book review

My Favorite Books of 2017

Another year of reading ends. It has been my favorite one in a long time as far as the quantity and quality of the books I read.  I’d like to thank anyone that recommended books to me, endured my book shopping excursions, read a book I recommended, or followed my sporadic blogging. 

Contemporary Fiction


The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao was fucking amazing.  I read this at the beginning of 2017 and I still feel breathless when I think about this book.  If you haven’t read it yet, definitely add it to your 2018 TBR. 
 

The Humans I read toward the end of 2017, and gosh flippin’ darnit was I glad I picked it up.  It warmed my cold New England heart with its quirky, innocent main character.  A great pick-me-up book for any one, it’s sure to leave you smiling. 


The Handmaid’s Tale had me shook.  I did read this because the show was coming out (I still have yet to watch it) and I wanted to know what the fuss was about.  This dystopian novel seemed so plausible to me and really made me think “what if that were me?”

Non-Fiction


The Stranger in the Woods is a story I followed a few years ago and was beyond excited to see it become a book.  Everyone dreams of renouncing everything and going to live in the forest and this is about a guy that actually did just that.  


Destiny of the Republic was a book I didn’t think I would be into and fucking bamboozled me.  I had this book recommended to me by a customer at my work, and I was like “oh of course I’ve always wanted to know about James Garfield” *eye roll whatevs* BUT HOLY GUACAMOLE.  This book ruled there was so much fucked up shit, and your only thought will be “POOR FUCKING GARFIELD.”  

YA Novels


The Hate U Give, if this book isn’t in your top ten of the past year, then you are doing it wrong.  It packed a fucking punch.  Read it. 


They Both Die at the End, I anticipated the release of this book hard.  I was not disappointed. 

Horror


I’m Thinking of Ending Things was a Book that I picked up not realizing it was a horror book. And it was a mind fuck, terror enducing ride. WHAT YOU WAITING FOR


The Girl with All the Gifts Was such a cool zombie book.  The story was so unique to the general undead troupe, and the ending was heartbreaking. 

Short Stories


Difficult Women had stories that I related to on some emotional level.  Also, these short stories aren’t just for women, anyone would enjoy these intense stories that make you say, “fuckin shit.”


Heartbreaker is a book that I picked up on a whim, and these stories are so good and fucked up.  Some of them are fever dreamish and others are just uncomfortably real. 

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book review

The Night Sister

By Jennifer McMahon

Length: 322 Pages

Published: August 4th, 2015 by Doubleday

Medium of Consumption: Hardcover

The Rundown:

Told across three different timelines, The Night Sister revolves around a motel, a missing girl, and a brutal family massacre.

Sisters in the 1960’s, Rose and Sylvie are daughters of a thriving motel owner.  Often at odds with each other, Sylvie leaves in the middle of the night to pursue her dreams of being a Hollywood starlet, never to be heard from again.

In 1989, Amy invites her best friend Piper and her younger sister Margot to her old house next to the the dilapidated motel. As they explore its ruins, they find out that there could be a darker side to Sylvie’s disappearance.  

In 2013, Piper is called back to her hometown, where a disturbing crime has happened.  Her childhood friend Amy has slaughtered her family and killed herself, leaving only her daughter Lou alive.

As Piper digs deeper, she finds common threads in Sylvie’s disappearance and the carnage at Amy’s.  Will Piper and Margot put the pieces together before another tragedy strikes?

What I Thought:

 I always want unreliable narrators, and this book did a good job delievering.  I loved the pacing of this book and how everything ended up connecting, and definitely not the way I thought it would.  This was my second Jennifer McMahon book this year, and I really enjoy her writing.

5/5 Stars

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Recommended To:

  • If you like legends and lore
  • If you need a travel book
  • If you like strong and slightly psychotic female characters
book review

Weregirl

by C.D. Bell

Length: 367 pages

Published: November 1, 2016 by Chooseco

Medium of Consumption: Paperback

The Rundown:

Nessa Kurland wants to be a high school all-star cross country runner. Nessa doesn’t just want it, she needs it. In order to go to college and make it out of the small town of Tether, MI, she needs a scholarship.
Nessa pushes herself to run harder, faster and longer than anyone on her team, but a post dinner 5k is cut short when she is attacked by a wolf.
As she begins to notice wolf-like changes in her body, Nessa also notices that something is off with Tether. Why is there a highly guarded lab facility in the middle of the woods? What kinds of tests are doctors running on the sickly children of Tether?
Traversing high school is never easy, but with Nessa’s fierce new nature she’s determined to get to the bottom of her life’s new challenges and mysteries.

What I Thought:

I was super surprised by this book.  I thought it would your typical teen supernatural book about some girl becoming a monster and learning to cope with it.  I found the lycanthropy to be almost a subplot.  She ends up trying to bring down a multi-million dollar secret corporation that are doing some sort of scientific testing on the youth of her town.

Not what I was expecting, wonderfully un-angsty, and pretty bad ass.  Will definitely check out the sequel Chimera.

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4/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • A fan of supernatural YA
  • If you want a light conspiracy story
  • If you like saying “fuck you” to the man
book review

Heartsick

by Chelsea Cain

Length: 336 pages

Published: September 4th 2007 by Minotaur Books

Medium of Consumption: Paperback

The Rundown:

Leading Detective Archie Sheridan found he was on the wrong end of a serial killer investigation.  After being tortured for ten days his captor released him and the murderess Gretchen Lowell was put behind bars.

Two years pass and Archie, heavily medicated, goes back to work.  Another serial killer is on the loose in Portland, Oregon, abducting teenage girls and dumping their bodies.  With help from a punk rock journalist, Archie searches for clues and connections to the killer.

What I Thought:

This book has been popping up on my Goodreads suggestions since, like, forever.  Whilst browsing a used bookstore an hour and a half away from my home, serendipity struck when I saw this gem on the shelves!

I loved Archie’s character, he is such a broken person but still pushes himself to do the job that he does.  I also didn’t realize this was a series!  I may not read the next one for a bit, but I sure look forward to picking it up when I do.

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4/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • If you like Thomas Harris novels
  • If you like The Detective Alex Cross series
  • If you like deranged serial killer books
book review

Where She Went

by Gayle Forman

Length: 264 pages
Published: April 5th 2011 by Dutton Juvenile
Medium of Consumption: eBook

The Rundown:

Three years after Mia’s accident, we are reacquainted with Adam (Mia’s now ex-boyfriend).  Still trying to cope with a life without her, Adam has found himself living in the limelight with his now platinum record selling band.  The day before he leaves for their European tour, he runs into Mia.  Spending the rest of the evening together, and answering questions that have been brewing for three years, will they rekindle their relationship or part one another with complete closure?

What I Thought:

I loved If I Stay so much that I jumped right into Where She Went.  Although I read this one just as quickly, and I cried and I laughed just as I did with its predecessor, but I was slightly disappointed with this one.  It was a little too… romantic for me?  Adam’s constant pining for Mia was kind of annoying.

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It wasn’t as “grab you by the gut” as If I Stay, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I just wish it didn’t have such a hopeless romantic vibe to it.

4/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • If you read If I Stay
  • If you really like sappy stuff
  • If you thought Noah from The Notebook was the dreamiest guy ever
book review

If I Stay

by Gayle Forman

Length: 261 Pages

Published: April 6th 2010 by Speak

Medium of Consumption: Paperback

The Rundown:

A car crash leaves Mia’s life hanging by a thread.  As she watches helplessly the events unfold post crash in an out-of-body experience, she learns the fate of her family, witnesses the strength of her loved ones, and knows that she has to make the ultimate decision of living or dying.

What I Thought:

I never saw the movie, I never knew what this was really about, I only knew that there was some hype about this book.  It blew me away.  There were parts that made me tear up and parts that made me laugh out loud.  I could not put this book down.  I ultimately needed to know, did she stay?

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I loved this story so much that when I finished, I immediately picked up the second one and read it that same night.

5/5 Stars

Recommended To:

  • If you need a cry
  • If you want a quick read that packs a punch
book review

Shutter Island

by Dennis Lehane

Length: 369 Pages

Published April 15th 2003 by William Morrow

Medium of Consumption: Paperback

The Rundown:

Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane sits on an island in the cold Atlantic waters eleven miles off the Boston shore.  Ashcliffe houses only the most violent patients, and unfortunately one has escaped.  U.S. Marshalls Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule have been sent to the island to aid in investigating and finding Rachel Solanda.

As a hurricane tears through the island, will the Marshalls be able to uncover the secrets of the hospital and find the missing patient, or will they be consumed by the madness that is Ashecliffe?

What I Thought:

I have collected a stack of Dennis Lehane books this year so I figured it was time for me to crack one open.  I totally saw this movie years ago when it came out, so the end wasn’t a surprise to me.  Regardless, I loved it.  It totally kept me on the edge of my seat, and I stole as much of my workday I could reading it.  This is also one of those awesome cases of the movie being just as good as the book! (I mean, it was directed by Scorsese and starred Leo, so automatic win in my book)

I cannot wait to read my next Lehane book!

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Recommended To:

  • If you like big WHATTTT endings
  • If you want to stay up all night and binge a book
  • If you want to get reprimanded at work because you can’t put your book down