Book tag: 2017 in review

This book tag was created by A Booktube Book.  I found it over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Recently, I’ve been getting more into book tags. I have a whole ton of them bookmarked that I want to do at some point, but this one felt timely and appropriate for the first half of January.

1. First Ever Female Doctor Who: Favorite Female Protagonist

image

I loved both Dani from The Big F and Jane from My Lady Jane.  There were so many great female protagonists in 2017, though! It was hard to choose!

2. GCC Cuts Ties with Qatar: An Author You Cut Ties With

I don’t want to name names, but I cut ties with an author that I really loved who had the audacity to go on Twitter and complain about a (positive) review that I wrote for her latest book. She claimed that I gave away “the whole plot” when I didn’t even write about anything that wasn’t in the plot summary. I’ve loved her books, but I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life. I won’t be reading anything else that she writes.

3. La La Land Oscar Mix-Up: A Book That Surprised You

image

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green surprised me in a good way. It had been while since he released a new book and I was really hoping that I’d still love his writing – and I did.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven surprised me in a bad way. Honestly, I think I’ve talked this to death, but I thought that the way she handled the mental health issues in her book was incredibly irresponsible.

4. Hurricanes and Earthquakes: A Book That Rocked Your World

 

image

 

A lot of books rocked my world in 2017! I had more four- and five-star reads than ever before. The Hating Game, The Hate U Give, and Anything You Can Do top the list of my favorites.

5. Louvre Abu Dhabi: Favorite Book Cover Art

image

 

2017 had some great cover art. I mean, just check out my all reviews page! Three favorites, though, would have to be A Million Junes by Emily Henry, Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, and Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie.

6. Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi Sells for $450M: A Take-My-Money Book

image

Every year, the answer is the same. I should probably just set up a direct transfer from my bank account to Krista & Becca Ritchie’s. I tried not to repeat books here, but I adored Infini’s cover and I preordered it, so… Anyway. Damaged Like Us and Lovers Like Us are obviously also on this list.

7. Total Eclipse: A Sequel That Overshadows the First Book

I don’t think any of my 2017 reads really qualify! I found most sequels kind of disappointing if I’m perfectly honest.

8. Muslim Ban: Favorite Diverse Book

 

image

27 Hours features an almost entirely LGBT+ cast of varying ethnicities (I think I gave it four stars) and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is about a young, bisexual British man and his biracial best friend/crush traveling around Europe (I gave it four stars as well).

9. Italy Doesn’t Qualify for World Cup: Most Disappointing Book

 

I saw a lot of people raving about Next August by Kelly Moore, but I couldn’t even make it through the first half. It was my one true DNF of the year (I don’t count Norwegian Wood since I just got bored and put it down).

10. Prince Harry Engaged: Favorite Ship

I loved Joshua and Lucy from The Hating Game!  (Sorry for repeating books again, but they stand out in my mind as the best couple of the year.)

11. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Most Anticipated Book

image

I’m not really sure what this question is getting at, so I have multiple answers for you.

  • My most anticipated of 2017 that I actually read in 2017 was A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab.
  • The book I most anticipated in 2017 that doesn’t come out until 2018 is My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows.
  • And as a bonus, the book I was most anticipating for 2017 that I didn’t actually read is One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus.

What do you think? Would your answers be different? Did you do this book tag? Let me know!

Book review: A Million Junes by Emily Henry

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

In the small midwestern town of Five Fingers, everybody knows about the bad blood between the O’Donnells and the Angerts.  The legendary feud goes back generations, but ask a hundred people what started it and you’ll get a hundred different answers.  Living amid the feud are Jack “Junior” O’Donnell IV (aka June) and Saul Angert, star-crossed lovers whose lives are cursed by their families’ sins.

Recently, I’ve been getting more into magical realism.  I love the idea that a world as mundane as the one we live in could be peppered with these little bits of magic.  That one minute you can be doing your homework at the kitchen table and the next you could be floating around in a different world or communing with the dead.  When it’s done right, magical realism is a wonderful escape from everyday life.

And here, I’d say that Emily Henry did it right.  This was my first book by her – I missed her much-discussed debut novel, The Love That Split the World – but it’s obvious that she knows what she’s doing.  She can spin a story and write beautiful, flowing prose.  She can throw around twists and turns and conflicts and resolutions while keeping me begging for more.

I loved Henry’s characters.  It was wonderful to read about a YA character who isn’t dazzlingly beautiful, innately charming, and freakishly smart.  June is a normal girl who is cute enough, has her witty moments, and could probably do better in school if she put in a little more effort.  She’s not a supergenius supermodel charming the pants off everybody within a ten-mile radius, and that was so refreshing.

Similarly, Saul isn’t perfect, either.  Although he is beautiful and book smart, he’s not quite sure what he’s doing with his life. Disillusioned with college life, he’s just kind of hanging out in his hometown until he gets his bearings. Despite their differences (and the whole feud thing), June and Saul blended together so perfectly.

Keeping this book from a full five stars is the fact that:

(1) it can get a little confusing and convoluted, to the point where I had no idea what was going on for pages at a time, and
(2) it drags a bit in the second half as the story starts to focus more on the past than the present.

But still, the book is beautifully written and I’m happy to have read it.  Emily Henry’s career as an author is only just taking off. I can’t wait to see what direction she goes in next.

Final rating: 3.5 stars, rounded up to ★★★★☆