Happy New Year everyone!
I’ve done my by-now traditional collation of reading stats – numbers to follow in a separate post, but I will say that despite everything (or perhaps because of) 2017 threw at me, I’ve read more books during the past year than I have in previous years. By far. Obviously, there’s nothing like comfort reading.
Having said that, the list of my favourite 2017 reads is shorter than previous years. In no particular order, these were my very favourite books I read during the year:
Lucy Parker’s PRETTY FACE (contemporary romance): You know when you keep re-reading passages in a book because you really want to savour the words properly? That was PRETTY FACE for me. Her leads had an amazing connection with chemistry a-plenty, the dialogue sparkled, and the London setting rang so true. Basically the perfect romance for me.
Sarah Rees Brennan’s IN OTHER LANDS (fantasy): I loved this portal fantasy when she serialised it on her blog, and this polished and expanded version is even better. There’s hidden depths underneath the trademark SRB snark, and social commentary and humour are combined with ease. Elliot shines as the pacifist hero who grows up but never loses his sense of wonder.
CS Pacat’s THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLS, THE VERETIAN CLOTH MERCHANT (fantasy): Yes, it’s very much a short story (26 pages according to Goodreads), and no, it wouldn’t work for anyone who hasn’t read the Captive Prince trilogy. But for those who have, this was the perfect capstone to the trilogy, packed full of humour and emotional pay-offs – Charls is the most excellent of narrators, and Laurent and Lamen are on form throughout.
Glynn Stewart’s OPERATION MEDUSA (SF): For an author I only discovered in October, I’ve done a really good job of flying through Glynn Stewart’s backlist (helped very much by Kindle Unlimited, I admit). OPERATION MEDUSA was packed full of action and suspense, and ended his Castle Federation series in the most satisfying way.
Ah, because that was such a short list, here are some other books/authors I had a lot of fun reading over 2017:
All of WR Gingell’s books, which is very much the kind of fantasy that appeals to me (intrepid yet sensible heroines, strong friendships, slow-burn romances… you know what I mean). A few of her books that I liked especially: Shards of a Broken Swords trilogy, WOLFSKIN, and MASQUE.
Ditto for Kate Stradling – again, I read her entire backlist over 2017. Specific recs: GOLDMAYNE, A FAIRY TALE (a take on a rather obscure fairytale), the duology A BOY CALLED HAWK and A RUMOR OF REAL IRISH TEA (inventive and twisty YA, give it a go even if you’ve been dystopian-ed out), and her Ruses duology (in theory standalone fantasy, but reading the first gives the second much more depth).
Another YA fantasy series I’ve enjoyed is Intisar Khanani’s Sunbolt Chronicles – there’s two books so far. The first is offered as a freebie now and again so keep an eye out for it, but be warned, it has a rather abrupt ending. The second, MEMORIES OF ASH, is more of a complete story in itself, and I’m looking forward to the next book.
SK Dunstall’s Linesman books made up a really fun space opera trilogy, with intriguing world-building that hooked me from the start. I read all three back-to-back, and wasn’t disappointed.
Sports romances are my catnip, and I’m loving the author pairing of Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. Despite my initial misgivings about the title of the series, I’ve really liked GOOD BOY and STAY.
Last but not least, KJ Charles nailed it with SPECTRED ISLE, her M/M historical romance set in the aftermath of WWI. She interweaves the paranormal with the ordinary so seamlessly, and always gets the period feel just right.