Life Imitates Heart

Book list: My favorite reads of 2017

To celebrate reading my 30th book of the year this weekend, I wanted to commemorate the stories that have stuck with me over the past six months. Each year I have upped the ante and challenged myself to read more, but this year I also wanted to diversify my reading selections. I could live and die in fantasy and not think twice about it, but it felt like the time to start expanding my horizons. So here we go! These are my favorite books of the year  (so far…):

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon; the third installment of Paige's clairvoyant world. The Underqueen has her work cut out for her as she tries to reunite the syndicate under Scion's rule.

The Song Rising – Samantha Shannon (Goodreads)

The Song Rising – Samantha Shannon 

This is the third installment in Shannon’s septology (seven book series). I have been waiting two painstaking years for this one, and my girl delivered. This series is centered around London in a universe where clairvoyant humans are being hunted down by the corrupt Scion government. If it sounds crazy, it is. You have to take a leap of faith and nose dive on in to these because I promise that it’s worth it. Paige, our leading lady, goes through the ringer in this book and it almost ruined me. Shannon is a master at world building and making you feel every single ache that Paige does. I’m hoping beyond hope I won’t have to wait another two years for book 4.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - this debut novel serves as a stark reminder that racism, prejudices, and violence against minority groups is still breaking our communities in half.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (Goodreads)

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

I just finished this one and wow. I’m still trying to process. I had heard nothing but good things about this book and it has one of the highest Goodreads review I’ve ever seen. This is Thomas’ debut novel about a girl growing up in a predominately black neighborhood and witnesses her friend get shot by a cop while he drives her home. The novel delves into her struggle about coming to terms with her friend’s death and standing up for him when she’s afraid of what it will mean for her – the witness. I know I just finished but I can already tell this one will hang on me for a while. I cried, I laughed, I had chills racing up and down my arms. Don’t just take my word for it. Entertainment Weekly has it ranked as one of their best books of the year too.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton - an electric, fast-paced, and original debut novel.

Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton (Goodreads)

Rebels of the Sand – Alwyn Hamilton

Another debut novel, this book is breath of fresh air. Amani is a sharp-shooter in a town that seems like it’s at the edge of the world, and she’s desperate to get out before she’s forced to marry her uncle. She escapes her home town on the back of a mythical horse with a strange fugitive, and her story only begins there. It’s one of the most original fantasy novels I have read in a long time. Hamilton combines Navajo myth with Hindu lore to create a stunning mythology that makes her story work. Check out the sequel Traitor to the Throne as well.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - An autobiographical comic about a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi (Goodreads)

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is an autobiographical comic by Marjane Satrapi about her experience growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I have tried in vain to gain a better understanding of the conflict in the middle east, which is a big reason I picked this one up. Her story is heartfelt, poignant, funny, and moving. Most of it is hilarious. I loved the comic format, as the visuals made the information more digestible. In a world that is stocked full of fear-mongering, I find it so, so important to seek out ways to understand people who are different than me, and this was the perfect find.

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero - because you are. Believe that.

You are a Badass – Jen Sincero (Goodreads)

You are a Badass – Jen Sincero 

I am generally wary of self-help books, but I LOVED this one. I liked the no-bullshit tone. I borrowed this book from my sister and went out and bought my own copy immediately after finishing it. Sincero’s pitch is that we have to take life by the horns and get after the things we want. We have to love ourselves and cherish our dreams. I sound mushy-gushy explaining it, but she makes it sound badass (GET IT?!). This is one that I definitely keep close for whenever I need a reminder about how awesome it will be when I manifest my dreams.

Honorary re-read: 

re-read the entire Harry Potter series in January. My eyes almost fell out of my head and I’m not sure I slept at all the entire month but jeez. Those books are the bomb. I’ve convinced two of my friends to start reading the series this year, and I knew my life’s work was complete when one of them sent me a picture of a Barnes & Noble bag filled with the rest of the series. Seriously. If you’ve always wanted to read them but haven’t, I promise that you haven’t missed your window. Hogwarts will always be there to welcome its friends home, old and new.

There you have it! Happy reading, friends. What are some of your favorite books you’ve picked up this year?

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