Hisashiburi. It’s what you say when it’s been a long time since you’ve seen someone. Or in my case, since I’ve posted here.
The end of 2017 was unbelievably busy. Let’s just say that I’m looking forward to what is going to come in 2018. 2017 saw a lot of changes. I was laid-off and had to find a new job in a short amount of time. I moved out of the house I’d lived in for four years. I wrote a book (!!) that I’m really excited about; I need to edit/rewrite most of it, but I’m so so happy that I got it all out of my head and onto the page.
But with everything that went on last year I found it really difficult to keep up with new releases. As a result, I’m going into 2018 with a lot of books that I’m really eager to read.
Unlike last year, where I read a little over 100 books, I failed this year with my goal of 115 (which I changed to 70 in a last ditch attempt to finish a reading goal). I really thought I could make 70, but I decided that it was more important to finish writing my novel instead. So it goes.
In any case, I’m going to try making a goal of 100 books again this year and write reviews for them. I’m hoping to finalize some reviews of books I read in December, so they may show up at some point here.
So without further ado, my top reads of 2017! They’re not in any particular order and some of them are part of a series, but these are books that I loved.
*･゜Now I Rise by Kiersten White. The second in The Conquerer’s Saga (And I Darken is the first), it follows Lada, one of my favorite female protagonists who’s so refreshingly strong; her brother, Radu; and Mehmed, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. White takes us on this journey through the Ottoman courts, Constantinople, and the wilds of Wallachia. While all three of them are connected, each takes a separate journey with different consequences and realizations that set up the third book to be bloody and heartbreaking. I love this series and highly recommend it to readers who like historical fiction with a twist. And I Darken started with the question: What if Vlad the Impaler was a girl? And the answer is one of the most bloody and unapologetic women to be read in the world of young adult books. The third is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018!
*･゜The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This was one of my first reviews in 2017 and I knew that it would be on my top reads list. Arden crafts a wonderful tale of wildness, beauty, and fantasy. The novel follows Vasya, a wild and willful girl who follows the old ways. She grows up, but not in the way that’s expected of her. When conflict arrives in the form of a new stepmother, Vasya has to learn how to protect her family–and the old ways–from a woman who is terrified of them and forbids the house from acknowledging them. I loved Vasya and I loved the conflicts that Arden set up in this novel. It’s a perfect blend of historical and fantasy. A lot of work went into this one to create a highly realistic world. And Arden published the second one in the trilogy, The Girl in the Tower, in 2017 too! Both the second and the third are on my list for this year.
*･゜The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. This is another historical fiction and fantasy novel. It’s set in modern day New York, where magic is almost extinct. But there’s a chance to change this. By traveling back to 1902, Esta may be able to stop the Magician before they destroy the Mageus’ chance for a normal life. By stopping the Magician, Esta can save the future. I loved the world that Maxwell built. It was full of magic, secret societies, and characters. They were so vibrant and real and they propelled the story along to the finish. She’s working on the sequel now and I’m hoping it will come out soon!
*･゜A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. The Shades of Magic series is one of my favorite fantasy series. This is the third and last in the series and it takes everything that the first two books set up and takes it so much further. I couldn’t stop reading this book that travels across the four Londons. The magic is running wild, no longer contained, and Kell and Lila must do anything they can to stop it. I loved Lila in this one. She became so much more powerful as a character and didn’t back down from anything. V.E. Schwab has such a talent building worlds that I love to read. It was also announced that there will be a new trilogy set in the same world, so mark me as ecstatic for that.
*･゜The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. Magical realism and historical fiction. Those are two ways to describe this lovely book. Murphy did an amazing job of portraying how a town deals not only with a war that’s occurring far from their borders but also the more immediate problem of an upcoming Disappearance. What’s a Disappearance, you may wonder? What would you do if you couldn’t see your reflection? Or colors only came out grey? Or food tasted of nothing? For some reason, Sterling has this problem. Every year, on the anniversary of the first Disappearance, the town loses something else. The only one who’s ever been able to escape the Disappearances was Aila’s mother. I loved the mystery in this one. It was a slow build–admittedly I didn’t know if I would like it at first–but it turned into this amazing story that was done really well. I felt it was very immersive and I definitely was forming different theories of why the Disappearances happened to the town of Sterling. I loved the reveal, too! There’s a nice romance in this novel that doesn’t take over, so that made it even better for me.
*･゜Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. If you want to cry, read this book. Or anything by Jeff Zentner, really. I got The Serpent King in an Owlcrate box and have loved this author ever since. He has a real talent for creating characters and stories that give you all of the feels. Goodbye Days is about a tragedy that breaks several family’s hearts. Goodbye Days comes from the idea of a goodbye day–one last day where you celebrate the life of the loved one you’ve lost. It is an amazing and heartfelt read. If you like contemporary young adult novels, Zentner is an author you should be reading.
And that’s it! I hope to read a lot more books with strong female protagonists this year. I’ll be finishing up some series that have been sitting on my to-read list for ages. I’m going to try reading as many advance reading copies as I can get my hands on! Here’s to happy reading in 2018!
While this blog is primarily focused on reading and writing reviews, I also am going to share a little bit of my writing process this year. I have plans to rewrite the book I just finished as well as write the second one. I want this year to be the year of my book(s). I want to look back on 2018 and feel like I’ve accomplished something I’m proud of. Those are my goals for the year and I believe I can achieve them. So happy 2018, everyone! Here’s hoping that it’s a creative year for many!