Kate Reads 2017: Jan-Mar Favorites

You can believe me or not, but I’ve read a total of 88 books so far in 2017. Mostly physical copies—but I’m learning to embrace using my iPad as an eReader and not just my personal television. I haven’t really branched out in terms of what I’m reading—I’m a creature of habit and I know what I like. My faves include psychological thrillers, books that tackle controversial topics (such as abuse and mental illness), and friends-to-lovers relationships (because I’m still bitter over not getting my Dawson and Joey ending). I also won’t say to “no” to a good teen dystopia novel. 

I’ve read a lot of really good books so far and I wanted to share. I rarely give out five star ratings…those are basically reserved for my most favorites and the Harry Potter series. These are what I consider 4-4.5 stars aka ❤. And they all link to Goodreads 🙂

Some of my stacks because I’m too cool for shelves…and too afraid of IKEA

JAN-MAR 2017 FAVES [in no particular order]

The Light series, Aleatha Romig
Sara Adams wakes up in a hospital, blind and can’t remember her past. She comes to learn she’s a member of a religious and oppressive cult known as The Light.

It’s SO. GOOD. I didn’t like The Handmaid’s Tale (runs and hides) but I LOVED this series. The first book ends on a major cliffhanger and I don’t think I’ve hit “BUY” on a sequel so fast. Although Romig has said this is the end of this story, I’d be thrilled with a third installment (the second book also ends arguable ambiguous).

Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough
Louise meets David at a bar and later comes to learn he’s her new boss. Her married boss. She ends up befriending Adele, his wife and learns the secrets behind their seemingly perfect relationship.

This was my February selection from Book of the Month and it’s my favorite pick from them so far. The bookmark that came with it said, “You think you know the ending, but you don’t. I promise.” And I now promise you, it’s a doozy. I figured out the first twist and was so proud of myself and then the immediate turnaround knocked me on my ass. I stayed up until 3 on a work night to finish this baby and I have no regrets.

ForbiddenTabitha Suzuma
Growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic mother, Lochan and Maya Whiteley have been forced to grow up quickly and be stand-in parents for their three younger siblings. Lochan and Maya’s relationship is more than just brother and sister and they continue to fight their feelings because they know it’s “wrong.”

This book broke my heart. Plain and simple. I read it in one night and was reduced to a weeping pile of salt water. For a topic that is so taboo, Lochan and Maya’s relaysh is so respectfully, well done. “Forbidden” won’t be and isn’t for everyone. But if you have the stomach for extremely touchy subjects and enjoy a good cry, this is your answer.

UnravelCalia Read
After a whirlwind romance with Max—a man no one seems to think is real—Naomi Carradine ends up at Fairfax mental hospital. Wanting out, she tells her story to her psychiatrist, desperate for someone to believe she isn’t “crazy.” Also woven in are her relationships with neighbor boy, Lochlan, and her best friend, Lana.

This book is a wonderful mix of all of my previously listed favorite book genres and it was so freaking good. There are so many little things mentioned throughout that make complete sense once the twist is revealed and I definitely did not see it coming. And once you look back you can see how intricately crafted Read made Naomi’s story. Plus, bonus love triangle with two guys who both  AREN’T assholes! Win!

Swear on This LifeRenee Carlino
When Emiline picks up “All the Roads Between” from new author J. Colby, the story sounds familiar. Eerily familiar. As she continues reading, Em realizes that J. Colby is her childhood best friend, Jase, and he’s written a national bestseller about her dark and dysfunctional upbringing, one she has been desperately trying to leave behind.

This was an impulse buy with my Christmas iTunes gift card and I was incredibly pleasantly surprised. I’ve read two more from Carlino this year, both of which were also good, but Swear on This Life gave me major feels. Childhood friends? Second-chance romance? Lots and lots of angst? Sign me up. This was another one that  I read in one night and ended up bawling into my stuffed bear. I need an actual physical copy in my life at some point too.

All the Ugly and Wonderful ThingsBryn Greenwood
Wavy is only eight when a motorcycle accident brings thug and ex-convict Kellen into her life. She’s the daughter of a meth dealer, and is raising her younger brother, Donal, by herself. Kellen, 13 years her senior, becomes the only form of stability and comfort in her life. The book spans 15 years and the evolving relationship between Kellen and Wavy.

I’m not going to lie. This book made me extremely uncomfortable. And it generally takes something major to upset me like this. This book is twisted. It’s disturbing. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. It took me a little longer to read “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things” because I had to keep putting it down and collecting my thoughts. It is truly SO good, but it’s a thinker. It’ll stick with you long after you close. Wavy and Kellen are not your conventional romantic leads. Kellen is not a rich, handsome hunk with defined abs and a secret sex fetish. Wavy isn’t your naive ingenue who blindly dives into relationships. They’re both heavily broken individuals who find solace in each other. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It was so good.

The Hating Game, Sally Thorne
Coworkers Lucy and Joshua are sworn enemies and have no qualms about expressing their hatred towards each other. It makes for quite an office environment. They then both become applicants for the same job promotion and their rivalry comes to a head. But do they actually hate each other? Or is it just another game?

“The Hating Game” is the first relatively adult novel I’ve ever read (I refuse to count the horrendously written Fifty Shades books) and I loved it. If I can’t have a friends-to-lovers storyline, I will gladly take an enemies-to-lovers one.

It Ends With UsColleen Hoover
After witnessing the abusive relationship between parents, Lily resolves to never end up like her mother. She’s so happy when she meets neurosurgeon Ryle: Lily gets her fairytale relationship and marriage and it’s all too good to be true. That’s when things go south. Also in her orbit is the return of ex-boyfriend, Atlas, who is all too aware of her mother’s history.

Don’t you love when a book reaches down and strangles your soul? Because that’s exactly what “It Ends With Us” did to me. Another read-in-a-day, bawled-my-eyes-out novel.

The Royals seriesErin Watt
After the death of her mother, Ella Harper is making ends meet by working odd jobs and as a stripper. Her life changes when her father’s best friend shows up with news that he’s her legal guardian. Callum Royal and his family of five boys, are rich, spoiled, and used to having the world handed to them. While Callum takes a quick liking to her, it isn’t surprising that the sons are suspicious and hostile.

The series starts as a relatively similar Cinderella-retelling, with Ella plucked out of poverty and dropped into a world of posh prep schools and even more privileged people. Ella is a great heroine, who is not a damsel in distress. And each of the Royal sons is equally damaged and swoon-worthy (two in particular, but you learn that quickly).

History Is All You Left MeAdam Silvera
Even after a tough break-up and a cross-country move, Griffin is still convinced that he and now ex-boyfriend, Theo, will eventually find their way back to each other. That’s when he learns that Theo has died in a tragic accident…and he was also in a serious relationship with a new boy, Jackson. Deeply heartbroken, Theo realizes that the only other person who knows what he’s going through is Jackson and forms a tentative friendship.

I had heard a lot of hype about Silvera’s “More Happy Than Not,” and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. So, I was super happy that I loved “History Is All You Left Me.” It’s equal parts funny and sad, has positive and accurate OCD portrayal, and will stick with you after reading.

 

Really loved these tooUnder Rose-Tainted Skies, Louise Gornall; We Are the Ants, Shaun David Hutchinson; The Futures, Anna Pitoniak; Lucas, Jay McLean; My Heart and Other Black Holes, Jasmine Warga; Blurred Lines, Lauren Layne; Caraval, Stephanie Garber; Boy Toy, Barry Lygal; The Thousandth Floor, Katharine McGee; and Paperweight, Meg Haston

Yup, that’s my TBR pile…

What’s next on my list: I’m currently making my way through “Idaho,” by Emily Ruskovich. I typically have difficulty connecting to characters that are much older than me, but I’m really enjoying this so far.

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