Work has completely taken over my life, and sadly this means that I had much less time to read (if any!) for the last six weeks or so. However, I still managed to read a few books (11, or 10 if you don’t count the one I decided to stop reading when I was nearly halfway through).
One of the books below is the best book I’ve read in 2017, hands down. It will be very hard for a book to top it. So that’s something, right?!
The Books I Loved
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Beartown, on the surface, is a book about hockey in a small town, but really it is about so much more than that. It’s about the dream of succeeding, and the price that people are willing to pay for it. It’s about the hope that binds a community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes to speak out. I’m doing it no justice with this mini review, but all I can say is READ THIS, and READ THIS NOW.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my latest HP reread of the year. My initial goal was to reread the whole series in 2017, but with my list of library books always growing, I’m not sure that will be possible! At any rate, I loved this just as much as I did the first few hundred times I read it.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
A moment — a coincidence, a brief crossing of paths — bring together Daniel and Natasha in The Sun is Also a Star. He’s always been the good son with a love of poetry, and she’s always been the girl who only believes in cold, hard facts. In a mere 24 hours, everything changes. Beautifully crafted, I tore through this book and even though some of it was predictable in the way YA novels typically are, I was floored by how much I enjoyed the story.
The Books I Liked
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
I struggled a little bit with Wolf Hall, the prequel to Bring Up the Bodies. I found this book much easier to read of the two, particularly as I am fascinated by Anne Boleyn and so much of this book was about her peak, and then her downfall. I wish I had been able to see the stage adaptation of this duology, but I’m settling for watching the PBS version on Amazon.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
Victoria chronicles the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign, beginning from her ascension to the throne to when she becomes engaged to Prince Albert. The novel draws on Queen Victoria’s diaries, so I found much of it to be richly illustrated, with lots of historical context and vivid descriptions. Can’t wait till the PBS version can also be watched on Amazon!
The Books I Didn’t Like
The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
The Accidental Empress was enjoyable at first, but then it quickly devolved into a bunch of nonsense. Somehow, despite having the enigmatic heroine of Empress Elisabeth and the historical setting of the dying days of the Hapsburg Empire, Pataki managed to make this novel a bunch of drivel about very little more than a whiny girl who falls in love with a man that historians are pretty sure she never had relations with. The pacing is off, the characters are one-dimensional, and there is absolutely nothing of value to the plot of this book despite the all of the history Pataki could’ve drawn from.
Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
The once infallible Dessen continues to fall short with Once and for All. The only likable characters in this book are Louna’s mom and her business partner. Everyone else? Ugh, ESPECIALLY Ambrose, the love interest. Also, I found the subplot of Louna’s former love pretty much unbelievable. Zero character development, a flimsy plot, and way too many predictable elements meant I really struggled getting through this book.
The Book I Didn’t Finish
Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki
Why I decided to try to read Sisi: Empress on Her Own after hating the prequel to it so much, I have no idea.
The Books Somewhere in the Middle
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss; The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher; Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living by Manjula Martin