2017 Top Reads

2017 was seriously amazing, as far as books were concerned. I was able to come close to my goal of reading 60 books and hit 52 last year. There were some great books that I would love to share. Here are the Top 11, because I’m a rule breaker, in no order.

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The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

 

” Three butterflies for a broken girl: one for personality, one for possession, and one for pettiness.”

This story was beautiful and ugly all wrapped tight in a cocoon. The main character, who I will call Maya for the sake of writing, was complicated and amazing.

” I guess I grew so used to the horrors of the Garden, I forgot how awful Outside could be.”

Maya’s backstory was well…. depressing. Hit after hit this beautiful wonderful girl kept taking them and nothing kept her immobile.

” The trouble with sociopaths, really, is that you never know where they draw their boundaries. I couldn’t quite decide if it was worth the risk, and in the end, what stopped me was the thought of all the other girls.”

The Gardner was a sick and twisted man who somehow became a bit lovable. I found a soft spot in my heart for him that I am embarrassed to admit to. The things he did to those poor girls were horrible, but you could feel the love he had for them through the pages written.

I fell in love with each of the butterfly’s and now that the book is over I MUST re-read it because I know there is so much that I missed. It was an amazing book and a wonderful read I just couldn’t but it down. I hate that it took me so long to read this book.

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Forfeiting Decency by Rachel Schneider

So, I read this book without reading Breaking Habits #1 and now I feel like I need more of their world. But you totally do not have to, I was able to read this book without feeling like something was left out by not reading the first one. I’ll be honest at the start of the book I did not think I was going to be into this girl Kaley and her world of mess, but I learned fast that I loved this jumbled mess of a girl. And right away I feel in love with this Kip guy, I mean how could you not. I really enjoyed the dynamics of each relationship within this story and it really had me on my toes, needing to know what was next. It was a great book about love, learning to love, accepting love and giving love truly and unselfishly. “Loving someone isn’t a sacrifice, Kaley. It’s a reward.”   

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Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Where has Chevy Stevens been all my life… her books give me the feels and this book met my expectations. It is different from most of the genres I read… typically love story types with high emotions. This book brought the emotions, but the love was twisted. I literally could not put this book down!!!! The Freak scared me and had me looking over my back. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a thrill or a raise in your anxiety! Next onto Chevy Steven’s “Never Knowing”

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God Shaped Hold by Tiffanie DeBartolo

“…That has nothing to do with God. The hole, that is. Everyone feels a void. Everyone who has the balls to look inside themselves, anyway. It’s what life’s all about…. We’re all searching for something to fill up what I like to call that big, God-shaped hole in our souls. Some people use alcohol, or sex, or their children, or food, or money, or music, or heroin. A lot of people even use the concept of God itself.”

I feel like that whole quote should speak for itself. After reading this book I needed a few days to really take it all in. There are so many places that I highlighted so that I could remember to go back to later. This book is not only a weird love story about two people finally finding each other. It is about friendship and family and living life as if every minute is counting down.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure about this book as I started it but it came heavily recommended, so I thought all of my friends cannot be that crazy.

Trixie is amazing, creative and stubborn all wound tight. The relationships that she had were all I needed. I would have to say her relationship with Kat I loved from the beginning.

“And he not only likes to bake them, he likes to eat them, too.” Everyone needs that person in their life the ying to their yang and Kat was just that.

The relationship with Trixie and Jacob caught me off guard but in a good way. I found myself hoping and praying that what I knew would be the ending would change that Tiffanie DeBartolo would find it within her heart to spare them….
“God, if, by some slim chance you actually exist, I thought, prove it to me by carrying us away because it can’t get any better than this.”
This must be the best feeling in the world, total bliss.

The relationship between Beatrice and her family was …. interesting to say the least. I felt growth between her and her family throughout the book.
“I would rather be alone than ever be my mother. I will leave before I am left.”

Jacob… so much to say about a character that I was weirded out by from the start, but that guy totally grew on me. Such a free spirit and lover of so many things but to be honest their relationship was so fast it was scary. Especially since deriving from an ad. But it made for a great story: )
“Now, what we dont want is someone who’s going to come in and disrupt our lives and steal our souls. That’s what we fear most. We call it our freedom, but it’s our souls we’re talking about.”

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180 Seconds by Jessica Park

I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  I will admit, there were sometimes where I rolled my eyes at Allison’s flare for the dramatics but overall this was a good book. The love story between Allison and Esben was great and kind of what was expected after reading into this book. What caught me off guard was the relationships she developed with everyone else throughout the book. It was heartwarming and again much needed for me …… (after reading some not so great books lately) …. I loved the fast pace added through his social media lifestyle. When he was introduced in the classroom I was annoyed I was hoping this was not another Rockstar/broken girl book and it totally was not the case.

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Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

I feel like I need to reread this book because I am still soo confused…. not a bad kind of confused but not a good one. I can’t say how this book sits with me… I rated it a 3.8 out of 5 stars but I feel like that is so not fair. I love Tarryn Fisher and her writing style. I loved this book and the way it was broken up…. I had plenty of times where I had to stop and put the book down to regroup and think about what I just wrote. Once while sitting at the dentist office I was making weird growls attracting the unwanted attention of other patients… I don’t care. This book…well it makes me growl. “if there’s an issue on Facebook that everyone is fighting about, I get to repost someone else’s opinion about it without saying a word of my own. I follow the leader in a way that strengthens and builds them up without loosing my independence.” Aren’t we all a bit of Fig. That passive aggressive behavior. Not owning up to how we really feel because we don’t want to be judged… oh that’s just me… “….. but the whole thing was threadbare by the time I was done” so Darius — WTF … I was not ready for his level of f**king crazy !! Now let’s move on to JOLENE … ugh she frustrates me… only because I saw so much of myself in her description… I feel like I’m so quick to allow people into my life. Knowing they are poison, knowing that they can hurt but I’m so eager to save them I don’t care …. enough of my babble back to the story…. ….. “Soon people were sitting on me. Shit gets heavy you know? Especially when people realize you’re willing to carry their weight”…. ..”People can smell kindness on you even when you act like an asshole to scare them away”….. All in all I will end up rereading and adjusting my comments… Read it y’all !! “She was a chaotic darkness who dressed up as light”

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Seamless by Angie Smith 

I have done tons and tons of different Bible Studies throughout my life. I grew up as a Christian but I cannot say that I understand the Bible. Its complex and very overwhelming to me. I have studied theology but still am a little confused when I (occasionally) attend church and the preacher says …. ” now you all now about John?..” I am always nodding and looking around but thinking, nope don’t know em’. This book was a wonderful and much needed breakdown of the Bible in terms that were written for me. I felt like Angie Smith had written this book specifically for me and was talking directly to me through the funny and witty texts throughout the book. She’s funny and a bit sarcastic and I loved every bit of this book. So much so that in the end I did not want to finish. I mean I drew it out. And now that I’m done I am a bit sad but also so proud of myself. I also watched the videos that went along with the lesson. Each one not too long to lose my attention but not to short that I get nothing from it. I loved this whole freaking lesson and will recommend it to everyone I know…

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Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino

 

“…You know I hate revisiting my past, and this book I’m reading isn’t helping. So yeah, I’m feeling pretty shitty.” This quote hit me somewhere. There are so many books, the good ones that hit you in a place where you have not wanted touched. I was so in love with this story. It’s kind of my worst nightmare and dream all wrapped in one. To Open a book and realize that it is my story. The worst part though is that it was her story told by someone else. Someone who was taking liberties on what happened. Emeline, the main character, was having trouble in her own literary career. She starts off in this tricky relationship with Trevor. Now from the beginning I felt as though they were kind of just going through the motions. When we get to the book where Emeline is reading the book by J.Colby, I was hooked. I really kept going through waiting for her to pick up the book again. Man, her story was incredible. That story alone made the book. Now let’s add in Jase. This hot, God-send of a writer. Full of love and strength. He was everything he should have been.

 

There are a few books, three exactly, that I read and have no business trying to leave a review of. They were perfect as is. There are no words that I can leave that would even equate to the greatness of these books. For those I will live the description from the books website. They are as follows:

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A Letter for My Daughter by Mya Angelou

“Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that taught Angelou lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.

Whether she is recalling lost friends such as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice, Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.”

 

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/3929/letter-to-my-daughter-by-maya-angelou/9780812980035

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

 

http://khaledhosseini.com/books/a-thousand-splendid-suns/synopsis/

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And the Mountains Echoed

An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

 

http://khaledhosseini.com/books/and-the-mountains-echoed/synopsis/

 

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One thought on “2017 Top Reads

  1. Yesssss! Three of these books have been on my must read list and now I’m extra amped to read them! All 11 sound amazing. Great review – this really helped me in my book rut I’ve been in.

    Liked by 1 person

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