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Best Books of 2017

I've seen a couple of these posts floating around and since I more or less keep Goodreads updated I have a good record of all the books I've read throughout the year. Five seems the universal good number so I went with that. There's a good mixture of books; a couple of fantasy, some historical fiction as well as a little dash of something French.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
For lovers of the fantasy genre, this is all you could ask for. The reader is first introduced to Lazlo, an orphaned librarian who has always dreamed of traveling to the mysterious city of Weep. An opportunity arises and he travels there to help the people of the city. As well as Lazlo we meet Sarai, part of the problem that needs solving. Through Sarai's gift, the two build a relationship and Lazlo shows her a world outside her prison. The writing is very descriptive and you build a picture of Weep in your mind.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth*
I actually did a video review of this book so this is the first time I'm writing about it. This is also set in a fictional world and follows the characters Cyra & Akos who are from different races of people living on the same planet. In this universe is a powerful force called the 'current' which gives people abilities. Cyra's abilities cause her and others pain and it is taken advantage of by her tyrant brother. Like with Strange the Dreamer the two develop a relationship and try to escape the situation they live in.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel*
I had no preconception before I started the book which was a good thing as everything was unexpected. The story follows Lane and goes between the time periods of when she was 15 and eleven years later and is set around her grandparent's house. Two mysteries are woven into the story; what happened to Lane's cousin Allegra as well as the mystery surrounding the women of the Roanoke family. They either run away or die. The mystery is complex & intriguing and kept me guessing to the very end.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
I'm pretty sure this is inspired by a true story, during WW1 women were enlisted as spies and managed to gain intel from the Germans and then relay back to the British. The story is told from Eve's point of view, she is a timid secretary who is scouted by the army due to her language skills in French & German. She reports to Lilli who is the 'queen of spies' and who Eve greatly admires. The book goes between Eve's story in WW1 to Charlie's in WW2 who enlists the help of Eve to find her cousin. As the story progresses both Charlie and the reader learn what Eve went through. I greatly enjoyed reading about the side of the war which isn't widely known, especially on brave women outwitting men.

The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George*
Anything to do with France automatically gets me excited and I absolutely enjoyed this gem of a story. Marianne is 60 years old when she decides to end her life in Paris after being in an unhappy marriage for many years. Fate intervenes and she is saved and comes across a beautifully painted tile which compels her to travel to a small town in Brittany. Marianne starts over and rediscovers how joyful life is. We also meet some of the locals whose lives are also changed by this stranger. It's a lovely story and shows that you can change the course of your life at any stage.

What were your favourite books of 2017?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ 

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