It seems like this always happens – my favorite book I read this year wasn’t published in 2017. I try to stick to the current year when making my list of favorite books each December and I’ll keep with that tradition, but it’s worth mentioning that Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is exceptional and well worth the read if you enjoy sci-fi thrillers.
Out of the 64 titles that I read this year (exceeding my Goodreads goal by 2!), here are the best of the best, in my opinion.
by Stephanie Graber
I wrote an in-depth review of this title earlier this year (you can read that here) but this title was simply magical. I loved the world Garber set the story in and can’t wait for book two next year. If you enjoyed The Night Circus or just particular to fantasy, this one should be right up your alley.
Grace and the Fever
by Zan Romanoff
I loved this one – probably because it hit so close to home. Grace has always been a fan of the boyband Fever Dream and even though her friends have all moved on, she remains one of their biggest fans and secretly cultivates an online persona dedicated to them. When she unexpectedly meets a member of the band, Grace embarks on a crazy adventure every woman who’s been in a fandom could only dream of.
Truth be told, I only picked this title up because the author’s about me said she was a Hanson fan (and we fans like to support other fans). However, it turned out to be a perfect read for me!
Daring to Drive
by Mana Al-Sharif
An inspiring and eye opening memoir about a Saudi woman who dared to challenge cultural oppression by “driving while female” in the streets of Saudi Arabia. I highly recommend this title for anyone seeking to understand Islamic culture and Women’s rights abroad.
Between Heaven and the Real World
by Steven Curtis Chapman
Any former Evangelical youth group kid probably grew up listening to Steven Curtis Chapman. His songs defined Christian music in the 90s and I personally owned and loved Signs of Life, Speechless, and Declaration.
This was a very personal, honest and down-to-earth memoir chronicling his life as a child in Paducah, KY to his rise to stardom in the Christian music industry. Chapman openly talks about struggles in his faith, marriage and career and doesn’t try to gloss over mistakes he’s made in life. The chapter about his daughter Maria, who tragically died when his older son hit her in the driveway of their house, is especially moving and brought tears to my eyes.
It’s hard to say whether or not this will appeal to non-fans, although people with a general interest in music biographies may find Chapman’s career interesting as he does cross paths with secular artists from time to time.
Lies She Told
by Cate Holahan
Lies She Told isn’t a groundbreaking thriller/mystery but it IS different from the others because of the way the story is structured. The main character is also a mystery writer who is working on her next novel, so the story flip flops back and forth between the two different stories. It’s an entertaining read, although I found myself more interested in the main character’s plot rather than the plot of the book she’s writing. You need to read both though as it’s important to the story. For fans of Gillian Flynn, Kimberly McCreight and Mary Kubica.
An Unkindness of Magicians
by Kat Howard
Every so often a book comes along that makes you want to hide away in your room and read it long into the night until you reach the final page. An Unkindness of Magicians had that special feeling right from the first few pages, drawing the reader in to the complicated magical world author Kat Howard created.
Deep in the heart of New York City, families of wealthy, powerful magicians live in their Houses, unknown to the human world. Only one House at a time serves as the head of their community and the time has come for the Turning – an intense battle of magic that one by one pits the different Houses against each other until a champion prevails.
This one was hands down the best book written in 2017. For fans of: The Magicians, darker Harry Potter and secret magical worlds.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass
by Melissa Bashardoust
A wonderfully re-imagined tale of Snow White. Told in dual points of view, the evil step-mother and Lynet (Snow), Bashardoust puts a fresh spin on the classic fairy tale.
The female characters are strong, the writing imaginative and the ending quite different from the Snow White you knew from your childhood!
by Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush
This was a lovely read that gave some insight into the Bush twins life growing up in the political spotlight. I especially enjoyed the stories about their father and grandfather as it gave an glimpse into the personal lives of former Presidents we don’t see depicted in the media.
The sisters are close and that comes through in the writing. They take turns writing the chapters and both women each have something unique to offer on the subjects of sisterhood, family and relationships.
by Gin Phillips
It’s almost closing time at the zoo and Joan and her son are rushing to leave before the gates close. But on their way out, Joan sees something terrifying – armed gunmen are in the zoo and in that moment, everything changes.
A taught thriller that focuses on the lengths a mother will go to to protect her son, Fierce Kingdom is suspenseful and quick read with an unexpected ending. This one has all the makings of a blockbuster Hollywood film (and movie rights have been sold).