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Monday, January 1, 2018

My 2017 Retrospective

                                                    Image courtesy of gubgib at
 With my all time view total at around 14,800, I can say that I had 2000 more views in 2017 than I had in 2016.  I also added to my number of followers.

These added followers were the main benefit of my giveaway.  The giveaway post didn't generate as much traffic for my blog as I'd hoped.   I will have to evaluate whether it's worthwhile to do a giveaway in the future.  Regardless of my conclusion, I will not be doing another giveaway any time soon.

As usual, my most viewed 2017 blog post was on my blog devoted to strong female protagonists, Flying High Reviews.   OTOH, it's far from usual that my most viewed post is also the review of the best book I read in the past year.  That's quite extraordinary.  The name of the book is Avishi.  You can find out more about this title below.   It was a blog tour post and that's most certainly a contributory factor to its high number of views.   Blog tours often boost traffic for blogs.

My most viewed posts on Shomeret: Masked Reviewer in 2017 were all reviews of anthologies.  I called 2017 the year of the anthology because I reviewed more anthologies than in any previous year.  I like reviewing anthologies, but I don't often find enough stories in any given anthology that stand out for me.  So either the quality of anthologies has risen, or I am discovering better anthologies.

The most viewed anthology review on this blog was the one for Brave New Girls #2 here.  Brave New Girls is a series of charity anthologies of YA science fiction whose purpose is to encourage girls to enter scientific professions.  I very much admire the goal of these anthologies.  So I am particularly pleased that the review was my most viewed 2017 post on Shomeret: Masked Reviewer.
This concludes my discussion of statistics.  So I will now present the recipients of :

                                   The Golden Mask Awards                             

Best Read of the Year

Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer  which I reviewed here.

This is also the Best Book Published in 2017, Best Indie Book of the year and the Best Historical Fiction of the year.

Actually, Avishi is technically not historical because it takes place before recorded history in India.  It's based on the mention in Hindu scripture of  a woman warrior who fought with an iron leg.  This sounded quite unusual and it more than met all my expectations.

 Best Mystery

The Unquiet Dead  by Ausma Zehanat Khan which I reviewed
here .

This book also had the distinction of being a five star mystery that I read when I did because it was a selection of the F2F mystery group that I attend.

I was blown away by the power of this book which deals with a case involving atrocities committed against Moslems in Bosnia in the 20th century.

Best Fantasy

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero which I reviewed here

I have sworn off reading books about WWII many times, but then I come across a book that's very different.

This a children's book that is highly original and emotionally intense.  It deals with an ethnically German dollmaker in WWII Poland, his anti-Nazi activities and the experiences of his sentient doll.

Best Graphic Novel

Ms. Marvel: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson which I reviewed here .

I have been following this comic book series about a female Muslim superhero with interest, but this title marks the maturation of Ms. Marvel.  She deals with some serious issues facing minorities and takes a highly illuminating trip to visit relatives in Pakistan.

 Best Contemporary Fiction

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin  by Stephanie Knipper which I reviewed here .

This is also the best Goodreads giveaway book that I won which I read in 2017.

I have seen parents of autistic children objecting to books with autistic protagonists because so many are savants who are only mildly impaired which gives a misleading impression.  This rather tragic book is about a severely impaired autistic girl.  She isn't a savant, but she does have a paranormal gift.  Since this book is very much grounded in contemporary reality, I consider the paranormal aspect magical realism.

Best Science Fiction

Starswept by Mary Fan which I reviewed here

This book is also the Best YA novel and the Best Romance that I read in 2017.

Starswept deals with what could happen to the arts in a dystopian context where aliens who care nothing about individual artists are in charge.  This is the first in a series, and it ended on a hopeful note.
Except for G. Willow Wilson, all the writers of the books listed on this page were authors I'd never read before 2017.  I look forward to making more such discoveries in 2018.



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