It is always so hard to narrow down the list each year. How do you pick just ten books when you’ve read some fantastic ones? I did my best and tried to be fair, and landed on ten great books I had the pleasure of reading this past year. So in no particular order, let’s begin!
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
I love a good fantasy series, and I’m amazed I put this one off for as long as I did. Fae, romance, and magic is always a great combination. And who doesn’t love a strong female protagonist? It was hard to pinpoint where on the spectrum this book fell; it reads like a YA fantasy, but has a lot of themes more appropriate for adults. Regardless, it’s a great book and series, and I’d highly recommend it for any fantasy lover. I’m excited to get around to the third book this year.
2. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
My last Stephen King was Dreamcatcher which leaves a lot to be desired; it’s definitely not the best King to start with, so I was fairly reluctant to try again, but I had heard nothing but amazing things about 11/22/63. It’s 900 pages, so my intention was to make it into my long winter read. I flew through it in less than two weeks… This book is a perfect balance of thrill, suspense, history, and romance. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a Stephen King that isn’t straight horror. It’s a time traveling book set around the Kennedy assassination, and I promise it’s not nearly as cheesy as it sounds. The pace of the novel keeps the page count from feeling overwhelming, so whether you’re a slower reader or a speed reader, anyone can easily tackle a tome like this. It’s versatile enough for any reader to enjoy. This definitely was a five star read for me this year.
3. The Power by Naomi Alderman
2017 was the year of diverse and feminist books, and The Power was a great example of the latter. The book is set in an alternate universe in which women now have the power to harm others simply with a touch. It follows several women as the power of men is flipped in their favor, and addresses the theoretical question of if women were in charge would the world be a better place? The story was original and creative, and while the writing was just so-so at some points, it does not leave you disappointed.
4. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
There’s is nothing I love more than stumbling on a sweet, quick read about first love and with a little drama. If anyone needs a good pick me up book with a happy ending, Love and Gelato is the way to go. Once I get through my book buying ban and it gets published in May, I’m really looking forward to reading Welch’s second book, Love and Luck. Her writing is perfect for a great, light read in-between those heavy books.
5. Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
Dear Fahrenheit 451 is the perfect book to help you find new books to read, or to firmly establish that there are just some terrible books out there no one should read. Annie Spence is a librarian in Detroit and she decided to compile love letters and break up letters to different books in her life. The communal librarian hatred of Fifty Shades of Gray makes an appearance, as it should. If you’ve ever deeply loved, loathed, or felt apathetic towards a book, you’ll relate to Spence’s letters and tales. It’s a must read for every librarian and book lover out there. I laughed through pretty much every entry, and her subject headings are perfection.
6. Orfeo by Richard Powers
I have never read a book that perfectly captured the feeling of being overwhelmed and in love with music, but Powers got it spot on. Any music lover, especially those who have an appreciation and understanding of classical music, will enjoy this wonderful ode to the works of the greats. Orfeo is a wonderful combination of the thrill of science fiction and the joy of art. I’ve read few books in my life that have left me in tears, but I can honestly say that I cried when I finished this book. A little heavy at times, and it’s definitely not a quick read, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Another fantastic five star read for 2017.
7. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I finally jumped on the Outlander train and I will never go back. I forced this book on my best friend after finishing it, I binged the show, I fell madly in love with Jamie Fraser. Scotland, hot dudes, romance, intrigue, and history? And it’s a part of a super long series that goes on forever? Sign me up. I got the third book of the series for Christmas and I’m so ready to rejoin Claire and Jamie on their adventures. Also, this book basically forced me to follow Sam Heughan on Instagram, and to be honest that was probably the best decision I made all year. If you have yet to read Outlander, or even watch the show, do it. Whether by book or by screen, you have to experience this story.
8. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
You can’t make a 2017 list without including one of the most popular fantasy books of the year. This was one of the only books this past year that I read in less than 24 hours. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I’m crazy excited for the second book. It’s easier YA fantasy, but as I’ve said before, life is too short to read boring books, so read the YA fiction that’s geared towards people ten years younger than you. If it’s a good book, it’s a good book, regardless of audience.
9. The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown
Two things: the first is that Pierce Brown is science fiction’s current resident bad boy hot dude. Number two is that this trilogy gave me life. I FLEW through the books. I read a lot of books, but science fiction is hands down my favorite genre, and Red Rising gets everything right. The characters are amazingly developed, the plot has so many unexpected twists, the Greek references are perfect. I pre-ordered the fourth book as soon as it was available. Iron Gold comes out on January 16th, and you can bet your butt I’ll be sitting by the front door waiting for our mail guy to deliver it.
10. Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey
I really did read some great science fiction this year. Corey’s Expanse series has made the rounds over the last few years, and gained a lot of popularity after it was turned into a show on Syfy. The series will be nine books in total, six of which have been published. Leviathan Wakes is a solid space opera, with all the drama and action you would expect from interstellar battles and planetary politics. I’m sorry to say that by the sixth book, things start to drag. It’s hard to keep a storyline going across that many books and not get bogged down with excessive detail. Even with all of the political drudgery, Corey has a winner with Leviathan Wakes (and pretty much books two through five).
Did you have any books that wowed you in 2017? Let me know! And keep an eye out for my Worst Books of 2017 list. They can’t all be winners and five star stories.