Last year, I made a grand attempt to predict what my favorite books, movies, TV shows, music, and products of 2017 would be. Let’s all pause and take a moment to collectively cackle at my insane naiveté.
Okay, so in all fairness, I wasn’t exactly wrong about my predictions in the sense that I didn’t exactly dislike all of the things I predicted I’d like. It’s just that I didn’t actually get to a lot of my predicted favorites. So let’s take a look at my predictions vs. how 2017 actually went…
✔ Read/Watched/Listened/Purchased And Loved
⭕ Didn’t Read/Watch/Listen/Buy OR Didn’t Complete (But Want To)
❌ Caraval by Stephanie Garber
✔ Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
⭕ The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
⭕ Empress of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
⭕ Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
⭕ Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
⭕ Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
⭕ A Court of Wings And Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
So you can see that when it comes to my predicted favorite books, I didn’t do so well–I only read two of my predicted favorites (Caraval and Wintersong) and of those two, only one became a favorite of mine (Wintersong)! I’d say I’m not good at predicting faves, but the thing is that it’s not that I hated most of my predicted faves–I just didn’t read them! So who knows, maybe I’ll read them in 2018 and they will become favorites, lol.
I may not have actually read most of the books that I predicted would become my favorites, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t read some great books in 2017! 2017 was the year of quality over quantity for me. I didn’t read as much as I have in past few years, but I enjoyed the vast majority of books that I read! But, even with reading books that I enjoyed more, I still was able to find some standouts that just went totally above and beyond…
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Topping the list as my number one favorite book of 2017 is The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty! This book was a totally unexpected dark horse! I hadn’t heard of it at the beginning of 2017, but I started hearing buzz about it around late October of 2017, particularly from other #ownvoices Arab reviewers–so I added it to my TBR. Little did I know that I was about to discover a new all-time favorite book!
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
This was the only predicted favorite book that I was right about–and boy was I right because Wintersong is actually my second favorite book of 2017! Funnily enough, this was also a book which left me with incredibly mixed emotions. While I do love Wintersong, I recognize that it has some major problems when it comes to its messages and themes surrounding women, romance, and sex.
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
The Last Namsara was a quietly beautiful book that quickly made its way onto my favorites list. It has adventure and intrigue and OHMYGOD DRAGONS!!! The thing about The Last Namsara that I loved was that it reads like an ancient bedtime story that you’re being told by an elder. This vibe is so enchanting because The Last Namsara is all about storytelling. In this world, storytelling draws out dragons and therefore is deemed as incredibly dangerous. Our heroine, Asha, finds herself deeply drawn to storytelling and to the dragons that it calls. This book was written so beautifully and evocatively and I’m really eagerly anticipating the sequel because I absolutely need more!
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
This book got a good deal of buzz in early 2017, but then I barely heard a thing about it around and after its release. Why?!! It’s so freaking good!!! If you are looking for a great story with a villain as the main character, then this is the book for you. I don’t usually like villain stories, but I absolutely fell in love with this one. Everything about Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is so incredibly compelling–from the story to the characters to the world to the writing! I highly recommend you pick this one up immediately!
Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Everyone raved about Stalking Jack The Ripper last year and I (stupidly) thought that, though it sounded a bit interesting, it also sounded kinda cheesy. Flash forward to this past October and I was in a Halloween-ish mood and figured I’d give this one a chance. And I LOVED it! I’m kicking myself for putting Stalking Jack The Ripper off for so long! This book series is a YA historical thriller starring a woman of color in STEM! YAAAAASSSSS! THIS IS THE KIND OF LITERATURE I WANT TO SEE MORE OF!!! It was honestly a fabulous feminist festival of a read! I lov it so much and I’m gonna be throwing this one at everyone for a good while!
Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser
This book is a special one that means a lot to me. This book is a YA pirate fantasy, but more than that it stars a mixed race (Black/White) protagonist. I can’t tell you how much it means to finally see a girl like me represented in fantasy. I just have no words for how touched I was. And it was a super fun book too! It also discussed consent, feminism, and class in a really elegant way. I loved Song of the Current so much and I can’t wait for the sequel.
N/A – I actually didn’t have any predicted music favorites seeing as at the beginning of 2017 I was pretty out of the loop in terms of planned releases for the year.
I’m actually surprised that the vast majority of my music favorites are in the genre of mainstream pop! I guess it holds true that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
“Unforgettable” by French Montana ft. Swae Lee
“Unforgettable” was, like, The Bop of 2017 that I’ll be taking with me into the new year. This song is just so easy to dance to and so fun!
“Downtown” by Anitta ft. J. Balvin
I discovered “Downtown” sometime last week and it immediately made it’s way onto my list of musical favorites of 2017! This is a slower, much more sultry number, but it’s still great to dance to!
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom by Halsey
I saw Halsey in concert this year, so it was kind of inevitable that she’d make her way onto this list. I must admit that at first I wasn’t a major fan of her latest album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. It’s much more bright and mainstream pop style than Badlands was. If Badlands was an exploration of Halsey’s inner darkness, then Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was an exploration of hope. It was an interesting direction to go after haing made a much more dark, alternative-style debut, but I came around to liking Hopeless Fountain Kingdom quite a bit.
Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper
I’ve loved Chance since I saw him in concert when he performed at my university back in 2014. Back then Chance was just an emerging Chicago rapper, but there was the beginning of a bit of hype surrounding him that went a tad beyond hometown pride. His latest album pays homage to his beginning style, while also broadening the scope of is music. He collaborates with everyone from his own cousin to Kanye West, managing to stay humble in his creations without throwing away opportunity. I loved the sound of Coloring Book and I loved the growth it showed while also showing that Chance is staying true to who he is.
The Hamilton Mixtape by Various
I’m very late to this party, considering that The Hamilton Mixtape released last December and I’m only just getting to it now. BUT NONETHELESS, I LOVE IT SO MUCH ASDFGHJKLLKJH!!! I don’t know what to say about this one. It’s a brilliant collaboration between Bradway stars and some of the bigest names in hip hop, rap, R&B, and pop. It’s an update to the (presumably now classic) musical, Hamilton. But more than that, it’s sends such a revolutionary message of hope. It seamlessly bridges the past and the present, reminding Americans what our country was meant to be. And it was beautiful.
Reputation by Taylor Swift
If you’d have told me that Taylor Swift would release an album in 2017 and it would become one of my favorites of 2017, I’d have told you you were certifiably crazy! But here I am, eating my words! I haven’t liked Taylor for a while, but I must admit that Reputation blew me away. I’d even go so far as to say that when Taylor inevitably wins a Grammy for Reputation, it’ll be the first one that she’s truly earned.
Musically, Reputation is definitely a bop and solidifies Taylor’s transformation into a solidly pop artist. But more than that, Reputation is the first album of Taylor’s where I feel like she was being truly honest and raw. She lays everything out on the table and is brutally honest–about herself and how the public perceives her and her emotions. She holds nothing back and gives off an air of, “So you want to see me as a villain? Cool. But I’m going to tell my side of the story too and I don’t give anymore f*cks about how you twist it.” I appreciate and applaud Taylor’s truthfulness and how she’s embraced who she is and decided that she’s not going to be a victim of public perception anymore, she’s just going to be herself and f*ck it if you don’t like it.
✔ Wonder Woman
⭕ Beauty and the Beast
⭕ The Space Between Us
✔ Spider-Man: Homecoming
This year, I think we can all agree that Wonder Woman stole the show when it came to movies! And I too lost my heart to the fierce feminist icon who flew into theaters! Wonder Woman was such an incredible movie, for so many reasons. First off, the movie was largely the product of women–at every level! It was wonderful (pun intended!) to see the work of women shining so brightly. Second off, Wonder Woman was the gloriously feminist extravaganza that we all know we needed in 2017! At every turn, the movie celebrates the power of women, proving you can be feminine and strong! I loved this movie so much and I have no doubt that it’ll cement itself as a new classic!
⭕ Still Star-Crossed (ABC)
⭕ Travelers (Netflix)
⭕ Riverdale (The CW)
⭕ Stranger Things (Netflix)
⭕ A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
Honestly, 2017 was not the year for me and TV. The only show I really watched a good deal of was Iron Fist, which, though I did really enjoy the show, I wouldn’t exactly name it as one of my favorites. In a way, I think m lack of TV watching was good in that it signaled that I was less depressed and was spending less time indoors and alone. That being said, I did miss getting to jump into some of my favorite fictional worlds and discovering new ones as well. Hopefully 2018 will bring a better life to TV ratio, lol!
⭕ The 100 Pop Funkos’
✔ Bookish Candles
Bookish Candles AND Wax Tarts
This was the year that I totally and completely fell for book-inspired candles and wax tarts! I don’t know why but there’s something about scents that really transports me into other worlds and helps me get into the minds of characters. I use these characters for all sorts of purposes, like relaxing or, conversely, sharpening my focus while simultanouslyy keeping me calm. I love this infinitely unique combinations that bookish candle creators have come up with and I can’t wait to get even more candles/wax tarts in 2018!
American Eagle Clothing
I generally buy my clothes from thrift stores, but this year I discovered that American Eagle has reasonably priced, cute clothes that are also super good quality! I’ve loved all of the clothes I’ve gotten from this retailer and think I can say that they’ve certainly got a dedicated customer in me now!
Wet N’ Wild MegaSlicks Lipgloss (in Wined And Dined)
I’ve raved about this lipgloss several times, but I ca’t help it because I just love it so much! My skin tone is hard to match with makeup due to the fact that it’s a mixed skin tone because I’m mixed race. But I finally found a daytime shade of lipgloss that looks great! The only complaint I have about this lipgloss is that it’s not the longest-lasting. But that being said, this ligloss is perfect!