My 2017 Books in Review!

What I Read in 2017

In 2017, I read 152 books. I think I had scheduled myself to read 75, because I figured with grad school and thesis-ing, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Turns out, when you have to bus for an hour-and-a-half every day to get out to your co-op job, you still get to read lots! I’ve included a list of some of my favourite books from the year, although it’s certainly hard to remember each book clear enough to know if it was one of the best.

Check out my Goodreads 2017 challenge to see the complete list of what I read, and follow along on my 2018 challenge! #whatjanessareads

Favourite Mysteries:

  • Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1) by Kerry Greenwood – check out the series on Netflix, too! Australia in the 1920s, she’s a lady who becomes a lady detective. And she gets to sleep around like James Bond, but no slut-shaming!
  • As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery #5) by Anna Lee Huber – another historical mystery, but during the Victorian period. The main lady’s got gumption. Her husband is pretty smoldering, too.

Favourite SciFi or Fantasy:

  • I read most of Lynn Kurland’s The Nine Kingdoms, and I straight-up couldn’t pick a favourite of the series. It’s just as grungy as Lord of the Rings, but faster, and actually has women.
  • Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas – this book was a departure from the usual characters we follow, but I grew to love it. I can’t wait until the next book!
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin (A COurt of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas – I wasn’t a fan of the first book, but the second and third totally redeemed it. Such a great YA fantasy.

Favourite CanLit:

  • Winter on Diamond by Soren Bondrup-Nielson – got me pumped to go on a canoe trip through Temagami, and I was able to look for some things that happen in their story!
  • Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer – this book is seriously creepy. It’s way too relevant to Trump-era, of the zombies people become and sociopaths… I got to a particularly scary part as I was drifting off to bed, and since Nic was away on a work trip, I had to put on Netflix to sleep to.
  • Company Town by Madeline Ashby – kinda Newfoundland oil rigger? Post-apocalyptic. People can get 3d prints of body parts, and virtual body parts to appear perfect.

Other Books:

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid –  without giving up too much of the shocker, Evelyn decides to share her story finally, about all of her personal story.
  • The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay – about a girl who ends up in a brothel in New York, it’s pretty sad. Very well-written.

What did you love in the past year? What are you looking forward to reading in 2018?

What I Read in June – Done 100 Books for 2016!

What I Read in June - JanessaMann.Com

Six months into the year and I have read 100 novels and non-fiction books. Wow. I’m definitely under-employed and bored from my job. Now that I’ve hit my goal of 100 in 2016, I’ll probably re-adjust to be 150 or so since I start grad school in September. I probably won’t read for fun much then. In undergrad I did read for amusement, but it wasn’t my priority. I read 14 books in June, plus a few that I cut off after 20% of the book because they weren’t great. This month I’ll only include a couple reviews because I’ve definitely gotten tired of writing all those paragraphs.

“Rule of Two” Star Wars: Darth Bane #2 – Drew Karpyshan

“Grace Among Thieves” Manor House Mystery #3 – Julie Hyzy [4/5]

“Razing the Dead” Museum #5 – Sheila Connolly [4/5]

“Out of Circulation” Cat in the Stacks #4 – Miranda James [3/5]

What I Read in June - JanessaMann.Com

“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” – Elizabeth Gilbert [1/5]
This book had been recommended to me by several people. I thought it was terrible. Gilbert wrote “Eat, Pray, Love,” which I vaguely enjoyed. If I wanted to do a creative profession right now or was at a creative block, maybe I would have enjoyed it. However, I found myself gritting my teeth to get through the 100+ pages.

“Undead and Unemployed” Undead #2 – MaryJanice Davidson [4/5]

“The Amazing Absorbing Boy” Rabindranath Maharaj [3/5]
I have 2 Canada Reads books to read after this one, I’m so close! This book is about a boy who emigrates to Canada to be with his inventor father. Turns out his father has been unemployed all the years he’s been there, and Samuel ends up making the money for them. The book is full of interesting imagery drawn from the comic books he found in Trinidad as a child. Wasn’t my top 5 for the Canada Reads list, but still interesting.

“Woman: An Intimate Geography” – Natalie Angier [4/5]
Angier’s huge book discusses different topics about women’s bodies-how we become female in the womb, hormones, sex, and it’s all very well-researched and explained. It was so empowering to learn so many cool facts about my body! My only gripe was that it was incredibly heteronormative- all the relationships she would mention (except a few) were between a man and a woman. Maybe it would have made the book longer to include other options, but I was disappointed on that missed mark.

“The War Against Miss Winter” Rosie Winter #1 – Kathryn Miller Haines [4/5]
Rosie Winter lives in New York during 1943. She’s a struggling actress who works as a secretary for a private detective. Her boss shows up dead, and she discovers his underhanded involvement with the mafia, and sets out to prove his death was murder, not a suicide. It’s a pretty fun book, so I look forward to reading the next ones in the series.

What I Read in June - JanessaMann.Com
I started this just before the month ended, and spent the day I finished it bawling.

“The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1” History of Middle-Earth #1 – J.R.R. Tolkien [3/5]
If you’re a super nerd, this series is wonderful. It’s a bunch of short stories Tolkien wrote to piece together his universe, and his son Christopher published posthumously. It wasn’t the most riveting read, but some stories I remembered references to, so that was good.

“Not the Killing Type” Booktown Mystery #7 – Lorna Barrett [3/5]

“Murder Most Howl” Paws and Claws Mystery #3 – Krista Davis [3/5]

“Basket Case” Silver Six Crafting Mystery #1 – Nancy Haddock [3/5]

“Feta Attraction” Greek to Me #1 – Susannah Hardy [3/5]

What I Read in May #whatjanessareads

What I Read in May #whatjanessareads - JanessaMann.Com

During the month of May I read 17 books, putting me at 93 for the year. I’m almost done my Goodreads 2016 challenge– 100 books! I guess I could probably update it to be 200 books since we’re almost halfway through the year, but with possibly starting a third part-time job soon, and grad school in the fall, I don’t want to pressure myself. Not that I’ve been feeling pressured to read all this, my brain is just so bored with my job (I work front desk at GoodLife, and it doesn’t use much brain power most of the time) that I have to fill it with stories. This month I decided to include my ratings out of five like I put on my Goodreads account.

That Old Flame of Mine” Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery #1 – J. J. Cook [4/5]
Stella Griffin moves to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, for a break from her situation back home in Chicago (typical cozy mystery, found her partner cheating on her). Stella works for three months in Sweet Pepper to start up a volunteer fire brigade. One of her friends, Tory, dies in a house fire. Turns out it’s murder.

Poles Apart” Terry Fallis [5/5]
Terry Fallis is a Canadian political satirist. I discovered him through some magazine article which featured one of his books, “The Best Laid Plans,” which is about an old, grumpy man who ends up becoming an MP because the other options in the riding were terrible. It’s great. “Poles Apart” features Evertt who is inspired to create the Eve of Equality, a feminist blog. Literally overnight his blog breaks the internet and he gets thousands of followers. Everyone wants Eve to come out in public and show herself. In typical Fallis style, things go wonky.

Sitting Practice” Caroline Adderson [4/5]
# 11/15 Canada Reads! – Iliana and Ross get married. Two weeks after their marriage, Ross crashes the car, and Iliana is paralyzed from her hips down. The book follows them for a couple years while he tries to deal with his guilt, and Iliana is hurt that they aren’t intimate after the accident. It’s really well written, and very weird.

Guilty as Cinnamon” A Spice Shop Mystery #2 – Leslie Budewitz [3/5]
Pepper runs a spice store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. One of her friends who is in the process of opening a new restaurant is discovered murdered. The victim’s old boss happen’s to be Pepper’s ex, and he is the main suspect. It’s allright. I’ll probably get the third book in the series and see if I want to continue.

Slayed on the Slopes” Pacific Northwest #2 = Kate E. Dyer-Seeley [4/5]
The first book in the series was super exciting for me to find: a cozy murder series with a character who is in her twenties, just graduated from journalism. Finally, someone whose stage of life is relate-able to me! I get kind of tired of all the women in their thirties and forties who’ve just gotten divorced and moved back home to start some ridiculous business that somehow stays afloat despite being very specific. Meg works at an adventure magazine despite not knowing how to do any of the things she writes about. In the second book in the series, she is featuring the Range Riders, a new mountain rescue team. While they’re stuck in a cabin at the top of a mountain during a blizzard, the leader of the team is murdered. Meg has to solve it.

Magic and Macaroons” Magical Bakery Mystery #5 – Bailey Cates [4/5]
Very cute series. Katie Lightfoot is a hedgewitch who uses “intentions” to infuse her food at her bakery with whatever is necessary-figs in the muffins for the writer with writer’s block? A young woman collapses at Honeybee Bakery, mumbling about a voodoo talisman. It turns out she is the niece of an ex-detective who was hunting down dark magic. The detective turns up murdered by voodoo ritual. Katie has to hunt down a voodoo queen to find the murderer and the missing talisman.

Murder with Ganache” Key West Food Critic Mystery #4 – Lucy Burdette [3/5]
Hayley Snow writes for Key Zest magazine. Her best friend, Connie, is getting married. Hayley’s teenage stepbrother disappears from the rehearsal dinner. The family discovers him on a small island, beaten and bruised after having stolen a jet-ski with a new friend. The new friend is discovered dead on the other side of the island.

Dead in the Family” Sookie Stackhouse #10 – Charlaine Harris [4/5]
In the previous book, the faeries have been locked in their dimension, except for Sookie’s cousin Claude and a few others. Sookie’s vampire lover, Eric, is visited by his sire, and is being challenged for his control of Shreveport. As usual, there’s lots of ridiculous drama, but I’m going to be sad when I finish the series.

What I Read in May #whatjanessareads - JanessaMann.Com

The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle” Book Club Mystery #2 – Laura DiSilverio [4/5]
Amy-Faye is helping her brother open his new pub. Derek’s business partner ends up murdered at the grand opening. Derek is under suspicion, for Amy-Faye and her whole book club band together to help the pub going as well as prove it wasn’t him.

Niko” Dimitri Nasrallah
I’m almost done the Canada Reads books! This was # 10/15. Niko is born in Beirut during civil upheaval. Niko’s mother dies in a bombing, so him and his father escape. In Greece, Niko’s father manages to contact his brother-in-law who sponsors Niko to immigrate to Canada when he is twelve. The theme for the Canada Reads list this year was to do with starting over, and Niko certainly does this. It’s interesting and upsetting to read about his experience as an immigrant in Canada.

Plantation Shudders” Cajun Country Mystery #1 – Ellen Byron [4/5]
Maggie Crozat helps her parents run a B&B in their old family home in Louisiana. An old couple stays with them-the man dies of a stroke, and the woman from arsenic poisoning. Maggie has to clear the name of their B&B so they won’t lose customers-and, of course, the arsenic is found in their kitchen.

The Cakes of Monte Cristo” Piece of Cake Mystery #6 – Jacklyn Brady [4/5]
Rita’s cake shop, Zydeco Cakes, is catering a big New Orleans ball. In a clumsy accident at the store, an old, cursed necklace is discovered. Rita brings the necklace to be appraised, and the jeweller is discovered murdered.

Minister Without Portfolio” – Michael Winter [3/5]
After a breakup, Henry goes to Afghanistan as a contract electrician. On a mission, one of his friends dies, so he returns to Canada. The friend’s girlfriend is pregnant, and they get together. Very typical of the weird stuff that happens in Canada Reads books.

What I Read in May #whatjanessareads - JanessaMann.Com

Copy Cap Murder” Hat Shop Mystery #4 – Jenn McKinlay [4/5]
Scarlett gets hit on by a creep at a big party. The creep ends up murdered. Scarlett has to prove that it’s not her quasi-boyfriend’s fault. Always a fun series.

Better Homes and Corpses” Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery #1 – Kathleen Bridge [4/5]
Meg has moved to Montauk where she has established her decorating business, Cottages by the Sea. Meg visits her old college roommate, Jillian, in the East Hamptons. Jillian’s mom has been murdered.

Frozen Tides” Falling Kingdoms #4 – Morgan Rhodes [5/5]
For the first hundred pages I couldn’t remember the previous books in the series, so I was extremely confused. I finally figured out what was happening. Basically everyone is very confused, and hunting for elemental crystals. I can’t wait for the next one.

The Bitter Kingdom” Fire and Thorns #3 – Rae Carson [5/5]
When I realized this was a trilogy, I got incredibly mad. The series just kept getting better, and I wish it kept on going. Queen Elisa is a #GirlBoss, defending her country against civil war, invasion, and evil magicians.