Can you believe we're already a week into 2018? I don't know about you but 2017 was a rough year for me. I've been so busy and have had so many major life things happen (especially over the past few months) that I haven't really been blogging too much. I didn't even get a post up in November to celebrate my seven year blogiversary! And clearly I'm on top of posting this "best of", too!
Without going too much into my year (but would I be a blogger if I didn't talk about myself a little bit?)...I got in my first ever car accident (I was fine, my car was kind of fine, and the bus was definitely fine), found out my rabbit needed surgery (she's ok but it's a recurring issue), and had to buy a new phone (mine took a major tumble at the grocery store). And all of that happened within about 4 days right at the start of the year. In the spring I found out my grandma was sick and she got progressively sicker until she passed away in August. That was the hardest thing to deal with this year and it's not something you get over easily. Then, just to make the year even more ridiculous, in September I found out via Facebook and small town gossip that my estranged father died in a car accident. How does one deal with that?
But even with those big, massive, awful things...there have been some bright moments. I met Jenny Han and Sophie Kinsella. I went to a wonderful afternoon tea book launch for author Karma Brown and my friend and I got to sit at Karma's table. I turned 30 in May! The biggest things - and some of the best things - happened right at the end of the year. In November I went to Australia for the second time and it was amazing. Then, two days after we landed back in cold, snowy Canada, my boyfriend and I got the keys to our first house. December was insanely busy with painting and moving and just trying to process all of the feelings I've been having this year.
Books definitely helped me through the tough times and I read a lot of really great ones last year (even though I read fewer books in 2017 than I have in years - "just" 87, which is fitting as I was born in 1987). These are ten of my absolute favourites. 9 of the 10 were 5 stars (and the one that was 4 stars probably should have been 5 now that I think back!) and just so great to read. There were also oodles of other four star books that I wish I could talk about too but I have to narrow it down somehow. I can't really choose favourites among the favourites so I've listed them in the order I read them. If you want to see all the books I read last year, you can check out my Goodreads year in review.
My Not So Perfect Life - Sophie Kinsella (Review here)This is what fangirling looks like. Trip to Toronto to see @sophiekinsellawriter was a huge success. I read MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE last week and adored it and told her so. She was thrilled and said that made her day! She was so sweet and genuinely ecstatic at the reception she had at @chaptersindigo. I still can't believe I got to meet Sophie Kinsella. #mynotsoperfectlife
Kinsella's latest book is probably now my favourite of all of hers. I don't know exactly why I adored it more than her others. Maybe it was the heroine (she's close to my age). Maybe it was her job (communications/branding). Maybe it was just that the overall story was funny, quirky, and sweet. I associate those adjectives with most of Kinsella's books but this one reminded me why she's one of the queens of chick lit.
Until It Fades - K.A. Tucker (Review here)Last Wednesday I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of @katucker_'s new novel, UNTIL IT FADES. She is one of my favourite authors and this book will be in my top ten of 2017. While the afternoon started poorly by missing my GO train by 2 minutes, it ended with having a drink with Kathleen and her friends (thanks for bringing me along, @marissastapley!), which was as awesome as you'd expect. It was wonderful to see fellow bloggers (hi, @brainsbooksandbrawn and @onemorepageblog!), folks from @simonschusterca (hi, @missandiepants!), great friends and authors (hi, @lydialaceby and @sbaileybooks!), other lovely authors (hi, Marissa and @katemhilton!), and fellow Tucker fans from @tuckers_troop. What a fantastic evening. ❤ #bookstagram #latergram #booklaunch #toronto #untilitfades
I've been devouring Tucker's books for years and while I love her work and how twisty they can be, I was really happy to hear that her 2017 release would be a bit lighter and more romantic. I loved it and that the hero was a professional athlete. I also loved that it was, as with all of Tucker's books, well written and completely captivating.
Kim vs. the Mean Girl / The Boyfriend Swap - Meredith Schorr (Reviews here and here)
I had the chance to beta read Kim vs. the Mean Girl so I was excited about the release well before it was actually, well, released. One of the things I loved about it was that, because it was a prequel of Schorr's Blogger Girl series (one of my favourites), it featured a teenage Kim. The fun part? She was a teen around the same time I was so it was a cool blast from the past.
As for The Boyfriend Swap? I could not put it down. I just love all of Schorr's heroines and her latest book had a little bit of festive flair that I really enjoyed too.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean - Jenny Han
This is one that slipped through my reviewing queue (sorry, Simon & Schuster Canada...bad blogger) but I really loved it. It was such a great way to wrap up Lara Jean's story. Especially when we weren't expecting a third book! While I wish I could see how Lara Jean does in college, I'm glad we got a bit more of a resolution to her story than we would have. Thanks, Jenny! (Oh, and who else is super excited for the upcoming movie?)
Once and For All - Sarah Dessen (Review here)
Summers are so much better when Dessen has a new book out. I savoured this one on my 30th birthday and it was absolute perfection. This book was set during the summer after Louna graduated high school and I can still remember my own summer before university. This was a great read about a girl who needed to learn to live and love again and it was so sweet.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid (Review here)
OK, OK. If I had to pick a favourite, this would probably be it. It was definitely the one I recommended the most to people this year. I loved it because it hit all sorts of high points and genres. It was historical fiction but woven with a strong, secondary contemporary story. And the historical part of it started in Old Hollywood which seems so glamorous and full of intrigue. There was also a romance that you don't see coming. Jenkins Reid wrote a novel that was nothing like I'd ever read before and I freaking loved it.
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
This was, hands down, the hardest book I read this year. And also the most necessary. I am SO glad this book exists for teenagers. And adults, really. I finally got to read it when my book club chose it as one of our reads for this year (it may have been strongly pushed by myself and another member). And, as a club full of white women, it was good for us to read it because as enlightened as we may think we are, we don't have the first clue what it's really like to be a teenager in the middle of the Black Lives Matter movement. Read this one if you haven't yet.
Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
I hadn't done a reread of the series in a couple of years and I was getting the urge to revisit Hogwarts. Then my grandma started to get really sick. I dove in to these books and I barely came up for air. It was familiar and comforting during a time I needed it most.
Baseball Life Advice - Stacey May Fowles
I don't read a ton of non-fiction and I definitely don't buy much but this book was on my to-buy list as soon as I found out it was going to be published. I've followed Stacey May on Twitter for awhile now (as well as subscribe to her newsletter) so I kind of knew what her book would be like - a bit of a love letter to baseball from a fan who knows it inside and out and loves the good, the bad, and the ugly. My favourite thing about reading this book was that I was constantly agreeing with what Fowles was writing. It was like she was inside my head and feels just the same way about the sport that I do. She also has some very smart and important points about females in the world of sports and how much we have to prove ourselves to the male fans. You definitely need to read this if you're a baseball fan.
Wild Card / Maverick - Karina Halle (my review of Wild Card here)
Halle started another sort-of-but-not-really series in 2017 featuring three brothers living in western Canada. Wild Card was a deep, emotional rollercoaster of a book and so good. I didn't know how Maverick could even compare. It can't, not really, because it's more lighthearted but it's just as amazing. (And a perfect vacation book as you can see from the pic - I miss Australia!) The conclusion of the "series", Hot Shot, is out tomorrow (and my review will be up on Wednesday)!
And there you have it! My top ten books of 2017. It's not surprising that they're all by women - I only read 4 books by men in 2017. My goal for 2018 is to read more diversely as I clearly have the "read more females" thing down pat. That will include more geographically diverse authors too...this list features two women from Great Britain, three from Canada, and five from the US. Not bad but I could do better. I also would like to just plain read more in 2018. I didn't even hit 90 books in 2017 and I know that's an insane amount and I'm so not comparing my number to anyone else's but...I could do better. There are just so many books out there and read as many as possible! I'm going to try to put myself on a more set book buying ban. I did well this year, only splurging on a few, but it'd be good for my budget and my bookshelf space to cut back even more. Stay tuned to see how that goes!
Happy New Year, friends. And here's hoping 2018 treats us well.