#OwnVoices · Asian Literature · Book Lists · Books · Chinese · Japanese · Young Adult

Top 12 Favourite Kickass Books of 2017!

Happy new year from my small family to you and yours!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as 2017 ended, whether you were with loved ones or went solo. Instead of blogging, I decided to take a break so that I could spend my holiday time with Sir Betrothed and our kitty clan. We ended up having such a marvellously relaxing weekend filled with reading, video games, and great food. I think that was a fantastic way to end the challenging hot mess that was 2017!

For 2018, I wanted to kick off my blogging on a positive note! In the spirit of joy and good times, I am going to be sharing my favourite twelve reads from the past year. Most of these are 5-star reads and each book had either a profound effect on me as an individual, or completely kicked ass… or both! So, grab some tea, or cocoa, and add some great books to an ever-growing TBR pile.

I’m going to share the genre, a brief synopsis, or a link to my full-reviews, and two to three reasons why I loved the book! They are in no particular order.


The Lord of the Sands of Time by Issui Ogawa
  • #OwnVoices Japanese Literature, Science-Fiction, Retro-Futurism
  • For a full synopsis and more details, please check out my review here.
  • Wonderfully explored parts of Ancient Japanese history that’s rarely touched on in literature.
  • Survey of sentient, artificially created machines feeling emotions, such as love and loss, on the same levels as humans, which was excellently written.
  • The time travelling made it very retro-futuristic, giving it a unique and original twist to a common trope.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
  • #OwnVoices Japanese Literature, Magical Realism
  • Check out the synopsis in my full review here.
  • The Borzoi element helped to create an interactive reading experience that was refreshing and immensely engaging to the visual senses.
  • The storytelling has thought-provoking motifs that are wrapped in magical realism laced allegories, specifically on how libraries function and survive on a give-and-take system.
  • Wonderfully strange.
Rangoli by Pavana Reddy
  • #OwnVoices Fijian-Indian Literature, Poetry Collection
  • This small collection of poems explores what it means to be an immigrant, representation, relationships that are both romantic and platonic, the oppression women of colour face in conservative communities, and more.
  • While the overall structure and execution of the poetry was mediocre, the meaning and subject matter, as well as the candid nature, hit very close to home for me, especially as a brown woman in a world where people like me are unwanted.
  • Inspires self-love and acceptance for people who are uncomfortable in their own skin.
The Edge of the Abyss (The Abyss Surrounds Us #2) by Emily Skrutskie
  • Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Queer Literature
  • Please check out my spoiler-free review for this kickass book here!
  • Jam-packed with high-stakes nautical ass kickings, wondrously terrifying sea creatures, a gathering of diverse pirates, and complexities of an adult relationship amid flaw people and identity crises.
  • Intricate pirate politics and power struggles.
  • My first time reading a book series (or any book) with F/F romance, and it was flawlessly written.
Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali
  • #OwnVoices Arab-Indian Islamic Literature, Young Adult, Contemporary
  • I wrote an in-depth review for this book; check it out here!
  • This was the very first book that I ever read where most of my identity, and struggles as an Indian-Muslima, were beautifully represented. The FIRST ONE EVER in my 30-years of life.
  • Great themes of female empowerment, and the harmful stigmas with rape culture, specifically those surrounding victims within a close-knit religious and ethnic social community; educates on the oppressive nature of rape culture in said communities.
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  • #OwnVoices Japanese Literature, Historical Fiction, World War II Fiction
  • For more information about this amazing novel, please visit my review here.
  • Hauntingly depicts the pain and psychological trauma that Japanese-Americans underwent during WWII upon being instilled into Internment Camps, with precision, depth, and a veil of penetrating sorrow.
  • Terse and revealing prose that is subtle in its heart-breaking authenticity.
  • Such an important book to read, especially given the current American political climate.
your name.by Makoto Shinkai
  • #OwnVoices Japanese Literature, Science-Fiction, Light Novel
  • For a detailed, spoiler-free synopsis and more details, check out my review for it here.
  • Beautiful relationships.
  • Sweeping and eloquent prose that is equal parts simplistic and emotionally evocative.
  • Highly contemplative regarding memories and the subconscious fears that humans have in relation to memories, and the way they can cripple us or empower us.
The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho
  • #OwnVoices Chinese Literature, Historical Fiction, Novella
  • For a short review on why this novella is better than most full-length novels, check out my post here.
  • Excellent commentary on the pompous nature of British high society, and the expectations of conservative Chinese parents during the 1920s.
  • Fantastically likeable main character that’s well-read, witty, and sharp with contagious humour.
  • SO ADDICTING!
Monstress Volumes 1 & 2 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
  • #OwnVoices Asian Literature, Dark Fantasy, Steampunk, Comics
  • For a full-review on all of the ways this comic series is one of the best written since Saga, check out my post here!
  • Mind-blowingly GORGEOUS artwork; some of the finest in the industry to date.
  • Fast-paced and tumultuously twisted storytelling.
  • Intense-as-fuck, supremely badass, and fantastically foul-mouthed female protagonist.
Kieli Volume 1: The Dead Sleep in Wilderness by Yukako Kabei
  • #OwnVoices Japanese Literature, Supernatural, Fantasy, Light Novel
  • Check out my full review for a detailed synopsis and exploration of why this is so awesome!
  • Captivating prose and interesting world-building that is conveyed with accurate and proper translations!
  • A motley crew of characters that gain more dimension with each episodic chapter of their adventure.
  • One of the best first volumes in a series that I ever read.
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
  • #OwnVoices Chinese Literature, Historical Fiction
  • This was one of the best books I’ve read in my life and my review explains why it’s so extraordinary.
  • Comprehensive storytelling of the first decade of Mao’s reign and communism, specifically how it affected small, rural villages.
  • Intricate and excellently developed characters who are genuinely and breathtakingly flawed.
  • Stunningly modest prose.
  • Deep and multidimensional examination of dysfunctional familial relationships, especially those of mother-daughter and sister-sister bonds.
The Pain Eater by Beth Goobie
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Please read my full review on this book and why it’s one of the most important books ever written.
  • SUCH AN IMPORTANT BOOK about the devastating stigma and oppression involving rape culture, especially with young girls and adolescents.
  • The subject matter and messages offered are written to be accessible for people of all ages and reading abilities, which makes it feel even more emotionally raw and real.
  • The intensity of the subject matter maintains its heavy tone from beginning to end, further emphasising the significance of the topics being examined.
  • Impeccably written.
  • The MOST profound book that I read in 2017.

That does it for all my favourite books from 2017! Here’s to 2018 being richer with 5-star reads and kick-ass anime. Please let me know in the comment section what your favourite book for the past year was! Happy new year, once again. Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and wonderfully content 2018. Remember to show yourselves some love, and never give up on your dreams, no matter how big or small.

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