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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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!

Happy New Year! My top 10 books of 2017!

Happy 2018!  In honor of the new year, I thought I’d talk about the best of the best of last year. Here are my top ten reads from 2017. I know I always say “in no particular order,” but this time, they are in descending order. This was such a hard decision because, for the first time in quite a while, I had way more than ten five-star books to choose from!

Coming in at #10 on my list is Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie. Has a book ever ripped my heart out quite so much as this one?  Luka Kotova is still in my head all these months later. I’m honestly tearing up just thinking about him.

At #9 is The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman is an amazing storyteller and, here, she perfectly captured the ambiance of New York with a little magic. The book is at times heartbreaking, at times funny, and always enjoyable.

I’m happy to put Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen at #8 on this list. This book was cute and fluffy and left me wondering why I’d never found a boy like that when I was in high school. I’m eagerly anticipating Cindi’s next YA release.

Next up, at #7, is Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.  I’m sure this book is on literally everybody’s “Best of 2017″ lists, but it certainly deserves its spot.  This book was about anxiety more than anything else, and I have to applaud it for portraying the nitty-gritty details and not just the cute, quirky bits that often make their way into YA novels.

Book #6 is Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.  I flat-out devoured this book.  It’s such an interesting concept for a YA book and was so well-executed.

Rounding out the top five is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This was my only re-read of the year and I absolutely adored it. Like, even more, the second time around.

It’s getting hard to rank these books, but #4 would have to be Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey. This was the first book of hers that I ever read and it still stands as my favorite.

We’re getting close to the end, and heading off the top three is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. This just barely got the edge over #4 on the list because of the resolution at the end.

#2 on my list is My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. This book was just so much fun, so engaging, and never once felt like it was nearly 500 pages. I cannot wait to read their next Jane book.

Finally, at #1, is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  I am still in utter shock that this was a debut novel. Angie Thomas masterfully described race relations in America without ever once sounding pushy.  This book should be required reading.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 favorites

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Today’s theme is top ten favorite books of 2017 and honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this theme!  There are still almost three weeks of the year left!  But still, I’ll call it my top ten favorite books so far in 2017.  There.  That sounds better.

These are in no particular order, by the way.

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💕 The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
💕 Roomies by Christina Lauren
💕 Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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💕 Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💕 Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

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💕 Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
💕 My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
💕 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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💕 Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey
💕 The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey

What are the best books that you read in 2017?

Book review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Source: Borrowed

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Sixteen-year-old Aza has enough going on in her life without worrying about the mysterious disappearance of Russell Pickett, her childhood friend’s father.  Despite everything else in their lives, Aza and her best friend Daisy decide to attempt to track Russell down.  Meanwhile, Aza rekindles her friendship with his son Davis and tries to mask her own deteriorating mental health.

Have you ever seen that Tracy Chevalier quote that sometimes shows up while the Goodreads app is loading? “I have consistently loved books that I’ve read when I’ve been sick in bed.”  Well, I don’t know about being sick in bed, but I have consistently loved books that I’ve read while flying.  Except for a brief two-chapter intro that I read in my own bed, I read the entirety of Turtles in the airport and on a plane.  I was sucked in by Green’s writing style and I could not escape it.

Stepping back for a second, let me just say that I was so excited when I saw that a new John Green book had come out.  While I do understand a lot of the criticism of his earlier works, honestly, I’ve loved most of it.  I love his writing style.  I love his pretentious teenage characters. I love the weird plots.  I really just love John Green, okay?  Please don’t judge.

And, honestly, I think that he took a lot of that criticism and actively worked to avoid it in this book.  Because, first of all, this isn’t a love story.  Sure, there’s a little twinge of romance in here, but it’s far from the main focus. The main focus, in fact, is Aza’s mental health and how it impacts every facet of her life.  And let’s get one thing straight – Aza is no manic pixie dream girl.  (And Davis isn’t a manic pixie dream boy, either.)  Both Aza and Davis are their own characters who exist for purposes other than furthering a romantic plot.  Similarly, Daisy exists as more than just a sidekick.

Of course, the kids sometimes talk like they’re 40 (or 80) years old, but I actually didn’t have a problem with it.  It seemed to me that it was very in-character for the child of a quirky billionaire and a girl who’s spent years in therapy to not necessarily speak like your typical teenager. Also, I think it’s important to remember that we’re actually inside Aza’s head more frequently than we’re not.  Aza is very introspective and doesn’t often speak.  We see more of her thought spirals than actual conversations and I thought it was so interesting to see her thought processes.

So, those thought spirals.  This is a topic that’s actually very close to my heart since I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember.  While my overall mental health is certainly much better than Aza’s, I definitely saw myself in some of the things that she did.  My anxiety really comes out when I travel, and it’s most prominent and most problematic in the last couple days before I leave.  While I’m not hurting myself or making myself ill, I definitely have thought spirals of my own that I’ve never really seen represented in literature.

I guess my final verdict is that John Green’s still got it, and I’ll still read anything that he writes.  This felt like a slightly more grown-up version of his work and I am totally here for it.