It has been ages since I’ve done a book review post and to be honest I think this is the post I’ve missed writing the most. Reading is my favorite hobby and I love sharing the books I’ve read with any and every one who will listen. Thus the reason I love the book club I’m part of with some of my the ladies who work in my school district and the reason I love taking part in the Show Us Your Books link up with Jana and Steph.
I’ve read one book so far in 2018, but I’ve set my overall years goal for 60. Last year’s goal was 75 and unfortunately I only got to 50. Let’s hope I can reach this years goal and maybe surpass it little. Since I’ve only read one book so far this year, I thought it would be fun to share my top seven favorite reads the year.
Last year I read 29,090 pages in 50 books. I will confess that about twelve of the books I read last year were re-reads. Seven of those being the Harry Potter series. But since I was planning to get a tattoo inspired by the series I wanted to re-read them all from start to finish. But I’m still counting those twelve since I did read them all cover to cover.
So here are my top sic favorite books from 2017, in no particular order!
Goodreads synopsis: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
My thoughts: I’ve never been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, unless you count this old Disney channel show I used to watch called Adventures in Wonderland, it was very 90s-tastic! But I was definitely excited to read this book, because I loved Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. Ya’ll, this book was so good. I absolutely loved hearing the story of what made the Queen of Hearts the evil Queen of Hearts we all know from the original story. I wish this wasn’t a stand alone novel because now I would love to read a re-telling of the whole Alice in Wonderland story from Meyer’s point of view.
Our next book for my book club is Meyer’s newest book Renegades and I’m really looking forward to reading that next month!
Goodread Synopsis: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
My thoughts: Of course I couldn’t have a favorite reads post without mentioning a Sarah J. Maas book. In fact two of her books are in my top seven this year. This was the third book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series and it did not disappoint. This is the last time in this series that Feyre is going to be the main protagonist. Which is sad for me because I really love her character. I loved following her character development form the first novel to this one. Sarah J. Maas can do no wrong in my book. I really wish she would come to Houston during one of her future book tours because I would be first in line to get her autograph.
Tower of Dawn
Goodreads synopsis: Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
My thoughts: This is the 6th book in the Throne of Glass series and I’ll be honest, I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. Apparently this book was supposed to just be a novella to the series. But according to SJM, she kept writing and writing and writing and suddenly she had a full fledge book on her hands and honestly I cannot imagine this as a novella. There was so much story development in this book that it would not have done the series justice had it been a short novella. Additionally this is the book that made me appreciate Chaol. He was not my favorite character throughout the other novels, perhaps because he wasn’t ever given center stage as he in this novel (obviously since it’s all about him), but after this book, I am 100% team Chaol. Plus the other characters that are introduced are some of my favorites.
Goodreads synopsis: This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.
A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.
My thoughts: For years my mom has been recommending this book to me and for years I ignored her. But I finally decided to read it and boy am I glad I did! I have never been super interested in the age before the dawn of modern humans, as the synopsis mentions. Nor have I ever been interested in the time of the cave man/woman. But it really is fascinating the way humans lived before there were modern inventions. This is actually the first book in a series of four or five books. I gobbled up the first two super fast but just couldn’t get into the story past those two books. I think reading about the Clan was what held my attention for so long and once they started to fade from being the center of the story, I lost interest in what happen to Ayla. This first novel is amazing though and I now I know why my mom tried to get me to read to so many times.
Goodreads synopsis: Bella Greenwood isn’t a fairytale girl. If pushed, she’d probably tell you that her perfect wedding would involve a handful of close friends and family. But as she’s never met anyone she’d like to marry, it is a moot point. Until, in a midnight garden, Bella is helped out of an embarrassing situation by a tall, dark, handsome man with laughing eyes. Suddenly her life changes for ever, because the man is the world’s most eligible bachelor—Prince Richard, heir to the throne. Richard sweeps her off her feet, and before she knows, it they’re engaged—which is when Bella’s problems really begin. Suddenly she is public property, and as if it isn’t enough to have her every move watched—while also learning to curtsy and negotiating the etiquette of how to address her future mother-in-law—she soon finds herself embroiled in bridesmaid politics, a royal hen night, and a wedding dress controversy that causes a national scandal.
My thoughts: This was a fun, lighthearted read. It was the perfect book to pick up after the announcement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. It was reminiscent of The Royal We and I loved every minute of it. This is one of those books here you don’t have to think while reading, you just have to enjoy. And sometimes those are the best kinds of books! So when you’re looking for something light, romantic, and you’re a little royal obsessed, this should be your next read!
Goodreads synopsis: The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire… but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.
Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse – even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.
As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution… Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom
My thoughts: If you’re looking for a book that covers the French Revolution, then this is the book you want. Not only does it give a fun telling of Madame Tussaud’s story but it gives a fantastic telling of the French Revolution. Michelle Moran has been recommend to me countless times and with good reason. She’s a great storyteller. She has several historical fiction novels out there, all centering around strong women. I cannot wait to pick up another of her books in 2018.
Goodreads synopsis: In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love.
Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions, and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.
The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else—no matter what the cost.
My thoughts: This was one of my last reads of the year and I’m so glad. If you’ve never heard of Ken Follett then you have been missing out on a fantastic author. I’ve read quite a bit of his books and I’ve yet to be disappointed by a single one. This is the third novel in his Kingsbridge series. The first of the series was Pillars of the Earth and the second was World Without End. This book continues the story of the fiction English city of Kingsbridge and takes place during the Reformation. I’ve only ever really studied the English Reformation so reading its effects on France, Spain, and The Netherlands was fascinating. Ken Follett does a phenomenal job of mixing fiction with real historical events. He truly is one of my all time favorite authors. So do yourself a favor and the next time you’re in the mood for a historical fiction novel, then read one of his. PS. His Century Trilogy is amazing as well!
2017 wasn’t my favorite reading year. I feel like over all I read more books that were so so than books that were really great. Save for the seven I just mentioned anyway. Here’s to hoping 2018 brings more than seven that I love!