We walked underneath twinkling lights, feet tapping on the cobbled winding street, passing shops still half full as twilight settled. Covered in our thick coats and gloves we walked past the blinking light for Waterstones and my friend suggested gong in (I know. . . shocker it wasn’t me this time) but – here’s the thing. As prior my recent Book Buys, I’ve put myself on a temporary book buying ban. This meant we went in for my friend, and not me. No no, I’m not crying, it’s dust. As we went into the warmth of the shop we had a good gander at everything and when we came up at a loss I finally asked the question. You know, the one that makes you feel as if you work in waterstones (and totally knowing you’d be fantastic if you did..)
“Are you looking for anything in particular?”
“Romance, maybe.” she said. I’d loaned her a romance novel the summer just passed and she’d really enjoyed it, so I started to think. I started to think of all the books I had read this year, and which ones stood out to me the most. I’ve read some really great stories this year, stories I was late in the game to read, stories I had found on my own and stories I had been recommended. So what ones did stand out? And which ones were my favourites? I absolutely love reading people’s recommendations and thoughts and so I’ve compiled a little list for you all today of just that. A round up of my favourite reads this year.
#1 Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices) – Cassandra Clare
Wow. Cassandra Clare NEVER ceases to amaze me. The Dark Artifices series is set five years after her main series The Mortal Instruments – one of my all time favourite series. I absolutely lived and breathed these books, and devoured the prequels too. Lord of Shadows is the second instalment in her new series and it follows Julian Blackthorn and Emma Carstairs, who make an appearance in the last novel of TMI. They are Parabatai who have fallen in love, and if you’ve read the series then you know that it’s not allowed. After a death at the end of the first novel, the actions of that person follow through to the second instalment. LoS comes as the first on the list today because it has been my absolute favourite read, and I recommend any of Clare’s books.
#2 The Harry Potter Series – J.K Rowling
Yes. I’m one of those people. Someone who hadn’t read the books as a child hanging on to every word. My parents took me and my brother to see the films (que groans about how books are better… Believe me – I know!) yearly, but I hadn’t been interested in reading at the time and neither had my brother. Because of this, in my last year of university I had received the set as a gift and finally sat down to read them. It took me a week. One week. And although I already had scenes from the film in my mind, I was amazed at the extra content that I had missed. I knew I would love these books because I loved the Harry Potter series, and I was so happy to get to read them finally. I was not disappointed.
#3 Caraval – Stephanie Garber
I absolutely fell in love with Caraval.
I purchased this book in America, after having toured shelves and shelves of Booksamillion for the first time. The story follows two sisters living with a cruel father on an island they have never left and the eldest, our protagonist Scarlet writes to the master of Caraval, a magical one-year performance where the audience is involved, asking for invites before she is to be married to someone she doesn’t know. Her sister goes missing during Caraval, and we follow Scarlet on the journey to get her back. I read this book by the pool, or at the large dining table set up elegantly. For me, Caraval is not only a fantastic story and so well written but a reminder of being in another country for the first time in years. It was also the book to bring me out of my writing slump!
#4 Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
Ah. I don’t think I’ve raved about this book enough, and I liked it so much that I even have a full blog post on my thoughts. You can find that right here. Big Little Lies is a step away from what I usually read and I picked it up after the TV series debut. After watching the first episode I became intrigued enough to buy the book and I honestly did not put it down. The book made me laugh – out loud, and surprised me. It follows the lives of three mothers and their familial lives, the dramas, the secrets and the reality of the lives of these mums. It explores abuse, love, murder, mystery and separation. I won’t say too much as I talk about it in a bit more depth over on my previous post.
So, that’s it for my round up! I’ve read lots this year and I’ve really enjoyed some of these reads. I’d like to tag my writing pals Natalie Chloe and Amber, because I’d love to see what some of yours are guys! Voluntary of course.
And you, reader, if you’ve read some of these or you’ve read some amazing books this year, what are they?
2017 has been a fantastic reading year. Here’s to 2018.