2017: My Year in Books

posted in: Writing | 4

It’s no secret that I love to read, and with every book I read, I learn more about writing as well. So as we wrap up 2017, I thought I’d blog about my year in books.

I definitely read a quite a few YA (young adult) novels, but this year, I also read just as many memoirs. I’m not counting any non-fiction books (which I often read parts of and come back to later). Nor am I including any fiction books I started and didn’t finish.



But here are my 2017 reading stats:

Memoir: 5

Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls (which is technically more of a biographical novel than a memoir)

This is the true-to-life story of Lily Casey, the author’s grandmother, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Walls does an exceptional job at portraying the charismatic and tough-as-nails Lily, who definitely lived a life worth writing about. I laughed out loud many a time and was sorry to see this one end.


The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

After reading Half-Broke Horses, I was ready for more of Walls’ impeccable writing. She definitely delivered in her own memoir which was also released as a movie this year. This story was incredible and touching, and I really enjoyed the movie as well.


Stable Relation by Anna Blake

This was another terrific and touching memoir about horsewoman, Anna Blake, who after a midlife crisis of sorts, started over by moving to a small horse farm in rural Colorado. I could relate to Anna’s story on many levels and really enjoyed her down-to-earth writing style.


The Horses of Proud Spirit by Melanie Sue Bowles

I’m fortunate enough to call Melanie a friend, and her books had been on my to-read list for some time. Melanie and her husband run Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, and this is the story of how it all began. I laughed and cried and enjoyed reading every chapter of this book. I guarantee any animal lover will enjoy it.


Hoof Prints: More Stories from Proud Spirit by Melanie Sue Bowles

And of course, after reading Melanie’s first book about the Proud Spirit horses, I needed to read the second! This one is written in the same style as the first, with each chapter devoted to a different rescue horse or donkey. It’s just as touching as the first book, and it will leave you in awe of all that Melanie and her husband have done and continue to do for the betterment of horses.


Young Adult: 5

Replica by Lauren Oliver

I’m a huge Lauren Oliver fan and have read nearly all of her books (the Delirium series is one of my all-time favorites!). This one was a bit different than her other novels and had a very unique story structure. It’s basically two books in one– the same story told in two different characters’ POV’s. It took me a little while to get into the story, and I can’t say I loved it as much as Oliver’s other books, but her writing is stellar, as always, and I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book.


Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Dessen is another one of my favorite YA authors, and I enjoyed both the writing and story line of this book. I would say her strong suit is the ability to write well-drawn, relatable characters, and she definitely did so in this story. It’s not super fast-paced, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.


Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I actually cheated and watched the movie first on this one. But I loved the movie enough to want to read the book. Yoon has a unique writing style, and I loved the sweet, romantic story line in this one (as well as the major plot twist!)


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

You’re probably noticing a pattern by now, but I tend to read multiple books by authors I like. I definitely liked Everything, Everything enough to want to read more by Yoon. This is a another sweet romance, and I really enjoyed the unique combination of poetry and science woven into the story in this one.


Tuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy

Cindy is a writing friend of mine, and I’ve been a beta reader for another one of her books (which I also thoroughly enjoyed!). She excels in writing dual point-of-view romance, and that’s what this one is as well. It’s a sweet, slow-burning romance between a softball-playing tomboy and a country-crooning teen idol winner. I think many a teenage girl will enjoy it.


Adult Fiction: 2

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

I loved this one because it was based on a real-life historical scandal (which I previously knew nothing about) and also goes back and forth between that story and one set in the modern day. It’s shocking, well-written, and will keep you on edge until the last page.


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I probably read part of this book in middle school or high school, but I really don’t remember. I know I watched the movie long ago. But after this book was banned in one state, I decided I needed to read this classic again. 🙂 This story reminded me of just how much things have changed, but also how much further we have to go when it comes to healing the racial divide in our country.


So if I’m remembering correctly, I read 12 fiction books in 2017. This averages out to be one book per month, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I was also a beta reader for quite a few unpublished books as well (many of which were just as good!) I’m currently reading another book by my friend, Jeff South–the hilarious YA sci-fi, Kilroy Was Here, which I probably won’t finish until a few days into the new year.

In 2018, I hope to read just as many, if not more, great books and also keep better records of what I read. I’d love to make this a yearly blog post tradition as a way to help promote authors and also share my own personal preferences in reading.

Which book did you most enjoy in 2017?





4 Responses

  1. Anna Blake

    Thanks so much for mentioning my book, Jeanette Walls is a hero of mine, as is Melanie. What a treat to be mentioned together. Best to you in 2018, Hope we’ll meet one day.


    • admin

      You are quite welcome and thanks for leaving a comment! Would love to meet both you and Melanie in person. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Plocar

    Have you read any of Joan Bauer’s books? I started with her first and then read everything else. She is an incredible writer; I think you will enjoy her stories (if you aren’t already familiar with her work).

    Thank you for the new-to-me authors to check out. I’m relatively new to the YA genre since finding Joan 12 years ago at 58!

    I found YOU through Melanie–I’m a Proud Spirit devotee!

    • admin

      Hi Elizabeth–Thanks for your comment. I haven’t read Joan Bauer, but I will check out her books. Thanks for the recommendation! I’m a big fan of Proud Spirit and the work Melanie and Jim do as well (if you can’t tell!)