Top Ten Tuesday – June 27: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I have only read 10 books so far this year. Here are the ones I rated a 4 or higher.

1) The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, February 4, 312 pages, 4 out 5 Witchy Women

2) Gilded Cage by Vic James, March 12, 2017, 310 pages, 4 out 5 Years of Servitude.

3&4) Red Rising: Sons of Ares Issue 1, Issue 2, by Pierce Brown, Rik Hoskin, art by Eli Powell, May 10, 2017, 4 out of 5 Sons

5) The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, May 15, 2017, 344 pages, 5 out of 5 Suns That Are Also Stars.

6) Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Marc Thompson (Narrator), June 19, 2017; 17 hours, 4 out of 5 Glowing Red Eyes

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Pierce Brown’s Red Rising: Sons Of Ares #2 by Pierce Brown, Rik Hoskin, Eli Powell

Story by Pierce Brown, Script by Rik Hoskin, Art by Eli Powell.

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Pierce Brown’s Red Rising continues with Sons of Ares!

While the Sons of Ares are on the run as their mission takes a deadly turn, Fitchner Au Barca’s time at The Institute is revisited. He learned many lessons there, but the most important of all was one of loyalty. The Peerless Scarred stand above all and look down on the rest. Their dismissal of one of their own proves to be a fateful error.

I liked it better then the first issue. Still not a fan of the style of artwork.  The story is picking up and there was more background story for Fitchner’s parents and his time at the Institute. I like the way it left off for the next issue and I am really excited for it.

4 out of 5 Scars.

Top Ten Tuesday – June 20: top ten series I’ve been meaning to start but haven’t.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

My top eight:
1) Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series. There are 9 books in this series. It was published in 2006-2008. It was not well received by the fans but I bought them and feel I should read them someday, even if they are now considered Legends.

2) Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi. 9 Books in the series. Published in 2009-2012.
I didn’t buy all of them but I got a few for free at various comic cons. I should just check it off my list.

3) The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott.
Published in 2007-2012. I only have the first book The Alchemyst. I feel I should read that first before I spend more money on the other books.

4) Uglies by Scott Westerfeld.
My friend recommended this series and I have the first book on my nook.

5) Killer Unicorns series by Diana Peterfreund. I loved her short story in Zombies vs. Unicorns, “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn”. The same friend who recommended Uglies recommended this series and I have them on my nook.

6) The Golem and the Jinni series by Helene Wecker.
Also on my nook, but I have some time because the expected publication of book 2, The Iron Season is 2018.

7) Thomas Cromwell Trilogy by Hilary Mantel
Wolf Hall was turned into a TV series, though I want to read the book first. Even though it is based on history and I do love the Tudor era.

8) How to Hang a Witch series by Adriana Mather.
My sister recommended these books. We got an ARC of the second book, Haunting the Deep at Book Con a couple of weeks ago. The first one is about the Salem Witch trials and the the second is about the Titanic. History is right up my alley.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Marc Thompson (Narrator)

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In this definitive novel, readers will follow Thrawn’s rise to power—uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.

After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics, where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.

All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.

I really enjoyed this book and one of the many reasons why is because Thrawn is part of the new Disney canon! I was so happy to see him on Star Wars: Rebels. Not much was changed about him. Still the same species, still a tactical genius and a savant at studying artwork to know his enemy. I squeed when he gets his Star Destroyer, Chimaera. I now want to go back and listen to the audiobooks of The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command).

It feels funny rooting for him because he works for the Empire, but he is just so good at what he does. Of course he has faults. He’s not very good at politics and he does face prejudices for being an alien from the Unknown Territories.

I really enjoyed Thrawn’s insight into people. There would be an aside of his observations of them and their reactions. Like studying art, it’s how he would anticipate their actions.

I also loved how every chapter started out with his how-to-be a genius at strategy. It was like the Star Wars version of “The Art of War by Grand Admiral Thrawn.”

A few critiques:
1. Some parts I thought were slow and my mind would wander off. Mostly it was the parts with Arihnda Pryce, but there is a point to her subplot. Her political manipulations balance with Thrawn’s military tactics. Some of the missions Thrawn and Eli were on were slow, but they all come together in the end and add up to a final conclusion.
2. Sometimes Thrawn’s voice was so soothing I would drift off to sleep and would have to go back and listen again. (Thrawn says “Perhaps” a lot. A LOT.)
3. Thrawn’s aide, Eli Vanto, got on my nerves sometimes. He was taking too long to get up to speed with Thrawn’s plans.

Marc Thompson is an excellent narrator. I know I said Thrawn’s voice was so soothing I would drift off to sleep, but it was so perfect. Matched the voice on Star Wars: Rebels. He was also excellent at performing the voices for the Emperor and Tarkin.
My favorite voice though was Arihnda Pryce’s friend. I think her name was Jewett? I can’t find her on Wookieepedia. It is really annoying when their articles and character lists are incomplete. I wonder if the printed edition has a Dramatis Personae…
Anyway, her voice was so funny. It was like the Star Wars version of a valley girl and I could not be more amused by the way Marc Thompson performed her voice.

From now on I want to listen to Star Wars on audiobooks. It’s like a radio drama with the sound effects and the music.

4 out of 5 Glowing Red Eyes.

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Spoilers Below.

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Book Con: Sunday, June 4, 2017

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I’ll Take Audiobooks for $400, Please!: an Audience vs. Author Game Show I’ll Take Audiobooks for $400, Please!: an Audience vs. Author Game Show

Jun 04, 2017, 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM, Room 1E10

Test your bookish knowledge, competing head-to-head with Sarah Dessen (Once and For All), Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything), VE Schwab (A Conjuring of Light), and Kami Garcia (The Lovely Reckless) in categories like “Whose Voice Is It, Anyway?,” “Fantasy Worlds” and “Spotted at BookCon” and more, using audio clips from a wide variety of popular audiobooks. Are you a bigger book nerd than your favorite authors? Four lucky audience members will be recruited to join the fun onstage, hosted by Holly Black (The Cruel Prince). All attendees will receive a pair of earbuds and three free audiobook downloads!

This was a fun panel. It wasn’t really the authors verses the audience. More like an author teamed up with a member of the audience. They were chosen by being the first to answer a question about the author correctly.

The rest of the game was played much like Jeopardy!, and they even had to answer in the form a question.
Many of the clues were easy as they were from current and/or popular books, and the narrators sampled were some famous voices.

The blone girl who was on Kami Garcia’s team was exceptionally good. She had a extensive knowledge about books and authors. She was also really fast at buzzing in.

Authors Left to right: Nicola Yoon, VE Schwab, Kami Garcia,  Sarah Dessen, and Holly Black.

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After the panel my sister and I had lunch. Then we met up with Jenn from Australia. We roamed the Exhibit Hall.
There was madness at the Random House booth. There was a ticket giveaway for Leigh Bardugo, who wrote a book about Wonder Woman.

We saw a giant, disorganized crowd surrounding the booth and they had their hands in the air. We later found out that they started giving out the tickets randomly. People who had been waiting on a queue were livid, as they waited for quite a while only to miss out on a ticket to a random selection process.

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Book Con: Saturday, June 3, 2017

My sister and I got on the queue at Random House to get our Underlined goodies. We are signed up to Underlined and got an email saying we could skip the line (yea right!) and get prizes.

This is our swag. We each got a tote, a beach towel, an accessory pouch, a phone charger, a book mark, and two books. I got The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman and A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck. Sis got The Golden Compass and The Breathless by Tara Goedjen.

Mayim Bialik Autographing
Jun 03, 2017, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, Booth 1921

I bought Mayim’s book, Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular so I could get her autograph ticket. It was the only book I bought all weekend.

I started reading it while on the queue. It’s a great read for a girl just starting puberty and I would have loved it when I was 10 or 11. It will be a quick read and will finish the rest in a day, soon.

(While I was on the queue my sister picked up the give away for The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner.)

When I got up to talk to Mayim I told her that Bette Middler should play her mom on The Big Bang Theory. (Beaches reunion!) Mayim said that is a great idea and maybe when she is done with Broadway. (Bette is currently staring in Hello Dolly!)

I think with Sheldon proposing to Amy and there being a possible wedding soon, it’s a perfect opportunity.

After taking a photo with me and my sister she asked, “Sisters?” and we said yes.

Below the cut: Stephen Chbosky and Nicola Yoon.

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