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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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Book Review (No Spoilers)

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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. |

Rating: 5/5

Favourite Quote: “I can see why humans succumb to the beautiful nightmare of the Court, why they willingly drown in it”

Review: After reading the fantastic The Darkest Part of the Forest last year it feels like I’ve been craving more Holly Black faerie stories forever. I’ve seriously been desperate for more nasty and creepy and beautiful hidden people stories. Stories of them being wicked!

So when I heard about The Cruel Prince I just knew I’d need to get my hands on it as soon as possible. And thank you so SO much to Readers First for providing me with a copy a little early so I could review it. And it was actually the last book I read in 2017 and it was a damn good way to finish off my reading year!

The Cruel Prince starts as a book about a mortal girl surviving being horrifically bullied by immortals. But then slowly builds into a royal battle for the crown. There’s secrets and lies coming from every side and you’d never guess the twists and turns the plot takes!

And the action starts so quickly too! By the end of chapter 2 there’s been multiple murders and a tournament to become a knight has been mentioned. Stinging faerie ointment has been smeared in our main protagonist’s eyes to give her True Sight so that she can see through glamours. Oh and she wears a necklace of rowan berries so she can resist enchantments.

If none of this sounds like the kind of book you’d like I urge you to at least go out to a book shop and read the first dreadful (in a good way) chapter. I’m pretty sure it’ll have you hooked immediately, like it did me. I really didn’t expect the faerie nastiness to get going so quickly!

And if, even then, you’re not feeling it you can still admire the GORGEOUS map which is very pleasing to the eye! I love all the beautiful illustrations. Especially the mermaids and the person riding a frog (both are actually featured in The Cruel Prince).

Overall I was hooked from about page 5 and I’m certain that if you like Holly Black’s previous stories (or faerie stories in general) then you will find yourself quite thrilled by The Cruel Prince!

Have you read The Cruel Prince yet? What did you think? And if you haven’t, what’s your favourite Holly Black book?

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