Best Books I’ve Read So Far In 2017

The first half of 2017 has come and gone! I’ve been meaning to write this post since June ended but we all know how real life gets in the way of things so I’m only able to do this now, when we’re already halfway through July. Better late than never! I’ve shared best books I’ve read for the first half of the year in 2016 as well as 2015, and wanted to do it again this year. While I haven’t been blogging that much, I’ve still been reading a lot. And it’s nice to look back on what titles have stood out for me. Also, it makes things easier for me at the end of the year when I share my Best of 2017 list. Here the books that I’ve read and loved in the first half of the year:

White Hot Clean Sweep One Fell Sweep

A Crown of Bitter Orange pretty face

thick-as-thieves Hunted

Four titles by Ilona Andrews (the Innkeeper Chronicles got me out of a bad slump in April), three contemporary romances from authors I love, and two YA fantasy titles. Of course THICK AS THIEVES is here… we’ve only waited SEVEN YEARS for this latest installment to be released! All of these books except for Hunted were written by my trusted authors so it’s not surprising that they’ve become favorites for this year. Hunted is a beautifully written, Russian-inspired retelling of Beauty and the Beast and my introduction to Meagan Spooner’s writing. Note to self: I need to try more new-to-me authors in the second half of the year to see if I’ll love any of them. Also, I need to read more books written by Filipino authors because I only have one on my list so far.

What about the rest of you, what have been the best books that you’ve read in 2017 so far? 🙂 Do you have some of my picks in your own list? I would love to check out the books that would come highly recommended by bookish friends so please feel free to leave a comment.

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Best Books I’ve Read So Far In 2016

Yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday topic was Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year but since I read based on my mood, I don’t usually read all the books that I want to during the year they’re released. Instead, I want to do a recap of the books that I’ve enjoyed the most so far in 2016, regardless of when they were published. I did a similar post last year, where I six books in my list. This year’s list isn’t too far behind with five titles:

Act Like It Summer Skin Amulet The Stonekeeper

In the Middle of Somewhere Out of Nowhere

I can’t believe half of the year is almost over! I’m super behind on reading and blogging because of all the major changes that are happening in real life, but I hope things will settle down soon and I’ll be able to spend more time being a book nerd. I’m still in the middle of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and it’s taking me a while to finish it. Fingers crossed that I’d end up loving it as much as some of my friends did.

What about you, what are the best books that you’ve read so far in 2016? What titles have you enjoyed reading the most?

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday2

As always, thank you to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting. I can’t believe half of the year has gone by! I like this week’s topic because it lets me catch up on my past reads and see which are the ones that I’ve included in my best of 2015. I don’t have enough favorites (so far) to make it to ten but these are the titles that I’ve loved this year:

Adult Contemporary:
Girl Before a Mirror Once Upon a Rose
Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand

Young Adult / New Adult Contemporary:
I'll Meet You There The Deal
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Fantasy:
Pure Magic Uprooted
Pure Magic by Rachel Neumeier
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

wpid-img_20150701_104754.jpg

I haven’t written reviews for all of these but I hope I’ll be able to find some time to do so! Also, I want to read more fantasy novels in the latter half of the year. It’s going to be fun to go through other people’s lists to see what have been their favorites in 2015 so far. I have a feeling I’ll be adding some titles to my wishlist. Care to share what you’ve loved reading this year?

Best of 2014

Happy New Year, everyone! Ever since I started blogging, I’ve been posting my favorite reads whenever the new year rolls around – you can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Usually, I post this list on the first day of the year but I wasn’t able to do so because I wanted to make the most out of my remaining days in Manila and then I had to fly back to Singapore and go back to work this week. My brain is still trying to catch up since it’s still in vacation mode. Without further ado, here are my best of 2014 books:

Black Dog Touchstone Trilogy Medair The Chocolate Temptation It Happened One Wedding

Open Road Summer Wildlife The Winter Sea Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews Burn for Me

Aside from these books, I also discovered two series that I loved:

The Ivy Series by Sarina Bowen
The Year We Fell Down The Year We Hid Away Blonde Date The Understatement of the Year

Dare Island by Virginia Kantra
Carolina Home Carolina Girl Carolina Man Carolina Blues

I really can’t wait for the next installments in these two series! From a blogging perspective, 2014 was the year I hosted Amour et Florand. This was an event that focused on Laura Florand’s writing because she has become one of my most favorite authors. Click here to view all the posts.

Amour et Florand

I was also able to (finally) meet in person Singapore book blogger Liyana of LiyanaLand.

Liyana Meet Up

I started two new blog features called Snapshot from a Book and Book to Movie but I don’t have a lot of posts under them since I’m all about blogging with no pressure. Other big things that occurred in 2014 were my move to a different flat and my first ever visit to Europe (links to my posts: Paris, Barcelona, Aix-ex-Provence and Milan).

Aix-en-Provence - Bibliothèque Méjanes

How about the rest of you, what were some of the best books that you read in 2014? What were the blogging or reading highlights of the year for you?

#ArmchairBEA 2014: Young Adult

Our final genre of discussion is one that we know is a popular one these days: books for the younger crowd, from middle grade to young adult. If you do not normally talk about this genre on your site, maybe you want to feature books that you remember impacting you during this stage in your life. If this is where you tend to gravitate, maybe you want to list your favorites, make recommendations based on genres, or feature some titles that you are excited to read coming later this year.

I read a lot of YA books so I’m half-tempted to just write “too many too mention” for this ArmchairBEA topic. But then where’s the fun in that? That wouldn’t enable me to share some of my favorite titles and discuss them with other bloggers. So I’ve put together lists divided by category/genres of YA novels that I’ve truly enjoyed reading:

Epic Fantasy
Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Sabriel by Garth Nix
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow
Northlander by Meg Burden
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Alternate History/Historical Fiction
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Lion Hunters series by Elizabeth Wein
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Urban Fantasy
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

Fairy Tale Retelling
Beauty by Robin McKinley
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Contemporary
I Do by Elizabeth Chandler
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Easy by Tammara Webber
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Aussie YA
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield
Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Host

WeLoveYA

I probably forgot some titles while putting this together, maybe I’ll edit the post when I remember anything else. Do you have any recommendations for me based on the books I listed here? What about the rest of you, what are some of the MG or YA titles that you’ve enjoyed reading?

Best of 2013

Happy New Year, everyone! Ever since I started blogging a few years ago, I’ve been posting my favorite reads whenever the new year rolls around (you can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012). 2013 might not have been a fantastic blogging year for me but I feel like it was a great reading year. In no particular order, here are my best of 2013 reads:

A Face Like GlassThe Book ThiefSorrow's KnotTiger LilyAnd All the Stars
All I Ever WantedThe Story GuyNowhere But HomeTrulyMagic Rises

Aside from these, I also discovered and fell in love with three series – one contemporary romance, one adult urban fantasy and one graphic novel series:

Amour et Chocolat by Laura Florand
Kiss the BrideThe Chocolate ThiefThe Chocolate KissThe Chocolate RoseThe Chocolate TouchThe Chocolate Heart

World of the Lupi by Eileen Wilks
Tempting DangerMortal DangerBlood LinesNight SeasonMortal Sins
Blood MagicBlood ChallengeDeath Magic Mortal TiesRitual Magic

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga Volume 1Saga Volume 2

I was also able to organize a blog event called EWein Special Ops, which focuses on Elizabeth Wein’s Writing. Click here to go through all the posts. I’m still in the process of replying to comments.

EWein Special Ops

This year, I got the chance to meet in person four blogging buddies based abroad: Michelle of See Michelle Read, Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous, Steph of Steph Su Reads and Alexa of Alexa Loves Books.

with Michelle of See Michelle ReadWith Steph SuAlexa and Chachic

How about the rest of you, what were some of the best books that you read in 2013? What were the blogging highlights of the year for you?

Retro Friday: Enchantment by Orson Scott Card

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I enjoy reading retellings because I like seeing how authors adapt the foundations of an older story and make it their own. I especially like reading fairy tale retellings because I’m a sucker for fairy tales in general. My favorite retelling of Sleeping Beauty is Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment. It’s been a while since I last read it but I still have fond memories of my reading experience. Isn’t it nice when a story stays with you months or even years after you’ve read it? I thought it’s the perfect title for a Retro Friday review – an old favorite that I recommend other readers to pick up.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

EnchantmentThe moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek’s farm.

Now, years later, Ivan is an American graduate student, engaged to be married. Yet he cannot forget that long-ago day in the forest – or convince himself it was merely a frightened boy’s fantasy. Compelled to return to his native land, Ivan finds the clearing just as he left it.

This time he does not run. This time he awakens the beauty with a kiss… and steps into a world that vanished a thousand years ago.

I liked so many things about Enchantment. I found the storyline so interesting – what if Sleeping Beauty woke up in the modern world? There’s a nice blend of modern and medieval in the setting of the story – it was fascinating to see how a medieval character reacts to the modern world and vice versa. Both Katerina and Ivan are pretty much clueless when it came to exploring the other person’s world and they had to rely on each other. As much as I love reading medieval fantasy, I never realized the inconveniences in living in that time period until I read about them in Enchantment. I also really liked the Russian folklore weaved into the story because I’ve only read a handful of books that have a Russian flavor to them. I’m always curious about stories based on mythologies, folktales or legends that I’m not familiar with.

“The old tale of Sleeping Beauty might end happily in French or English, but he was in Russia, and only a fool would want to live through the Russian version of any fairy tale.”

One of the highlights of any good fairy tale for me is the romance and Enchanment had a really good love story. It’s funny how Katerina wasn’t initially impressed with her “prince” but that was mostly because she didn’t know him and wasn’t familiar with a modern person’s way of doing things. It was entertaining to see both Katerina and Ivan get to know each other as they explore the two worlds that they both inhabit. It was also a plus that their families are so involved in their lives and their parents had a stake in the bond that was forming between the couple. I felt like all the elements of Enchantment’s story came together nicely, making it such a delightful read. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy and fairy tale retellings.