On a goal of reading 25 books for the year, I managed to read 55 amazing books!
I’ve always been an avid reader, since I can remember. But, as I entered the final years of high school, and went on to study English Literature in University, my reading for pleasure began to go downhill… and wow did I miss it! After finishing school, I decided to set a goal for 2017 and read 25 books.
With all the books I have read this year, I’ve decided to narrow it down to my top ten of the year… hopefully among this list, you’ll find a great book to read!
10. The Breakdown by B.A Paris
This past year continued to shine in books with strong female protagonists that are involved in a mysterious crime, and by the end of the book, a surprise twist catches you off guard. This book definitely falls into that category in a good way. This was an addictive read! I remember finishing this in one sitting – I could. not. stop. This story follows a woman named Cass, who is driving home in the middle of the night in a terrible rain storm, on a road where she promised her husband she wouldn’t drive on. As she is driving by, she sees a car on the side of the road, with someone in sitting in the driver’s seat. The next day, Cass finds out that a woman has been killed… the woman she drove by just the night before. As Cass begins to question her actions (or lack thereof), she slowly begins to feel like she is losing her mind…
Cass is such a troubled character, but I absolutely loved reading her story. As I continued reading, I began to feel like I knew what Cass was going through. It was as if she was stuck in a prison of her own mind, and she had no way to escape. I won’t continue on because I don’t want to spoil the story for any potential readers, but if you enjoyed Gone Girl, or Girl on the Train, this book will not disappoint those cravings!
9. Lie to Me by J.T Ellison
THIS. BOOK! Wow, this book is definitely one of my favourites of the year. This book is a story about Sutton and Ethan – a couple that seem to have everything that anybody could want in a relationship and in life. But, behind closed doors, as tensions mount between Sutton and Ethan, Sutton disappears. Of course, the prime suspect is her husband, Ethan. Ethan finds himself the target of all the gossip surrounding the disappearance of Sutton, and as police continue to investigate, they begin to unravel the truth of Sutton and Ethan’s relationship.
Ellison’s writing is brilliant and I love how she was able to offer so much detail in order to really understand the character. The plot line was well thought out – but I think my favourite part of the book is how in depth, and complicated each character is. They are all so troubled and there are so many secrets. From the first page to the last, I couldn’t stop reading about the lives of Sutton and Ethan.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ellison on my blog in September which you can read here: https://readwithsam.com/2017/09/14/interview-with-j-t-ellison/
8. The Child by Fiona Barton
THIS WAS SO GOOD!!! (I feel like I’m saying that a lot). Fiona Barton is just brilliant. This novel begins with the demolition of a old building site, and a construction worker comes across a small skeleton.. a skeleton belonging to a baby. Kate Waters, an investigative journalist begins immersing herself with the case to find out who is the baby and what happened to it..
The plot is so complex and intertwined with so many ideas, that you really don’t know how it’ll end. Not to mention how raw and real the main characters are. I love that Barton used each chapter as a perspective from each character – it was so interesting to see what they thought. Emma and Jude have a very interesting relationship that at times made me uncomfortable because of Barton’s amazing writing and dialogue.
I was ecstatic to be able to interview Fiona Barton this year for my blog, which you can read here: https://readwithsam.com/2017/10/12/meet-the-author-fiona-barton/
7. The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
An amazing read by Atwood! Her other books were definitely challenging and more dry, but this narrative was particularly interesting in terms of the Republic of Gilead and what exactly happened to modern society for women to be stripped away of all their freedoms. The protagonist Ofred was relatable, and quite endearing. There were points where I got a little bit scared by the end, because of the setting Ofred is in, and how one little move by any woman, can threaten their life. It’s really interesting to compare this story with what’s going on around the world when it comes to equality amongst genders – especially this year. To top it off, after reading this book, I did watch the television adaption, and it stays so true to the novel, but still expanding on the world of the Handmaids. Atwood has done an amazing job taking modern society and twisting it into something that we wouldn’t imagine happening, but still is so realistic to read.
6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Different from my regular reads this year, but it’s an important story to read especially with everything going on in America between now and the last few year. It’s a heavy focus on racism, stereotypes, class divides and oppression. You hear about police brutality in the news almost every week, but it was SO interesting to actually read a story, and read a witness’ side and get a glimpse of their thoughts and feelings. I really liked Uncle Carlos as a character because he embodied both sides of black and white – at first he was a symbol of the “grey” areas in certain scenarios, but his true colours shined when he stood up for what was right. This was a really good read, and honestly I’d recommend it to EVERYONE – it’s an eye opener.
5. Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
I absolutely love this series! A story about a wizard detective named Harry Dresden, who within each book, gets stronger and his powers and loyalty are constantly tested. There are 15 books in the series so far, and a 16th one hopefully to come out soon! I’ve read 12 books so far within the series, and I’d have to say the 12th book, Changes, is my favourite of the series. From the first page until the last, Dresden goes on a wild ride which tests his loyalty, patience, and strength as a wizard and as a human. Think of this series as a more “mature” Harry Potter series – but with more mortal interactions within the books! Such a good series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next 4!
4. White Bodies by Jane Robins
Okay, this book took me completely off guard.. in a good way! This novel follows a story about twin sisters and their odd, and complicated relationship. Tilda was always seen as the prettier, popular one throughout her childhood, and as she becomes an adult, finds herself involved with a man named Felix. Everything seems amazing on the outside with these two, but of course, there are secrets behind closed doors. Tilda’s twin sister, Callie, notices Tilda shrinking under Felix’s domineering love.
This book was a great psychological thriller! During the first half of the book I really didn’t know where it was going with it’s characters and plots… but the way Robins was able to tie everything together in the end was perfect. Tilda and Callie have such a complicated, and odd sibling relationship, and even stranger personalities as characters themselves. I would’ve loved to read a bit from Tilda’s perspective, but Callie is equally as interesting. Overall a great read, and once again, a book I’d recommend to any psychological thriller fans out there!
3. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
This is hands down my favourite John Green book. There was a lot of hype around this one, so I was a bit reluctant to get it, but I caved – and I am SO glad I did. This books is about a 16 year old girl who tries to take matters into her own hands with her best friend Daisy when billionaire Russell Pickett goes missing.
I absolutely LOVE the protagonist Aza. She’s genuine and real, and Green perfectly captures what anxiety feels like through Aza. I’ve related so much to this wonderful story and all of its characters, and have even found some new favourite quotes. I honestly don’t think I have anything bad to say about this book. All I can say is, pick this up if you want to understand the mind of someone who lives with anxiety everyday.
2. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
I read this just over a week ago, and it’s definitely one of my favourite thrillers. To say this was a good book is a complete understatement. This novel begins with a tragic accident – a young boy runs across the street, and gets hit by a car. The driver unfortunately drives away, and the boy is dead. The boy’s mother tries to cope with the sudden accident, and her past begins to creep up on her as well.
From the first page, the story immediately hooks you and gets you feeling guilty, sad, and angry for the poor little boy. As the novel continues, each of the characters continue to grow – I loved the character development in the characters, especially Jenna. Reading this book felt like I was sitting on the edge of my seat, and it was as if I was the woman in the story. Mackintosh’s writing is so personal and realistic that at times you forget you’re reading a book.
Now.. my FAVOURITE read of 2017 is…
1. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie
I am a HUGE fan of murder mysteries/detective stories. Ever since I was little I would stay up very late either reading a Nancy Drew story, or writing a detective story of my own. The fact I never read an Agatha Christie novel until this year is SO SAD to me! I have missed out on so much!! This novel is probably one of the most popular stories out there, following a detective named Hercule Poirot who rides the Orient Express.. and in the middle of the night, one of the passengers is found dead. It’s up to Poirot to find out who is the killer among the train.
I really enjoyed this book! From the first page, I knew I’d be hooked – Christie’s writing is unique, in which she is able to perfectly showcase every characters’ personality without having to write a giant descriptive paragraph. I loved the fact that the majority of this book is based purely on dialogue – which gives a real feel of what each of the characters are like. I have a huge admiration for Hercule Poirot after this book! He’s witty, smart, and a different kind of detective compared to other crime or murder mystery books I’ve read! I’d definitely say that this is one of my favourite books.. and I am SO excited to read it again and dissect it a bit more and try to solve the crime on my own ;).
The year of 2018 is definitely going to be a year full of Agatha Christie novels!
I hope my top ten reads of 2017 was somewhat helpful if you are looking to indulge in a really good book!
Along with my top ten reads, there are a few books I’ve read this year that still deserve an honourable mention:
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Child Finder by Rene Denefeld
(Check out my interview with her here: https://readwithsam.com/2017/10/04/meet-the-author-rene-denfeld/)
The Party by Robyn Harding
(Check out my interview with her here: https://readwithsam.com/2017/09/07/the-party-with-robyn-harding/)
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
This was a great year, full of great books and the launch of my book blog! I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished this year, and I’m looking forward to the great reads and interviews 2018 will bring!