Top 10 Books of 2017

It’s that time of the year again where I have to condense all of my reading into a list of ten. This has been a painful chore and I¬†have agonised over the decisions made here, at the time of writing this I’ve read 203 books this year so narrowing this list to just 10 books is a painful endeavour. I could easily do ten books per genre I read!

There are books I’ve loved that I’ve had to leave off just because I only had ten spaces. Some of these have appeared in my most popular reviews over the last week which I think speaks for how they’ve appealed to a wider audience and that they have not just spoken to me individually. It would have been easy for me to only pick fantasy novels for this list because I find them so memorable, but I forced myself to look at the other genres I’ve read and picked my favourites from those as well. The Top 10 aren’t in a preference order, actually, I’ve put them in alphabetical order to keep things fair ūüėČ

Allison’s Adventures in Underland by C.M. Stunich

This was a real last minute entry as I only read it roughly ten days ago, but it blew me away, it’s also one of two C.M. Stunich books which made it into this list. I have read more of her books this year than any other author so I guess it was inevitable that she would make a double appearance. Underland is a dark, warped, and very sexy shadow of the Wonderland we know from the childhood fairytale. This was basically my perfect retelling, I normally hate retellings, sometimes I think they are OK, but this one nailed it for me giving me all the dark and twisted ideas that run through my own head plus so many more. Stunich surprised me, wowed me, and teased me from cover to cover. I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t even contemplate putting it down and leaving these character and this world for even a minute.

My original review.

Blackwing by Ed McDonald

This is an epic book, the main character in this book, Ryhalt is definitely more of an anti-hero. He’s not attractive, he’s an alcoholic, he swears too much, he fights too much and he leads a band of misfits. But my God, did I love this man. He may like to think of himself as going against the grain but he probably had the most attuned moral compass in the whole book. The worldbuilding in this book was vivid and sent you to some dark and lonely places. This was not a world you would want to end up in. You know how sometimes you can imagine living in a fantasy world, despite the wars and evil monsters? This was not one of them! I flew through this book, I loved it and I’m so pleased the story will be continuing with another book.

My original review.

Godblind by Anna Stephens

Wow, what can I say about this book, it’s dark, it’s bloody, it’s pretty much fantasy at it’s gruesome finest. Told from aprx 10 points of view (sorry can’t remember the exact number) we get to know the characters in this book intimately, and not just the good guys. Anna Stephens gets us closer to the bad guys as well, my favourite character in the book was one of the evilest characters and I’m literally chomping at the bit to see how his character develops in the next book. Not only does the book cause pain and suffering to almost every character on every page, with one of the most brutal torture scenes I’ve ever read, but THAT ENDING! Christ, it was one of the most epic cliffhangers I’ve ever read, it would take something huge to beat that I sat flicking my kindle into oblivion looking for more pages that just weren’t there, before I dissolved into fits of WTF, followed by distraughtly messaging Anna Stephens to make sure there was going to be a second book! (N.B. I’ve since met Anna in person and had a good chat with her and she now knows I’m not a complete loon…I think!)

My original review.

Groupie by C.M. Stunich

This was my introduction to C.M. Stunich and reverse harem under the guise of reverse harem (I had read them before I just had never heard the term before). So much in this book touched home for me, I’m a rock chick, I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with bands (I used to do freelance music journalism), and I’ve got a lot of baggage in my past that screws with my head. As I started reading Lilith just got under my skin and I fell in love with her, her vulnerability her tenacity and also her free spirit. Then the guys in the band, each one of them an individual but together beautiful and strong. Her and them together it was just meant to be and the way that Stunich wrote it was just stunning, this is a book I will re-read over and over again. I was so deeply connected to these characters, their trauma, their pain, their longing, their love. This book touched me deep at my core and it’s not one I will ever forget.

My original review.

Raising Fire by James Bennett

Everybody needs to read this series, it’s as simple as that. If you like dragons, urban fantasy, and/or magic you just can’t afford to miss this series. Raising Fire is book two in the Ben Garston series, it was probably second in my list of most anticipated novels of the year, I was chomping at the bit to read it and bought it the day it was released. I was not disappointed, in fact it was far better than Chasing Embers because we got to see so much more of Ben’s vulnerabilities and that for me made his character grow and get under my skin even more (and if you’ve been following the saga you will know I’m completely in love with Ben Garston)! There is a lot of violence in this book, new characters, betrayal and some really interesting chinese mythology woven in.

My original review.

 

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley

Skullsworn is the first Brian Staveley novel I’ve read, I had no idea what to expect going in but to be gutted from the inside out was not it. Brian Staveley wove together a deeply harrowing fantasy novel which also drew on all those elements I love about romance novels and then left me a quivering wreck at the end. I don’t remember a fantasy novel ever leaving me feeling so emotionally broken before, the writing was exquisite, the world building had me living in the world with the characters and even now six months after reading it I think about that novel and the characters constantly. I will be fitting in some catch-up sessions for Brian Staveley’s back catalogue because I have definitely been depriving myself of this man’s work.

My original review.

The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson

I had high hopes for The Lost Sentinel, actually, I had set my hopes unreasonably and unfairly high. It wasn’t possible for poor Suzanne Rogerson to meet what I was expecting from her second self-published work. Except she did. I sat down to read The Lost Sentinel and she blew my freakin’ mind! What appears on the surface to be straightforward quest fantasy is anything but. Suzanne Rogerson has woven a complex world of magic, treachory, and war. Yes, there is a quest, but there is so much more to this fantasy I got pulled in and became completely absorbed, tears running down my face as beloved characters are killed off and the unexpected just keeps happening. Suzanne Rogerson is masterful when it comes to sculpting a fantasy novel and waiting for the second book in this series is painful!

My original review.

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

The Ninth Rain is the first part in a new series by Jen Williams and it didn’t disappoint. Giving us a new world, new characters, new creatures, and even aliens this book was everything I hoped for from Jen Williams and more. I finished and felt that lead weight of “oh hell now I have to wait a year for book two” because all I wanted was to pick up book two then and there. (I’ve just finished reading the ARC of book two and it was so worth waiting for ūüėČ review to follow in the new year.) I’ve said it before, I will say it again, my collection of Jen Williams books will continue to grow but her writing is addictive, you just want more of it. I would happily read her work 24/7, I love the pace, the flow, the style. It’s emotive and the worldbuilding blows my mind every single time. There is a reason this lady is my favourite Fantasy author, I just can’t get enough of her work!

My original review.

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

Tate James came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass. The Vixen’s Lead is a stunning paranormal/urban fantasy reverse harem and it has every single thing I would want from one of these novels. A kick-ass heroine in the form of Kit Davenport, student by day, master-thief known only as The Fox by night. Then there are her men, an unlikely group of ally’s who save her life and then step in to work with her. They include brothers and a geek (who I’m particularly fond of). The best thing is this is really slow burn so in this first book very little happens in terms of the romance side of things, the main story is being set up, there’s plenty of action and we get to know Kit. This is such a solid story and I was gutted when the book ended, I was just glad that I was a little late to the party so could download the second book straight away (which would have made it onto this list if I’d had space) and pre-order the third and fourth books…yes I may be a bit addicted!

My original review.

Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

It’s always hard to review a book by a friend, there’s that risk you won’t like it then you have to tell your friend you didn’t like their book (yeah I’ve been there), then you read one like Watching Glass Shatter and you finish it and think “how do I know somebody who can write something like this?” It’s awe-inspiring. Watching Glass Shatter is about a family facing grief, and their own secrets, five brothers and a mother trying to decide what to do with a devastating secret told to her in a letter in her husband’s will. As the secrets her sons hold unravel she has to decide what to do for the best of her sons and the family as a whole. I can’t remember a book affecting me like this one did. I sobbed for two hours solid as I finished the book, got through an entire box of tissues, and I felt as though each and every member of that family was connected to me. I loved them thoroughly, I felt their pain, their joy, and their grief.

My original review.

So that’s it…what are your top books of the year?

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#Review: Raising Fire by James Bennett @Benjurigan @orbitbooks

If you missed my review of book one in this series Chasing Embers then you can check it out by following this link.

Description

Life isn’t treating Red Ben Garston well. He’s lost everything he once held dear, including the love of his life. Still, at least he escaped the clutches of a malevolent spirit bent on total destruction. So there is that.

Now Ben just wants to drink, and forget, and drink some more. But he can’t. Not yet.

Because someone is stirring up trouble. Someone who wants to unleash a powerful ancient magic that could bring the realm of mythology crashing into the modern world.

If Ben fails to stop them, the world will burn – and that’s the last thing he needs on his conscience.

Review

This has been floating around the top of my most anticipated books of 2017 since I found out it was being released towards the end of last year. Chasing Embers was one of my favourite books of 2016 and Ben Garston is one of my all time favourite characters partly because I have a huge thing for him, hey, no judgements people, if I want to crush on a dragon I will OK?

Raising Fire delivered everything I was hoping for and more. Moving us on a year from the events in Chasing Embers Ben is still torn up over losing the love of his life. He’s sunk further into the booze and is essentially hiding. But his life isn’t one in which he can hide easily and another faction are after his hide and this time it seems somebody else is looking to wake up all of the remnants.

Yet again Ben is faced with moral choices that leave his mind swirling, he is faced with battles that risk exposure to humans and breaking the rules of the lore. His advisor Von Hart is missing which isn’t helping his state of mind as he has nobody to turn to for advice. New characters are introduced in this book who offer a fresh perspective but in addition give us more questions around who can and should Ben trust.

Ben continues to get under my skin. He’s moody, drinks far too much, he bitches and moans. But he’s also thoughtful and really gives a shit about making the lore work, he gave his word hundreds of years ago and that means something to him. He loves fully and thoroughly and though other remnants look down on him for it he cares about humans and how the things the remnants do could affect them.

This is a solid urban fantasy and I enjoyed it as much if not more than Chasing Embers. I’m also over the moon to know there will be a third book to this series as I’m definitely not done reading about this amazing character.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

Title: Raising Fire
Series: Ben Garston #2
Author: James Bennett
Genre: Fantasy | Urban Fantasy | Dragons
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: 29 August 2017
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Audio
Pages: 416
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Speedy Hen | Wordery

Week in Review – 17 September 2017

I posted on Twitter and on my other blog which I’ve now retired, that I would be gradually bringing this one to a close. The response I received, honestly amazed me. Not just the comments on that post, but private messages and emails as well. Thank you to everyone who contacted me, the kind and encouraging words. Also, ironically, the stats on this blog started to go up, and on Friday I received one of those WordPress notifications you occasionally get to tell me my stats were “booming” …go figure!

A couple of people I had some lovely conversations with, they helped me work through what my actual issues are with this blog. Most importantly that I’m spending 4-5 hours a day working on this blog, that my stats had been dwindling to less than 50 visitors per day, when six months ago I was getting several hundred, I’ve invested money in giveaways and not one person has entered them.

The decision I’ve made on the back of my discussions is to transition this into a reviews only blog, and reduce the amount I’m posting. I will keep The Bookshelf, which is still my most popular feature, and this week in review post which I will alter slightly once I’ve worked out a better format.

I have commitments with blog tours and book blitzes between now and January which I will honour so things probably won’t change much before then, but afterwards, I will only do tours with reviews and not loads of them so I’m not quite so overwhelmed.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who contacted me, I really have felt completely deflated by all of this recently and I wasn’t expecting so much support from people when I made the decision to quit. Hopefully this revised decision will alleviate some of the stress.

Finally, don’t forget to vote in my TBR Topple poll if you haven’t already. I will be picking the winner on Wednesday!

To the update…

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

Reviews

This week I reviewed Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, Spring by Lele Iturrioz, Tipping Point by Terry Tyler, and Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters.

Other Posts

Music Monday saw me post a live video this week, something acoustic and a bit more soulful. I have an excerpt from Falling For You by Charlotte Blake. This week on The Bookshelf I had Joanne from Potobello Book Blog.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 10 September 2017

This week I have been working hard at the next draft of my book which is proving a slower job than writing the first draft, there is definitely an irony in there somewhere! That being said I’m starting to feel like it’s coming together now and that the reworked chapters are no longer a complete embarrassment so that’s a start!

Next Saturday I’m taking part in the 10-mile walk, Walking out of Darkness. Hopefully it won’t rain like it did last year! You can find out more here. I’ve also signed up to do a 5km infalatables obstacle course at the end of the month with a friend. They say it’s suitable for anyone aged 7+ so I figure I should be OK!

Right, here is my bookish update for this week!

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

This week I have reviewed The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, Beautiful Survivors by C.M. Stunich, and I Cried to Dream Again by Tani Hanes.

Other Posts

I took part in the Music Monday meme again this week and I had an excerpt from First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna. On The Bookshelf this week was fantasy author Errin Krystal. I was tagged for the Sunshine Blogger Award and The Miranda Sings Award.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 3 September 2017

This week, this happened, 500 posts is kind of crazy right? That’s a lot of talking, sorry about that!

I’m really behind with reviews at the moment, I will try and catch up with them over the next few week’s but I’m also trying to not stress about the blog so if I don’t, so be it!

I had a wonderful time in Lincolnshire with my Sister and Niece, we did some fun things and had lots of fun hanging out. My Niece even helped me with my work out, I had 140 sit ups to do to complete my 30 day challenge I’ve been taking part in with my circuits class. My Niece decided she would be my personal trainer for this, but also sat on me for it! My Sister recorded a bit of it…I thought I would share, you can view it on Instagram.

I also met up with a blogging friend while I was up in Lincolnshire, it’s a friend from the other blog, and someone I’ve spoken to for at least two years now so it was nice to put a face to the name and have a chat over a cup of tea for an hour.

Right, here is my bookish update for this week!

Book of the Month

So it’s that time again to pick another winning book, I didn’t read a huge amount in August, I was completely tunnel visioned on writing my book! But here is my choice!

The Last Dragon Rider by Errin Krystal
The Last Dragon Rider - Errin KrystalThe Last Dragon Rider is a superb Fantasy novella which absolutely blew me away. I have been following the progress of this for some time as a reader of the authors blog so was super excited to get one of the ARCs as part of the blog tour to review. I highly recommend this to fans of epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, and dragons.

Click here to read my full review.

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

I’ve reviewed Sunsets at Seaside by Addison Cole, The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper.

Other Posts

My most recent Marketing Monday post has gone up, I focused on the difference between Marketing and Sales this time. I featured an excerpt of Denai Storm by Tiffany Shand and In The Moment by Jennifer Wilck. Plus I took part in Music Monday, the This is My Truth Now tag, the One Lovely Blog Award, and the Unique Blogger Award. As it’s a new month my TBR Topple post has gone up for this month and voting is open! Teri Polen was the author on The Bookshelf this week so don’t miss out on checking out her choices.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2017

So, I came across the Flights of Fantasy reading challenge and thought this was another challenge that would be great to get my teeth into this year. To ensure I stick with reading some books off of my massive TBR and give myself some time with my favourite genre and don’t get too bogged down with ARC’s, which as we know, can happen!

What is it?

This is a challenge which is organised by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly. You set your own reading target but they also run giveaways and a kind of reading club within the challenge so I will certainly try and read some of the books I’ve not already read within those aswell, some of the books they have listed are on my TBR so it shouldn’t be too hard!

I will keep a list here of the Fantasy books I read throughout the year, with a link to my reviews, as I am doing with the Discoverability Challenge, and I will aim for half of my Goodreads Challenge Target of 100 to be fantasy, so 50 books!

Good luck to anybody else who is taking part!

  1. Fantastic Creatures –¬†Fellowship of Fantasy
  2. Cruel Crown – Victoria Aveyard
  3. Runemarks – Joanne M Harris
  4. The Ninth Rain – Jen Williams
  5. The Art of Forgetting: Rider – Joanne Hall
  6. Seasons Within – Lele Iturrioz
  7. A Facet for the Gem – C. L. Murray
  8. Written in Red – Anne Bishop (Flights of Fantasy Book Club)
  9. Dark Promise – Nikki Landis
  10. Angelbound – Christina Bauer
  11. Siren’s Fury – Mary Weber
  12. Curse of Stars – Donna Compositor
  13. Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  14. Celtic Fire – Liz Gavin
  15. When the Floods Came – Clare Morrall
  16. Reborn – Jane Ederlyn
  17. The Last Days of Magic – Mark Tompkins
  18. Saving Mercy – Abbie Roads
  19. Dragon of Ash & Stars: The Autobiography of a Night Dragon – H. Leighton Dickson
  20. Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
  21. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter – Deborah Wilde
  22. The Dragon’s Legacy – Deborah A. Wolf
  23. Memortality – Stephen H. Provost
  24. Cry Wolf – Greta Stone
  25. Legion – Julie Kagawa
  26. Red Sister – Mark Lawrence
  27. Mother of Wolves –¬†J. Aislynn d’Merricksson
  28. Skullsworn – Brain Staveley
  29. Alphabet of Thorn – Patricia A. McKillip (Flights of Fantasy Book Club)
  30. Shifter Clan Series – Tiffany Shand
  31. The Lost Sentinel – Suzanne Rogerson
  32. Nightseer – Laurell K Hamilton
  33. Fallen From Grace – Nikki Landis
  34. Godblind – Anna Stephens
  35. A Gathering of Ravens – Scott Oden
  36. The Gunslinger – Stephen King
  37. Wyvern Awakening –¬†Joanna Mazurkiewicz
  38. Seduced By Moonlight – Laurell K Hamilton
  39. Pack Ebon Red – C.M. Stunich
  40. Made In The Image Of The Goddess – Chantelle Griffin
  41. Blackwing – Ed McDonald
  42. The Last Dragon Rider – Errin Krystal
  43. The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson
  44. Darkfever – Karen Marie Moning
  45. Tipping Point – Terry Tyler
  46. The Dragon in the Garden – Erika Gardner
  47. Spring – Lele Iturrioz
  48. Raising Fire – James Bennett
  49. Firestorm – Rachel Caine
  50. Branded – Keary Taylor
  51. Damned – Alexandra Weis & Lucas Astor
  52. Elements of Mischief – C.M. Stunich & Tate James
  53. Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson
  54. The Year of the Knife – G.D. Penman
  55. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K Dick
  56. Split Feather – Deborah A. Wolf
  57. The Vixen’s Lead – Tate James
  58. The Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson
  59. Dungari Rise – Nikki Landis
  60. The Dark Highlander – Karen Marie Moning
  61. Pack Violet Shadow – C.M. Sunich
  62. Full Moon Rising – Keri Arthur
  63. The Bitter Twins – Jen Williams
  64. Elements of Ruin – C.M. Stunich & Tate James
  65. Allison’s Adventure’s in Underland – C.M. Stunich
  66. Lindisfarne – Terry Tyler
  67. The Dragon’s Wing – Tate James
  68. Patient Zero – Terry Tyler
  69. Fractured – Nikki Landis
  70. Arcanum Unbounded – Brandon Sanderson
  71. The Tiger’s Ambush – Tate James

Top 10 Books 2016 #Giveaway

So another year is over, I’ve read 100 books this year, which is bang on target. I’m quite pleased with myself, reading a lot of fantasy many of the books I read have page counts to rival the Bible so 100 is quite an¬†achievement! Narrowing down my favourites to just 10 is hard and my list changed at least 100 times itself before I settled on what you see below. These are the one’s which I couldn’t get out of my head, which have lingered and made a long lasting impression.

I’ve linked to the full reviews for those who are interested but have also provided a short comment on why I have shortlisted each book. This list is in no particular order, it contains books I have read in 2016 but they may not necessarily be published in 2016 (although most are).

Continue reading Top 10 Books 2016 #Giveaway