My Top 10 Best Books Read In 2017

It’s only the 19th of January but I feel like I’m so behind haha everyone else seems to have already posted their best/worst/most anticipated lists! But I struggled SO much with deciding on just 10 favourites AND I’ve put them in actual order (which took me an AGE as well) counting down to my absolute favourite of 2017. I imagine those of you who know me will have already correctly guessed which book is my no 1 of the year…

(Please be aware that I’ve included the synopsis for each book on this list so, if you don’t want to be spoiled, do not read the ones included for books that are number 2 or 3 in a series)

10) Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

| Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world. |

10th place was one of those real struggles I was just talking about because I almost put Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls here. In the end I obviously picked Crooked Kingdom, mainly because Leigh Bardugo had improved the story and characters SO much since Six of Crows. Six of Crows was so average in my opinion and I didn’t feel much of a connection to any of the characters or what they were trying to achieve. That all changed in book 2 though! Especially because we got to see these glimpses into all the character’s pasts. I loved the banter between them all too and seeing different relationships develop within the group. The various schemes were believable. As were their reasons for being “bad”. And I REALLY enjoyed the last 100 pages. The twists definitely made it my favourite section of the entire book. And Ketterdam was a wonderfully dark setting that I thoroughly enjoyed.

9) The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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| Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for. Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does… As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough? |

The Darkest Part Of The Forest was the first book I read on my holiday to Iceland this year and they just fit so perfectly together (the book and the location, I mean). See every tour guide I encountered told me stories about their “hidden people”, couple that with reading about Holly Black’s faeries, and I swear my imagination was running wild for two weeks straight! It was brilliant! Plus The Darkest Part Of The Forest was pretty dark in a lot of places, which I enjoyed very much. There’s nothing I like better than wicked and dangerous and tricksy faeries! And I loved all the bargaining the locals did with them too!

8) Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V Snyder

| About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…|

Poison Study was sort of a slower paced/less fun version of Throne of Glass. But not in a bad way! It’s just more serious, mainly because Yelena has been through A LOT! She’s tough though and refuses to accept her fate. The bad things she’s experienced or is still experiencing just push her to work and train harder. Also the poisons were fun. As were the few twists. And what’s great is I got the whole of the Study series for Christmas so I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of them this year. Hopefully they only get better and better with each book!

7) Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

| You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But the lives of real princesses couldn’t be more different. Sure, many were graceful and benevolent leaders—but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev murdered thousands of men, and Princess Rani Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back. Princesses Behaving Badly offers mini biographies of all these princesses and dozens more. It’s a fascinating read for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story. |

Princesses Behaving Badly was honestly fantastic. It’s written very simply so you don’t need to know these women already in order to understand their stories. They each get a chapter that explains all the exciting parts of their life and then, I have to admit, you’re left wanting more! I think I must have written down the names of at least half of the women because I want to do further research on them. But it really is just brilliant getting to hear about these great women of history whose stories are quite often forgotten about. And sadly this is the only non-fiction book that made my 2017’s best of list. But I plan on making a huge effort to read more in 2018 so hopefully more will be featured on my blog in the future!

6) Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber 

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| Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever. |

So I only found out recently that Caraval is Stephanie Garber’s debut book?! And it was SO good! Which makes me super excited to see if her writing manages to get even better! But anyway, back to Caraval…I loved basically everything. I loved Scarlet and Julian and the magic and the whole idea of the game and finding the clues. And the twists at the end! And the map is BEAUTIFUL! Honestly I just want more stories set in this world asap please!

5) The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

| Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, grey skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong. |

The Woman In Cabin 10 really sucked me in VERY quickly! I had a feeling I’d like this though because I thoroughly enjoyed In A Dark, Dark Wood, also by Ruth Ware. Plus my family love going on cruises (and so do I) and I’d never read a fiction book set on a cruise. So really everything was in place for me to love this. And love it I did! I can’t really say much else though because it’s better going in not knowing much to be honest. But if you like Ruth Ware’s other books you’ll definitely love this one too.

4) The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino

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| In a place like no other, on a mystical island in the shape of tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of oracles. Kamikuu is admired far and wide for her otherworldly beauty; small and headstrong Namima learns to live in her sister’s shadow. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is chosen to become the next Oracle, serving the realm of light, while Namima is forced to serve the realm of darkness—destined to spend eternity guiding the spirits of the deceased to the underworld. As the sisters serve opposite fates, Namima embarks on a journey that takes her from the experience of first love to the aftermath of scalding betrayal. Caught in an elaborate web of treachery, she travels between the land of the living and the Realm of the Dead, seeking vengeance and closure. At the heart of this exquisitely dark tale, Kirino masterfully reimagines the ancient Japanese creation myth of Izanami and Izanagi. A provocative, fantastical saga, The Goddess Chronicle tells a sumptuous story of sex, murder, gods and goddesses, and bittersweet revenge. |

The Goddess Chronicle was the second book I read on my holiday to Iceland. And it was FANTASTIC! The writing style and story just drew me in immediately. It was a bit weird at times, which I enjoyed to be honest. The overall story is based on the Japanese tale of Izanagi and Izanami and so is perfect for anyone, like me, who enjoys retellings of myths and legends. And now I’ve been left wanting to read more Japanese mythology! So if you have any recommendations of where I should start then please let me know in the comments below.

3) The Power by Naomi Alderman

| In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly. This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world. |

I enjoyed The Power so much that I can barely think of the words to express my feelings for it. It was just SO GOOD! It’s set in our world but women have the power to hurt/kill men through electricity they can send out from their fingertips. So we get to see what life might be like if women were naturally more physically powerful than men. And I can honestly say I enjoyed all the characters. They all had such unique experiences that I never got confused about whose perspective I was reading from. Be warned though some of the incidences that happen are hard to read. But in my opinion everything that happened was important to the overall story. Put The Power at the top of your tbr NOW, you won’t regret it!

2) The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

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| Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. |

Oh. My. Goodness!! This book was such a huge surprise. I mean I thought I’d like it because I loved The Darkest Part Of The Forest earlier this year. But it was SO much better than I expected. The faeries were so much more nasty and creepy and beautiful in The Cruel Prince and I was truly thrilled! Read my full review here.

1) A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) by Sarah J Maas 

| Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. |

A Court of Wings And Ruin being my favourite book of 2017 will probably be no surprise to a lot of you! I just can’t get enough of these characters (especially the Court of Dreams characters) and this world and the magic and the creatures. And honestly it took every ounce of will power I had not to just sit and read this all in one sitting (I managed to savour it for at least a week). If only it was longer!! Though to be honest even if it was a 1,000 pages I’d still moan it wasn’t long enough! Oh and whose heart stopped whilst reading page 666?! Sarah J Maas is so cruel! I love it haha

Were any of these books one of your favourite reads of 2017? Or is there any books you can recommend to me based on the ones in this list? I’m always looking to add amazing books to my tbr!

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Book Series I Want To Finish In 2017

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A few days ago I took a look through my goodreads and noticed that I have abandoned a whole lot of book series over the past several years! Most of the time it seems I’ve read book one and then just given up on the rest. And a lot of these books I’ve given 4 or 5 stars so it’s not like it’s because they’re bad. Unfortunately it’s probably due to my refusal to buy a whole series all at once. I’m too scared I won’t like the first book and then I’m stuck with the rest on my shelf just taunting me! (*cough* The Maze Runner) But that means, because I don’t take a chance and invest in the whole series at once, I’ll immediately move on to something I do already own. It’s a vicious cycle that I’m sure all #bookworms know!

So now here I am with a list of 5 series that I will make an effort to finish this year:

1) Blood Red Road series by Moira Young

| Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba’s world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the outside world, Saba discovers she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba’s unrelenting search for Lugh stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization. |

I read Blood Red Road years ago and gave it 5/5 so I must have really loved it at the time. Only now I’ve forgotten just about everything except that I know I thought the main character was awesome. And I’m pretty certain she ends up in some sort of fighting pit type situation which I thought was fantastic. I love it when female characters are great, skilled fighters. So this is officially the first series I plan to tackle from this list!

2) Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

| This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. Until Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. |

Now I didn’t actually enjoy Red Queen that much…butttt I still find myself wondering what happened in the next couple books. Loads of people seem to love this series as well so there must be something good there right?!

3) Scarlet series by A C Gaughen

| Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief and that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl. |

I love love LOVED Scarlet! It was such a quick and fun read and all the characters were great and even the love triangle was pretty good. So why didn’t I continue with the series? I couldn’t find the sequel anywhere! My library only has the third book for some reason? And amazon is trying to get me to pay £7.61 for it which is more than what a normal paperback would cost brand new! But now I’m just going to suck it up and get it cause I need to know what happens to Scarlet.

4) You series by Caroline Kepnes

| There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting. As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder. |

You is another book that I didn’t think was perfect. BUT I did enjoy reading most of it. It was just a bit of a slow read so it took me a few more sittings to get through than I’d hoped. And I’m expecting the sequel, Hidden Bodies, to be the same which is what’s been putting me off. I do want to find out what happens though (damn all the books on this list having storylines that are somewhat interesting and then ending on cliffhangers!) and I actually already own it. So no more excuses I will read it this year!

5) After series by Anna Todd

| Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way. But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.
But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before. |

I read After last year and it is disgusting! I HATE that arsehole Hardin! But I want to read at least one more book in this series to hopefully see Tessa grow a spine and get her own back. Or at least tell him off and dump him for good and then live a happy and successful life without him! If that doesn’t happen though I’m going to pretend this series doesn’t exist anymore…

Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below because I could really use a bit of motivation to pick some of them up again. Or let me know a series you’ve left on your tbr list for far too long so I don’t feel as bad!

 

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Book Series I Won’t Be Finishing

A few days ago I finally decided I needed to get rid of some of the books on my shelves. *shocked gasping* I know! But it has to be done because I have so little room these days for new books. And tbh I’m getting to the point where I would like my shelves to reflect my taste a bit more. So here is a list of 8 series I have officially removed from my shelves (and tbr list). I’ve read the first book in all these series and they were all a bit (or a lot) crap so honestly there’s no sad feels here. Feel free to comment below why I’m wrong though haha!

1) The Devil Wears Prada series by Lauren Weisberger

| A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses.|

Honestly…just watch the film. Even if you wouldn’t normally like this kind of thing it’s worth it to witness both Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep being super snobby.

2) Geek Girl series by Holly Smale

| Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. |

Harriet is a typical protagonist that doesn’t realise she’s beautiful and special until one day she finds out that actually, surprise! (not really), she was model beautiful and special all along. It’s all a bit sickening really.

3) Fifty Shades of Grey series by E L James

| When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. |

I usually enjoy reading the odd smutty book but this just wasn’t sexy in my opinion. The story in between the cringy sex was boring as well, and without a good story what’s the point?!

4) Lorien Legacy series by Pittacus Lore

| Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books–but we are real. |

Again, like with The Devil Wears Prada, just watch the film. It’s kind decent and is less than two hours long. Unlike the book which must have taken me weeks to get myself to finish.

5) Delirium series by Lauren Oliver

| In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. |

This must have been the slowest book I’ve ever read! The premise, I thought, was fascinating but the writing style just kills any mystery and intrigue. I just did not care about any of it by about the half way point.

6) The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater

| For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. |

I read Shiver so long ago now that I honestly can’t seem to remember anything particularly exciting happening in this book. I want to say there was a drama at a hospital…? Or something. Anyway I remember it took me forever to finish which I wasn’t happy about.

7) The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano

| By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. |

Wither is another example of me being excited by a premise but then finding the writing style has slowed down the story too much. So much of the book was set in this massive luxurious mansion and I just didn’t care about anyone in it.

8) Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J R Ward

| In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood. |

I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned this before on my blog but I really only gave the first book in this series, Dark Lover, a go because Sarah J Maas said it was one of her favourites. But I just thought it was kind of meh and boring. I think vampires just aren’t my thing anymore?

Soooo apparently I have something against authors with the name Lauren?! And I don’t know why because I don’t think I’ve ever known a Lauren in real life. But anyway, there’s the 8 series I won’t be continuing. Let me know if there’s a series you’ve decided you just can’t bring yourself to finish!

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