Although it was entirely unintentional, it looks like our last book review post was way back in May, so this will serve as a wrap up for everything that I read over the summer. There are some great books on this list, for sure the absolute best books I’ve read all year, so I’m pretty excited to dive into the list.
I want to give a shoutout to my Kindle Paperwhite. As much as I love paper books, I really loved the convenience of a Kindle. I could never get into reading on my phone or my iPad for some reason, but I’ve had a Kindle for years. I swore I would never abandon my OG Kindle for the fancy Paperwhite because I didn’t want something backlit. Oh how I was wrong!
Funny story: My parents spent a weekend in our house last year watching our kids, and my mom took note of the fact that our bedside lamps are quite dim. I hadn’t ever been bothered by that. I can read in pretty low light, and we have two other light sources in the room, so when she mentioned it, this was pretty much my reaction:
Nevertheless, before we were even home from our trip, she had ordered us a new pair of bedside lamps. This makes me laugh writing this because this is SO my mom. My first reaction was dismay, because my favorite thing about our old lamps is that they are dimmable, meaning I could turn them down and read without blinding my husband while he was trying to sleep, and the one downfall of my old Kindle was a lack of light.
I should have kept my mouth shut because she felt awful about being presumptuous when in reality those lamps are as old as our marriage and I was pretty excited about the new ones.
Anyway, she felt so bad that for Christmas I found an Amazon gift card in the amount of a new Paperwhite under the tree. “Now you can read without lamps! If you’ve already bought one, then just buy yourself a ton of books.” Um, okay!
And that is the story of how I came to own not only two new bedside lamps, but my Paperwhite, which I LOVE. The backlight is nothing like reading on a screen, I can read all night long without bothering anyone, and I still love the convenience of using a Kindle, especially for library books. Never having to deal with late fees is basically my favorite thing ever.
The Books of Summer 2017
Startup – This is the first novel from Doree Shafrir of Buzzfeed, whom I am a new fan of after falling deep into her Eggcellent Adventure podcast with husband Matt Mira. They are documenting their IVF journey and I’m a longtime fan of Matt’s. I binged the first twenty or so episodes earlier in the summer and then jumped ahead to current episodes just to catch up. Anyway, I took this novel on a recent vacation and powered through it in the first two days. It was exactly the sort of book I like – fun and interesting with lots of great female characters. Plus I made an unofficial goal to intentionally read books by more female writers this year so add one to that column.
The Hate U Give – I’m going to go ahead and call this my favorite book of 2017. It’s YA, but it’s not just my favorite YA of the year (that one is below.) Everyone should read this and then wait impatiently for the movie to be released.
Forever Interrupted – Taylor Jenkins Reid does the stories of imperfect relationships really well and this is no exception. I’ve yet to read anything of hers I didn’t enjoy.
Once and For All -So, I’ve read so many Sarah Dessen books that my mind kind of blurs them all together in one big lump. It’s a good lump, a lump of pleasing books that I know I can turn to for a quick read with a likely happy ending. I heard her interviewed on a podcast recently and found out that she married her high school sweetheart, so that elevated her as an authority on young love as an actual thing that happens and works, rather than some crazy ideal.
My Not-So Perfect Life – I am an unapologetic Sophie Kinsella fan and really enjoyed this! I am glad to see something new outside of the Shopaholic series, as I think the final book ended that story on a high note.
The Last Anniversary – After the Big Little Lies television series I was wanting more from Liane Moriarty. I could not get into her latest, so I went back a few years. I thought this was absolutely adorable.
When Dimple Met Rishi – This wins best YA of the year from me. This story was fun and light with an undertone of pushing back against parental expectations. I loved this from start to finish.
Kindred Spirits – I will read anything Rainbow Rowell writes, including this short story written for World Book Day. All proceeds from the Kindle version goes to the ACLU Foundation so I ordered both that and a physical copy of the book.
The President’s Daughter, White House Autumn, Long Live the Queen, Long May She Reign – I started this series based on a recommendation from Janssen, whose taste is pretty much in line with my own. This series centers around the family of the first female president. The first three books were written in the eighties but they were updated when the fourth book was released. I adored these books and also found them heartbreaking due to their real life connections.
The Raven King – I finally got around to reading the fourth book in the Raven Cycle series. The beginning of the series sets up how the series must end and I spent a lot of time being very worried about how they were going to come to a satisfactory ending. I was pleased by this final book in the series. Also worth noting, if you read these books over the span of a few years, this book does a nice job of casually recapping several key points in the series if you’ve forgetten what the heck is happening.
The Assistants – Fun fact about me: books where characters are making bad choices and in danger of getting caught stress me out! This is why I can’t finish Breaking Bad – it gives me INTENSE anxiety to watch. So, after about a third of this book, which is admittedly rather lighthearted, I took a break. I came back to it and I’m so glad I finished it!
Dark Matter – This book has been on a million reading lists lately and with good reason. It’s a thriller that stretches your brain in the best possible ways. Wendy is usually the thriller reader of this particular partnership, but even I loved this one.