Sunday, December 31, 2017

17 of my Favourite Books of 2017

I read a lot of fantastic books in 2017. I met a lot of my goals like adding some non-fiction into the mix, reading more books by Canadian authors, and reading more diverse books. I’d hoped to branch out a bit more from contemporary and read several paranormal, fantasy, science-fiction, and historical novels, but I only read a handful of all those combined. What can I say, I’m a contemporary junkie! Here are 17 of my favourite books I read this year. Be sure to leave a comment at the end and let me know what your favourites were!

Young Adult & Middle Grade

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I absolutely loved Albertalli’s debut Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (can’t wait for the movie in a few months!) and I loved The Upside of Unrequited just as much, if not more. As a fellow fat girl with anxiety, and someone who’s had more than her fair share of unrequited crushes (even as an adult) I saw so much of myself in Molly, and her story touched me deeply.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Featuring a complex and diverse cast of characters, plus strong emphasis on family relationships, self-discovery, and love in its many forms, Ramona Blue encompassed all my favourite aspects of YA. It was poignant and well written, and the portrayal of sexuality and identity was wonderfully nuanced and realistic. Plus the FEELS. So. Many. Feels.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
MY HEART. This book was an interesting mixture of fun, nerdy, fanfic stuff and gut-wrenching portrayals of anxiety and depression and how it can be all-consuming. Some of it was painful to read, but it was woven into such sweet, lovely, touching, and romantic parts that it all came together to make a poignant and unforgettable read.
Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

The Girl With the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke
This is another book that completely tugged at my heartstrings. The main character Ellie time travels back to East Berlin during the Cold War, a year before the Berlin Wall falls. Rich in historical detail and full of wonderful characters (and also wonderfully diverse: Ellie is Jewish, the love interest Kai is Romani, and their friend/roommate/partner-in-crime Mitzi is queer), this is a book I think about on an almost daily basis, even three months after reading it.  
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall
This was the perfect ending to an incredible trilogy. I’ve seen this series being called a ‘Da Vinci Code-style thriller for teens’, and I’d say that’s accurate. Think secret societies and centuries-old mysteries. It’s a thrilling whirlwind adventure through Europe with complex characters, plus there’s a totally swoonworthy romance. Now that the whole trilogy is out, if you haven’t read it yet I’d highly picking up the whole set (The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates are books 1 and 2 respectively).
Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson
This book made my nerdy little heart so happy. This hilarious, adorable story was full of fandom references, a bunch of ultra-smart kids, and did I mention it’s a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing? Well, it is, and it’s everything I could have asked for and then some.
Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

The Crowns of Croswald by DE Night
If you’ve been pining for something similar to Harry Potter, you need this book. I think it’s being marketed as Middle Grade and while the characters seem young (not in a bad way) they’re in their mid-teens, so it could be read as MG or YA. Great world-building and characters, and while elements of it reminded me of Harry Potter, it was its own wonderfully unique, magical story. I can’t wait to see where this series goes.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
This is an LGBTQ+ Middle Grade retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Need I say more? It was such a sweet, touching portrayal of a young girl discovering her sexuality and that’s it’s okay to like boys and girls.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

New Adult & Adult

On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton
On Broken Wings, the final book in the Wild Aces trilogy (Fly With Me and Into the Blue are books 1 and 2 respectively)  cemented this series as one of my favourites. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s also funny and sexy as hell. I never knew anything about fighter pilots before this series, and I loved learning more about what life is like, not only for them but also for their families. Such a beautiful series.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’ve been a fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books since her debut, Forever, Interrupted. You never quite know what to expect from one of Reid’s books, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was no different. This book absolutely blew me away. There were so many twists and turns, and one big thing in particular was so wonderfully unexpected. This book has received a ton of hype this year, and it's all justified.

My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

A Brit Complicated by Brenda St John Brown
I loved every book in the Castle series, but I think A Brit Complicated was my favourite. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading all three (A Brit on the Side and A Brit Unexpected are books 1 and 2 respectively). They’re hilarious and sexy and the characters are wonderful. Besides loving Scarlett and Bradley, part of what makes A Brit Complicated my favourite of the three is the fact parts of it felt like a love letter to London, one of my favourite cities. St John Brown did a fantastic job of weaving together interesting bits of Scarlett’s job with the things that make London so special, plus this was one of the hottest and most well-written boss/employee romances I’ve ever read. 
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

London, Can You Wait? by Jacquelyn Middleton
This is the sequel to another of my favourite books, London Belongs to Me. The main character, Alex, struggled a lot in the first book, both with outside and inside forces (she has anxiety and panic attacks), and she continues to learn and grow in the second book. It’s an emotional ride - one that had me laughing one minute, crying the next, and raging the next, but that’s part of why it’s a favourite: it made me FEEL so much. I also love that Alex is a totally unapologetic nerd like me, and her friends are amazing, plus I just love Mark Keegan, Alex's hot Irish boyfriend. 
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans
I’ve been a fan of Jaimie Admans since her 2012 debut, Kismetology. She has this magical way with words that always has me laughing, but also swooning and getting emotionally invested in the characters and their stories. The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters was hilarious, unique, and memorable.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

Act Like It by Lucy Parker
What initially drew me to this book was the fact it’s set in London. That’s it. I didn’t know anything else about it, but for some reason I was expecting it to be a drama. While it had its share of conflict and angst, it was also laugh out loud funny. I loved it so much, I started recommending it to friends before I’d even finished reading it. I loved the slow burn romance, and the characters were fantastic.
Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole
Set during the Civil Rights Movement, Let it Shine is a romance between a young Black woman and a Jewish man. Alyssa Cole did a fantastic job of balancing the history and politics of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement with coming-of-age aspects and a believable romance. I have Cole’s An Extraordinary Union and A Hope Divided (both set during the Civil War) in my reading queue for early 2018, and I can’t wait to read them.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

Promises to Keep by Genevieve Graham
Graham writes fantastic Canadian historical fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed her 2016 release, Tides of Honour, which was partially about the Halifax Explosion of 1917, and I loved Promises to Keep, which was set during the Acadian Rebellion of the mid 1700s. I had a personal connection to the story because my dad’s side of the family is Acadian, so it was fascinating and also heartbreaking to read about a part of history that my own ancestors were involved in.
My review || Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
Like so many other people, I’ve loved Lauren Graham since the very beginning of Gilmore Girls. Because of her unforgettable portrayal of Lorelai Gilmore, and because I really enjoyed her 2013 fiction debut Someday, Someday, Maybe, I was excited to read Talking as Fast as I Can. From the first page, I was able to hear Graham's voice in my head, and I felt like she was telling me all these crazy, fun stories about her life and how she made it to Hollywood, struggled, and finally became a success. There were some wonderfully poignant parts too; some of the things she said about being single and then about being older when she found love really hit home for me (so much so that I actually cried a few times). This book was hilarious and charming, and I will definitely read anything else Graham writes.
Buy on Amazon || GoodReads

London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning ~ A fun, funny romp through London.
Worth the Wait by AJ Pine ~ The last book in the Kingston Ale House series of standalones (The One That Got Away, Six Month Rule, Three Simple Words). Funny and sexy, and it was fantastic seeing all the characters I’ve come to love back together again.
Mister Hockey by Lia Riley ~ Hilarious and sexy, plus a nerdy plus-sized heroine!
Ten Days With the Highlander by Hayson Manning ~ Sexy AF, funny, and just all around adorable.

If you enjoyed this list, please take a minute to share on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook. You can hover over the image for share buttons or find them at the bottom of this post. Thank you!

Do you see any of your favourites on this list? What were the best books you read in 2017? Which books are you most excited to read in 2018?

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