Her Bookish Things

2016 vs 2017

2016 vs. 2017

Wow, 2016 was a TOUGH year. Not just for me, but for everyone. But, I’d like to take a minute to share a little bit of what my year has been like, what I’ve learned, and what I’m really looking forward to in 2017! (Book related and non book related!)

A look back…

Anyone that knows me probably knows that I’m sick. I was officially diagnosed this year with Lyme Disease – but truthfully, I’ve been sick for years and years. It just wasn’t until 2015-2016 that I deteriorated and got so sick to the point that I literally wasn’t myself anymore. I couldn’t keep up with my job/my house/my friends because most days I could barely even survive the day itself. I never let myself accept how serious my condition was until early this year. I tried to be normal for so long and I fought it with all my strength… I just didn’t want to give up everything I’d worked so hard for my entire life. But you know what? That kind of thinking was what drove me into the ground. I learned some difficult lessons this year and I wanted to share them with you all. Maybe it will help someone else who is struggling… I don’t know. Worth a shot.

What I’ve Learned in 2016…

  1. YOU are more important than your achievements. Taking care of yourself… your health (mental and physical) is so much more important than your job status, friends, etc. If you don’t accept that, you’ll never truly let yourself rest and heal – or even get help for that matter. I’ve had to learn how to simply “let go” and prioritize the things that really matter.

  2. Accept help. I’m the type of person that likes to be independent. I hate having to ask others to help me when I need it. I hate relying on others or putting pressure on anyone else. This was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do this year. But I realized that the people around me that cared about me WANTED to help me, and no matter how much I fight it, I NEED them to. It is OKAY to accept help from others. Don’t feel bad about it. Accept help, and help others when you can.

  3. There is real power in community. One of the biggest blessings for me was discovering the book community. When I got sick, I lost contact with most all of my real life friends. That sucked.. majorly. I can’t go out and hang out with people – and that was a real struggle for me. But I joined Goodreads last January and Instagram/bookstagram in June and I realized that there are so many people (some sick like me… some not) that are not only inspiring, but truly devoted friends (both to people they’ve met in real life and to people they haven’t.) Books happen to be the thing that got us all talking… but wow am I blown away at the kindness and acceptance this community brings. These people have brought so much joy into my life… and that has kept me going and filled the void of friendship that I so desperately needed. I have NO doubt that some of these special friendships will be life long friendships.

  4. Despite what some people say… books aren’t just about “escaping”, and you can get just as much out of fictional books as you can out of those self help non fiction books. Let me tell you- books have been a lifesaver for me. I’m not going to get too deep into this, but there really is power in a story. Why do you think the parables of the Bible hold so much influence? I’m very right brained personally, and I have such a hard time focusing on non fiction books. Props to anyone who can read them… but my brain just can’t do it most of the time. I have a big imagination that needs satisfying – and I’ve FOUND myself in books. They bring out so much passion in me. I can barely explain it… but I feel empowered and creative when I’m able to read. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with needing a break from stress and letting your mind take an adventure. There’s so much more I could add to this, but I’m going to stop there… for now.

  5. You can love a book and see its flaws. I’m going to keep this one short. No book is perfect. Most all of the books I read have issues in them. I tend to be a very positive reviewer, and sometimes that can be a flaw. I’ve recently learned so much about diversity/etc in literature. I’m still learning. **This statement is definitely not directed at books with clear cut harmful issues such as glorified abuse/racism/other harmful content.** Please don’t take it that way. But what I love most about reading and reviewing books  is that everyone has a voice. You can write a review and it will be seen. We can talk about the good and the bad (which I’m learning to do still). Eat the fish, leave the bones.

  6. God can use anything meant to harm you for unspeakable good. I know several of you reading this probably aren’t religious- and I’m certainly not trying to force anything on you. But this is in my heart, and I just had to write it out. My situation right now is rough- and I’m not the only one going through stuff. Most of you are too. But what I can say with 100% certainty is that I wouldn’t give up the trials I’ve gone through. Not only have I learned so much- but I’ve literally been made into a new person because of it. I wouldn’t give up the friendships I’ve made for ANYTHING. I would never have gotten involved in this community had I been healthy. I would never have found some of my biggest passions (writing, reading, hand lettering) had I not gone through this. I would never have realized how much people with chronic illnesses struggle – and the first thing I want to do when I’m healthy is help others in similar situations. I would have never realized some of the diversity issues either. So yeah this year was painful – even still. But the good from it is truly worth something and I know my God is a redeemer.

So all that being said, 2016 hurt…but I’m going to remain hopeful and thankful… and I’m tucking away everything I’ve learned this year into my heart. On that note… obviously books have been a huge part of my life and I wanted to share my favorite ones!

My Favorite Books of 2016

Best book releases of 2016

The above is a fun list of some of my favorite 2016 releases. Check them out if you haven’t already? Some are more well known than others. My top three are Crooked Kingdom, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Gathering of Shadows.

2017… For Better or For Worse.

Aside from being a year older, I’m SO thankful that 2016 is behind us. Here’s what I’m looking forward to the most in 2017 (including a book list below!)

  1. Hope & awareness. I’m standing strong in my faith for some real breakthroughs in the medical world, the political world (despite the horribleness of the election/etc) and general awareness for issues that need to be talked about more such as chronic illness, mental illness, disability, and diversity.

  2. New goals. This year… whether I remain sick or not… I have some pretty exciting goals. I’m hoping to finish my book this year! Yep, I’m writing a novel. It might only be the first draft that I can manage depending on my circumstances… but I’m aiming for one nice big messy draft. Wahoo! Also, I’m excited to keep practicing lettering, cultivate relationships with others who share a love for writing and reading, and to continuously be inspired by new amazing books!

  3. Reducing stress. This is a major goal. I tend to get stressed easily and my golly stress only makes you sicker. So, I’m going to reduce my stress by letting go of any unhealthy pressure and expectations. I hope you guys aim to do the same!

2017 Releases I’m Stoked For!

Here’s a fun little list of the books I’m most excited for! Some I’ve already read… check out my reviews below! Of course this list doesn’t include everything but it has a lot of great ones!

Most Anticipated 2017 YA books

So far, out of this list… I’ve read (and LOVED) the following…

Anyway, that’s all folks! Thank you to EVERYONE who has taken the time to read this! I’d love to know your thoughts/anticipated books/favorites of the year!


  1. Reply January 1, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    So glad that becoming active in the bookish community has had such a positive impact in your life, Britt! Happy to have been able to meet you through GR and to know that I have someone to fangirl with, especially when it comes to anything ACOMAF! I’ll be praying for all things health and I hope 2017 is an amazing year for you! ♥

    1. Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Aww thanks girl! I’m so glad we met!! And thanks for the prayers- right back at you!!

  2. Reply January 1, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    This is such a wonderful post and I’m so glad I know you <3 Of course we have the same favorites & anticipated releases AND goals of writing a novel and reducing stress. I relate to so much of this so intensely but THIS IS EVERYTHING: "but there really is power in a story. Why do you think the parables of the Bible hold so much influence?" YESYESYES

    1. Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks!!! Yeah I just hear so many people grumbling about how fiction is a waste of time and I couldn’t disagree more. And yes haha we got this… cheers to a better year!!

  3. Reply January 1, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this – I’m so happy to have discovered someone who still remains so positive in the face of distress.

    There are some lessons from this that I’ve also learned, like how important it is to take care of yourselves and how failing is a part of the process, and how it’s okay to accept help. I’m always brushing people away and wanting to do everything on my own even though it’s obvious that I can very much use the help – but I’m learning how to be more open to accepting help from others

    I especially side with you on how I feel about 2016: it really hurt. And yet through it all, I’ve changed and grown into the person that I am now. I’ve been led to the path that I’m still going through that is full of, without a doubt, even more trials, but it’s going to make me better. Here’s to growth! Here’s to a better us!

    With love, Iween | http://wendystrucked.wordpress.com

    1. Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Iween! Yeah they were difficult lessons for sure but I’m so glad we got something positive out of the past year!! Cheers to a much better and much more hopeful 2017!!

  4. Reply January 2, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Loved this post Brittany! I’m so excited for Hunted by Meagen Spooner, ACOWAR and the finihed copy of Caraval! I need to re-read it, ASAP!

    1. Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks girl! YES omg. We must fangirl together. I am so excited to reread Caraval in all its glory too!!

  5. Reply January 2, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    Loved this post! I hear you on the self care and asking for help. My big goal for this year is to strive for more balance in my life and not work on the time (and therefore put my health last). I have endometriosis and it flares up badly if I don’t take care of myself. Also I can’t wait to read Wintersong, I’ve heard so many great things!

    1. Reply
      January 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks so much, Sara! I totally agree- balance is key. Sorry to hear about your endometriosis. I can relate to it actually as I have some issues there too. I know it can be so painful- but I’m glad we are both realizing how important self care is! And omg I can’t wait to hear what you think of Wintersong!

  6. Reply January 9, 2017 at 4:56 am

    2016 vs 2017 was such an inspirational post, Britney! It’s good to see someone with such a great voice spreading such positive energy 🙂 . Although I really do hope things improve for you in the new year 2017. I also nominated you to take part in the Mystery Blogger Award tag https://booksandtealeavesblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/book-tag-the-mystery-blogger-award/ let me know if you do take part – I love to see your answers! xx

    1. Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and saying that! I’m so honored for the nomination as well! I’m checking that link out now!!

  7. Reply January 9, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    What a great post. I am so sorry for your struggles but you seem to have come out a stronger person. I pray that 2017 will come with breakthroughs and tons of happiness for you!

    1. Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you so much for saying that! I truly appreciate it! I hope your 2017 is wonderful!

  8. Reply
    January 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Ugh Britt even though it breaks my heart at times to know the struggles you went through this year, I’m so glad you found help through God and through our own little Bookish Community. I can say that you have helped me soo much when we became friends. As you know of my situation with my family and my sexuality, I am glad to say that God has helped me through it. And I am so glad to say that you played a large part in me figuring out who I was and what I need in life. SO, I got my head screwed on straight and realized that i’m only going to make it through this life with God. I’m definitely a different person now, then the one that you know. But I made it through with God! I hope you’re doing amazing in this new year. I love you Darkling.

    1. Reply
      January 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      OMG!! Hi dear friend – yes I do know who!! Really really good to hear from you. I just want you to know you have a friend in me no matter what path you take in life – and I just hope you found happiness and fill fulfilled! I’m so glad you figured out who you are and your self identity and I’m curious to hear more about what you’ve chosen/what you’ve experienced… I really hope we can reconnect soon! And for sure- God has been my lifeline pretty much my entire life. He is love when no one else is. Anyway- GAH I really hope we can chat again soon. I want to hear everything (if you’re willing to share it of course!)

      1. Reply
        January 19, 2017 at 7:46 pm

        I get my phone back in like three weeks chica, so then i’ll fill you in!

        1. Reply
          January 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm

          YOU BETTER.

  9. Reply
    Heather Conard
    March 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Could you elaborate more how you found yourself in books? I just found that comment so inspiring and would like to know more!


    1. Reply
      March 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you! Well I didn’t read books much in my teen years (i always loved to read- I just was always busy and forgot about how amazing they were.) A coworker convinced me to try Hunger Games and thats really how it all got started. I loved it- but I think that was because it was the first book I read. A few years later I tried ‘The Night Circus’ and realized that fantasy was definitely my genre of choice- and since then I’ve pretty much been enveloped in books. It just makes life so much more imaginative!

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