The Ten Best Books of Mid-2017

I seriously can’t believe that we’re nearly at the end of June 2017. An awful, awful lot has changed since January in both positive and negative ways, but we’re more interested in books, so let’s talk about that!

It was actually sort of a struggle to put this list together. It’s not that I haven’t read some great books this year, because I have, but several of them have been series and I only really count them as one entity. I couldn’t actually come up with ten individual books to make up this list, so I clearly need to up my reading game for the second half of the year! 

Books read: 39
Rereads: 9  
Pre-2017 books: 13  
Non-fiction: 3
  Average date of publication: 1993

I’ve clearly re-read an awful lot this year! Such is the advantage of reading whatever the hell I want. Not so much non-fiction, but that’s fine, and I’m happy with my average publication date as well. I’ve read more newer releases than I normally would (See What I Have Done, for example) which has dragged my average date forward a bit. Ah well.

Hanna’s Best Books of Mid-2017
 
‘I CRIED. I actually sat there and properly cried. It’s an actually perfect ending that suited all the characters. I loved that it wasn’t perfect, that not everybody got a happy ending and that it wasn’t what I had hoped would happen – it was better than that. It was brave and awful and amazing and… ARGH.’
I wish I could read this fantasy duology for the first time all over again. I couldn’t even finish the author’s Grisha series as I really wasn’t a fan, but it’s hard to tell that this series is even by the same author. It’s dark  and unique and has so many twists that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. A genuinely perfect fantasy series.
  

‘This is not a book for those of a sensitive disposition. We read about decay, leaking and mechanisms for keeping the eyes of the deceased firmly closed (spoiler alert: they use caps with spikes on). I like that about this book though. I like that it goes slightly beyond the realms of propriety to explain the details that I had never considered were an issue.’

Whilst this might seem an odd choice for a Top Ten list, it really blew me away. Not only did it make me laugh out loud with hilarious anecdotes, it also made me really think about the culture of death denial perpetuated in Western civilisation. I couldn’t get it out of my head for days afterwards and this book deserves to be on that list for purely that reason.
3) My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
 
Alright, so I haven’t actually finish reading this yet, but I know it’s going to annoy me when I finish this tomorrow but couldn’t add it to my list.
I love it. I’ve had it for years and it irritates me that I didn’t pick it up sooner, because I could have had this creepy, mysterious pleasure years ago.
It’s just so du Maurier-y. And yes, that is an excellent quote that I’m sure the publishers will be adding to the cover of the latest edition. There’s an aura of sinister innocence, somehow, that just seeps off the pages and I LOVE IT.

4) The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
 
‘It’s what I’d call ‘proper’ fantasy. There’s a completely developed world with its own class system and politics, and the characters spend a lot of time sitting around discussing the latest plot development to really give you an in-depth understanding of what’s going on. There’s lots and lots of dialogue and scheming, with no sex and no pointless, graphic violence for shock value.’
Whilst I had some issues with the characterisation in the second and third Mistborn books (and despised the ending), this series remains one of my favourite reads of this year. It was completely engrossing, the magic system was fantastic and the lore of the Kandra was some of the most interesting I’ve ever seen in a fantasy series. Read my review for more fence-sitting!

5) The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles 

 
‘The beauty with this novel, however, isn’t the plot, it’s the beauty and ingenuity of the prose. It’s sort of meta, or it would be if that didn’t seem an inappropriate word to use regarding a setting of 1867. The narrator spends a lot of time talking directly to the reader, with phrases such as ‘you’ll have to excuse Charles, he was merely a product of his time.” 

The ending was sort of bizarre in this book as well (it’s a theme of 2017 apparently) but, like I said above, you don’t read this novel for the plot, you read it for the wonderful tone and beautiful prose. It’s as if you put Crimson Petal and the White and The Collector in a bag, and then shook them up. Absolutely wonderful, if slightly meta. 

 6) Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
 
‘I particularly appreciated that when The Person In Question obtains new magical ability, she is not suddenly an expert, contrary to the Mistborn series and honestly 85% of all fantasy novels I’ve ever read.’

Another Brandon Sanderson. This is a standalone novel (or so I believe) that I think I sort of liked more than the Mistborn books, but considering that most of my issues with that series were in the latter books, it isn’t really fair to judge Warbreaker and that series on the same standard. Anyway, I loved this book and would happily read the remainder of the books if it did turn into a series.

7) The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins  

‘I love how the characters all now know who stole the diamond as they’re writing their narratives but have been forbidding from setting it out. It results in them sort of bickering amongst themselves as they criticise decisions that have already been made and indignantly rant about accusations levied at the time. It’s so petty and clever and perfectly done.’ 

This is the first time that I’ve ever included a re-read on a ‘Best Books’ list, but I don’t care. I just had to talk about The Moonstone some more. I originally read it as part of a read-a-long but reading it in one large chunk just makes it wonderful. It’s hilarious, clever and ingenious, so I really, really recommend picking this one up.

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Well, it makes a pleasant change to have actually already reviewed almost everything on one of these lists! Fingers crossed I’ll be back in December with a complete list, actually making it all the way to ten books!

See you n December!  

Comments

  1. Ellie Warren says:

    I need to read more du Maurier. I went through a phase of picking up her books whenever I saw them in charity shops and The Works, so I have loads but have only read Rebecca and The House on the Strand.

    1. admin says:

      I'm ashamed to say that I'd only ever read Rebecca. I loved it, but I have no idea why I didn't read anything else. I have them in those dull, dreary black covers, so they're hardly inspiring. Maybe it's that.

      I bought Frenchman's Creek at the weekend though, so I'll read that next.

  2. Alyce Hunt says:

    If you liked Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, you should check out Past Mortems by Carla Valentine – I haven't read it yet, but I've heard amazing things and it sounds quite similar!

    Here's my TTT, if you'd like to visit ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. admin says:

      Hi Alyce!

      It's already on my wishlist, believe it or not. I haven't met anybody that's read it yet, but I'm really looking forward to it ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Looks like you've read some spectacular books so far this year!!

    Here's a link to my TTT post for this week:

    http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2017/06/top-ten-tuesday-best-books-ive-read-in.html

  4. I have Six of Crows on my TBR for the year so I'm glad to see you enjoyed it.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/top-ten-tuesday-113/

  5. This is such a great list. I really want to read the Six of Crows duology, but I know that I want to get through the Grisha trilogy first.

  6. Great list! I really need to read the Six of Crows series soon!

    Hereโ€™s my TTT!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  7. I love SoC so much and even I didn't read the Grisha trilogy.I have many books of Brandon Sanderson on my TBR and I do want to read some of them.

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