Kate’s Top 5 of 2019

You’ll notice I am posting half the books Beth posted. She reads more than I do. She also reviews more than I do because she’s an objectively better blogger. In my defense, this year I did move to the other side of the US and start a new job. But, we all know that even without that, Beth still would have read more and reviewed more.

Thus ends the confessional/self-flagellation portion of this Top 5.

This year really feels like five years sandwiched together. So, when I went to look to see what I’d read this year, I was surprised that the books from earlier this year were read this year. Insanity. But, three of them still made the Top Five!

  1. Circe by Madeline Miller. Oh, man, this book. I loved it so much. I loved Circe’s voice, I loved her as a character, I loved the soft tone of the novel. The writing was so good. Ugh, more tales like this, please.
  2. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde. I read this this year. I can’t believe that was this year. I liked this bit of speculative fiction, even if I have some reservations about some of the biology. What if humans hibernated? Well, Jasper Fforde has a possible answer. This is a fun book.
  3. Firebug by Lish McBride. I ripped through this selection for my Pop Culture Homework Assignment. Absolutely shredded it. It is the tale of a woman that can start fires. She works for a vampire! What could go wrong? Many, many things and I loved the story woven around them.
  4. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. This book about sadness and loss and relationships and home and life was… *chef’s kiss*. So good! And, it’s not very long, so get out there and read it, people! I suspect that there will be more reading of Banana Yoshimoto books in my future.
  5. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. Another book I read in the first half of the year. I also tore through this one. The characters were great, the central conflict was interesting and compelling. The writing was good. I’m interested in what Rogerson does next.

Wow, folks, that’s it. That’s 2019. I’m a little flabbergasted this year is over!

Are you Looking for a Challenge?

Well, we have them! Reading challenges for the young and old! Reading challenges to get you out of your comfort zone! Reading challenges to feel challenged!

  1. Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Challenge: This is a challenge with three sub-challenges to get you reading about different subjects, in different genres, and in different kinds of media. You could even cheat a little and count books for multiples in this challenge
  2. Diverse Authors, Diverse Lives Challenge: This challenge focuses on authors. Is it time for you to read new people? Well, this challenge might help!
  3. Diverse Narrators, Diverse Lives Challenge: This challenge focuses on the characters in your stories. Find yourself only reading about dukes or young men on quests? Well, we challenge you to try something new!

Beth’s Favorite Books of 2019

It’s that time of the year.where we all take a moment and look back at all the books that we read this year and try to narrow it down to our favorites. I read 42 books this year which is actually less then normal but that’s okay. It’s quality over quantity right? How do you pick a favorite? Do you go by the book that you just coulnd’t put down? The one you wanted to reread as soon as you finished? The one that gave you the most feels good or bad? All of the above? It’s really hard to choose but I will do my best.

The list is in the order I read them this year as I’m chickening out in saying which one if my favorite favorite. It was too hard to choose.

  1. On The Come Up by Angie Thomas – This was honest and heart breaking as a young girl finds her voice through many challenges.
  2. Seafire by Natalie C. Parker – Girl Pirates. That’s it. I mean what else do you want in a book? Besides some great characters. Interesting world building and twist and turns around every corner. The sequel Steel Tide is just as good.
  3. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee – I really wished this wasn’t a standalone because they are so many adventures awaiting Min. Such a fun story and adventure.
  4. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – This book was a couple of years old but I never got around to reading. I’m glad that I finally did because I couldn’t put the trilogy down.
  5. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell – What do you get when a Witch, a vampire and a former wizard with wings and a tail take a road trip? The coolest car ride ever!
  6. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Traumatic and harrowing but a good mystery. I’m truly intrigued on where it goes from here.
  7. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater – Ronan Lynch is one of my favorite Maggie characters so I was pretty sure I was going to like this book but I surprised at how much I felt for Declan Lynch and new character Jordan.
  8. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black– No one does fairies like Holly Black and the finale to your the Folk of the Air trilogy proves why.

What were your favorite books of 2019? Comment down below and let us know what books we need to add to our stacks.

Top Posts of 2019

These are the Posts from this year that you all really loved! Let’s revisit them, shall we?

  1. Review: The Golden Tower by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – This was a fun series from two great authors.
  2. Quick Review: Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro – Another great series with a new take on some favorite characters.
  3. Review: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – I love a good mystery and this has been top notch.
  4. Quick Review: The Vagina Bible by Dr. Jennifer Gunter – Twitter’s gynecologist answers all your questions about women’s health and demystifies some long standing myths that really need to go.
  5. Quick Review: Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard – Short story collection from the world of Red Queen.
  6. Reading Challenges – Who doesn’t love a challenge?
  7. What I’m Reading Now: Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes) by Lorna Landvik – Such a great title.
  8. Reality is Stranger than Fiction – This post by author Sherrilyn Kenyon was hard to believe. It’s like a novel.
  9. 24 in 48 – Kate attempted to read 24 books in 48 hours.
  10. Not a Review: Circe by Madeline Miller -” This isn’t a review so much as a scream into the void ” maybe the best line ever written on this blog ever.

Series We Said Goodbye to in 2019

After years of following your favorite characters. You’ve laughed. You’ve cried. You’ve screamed at them for every stupid decision they make. And then you come to the end. As everything must end at some point. Here are the series that I finished this year and I will miss.

  1. The Dark Artifices Series by Cassandra Clare – Another Shadowhunter trilogy in the books. It was good and I love that Cassandra continues to push boundaries and populates her worlds with diverse set of characters. I was kinda surprised on how it ended but as always with her books, one series bleeds into another.
  2. Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber – It’s rare that I actually find a series as it’s ending but this one I hit at the right time and read all three back to back and I’m glad I did because I don’t think I would have liked to have wait to see how the Caraval ended. Even if only liked one of the sisters.
  3. Three Dark Crowns Series by Kendare Blake – This is like the Game of Thrones but mostly only the women in the kingdom. It had everything from palace intrigued to rebellions and betrayals and magic. It really kept me guessing to the end and really cemented Kendare Blake as one of those authors I just have to read.
  4. Legend Series by Marie Lu – Technically I’ve already said good bye to this series once already a couple of years ago but that was before Marie Lu decided she needed to close a few plots she left open and give us readers the closure we all needed.
  5. Renegades Trilogy by Marissa Meyer – Superheros with superpowers fighting each other is pretty awesome stuff. It was a quite ride as we follow our heroes and watch them debate who has what best for the city in mind. In the end, it was villains and heroes coming together to save the day.
  6. The Folk of the Air Trilogy by Holly Black – I’ve probably said this numerous times but Holly Black really knows how to write fairies. She just understands how they think or how they would think. This was a perfect ending to a really great series and she even seamlessly wove in her other characters from past books into the narrative without it being obvious or distracting. That’s a true feat.
  7. The Magisterium Series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. – Call and friends when through a lot in the year 5 years at the Magisterium. I kinda miss Call’s sassiness.
  8. The Charlotte Holmes Series by Brittany Cavallaro – Charlotte Holmes would have made her famous ancestor proud in how she solved her mysteries. She was truly a class above all else.

What Series did you finish this year? Comment below and let us know what series we need check out next.

I read 15,686 pages in 2019, so far.

I enjoy the website Goodreads. It makes it easy for me to keep track of the all the books I have read, want to read and discover new books. It also where I can set goals of how many I want to read. Since I joined the site in 2011, I have read 603 books. (I actually read more than that but for several years, Goodreads didn’t include books you have reread in your challenge counts) This year I read 42 books (most likey 43 before 12/31). It’s the least amount I’ve read since 2011. There were years that I read over 80 books a year but I felt like when I read that many that I really didn’t get to enjoy the books as much. I just sped through the books to finish them and really didn’t get much time to think about that. This year I made a conscience decision to make a smaller goal because I knew I was going to be busier. I had more trips planned throughout the year but also I never wanted to feel like I had to rush through a book to make some self-imposed goals. So I’m glad that I made it past my goal of 40 books is what I’m saying. Anyway, according to Goodreads, I read 15,686 pages. The shortest being the novella Shadow Me and the longest The Queen of of Air and Darkness. The average length of the books I read were 344 pages. I love these kind of facts. So here are my stats for 2019 How did you all do with your Goodreads challenge?

It’s That time of the Year…

Over the next two weeks, we will be looking back at all the books we read in 2019 and make out lists of our favorites, our top posts and saying goodbye to all our of favorite series we’ve read over the years. As we go through our lists, we would love to hear all your reading highlights for the last year. Don’t be shy. Leave a comment below and let us know all the awesome books you read and what we absolutely need to add to our To-read piles.

My Top 10 Books of 2018

It’s that time of year where we take a look back at everything we have read this year and come up with our best of the year.  It’s a tough job but not one we take lightly.  It’s been a very diverse year for me.

1.Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi –This fantasy was like nothing I’ve ever read.  A little bit of magic, a little bit of adventure and a little bit social commentary.  It took me on a wild ride as Zelie discovers her own powers and does what she can to help her people from the evil King who has done all he can to erase her people.  It was a breathtaking first book.

2. A Cruel Prince by Holly Black-Holly Black is at her best when she is writing about fairies.  It really is her element.  The lush world that Black has created is so rich and vibrant that I almost wanted to go if it wasn’t filled with blood thirsty fairies.  Looking for a fantasy full of royal intrigue this one is also for you.

3. Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab –Technically I read the first book last year but I finished the trilogy so I’m counting them all as one.  It was one wild fantasy series.  From truly vile villains, pirates, royalty magic and supernatural forces it really did have everything but never felt too much.

4. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland- This one I think I liked for the very beginning. Jane was born a slave but when the dead of Civil War come back to life, Jane is sent to a boarding school that teaches her and other girls of color how to fight zombies so they may one day work in a nice home as protection.  Jane is resourceful, smart and funny.  She knows how to kill a zombie. 

5. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer –Carrie was truly one of a kind and is sorely missed.  Her diary that she wrote while filming the first Star Wars was honest, raw and funny.  Really what you would expect from Carrie Fischer.

6. Shadow and the Fox by Julie Kagawa- Add a little fox, a trained warroir with a demon infused sword and Japanese mythology and you get one fun book.  I really enjoyed the story building and characters as they try to steal save the scroll that will summon the dragon that will grant wishes was great.

7. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake- The third book in the series was definitely a keeper.  I mean they all were but it was still great.  We finally get to see more of the world outside of Fennbirn Island and how the Queens became to be.  The mythology is really coming together and it’s going to lead to an epic finale.

8. Wildcard by Marie Lu – Emika is so cool. As she unravels the mysteries and tries to save not just Hideko from himself but everyone else from an even bigger conspiracy.  It was a fun novel and reminder that not everyone on the internet is your friend.

9..Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir- Elias, Laia and Helene are on opposite sides of the fight against the Nightbringer and keeping the balance. It’s a thrilling race against time to bring down the Nightbringer and the Empire and Elias Mom, who is just frightening.

10. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson- I’m still waiting for the last book in her Shades of London series but this filled the void. Who doesn’t love a good boarding school mystery?  Stevie decides she wants to go to this exclusive boarding school because she wants to be the one to solve it’s biggest mystery of who kidnapped and killed the daughter and wife of the school’s founder.  Twice and turns abound in this one. 

Everything Must Come to an End

As we take a look back at 2018 we started some really great series but we also sadly had to say goodbye to others.  It’s always a bittersweet reading the final book.  On the one hand you finally get to know how it ends but on the other hand sometimes you are not ready to let go quite yet.  So let’s raise a glass to the books that have entertained us over the last couple of years and who knows, maybe our favorite authors will one day return to your fave characters.

  1. Falling Kingdom Series by Morgan Rhodes  – This epic “Game of Thrones” YA series finally came to a close after it’s 6 books.  Alliances were built and destroyed, Gods sent packing and love conquers all.  It was quite a ride.
  2. Front Lines Series (Soldier Girls) by Michael Grant – Rio, Frangie, and Rainey fight until the end of the World War Two.  After three books of following our girls through battle, we finally see them through the end and what they did with their lives afterward.
  3. Carve the Mark Duology by Veronica Roth – Some of the story building was problematic but it was an original idea that was was engrossing.  I do feel that there is enough story left over that Veronica could return this world, she could.
  4. Charlotte Holmes Trilogy by Brittany Cavallaro – There have been many different takes on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.  This time around the Holmes and Watson families have a long history as does the Holmes family and the Moriarty family and a century worth of feuds come to end with Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson in the center. Truly an enjoyable series for any Holmes or mystery fans.
  5. Talon Series by Julie Kagawa – Ember, Riley,Garrett and the soldiers of St. George have no choice to team up if they are going to save the world from Talon  After 5 books it’s been a wild ride
  6. Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard – This may have been one of my favorite YA series since The Hunger Games ended.  It had a little bit of everything.  Super Powers, class warfare, racism and  political philosophy.  I’m sad that it’s over because it was pretty great but I do look forward to what Victoria does next.
  7. Warcross Series by Marie Lu – Virtual reality game is about to take dow the world unless Emika can stop it.  Really it’s not that farfetched and that’s part of it’s brilliance.  Emika is one of the coolest YA heroine.
  8. The Tiger’s Saga by Colleen Houck – This one was kind of disappointment.  This maybe an example of knowing when to stop.  Even though it was always planned on being a quintet, the fourth book was released almost 4 years ago and the story had pretty much been wrapped up.  Tiger’s Dream while a wrap up of Kishan’s arc but was a really long rehash of the last four books.   It didn’t add anything to the story and sort of made me upset with Kishan. 
  9. Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor – These two books were beautiful and heartbreaking.  Everyone is living with some sort of a trauma and doing what they can to survive.  We finally see the true depths of what the people of Weep had to live through and it’s horrifying.  You really can’t blame any of them for their anger but despite all the hurt there is a real hopefulness to it.
  10. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas – Seven books and several twists and turns later we finally see how Aelin’s story ends and it’s epic.  There have been so many stories and characters it was almost hard to believe that Sarah was able to tie it all together in a satisfying ending.  It was heartbreaking and hopeful and one wild ride. 

You Like Us, Really Really Like Us!

It’s that time of year where we take a look back at the last 12 months. 2018 was by far our best year we have ever had here at Stacks.  Thank you for all spent their time reading our little blog here.  Here are the top ten posts that you all really really liked.

  1. Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart – I’m surprised by all the traffic from this post but hey I’m glad you came. 
  2. Quick Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – Thanks to the success of the movie for the first book, which I loved.  I can’t wait for the sequel.
  3. Quick Review: Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Another surprise but maybe you are like me and miss Nick so much.
  4. Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – Such a great book.
  5. Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake – Another really great book.
  6. Review: Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray – For a series set in the 20’s, it could not be more relevant for today.
  7. A Wizard of Earthsea: Chapter 2: The Shadow – Interesting that our read along to A Wizard of Earthsea that Chapter 2 was the one that to the most views.  Also this is the only post in the top 10 that is from 2018.
  8. Review: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare – Another surprised entry.
  9. Quick Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin – Noah Shaw has some issues he has to work out.
  10. Some of my favorite Quotes from In Other LandsOMG!  So many great quotes in this book.