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?

Week in Review – 9 July 2017

Well, it was great taking a week off, my holiday was a bit of a wash out, literally as the tent flooded and we had to come home but these things happen and I’m just glad that we got some time out and managed to get some day trips in.

I’ve combined this update to show what I’ve been reading over the two weeks since my last update so there’s quite a lot here, or not considering it’s been two weeks!

Book of the Month

June was a great reading month for me and it has been really difficult to choose a book of the month, which is why I chose three! I know, I know and I’m sorry but these were three epic books and picking between them was torture so I just didn’t!

Skullsworn was the first novel I have read by Brian Staveley but I will definitely be going back and reading his previous work, it deeply affected me and aside from being a brutal and bloody epic fantasy it was also a heartbreaking read. The Lost Sentinel was the second novel by indie author Suzanne Rogerson, and after her first novel I had high hopes which she completely knocked out of the ballpark. This exceeded every expectation I had and was a superb start to a new series with characters that you become completely entwined with! Godblind is one of the most brutal books I’ve ever read, there are scenes in this book you will never forget. Anna Stephens writing is sublime and haunting and you just can’t stop reading it. There are some awesome characters but that ending, my God, that ending!

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

My most recent reviews are: The Ch√Ęteau of Happily Ever Afters, Home Field, A Gathering of Ravens, Living in the Shallows, Cheater, The Gunslinger and Blood Bank.

Other Posts

This week I had book blitzes for In Her Blood, and Dirty. Content blog tours for The Corner Office, Hold Me Captive ‚ĶForever, and Blood Bank. I also had the very lovely Ashleigh on the Bloggers Bookshelf¬†and revealed my picks for this month’s TBR Topple which you can now vote on.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 18 June 2017

It’s been a fairly quiet week this week recovering from my surgery and slowly getting back onto my feet. It’s given me plenty of reading time though so I’m pleased with that!

There are still a couple of days left to vote in the TBR Topple poll if you haven’t already. This will determine which book from my TBR I have to read this month! The new poll will start the beginning of July.

So, onto my bookish update this week…

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

I’m very pleased as one of these is one I’ve had on my TBR for almost a decade! It finally got taken from the shelf and I read it really quickly…just goes to show what taking that leap can do!

New Books

It’s official I have no willpower, no, none at all!

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

This week I’ve reviewed Under the Tuscan Sky, Mother of Wolves,¬†Moxie,¬†The Shifter Clans Boxset, and The Lost Sentinel.

Other Posts

This week I had book blitzes for The Dragonian’s Witch,¬†Seducing the Heartbreaker, and Joy Ride. There was also a cover reveal for Eye of the Tiger.

Giveaways

  • $35 Amazon Gift Card (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • ¬£10 Amazon voucher, eCopy of Under a Tuscan Sky & a signed notebook (UK Only Tour-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • Seducing the Heartbreaker Prize Package incl signed copy (Blitz-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $20 Amazon Gift Card (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

#BlogTour: The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson @rogersonsm #Review

I’m taking a break from The Bookshelf this week to welcome The Lost Sentinel blog tour to the blog today, this is the second novel from Suzanne Rogerson, and I loved the first Visions of Zarua so it was a no brainer that I read this one as soon as possible. I’ve reviewed the novel today and be prepared for plenty of gushing because Suzanne has outdone herself! If you do want to see a Bookshelf then you can check out Suzanne’s Bookshelf from April.

Description

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?

Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly ‚Äď set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.

Tei has been raised to hide her magic, until her father, Migil, is visited by an old friend who warns them that they must seek refuge in the mountains.

On the journey, an enemy attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He sees her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession that changes Tei’s life.

Tei must put her trust in these strangers, especially when mysterious Masked Riders seem determined to stop her reaching Turrak.

Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in their search for their lost Sentinel. But the Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Can Tei help the exiles save the island magic and reunite the Kalayan people before their ignorance destroys them all?

The Lost Sentinel - Tour Banner

Review

I will admit that after Visions of Zarua I had set the bar exceptionally high for Suzanne Rogerson, probably unreasonably high for any author to have to live up to and I’m just glad that as bloggers we don’t tell authors about these invisible bars we sometimes set because I may have given the poor author a heart attack with this one. But not only did Suzanne Rogerson meet my expectations with The Lost Sentinel she surpassed them. Let’s talk about it a while…

Kalaya is a magical island, beautiful and filled with mystic’s who have varying degrees of magical power. But the island is dying, as is the leader of the mystics the Sentinel. When Tei escapes to Turrak to join the mystic exiles she discovers she is responsible for finding the next Sentinel before time runs out.

Surrounded by some wonderful characters who get under your skin almost from the start Tei sets out on a harrowing journey which is heartwarming, moving, and terrifying all at once.

I was deeply moved by Garrick one of the protector’s, humans who are responsible for protecting the mystics, he is deeply in love with Tei but this isn’t what was attractive about him, it was his humour and inner and outer strength. Of all the sub-characters he was the one I looked forward to seeing on the page the most.

The world building throughout this novel is exquisite, I felt like I could live and breath Kalaya, and while at sea with Farrell and the Stone Haven traders I felt consumed by the ship and the life of these sailors. I didn’t once feel uncertain or confused about what was happening, where, or why.

All of the characters good, evil, or indifferent have deep backgrounds, and something about them that makes them appealing on the page and makes you want to keep reading digging deeper into their story and how they fit into the bigger picture. There is a huge cast of characters in this book and by the end we don’t get the answers to every question because of this being part one of a series but there is a definite sense of direction.

I Also like that Suzanne Rogerson is a fantasy writer who isn’t afraid of killing important characters. We lose characters in this novel that you would absolutely consider vital to the story. I reached a point where I couldn’t see the page through my tears, now as hard as it is to read that it’s also really important to lose those characters sometimes to make way for the story to progress and I applaud Suzanne for having the bravery to let that happen.

Overall, this story bowled me over, it was an absolutely outstanding epic fantasy and the kind of writing fantasy authors should be aspiring to. The only negative I have is that I’m dreading the wait for book two.

Sending a huge thanks to Suzanne Rogerson for the eARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.

Rating

About Suzanne Rogerson

Suzanne Rogerson - Author Image

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

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Book & Buy Links

Title: The Lost Sentinel
Series: Silent Sea Chronicles #1
Author: Suzanne Rogerson
Genre: Fantasy | Epic Fantasy | Sword & Sorcery | Magic
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 16 June 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: N/A
Pages: 473
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US

Week in Review – 11 June 2017

My surgery went well this week, but the after effects knocked me for six. Luckily Hubs managed to get some last minute compassionate leave and took the rest of the week off of work so I wasn’t struggling around the house.

Recovering has also meant taking a bit of a break from blogging which I’ve really needed. I think with some bad experiences the past few weeks things were getting on top of me and taking a few days out helped me find my mojo again. I realised I’d become really negative and that’s not at all who I like to be.

Walking out of Darkness the 10-mile hike I’m taking part in, to raise funds for Bipolar UK has been postponed, this works out quite nicely for me as I will now be in full health when it happens in September rather than just getting back on my feet in a couple of weeks time. If you would like to sponsor the details are in the sidebar.

I had a nice chunk of money in my gift wallet on my amazon.com account so decided to treat myself to the US versions of Jen Williams’ Copper Cat books. I absolutely adore the US covers and really wanted to add them to my shelves. They arrived this week and they are even better in person than the pictures give them credit for.

So, onto my bookish update this week…

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

eARCs

Reviews

This week I’ve reviewed Alphabet of Thorn¬†and Skullsworn

Other Posts

This week I had the blog tour for Mother of Wolves; book blitzes for My Roommate’s Girl, Falling for Dante, and¬†Down and Dirty. There was also a cover reveal for Pot Love and Pot Love 2. Finally, Shelley Wilson was on The Bookshelf this week.

Giveaways

  • Signed Copy of My Roommate’s Girl + Chocolate (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $10 Amazon Gift Card (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 4 June 2017

I’ve had a bad week this week, the dark cloud of depression has knocked me for six and a few things have made me doubt blogging. I had an author ask me to change my rating on their review which hurt more than I thought it would when I’d heard other people talking about similar encounters. I obviously said no, I think it’s safe to say as bloggers we all value our integrity and to do something like this undervalues all of our reviews not just that one.

My infection didn’t shift with the antibiotics so I’ve been given another, longer course of antibiotics which will run into my operation next week, it always makes me really angry and moody which is not helping my depressive mood or my reaction to negative situations any! I also ended up in hospital again on Friday with suspected Lithium Toxicity (which is a kind of blood poisoning) so I’m starting to feel like a real frequent flier in that place at the moment!¬†All being well, my operation is next week, I have posts scheduled to go live while I’m away but I will likely be AWOL for a few days at least. So please don’t take it personally if I don’t visit you or don’t reply to any messages. I will be back!

Then there is my ongoing drama of trying to get a ticket to BristolCon a fantasy/sci-fi convention in October. On their website they say they offer an unwaged “membership” (their form of a ticket). I’ve been trying to get one for about 3 weeks now and it’s impossible. Last year I couldn’t go because I couldn’t afford it, this life on benefits is hard but I’ve tightened my belt a lot and have a bit to spare so could afford the early bird unwaged membership and with Jen Williams one of their guests I was well chuffed to go.

You can’t change the ticket option on the website so I tweeted them and sent an email to the address on the ticket page, after a few days I put a message up on my facebook page as I know a few people who go every year and know the people who run it and asked them if they could help me out with a contact. A few days later I got a reply on Twitter with a different email address and a promise someone would reply. I sent the email and nothing, nada, nil. And on June 1 the prices went up so I guess I won’t be going after all, which sucks! I have to say though they shouldn’t offer alternative prices if they aren’t going to honour them…that is really, truly, crap! I also won’t be trying to go again, even once I’m back in work and can afford full ticket price, I’ll go elsewhere.

Finally, in more positive news I’m taking part in Walking out of Darkness at the end of the month, it’s a mental health awareness event, walking ten miles in Weston super Mare. I’m taking part with my Brother and a mutual friend of ours and we are raising money for Bipolar UK. We have a fundraising page where you can donate if you feel so inclined or details of our text to donate are in the¬†sidebar. We are grateful for anything you can spare for this amazing charity. Although as it’s just a couple of weeks after my operation I may be biting off more than I can chew! HAHA!

So, onto my bookish update this week…

Book of the Month

I swear I only did this last week! How has it come around so quickly?!

Red Sister - Mark LawrenceI had a few books that were in the running this month with 5* reviews but only one stood out hands and feet ahead of them all and that was this one.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence 

Red Sister was the kind of read that glues you to the page from the first word to the last. It was enthralling and fantasy writing at it’s very best. If this doesn’t become a classic in the genre then I will eat my fluffy hat.

“I ended up spending the last hundred pages or so with my breath held, toes clenched, ¬†and grinding my teeth, there was just so much tension.”

For the full review click here.

To Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | BookDepository | SpeedyHen

Most Viewed In May

the-last-days-of-magicIn contrast my most viewed page in May was Mark Tompkins The Last Days of Magic, this was actually one of my Books of the Month for May. But I found out on Friday by chance that Mark is actually running a sponsored post on Facebook using my review which I’m both very flattered about and grateful for aswell.

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post

Giveaway Wins

eARCs

Reviews

This week I’ve reviewed My Beautiful Disaster Part 2¬†and The Modern Girls Guide to Growing Old Disgracefully.

Other Posts

This week I had book blitz for Smoke and Mirrors, When Smoke Rains Down, Lone Wolf and Damned Either Way. a blog tour for The Velvet Chair, my new feature TBR Topple, and on The Bookshelf was the very lovely Louise Rose-Innes.

Giveaways

  • Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes) (Blitz-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $30 Amazon gift card & ebook copy of The Velvet Chair / 4x ebook copies of The Velvet Chair (International tour-wide giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $100 Amazon gift card / A set of signed copies of the A Breed MC series (International Blitz-Wide Giveaway) Rafflecopter
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card (Blitz-Wide International Giveaway) Rafflecopter

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

Week in Review – 21 May 2017

I’ve been quite unwell this week, lots of pain and pain meds so not much happening. However, I finally got a date for my surgery which was supposed to be in February and I only have a few more weeks to wait, this should help with weeks like this so I’m actually quite looking forward to going under the knife!

The Bookshelf didn’t happen this week as I didn’t have any takers, if anybody would like to take part it’s open to Book Bloggers and Authors. As you know from the features which have already run it’s a very simple Q&A. Just drop me a line!

Giveaway

In honour of reaching 2,000 followers on Twitter I’m running a new Giveaway! Yay! This one is international aswell, a book to the value of ¬£10 from Book Depository…now you know you want that one! Thank you all for your support! Now to take part you just need to RT the pinned post on Twitter. The Giveaway ends midnight 1st June!

So, onto my bookish update this week… (as always click on the covers for more info/to see the posts)

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

Roadie - C.M. Stunich Legion - Julie Kagawa 

New Books

Bought / Freebies

 

eARCs

  the-collective-r-s-williams   

Reviews

Another good week for reviews this week, another two 5* review in here with Aven Ellis’ Save the Date and Julie Kagawa’s Legion. With all these high reviews this month I’m wondering how I will pick my book of the month!

The many colours of us Save The Date - Aven Ellis Legion - Julie Kagawa

Other Posts

The Future of Sex - Aubrey Parker