Top 17 Books of 2017

Wow, 2017, what a year. So much has happened in my life. There have been so many hardships throughout this year and sometimes it was a mess. Sometimes it left me having a relapse in my room at 3am and sometimes it ended with me on top of the moon being so glad of all the progress I made.

But, you’re not all here to read about my mental health and my hardships of this year. You’re all here to read about what are my top 17 books of 2018. This was strangely an easy list to format. I tried to keep it mainly to 2017 releases, but some are just books I read this year and I adored. So, let’s get stuck into it. This list is in no particular order, so don’t assume because a book is higher up or lower it has more value.


1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | Review

This is the one that will have people screaming at me the most I think. I know so many people despise Sarah and her books, but her representation of PTSD really helps me. So, having Chaol, the main character, suffering throughout the book was something that resonated with me and left my feelings all over the place. It was also interesting to learn about his recovery, my mum had been in a car accident and told she’d never walk again (she did and does) so it was interesting to read about something that upsets her too much to talk about.

2. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesa Zappia | Review

I think this hit a lot of people’s favourite books this year. The fandom representation and anxiety throughout hit the nail on the head. It was also interesting to see a character who wrote and fanfiction to be incorporated into a novel. I used to write fanfiction (cringe) so I sincerely enjoyed this dynamic because I met one of my closest friends from writing it.

3. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | Review

Now, this had to be one of my top books of 2017. It was incredible. It was the book I needed when I was younger and not sure where I fit in the world. When I truly needed some girl power. Honestly, I’m still speechless about this book but I will continue to scream about it and shove it into anyone’s hands I can.

4. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare | Review

Okay, so obviously Lord of Shadows was my favourite book of the year. I’ve made it clear how much I adore Cassandra Clare’s books and The Dark Artifices series is no exception. Her writing has improved so much over 10 years so I’m even recommending this series who didn’t like The Mortal Instruments. I really am still speechless over this book. I will definitely be re-reading before Queen of Air and Darkness releases next year.

5. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty | Review

Now, The City of Brass is a shock favourite of the year honestly. It was such a magical read that really drew me in. The culture and just, overall, the story was so absolutely incredible. I am still unable to really grasp what happened in it and it’s another book I want to shove onto absolutely anyone who will listen.

6. The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | Review

Mackenzi Lee’s work is one book that has stuck with me since I read it months ago. It was so what I needed. A story about two young men and a girl causing mischief throughout Europe with a sense of adventure and serious tones throughout the novel. My favourite thing about this particular work was the inclusion of epilepsy. As someone who’s mum has epilepsy, it was incredible to see it represented in fiction with such a raw emotion. It truly is difficult to see someone you love suffer.

7. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Review

I absolutely loved the first book in this series and the second book was no exception. I loved it. Honestly. This book also had some PTSD representation throughout it, that in my opinion, was so well done. The storyline is just as incredible as the first, even if I guessed the killer in this one. Maniscalco is just an incredible writer who I sing the highest of praises to.

8. A List of Cages by Robin Roe | Review

I read this book before I had my blog and really had a chance to rave about it. There are a lot of triggers in this book I wasn’t aware of but I read it in one sitting and was awake until late in the night crying over what happened. I still think about this book. My best friend actually bought me a physical copy for my birthday and I’m just so in love. It was just such an emotional punch so be prepared for that.

9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Review

This is probably the most shocking book on my list. I put this book down after starting it and wasn’t expecting to ever go back. I had bought it because it was pretty and $11. One day though I picked it up on a whim and wow. This book. I am completely in love with Lazlo. Yet another book I am recommending endlessly to my friends and family. I really think this particular one is a good fit for anyone.

10. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera | Review

I just loved this book. There are no words for me to even describe how great it was. Read it. Now.

11. Everless by Sara Holland | Review

This is a debut I just loved. The concept is just so intricate and so elaborate. I was blown away by it, not at all expecting a favourite book to come out of reading it. Sure, it doesn’t come out until next year for the US but this book is just so incredible you need to preorder now. 

12. How To Make A Wish By Ashley Herring Blake | Review

Similar to They Both Die At The End I have no words to describe this book. I am trying to shove it on my sister quite aggressively (because it needs to be shared) but she refuses to read it and it frustrates me. So, to everyone reading this you need to pick up this book. Obviously you need to pick up every book on the list, but still.

13. Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Review

I knew I was going to love Renegades. So, I wasn’t shocked when I loved Renegades. Recently its been the target of some homophobic reviews which is really annoying because this book is incredible. I absolutely love the anti-hero concept so I sincerely loved reading about it in Marissa’s beautiful writing style.

14. Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan | Review

This one kind of speaks for itself. It’s the final book in a series and makes the list because Rick Riordan is an incredible writer. His inclusion of the mythologies in his worlds are so flawless and engaging that I can’t help but fall in love with absolutely everything.

15. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | Review

This was probably the biggest shock for my list. I picked it up on a whim because the ebook was on my phone was some reason. I thought it was a series as well, I’m not sure why? I fell in love completely. This book is so underhyped. Why haven’t more people read it? I don’t understand, honestly. It is truly a masterpiece. The writing, the storyline,  the romance. All. So. Incredible. Pick this up, please.

16. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed | Review

If you like Moxie, then you’ll love The Nowhere Girls. These two go right together with feminism movements. However, this one is a tad darker and intense. The girls fight back and a movement begins to protect others. It also made me realise some things about my own life I had to move through mentally. It was, however, such a powerful feminist read and I highly recommend it.

17. The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | Review

Another unexpected favourite. This book got really popular on Goodreads for awhile and I decided to jump on the hype train. It’s such a beautiful f/f romance with pirates involved. Was not what I expected at all but I am glad to have it on this list!


So, there we have it! My top 17 reads of this year. Obviously, I recommend them all highly and sincerely suggest you give them as gifts to yourself (or others) this holiday season. All 17 books meant something important to me this year.

Have you read any of the books on this list? What are some of your favourite reads of 2017?

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Queen of Air and Darkness Cover | Discussion

Hi everyone! I just wanted to quickly discuss the new Shadowhunters cover briefly. This is my first post like this, so I’m sorry if it is incredibly messy!

I’m not sure when I’ll post this but I’m writing this on the day the Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare cover has been released at YallFest. I have a lot of feelings about it and I feel that as my self-acclaimed Shadowhunter Trash self I have to be very vocal about this cover. Mainly the fact that I hate it.

For those who haven’t see the cover here you go: 13541056.jpg

I have a few big problems with this cover. Now, I am in no way an art student or design student or have any knowledge of how a cover should look. I am simply speaking on what I think of the cover.

So, I hate the red on the cover. The first two books are such deep and cool tones that I feel allude to the what is inside the novel. The red makes me think of blood, straight up. Which, maybe the point considering how Lord of Shadows ended. However, I just don’t think it fits. Objectively, it would have been fine for a series by itself but being the final book in a trilogy I feel it really should match the two books. Is that just me? Am I being too passionate about this red bit?

My other major problem, which I think is even larger than the red (I know, I’m dramatic about this, sorry) is the who on the cover. Now, this section may include spoilers (I’m not sure, really) so I would advise getting out of this post if you’re hoping to avoid them. The who is the antagonist of the series. The character who basically, for lack of better terminology, fucked shit up hard in Lord of Shadows. Why do they get a cover? Why not Cristina, our beautiful woman of colour? Why not Ty? Hell, why not Mark, who I despise? Anyone would have been a better character on the cover. Bloody hell, you could have put Clary and Jace on the cover and it would have made more sense. I just really can’t grasp the concept of putting the antagonist on the cover of a book, especially since I would say this particular one is worse than all previous antagonist in the Shadowhunter world combined.

On minor notes, there are little things that annoy me like why is her face so white? What do the broken runes she’s standing on symbolise? Why did the designers choose this trash cover? Just the little things.

Since this is just a post about me complaining, I also want to briefly mention how frustrating that the release date changed. I was pretty resigned to waiting until 2019 and getting The Last Hours next year. I was ready. But, they switched the release dates and you bet I sat in my room screaming for an hour. However, the new release date for Queen of Air and Darkness is bloody 4th of December 2018. I can’t finish a 700+ page book in December because it’s my busiest month of the year. Not only that but what was the point in changing the release date? Putting it at the end of the year basically means it comes out in 2018. Sure, sales may be better because it’s released at Christmas time but it’s just such a pain in the ass and I am way too passionate about this, I’m realising.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the cover? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you even care? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I’ve seen everyone doing this tag and I was pretty curious so here I am. Ignore the weird format of the pictures throughout, I was learning how to add photos to a blog post!

1. BEST BOOKS YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017?

So, so, so many! But to list a few (because I could go on for a while) here we go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. BEST SEQUEL OF 2017 SO FAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lord of Shadows by far has been the best sequel I have read this year. I was blown away by how much Cassandra Clare has improved as an author.

3. NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT YOU WANT TO

This one is a pretty hefty list, but to name a few

 

4. MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE OF THE SECOND HALF OF 2017?

5. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Caraval was a book I had small expectations going into but it let me down even more than I expected!

6. BIGGEST SURPRISE

Not Your Sidekick & The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice & Virtue!

7. FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR (DEBUT OR AUTHOR TO YOU)

Cale Dietrich

8. NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

Can I say Julian Blackthorn? That’s a continuous fictional crush I’ve held since last year. No? Fine. Since I just finished it the other day, Monty from The Gentlemen’s Guide.

9. NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER

Kit Herondale in Lord of Shadows!

10. BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY 

What doesn’t make me cry?

I sobbed in Lord of Shadows & The Gentlemen’s Guide, I got a tad weepy in A Court of Wings and Ruin and I had tears running down my face the whole time I read A List of Cages.

11. A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY 

I’m not sure I’ve read too many happy books this year, so I’m going to pick The Hating Game by Sally Thorne which I actually re-read.

12. FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION YOU’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

I haven’t watched too many but let me just say not Shadowhunters.

13. FAVORITE REVIEW YOU’VE WRITTEN THIS YEAR? 

I’ve only just started blogging but my favourite reviews on Goodreads are the ones where I dislike the books. I think my favourite one was probably my Caraval review.

14. MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT OR RECEIVED THIS YEAR?

Or my limited edition Waterstone copies of Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare! 

15. WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?

Way too many. Don’t let me check my iBooks library either because then we are entering dangerous territory!

My name is Amber & I am Shadowhunter Trash

The title is pretty self-explanatory. I am a complete and utter lover of all of Cassandra Clare’s work in the Shadowhunter worlds. This has been going on for the past seven years.

I picked up City of Bones on a whim at my school library, wondering if maybe other books could be as good as my absolute favourite series at the time, Twilight. It is slightly possible the shirtless man on the original cover helped drive my urge to pick up the book, being fresh into high school I thought I was mature.

That is a definite lie, but I did think I was super cool for reading when most of my peers didn’t.

Despite that irrelevant information, I didn’t expect too much going into City of Bones. It’s not as if it could be any good, at least not like Twilight, right?

Wrong.

My small pre-pubescent self actually loved it even more than Twilight. It quickly skyrocketed to my favourite series and I basically lived in the first three books. It was a time when The Mortal Instruments was only a trilogy and I lived in a world that lacked any form of Internet or technology to see if the author was writing anything else.

know. Dark times.

So, over the next two years, I fell out of love with reading because my best friends bullied me about it (dweebs). I also moved around four times, changing schools twice. So, as my mum took me into K-mart to get school things for my new school I asked if I could check out the books.

My mum has always been a big reader, pushing my sister and me to read from a young age. She obviously said yes.

As I walked down the aisle I saw the familiar rune covered chest…but wait, there was more? By this stage, The Infernal Devices had started being released and two more books had been added to The Mortal Instruments.What a blessing?

Basically, over the course of eight weeks, my mum would buy me a new book from the series. This means my TMI and TID collections are the oldest books I own – crazy.

Now, this may seem like a pointless blog post, I understand. I just have so much love for this series. It helped me out of my darkest times, several times. Through break ups, shitty home life and terrible friends I always knew I could find myself in this world. I related to almost every character while reading the books – even in the most recent series, I can still find myself in Emma and Julian.

It’s just so important to me and when people say that Cassie should find a new world I want to scream why? It’s not as if the stories are similar in any way, I never know what to expect when diving into one of the books.

I also want to briefly mention I am not a fan of the show. I tried for a season and a half to get into the show, but it just got messy and I couldn’t give up on the fact it was so different from the books. But, I’m glad there are so many people who do enjoy the series.

I think the overall point of this post is I am Shadowhunters trash and will read the Shadowhunters books even if I’m 55 with grandchildren.

May Wrap Up

So, I’m a little late in posting this but May was a slow reading month for me. I only read 16 books.

I know, you may be going 16 books?! That’s not slow!

However, this year I have been reading a minimum of 20 books a month which allowed me to hit my reading challenge goal of 100 books last month.

  1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas: 5/5 Stars.
  2. The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan: 3/5 Stars.
  3. Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor: DNF, 1/5 Stars.
  4. Geekerella by Ashley Potson: 3/5 Stars.
  5. Avenged by Amy Tintera: 1/5 Stars.
  6. Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav: 2/5 Stars.
  7. Buns by Alice Clayton: 4/5 Stars.
  8. A Shadow Bright & Burning by Jessica Cluess: DNF, 1/5 Stars.
  9. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: 1/5 Stars.
  10. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: 3/5 Stars.
  11. Waters Wrath by Elise Kova: 5/5 Stars.
  12. Salt by Nayyirah Waheed: 3/5 Stars.
  13. Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova: 3/5 Stars.
  14. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke: DNF, 1/5 Stars.
  15. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare: 5/5 Stars.
  16. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: 5/5 Stars.

I did read a broad range of books this month, in my opinion. From high fantasy to poetry, to contemporary. I didn’t enjoy everything but what I did enjoy was absolutely phenomenal.

My favourite read of the month definitely goes to Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I have never been left so completely shocked after the completion of a book. Cassie is a genius.

What was your favourite read of May?

Lord of Shadows| Rambly Review

Rating: 5/5 STARS

Pages: 720 pages

Release Date: 23rd May 2017

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads Blurb:

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

 

Have you ever read a book that basically ripped your heart and soul out of your body? A book that left you gasping for breath through the salt that is indeed your tears? I honestly felt like I was drowning reading Lord of Shadows, in the best kind of way.

I’m truly not sure if I can tell you that I breathed throughout the book. From the moment the ebook blessed my phone at 12 am on the dot I felt my heart caving in.

That may not make much sense if you don’t know me; but, hi, my name is Amber and I am Shadowhunters trash. By that I mean I have read every book in the chronicles and will continue to read whatever Cassandra Clare continues to release in this world. I read Lady Midnight last year on release day (also my first day at university) have been waiting since March 3rd for the end of the damn cliffhanger that plagued my life for over a year.

I can’t say much about this book – I haven’t fully grasped what happened. My heart is still racing and I have been crying profusely (not sure if I’ll stop). Two years waiting for the next book? I think not. I will be selling my kidneys in order to get Queen of Air and Darkness before that or I will die. 

This series is a gift to the world. I can’t wait for my limited editions to arrive so my life can be blessed by those completely and fully.