Emily’s Top 12 Books of 2019

This year I hit on a better way to do my top books of the year post. In past years, I’ve always looked at my GoodReads yearly challenge page in December and tried to narrow down a top ten for the year. Often the books at the end of the year were fresh in my mind but memories of the ones from earlier were starting to fade. It always felt weird having mostly books from the last few months in such a wrap-up post.

That’s why during 2019, I’ve kept a list of my favourite book each month as the year went along, so I can safely say these were my favourite books of the year, even if I sometimes can’t remember why. (Except for really mind-blowing favourites, the details tend to fade for me).

So without further ado, here are Emily’s Top 12 Books of 2019:

January:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. The prose in this book is spectacular all the way through, but nothing beats the chapters where Lazlo and Sarai fell in love over the course of a shared dream. *swoon*

February:

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender. This was such a fun, ghostly book! It reminded me that I enjoy ghost stories (as long as they’re not too scary). It was also a fun thriller, which is what I needed after all the SFF.

March:

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. Mostly, I loved this book because of its forbidden romance element in the Russia-verse, but the whole book was so entertaining! And the audio book is so well performed by Tavia Gilbert.

April:

I have to say it’s a tie between Ten Thousand Skies Above You and A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray because I couldn’t get enough of this series, even when it was a bit predictable. Honourable mention to Romanov by Nadine Brandes because even though I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped, it made me think a lot about the real Romanovs and got under my skin.

May:

The Red Labyrinth by Meredith Tate. This was a fun, twisty dystopian, with an ending that left me wanting more. I’m not sure if there will actually be a second book but I sure hope so, because that ending was quite something!

June:

The Diviners by Libba Bray. This had so many things I like – old-timey New York City (it’s set during Prohibition), ghosts, serial killings and occult mischief. And it was just the right amount of scary. Not to mention January LaVoy does such a great job on the audio version, really bringing this whole world to life.

July:

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis– maybe this is because of nostalgia? Even though I never read the books as a child, I did watch the BBC adaptation an awful lot. I really need to get back to my plan to read the rest of the Narnia books.

August:

Women of Wasps and War by Madeleine D’Este. I read this nearly all in one sitting. It was so powerful and made me feel a lot of things. It explored societal privilege in detail and I particularly liked how D’Este examined the way you can love an individual and still recognise they are part of the oppressive system.

September:

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I’d been looking forward to this book for a while by the time it was released. It took me a little while to get into it but I eventually realised that was because I was reading it in small doses. It needs your full and undivided attention. I loved learning about Mexican mythology, and the writing is poetry!

 

October:

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg. Almost-human robots in a dystopian Disneyland. What’s not to love? This was fast-paced and incredibly fun! I was worried I had hyped it up to myself too much, but it lived up to my expectations! Now I want a sequel where the robots stage a revolution!

November:

Portable Curiosities by Julie Koh. I’ve become more interested in short story collections in the past few months and this was definitely a quirky, enjoyable one. Sometimes I had to think about the stories before I figured out what they were really saying, and there were a few that I didn’t get at all, but the satire was really entertaining.

December:

A Holiday by Gaslight by  Mimi  Mathews. I was in such a readinig slump and this delightful little Victorian romance was exactly what I needed to pull me out. It had everything I wanted in a romance and loved the characters.

You  can see the full list of books I read this year at my GoodReads 2019 Challenge page.

Here’s to more amazing books in 2020! Can’t wait to hang out with you all some more!

 

2018 – A Bookish Retrospective

It’s the last day of 2018, which means it’s time for the bookish memes I do every year.

I read 84 books this year, which is ten fewer than the past couple, but I was travelling for a while and hit a reading slump in the middle of the year. I was also driving less, so while I finally got an Audible account (I’d been holding out but I think it is worth the money), I probably got few fewer audio books.

GoodReads says that my average rating for the year was 3.4, which does reflect the reading slump, but there were definitely some great reads in there, and I’m pleased to share them with you now. You can also see my GoodReads Year In Books.

I’m afraid I haven’t linked to any of the books or  my reviews in this post. There were too many for me to go around hunting for them all. But you can find my GoodReads here, with everything you should need to find them. Feel free to friend me so that my reviews show up in your Friends sections on each title.

Meme 1

Finish each sentence by using the title of a book you read this year.

My family reunions are: Legendary (Stephanie Garber)

At a party you’d find me with: The Other Alice (Michelle Harrison)

I’ve never been to: Station Eleven (Emily St John Mandel)

Motto I live by: Keep Her Safe (Richard Parker)

A happy day includes:  Sugar Spells (Lola Dodge)

On my bucket list is: Caraval (Stephanie Garber)

In my next life, I want to have: A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald (Natasha Lester)

People might be surprised: I Had Such Friends (Meg Gatland-Veness)

In high school I was: Unearthed (Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman)

I will never be:
Your One and Only (Adrienne Findlay)

My fantasy job is:
Girl Reporter (Tansy Rayner Roberts)

I hate it when: Adulthood is a Myth (Sarah Andersen)

At the end of a long day I need:  The Strings of Murder (Oscar de Muriel)

I Wish I had:
Lessons in Letting Go (Corinne Grant)


Meme 2

+ Books read: 84/75

+ The first 5 books that I read this year:

  • False Awakening by Cassandra Page (3 stars)
  • Everless by Sara Holland (4.5 stars)
  • Mr Stink by David Walliams (3 stars)
  • The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud (4 stars)
  • The Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin (4 stars)

+ The last 5 books that I read this year:

  • The Midnight Watch by David Dyer (4 stars)
  • Olmec Obituary by L. J. M. Owen (3 stars)
  • Sixty Seconds by Jesse Blackadder (3.5 stars)
  • Wundersmith: the Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (3 stars)
  • The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

+ My top 10 books this year (in no particular order):

  1. The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
  2. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
  3. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  4. White Night by Ellie Marney
  5. Nevermoor: the Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
  6. Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge
  7. The Midnight Watch by David Dyer
  8. The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

I, uh… only really had a Top 8 this year.

+ Which book surprised you the most in a good way?

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. It took a while to get into but then I was actively looking forward to solo car trips so I could listen to more of it.

+ Any books that made a really big impression on you and that you think you will carry with you for a good while?

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore and The Midnight Watch by David Dyer were two historical novels based on real events. In both cases, I found myself pausing the audio books to google historical figures or events that were referred to. This is why I like historical fiction. I get more out of it than I do from non-fiction history books.

+ Any passage/quote you want to share?

“You were dead convinced you would marry this pianist. That was quite a change of heart, Clara. What happened?”

Clara hesitated, because she didn’t want him to take his hand away.

“I remembered you,” she said, her face burning.

Nutcracker was silent a moment. The snarling rats in the background seemed muffled. Clara didn’t look at Nutcracker’s face, but kept her eyes down, on his hand.

“Such a thing, Miss Stahlbaum. For when the world was darkest, I remembered you.”

The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

D’awwww. 😍😍😍 This bit made me squee a lot.

+ Finally, my top 5 favorite book covers of the year in no particular order:

  • Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
  • White Night by Ellie Marney
  • Sugar Spells by Lola Dodge
  • The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork
  • Hunted by Meagan Spooner

2016: A Bookish Retrospective

I did these two book memes at the end of 2015 and enjoyed them, so here I am again to apply them to the books I read in 2016. This was supposed to go up on NYE, but I never got around to it, so the Thursday Book Tag spot seemed like a good alternative.

Meme 1

+ Books read: 93/75 – smashed my goal!

+ The first 5 books that I read this year:

  • Somewhere In Between by Katie Li (2 stars)
  • Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairytales by Justin Richards (4 stars)
  • Alternate by Ernie Luis (4 stars)
  • Lucid Dreaming by Cassandra Page (4 stars)
  • The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville (5 stars)

+ The last 5 books that I read this year:

  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer (4.5 stars)
  • The Two by Will Carver (2 stars)
  • Elenore by Faith Rivens (4 stars)
  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer (2.5 stars)
  • Pyramids by Terry Pratchett (4 stars)

+ My top 10 books this year (in no particular order):

  • The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville (5 stars)
  • The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (4.5 stars)
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman (4 stars)
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (4 stars)
  • Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson (4 stars)
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (4 stars)
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer

+ Which book surprised you the most in a good way?

Am I Black Enough For You? by Anita Heiss. Memoir-types are always a bit hit or miss for me and it took a while to get into this one, but I really liked that Anita challenges my assumptions and made me think about racial relations in Australia.

+ Any books that made a really big impression on you and that you think you will carry with you for a good while?

That’s a good question, and sadly I think the answer is no this year.

+ Any passage/quote you want to share?

“Live your fear.” Why didn’t we teach kids that? Why wasn’t that in a graduation speech? Commencement speakers should start telling the truth: “You’re going to fuck up, but most of the time, that’s all right.” – Mara Wilson, Where Am I Now?

+ Finally, my top 10 5* favorite book covers of the year in no particular order:

top5covers2016
Clearly I have a thing for black backgrounds with vibrant foregounds.

*honestly, I didn’t read too many with covers that really wowed me this year.

Meme 2:

Finish each of the sentences only with titles of books you read this year:

My family reunions are: The Madness Underneath (Maureen Johnson)
At a party you’d find me with: The Raven King (Maggie Stiefvater)
I’ve never been to:
The Life Assistance Agency (Thomas Hocknell)
A happy day includes:
   A Stolen Kiss (Kelsey Keating)
Motto I live by: Catch Me If You Can (Frank Abagnale Jr.)
On my bucket list is: Life in Outer Space (Melissa Keil)
In my next life, I want to have:
Isla’s Inheritance (Cassandra Page)
In high school I was: Fairest (Marissa Meyer)
People might be surprised: I Hunt Killers (Barry Lyga)
I will never be: The Dragon in the Garden (Erika Gardner)
My fantasy job is: Rebel of the Sands (Alwyn Hamilton)
At the end of a long day I need: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge (Paul Krueger)
I hate it when: Seeing Redd (Frank Beddor)
I Wish I had:
More Than This (Patrick Ness)

(I had to stretch a few of these, but I got there in the end!)

2015: A Year in Books

I was going to do a nice retrospective blog post today, but time got away. It’s already 8:35pm, and I’m generally not one for staying up and seeing in the New Year, so I’ll be going to bed at my usual time. However, in various places on the Internet, I found a couple of fun year-in-review bookish memes, so I thought I’d do them myself and post them here to cap off 2015. You can also see my GoodReads 2015 Year in Books.

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