My Top 10 Reads of 2017

Hi friends! So … I wrote this list out once already, and agonized over it … then somehow O_o lost it? So … apologies if things aren’t clear or I seem vague – I can’t remember who said what or when or keep things straight in my brain these days anyway, so … I tried to get the original points and gist but we’ll see. Anyway! These are my ten favorite reads from 2017 … basically. Yes! I kept it to 10. Kind of. 😛 Shut up, the series are really interconnected, okay?!

SO MANY BOOKS YAY! <3

1. Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Devil in Spring CoverAn eccentric wallflower  . . .

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake  . . .
After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot  . . .
After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven.

I reviewed the book here. It’s the first print book I read in something like 5 years? I also love love love Devil in ​Winter,​ and the anticipation and build up ​were massive. This book was everything I wanted it to be. I’ve already re-read it a number of times. Pandora and Gabriel are just so perfect together. I liked that Pandora was wary about marriage, that Gabriel was so very smitten, and that the book had such substance. The focus is on the romance, of course, but it also brought in relevant tidbits of the times. The political unrest, the potential terror plot(s) … but this isn’t a suspense, and while there’s a lot of action it doesn’t detract or distract from the love story. Oh just thinking about it now I want to hug the book. And re-read it. Yes, again. <3

2. The A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses CoverWhen nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.

YOU. GUYS. YOU! GUYS!!! OMFG THIS SERIES. THIS DAMN SERIES. I loved it. I loved it I loved it I loved it, I actually avoided reading it at first because I thought it was YA or NA but in my opinion it isn’t really and oh my god I LOVED IT. And I love book two the most, I think, A Court of Mist and Fury, but then I also loved A Court of Wings and Ruin and I read all of them one right after the other and I LOVED THEM!! … I do have to say A Court of Thorns and Roses starts out slowly, because it’s Feyre in the “real world” first, and she is angry. She’s only 19, but has had to provide for her family since she was 11. Yes, this little girl is the “breadwinner” – she hunts for food to feed her father and sisters, and sells what she can for a little bit of money. The first book is really her coming into herself, and losing her rage and bitterness. She’s opening herself up to love. I don’t want to give spoilers, exactly, but I know some people think or hear it’s a love triangle, but it (in my opinion) is not. If you read book one you can tell already throughout there are things that make the [supposed] hero … not so heroic. YOU JUST HAVE TO READ THEM AND OH MY GOD I NEED THE NEXT STORY NOWWW!!! (I saw on Sarah J. Maas’s website a while ago there would be more books and novellas, and I saw the next book will be out later this year and SOMEONE HELP ME GET IT!!!)

These books. … I need to re-read them. The High Lord. *sighs dreamily* Any girl (or guy!) can only wish to be so lucky as to have one. <3

I’ve told so many people to read this series … and yes, I keep nudging them. (And! Some already have, and yes – obviously! 😉 – LOVED IT!!) Oh also I think it’s being developed into a movie or movies, and I AM SO HERE FOR THAT!!! *ETA I’d forgotten I ~reviewed the series here!

3. The Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier

Daughter of the Forest CoverLord Colum of Sevenwaters is blessed with six sons: Liam, a natural leader; Diarmid, with his passion for adventure; twins Cormack and Conor, each with a different calling; rebellious Finbar, grown old before his time by his gift of the Sight; and the young, compassionate Padriac.

But it is Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter, who alone is destined to defend her family and protect her land from the Britons and the clan known as Northwoods. For her father has been bewitched, and her brothers bound by a spell that only Sorcha can lift.

To reclaim the lives of her brothers, Sorcha leaves the only safe place she has ever known, and embarks on a journey filled with pain, loss, and terror.

When she is kidnapped by enemy forces and taken to a foreign land, it seems that there will be no way for her to break the spell that condemns all that she loves. But magic knows no boundaries, and Sorcha will have to choose between the life she has always known and a love that comes only once.

Well, books 1 & 2 + 4-6. It also still kills me that there aren’t seven books in the Sevenwaters series. WHO MADE THAT MISTAKE!? … Anyway, the titles are: Daughter of the ForestSon of the ShadowsHeir to SevenwatersSeer of Sevenwaters, and Flame of Sevenwaters. I loved books one and two the most (Daughter + Shadows), I think … followed by four (Heir), six (Flame) … then five (Seer) I >.> didn’t really love but it’s part of the series. Daughter of the Forest generally isn’t listed as peoples favorites, but I think that’s because it’s so gutting. It’s emotionally draining, and while it sets everything up, it is a lot. A lot. They really really really loved it, but just can’t “handle” going back. Even if or when I re-read the book it’s basically only the last half to third because… parts just rip your heart out. I wept at what happened to Sorcha – what she experienced and had to live through. (Spoiler: her dog dies too, in the book… as well as others…) Son of the Shadows is also fantastic, and it has so much. Oh and Heir has Clodagh and Cathal and I just loved this series. I read all six books in something like four days, and they are hefty. I really liked Flame too, but I wouldn’t … exactly call it a romance, because you don’t even meet the hero until something like 80% into the book. In fact none of these are romances – they’re fantasy stories, with romantic elements. Still, what a wonderful series. *I didn’t read book 3, because a number of people told me not to, and also … >.> like just – so not the heroine, but her parents and the incest and … IT’S A LOT OKAY?!

4. The Winter King by C. L. Wilson

The Winter King CoverAfter three long years of war, starkly handsome Wynter Atrialan will have his vengeance on Summerlea’s king by taking one of the man’s beautiful, beloved daughters as his bride. But though peace is finally at hand, Wynter’s battle with the Ice Heart, the dread power he embraced to avenge his brother’s death, rages on.

Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea and summoner of Storms, has spent her life exiled to the shadows of her father’s palace. Reviled by her father, marriage to Wintercraig’s icy king was supposed to be a terrible punishment, but instead offers Kham her first taste of freedom—and her first taste of overwhelming passion.

As fierce, indomitable Wynter weathers even Khamsin’s wildest storms, surprising her with a tenderness she never expected, Kham wants more than Wynter’s passion—she yearns for his love. But the power of the Ice Heart is growing, dangerous forces are gathering, and a devastating betrayal puts Khamsin and Wynter to the ultimate test.

So … I actually sat on this book for a while because I have this thing about reading fantasy [romance] series in their entirety but I was convinced to read it (also because I was sent an ARC of the next book The Sea King (which is out now and! I even reviewed it!) although I will say what’s great about this series is each book can definitely stand alone and read alone) … and I’m so glad. Storm is so kickass. I loved that she’s so dynamic. She’s an incredibly strong and gifted weathermage, but half wild, and so proud. She has always been desperate for love, yet has an admirable (enviable even) sense of self. Then there’s Wynter being so stupid smitten … although he’s something of an asshat at times, what balances it is he has friends who call him out on it. Storm and Wynter’s chemistry is off the charts. In fact this is also one of the rare times where “sex without love” worked for me, because Storm and Wynter are so emotionally closed off or stunted, they can’t be lovey dovey and romantic (yet), but their attraction is palpable.

5. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted Cover

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Ok, ok ok ok, so yes, this is another book I resisted reading, because I read the wikipedia page on it, which gives a plot summary, and pretty much “all” the plot … but >.> it’s misleading. (Thank goodness.) … I think it was the sheer volume of people telling me to read this book that made me start. (And running out of ~adult high fantasy romances) and … yes. I didn’t love it at first. While I respected the heroine not wanting to have magic, it annoyed me that she squandered that gift. She has a painful come uppance and becomes a student … but for that period I just wanted to shake. her. (Although I guess that’s the point of it?) ANYWAY. This book did make me stop and note just … how wholesale death in fantasy is. Literally 10,000 men die in something like 12 pages. And it’s not even a big deal. That kind of got me … but as to the rest. There is so much going on. It’s a beautifully written book with such a wonderful heroine that is a “normal girl” that is elevated to greatness… while wholly herself and remaining herself. She doesn’t fit in, and doesn’t bow to others. When she tries, it never works out. I’d love to see a sequel to it. (I know! ME!!) … But I would. I so want to know more about Agnieszka​ and the “Dragon.”

6. Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Walk of Shame CoverPampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

So I know, the title is … not something people would just jump to. However, I trust Lauren Layne, and I went for it. I also hate the “poor little rich girl.” (I know, last year was all about me reading things you’d never think I read!) I definitely plan on re-reading it, and hope to post a review at some point going more into depth. The heroine realized she was floundering – that she was living the life of almost a “poor little rich girl” but she had to take a minute, and be herself and be in herself. It was also a huge point that Georgiana is involved with a lot of charities, and it was work. She’s not there as lip service, but involved, and I loved that Ms. Layne made it clear there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into helping with charities and running events. Then Andrew is … oh he screws up but tries so hard once he realizes he messed up. … Yeah I’m definitely going to re-read this.

7. Master of Crows by Grace Draven

Master of Crows CoverWhat would you do to win your freedom?

This is the question that sets bondwoman, Martise of Asher, on a dangerous path. In exchange for her freedom, she bargains with her masters, the mage-priests of Conclave, to spy on the renegade sorcerer, Silhara of Neith. The priests want Martise to expose the sorcerer’s treachery and turn him over to Conclave justice. A risky endeavor, but one she accepts without hesitation–until she falls in love with her intended target.

Silhara of Neith, Master of Crows, is a desperate man. The god called Corruption invades his mind, seducing him with promises of limitless power if he will help it gain dominion over the world. Silhara struggles against Corruption’s influence and searches for ways to destroy the god. When Conclave sends Martise as an apprentice to help him, he knows she’s a spy. Now he fights a war on two fronts–against the god who would possess him and the apprentice who would betray him.

Mage and spy search together for a ritual that will annihilate Corruption, but in doing so, they discover secrets about each other that may damn them both. Silhara must decide if his fate, and the fate of nations, is worth the soul of the woman he has come to love, and Martise must choose continued enslavement or freedom at the cost of a man’s life. And love.

I loved all the connected books, but I think out of all the Grace Draven books I read (and I read almost her entire back list …) Master of Crows was the one I liked the most. (Of course I’ve already read The Brush of Black Wings and the various connected stories…) but I love the surly but actually giant marshmallow hero, which Silhara is. Not to say he’s perfect or actually your Disney golden hero idea. (Side note: let’s be honest here the heroes often screw up in Disney movies yet somehow they get a pass…) Anyway. Martise is so solid. She’s someone anyone would love to be friends with – or even be. And the story is so well written, the world building incredible, and then the relationship between Silhara and Martise. Just … *happy sigh.*

8. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens CoverIsobel is an artistic prodigy with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious, Rook spirits her away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously wrong in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending on each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

I’ve been periodically checking Margaret Rogerson’s site since I read the book to see if there are any updates – as in a sequel a new book, something. … I’ve also been telling a friend who lives in Cincinnati to find and befriend her. … >.> Which is totally not alarming or stalkery at all, okay?! This book. I LOVED the premise and the world Ms. Rogerson created. Fairies who are tricky and not all good (or bad … or mostly bad, or I DON’T KNOW.) And then I thought it was really interesting with the “appearances are all on the surface.” The drama and action … this could be an excellent movie too. I’d actually love to see more between Isobel and Rook. The tree stuff … It just all really worked for me. (And yes. This is … more YA? And shut up.) This also redefines “tree hugger” maybe? 😉 KIDDING. This is all great!

9. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns CoverIt’s been ten years since Princess Aurora’s mother, the Sleeping Beauty, sacrificed her life to give her daughter her magical powers. Aurora knows that magic is never free. The price for hers is that she will never know romantic love.
Prince Niklaas is living on borrowed time. Unless he is able to convince a princess to marry him before his eighteenth birthday, he will meet the same terrible fate as his ten older brothers.
When Niklaas and Aurora meet under unusual circumstances, they must race to prevent the fulfillment of an ogre prophecy foretelling the end of human life. But will they be able to break their curses?

Yes, I had to resort to browsing my the digital collection of fantasy titles at my libraries to try to get my [adult] high fantasy romance fix, and I came across this, and it’s YA, and YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN, AUTHORS, ABOUT THERE BEING A HUGE MARKET FOR ADULT HIGH FANTASY ROMANCES? I WILL PROMOTE YOUR BOOKS AND TELL EVERYONE TO READ THEM!!! That and … >.> honestly I think romanceland could take a lesson or two from great YA about writing just … totally badass (kickass!) boss heroines. Who yes, are flawed and can be difficult and such, but AMAZING! <3
Anyway. I almost put this book down because I did not love the beginning. The very beginning. Aurora is like… six years old, but she’s acting like someone in her 30s. It just wasn’t realistic. It wasn’t a big deal because it literally was just a few pages … but it was enough to seriously annoy me. Nevertheless, I understood (obviously) shit happens and the author had to get a way to set up XYZ and … I loved that Aurora is like this badass warrior princess and she’s determined to rescue her brother and she and the hero Prince Niklaas​ ​both learn from each other and … it’s a lot. The epic journeys are also fun too. And then the trolls and yes, of course, fairies, and how “Prince Charming” … (her father) … wasn’t. I’ve always loved twisted fairy tales and have asked for them, so this was great.

10. Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Pretty Face CoverThe play’s the fling 
It’s not actress Lily Lamprey’s fault that she’s all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that’s not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn’t so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He’d be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily’s suddenly rising career, it’s threatening Luc’s professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they’re not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…

A lot of people loved this book – and I figured it’d be right up my alley based on the premise because I will always be here for the smitten hero. And bad tempered heroes who have a much softer side are another soft spot of mine. I didn’t love the age difference, but I really appreciated how it was addressed, and that the characters make fun of themselves/each other for it. ALSO and almost more importantly, is the characters who care about being professional. Lily wants to be taken seriously as an actress, and she already knows her looks and voice (and! being a soap star) have all been counted against her. She is not going to have a fling with the director. God, can you imagine the headlines? Luc doesn’t want to be that guy but is just … so drawn to Lily and they’re so perfect for each other because well, who wouldn’t like Lily? She’s fabulous and they bring out the best in each other and Luc pushes Lily and … yeah. This is of course another book I’ll be re-reading.

N.B. The numbers don’t really mean anything … It was the order in which I made my list …
So! Have you read any of these books? What’d you think? Do you have any recommendations for me? 😀
And yes – I hope to have my “comprehensive list of reads” up soon! <3

4 thoughts on “My Top 10 Reads of 2017

  1. Anonymous

    Just a suggestion since I already read and really enjoyed half the books listed here. The Tainted Accords Series by Kelly St Clair is fantastic. Great character and world building, totally not one of the “cookie cutter” stories out there but original and just so well written. Another great series is The Last Oracle Series by Emily Wibberly.

    Reply
    1. Limecello Post author

      Ohhh thank you!!!! I’m going to check and see if my library has any of those books/series! 😀

      Hopefully you see this … :X are the series romances? And finished?

      Regardless, I’ll put those on my list. Thanks again!

      Reply

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