Monday, August 21, 2017

Favorite Reads of 2017 (The Halfway Mark)

The year is already more than half over, and we have read so many great books already. It's time to share a few.

We didn't want to spill the beans too much on our Favorite End of the Year Reads, so Paige and I each picked five of our favorites. And let me tell you, sticking to just five was not easy.

JoLee's Top Five

Windwitch by Susan Dennard:
The series follow-up to Truthwitch is pretty spectacular. I liked this book so much because it just went in so many unexpected places. The characters and the world felt like they expanded tenfold in this addition to the series. I really, really hope that the series can maintain this quality.

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer:
This book is achingly good. It is full of heartache and hope and delivered so many emotions. The book is a cross between a more serious version of You've Got Mail and The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter--two things I love. (featured here)

Dead Wake by Erik Larson:
My favorite book club pick of the year so far.I love the way that Larson weaves together the stories of the passengers of the Lusitania, the men on Unterseeboot-20, and Woodrow Wilson's presidency in the days leading up to the ship's sinking.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan:
I've been recommending this book to everyone who loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Set in England during the early years of World War II, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is a epistolary novel told through letters and journal entries with a decidedly female perspective.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor:
Laini Taylor writes the loveliest slow-burn fantasy. Her world-building is absolutely incredible. I'm absolutely fascinated by the world that she created in this book, from the Medieval Monastic feel to the god-slayers of Weep. (featured here)

Paige's Top Five

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor:
I've been looking forward to this book for a long time, but it had been long enough since I'd read the first two books in the series that I couldn't jump right in. I reread those and then devoured the conclusion. Ending a series is incredibly difficult, but this was beautifully written, the kind of story you fall into and can't get out.

Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno:
After reading, and loving, Katrina Leno's The Lost and Found, I was excited for this one. It did not disappoint. Ms. Leno writes beautiful magical realism. This book is infused with a feeling of possibilities and "what ifs." It was an achingly lovely read.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi:
This companion novel to The Star-Touched Queen was beautiful and interesting. As a storyteller, I loved the power of story as highlighted throughout the book. This book also had so many great quotes that left me thinking about story and magic and possibilities. (featured here)

The Last Thing You Said by Sarah Biren:
In this book, Sarah Biren explores different ways people deal with grief. Some are healthy, some are not. All are true to life and fit her characters. The thing that landed this book on my favorites list are the "Trixies"--stories the main character tells about the best friend she lost. They are magical and sweet and lovely. (featured here)

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows:
This is the funniest book I have read in a long time and I have been recommending it right and left. The alternate world it takes place in is fabulous and the narration is tongue and cheek and oh so snide. It must be noted that the audiobook enhances the humor through a fantastic narrator with perfect comedic timing. (featured here)

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