It seems like just yesterday I was writing my ‘Best of 2016’ post and bemoaning what had globally been a terrible year, and here we are again! 2017 is rapidly drawing to a close, and whilst I wouldn’t say it’s been a great year worldwide (Donald Trump is still president, Brexit is still in progress and there has been a horrible spate of terrorist attacks and disasters), it’s been a reasonable year for me personally. Nothing groundbreaking happened, but nothing too terrible either.
And as for reading: well 2017 has been a fantastic year! This has been the first year I’ve taken part in the Goodreads Challenge and actually kept track of my reading, and I’m glad to say I absolutely smashed my target of 50 books! I’m currently almost done with book 59, and I’m hoping to squeeze in one final book in the next few days, to take my grand total to 60. That’s probably not overly impressive by a lot of people’s standard (I have a lot of Goodreads friends who are reading 100-200 books a year which is insane!), but I’m pretty pleased with 59/maybe 60. I have no previous year’s data to compare it to, but I definitely feel like the Goodreads Challenge has encouraged me to read a lot more, as has becoming a Kindle-convert.
I also feel like I got better at picking books I’ll like too this year, as there was nothing I read and absolutely hated, and so many that I absolutely adored. Hence why this ‘Best of 2017’ is going to be so hefty!
So here’s a rundown of my favourite books of 2017:
- Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom was the first book I read this year, and even after reading another 58, it’s still one of the best! I also read and really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy this year, and really enjoyed those, but I agree with the general consensus that the Six of Crows duology is much better.
- Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
By far my favourite book of 2016 was Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest, and so this year I made sure to read the final two books in the trilogy, Son of the Shadows and Child of the Prophecy. And whilst I really enjoyed Child of the Prophecy, Son of the Shadows was easily my favourite book of the series, even surpassing my love of Daughter of the Forest. Liadan and Bran are literally one of my all-time favourite book couples!
- Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
After finishing the Sevenwaters Trilogy I was really happy to find out that Juliet Marillier had written more books about the Sevenwaters family beyond the original three, and so I read Heir to Sevenwaters immediately after finishing Child of the Prophecy. As I had hoped, I loved it every bit as much of the others, and can’t wait to read the other Sevenwaters books in the series. Juliet Marillier’s writing just has such a wonderful, magical quality to it, and I can’t recommend her books enough if you haven’t read any!
- My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
I’ve yet to read a Daphne du Maurier book that I haven’t enjoyed, but My Cousin Rachel is a serious contender for my favourite. The mysterious character of Rachel is so wonderfully complex and hard to interpret that I found myself changing my mind about her with virtually every chapter, and was so gripped I could barely put the book down!
- Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon
I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction this year, and Bryony Gordon’s incredible memoir ‘Mad Girl‘ was one of my favourites. It’s a raw and brutally honest account of Gordon’s struggles with mental health, yet at the same time is wonderfully funny and full of hope. I can’t recommend this enough if you haven’t already read it!
- Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir
By this point in my historical-fiction reading career (wow, I wish that was an actual career!) I pretty much know Katherine of Aragon’s story like the back of my hand. It’s a hugely popular story to retell, and whilst it’s understandable why, it means it’s hard to do anything different with it. That’s why it really is a testament to Alison Weir’s writing style and incredible characterisation that I loved her version so much, and I’m really hoping to get to the second one (about Anne Boleyn) very soon.
- Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
A serious contender for my favourite read of 2017 has to be S. Jae-Jones beautiful YA novel, Wintersong. I had resisted reading it for a while because the blurb didn’t really grab me that much, but I’m so, so glad I finally got to it! It’s such an enchanting, heart-wrenching book, with that fairytale quality that I love so much. I can’t wait for the upcoming release of Shadowsong!
- Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
As much as I usually enjoy Sarah J. Maas’ books, I had my reservations about this one because it focused only on Chaol, who isn’t exactly my favourite character. However, to my surprise and delight, I found myself absolutely loving this book! Chaol and Yrene’s growing friendship was absolutely perfect, and I really liked the introduction of loads of new and exciting characters and places, that really helped expand the Throne of Glass world. It also moved the plot along a surprising amount to say it didn’t feature any of the other main characters in the series, and I can’t wait for Chaol to reunite with the others for the final book!
- Excalibur by Bernard Cornwell
This year I read the entire of Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles, and absolutely loved them! However, Excalibur was easily the best in my opinion, and one of the best books I read this year. It had everything I loved from the previous books – great character development, intense and detailed battle scenes, and references to magic and legend – with a serious dose of feels thrown in at the end. I had one of the worst book hangovers ever after finishing this one!
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I’ve actually had a copy of Ready Player One for a couple of years now but had somehow never got around to actually reading it until a few weeks ago. It seemed like the sort of thing I’d have to be in the mood for, but after seeing the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation, I decided it was finally time to give it a go, and I’m so glad I did!
It uses such a creative, yet scarily prophetic concept (I can totally see us all in the future escaping the world through virtual reality!), peppers it with a tonne of 80s references and then throws in some likeable and relatable characters for good measure. This was easily one of the most original books I’ve read, and one of the most enjoyable I’ve read all year!
- The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
I think you know you’ve really enjoyed a book when you read it all in one sitting! I spent an entire Saturday morning in August reading this edge-of-your-seat thriller by Shari Lapena, and was absolutely gripped. Yes, it does get a little far-fetched, but I still really enjoyed it!
So have you read any of these books? What did you think? What are the best books you’ve read this year?