The Best Books I Read in 2017

This year was full of many duds when it came to new releases or even old releases that I finally got around to, but there were a few stand-outs that really caught my attention and became new favorites of mine, the first of which was Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.

CpH4ANsVUAE5OwOGilmore Girls is one of my favorite TV shows, and Lorelai is one of my favorite characters. She’s sassy, spunky, quirky, and hilarious, and I hoped that reading Graham’s memoir would make me love the actor who played her. (PS – it did.)

This reading experience was so much fun; Graham’s voice was so clear through her writing, and I can only imagine how wonderful this audiobook must have been. I loved reading about her life and some behind the scenes tidbits from Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and A Year in the Life. This was my first 5 star read of 2017 and really just made my heart so happy.

29772863Next up was a graphic novel by none other than Marissa Meyer, a personal favorite of mine and a staple in the YA book community. That book would be Wires and Nerve, which is a sort of spin-off of the Lunar Chronicles following the adventures of Iko the android. Seeing as Iko was never a favorite character of mine, I was surprised by how much fun I had reading this and how much I now anticipate book two! This was my second experience reading a graphic novel and it has also given me a thirst for more. (PS – if anyone has any recommendations for other good graphic novels, comment below because seriously, I need more.)

DocumentAnother surprise was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. You can read my full review for this book here, but basically this book was incredible. It had everything I ever wanted and checked all of my boxes and was absolutely amazing. There was magic and mystery and action and romance and twists and family drama, and truly I cannot recommend this book enough. I want to buy copies for everyone I know and force them to read this except I don’t have that kind of money, so all I can say is: do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy of Caraval.

9781250050748Another book that I loved was This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. For some reason, this received a 4 star rating according to my Goodreads, but that may change upon further inspection because really, this book was so incredibly moving. Not only did I relate to the main character, I felt that it was a beautiful story of redemption and growth and moving past the pain of your past. I wrote a full review for this book here, so feel free to check out my complete thoughts on it and then hopefully pick up the book for yourself.

34538054The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is another book that snuck up on me and became a quick favorite. The story was very unique and sucked me in fairly easily, but ended up really tugging on my heart-strings as well. I didn’t expect this to be such an emotional read, although I should have based on other people’s reactions. This was such a special book with such a heart-wrenching ending, but I can see myself rereading this for sure. Definitely check this pick out, and also my original review for it.

29385546Marie Lu’s most recent release definitely made it on the list; Warcross exceeded my expectations. I didn’t want to get too caught up in the hype lest it let me down, but this book is well-deserving of the praise. It was cool and modern, with interesting characters, a steamy love interest, and an awesome concept. This book made me want to get sucked into video game culture and participate in this world of virtual reality and technology. Check out my full review for Warcross here.

81uGB-QT1hLGeekerella by Ashley Poston was not a surprise favorite for me. I went into this book 100% certain that I was going to love it, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This fairytale retelling of a fangirl Cinderella was adorable, funny, fresh, and such good fun. I wrote a review for Geekerella here, but you can just take my word for it: this retelling is so worth it. You may think that this story has been wrung dry, but I think there are still so many new and special ways to tell this classic tale.

Xpress-YA-Bardugo-TheLanguageofThornsThe last favorite of 2017 was The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Sometimes I have issues with short story collections because typically, there are a few in the batch that aren’t as good as the others. This was not the case with this compilation. Every single story included in The Language of Thorns was exceptional, and I was so pleased with the entire reading experience. The illustrations on every page were stunning, and the stories were all beautiful and unique. Check out my review for this book here, and then buy it for yourself because you know you want to.

This was such an incredible batch of books and I’m so excited for the new stories I’ll be introduced to in the coming year! What are some of your most anticipated 2018 releases?

BOOK REVIEW: Emily Lloyd-Jones “The Hearts We Sold”

34538054Title: The Hearts We Sold

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Dee Moreno lives a normal life, surrounded by normal people in a relatively normal world, except for one thing: the existence of demons.

Apparently, the demons have always existed and lived among humans, but in recent years, demons have come forward and revealed themselves to humanity.

Demons assure them that they don’t harm humans, but they are here to make deals and trades with them. They don’t barter with typical, material things however: they deal with wishes in exchange for body parts.

Dee doesn’t think she would ever want anything from a demon until her scholarship to the boarding school she attends is revoked. She can’t imagine going home to her two drunk parents and her previous, smothered life, so she seeks out a demon. However, this demon doesn’t want a finger or a toe; he wants her heart.

My thoughts:

I received this book in an OwlCrate box a few months ago and was very intrigued by the concept. I read some glowing reviews about it, some noting the sad nature of the ending. So I thought I was prepared for it. I really did. I went into this like, “Alright, I can handle this. I can keep myself together for this read and I’m ready for anything this book throws my way.”

I was not.

This book absolutely tore my heart out, pun intended. And not just the story and what happened, but the actual writing and the way it was written. Emily Lloyd-Jones does an amazing job of conveying emotion accurately and graphically in a way I’ve never seen. I was drawn in from the very first page and was entranced by the story and by Dee’s life.

The characters were very alive. I could imagine seeing any of them standing before me right now, having a conversation with each other. They were complex and breathing and interesting. Dee was broken, timid, and small in the beginning, but throughout the story learned to trust and love. James was a tortured artist, aimless and without a care in the world until he met Dee. Gremma, the roommate, was loyal, funny, unique and spirited. She was a really wonderful addition to the story, which I didn’t expect. I didn’t think she would add much but in the end, I’m glad she was there. The Daemon was mysterious, sometimes likable, sometimes creepy, sometimes scary. He was unpredictable and he kept the reading experience interesting.

The relationship between Dee and James was believable as opposed to many YA romances that seem forced and flat. I adored their interactions and the sweetness of their love.

I really enjoyed the demon aspect of the story. I’ve never seen “demons” portrayed like this in either literature or film, and I thought this was fresh and new. The air of mystery surrounding demons and the voids and the origins of both was a nice touch, keeping me intrigued throughout.

My only complaint was that any of the action scenes seemed very rushed and lacking… action. I don’t mind it too much because I tend to skim through action anyway. I don’t mean to, I just hate the suspense and the anxiety I get during fight scenes and stuff so it’s just easier for me.

It was almost as if Jones was compensating for the lack of a heart in our main character by causing the reader’s heart to bleed. I did so much feeling throughout this reading experience and I love that. I love when a book can make me feel and cry and laugh and gasp. This book was wonderful in that way.

Like I said, it also made me cry like a baby, but many might see this as a good thing. After all, this book caused me to feel and become invested. If I hadn’t cared, I wouldn’t have cried. So this made me care very, very much. Read at your own risk.

 

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