My Favourite Books of 2017

I don’t know whether it’s writing for a living, gaining a social life, or just not needing to escape into fantasy worlds anymore – but I’ve barely read this year. It’s now November and I’ve managed a measly eleven books so far. So instead of trying to catch up with my usual reading wrap-ups (because they went so well), I thought I’d just focus on my five favourite books from this year. If any gems pop up between now and 2018, then I guess I’ll just have to write ANOTHER post. But for now, I’m pretty happy with my picks.

1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I have a love/hate relationship with Laini Taylor. I absolutely devoured Daughter of Smoke and Bone when it came out, but felt the sequel fell flat and after multiple attempts, I finally gave up reading it. I never even got around to reading the final book. But her world building always impressed me, so I was ready to give her another shot. I’m so glad I did, because Strange the Dreamer had everything I love about Taylor’s writing. The dreamlike quality of her words, the detailed world building, and characters I’m actually rooting for – yes please. I went into this not knowing it was going to be a series, so was a little apprehensive when I figured that more was coming and the same thing might happen – but I have high hopes for the following books. It’s even made me wanna give Days of Blood and Starlight another shot…

2. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I love stories that straddle the lines between thriller and mystery and horror. Stories that aren’t overtly creepy, but you know there’s something else going on. I was initially put off from reading this because of the word Roanoke been forever tainted by American Horror Story, but there’s no cheesy otherworldly stuff in sight. All the happenings in this story are firmly rooted in reality – and that’s what makes it more terrifying. Whilst the book seemingly starts out as a pretty standard mystery, soon you get sucked into the character’s histories and really start to wonder if the book is a result of evil people, or something else.

3. This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

I never jumped on the hype train for This Savage Song when it came out last year, but with the the end of Schwab’s Series of Magic series, I needed another taste of her world building. And initially, this book just didn’t do it for me. I found it hard to picture the monsters and didn’t really grasp (read as: care how) they materialise. But I kept reading and everything changed. The characters grew on me, I was genuinely interested in August’s moping and Kate’s angsty bullshit. So I obviously upon finishing it, I immediately started on Our Dark Duet. I think I even preferred the second book to the first, and it wrapped the duology nicely for me. It’s not often you don’t see the ending coming within a YA story. This series was great, yes, but it was no Shades of Magic.

4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This is the only book on my list that wasn’t released in the past year and I’ve been meaning to read it for so long. And despite the years of preparation, I was definitely not ready. This book destroyed me. Considering A Monster Calls isn’t a fantasy series and is pretty short at only 240 pages – I was surprised I cried so much. To paint you a picture: I finished the book in the dark, in bed, at 2AM, and cried so much that my boyfriend thought I was having a panic attack. The less you know about this book, the better, so if like me you never got around to reading this one, add it to your list for 2018.

5. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Schwab? Yes, this is the conclusion of the aforementioned Shades of Magic series. I went into this book knowing it was the end of one of my favourite fantasy series (Harry Potter, Rivers of London, and The Kingkiller Chronicle, I’m looking at you), so admittedly, I was not happy. But I have to hand it to V.E. Schwab, even when she’s ripping away a piece of my heart, I still love her and her books. A Conjuring of Light was the perfect end to a perfect series and I couldn’t be happier with how it ended. I think Shades of Magic deserves a post of its own at some point, so I won’t dwell on it too much, but if you’re looking for well written fantasy with a badass female pirate, LGBT representation, and ambiguously good/bad “villains”, HERE YA GO.

I’m currently on book number 12, so I better get back to that. I blindly set my Goodreads Challenge this year to 30 books, but that’s not going to happen. So if I can hit the halfway point, I’ll be pretty pleased with myself. Better stay on the lookout for more eerily poetic fantasy novels then.

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2016 Favourites

I think we can all let out a collective sigh of relief that 2016 is over. It was a particularly depressing year – at least on a pop cultural level – but despite loving to revel in mutual loathing, first and foremost I am a blogger, so a 2016 favourites post was necessary. Consider it a form of purging. Out with old, in with the new. Except this stuff which I kinda sorta loved.

Favourite Book: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

I love me a good fantasy series – but sometimes it’s hard to find a good balance between the grittiness of adult fantasy and the playfulness of YA fantasy: enter V.E. Schwab. The themes of this book are most definitely adult, there are no overplayed love triangles or teenagers born to save the world. But still, the series manages to catch a sense of adventure that others don’t, all the while building a detailed and engaging world for the characters. The last book in the trilogy comes out soon and I am not sure how I’ll cope.

Favourite Beauty Product: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita

By no means new to 2016, but new to me. 2016 was the year Spanish Sephora finally got its act together and started stocking Kat Von D. I own four of these babies now (and plan on a million more), but Lolita is the ultimate one for me. It’s a dusty/purpley/nudey colour that never fails to make me feel a little more put together on days when I’m otherwise just meh. A pro tip is to pair it with Barry M’s lipliner in Blush. Kylie who?

Favourite TV Show: How To Get Away With Murder

I was sooooooo late to the bandwagon on this show, but once I started, boy was I hooked. As increasingly ridiculous as it has gotten, I can’t look away. The twists still hook me and the reveals still shock me. Also it’s like a little glimpse into Paris Gellar’s future since the Gilmore Girls revival ruined her character. If you secretly think you’d make a kickass lawyer, this one’s for you.

Favourite Movie: The Visit

Technically a 2015 release, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it until the new year so it totally still counts. I think this movie is proof that M. Night Shyamalan either makes really great movies or really terrible movies. The Visit is definitely a return to the likes of SignsThe Sixth Sense, and The Village.  I may have a soft spot for found footage horror movies, but this is probably the best since The Blair Witch Project. But if you don’t like horror, it works as a comedy too. Best of both worlds!

Favourite Album: California by Blink-182

When Fall Out Boy came out with Save Rock and Roll, I loved it because they had grown out of their pop punk phase gracefully. When Panic! At The Disco released Death of a Bachelor, it was clearly the same band with a more mature take. But when Blink-182 released California, it was as if it was still 2003. As much as I love that my favourite teenage bands are growing up with me, something about this album had just the right amount of nostalgia and growth for me. And now I don’t have to be embarrassed about not really listening to current music, because Blink have my back.

Maybe I’ll branch out more in 2017, but for now, fantasy, murder, and pop-punk are doing me just fine ❤