Year In Review ~ 2017

Christmas Tree Corner ~ 2017

Christmas Tree Corner ~ 2017

It always amazes me when yet another year has passed.  I never really know where the time goes, but I sure do use it up.  2017 is the year that I launched my website.  While I haven't done a lot with it yet, I have enjoyed what I've done so far (and I hope my readers have too).

For my "year in review", I decided to revisit just a few of the books I read this year.  If you want to read all my reviews for 2017, well you can easily do that by looking in the archive section of this site, but for this particular post, I wanted to touch back onto a few books that really impacted me in one way or the other.

Some of these books I have written reviews on already, and others, I just read without the intention of writing a review, so they will be the first time I've mentioned them on this site.

The Devotion of Suspect X

The Devotion of Suspect X  by Keigo Higashino was the very first book that I reviewed on my site and 10 months later I'm still thinking about it.  From the opening pages of the book, where you witness the murder take place, knowing who the murderer is, to the last lines of the book, I was completely engaged.  This is by far one of the best murder mysteries that I've read to date and I was surprised how Higashino was able to keep me engaged despite the fact I knew who the murderer was.  The Devotion of Suspect X has a very unique take on a murder mystery, and one that I would encourage anyone to give a chance to.

Syndrome E

Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez is the second foreign language book I read this year after The Devotion of Suspect X, and it is the second murder investigation thriller that I thought was fantastic.

Syndrome E is the third book in the Franck Sharko series, but the first one to be translated into English, however, I didn't feel like I was lost while reading this book.  Although I would like to read the first two books in the series, just to completely round out the characters, it wasn't necessary to follow along in the story while reading Syndrome E.  

With some surprising twists in the story, Syndrome E travels the globe to solve it's mystery, which just gets more and more intriguing as you read along.  Another must read.

The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin has to be one of the most uniquely written novels I've read so far.  Written in the second person, The Fifth Season takes a little getting used to, and honestly if it wasn't for the review I read on Goodreads by Rick Riordan, I don't think I would have gotten passed the strangeness of reading in the second person. This would have been my loss as I turned out to love The Fifth Season.

Recommended to my book-club by my friend and author, H. G. Bells, this is one book that I'm pretty sure I would not have discovered without the recommendation of someone I knew and respected. Taking place in a world where people, called orogenes, have the ability to control the earth.  Both feared and revered, orogenes are controlled by the governmental powers and have little say in their own lives.  They are tasked with controlling the seismic activity of the planet in order to steam off near-extinction level earthquakes.

Read The Fifth Season, and give yourself until at least page 50 before you put it down.  Reading in the second person takes some time getting used to, but believe me when I say, in this case it's totally worth it.

Heart and Brain: Body Language: An Awkward Yeti Collection

If you have never heard of The Awkward Yeti, do yourself a favour and check out creator, Nick Seluk's site, go ahead, do it now...you can thank me later.

You can read my original review of Heart and Brain: Body Language or you can just trust me when I say that somehow Nick Seluk knows exactly what you are thinking and when you are thinking it, and then draws it out using the characters Heart and Brain as well as a host of other organs.  

Full of laughs, I loved this book from cover to cover.

Earls The Cookbook

I debated a little bit whether to include the Earls The Cookbook or not.  Why the debate you ask?  Well, this it isn't an actual novel, but rather a cookbook.  That being said, there is a bit of a story in the book itself on how Earls came about back in the eighties, and each recipe includes a little bit of a description on how it was created or where the inspiration for the recipe came from.

In the end I decided to include Earls The Cookbook in my year in review post because I LOVE IT!  I've been wanting this cookbook for a while now, since I love eating at Earls, and this year for Christmas, Michael got it for me.

Homemade Focaccia Bread ~ Recipe from Earls The Cookbook

Homemade Focaccia Bread ~ Recipe from Earls The Cookbook

So far I've tried two of the recipes, the Focaccia bread and the Alfredo sauce, and both turned out perfectly and tasted just the same as eating at Earls. I've also learned about making rice for stir-fries, and I think I now know why my rice for stir-fries never turns out even close to how it is as restaurants (I believe I've been under-cooking the rice and not drying it out).

There are a bunch of other recipes that I will be trying out in the next little while, including my regular order whenever I eat at Earls, the Santa Fe Chicken Salad with a side order of warm potato salad.  

While some of the recipes do require a little bit of prep-work, I haven't found any of the recipes to be outside my level of comfort, and even the rarer ingredients have an explanation on where you can purchase them.  I think this would be a great cookbook for any level with some simple recipes for newbie cooks and some delightful flavours that would entertain even accomplished chefs,

Having read a cookbook cover to cover and already enjoying some of the recipes in the few days I've owned it, Earls The Cookbook deserves to be included in my year in review.

Decorated cookies from my annual cookie decorating party ~ 2017

That's it, my most favourite books of the year.  While I have enjoyed many other books in 2017, these five books have had the most impact on my year.  I look forward to finding out what books will have the most impact on me in 2018.