2017 was a stellar reading year for both Andrew and me. We read a combined total of 200+ books and loved so many of them! One of my favorite parts of reading is sharing books I love with others and telling my friends and family which books THEY NEED TO READ! Andrew and I often recommend our favorite books to each other, and here we are now, recommending our favorite reads of this year to you. Maybe you’ll find a book that’ll top your “best” list for 2018? 🙂
The Floating Island by Elizabeth Haydon
This is SUCH a cute middle grade fantasy that has everything: dwarves, pirates, a mysterious prince, treasure, and plenty of adventure. I’ve only read her adult fantasy books, so I was delighted by this one. (See my full review.)
Fullmetal Alchemist Series by Hiromu Arakawa
After reading Naruto together last year, we wanted to read another manga again this year, so we picked this one. We LOVED this series and thought it was so much better than the anime adaptation that it was made from (the original one, not Brotherhood). It has plenty of twists and turns, and the brothers are so incredibly loyal to each other. This one is a joy and not too long of a series to invest in (shorter than Naruto, anyway).
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
One of the best illustrated books I’ve ever read. Gaiman is obviously a master storyteller, and his stories always go so well with Riddell’s illustrations. I loved everything about this story — it’s Snow White meets Sleeping Beauty and has an amazing twist at the end. Highly recommended for Gaiman fans and fairy tale lovers. (See my full review.)
Code Girls by Liza Mundy
I can’t say enough good things about this book, and my family and friends are probably rolling their eyes by how much I gush over it, but Code Girls is SO GOOD. Liza Mundy tells the story of women heroes who secretly worked for the US Government to crack codes used by the Axis powers during World War II. It’s heartwarming and empowering, and I’m so grateful to these women for laying the groundwork for women being able to hold positions in government jobs. (See my full review.)
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
This is sort of a retelling of The Tempest, except it’s centered on African American women and has an amazing vision of magical realism based in folklore. It has romance and drama and focuses on the meaning of relationships and the sort of hold they have on us. I can’t recommend this enough. (See my full review)
A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander
This is probably my all-time fictional read this year. It’s an amazingly cute middle grade story about a world where ghosts are real and appeasing ghosts is an actual job someone can do. The main character’s mom is the best ghost appeaser around, but when she gets knocked out of commission by a particularly strong ghost, the main character steps in. Middle grade readers with an interest in the paranormal will LOVE this and it features POC main characters! So much to love about this one. (See my full review)
How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks
A delightful Dickens meets Rowling middle grade fantasy where the main character is an apprenticed bogler, who helps catch various types of mythological creatures who eat children. It has plenty of action and adventure, and I would recommend it for any fans of fantasy that draws from myths or for fans of the Victorian era. It’s the start of a trilogy, and I’m excited to read the rest of it.
Apex by Mercedes Lackey
This was the perfect ending to an amazing trilogy that combines science-fiction and fantasy in the best way. Lackey is a genius and we would highly recommend this series overall. There’s a nice balance of intrigue, action, and character building that would attract all kinds of readers. (See our full review)
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
We watched the anime of this first, and Andrew was surprised with how enjoyable it was to read, even with how closely the anime follows the manga’s plot. Even though he knew where it was going, all the twists held up and he still felt the payoff of the suspense was worthwhile.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
This is a really cool combination of poetry and storytelling — Andrew can see why this won awards! It’s a quick read and would be great for reluctant readers.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
This series as a whole is everything Andrew wants from a fantasy: Action, intrigue, and an intricately developed world and characters. These are the kinds of books that you JUST CAN’T PUT DOWN. He kept promising himself “just one more chapter” and would end up reading until the early hours of the morning.
Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker
Bosker details her journey from knowing hardly anything about wine to becoming a sommelier, making this book accessible for just about everyone. This is most interesting for people who are interested in wine, but we think that just learning about the sommelier profession and process of tasting/learning about wine could be interesting for just about anyone. It’s educational while also being funny and definitely one of our favorites of this year. (See our full review)