A Look Back at My Favorite Books of 2017 Part 1: January-June

Hello again blog family! I thought it was best to commemorate the half-way point of 2017 with a look back at some of my favorite reads this year. I am only focusing on books published and reviewed between January and June even though I have already read three amazing books that publish the beginning of July ( I’m looking at you What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons, Hum If You Don’t Know The Words by Bianca Marais, and Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown). Scroll through for links and blurbs for my top 10. You’ll also get to read about few of my other favorite things from this year. I hope you enjoy!

The Most Dangerous Place On Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

Literary Fiction, Random House January 10

This one struck a chord with me. High school is such a tricky time, and though it’s been a bit since I was there, those feelings never really go away-  at least for me they didn’t. Johnson writes this story from the perspective of a group of privileged teenagers and one eager school teacher. I labeled it as a YA cross-over only because the characters are mostly youths while the writing and storytelling is superb.

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

Literary Fiction, Random House January 31 

It has become quite clear that my review of this novel could never quite do it justice. The emotions and scenarios explored in this story just have to be read. At its core this is a story of female partnership both in work and in friendship and the ability for that to survive ambition, addiction and the major curve-balls that life throws.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

Historical Fiction, Crown February 14

A historical fiction told through journal entries and letters, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a subtlety feminist take on wartime in a small English village. When all the men are called to serve, the women band together to keep their church choir going and to form a lasting support network made up of quite the mixed bag of characters.

Exit West by Moshin Hamid

Literary Fiction, Penguin Books March 2

A superbly timed novel, Exit West takes the refugee experience and twists it by subtracting the fraught nature of the process and replacing it with an imagined system of doors that link throughout the world. However, what Hamid shows is that is it up the people to alter and improve the process and therein lies the trouble. Elegant prose make this a snap to read while the topic will leave you dwelling long after the final page is turned.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Women’s Fiction, G.P. Putnam’s Sons May 9

I loved this one. Period. Full-stop. Your first love never leaves you and when circumstance brings Lucy’s crashing back into her life we read through their story full of tenderness and anguish. Don’t forget your tissues.

Perennials by Mandy Berman

Fiction, Random House June 6

Set mostly at a summer camp in the Berkshires, Berman explores the turmoil of female adolescence and the delicate balance of female friendship at all ages. Kirkus Reviews likened her storytelling to that of Judy Blume and I stand by that comparison wholeheartedly.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Fiction (Literary Suspense), Scribner June 13

A literary mystery if there is such a thing, Sullivan crafts an intriguing tale of the life of a bookstore patron and the life of a bookseller and all the ways in which they mattered most to one another.

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Historical Fiction, Riverhead June 13

Oscillating between L.A. in the 1980s and Austria during WWII, Cantor weaves a story brimming with romance and bravery. Kristoff is an apprentice to the famed stamp-maker Fredrick Faber where circumstance has placed him and he grows to love much about the family- their Jewish religion and daughter Elena included. Katie is struggling to care for her ailing father, a philatelist succumbing to Alzheimer’s. When she has his stamp collection appraised, something is found that serves as the cornerstone to the rest of the novel.

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

Women’s Fiction, G.P. Putnam’s Sons June 27

Fallon takes on the military wife in her novel The Confusion of Languages. Cassie and Margaret navigate through their companionship in the Jordanian desert where their husbands are stationed. Polar opposites in many ways, they end up forming a deeper bond that is whittled away by differing opinions and deception.

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Mystery/Thriller, Park Row Books June 27

In classic Kubica style, Every Last Lie whips through at a thrilling pace. Clara has just gotten the worst news of her life, her husband Nick and young daughter were in a serious car accident which results in his death though her daughter is thankfully unharmed. Unable to accept the circumstances surrounding his passing, Clara goes to all lengths to uncover the real cause. What we are left with is a tale of grief at its most raw.

Some of my other favorite things so far this year include author interviews, my reading nook and Bookstagram.

I have had the honor of interviewing three authors this year. The first was a Twitter interview with Elan Mastai which might have been an epic fail so you can read that for yourself:

Elan Mastai, author of All Our Wrong Todays

This second was with Jill Santopolo who wrote The Light We Lost which has been blowing up the shelves at Target and your inbox if you subscribe to theSkimm. All the praise is well deserved as evidenced by my blurb above. I just loved it.

Jill Santopolo, author of The Light We Lost

And the last interview I’ve done so far this year was with Mandy Berman who wrote yet another of my most favorite books this year. She has some great things to say about adolescence and female friendship and the importance of tell these types of stories in today’s society.

Mandy Berman, author of Perennials

Lastly, two things I am loving in my day-to-day life are my reading nook- where I read and write many of my reviews. You can see the creation of this magical corner in my bedroom here:

Reading Nook Creation

And my Bookstagram community. I have chatted with authors, publicists and avid readers alike via this social media portal. Please come find me there if you haven’t already: @readvoraciously

What were your favorite books or things from this year so far?



11 thoughts on “A Look Back at My Favorite Books of 2017 Part 1: January-June

  1. E. Nesbit’s The Lark, Laura Bates’ Girl Up, Kory Stamper’s Word By Word, Jess Phillips’ Everywoman and Francis Brett Young’s White Ladies have been standouts for me. Not published this year, though, or some of them might have been but only just!

    Liked by 1 person

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