2017 in Review: Top 17 Books of 2017

Happy New Years Eve blog friends.

I hope tonight is both fun and safe and that we continue to talk about books in 2018. As it is the beginning of the new year I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane and explore the books that had a profound impact on both my reading and personal life.

So, without anymore rambling, and in no particular order, I present my picks for the Top 17 Books I read in 2017.

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18170143Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, An by Col. Chris Hadfield

Publisher: Little Brown and Company (October 29th, 2013)

Print Length: 311 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

The Review

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth had the ability made me laugh out loud and uncontrollably sob. Chris Hadfield has a way of explaining what he sacrificed to be an astronaut while also laying out the blueprints for each and every one of us to follow our own extraordinary dreams. Hadfield also has a way of making science accessible to his readers. I don’t know what it says about me, or my maturity level, but of all the experiments he talks about through out the novel the one that sticks with me, and the one I tend to tell people when recommending the book, is when Hadfield is talking about medical experiments and how hard it is to collect urine samples on the International Space Station (ISS). It is for these reasons, and many more, why An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth made my list of Top Books of 2017.

4441294Best Laid Plans, The by Terry Fallis

Publisher:McClelland & Stewart (September 5, 2008)

Print Length: 314 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

For an in depth review on my thoughts and opinions you can go to my review for The Best Laid Plans here. To summarize my thoughts, however, the reason The Best Laid Plans made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because of Fallis’ use of humour in order to make the Canadian political system more accessible to his readers. Politics can be a dull subject, believe me I took more than a few Polisci courses in university, and I can tell you if any of the professor’s chose to use The Best Laid Plans as a basic blueprint I may have done better in those courses. I have the sequel to The Best Laid Plans, The High Road, sitting on my TBR shelf, so hopefully you’ll see Fallis’ name pop up on my Top Books of 2018 as well.

29939230Conjuring of Light, A by V.E. Schwab

Publisher:Tor Books (February 21, 2017)

Print Length: 624 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

The first of many sequels to appear on my Top Books of 2017, A Conjuring of Light made it to one of the top spots because it concluded a series in a way that made me both satisfied for the characters we already know, while also making me excited for Schwab to release other books in this world. As is common with series I tend to feel the last books fall flat as compared with their predecessors, but not with A Conjuring of Light. If you need a ‘keep you on the edge of your seat’ fantasy series might I suggest you pick up the Shades of Light trilogy immediately.

23766634Court of Wings and Ruin, A by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher:Bloomsbury Childrens Books (May 2, 2017)

Print Length: 699 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars

The Review

It comes as no surprise to anyone that A Court of Wings and Ruin made it onto my Top Books of 2017 list. I am complete trash for this series and will probably continue to pick up releases in this world until Maas decides to move on (please don’t by the way!) As it is a sequel I don’t want to give too much away in terms of the plot, however, if there was one reason why A Court of Wings and Ruin made my list of Top Books of 2017 it is probably because of Maas’ ability to write intriguing and complex secondary characters. When Maas said this was the last book to focus on Feyre and Rhysand, I was devastated. But, upon finishing this book I am actually generally excited to read from other characters perspectives, specifically Lucien, Nesta, and maybe Elain?

thumbnail_9780544664463_hresEver the Brave by Erin Summerill

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (December 5, 2017)

Print Length: 464 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

Near the beginning of this year I ended up reading Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill, for an in depth review on my thoughts and opinions you can go to my review for Ever the Hunted here. Since reading that it has been an agonizing wait for its sequel Ever the Brave. However, the wait was over on December 5th, and of course after devouring it in two days it made my list of the Top Books of 2017. There are many reasons I enjoyed this follow-up, and yet I think the reason I loved it was because Summerill took ideas she developed in the first book and built on them rather than scrapping them. My only issue was this book was with 125 pages left I figured that the series had been extended to a trilogy given that nothing was being resolved, only to have everything tied into a somewhat nice little bow by the book’s conclusion.

30319086If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Publisher:Flatiron Books (April 11, 2017)

Print Length: 368 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

If there was one reason why If We Were Villains made my list of Top Books of 2017 it would be because it was a unique way of retelling Shakespeare’s repertoire. One part Macbeth, Julius Caesar, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet, If We Were Villains is one of those novels that is able to expertly balance the old with the new. The intrigue of Shakespeare with the mystery Rio was able to construct. If We Were Villains will leave you on the edge of your seat with its beautiful prose and mind bending twists. Ten out of ten would recommend in a heartbeat.

6493208Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The by Rebecca Skloot

Publisher:Random House Crown Publishing Broadway Paperbacks (February 2, 2010)

Print Length: 382 pages

Goodread Rating: 4 stars

The Review

For an in depth review on my thoughts and opinions you can go to my review for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks here. To summarize my thoughts, however, the reason The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because I feel its an important piece of literature about a person who is overlooked. Did I know about Henrietta or her story before going into this book? No. Am I embarrassed to say that I never gave much thought to how medical researcher made such advancements to better the lives of all of us? Yes. But you best believe that I will be recommending this important book, a book that represents what makes us human and what goes into to keeping us human, for years to come.

31145052Librarian of Auschwitz, The by Antonio Iturbe, Lilit Thwaites

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (October 10, 2017)

Print Length: 424 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

The Librarian of Auschwitz is haunting and heartbreaking and utterly worth a read. There are a lot of reasons this book made my list of Top Books of 2017, but if I had to pinpoint one its that, at least while I was reading this, you cannot tell this publication was a translation. Not a single nuance was missed, I was able to understand and emote every though and feeling that Iturbe wanted of his readers, and when I inevitably make a list of WWII books everyone should read, this one will most definitely be included.

28924044No Man’s Land by Simon Tolkien

Publisher: HarperFiction (June 30, 2016)

Print Length: 566 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

The Review

For an in depth review on my thoughts and opinions you can go to my review for No Man’s Land here. To summarize my thoughts, however, the reason The Romanovs made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because of Tolkien’s ability to blend the line between fact and fiction. As a memoir, of sorts, of J.R.R. Tolkien’s experience of WWI, No Man’s Land has a way of recounting some of the most important events in Britain during the 20th century while making them accessible to a wide variety of readers from a wide variety of nations. If I could recommend one book recounting the experience of WWI from a British perspective it would be No Man’s Land.

29923707One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Publisher: HarperTeen (September 19, 2017)

Print Length: 464 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

As one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake did not disappoint. For an in depth review on my thoughts and opinions on Three Dark Crowns, the first in this series, you can go here. Due to One Dark Throne being a sequel, I’m going to be vague with my thoughts and opinions on this book. However, the reason why One Dark Throne made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because it did not shy away from difficult decisions. I knew going into Three Dark Crowns, with its premise that two of the Queens had to die, that this series was not going to keep its hands clean. And yet, Blake far exceeded my sequel expectations with her at times merciless approach to the characters fates. All I can say is it is going to be a long wait for the third book being published on September 4, 2018.

20983362Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (January 5, 2016)

Print Length: 496 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

This was the first book I picked up in 2017, and what a way to start the new reading year. Out of all the reasons Passenger had to make my list of Top Books of 2017, its ability to stay in my memory long after reading seventy plus other books though out the year puts it above the rest. It was both simple and complicated. It had more than enough twists and turns. And the ending. That ending! I have read Passenger twice in its entirety this year, and if you’re looking to be absolutely and completely awestruck by the way a single person can string together sentences, then pick this book up.

26545860Romanovs: 1613-1918, The by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Publisher: Knopf (May 3, 2016)

Print Length: 784 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

For an in depth review on my thoughts and opinions you can go to my review for The Romanovs: 1613-1918 here. To summarize my thoughts, however, the reason The Romanovs made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because of its attention to detail. Telling a history is no easy feat. Telling a history that spans 305 years and boasts more than one tragedy can be daunting. What to leave in and what to gloss over? While I have experienced a love/hate relationship with Montefiore’s other works, this is, in my opinion, an example of his best. If you’re interested in a ‘brief’ moment in Russia’s history, then this book is for you.

14061957Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (June 17, 2014)

Print Length: 422 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

If there is one thing I am thankful for this bookish year it was discovering the author that is Leigh Bardugo. I started out the year devouring Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, more on that later, which lead to an uncontrollable hunger to read every remaining published work by this amazing author. Out of all of the things that made Ruin and Rising make my list of Top Books of 2017 is because it shattered the conventions of the last book in a series curse. While not a real curse, several last books in series I have read over the years have fallen flat to their predecessors. Ruin and Rising on the other hand completely trumps both Shadow and Bone (Goodreads Rating: 4 stars) and Siege and Storm (Goodreads Rating: 4 stars). While I don’t want to get into the particulars of this book given that it is a sequel of a sequel, what I can tell you is that the ending is tragically satisfying.

23437156Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (September 29, 2015)

Print Length: 462 pages

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

The Review

And no one is surprised about the inclusion of Six of Crows on my Top Books list of 2017. I did just forewarn you, 2017 was the Year of Bardugo. While this novel shares several similarities with The Grisha Trilogy, the reason Six of Crows made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because of is a unique inclusion in the wider Grishaverse. Besides the impossible heist angle of the plot, what truly makes Six of Crows stand out from the other books written by Bardugo is the way she wrote the group dynamic. Each character was an antihero, but that’s what made them work so well together, while also making each and everyone of them invaluable to my reading experience. My only pitfall with this novel is that each character was so beloved that I knew they wouldn’t all make it out alive in the sequel, Crooked Kingdom. “No mourners. No funerals,” after all.

13519397Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury (August 2, 2012)

Print Length: 404 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

Yes, I caved. After my growing anticipation for A Court of Wings and Ruin became out of hand I decided to join the throngs of readers who have devoured and loved Maas’ other series, Throne of Glass. While I believe my obsessive nature will always lie with The Court of Thorns and Roses series, the reason Throne of Glass made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because it offered many of the thoughts and ideas I love reading about while exploring a fantasy series. I mean, it also helped that while I read the first book, five other published novels in this series were patiently waiting on my shelves, but I digress. Sarah J. Maas has a writing style that is absolutely immersive, and while some of the characters in Throne of Glass just didn’t do it for me, the same cannot be said for Celaena Sardothien. She’s a complex character, with a torrid past and a complicated future, but it truly is a pleasure to read about such a strong and independent young woman in a genre that is usually dominated with the Prince rescuing the damsel in distress.

30037877Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Publisher: HarperTeen (January 31, 2017)

Print Length: 384 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

For an in depth review on my thoughts and opinions you can go to my review for Wait for Mehere. To summarize my thoughts, however, the reason Wait for Me made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because of the complexity of the characters. While I find that, in certain YA historical fictions, characters to be simply tropes of the period in which they live, Leech was able to write each of her young characters with flaws that made them almost come off the page. Leech is also able to add multidimensional qualities to the adults that share the world with the main characters, something that is overlooked in YA.

The-Women-in-the-Castle-cover-199x300Women in the Castle, The by Jessica Shattuck

Publisher: HarperLuxe (March 28, 2017)

Print Length: 544 pages

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

The Review

For an in depth review of my thoughts and opinions you can go to my review for The Women in the Castlehere. To summarize my thoughts, however, the reason The Women in the Castle made my list of Top Books of 2017 is because it differs from other novels in the WWII historical fiction genre with its choice to focus on the lives of ordinary German people. Besides that, if you enjoy historical fiction that includes politics, culture, mystery, and unwavering friendship, then this book is for you.

_ _ _

And those are my seventeen picks for the top books I read during 2017. Did you read any books that made my list? Perhaps you read a book that didn’t make my list and you feel the need to put it on my radar? Leave a comment down below!

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