The Best of the First Half (ish) of 2017

The bar exam is in four days. I’m freaking out and trying not to so here’s yet another, Jenica is procrastinating blog post.

Today is July 21, 2017, which means it is a bit past the halfway point of 2017, which is wild because where in the world did the time go? So for today’s blog post I thought I would do a Best of 2017 so far. I have read 128 books already this year, which is an excessive problem, but I suppose there are worse addictions.

1. The Best Book You’ve Read in 2017

Y’ALL. I cannot choose. I went through my list and tried to just write down the top books and I wound up with eight books from which to choose. I then went and looked at which ones, if any, actually came out in 2017 and lo’ and behold, there were only two that fit that category so… The Devil in Spring in Lisa Kleypas was a delight to read and came out in 2017. If you’ve read The Wallflowers series (which I also finished reading this year), the hero from this book is Evie and St. Vincent’s son and Gabriel is amazing. He accidentally compromises Pandora (or Pandora accidentally winds up compromised?), so they have to marry (because Regency London), but Pandora is not having it. She wants to make and sell board games so marriage does not fit into her life plan. I just absolutely adored this entire book, so I highly recommend!

Honorable Mention: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Mass (the other 2017 release) and Hold Me by Courtney Milan (book talk coming to the blog August 3rd!)

2. The Best Sequel You’ve Read in 2017

If I’m being honest, this category had the least amount of competition, which is wild because I was looking forward to A Court of Wings and Ruin so much. But I absolutely adored Crooked Kingdom (’16) by Leigh Bardugo in every way. If you haven’t read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, I would highly recommend the audiobooks. There is a full cast for these, which makes the books so incredible. I got so absorbed listening to this one while driving that I passed six cops in Virginia still speeding like I was in North Carolina. Let us all thank goodness they declined to pull me over.

You should know though that the hard cover of Crooked Kingdom has the most gorgeous red pages and I need it desperately, despite owning the audiobook.

3. The Best Movie You’ve Seen in 2017

Oh boy. Yet another difficult choice coming down to Wonder Woman or Spider-Man: Homecoming. I love superhero movies and I generally like Marvel movies better than DC movies because I appreciate the tone so much more in Marvel than in DC. But Wonder Woman was just so magical and empowering. I’m so excited that it did well enough that they’re doing reshoots for Justice League. Diana’s character is so important and Gal Gadot did an excellent job with her portrayal. I loved it so much. So Wonder Woman it is!

Honorable Mention: Spider-Man: Homecoming and Hidden Figures

4. The Best Album of 2017

I expected there to be stiffer competition for this category by this point in 2017. Actually, to be more accurate, I expected there to be less competition because I assumed Ed Sheeran’s ÷ would blow me away so completely that nothing else could compare, but it was kind of a letdown. So the Best Album of 2017 so far is by far Melodrama by Lorde. This album is the most impactful album that I’ve heard in ages and maybe it’s because I’m a melodramatic person by nature, but the stories and emotions are so relatable in this album. And thanks to Taylor Swift, I can say that it’s sonically cohesive. So yay, Lorde! Hopefully the Grammy is yours.

Favorite Song: Liability

5. Biggest Disappointment of 2017

My biggest book disappointment was probably Your Wicked Ways by Eloisa James because I don’t know that I’ve ever disliked a hero more in my life than Rees.

My biggest musical disappointment was Ed Sheeran’s ÷ even though I love a few of the songs from the album (“Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” especially).

My biggest movie disappointment has been La La Land. I hated the end of this movie so much. It won so many awards and I’m still so baffled. Just, no. Moonlight was a thousand times better and Hidden Figures was absolutely incredible.

6. Biggest Surprise of 2017

My biggest book surprise was probably A Hunger Like No Other by

Kresley Cole, which I’m choosing because it’s a paranormal romance, which tends to not be my kind of thing since I got past my Twilight phase. This book absolutely blew me away. It even has tropes I don’t like, including an alpha male who is excessive in the worst way. I adored it though and can’t wait to continue with the series.

My biggest music surprise was definitely HAIM’s album, Something to Tell You, because aside from seeing them open for Taylor in Nashville, I haven’t ever listened to their music. I think this album is great though! The beat to all of them are incredible and the sisters really slay on the vocals.

My biggest movie surprise is more difficult because I tend to not watch movies I’m not too sure about, but I watched Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates with my best friend and roommate (for only another few weeks!) on our best day ever. I normally wouldn’t have watched this movie so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

7. Favorite New Author

I wanted to tell you about a new debut author that I’ve read that I’m really excited for future books, but… Well, it turns out I don’t think I’ve read a single debut this year. Yet. Those will come, hopefully!

So instead, I will tell you that I’ve begun devouring Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Sarina Bowen this year. I’ve gotten through almost the entire backlist of all three at this point. So if you’re in the mood for feel good romances, Quinn and Kleypas write historical romance and Sarina Bowen is a contemporary sport romance writer (hockey, specifically).

8. Newest Fictional Crush

To pick only one new fictional crush… Ugh. The struggle is real. I’m going to have to go with Collin Bridgerton though because he is so squee worthy. I just adore everything about Collin’s character.

9. Newest Favorite Character

I still haven’t stopped fangirling over Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, in case that wasn’t apparent from the fact that I titled my review of The Day of the Duchess, Seraphina, Duchess of My Heart. Sera is so strong. She’s been through so much and reminds me of the line in “Better Man” by Little Big Town (written by Taylor Swift) “the bravest thing I ever did was run.” Sera and Haven needed to be apart, but I’m so happy that they found their way back together and that Sera got to grow so much while they were apart.

10. Book that Made You Cry

Does it count as cheating if these two really need to be read back to back? How Not to Fall and How Not to Let Go are two New Adult romance novels that absolutely shattered me in the best way. I’m so glad I impulse bought these after seeing them on Sarah MacLean’s recommends list because these two books are honestly some of the best romance novels I’ve ever read. Although, I’m not sure how well the first one categorizes itself as a romance because it’s not even HFN. My heart was destroyed and then it was so happy and then destroyed again. Just, really, read these.

11. Book that Made You Laugh or Made You Happy

Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy definitely fits this category. Blake annoyed me immensely when he was introduced in Us, but watching him fall in love with Jess Canning made me so happy. I laughed out loud entirely too many times reading this book. Definitely do not read this book in public if you’re weirded out by people watching you laugh at your book.

This is the first in Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s WAGS series and it opens with Jess Canning running around trying to make sure every moment of Wes and Jamie’s wedding is perfect and then having to confess to her mom that she actually doesn’t want to be a wedding planner either. Jess moves to Toronto, which is where Wes’s NHL team is located, and also where Blake lives. Blake, one of Wes’s teammates, is a ridiculous human being and also one of the best friends anyone could have. I adored getting to know him on a deeper level.

12. Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation

Big Little Lies is not really a movie, but y’all, this HBO miniseries was absolutely amazing. It was incredible and I loved it so much. Although, I will say that it bothered me so much that Reese Witherspoon felt that Madeline was “too perfect” so she made her have an affair. Like… No Reese. Just, no. Other than that change, I thought the miniseries was incredibly well done and a mostly true to the book adaptation.

I know I meant to make it to Everything, Everything but didn’t have the time because of bar prep. Or more accurately, I spent the time I could have been watching that movie reading books instead.

13. Most Anticipated Release for the Rest of 2017

Moxie!!!! I cannot wait for this book! I hadn’t even heard of it until Kirkus released the most ridiculously stupid review I’ve ever seen and everyone’s feminist hackles were raised. So now, this book has shot to the top of my most anticipated list and I cannot wait to get my hands on it September 19th. If you haven’t heard, it’s a YA novel about a teen girl who is sexually assaulted and the way she handles it in the aftermath. Unlike Exit, Pursued by a Bear (also a book I highly recommend), things do not go as “ideally” for her in the aftermath.

14. Most Anticipated Movie

Justice League! I absolutely can’t wait for this one.

15. Most Anticipated Album

I swear to goodness, if Taylor Swift abandons me for another year, I am going to be the most distraught. But I’m clinging to hope that we’ll see TS6 sometime this year. Please, Tay, please!

But if she doesn’t, I think Selena Gomez is likely to drop her new album this year, which is one I’m very excited for, along with Kelsea Ballerini’s sophomore album. I’m also very much looking forward to Kesha’s new album!

16. Best Cover of 2017

I haven’t read this one yet, but I did pick up my copy and am very excited to read it. Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Honorable Mention: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas (above)

17. Books You Need to Get Through By December

I’m trying to get through all of the books I currently own that are on my TBR, most of which are in eBook format, but not all. There are well over fifty of these books so I’ll just tell you the ones I’m most excited about: Wayfarer, Spotless by Camilla Monk, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Dietland by Sarai Walker, and First Comes Love by Emily Giffin. In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for me that I manage to get these TBRs knocked out!

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