Top Picks for 2017!
2017 introduced me to many lovely books. I tend to be sheepish when it comes to giving my heart to a book, but the following twenty books all captured my senses for a wide berth of reasons.
I’ve tried to come up with a list including these books that reflects my feelings on which I liked most, but I don’t think I can. I liked them all for so many different reasons, that I’d be doing them an injustice by trying to list them. I will give a brief summary as to why each of these reads impacted me so!
Again, these aren't in any specific order.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – While I didn’t get to read the rest of this series (I plan to do so!) I loved this book all the same. The concept, world(s), and characters are so unique, that this read was unlike anything I’ve ever read before! I loved the surprise factors, both subtle and obvious, that Schwab works into this intricate plot. I’d highly recommend this read if you love fantasy, magic, and alternate universes.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This was a rather unusual read for me. While it was considered to be Young Adult, this book mimics a picture book, and includes illustrations to depict the story alongside the text. In a way, it gave the book a darker tone, with the sharp sketches and monotone images. This book gives an intimate perspective on processing grief, and shows how it manifests in certain individuals.
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeline L’Engle – A thought-provoking read, the author takes a look into the mind of a Christian artist. As a successful author (known mainly by her Wrinkle In Time series) L’Engle shares many aspects of writing, her inspiration, and what it means to be an artist. One who loves to draw and paint myself, I found this read to be absolutely enthralling.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – So, I know this book has been heavily debated on by the reading community for it’s thorough use of purple prose. While some people disliked the writing style for this reason, that very detail is what pulled me in. Everything made sense, even if it was a bit on the flowery side. (I’m OK with a little elaboration!) After reading The Star-Touched Queen, Chokshi became one of my favored authors, and I will be pouncing on her books once they are released.
Nightingale, Sing by Karsten Knight – This book has such an interesting combination of content. When a notorious gang seeks out means for gaining immortality, the main character Sabra crosses their treacherous path seeking a cure for her ailing sister. With very different motivations to search for the same item, the two battle head to head in urban Boston.
Winter Queen by Amber Argyle – This author’s Fairy Queens series was one of my favorites for all of 2017. Let’s be honest–the Fae took the YA genre by storm. SO, if you love all things Fae, then please, check this series out! It’s free on Kindle Unlimited (if you’ve subscribed to it–which I’d highly recommend!) Anyways, Argyle creates amazing settings and story-lines for each of her characters. While there’s a definite touch of whimsy, she discusses some very real, and difficult topics too.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – This dark retelling of The Goblin Market takes the reader into a world far below the Earth’s surface. Liesl grew up knowing the Goblin King. They played together in the woods when she was young. Over time, she forgot him, and a promise she had made that held much more weight than the worlds she spoke. When her sister is taken to the kingdom of the goblins, Liesl follows to rescue her. With strong lyrical undertones, I thought this was a magical read.
The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale – Another winning debut novel, this book was not my typical read. While it was fantasy, it had definite creepy aspects to it. For once, that didn’t bother me so much! The world this story was set in reflected a Medieval time with loads of superstition and people just being weird because they were in that era! Anyways, this is a read I’ll definitely re-read. I’m so looking foward to more from this author!
Princess of Tyrone by Katie Hamstead – The first book in a duology, this fairytale retelling was so good! If you want my honest opinion, I think this series is so much better than The Lunar Chronicles. YES. GASP. Although–I wasn’t that series biggest fan. I thought Hamstead’s writing was so creative, effortless, and easily enjoyed. This Sci-fi retelling mashes several fairy tales together and creates an intriguing plot and issue.
The Rise of the Dawnstar by Farah Oomberbhoy – Yet another series that took me by surprise! I had a rough start with the first book, The Last of the Firedrakes, didn’t settle with me so well. I found the main character annoying. However, some time passed between these two installments and her character improved immensely by the second book. With some huge twists and turns, this series took me by surprise!
Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette – This story is the second in a series retelling the Exodus story in the Bible. I loved this series so much. I haven’t come across many retellings written in this fashion, and I found myself melting into the story itself.
Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette – The third and final story in the Out of Egypt series, yet again, I found myself in awe with Cossette’s story-telling abilities. She does not hesitate to write about the raw and uncomfortable, as these were obvious occurrences during these times for the Hebrews. War accompanied their travels, and the upheaval strained the people in many different ways. If you love Biblical retellings, check this series out!
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – I don’t know if you read my review on The Bear and the Nightingale, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. I hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect in this sequel to that story, and simply hoped to have a positive overall impression. Boy, was I surprised when I feel in love with this sequel! The Girl in the Tower is also based on Russian folklore, but encompasses different aspects of the Father Frost, and creatively couples it with other tales. Not only did this story introduce me to knew and foreign folklore, it built an effortless story in a beautiful setting, with wonderfully complex characters.
The Limpet Syndrome by Tony Moyle – I was contacted by the author to review this book, and boy, am I glad he did! This book was strange, thought-provoking, and humor all mixed into one grand tale. There is so much happening that there is no way the reader can become bored with reading it!
The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett – I had a love/hate relationship with this book. While it wasn’t one of my favorite reads, I think it’s definitely a notable one because of how it forces the reader to look into themselves and analyze parts of their life. I appreciated this challenge that The Space Between the Stars brought to me. Even if I didn’t agree with everything being said here, I still think it’s something to check out.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – This has become on of my favorite series as of late. Set in a fantasy world on a secluded island, three sister queens are born to fight each other for the crowns. Did I mention they all have special abilities? Oh, and of course, there’s lots of politics and aggravating side stories to force you deeper into this book’s clutches? Yeah. It’s a solid read for the YA genre.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco – It’s amazing te books you find when you allow yourself to venture outside your comfort zone. I had seen this book in the bookstore for a few months before I decided to finally pick it up. I kept thinking to myself, why would anyone write about such a creepy subject for YA? While I haven’t been able to answer that question fully, I found myself loving the medical precision showcased throughout this story, and thought it was just so unique for the genre I couldn’t help but love it!
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli – Clean, refreshing, original, and creative–this YA book was amazing in so many ways! For being a debut novel for the author, Ciccarelli outdid herself with an amazing plot line. This is set up to be a 3-part series, and I cannot wait for the next one to come out! If you love original mythology, dragons, good characters, and the like, I’d recommend you check this one out!
Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta – While this was a darker fantasy, it was just so good. The author spent so much time in getting each and every character detail in line, and boy, did it pay off! With the downside of being rather gory, I thought the premise itself was so creative and singular.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip – While it may not be the best written book, this book easily falls into a “classics” genre for me. It’s one of those whimsical reads that everyone should read. It just has that feel! Originally published in 1974, this book is jammed full of fantastical creatures and a strange, but enchanting plot.