Tuesday 27 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'The Best Books I Have Read In 2017 So Far'.

These sorts of categories are always my favourite because they allow me to excitedly reflect upon my reading year so far, as well as see everyone else's recommended reads from their reading year too! I've had some great reads too, so I'm really happy to be sharing them!

1) 'The Bear & The Nightingale' by Katherine Arden.

This was actually one of my very first reads of the year, and a glorious one it was too because it was a Fairy Tale retelling of Russian folklore, which has always been fascinating to me! I loved the house spirits and creatures that Vasya encountered, the many tales incorporated into one, the characters were well-written and showed personality while also falling into famous fairy tale archetypes and the setting was beautiful! There are some unanswered questions but there will be a book two so I'm excited to see the loose ends resolved then!

2) 'A Quiet Kind Of Thunder' by Sara Barnard.

My year of great Contemporary YA reads began here. Wow! I loved 'Beautiful Broken Things', Barnard's debut, but this topped it in so many more ways than I can imagine. It was such a diverse book, which connected with and reached out to the deaf community, a group of people that I don't often see referenced in books! It did a really great job of it too! I've recently been trying to learn BSL too, and this book was part of my inspiration for it. 

3) 'Radio Silence' by Alice Oseman.

Another great Contemporary YA read that everyone else has read and adored before me because it took so long for me to get round to it! Finally I managed it though, and it was such a good read, perfectly describing fandom and how it can affect people's lives in many ways. I loved the friendship focus in this book, the LGBT relationships, the diverse characters and relatable setting. Great job Miss Oseman, I'll be back for more of your work, that's for sure!

4) 'A Darker Shade Of Magic' by V.E. Schwab.

I've been wanting to start this Fantasy series by Schwab for a long time because so many people have recommended it. It's well constructed, talking a simple idea of parallel worlds that look completely different other than having the City of London in common, a loveable magician who can travel between them, and a young, ass-kicking thief desperate to tag along. Kell and Lila had a great friendship, I was pleased to see that it stayed that way too. Amazing stuff and I look forward to getting to book two!

5) 'Noteworthy' by Riley Redgate.

After reading 'Seven Ways We Lie', Redgate's fantastic debut, I knew that I would read anything she wrote from then on. This book was set in a Performing Arts college too, so was relatable in a way that I had never anticipated. All the musical and theatrical jargon...I got it! I totally related to the drama of it all too (Performing Arts students are just as highly strung as you'd imagine) and I was pleased that Redgate crafted such a great story from the concept. I loved the diverse cast too - plenty of different ethnicities, cultures, sexualities and classes to keep me interested. 

6) 'One Of Us Is Lying' by Karen M. McManus.

This was actually a really recent read of mine, but warranted a five star rating because it was so addictive! I've never been a fan of Teen Dramas, and the show Pretty Little Liars only mildly caught my interest, but this was ridiculously good! I loved the plot direction, all of the twists and turns, and reading the POVs of each character as more of their secrets were revealed. This is an astonishingly good debut from Karen M. McManus.

7) 'Under Rose Tainted Skies' by Louise Gornall.

This book has been on my radar for a while, mostly because of the gorgeous front cover I'll confess. YALC 2016 really got me excited about it though, so much so that I bought a copy while I was there. It, for me, was a really good depiction of mental illness. And, it even covered self harm which was very dark but sensitively discussed. Not many books actually broach that topic, so I'm glad to read a book that's trying to spark conversations on something so taboo! The writing was beautiful as well, and I'm glad to be reading more Contemporary YA with great parental figures.

8) 'Ash' by Malinda Lo.

You can probably see from my list so far that I've read so many amazing LGBT books this year, but this retelling of the classic 'Cinderella' was one of my favourites for a different reason - it's Fantasy setting. It's actually extremely difficult to find a good LGBT Fantasy, especially if twists a well-known tale. But this did a really great job of normalising it and the story itself was so good! Well built and gorgeously written! 

9) 'Three Dark Crowns' by Kendare Blake.

I really liked the dark sense of danger that Blake purveys in this book, and though it was a slow starter, it was what drew me in from the beginning of the novel. It was macabre, filled with shocks and twists, and managed to give me ASOIF vibes while feeling entirely different and original as well. I went in with a game plan of liking and supporting only one of the sisters, but ended up unable to choose because their individual stories are crafted so well. It did have it's flaws of course, and certainly recieved some mixed reviews, but for me it had that dose of gothic that I love to read. Great job!

10) 'Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I had to end this list with something non-fiction. A book that has continued my quest to read more books on the subject of Feminism. Having already read Adichie's 'We Should All Be Feminists', I knew this would be good! What a great way of handling the topic of future generations and how we can work to change society's stereotypes by raising them. I liked the personal touch too, it made it feel like something that was happening now rather than someone proposing a hypothesis to be tested. 

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