This is the big one, the one we’ve all been — Nah. It’s not that one. But what it is time for is our listing of the best books we’ve read so far far in 2017. Gracie and I both picked 5 to share with you. I have to say, counting just books with more than 150 pages, I’ve read 121 books this year, and only a handful of them even got considered for this list. It’s been mostly a ‘meh’ year thus far. I hope the second half is better or the Best Books of 2017 list is going to be seriously difficult to do! Our lists are ranked from least best to most awesome.
As usual, Broke and Bookish are responsible for the TTT prompt.
The Top Ten Science Fiction and Horror Books We’ve Read in 2017 So Far
5. Killing Gravity by Corey J. White
Killing Gravity Synopsis: Mariam Xi can kill you with her mind. She escaped the MEPHISTO lab where she was raised as a psychic supersoldier, which left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust and an experimental pet named Seven. She’s spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers.
Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumors to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she’ll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential.
4. When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer
When Worlds Collide Synopsis: A runaway planet hurtles toward the earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities, and wiping out millions. In central North America, a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escape the doomed earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans. A crackling plot and sizzling, cataclysmic vision have made When Worlds Collide one of the most popular and influential end-of-the-world novels of all time.
Kill Switch Synopsis: What do you do when the power goes off?
A terrorist group has acquired one hundred E-bombs. Each bomb’s electromagnetic pulse is powerful enough to blow out all power and all technology from a major city. The terrorists plan to hit one hundred American cities in a campaign of destruction. Word has gotten out about the coming blackout and gangs, criminals and terrorist strike teams are poised to attack when the lights go out.
Joe Ledger knows how to stop them. He has the names, locations, abort codes. But a targeted EMP weapon kills the electronics aboard his plane. Joe crashes in the deepest and most remote part of the vast rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Joe and his combat dog, Ghost, survive the crash -but they are lost in the wilderness with no weapons and no way to get the information to the authorities.
Time is running out. And Joe is being hunted by a terrifying new kind of assassin. A team of remote viewers have the ability to take over any person and turn ordinary citizens into killers.
Joe and Ghost may have to kill the innocent in order to save the entire country from falling during a night of darkness and mass murder.
The Devil’s Colony Synopsis: The greatest monster is man. From the author of The Beast of Barcroft and Northwoods comes a chilling descent into the depths of horror and human depravity.
Ben McKelvie had a good job, a nice house, a beautiful fiancée . . . until a bloodthirsty shapeshifter took everything away. Ever since, he’s been chasing supernatural phenomena all across the country, aided by dedicated zoologist Lindsay Clark and wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance.
Now they face their deadliest challenge yet. In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a man named Henry Drexler operates a private compound called Välkommen, which is Swedish for “welcome.” Indeed, Drexler welcomes all visitors—so long as they’re racists, neo-Nazis, or otherwise in cahoots with the alt-right. But Drexler is no mere Hitler wannabe. Once he was Severance’s mentor, and his research may well have summoned a monster to the Pine Barrens.
To find out the truth, Ben and Lindsay must enter the camp incognito. There, under the watchful eyes of Drexler’s bodyguards and sociopathic son, they will learn that the most dangerous beasts lurk in the human heart.
Stone Cold Bastards Synopsis: Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction.
Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession.
Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains.
Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the Sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.
All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last Sanctuary is about to fall.
5. The Minstrel’s Bargain – Richard Ayre
The Minstrel’s Bargain Synopsis: ‘A tale of horror, hell and heavy metal.’
They say that music is the food of love. Reporter Phil Sturgess would disagree with this. He would argue that some music is the stuff of nightmares. Some music can literally tear out your soul and drag it, kicking and screaming, down to hell itself.
Sturgess loves rock music. He loves it so much he makes a living from it. But when he hears of a band called Minstrel’s Bargain, Sturgess’ life descends into horror. As the city he lives in succumbs to ever more violent and macabre episodes of grisly murders and barbarous acts of self-destruction, Sturgess begins to understand that there is something very wrong with Minstrel’s Bargain. Something very wrong indeed.
With time running out for humanity, Sturgess is threatened with an age old evil. And to stop that evil he is forced to confront the terrifying stranger who has been dogging his footsteps for months. The only question is; will Sturgess do what needs to be done? If not, the souls of millions will be destroyed.
Sturgess has to make a choice. Fight or flight? Heaven or Hell? Live or die? Whatever he chooses, it will be a Devil of a decision.
4. Crow Shine – Alan Baxter
Crow Shine Synopsis: The dark fantasy collection features 19 stories, including the Australian Shadows Award-winning “Shadows of the Lonely Dead”; and original title story “Crow Shine” in addition to two other never before published stories.
3. Rites of Azathoth – Frank Cavallo
Rites of Azathoth Synopsis: F.B.I. criminal profiler Diana Mancuso doesn’t do field work anymore. Not since a tragic mistake that cost innocent lives. But when notorious serial killer Luther Vayne escapes from prison and resumes his campaign of brutal murders, the Bureau convinces her to take one last case.
To catch him, she must understand him. She must delve into the arcana that fuels his madness, risking her life and her sanity to follow his twisted path.
The trail plunges her into a shadowy world of occult rituals and unspeakable horrors, leading to a secret cabal operating at the highest levels—and a plot to summon the darkest of all powers, to bring forth an evil that does not belong in our world—to enact the Rites of Azathoth.
2. The Longest Con – Michaelbrent Collings
The Longest Con Synopsis: Larry Correia. Kevin J. Anderson. D.J. Butler. Orson Scott Card. Mercedes Yardley.
Would you like to know – I mean, REALLY know – what they’re doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain’t just writing.
See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.
Of course, you probably already knew that.
But did you ALSO know that…
every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.
Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.
Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.
I’M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell book
s, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.
It’s not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you’d never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.
Luckily, though, you don’t have to guess.
JUST READ THIS BOOK.
And get ready to have . . . your . . . mind . . . BLOWN.*
* Disclaimer: your mind may or may not be blown.
1. Wicked Witches – edited by Scott T. Goudsward, David Price and Daniel G. Keohane
Wicked Witches Synopsis: New England has a rich, dark history with the supernatural. From this region many writers of dark fiction have fueled their stories. One chapter in history has been the stuff of legends and nightmares: the Witch. Look to ancient mythology or your next door neighbor and you will find them, practicing arts both Dark and Light. The New England Horror Writers proudly present a new anthology which pays tribute to those whose ancestors were accused, hung, pressed, drowned, or burned at the stake. Enter these pages, wander the hard roads of Colonial America or modern corporate boardrooms, to face the Witch. Wicked Witches, fiction from New England’s most talented writers: G.D. Dearborn, Barry Lee Dejasu, Peter N. Dudar, Jeremy Flagg, Joshua Goudreau, Catherine Grant, Jan Kozlowski, Patrick Lacey, Izzy Lee, Nick Manzolillo, John McIlveen, Paul McMahon, James A. Moore, Errick A. Nunnally, Ogmios, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Doug Rinaldi, Rob Smales, Morgan Sylvia, K.H. Vaughan, Morven Westfield and Trisha J. Wooldridge Introduction by Penny Dreadful; Cover art by Mikio Murakami