Wow, 2017 is almost over and I’ve officially reached the “holy crap time flies” point in my life. All sentimentality aside, I’ve finally compiled my list of favorite books for the year. I thought long and hard about this one, and it took me about twenty different tentative lists before I finally settled on this one. I couldn’t bring myself to actually rank these books, so take the order they’re in with a grain of salt. I know you’re here for the books, so let’s get on with the list.
I’m going to start my list off with a bit of a cheat. I read both of the books that are available in this series this year, and I loved them both to pieces. I’m counting them as one entry, because I couldn’t possibly include one and not the other. They are The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts and The Girl Who Saved Ghosts, both by K.C. Tansley. Here they are, along with the synopsis for book one:
Kat Preston doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not because she’s never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat’s disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut.
The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan’s scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton.
But that’s all before Kat’s yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her. When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time—and their own bodies—before their souls slip away forever.
Next up is another pair. I know, I know. I’m awful, indecisive, etc etc. Like I said before, I read both currently available books this year and I couldn’t leave one of them out of the fun. I’m talking about Rose Petal Graves and Rowan Wood Legends, both by Olivia Wildenstein. Once again, feast your eyes on the covers and enjoy the synopsis for book one:
Founded two centuries ago by a powerful tribe of Gottwa Indians, Rowan was a quiet town, so quiet that I fled after graduation. Staying away was the plan, but Mom died suddenly.
Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals.
As we made preparations for Mom’s burial, new people began arriving in Rowan, unnervingly handsome and odd people. I begged them to leave, but they stayed, because their enemies—my ancestors—were beginning to awaken.
Alright, here’s a standalone for you all. When I read Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley, I found myself in the story. I finally found representation for my sexuality that actually felt like me, if that makes sense. Roll the cover and synopsis:
Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it’s mostly about sex.
No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual—even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.
Actually, Aki’s theory is that she’s got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.
So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.
But it’s not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you’re in love? It’s going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.
The next book is a bit different than the other ones I’ve listed so far. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur seems to be a book that people either love or hate, and I definitely loved it. There were so many times when something struck so close to home that I was sobbing. This book is just so raw and real, and I adored it.
milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
In the same vein as the last entry, another poetry collection stole my heart this year. There were times when The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace felt like my own personal diary, and for that I have to include it as a favorite.
A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.
Switching gears a bit but still remaining in the realm of “shit, this meant a lot to me”, I present to you The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord. When I first saw the synopsis to this book, I never thought in a million years that I would end up loving it. I’m not religious in the least, and religion has a very strong presence throughout. What I did connect with was the tale of a daughter being terrified of losing her mother to illness, a feeling that I’ve come to know all too well throughout the last few years. This book felt like a release, like suddenly I wasn’t alone in what I was personally going through.
When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?
Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.
Stepping away from books that touched me on a personal level, we have some books that made this list simply because they were amazing. It’s no surprise that Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare is making an appearance, as I’m totally obsessed with the Shadowhunter world. Since it’s the second book in a series, I won’t be sharing the synopsis. You’ll have to make due with it’s gorgeous cover.
Oooh, this one is a bit different than what I usually read, and that’s partially why it’s here. You all know that I’m usually a strictly YA person with only a few forays into adult fiction, but Bell of Eternity by Martina Boone really served to expand my tastes a bit. I had read Lake of Destiny prior, but Bell of Eternity had something special about it that landed it a spot on this list.
Emma Larsen’s mother may have been a best-selling romance novelist, but her own track record with relationships was a darker story. Emma has never believed in happily-ever-afters. But when her best-friend Treave proposes suddenly after her mother’s funeral, she agrees to accompany him to a wedding at his family’s island castle in Cornwall to try to see him as more than just a friend.
She falls in love with the wild, granite Cornish coast, a world rich with history, hauntings, and ancient superstitions. The failed romance of Tristan and Isolde hangs over the island and the lost abbey bell is said to ring when wishes will come true. As tragedy rocks the small community, though, it is family and courage that keep everyone together, and a handsome Scottish chef with a turbulent past and secrets he holds close is increasingly the one to whom Emma is drawn as danger swirls around them.
Caught between the two men and her own conscience, Emma begins to discover that the roots of childhood fears run deep. And sometimes, the people we think we know the best are the ones we can’t see for who they are.
Only two more left! This next book is the second installment of a series that has a special place in my heart for a very specific reason. My honeymoon was to Salem, MA. Yeah, I know. I got married in October. What can I say? So, anyways, Salem will always be special to me, which is why I was excited the get my hands on Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather, which is the sequel to How to Hang a Witch. Once again, I won’t be sharing the synopsis for spoilery reasons. Just stare at the cover and be entranced.
Last, but not least, we have a fantasy read that captivated me. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller is a fast paced kick ass read with a gender fluid protagonist that you’ll love. Like I said in my review, this book was everything that I wanted books like Throne of Glass and The Hunger Games to be. On top of it all, it has a killer cover. Seriously, look at it.
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.
When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.
Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.
And that’s a wrap! It took me a while to really decide what books I wanted to include in this list, but every single one I included deserves all of the love. Like I said before, there isn’t any particular order to this list. Truly, they’re all totally awesome, and if you haven’t read any of the aforementioned, you should ASAP.
So, what were some of your favorites of the year? Did you write a post about them? Feel free to leave the link to yours in the comments.