sleeves
  7. Complex characters
  8. Maps at the front or back
  9. Characters who are romantically involved yet their relationship isn’t based solely on sexual attraction
  10. Books with diverse casts, especially main characters
  11. Antagonists who are morally ambiguous
  12. Atmospheric settings and genres
  13. Male and female characters who are just friends
  14. Authors who write a finite series in a timely manner
  15. Books that cross genres in a unique and surprising way
  16. Books with illustrations to match the text
  17. Characters who are human (have strengths, flaws, dreams, moments of weakness)
  18. Authors who enjoy interacting with their readers
  19. Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes and Noble recommendations that lead to new favorites
  20. Books that hit the spot and make it so you can barely put them down

What are some bookish things you love?

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10 Bookish Confessions

To prove that I am a human being and to hopefully connect with my readers, I occasionally like to do “about me” posts. This time, I thought I would write ten book-related confessions about myself. Seems fitting for a blog about writing and books… and writing books.

  1. My favorite classic is Jane Eyre. I read it in 2013, and I was in love with Jane and Rochester (especially Rochester). Since then, I think I’ve read bits and pieces of it about four times. There’s something about a man whose ugly-handsome, scandalous, and willing to dress as a woman just to troll his date(s).
  2. I have a bracelet of some of my favorite novels. Yes, I’m a lit nerd, so much so that I commissioned an artist on Etsy to make a charm bracelet for me of my favorite books. The books in the pic are The Night Circus, The Mummy by Anne Rice, Jane Eyre, Souless, Frankenstein, and Johannes Cabal: Necromancer.bracelet
  3. My pets names have a literary theme. My dog’s name is Edgar, after Edgar Allan Poe. My cat’s name is Sherlock (Holmes), even though he’s more like a pudgy, blundering Watson, and my other cat, who passed when he was a kitten, was named Erik after the Phantom of the Opera.
  4. My favorite type of writing is that which is sensual and well-written. I love great plots and I love characters that grow, but what really draws me into a work is being immersed in it body and soul. I want to see it, I want to hear it, I want to experience every emotion that character is feeling. If the sentences aren’t good or the writing is flat, it immediately drops to three stars in my mind.
  5. My preferred format of book is paperback. I’m warming up to ebooks, but a paperback is still my favorite way to read a book. I like to hold it, display it, let others borrow it, and show it off, and with ebooks, I can’t do that. I tend to not read hardcovers because they’re cumbersome to lug around. My bag already is cripplingly heavy, and a two pound book doesn’t help. Also, I just find their bulk harder to hold. That and the ever shifting and sliding book sleeve.
  6. I’m a book-finisher. I can probably count one hand the books I’ve put away permanently because they were so bad. No matter how god-awful the book is, I feel the need to finish it. It may be cutting off my nose to spite my face, but there’s a part of me that still hopes the book will get better. Plus, no one can tell me that I missed the good part. No, my review stands because I read and finished the book.
  7. I will read erotica or romance, but I hate naked people on book covers. It’s a pet peeve of mine. I know sex sells, but not to me. I hate half-naked men and women equally. I don’t want to see your giant man-pecks or your pert derriere. An understated cover that is closer to sensual or intriguing than arousing is more my style. I tend to avoid books like that. This is also why I am on the look out for a better version of Teleny. I am embarrassed by the cover (not only half-naked but hideously drawn).
  8. Of my two books thus far, The Winter Garden is my favorite. I know we aren’t supposed to have favorite children, but I really, really love book two more than book one. There’s been so much personal and professional growth since I wrote The Earl of Brass, but I also just love the characters. Out of all of my characters, I think I connect the most with Immanuel. The Winter Garden is also a much darker story, and as a writer, I thoroughly enjoy writing twisted characters and delving into some rather complex emotions.
  9. I have a thing for fancy bookmarks yet rarely use them. I love fancy bookmarks. Ones with tassels, fabric ones, paper ones, metal ones, ones that are silly, ones that are artsy. It doesn’t matter, I want them. Oddly, I tend to use scraps of paper or folded post-its most often. Over the years, I’ve lost a lot of beautiful bookmarks, so now, I’m afraid I’ll lose them. Currently, I’m actually using adorable silicone seedling bookmarks my cousin got me.
  10. My favorite genres are: historical fiction, historical fantasy, and Gothic horror. When I say Gothic horror, I’m thinking like Dorian Gray or Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Horror with some upper class panache. If the book has a tie to the past and is able to submerge me in it from cover to cover, I’m sold.

Well, there you go. Ten bookish things about the Awkward Authoress.


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