Top 10 Books to Read in 2017

Standard

So with an incredibly successful reading year for 2016, I intend on having 2017 be just as fruitful when it comes to books. I’ve made quite a dent in my TBR pile, but not enough that I’ve lifted my book buying ban! Onwards and upwards I say, and here are the top ten books I want to get around to reading in 2017.

These books are in no particular order.

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

30653764

At the end of Yellow Brick War, Amy had finally defeated Dorothy. Just when she and the rest of the surviving members of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked thought it was safe to start rebuilding the damaged land of Oz, they realized they’ve been betrayed—by one of their own. And Dorothy might not have been so easily defeated after all. – from Goodreads.com

This is the last book in the Dorothy Must Die series and I can’t wait to see how it ends! These books are so much fun and I’m sure it will carry on to the fourth and final instalment.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

28961937

‘You can’t get around Kate Battista as easily as all that’ Kate Battista is feeling stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but the adults don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner. – from Goodreads.com

After reading Eligible this year, I’m branching out in the intervention genre and not just reading fairy tale retellings. This one is a reworking of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and will probably be similar to one of my favourite films 10 Things I Hate About You.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

30805963.jpg

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers. – from Goodreads.com

I read A Study in Charlotte not too long ago and really, really enjoyed it! I absolutely love all things Sherlock Holmes and all things mystery, so this really was a hole in one for me. In 2017, the next book in the series is coming out and I can’t wait to read it!

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

28614411.jpg

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control. Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa? – from Goodreads.com

This is a book that has had a lot of buzz this year, but it’s only out in the USA and Australia, which means getting hold of a copy can be quite expensive if you’re on a minimal budget like I am. I’m hoping a UK publisher is going to pick it up and start distributing because the need to read this book is becoming unbearable!

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

23207027

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. – from Goodreads.com

The Three Dark Crowns Series is new from Kendare Blake and is an epic fantasy tale reminiscent of a Game of Thrones. This is a book I haven’t had a chance to pick up yet but it sounds so incredibly exciting, and will hopefully quench my thirst for a really good fantasy!

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

30233110

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not — their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world? – from Goodreads.com

This was my most anticipated read of 2017, but as the reviews came back it seemed there was some problematic content that needed to be addressed. I would still like to read this book to see what the problematic content is, to educate myself on why it is problematic and how we can erase these harmful descriptions and properly represent anyone and everyone.

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

29772863.jpg

In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure — with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team. – from Goodreads.com

Anything that directly, or indirectly, involves the Lunar Chronicles I AM THERE. Winter was my most favourite read of 2016, and so the fact that we have something else to look forward to in the Lunar Chronicles universe makes me very, very happy!

The Heiresses by Allison Rushby

16147198

When three teenage girls, Thalia, Erato and Clio, are summoned to the excitement of fast-paced London–a frivolous, heady city full of bright young things–by Hestia, an aunt they never knew they had, they are shocked to learn they are triplets and the rightful heiresses to their deceased mother’s fortune. All they need to do is find a way to claim the fortune from their greedy half-brother, Charles. But with the odds stacked against them, coming together as sisters may be harder than they think. – from Goodreads.com

This is another book I’ve been pining after for years! The synopsis of this book sounds so exciting, and opposite to Three Dark Crowns when the triplets are coming together not tearing each other apart! In fact, it will be interesting to see the dynamics between the two.

Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir

26048656

In all the romancing, has anyone regarded the evidence that Anne Boleyn did not love Henry VIII? Or that Prince Arthur, Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, who is said to have loved her in fact cared so little for her that he willed his personal effects to his sister? Or that Henry VIII, an over-protected child and teenager, was prudish when it came to sex? That Jane Seymour, usually portrayed as Henry’s one true love, had the makings of a matriarch? There is much to reveal … – from Goodreads.com

I am completely fascinated by the Tudor period, especially Henry VIII’s six wives. You might think this subject has been done to death, thanks to Philippa Gregory, Antonia Fraser, Margaret George and many more, but I personally really love each individual interpretation, and this collection looks as though it’s going to be a different spin.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

21166041

The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn’s mother, took the child’s life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big-city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide — and for the first time in her high-profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep inside the world of those who live “plain,” Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. And as she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within — to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past reenters her life. – from Goodreads.com

I am also fascinated by the Amish and their way of life, so when I realised Jodi Picoult had written a book that delves into the world of the Amish, I knew I had to read it. I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet, but hopefully I’ll get around to it this year.

So this completes my list of books I hope to read in 2017. Are there any books here you’re looking forward to reading? Or have I missed off one of your most anticipated? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Recap: The End of #PLL As We Know It

Standard

Please be aware that there are spoilers for Pretty Little Liars in the post ahead.

tumblr_odbjblU5Qw1rjrfw0o1_500.png

(c) butterflycaps

Ever since my last Pretty Little Liars post I have been constantly theorising, ready for the end of the show, which was confirmed to finish after its seventh season. From the first episode, titled Tick Tock Bitches, the PLL train steamed ahead with ten episodes before breaking after the mid-season finale, leaving a string of shocking cliffhangers in its wake.

The beginning of season seven begins with Uber A on the hunt for Charlotte’s murderer, despite Hanna having confessed to killing her and having been kidnapped as a result. Not only are the Liars trying to #SaveHanna, but they’re also trying to figure out who is behind the Uber A game. There has been so much confusion surrounding whom identifies as whom, as Uber A has since been disclosing their texts as AD. There had also been much talk of an Avenger, but this only seems to complicate the matters more. Ever since the Uber A story line was introduced in the second half of season six, everyone has become a suspect, but at the beginning of seasons seven, Alison DiLaurentis was looking particularly shady. Is Ali texting the Liars to avenge her sister’s murder, and believing her friends had something to do with it? Meanwhile everyone in Rosewood is pointing fingers and suspecting Alison as the killer instead. Or is it someone else entirely? Someone completely outside of the Liars’ circle.

tumblr_n0cv946ibl1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

But it’s not too far into the episode that things start getting a little bit strange. Inside the shed, where Hanna had been kidnapped and locked up by Uber A, she is visited in her dream by Spencer who sings her to sleep with the same lullaby that pops up throughout the series Hush Little Baby. Of course, this began to raise suspicions as dream-Spencer was seen without her usual fringe, and that specific lullaby had been previously linked to Mona and Mary Drake, Alison’s aunt and Jessica’s twin sister, leading us to believe that perhaps one of them was posing as Spencer with the help of the masks that have been ever so popular this season.

Mary Drake has been another interesting character that has been introduced this season, but the trouble is, we can’t seem to figure out which side she’s on, and neither can she. First she tortures her niece Alison to insanity, then decides that Elliot Rollins, her co-conspirator and Ali’s husband, has gone too far and withdraws from the revenge plot. Then, after Elliot apparently screws her out of the Carissimi Inheritance that was promised to her, we can’t decide whether or not she’s telling the truth. It seems she’s around to help the Liars, but doesn’t let on how much she knows or what else she’s up to, except that she has recently bought the Lost Woods Resort, which has always been a place of much speculation since the beginning of season one.

As the episodes progress, and the Liars decide to rescue Alison from the clutches of her husband, but the plan to break Alison out of Welby goes dangerously awry. Elliot kidnaps his wife from the institute and drives her into the woods before her friends can get to her. Luckily, their car is followed by the Liars who are able to keep tabs on their whereabouts. When Ali makes a run for it, trying to escape her cruel husband, Hanna runs Elliot over and kills him, and rather than explain the rabbit hole of confusion and lies, the girls decide it’s best to cover up the murder and dig a grave for him in the woods.

tumblr_nkrtqxueft1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

The girls are quite obviously falling back into old habits, and that’s not the only element that has resurfaced. Cue Mona, Queen of all things crazy and dangerous, come to save the day and help the Liars cover up their mistakes. Mona stops the Liars from getting themselves into trouble and helps them stage a narrative that shows Elliot had skipped town, once the news of his shady behaviour comes to light. Mona, time and again, has proved herself useful with her high intelligence and skills she used as the Original A, making sure the Liars stay out of trouble.

tumblr_ny1m1ka6un1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

She also found an unlikely accomplice in Caleb, who also has gone to great lengths to keep the girls safe, so when Caleb disappears and days later a sighting of “Elliot Rollins” has been reported, it’s hard not to conclude that he’s masquerading as the sketchy doctor to help fuel the girls’ cover up. There was even a scene that showed Caleb and Mona’s synchonicity, leading fans to wonder whether the two have been going undercover together longer than we thought.

tumblr_nw8txelGa01rjrfw0o1_500.png

(c) butterflycaps

But it’s not only Mona who has come back from episodes past. One of the fans most loved characters, Jenna, arrives back in Rosewood with Noel Kahn in tow, and their arrival unearths more information about Elliot Rollins, who appears to have stolen the identity to protect who he really is – Archer Dunhill, his initials conveniently being AD, which is the latest pseudonym that Uber A has chosen. The Liars think they have it all figured out, as Jenna is still harbouring some venomous feelings towards the girls, until Jenna and Noel start making friends with the Liars’ long time fr-enemy Sara Harvey, and begin acting even more shady than usual. But when Sara Harvey turns up dead in that bathtub, and who had once been the girls number one suspect, it seems that everyone is running out of ideas as to who could be behind A Mask.

In the sixth episode, the ante was officially upped as the Liars uncovered the bombshell that Mary Drake had a second child whilst she was in Radley, which sent the PLL Army into free fall. To clarify, Mary Drake gave birth to Charles, who was adopted by Jessica and Kenneth DiLaurentis and transitioned when she was sixteen years old. Then Mary had a second child, also with an unknown father, and their identity was paramount to the Uber A story line. I had my own theories as to who the second child could be, and top of my list was always Spencer Hastings, who had a lot of similarities to Mary, and the fact that the DiLaurentis’ and the Hastings’ families had always been so entwined.

tumblr_ndf1i1ozzh1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

Another character near the top of my list was Lucas Gottesman, who had been playing an important, and yet unseen role in the beginning part of the series. We never really knew too much about Lucas’s family, and he could have been a biological Drake, avenging the death of his birth sister Charlotte, which would give him motive to go after the Liars if he thought they were involved in her murder. Emily and Hanna were staying in Lucas’s apartment, which could easily have been bugged, as like Mona, Lucas managed to use his high intelligence to make millions of dollars. Hanna had even been driving Lucas’s car when she hit Elliot/Archer, and Lucas had also convinced her to go into business with him. Lucas has always been a passionate, if not, intense character with his ties to the A Team from way back in season one and two, and Marlene did confirm that the second half of season seven would come full circle.

tumblr_odbjd5lveh1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

Hanna has also had a difficult season, and raised suspicions when theories of the second child started circulating. Could Hanna have been the second child? Maybe. Her likeness to Alison was very strong, coupled with the fact that Ali told Hanna the story about the evil twin, and her mother Ashley was then visited by the same little girl ghost on Halloween. Hanna’s father Tom had never been that interested in Hanna, and this season Hanna was even kidnapped by AD, so things were beginning to make sense – but it was all one big red herring to throw us off the trail.

The last person to have been accused of being AD and Mary’s second child was Noel Kahn, who had been shady from the moment we met him. Noel’s farther oversaw the adoption of the second child, leading the Liars to believe that it was the Kahn family who adopted the baby. Noel was even involved in the Dollhouse with Charlotte/Cece, after Emily and Spencer found a thumb drive with CCTV footage of the Dollhouse on it. Having said this, even after seven seasons, it’s still unknown as to what Noel Kahn’s role in the PLL End Game is, or what secrets Ali had on him, but at last in the tenth episode titled The DArkest Night, the second child was finally revealed.

tumblr_oce9rleibp1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

Spencer was confirmed to be Mary’s second child, and Charlotte/Cece’s sibling, seconds after Spencer was shot by Uber A/AD and Mary sung the Hush Little Baby lullaby to her, the same one that was sung to Hanna when she had been kidnapped. In my opinion, it was a little bit obvious that Spencer was Mary’s child, but that might only be because I spent A LOT of time theorising. As I said at the beginning of this post, the mid-season finale dropped a whole load of reveals including the fact that Alison was pregnant and Noel Kahn was killed… decapitated in fact…

So with what we know now, let’s look to the finale ten episodes of season seven, and examine how this crazy story could be tied up. I’m confident that the last ten episodes are going to begin with guns (literally) blazing.

One of my favourite theories so far, the calls back to the original That Night of season one, is that Alison was pregnant when she decided to fake her death and leave Rosewood, and that Beach Hottie was the father. I believe that Beach Hottie was Darren Wilden, which was why he was so interested and invested in her whereabouts, and makes sense why Cece then killed Wilden to stop him going after Alison. With the presence of Eliza, the little Amish girl, I think it should be considered that Eliza is Alison’s daughter, especially so because in the book series of Pretty Little Liars, Wilden’s character is Amish. This plot may have transferred over from the original source material, with Alison seeking shelter with Wilden’s estranged family to take care of the child. This would also tie in nicely as to why Alison was so fearful of seeing the Wilden mask when Elliot and Mary were driving her to insanity.

tumblr_o4u1nqju8u1rjrfw0o1_500

(c) butterflycaps

I still truly believe that Melissa killed Charlotte for telling Wren about Bethany, but as to who could be Avenging Charlotte, at this point, is something I’m wondering about a lot. I think she also killed Sara Harvey, who was originalling trying to avenge Charlotte’s death. I believe Sara was close to revealing the murderer to the Liars, believing Spencer was in danger as she wasn’t Melissa’s biological sister. Obviously being family is a really strong motive, especially those trying to avenge Charlotte, hence why Mary and the second child (now Spencer) were really high up on the list. Another motive would be Charlotte’s love interest, hence why Elliot Rollins was a suspect, but now that he’s dead, someone else could be taking that role, but who? Wren? Charlotte and Wren have obviously been in contact for far longer than their recent phonecall, revealing Bethany’s killer. And why would Charlotte bother to tell on Melissa to Wren? Was it because she was jealous?

Another favourite theory of mine is that Alison DiLaurentis has been behind the A Game the whole time. From the moment she planned to leave Rosewood up until now, Ali might have been pulling the strings, maybe with Charlotte or not, but I think that would be pretty cool if Freeform can pull it off. Regardless, this coming April all of our questions will be answered and, hopefully, we will finally know everything! Do you have any theories that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!