Our "Best Of" List---for the first half of 2017!!!

Hey Bookworms!

This post doubles as this week's TTT "Best Books You've Read in 2017" theme because we're talking about our top, well...everything!

Today, we have a VERY special treat for you.
Mandy and I had decided to put together a Halfway List, and it coincided with TTT, so we're really excited to share our favorites so far with you!!!

Today, we present to you...

Our Top 20, well, everything, of the first half of 2017!

Intrigued? Do read on!

What are YOUR favorite reads so far in 2017??


B: ***OKAY. So I'm not going to pick any covers that aren't out yet that I haven't seen in person, because that's not fair, right? For ME, it was hard to narrow it down, but I thought THE ESSEX SERPENT by Sarah Perry had such an interesting, unusual cover! I love how it looks textured in so many ways, and I love the feel when you run your hand over the cover! Plus, it matches under the dust jacket and on the endpapers AND it has deckled edges!! My winner so far!

M: I'm cheating and doing 2 for best covers; a YA and a Middle Grade. Try and stop me.

Do you SEE the glitter!?

SONG OF THE CURRENT by Sarah Tolscer Pictures of this beauty do not do its cover justice. The title is GLITTERY, and not in this way that looks gaudy but in this way that looks like sparkling moonlight was pulled from the sky and crafted into words. The water, the really cool swirls along the side, this cover is flawlessly pulled together to feel mythological and magical.

THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi This is my favorite middle-grade cover so far, hands down. It's so intricate that I could stare at it for hours and the steampunk style is so badass. Wordlessly this cover tells you everything wonderful at this book and it's like you get sucked into the game before you even get to page one.


 B: CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber:

I loved this interior so much that I vlogged about it:

M: VIOLET GRENADE by Victoria Scott

I love the pages of this book so much. The two parts of the book are introduced with this gorgeous illustration on the left hand side above, and a list that sort of tells you where the character in the book is at right now in terms of life lessons and goals. And then on the above right, is an example of how every single chapter header has this gorgeous illustration of a grenade covered in violets. It's so pretty I can't even.


B: DREADNOUGHT by April Daniels -- I loved this book so much more than I anticipated and have been talking it up a lot this year. It's from a small publisher and needs a lot more attention sent its way! It's about the world's first transgender superhero, so you've got diversity AND superpowers. I love that this isn't an "issues" book--it's focused on the story and everything else is a secondary arc. So many people have been asking to see themselves as the hero without the story focusing on "issues"---especially in fantasy---and it's finally here. So why isn't this book getting more love????

[My Review]

WARCROSS by Marie Lu -- I loved, loved, LOVED this book. So far, it's my favorite book of 2017. I was up until about 1:30 am two work nights in a row reading this. I can't stop talking about it and making sure everyone knows it's coming. Ive told all my co-workers, and even managed to grab a copy at BEA so that I could pass it to them so that more of us can recommend it in September!!!

Mark my words--this book is going to be the next READY PLAYER ONE!

[My Spotlight]

All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1)

M:   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED by Gregory Scott Katsoulis -- This beauty comes out in August and I haven't been able to stop talking it up to people since I finished my e-arc back in April. Just when you think maybe you're sick of the dystopian novels, here comes one with more than just a survival plot. It's a commentary on language, on our relationship with technology and the advertising industry and it is BEAUTIFULLY written.

B: Okay, I haven't read anything unpredictable yet. I'd better get on that for the second half of the year! Thrillers, here I come! ^.~ So instead, I'll tell you about the most unpredictable thing I found, even though it's not quite what was meant by the term "unpredictable." Earlier this month, when I was at BEA, I snagged a beautiful totebag for Jan Brett's THE MERMAID. I wound up with extra free time during her signing and went, expecting a cute mermaid book with beautiful pictures. Possibly a retelling of The Little Mermaid. But you guys!!!! It's a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears....basically, it's "The Mermaid and the Three Octopuses." I was so surprised by the outcome of what this story was, and SO glad I got a ticket and was able to discover this exciting gem!!! That was the biggest surprise I found in a book so far this year!

The Hidden Memory of Objects

M: THE HIDDEN MEMORY OF OBJECTS by Danielle Mages Amato 

First of all, HELLO to another gorgeous cover. The only reason I didn't vote it into the cover category is because I knew I wanted it for this category. This book floored me. I couldn't even begin to guess where it was going or how it was going to hold, because the premise was like nothing I'd ever read before. A rollercoaster of all the feels comes with this story and it built me up (butttercup) for an ending that really truly surprised me.


B: THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord -- Part of the book's storyline is so sad, and your heart just breaks for Lucy and her family and what they're going through!

M: BREAK ME LIKE A PROMISE by Tiffany Schmidt 

I ugly cried more than one time while reading this book. The main character's grief is so intensely profound that it's soul shaking. Then it's made even worse by the fact that her relationship with the character she is mourning was secret and nobody really respects her grief. She is undermined at every turn, expected to just get over it, because she is alone in the knowledge of how real and depthy her bond with this person was. SUPPRESSED EMOTIONS, LONELINESS, PEOPLE TELLING YOU THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A RIGHT TO FEEL THINGS. Recipe for me going through an entire box of tissues.


B: DREADNOUGHT by April Daniels, which I gushed about earlier. It's from a small publisher, so there isn't as much money for them to promote and grab the internet's attention. A bookseller who read it on Netgalley was gushing about it on social media and I decided to try it out because, "Superheroes!! Why not??" and I fell in love!
[My Review]

M: LETTERS TO THE LOST by Brigid Kemmerer. It called to me from the shelf, and I'm so so glad it did because it is a hidden freaking gem of a book. With a very You've Got Mail theme, what I loved the most was the transition between POV's. Instead of just hopping from Character A's mind to Character B's, a chapter would start with Character A's letter, and then slowly and naturally shift into Character B's thoughts and feelings about it. The whole book was about human souls responding and connecting and being afraid, and it increased my ability to connect with them.


 B: AIR & ASH by Alex Lidell -- I was a huge fan of her debut novel THE CADET OF TILDOR, which also didn't get the love it deserved, and now the author is self-publishing a new series. I was happy with just how GOOD this series started off, and I can't wait to continue on! I especially love the way the magic in this book is also something to fear. It can destroy its bearer so easily. Plus, the romance? Just enough!!

 M: LOST GIRLS by Merrie Destefano --  I loved this book so much. It wasn't quite dystopian, more like an alternate reality, like FIGHT CLUB for teens. And the main character was so lovely to dive into, not a perfect mary sue but someone flawed and confused and restlessly seeking clarity.


B:  Well, I haven't actually READ any of my BEA books yet. ^^;;;; But the best surprise I found? THE MAGIC MISFITS by Neil Patrick Harris. Mostly because I got to MEET Neil Patrick Harris!!!!!! ;alfkjgjv;fem;era;ifuoijnoeuvfj Plus, the book sounds SUPER cute and funny. I've actually already filmed a video about it, and hopefully will have a spot to post it soon!!
M: I haven't read any of my BEA books yet either, but I'll tell you which one I'm MOST anticipating reading: THERE'S SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSE by Stephanie Perkins. There's so much buzz about it and I am such a sucker for a good thriller-horror.

B: CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber. It reminded me of my beloved THE NIGHT CIRCUS in all the best ways! Plus, it's about SISTERS. Plus, the design is BEAUTIFUL. I need the sequel now, please!!! ^.~

M: LABYRINTH LOST by Zoraida Cordova The first book in the Brooklyn Brujas series was stunning. The author takes Magical Realism to glorious and vibrant heights and instead of an absent family, the main character's entire adventure wraps around her love for and need to save her family.


B: Ummmmm,  I've only read one series ender so far this year so far, A COURT OF WINTS AND RUIN by Sarah J. Maas. So it wins by default? Also, I'm so excited there will be more books in this world featuring more characters!!
M: OBSIDIAN AND STARS by Julie Eshbaugh hands down. The ending felt happy, it felt complete, but at the same time it felt human. Not so perfectly tied up and shiny that it stopped feeling real.

B: I haven't read a lot of these yet this year, either, but so far, I  have really enjoyed the darkness of THE WISH GRANTER by CJ Redwine. It's Rumplestiltskin like you've never seen it before! Also, chubby princesses who are okay with who they are UNITE!
M: AS OLD AS TIME by Liz Braswell This was a fantastic and unique Beauty and the Beast retelling, taking the tale in a direction I've never seen before. It also includes really great flashback chapters of Belle's father Maurice.

B: Julius Caesar in THE VALIANT by Lesley Livingston. Even though he's not a traditional sort of villain. He shapes and develops so much of the world Fallon is born into and stolen from. He molds her destiny as well. He's a really interesting catalyst!

M: Hands down Darkness/Hades from PERILOUS PROPHECY by Leanna Renee Hieber. He flashes between skin/human form and bone/skeletal form. He's dark and angry and sad and lonely but you never ever doubt that he is the villain.

B: I'm really jealous I can't choose the same as Mandy because I fell in love with Rhys last year! Oooh, okay, how about Seth from LUCKY IN LOVE by Kasie West? The date that he sets up for Maddie is so super-cute and fun and sweet! He's a good one!!
M: Definitely Rhysand from Sarah J. Maas's A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN. It took me a while to warm up to him in the second book but my love for him was solidified in this tale.

B: Vhalla Yarl from the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova! This series sat on my e-reader FOREVER, waiting for me until it was complete so I could binge it. And binge it I did! She becomes such an amazing character as she grows and learns, and she has to do so much to save the world and make some really hard choices. It's a great series that I highly recommend!! 
M: Sloane from HEAR THE WOLVES by Victoria Scott, because she seems deceptively frail at the beginning of the story but then, despite her young age, she basically leads her neighbors through a blizzard and fights off a pack of hungry wolves and proves to them AND herself what she's really capable of.


B: CINNAMON by Neil Gaiman -- If you state that your main character has pearls for eyes, which make her beautiful, but mean that she's blind---and you can give me goosebumps when I read that line, you will win me over, hook, line, sinker. This book is gorgeous and needs to be seen by all!
M:--- [None read!]


B: Eep, I haven't read any yet this year! *hides* I feel like I HAVE....but I can't recall, so...!!!^^;;;

M:-I was trying really hard not to vote for one title multiple times but I HAVE to give this one to THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi! You guys this novel is SO good. Think Jumanji but with middle eastern influences and the characters actually go INTO the game. And do kickass challenges like playing a lifesize version of Mancala in a graveyard. My middle-grade self would have lost her mind over this book and quite frankly my 30 year old self lost her mind too.


B: Granted, I've only read three this year--and two were from Gene Luen Yang, including AMERICAN BORN CHINESE. There's a reason this won the Printz and so many other prestigious awards! I really like the way three completely different stories wove together in unexpected ways. There's Chinese mythology, the struggle of having a foot in two countries but feeling like an outsider in both, and so much more!

M:--- [None read!]


B: THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord You guys, I STILL need to put together my review of this amazing book because I still don't have all the words, but THIS BOOK!!! I love the friendships at its core--It's the closest I've felt a book has come to ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins at having that resonance I loved so much!! And the family story!!! Emery Lord is so brilliant at relationships!

M: THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas. We could spend an hour highlighting the social importance of this book and the relevancy to our current society, but it's also just an extremely well written book. With powerful characters and a storyline that stays with you and makes you want to open your mouth and talk; not just talk but listen.


B: WARCROSS by Marie Lu -- I know it's not out yet, but it's hands-down my favorite book of the year so far. I cannot WAIT to share with all of you, but for now, here's a teaser post with all of my gushing:
[My Spotlight]

M: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine Magee. Futuristic, beautiful imagery, multiple POV that didn't leave me confused and tied together beautifully into one climaxing plot that left me breathless. I am sooo excited for this sequel I can barely handle it.


B: I haven't read nearly as many adult titles as I've wanted to so far this year. And the two that I think will be on my "best" list are on my TBR pile atm. So for now...I have no answer!

K: THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden. I've only read a handful of adult books this year but god this one was stunning, dark, rich, based on a Russian folklore. I'm normally a speed reader but this beauty made me take my time to savor every word.

What do you agree/disagree with from our list?
What were YOUR 2017 favorites so far???
We still have half a year to read all the goodies!