Friday, January 31, 2020

More Favorite Reads of 2019

It's been a couple years since I compiled a favorite reads post. It's been hard for me to read as much as I'd like to over the past few years and I'm excited to be feeling more like myself and to do more reading.

Here are some fun facts about these twelve books:
  • 5 were discussed in one of my book groups
  • 6 were audiobooks - I'm definitely reading more audiobooks than anything else these days
  • 3 were ebooks
  • 4 were debuts or new-to-me authors
  • 5 were fantasy
  • 2 were magical realism
  • 2 were science fiction
  • 1 was nonfiction
2019 was a good year for reading and I'm looking forward to 2020 being even better.

Favorite YA Contemporary: Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
This book combined several of my favorite things: American girls in Europe, parallel realities, and a main character who finds her voice. I read the book this summer when I was feeling so much wanderlust. I don't know if it helped or made it worse, but it was a great way to live vicariously. (featured here)

This book is magical realism at its finest and can we just talk for a minute about what a master storyteller Erin Morgenstern is? I loved the way everything in this book wove together with even the tiniest detail being integral to the story. I loved living in this world as I read and it's a setting that has stuck with me since I finished the book.

I loved the medieval feel of Onyx & Ivory and was excited to revisit the world in this sequel. The first book was a slow burn, but Shadow & Flame caught me immediately and did not let go. It's a perfect fantasy filled with interesting magic and political intrigue and dragons. We can't forget the dragons. (series featured here)

Favorite Series Conclusion: Supernova by Marissa Meyer
I read this entire series this year and will admit that it took me a little time to get into, but each book is better than the last. Supernova was the best of them all. It tied up loose strings and created new ones. It dove into the ideas behind being a hero all while giving us a lovely romance.

Favorite Science Fiction Book: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae Files series is science fiction at its best, so I was excited to see where Kaufman and Kristoff would take us next. They didn't disappoint with a new cast of distinct and interesting characters, a truly creepy monstrous problem, and the mystery surrounding the main character. I'm looking forward to the next installment. 

I first read this book in 2010 and loved it. When my book group decided to read it, I was excited to revisit it, and I still love it. The book has a lovely gothic feel and is shrouded in sadness and mystery. There were some details that stuck with me from 2010 to now but so many that I had forgotten, and I really enjoyed reading this story again. (featured here)

Favorite Audiobook: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Echo has a little bit of everything. It's a WWII novel with music, magic, and intertwined stories. I really loved the audiobook because the music mentioned in the book was played along with the story. I enjoyed the different narrators for each section and the magic that wove through the story. This is a lovely middle grade World War II novel.

Favorite Book Club Book: The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
This book opened up such an interesting discussion about devotion and faith with my book club. Thanks to JoLee, I was able to talk a little about the Mystics during our discussion, and I think this book does a great job of highlighting this lesser known historical concept. It was certainly a book that got me thinking. (featured here and here)

Favorite Retelling: The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine
This is C.J. Redwine's fourth Ravenspire novel, but it's the first one I read. I was so impressed I went on to read the rest of them. I love the high fantasy feel of the book and the beautiful world-building. My biggest pet peeve with a fairy tale retelling is when it is too on the nose, and this one walked that edge a bit, but the setting was so well established that I didn't bat an eye. (first book in the series featured here)

Favorite Non-Fiction Book: Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin
JoLee and I have often discussed how the Vietnam War is a black hole in our knowledge of American history. This book did a great job of illustrating the historical context surrounding the war and the mistakes made leading up to and through the conflict. It was enlightening to say the least and done with Steve Sheinkin's signature style of telling the story of history, not just the bullet points. (featured here)

Favorite Read of the Year: Circe by Madeline Miller
Greek mythology is another favorite thing of mine, and so it's no surprise that I loved Circe. I loved the character as reimagined by Madeline Miller, I loved the way all these seemingly separate myths were woven together into one cohesive narrative that will forever change the way we look at this villain from the Odyssey. (featured here)

Favorite Book by a Best-loved Author: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I loved Laini Taylor's The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and was really excited to read Strange the Dreamer. It did not disappoint. This is the kind of book you sink into slowly until you are completely submerged in the setting, the story, and the characters. An absolutely beautiful read. (featured here)

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