My most anticipated reads for 2017!

Happy new year everyone!

This is usually the time for making resolutions, and though I’ve set some goals for my personal life, I don’t actually have any reading goals other than trying to complete my GoodReads reading challenge (which I’ve set to 40 books). I usually read whatever I’m in the mood for with hardly any planning. Nonetheless, there are some books I’m definitely looking forward to reading. So here’s a list of my most anticipated reads of 2017 — and who knows, maybe I will have read all of these by the end of the year?

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Before the Feast by Saša Stanišić
I do like the occasional magical realism, and I’ve seen this on a list of recommendations of the genre. I don’t know anything about the book other than its genre and what little I’ve read on the blurb, so I’ll be going in completely blind.

Genre: magical realism

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Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

I doubt this is a surprise for anyone who has read my review about Ancillary Justice, but I definitely can’t wait until I have a chance to read its sequel.

Genre: science fiction (space opera)

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Het smelt by Lize Spit
I was a bit hesitant to include a Dutch novel (by a Flemish author), but I find the blurb so intriguing that I couldn’t help myself. Apparently, an English translation is coming up anyway. The title translates to ‘It’s melting’ and it’s a revenge story with a woman as its main character. I’m quite curious!

Genre: contemporary

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Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski
I’ve already read the short story collections The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, so I would like to continue reading this series. Especially because I have the video game The Witcher III: Wild Hunt lying around as well!

Genre: fantasy

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Traitor’s Blade by Sabastien de Castell
I won a signed copy of this book (along with its sequel, A Knight’s Shadow) through a give-away by the American Book Center. The setting seems entirely up my alley, so I definitely want to check this out in the near future.

Genre: fantasy

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King
I have quite the list of books by Stephen King to read, but this one is on my shortlist. I actually started reading this last year, but after one of my dogs died I couldn’t bear reading about dead animals for  a while. I hope to give this one a try this year — and if not, I want to at least read one book by Stephen King!

Genre: horror

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Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead
I’ve seen this series on various lists involving Arthurian books, so I really want to check it out. It apparently involves a historical approach (correct me if I’m wrong?), which I find an interesting angle to take when it comes to Arthurian fiction. Plus, it’d be nice to read something Arthuriana again without a thesis looming over my head.

Genre: fantasy, historical

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Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass was perhaps one of the books I was surprised to have enjoyed so much — especially because young adult can be a hit-and-miss for me. I really liked the setting and the main character, so I want to see how this develops throughout the series.

Genre: young adult, fantasy

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Orlando by Virginia Woolf
I keep meaning to read this for years, so I intend to finally get around to it this year! I didn’t quite enjoy Mrs. Dalloway  by Woolf, but the subject material of this book seems a lot more interesting. Woolf was a remarkable person and I’ve read a bit of her essays, so I definitely want to give Orlando a chance.

Genre: contemporary

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The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
I love The Warlord Chronicles by this author, so it makes sense that I would check out his other book series that include a Saxon. I have about five books of this series sitting on my shelf, so I want to start reading it in the near future.

Genre: historical

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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Another book that has been on my TBR list for ages, but haven’t gotten around to yet. My best friend has read this book and keeps recommending it to me, so I should definitely check it out some time soon. It want to see the anime Gankutsuo as well, which is based on this classic, but I want to have read the book first. Finally, it’s a revenge story and I tend to enjoy those.

Genre: classics

What about you? Any particular plans for this year? Books you definitely want to read? Feel free to share them in the comments.

My favourite reads of 2016!

With December and 2016 nearly drawing to a close, it’s that time of the year again for reflection. It hasn’t exactly been the greatest year ever for me, but I did manage to finish 43 books. Considering I had been busy with my master degree and my thesis the first half of 2016, I’m still surprised by the amount of books I’ve managed to finish. I don’t think I’ll finish more books in the next few days, so I thought it’d be fun to make a list of my favourite reads of the year. This list doesn’t include any books I’ve reread. Also, these books are in no particular order and they have not been necessarily released this year.

 

51p0v6v97l-_sx308_bo1204203200_The Redbreast (Harry Hole #3) by Jo Nesbø
Genre: crime (Scandinavian)

I’ve read this book for an elective about crime fiction. It was the very first Scandinavian crime novel I’ve ever read, and man, did it leave a good impression. It requires some suspension of disbelief when it comes to the culprit, but the characters are interesting, there are multiple POV even across various time spans, and the narrative includes a historical angle that exposes the role of Norway in WWII. I would definitely like to read more by this author.

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on Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Genre: science fiction (post-apocalyptic)

As I’ve already mentioned in my review, this was easily among my favourite novels of the year. The lovely prose, the interesting setting, the wonderful characters, and the way the narrative unfolds with POVs across different points in time made this an amazing read. I also loved the way the book argues that mere survival in a dangerous and fallen world is not enough, and how a comic and the plays by Shakespeare still survived.

 

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Genre: young adult (contemporary, lgbt)

I’m not a fan of romance fiction, but this was packaged in such a remarkable way that I still decided to read it. Okay, and the recommendation by a coworker might have done the trick. Though Albertalli does not shy away from issues like homophobia, in the end this is an adorable and heartwarming story about friendship and family, and includes a very sweet romance. It was nice to read a happy book dealing with this subject material!

 

20955368The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3) by Scott Lynch
Genre: fantasy

I love this series because of the interesting characters and their interactions and the amazing worldbuilding. This third installment of Lynch’s series involving con artist Locke Lamora definitely doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of action, scheming, (political) intrigue, witty remarks, and heartwarming moments that made me love the previous two books. Also, this book finally included the amazing Sabetha. Can’t wait for The Thorn of Emberlain!

 

51nln7yvmnl-_sx325_bo1204203200_The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Genre: historical/fantasy-ish

Though this book was admittedly a little style over substance, the beautiful prose more than makes up for this (for lack of a better term) “flaw”. There isn’t much character development in this novel, and the plot is a little thin. However, this book is not about the characters or telling a story. It’s about a thing, the titular Night Circus, the atmosphere the prose and its subject matter manages to convey, and the effect it has on its (fictional and actual) audience. The magical duel of its characters and its thin plot are merely a device to paint a very intriguing circus.

 

leckie_ancillaryjustice_tpAncillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie
Genre: science fiction (space opera)

As mentioned in my review, this was a book that made me think. Though this is a wonderful space opera with action and political intrigue with an AI of a ship as its main character, Ancillary Justice also questions gender and identity.  Though initially confusing, partly due to its gender ambiguity, and definitely not an easy read, this is definitely a novel that will stay with me over the years. I can’t wait to read the other two parts of this trilogy.

 

So, this includes my list of my favourite books of 2016. There were plenty of other books I also enjoyed, but that would make this list way too long, so I ended up limiting myself to the ones I felt were the most interesting. What were your favourite books this year? Anything that was particularly interesting? Let me know in a comment below.