Hi! My name is. . . + Best Books: 1st Half of 2017!

Hello there! I’m Jen, also known as reader44ever, and this is my new blog! I’m not sure how active I’ll be, or even what I’ll share, but I would like to share things about the books I read/am reading/read.

Before we get started, as I said, my name is Jen. I am disabled by mental health issues (depression; three forms of severe anxiety), and I also have a few physical health issues (osteoarthritis; carpal tunnel; De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis). I live in Tucson, Arizona, with my mother and my puppy-son, Max. Max is also my service dog! 🙂

Here is a “recent” picture of me and Max, taken after Christmas of 2013:
Jenni with Max, Christmas 2013

And now to get started, since we’re still about halfway through 2017, I’ll share the best books I read in the first half of 2017! January 1 through June 30! (All covers are from Goodreads and, if you click the link on the covers, you’ll be taken to my reviews on Goodreads. You do not have to be member to see my reviews.) 🙂

    Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews - My Review

  1. My very first book of the year (January 1-2) was a reread: Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews. (I had first read it in December of 2016.) And it was W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L. I laughed, I cried, and that ending! Oh! This book destroys me! I LOVE it. (This is the only reread I will include in this list. Since I read it for the first and second time so close to one another, just over three weeks apart, I think it’s okay to include this reread.) Also, yes, I do laugh and cry in pretty much the same places every time I read/reread any book in the Kate Daniels series. 🙂

    When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz - My Review

  3. My second “best book of 2017 so far” was an entry by my most favorite author: specifically, When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz. (It was also the second book I read in 2017, January 2-4.) I loved this book! Charlotte and Max, our protagonists, were just delightful (singly and together). This book opened with a murder, and how things connect in this story was really great and fun to read. 🙂

    Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers - My Review

  5. I read Grave Mercy in February (18-19) and it was really a wonderful story. Ismae was a great protagonist, very mature for her age (about 17). I love reading about mature teenagers, because I was one. 🙂 Duval as Ismae’s love interest was also delightful. They make an excellent pair. And though this book was long (549 pages), I never once felt like it was too long. It was such a fun read! (Sadly, I read book two in this series – the His Fair Assassin series – in June and it was not nearly as good for me.)

    Because I'm Watching by Christina Dodd - My Review

  7. Because I’m Watching is the third book in Christina Dodd’s Virtue Falls series. I read it first, though (on March 18). I subsequently read book one, Virtue Falls, but didn’t love it as much as I did the third book. Because I’m Watching was the story of Maddie and Jacob, and it was tense, chilling, scary, and overall just delightful! I laughed; I cried. It was wonderful! I really love this story. 🙂

    Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi - My Review

  9. I have so much love for this audiobook. (The print – I have it on my Kindle – edition is also fun, but the audio! Oh! The audio!) Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi is read by “a full cast” and the casting choices were positively inspired. I laugh out loud at sooo many lines in this book. It is really just fantastic. And I’ve listened to it fourteen times (!!!) including my first listen on April 1, so when I have lines playing in my head (as they do, don’t you know), I hear the performers who performed the lines in the audiobook doing voiceovers in my head. 🙂

    Shadow Rising by Yasmine Galenorn - My Review

  11. Shadow Rising is book twelve in Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon series. It is also my favorite book in the series so far (I’ve read the first 18 of 21 books). I love everything about this book, from the cover (Seattle! Oh, how I miss you!) to the minutest details of the story, it is a wonderful book. I read it May 12-14. In this outing with the D’Artigo sisters – Camille, witch; Delilah, werecat; and Menolly, vampire – we got to finally learn more about Shade, Delilah’s partner. (!!!) While I wish we had received details about him in a Delilah book (#s 2,5,8,11,14,17), I suppose the situations in Shadow Rising were finally suitable for sharing. (This book is a Menolly book, meaning Menolly is the protagonist. She is protag. in book #s 3,6,9,12,15,18.) And what situations they were! 🙂

    Priestess Dreaming by Yasmine Galenorn - My Review

  13. After a chaotic beginning, Priestess Dreaming (book 16 in the Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon series by Yasmine Galenorn; read June 3) took off strong and never gave up. Everything that happened in this story – and there was A LOT going on! – was fantastic, and fantastical. 😉 And when I realized that in the whole of the story, bad-guy-demons and spirit seals never played a role? Well, I was astonished! After all, the overarching arc to this series is the threat from the bad-guy-demons and the sisters’ hunt for the spirit seals. But did I miss them in this book? No sirree, I did not. 🙂

    Death Masks by Jim Butcher - My Review

  15. Death Masks is book #5 in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. And so far, it is my favorite entry in this series. (I read it June 18-19.) There was so much going on in here; we had two storylines! The main storyline involved Denarians (fallen angels) and the Shroud of Turin; the secondary storyline involved a “Red Court champion” who was in Chicago to duel with Harry over events in an earlier book. Both of these storylines were full of exciting things. Overall, this was quite a thrilling book to read. I really loved it. 🙂

    Poison by Jennifer Estep - My Review

  17. Poison is a short story in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep. (I read it on June 21.) Out of all the shorts that I’ve read so far (I’m through book four, and have read all of the shorts that fall before book one through book four), this one is my favorite. Told from Finnegan Lane’s point-of-view, it gives us a glimpse of Gin (Gin Blanco, main protag. in the series and Finn’s foster sister) when she was 13, newly a member of the Lane household. I loved this story, it made me cry. 🙂
  18. And that’s it for those new-to-me books that I gave five stars to in the first six months of 2017.

    If I were to add in all of the books I read and gave five stars to, including all of the books that are rereads, that would make this list 17 books long. I honestly didn’t want to type that much, so I’ll just share covers. As with the covers above, all are from Goodreads and if you click on them, you’ll head over to my review of the book you clicked on. (Again, you do not have to be a member of Goodreads to see my reviews.) Most of these rereads were first read years ago, but there is at least one exception. That exception should stand out to you, since my first reading of it was shared up above. 😉


    Annie's Day by Andy Weir - My Review

  19. Annie’s Day by Andy Weir. Read for the 3rd time on January 9.

    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - My Review

  21. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. “Read” (listened) for the 2nd time April 10-11.

    Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi - My Review

  23. Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi. Read for 1st time in print (along with 6th audio listen) on April 13.

    Fool Moon by Jim Butcher - My Review

  25. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher. Read for the 2nd time (1st was via Kindle) May 23-25.

    Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep - My Review

  27. Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep. Read for the 2nd time on June 19.

    Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep - My Review

  29. Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep. Read for the 2nd time on June 20.

    All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz - My Review

  31. All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz. Read for at least the 7th time on June 23.

    Falling Awake by Jayne Ann Krentz - My Review

  33. Falling Awake by Jayne Ann Krentz. Read for at least the 13th time on June 30.


Well, that’s now it for this, my first ever blog post! I hope you enjoyed seeing and reading a little about those books that I found worthy of five stars in the first half of 2017. I think for future, I will try to share other five-star reads. That seems like a blog-worthy goal. (I might also share reviews for any books I rate poorly, as “rant reviews” can be fun. 🙂 But I’ll only do that going forward from here.)