Friday, December 1, 2017

My Favorite Fiction of 2017, From Novels to Anthologies

Back in December 2011, I started a blog column, Authors, Alcohol & Accolades, which asked some of my favorite authors about their preferred drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. There have been 11 editions of this column so far, with more coming in the near future. The inspiration for this series is that I am a voracious reader, of both fiction and nonfiction, and I wanted to combine that interest with my love of food & drink. The series has proven popular and it has been fascinating to explore what authors enjoy drinking.

As a special year-end addendum to that series, I'm posting a list of my Favorite Fiction Books of 2017. This list will include books of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Mystery/Crime/Thriller. During the past twelve months, I've read approximately 250+ books, both fiction and non-fiction, which provides a large pool for my choices. Most of the books on these lists were published in 2017, though there are some exceptions which were published in prior years but which I didn't read until this past year. Please also note that these books are not in any specific order of preference.

However, before we get into the lists, let me provide some suggestions for drinks to accompany your reading. Sure, you can drink anything you want while you read, from milk to tequila, as ultimately it comes down to preference. However, and especially if you will be reading for an hour or more, I'd suggest something which can be slowly sipped and enjoyed throughout your reading period, a drink of quality which is best savored over time.

If you're reading Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror books, I'd recommend an aged Port wine, like a 20 Year Old. They are complex and hedonistic, perfect for luxuriating with a glass over a course of of time. And if you're reading Mystery, Crime and Thriller books, I'd recommend a fine sipping Whiskey, which could be Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, or some other whiskey type. Drink it neat or with a single, large ice cube, and enjoy its myriad flavors as you turn the pages.

And now onto my Book Recommendations...  

My Top 10 Favorite SF/Fantasy/Horror Novels of 2017

--Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
--Red Sister by Mark Lawrence (Book 1 of The Ancestor)
--Tyrant's Throne by Sebastien de Castell (Book 4 of The Greatcoats)
--Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
--Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys (Book 1 of the Innsmouth Legacy)
--Blackthorne by Stina Leicht (Book 2 of The Malorum Gates)
--The Realms of God by Michael Livingston (Book 3 of The Shards of Heaven)
--City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett (Book 3 of The Divine Cities)
--Swarm and Steel by Michael Fletcher (A Manifest Delusions novel)
--Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan (Book 1 of Gods of Blood & Powder)

To winnow my list down to only ten novels was very difficult and tough cuts had to be made. However, there are still novels which didn't make my Top Ten but which are more than worthy of my hearty recommendation. To give them some well-deserved recognition, I am awarding ten of those novels Honorable Mention status. In essence, this makes my list into a Top Twenty list. These are all books which should please most readers and you need to check them out too.

My Top 10 Honorable-Mention Novels Of 2017

--With Blood Upon The Sand by Bradley Beaulieu (A Song of Shattered Sands novel)
--The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
--Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell (Book 1 of the Spellslinger)
--The Queen of Swords by R.S. Belcher (A Golgotha novel)
--Before by Paul Kane
--The Devil's Revolver by V.S. McGrath (Book 1 of The Devil's Revolver)
--Black Goat Blues by Levi Black (Book 2 of The Mythos War)
--Only The Dead Know Burbank by Bradford Tatum
--Haven by Tom Deady
--Akiri: The Scepter of Xarbaal by Brian Anderson and Steven Savile (Book 1 of the Akiri series)

My Top 10 Favorite Mystery/Crime/Thriller Novels of 2017
    From gritty noir to more high-tech thrillers, this books are exciting and riveting, sure to get your blood pumping and your heart racing. 

--Parallel Lines by Steven Saville
--Bad Boy Boogie by Thomas Pluck (Jay Desmarteaux series)
--Silent Approach by Bobby Cole
--Dogs of War by Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series)
--The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X series)
--The Spy Across The Table by Barry Lancet (Jim Brodie series)
--The Force by Don Winslow
--The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh
--UNSUB by Meg Gardiner
--Say Nothing by Brad Parks

My Favorite Anthologies Of 2017
     Anthologies often don't get enough credit but they can be quite compelling books, with an interesting mix of stories, often based around a specific theme.

--Planet of the Apes: Tales From The Forbidden Zone edited by Rich Handley & Jim Beard
--Swords Against Cthulhu edited by Gavin Chappell
--Aliens: Bug Hunt edited by Jonathan Maberry
--Nights of the Living Dead edited by Jonathan Maberry and George Romero
--Nyumbani Tales by Charles Saunders
--Predator: If It Bleeds edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
--Joe Ledger: Unstoppable edited by Jonathan Maberry and Bryan Thomas Schmidt

My Favorite Novellas Of 2017
    Novellas often seem to get ignored on many other "Best Of" lists but I believe they are definitely worthy of attention, especially considering the high quality novellas that are appearing more frequently.

--Infernal Parade by Clive Barker
--The Mad Lancers by Brian McClellan
--The Doors At Dusk & Dawn by Bradley Beaulieu

All of the books on this list garner my highest recommendation and you should check them out. They would make great holiday gifts for others, or even yourself. Please support an author, a small, independent business person, and buy more books. And if you read and enjoy a book, please leave a review of that book online and also tell your friends about it. The author would greatly appreciate your efforts.

What were some of your favorite books this year?

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