Happy 2018 everyone! I am currently writing this post with 1-week-old Baby Grayson hanging out on my chest. He was born last Wednesday and is my excuse for not posting in a little bit. Aaaaand because it's my blog and I can do what I want, here are some adorable pics of our newest and squishiest addition to the family!
Now that that's out of the way, I am so excited to kick off this new year and really focus on my reading. Now that I have established this blog a bit I really want to make it a goal this year to keep delivering as much content to you guys as possible (possibly even establish an upload schedule? We'll see. I don't want to get ahead of myself). But let's get in to that later. Today I want to look back on my reading for 2017. I decided to put together a list of my favorite books I read this past year! I did have a few reading slumps and didn't read as much as I wanted to, but I did find a few gems that I highly recommend and wanted to share with you guys. These are in no particular order except #1 is going to be my top favorite of the year. Also, not all of these were published this year, so some are debuts and some aren't. Let's go!
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Guys, I freaking love this book! I'm so mad at myself for not picking it up sooner because damn I enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook for this one and I am so glad I did because the audio was narrated by Wil Wheaton and that just made it even better. This book is jam packed full of 80's video game, D&D and pop culture references as well as a bad ass, geeky main character (yes I used bad ass and geeky as adjectives for the same character. So what?). The action was great, the characters (both real life and avatars) were fun and relatable and the storyline was a blast! If you haven't heard about Ready Player One, its a sci-fi dystopia that takes place in a not too distant
future where the real world is such a mess that most everyone lives their lives jacked in to a virtual reality world created by a man named Halliday. When he dies, he leaves behind his fortune to be won in a virtual contest within the OASIS. We follow a teenage boy who devotes every waking minute to becoming an expert in everything Halliday loved; video games, D&D, comic books, 80's music and pop culture. Our main character, Wade Wilson (yeah the comic book reference wasn't lost on me) must battle out millions of other players to track down the 3 easter eggs within the game in order to win Halliday's huge fortune and power, within the game as well as outside, that no player has ever had before. This is hands down my favorite read this year and I recommend it to anyone and everyone I can, even non-readers. Also it's going to be made in to a movie coming out this year so we're going to see this one get big again come March.
2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I know I said this list wouldn't be in order, but this book would have to be my second favorite book I read this year (I swear the rest of the list is not in any particular order!). It's a phsycological thriller about a man, Jason, who is kidnapped from his reality and dropped in an alternate one that is just slightly different than his own. He isn't a college professor, but a successful and well known physicist. He isn't married to
his wife, but had dated her long ago and she went on to become a successful artist. His house is no longer a home, but a colder version of the brownstone it was in his reality. Jason must not only figure out who brought him here and why, but also how to get back home, or if he even wants to. This book was so cool and totally impossible for me to put down. The mechanics of traveling between realities was so cool and the story took so many unexpected turns, there was no way to predict what would happen next. I am definitely going to look for more of Blake Crouch's books to pick up in 2018. Check out my full review for Dark Matter here!
3. Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris. I won't go in to too much detail about what this book is about because I went in not really sure what to expect and it blew me away. All I
will say is its a darker domestic/ physycological thriller about the perfect couple next door who isn't really so perfect. There is definitely something off about Jack and Grace but
whatever it is, they are so good at hiding it that there is no way anybody on the outside would ever be able to tell. This thriller was a slow burn but in such a good way. It jumps back and forth between Grace now and when she first met Jack. The suspense is great and the ending is definitely unexpected. Pick this one up if you're looking for an engrossing thriller that constantly keeps you guessing.
4. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn. This was a book we did in our comic book group a few months back and it was such an impactful graphic novel. The art was beautiful and the characters were so great. Brian K. Kaugn is such a great storyteller and this standalone is no exception. It's a story about a group of 4 lions who escape a zoo in Baghdad after it is bombed. The entire story is a commentary on so many human issues. It deals with
different viewpoints on freedom, patriarchy, societal structure, family and relationships, innocence and the loss of innocence, and the list goes on. But the story being told through these 4 lions makes all the issues being talked about here so much more accessible and makes the reader able to view them differently than if human characters were used. I really love that the story makes the reader think about so many important issues and really think critically. Pride of Baghdad was definitely my favorite graphic novel I read this year and Brian K. Vaughn continues to be one of my favorite graphic novel authors.
5. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I'm so happy that this book exists in the world! I am a
sucker for Neil Gaiman and even more so when I'm listening to him read these ancient nordic legends and stories. He puts his own spin on the original stories, while still maintaining their key ingredients. This is a book I will definitely be reading to my kiddos when they will sit still long enough for bedtime stories.
6. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. Hoover has been one of my
favorite authors since I read her Hopeless series in 2012. I always go out and buy her newest releases the day they come out and often gobble up the book in one or two sittings. You might call her books my guilty pleasure reads, but I have zero guilt. And It Ends With Us was no exception. Although I didn't go out and pick it up on release day, it sat on my wishlist and I got a copy last Christmas, I still read it all in one night and loved it! As always, Colleen Hoover tackles a tough social subject, in this one it was domestic abuse as well as homelessness. I don't want to give much away but I will say, from a woman who typically hates love triangles, the one in It Ends With Us is fantastic.
7. Rebecca by Adam J. Nicolai. This year I discovered a new author I love! Yay! Adam J. Nicolai writes horror and suspense novels and his first book Alex was his self-published debut. After reading his sci-fi horror book Todd, I went and read all the rest of his works. Rebecca was my favorite of all of them. It's about a young woman who gets pregnant after havingsex with a man to prove she is not gay. Being deeply religious and feeling extreme pressure from her religious mother, she decides to keep the baby. As any mother will tell you, sleep deprivation and the stress and pain of having a child can be comepletely overwhelming. Driven by pressures from her church and her mother as well as her inner battle with coming to terms with her sexuality on top of becoming a mother to a baby she isn't sure that she wants, we see the toll these pressures take on her mind. This was a totally engrossing read and another one I just couldn't put down. Being a new mother myself and living with post-partum depression and anxiety, I could totally relate to the main character. I definitely recommend picking this up if you are a fan of psychological thrillers and horror.
8. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. If you haven't heard of Three Dark Crowns by now, you are probably living under a rock. But if for some crazy reason you haven't, its's a YA fanatsy an island where every generation there is a set of triplets born who each
possess a different form of magic and who are all equal heirs to the throne to rule the island. In order to take the thrown though, they must murder their other sisters after their 16th birthday, This epic fantasy was such a wild ride and so dark and twisty. The story started off a little slow for me so I wasn't really sure it was going to live up to all the hype I had heard about it. I gave it a chance and powered through and I'm so happy I did! The magic system on the island was so great and the large cast of characters was handled well and in a way that made it so the reader didn't get them confused or mized up. There is definitely a cliff hanger at the end so luckily the sequel is out now and definitley on my TBR pile for 2018!
Well that about wraps up my faborite reads of 2017. Let me know in the comments what you thought of any of the books I mentioned and what you plan on picking up in 2018. I'll see you in my next post!