The Books I Read in 2017
Reading is such a funny thing. I love to read, and I can get sucked into a good book. I often fall into book ruts, though, where I don't know what I want to read, nothing sounds good, or I start a few books and don't end up liking them much. I ended 2017 in a bit of a book rut, but looking back over the year, there were quite a few books I really enjoyed. I went back through my Amazon Kindle orders and the books I had checked out from the library last year to see what all I had read. Below is the full list as well as a brief thought on each.
These are part of the Lady Hardcastle mystery series, and they were all fun reads. Lady Hardcastle and her trusty sidekick, Flo, are quirky, funny, and smart. The stories unfold quickly, and the mystery they are trying to solve is interesting and a bit unpredictable. These would be great for a relaxing weekend at home or for an easy read on vacation.
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
From the back cover of the book, "A riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny, inspired by the author's own family history, The Shoemaker's Wife is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write."
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. The writer does a wonderful job weaving the stories of Enza and Ciro over the course of many years without it feeling corny, and it certainly isn't predictable. I laughed, I cried. I thought it was beautifully written. It is definitely worth adding to your list if you like historical fiction or are looking for a beautiful love story.
The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper
This was hands-down my favorite book amongst those I read in 2017. I wrote a whole blog post about it, which you can read here — Book Review: The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend it.
These are decidedly teen fiction in terms of the writing style and the unfolding of the love story between two of the main characters. That being said, the storyline of this post-apocalyptic world is unique and very well crafted. The author does a great job crafting the world and bringing you through it from both Cassie and Ben's perspectives. I was riveted from the beginning of the first book to the end of the third. If you like science fiction, this is worth reading.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
I don't remember where I heard about this book initially, but I came across it at the library one day and decided to pick it up. This description from Amazon is pretty explanatory of the plot.
"When fifteen-year-old Maribel Rivera sustains a terrible injury, the Riveras leave behind a comfortable life in Mexico and risk everything to come to the United States so that Maribel can have the care she needs. Once they arrive, it’s not long before Maribel attracts the attention of Mayor Toro, the son of one of their new neighbors, who sees a kindred spirit in this beautiful, damaged outsider. Their love story sets in motion events that will have profound repercussions for everyone involved. Here Henríquez seamlessly interweaves the story of these star-crossed lovers, and of the Rivera and Toro families, with the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America."
On the whole, I found the story interesting and generally well written. Parts of the book felt a bit choppy with the testimonials that were interspersed throughout. It was certainly an interesting perspective of what someone would experience and feel coming to America for the first time without knowing anyone or the language. The book was in no way political, just telling the stories of these people.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
At the end of the summer I decided to dig into this dense classic. I was shocked at how enthralled I was with the storyline. I could not put it down. I would read whenever, wherever, which is saying a lot because it rounds out at close to a thousand pages. I can see how this book is an enduring classic, though. It is well-written, and honestly, it was not what I expected at all. Here's a synopsis from the Amazon page—"Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction."
I have never seen the movie and had very little idea what the story was about. Needless to say, Scarlett O'Hara was an intriguing main character. I'm still not sure how I feel about her, but the author does an amazing job bringing you into her life and world. The main thing that struck me was getting a glimpse into the Civil War and Reconstruction from a southerner's perspective. Being born and raised in the Midwest, I had a very different take, and it was just enlightening and down-right fascinating.
All in all, the setting of the story is beautiful, the characters are well developed and interesting, and the plot line is engaging and well paced, especially considering the length of the book. This is definitely worth reading.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
A large chunk of my year was spent re-reading through the Harry Potter series. I had read through book five as they were initially published. I thought I had read book six as well, but I realized as I started into it that I had never actually read it. I loved being transported back into the Harry Potter world, and it was fascinating to read the last two books, having seen the movies many times. I thought the last two books, especially book seven with the storylines being tied together and concluded was vastly superior to the movies (though I still love the movies very much). If you have never read these books and like fantasy, I highly recommend them to you. The first three are a bit corny, though endearing, but as the story really gets going in book four, you won't want to put them down.
So tell me, what did you read last year? Anything good?