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.
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas – This was honest and heart breaking as a young girl finds her voice through many challenges.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Ninth Houseby Leigh Bardugo – Traumatic and harrowing but a good mystery. I’m truly intrigued on where it goes from here.
Call Down the Hawkby 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.
The Queen of Nothingby 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.
Alex Stern is the only survivor of a brutal attack but that’s the beginning of our story. Out of the blue she gets an offer to join a secret society that monitors other secret society and a full ride to Yale. It’s an opportunity to start over and put her past as a teenage runaway, drug attic and victim behind her. Of course it won’t be easy. Alex has a unique ability that makes her valuable to Lethe, the society that monitors the most powerful Secret societies in the world, She can see ghosts or the dead. Lethe is charged to make sure that the rituals of the societies don’t go to far. When you play with magic anything can happen. Alex is mentored by Darlington. While Alex may not be suited for Yale Darlington was born to it. He grew up in Yale and is in love with New Haven. He’s one of those guys that is just too good for his own good. There are a couple of mysteries that are weaved together to make this such an interesting story. Darlington goes missing and no one knows where he went. Why did Alex survive when everyone else in the house died? How does the murder on Campus have to do with societies. All of these mysteries work together to complete a compelling story of magic, wealth, privilege and class social structure. Sexual abuse and assault also plays a part in the narrative and at times is described in graphic detail so be aware. Alex, herself a victim or sexual assault as well as other abuse. It’s heartbreaking but also unfortunately all too realistic in today’s society. So, yes read at your own risk but for mystery lovers, for ghost story lovers or those fascinating by magic this book is worth the read. .
***Possible Spoilers from this book and the previous Grishaverse novels***
In King of Scars is the perfect mix of the previous two series in the Grishaverse. It has the mystery and court intrigue of Shadow and Bone and the caper mystery of Six of Crows. In a way it’s two different novels. You have King Nikolai who is trying to save Ravka from falling apart while trying to vanquish the monster from within. Left over power from the Darkling. Then you have Nina, who has returned to Ravka’s service by helping to smuggle Grisha from neighboring nation Fjerda. She is also there to bury Matthais. Nina is still dealing with the aftereffects of the Parem addiction and how it has changed her powers. While at the moment these two story lines don’t have a lot in common, you can bet it will all come together in the end. Nikolai is just as charming as he has always been, even with the world seemingly against him. His country is struggling financially and in between two powerful nations. He’s trying to do everything he can to keep them afloat while avoiding another war. To complicate things more, he’s turning into a monster, thanks to the power the Darkling put on him during the last war. Nikolai has always come off as flippant and care free but his love for his country has never been in doubt. More proof of that is the lengths he will go to keep it safe, even from him. A welcome character development is Zoya. The beautiful but hard as nail Grisha from Shadow and Bone. In the past series, she was nothing more then the mean girl who wanted to be the best, the favorite. She did come around to Alina’s sign when the Darkling finally revealed who he was. Here we finally get to know her better and why she is so stand offish. As always there’s more then meets the eye and I found myself liking her, which is something I never really thought I would before. Meanwhile, Nina’s new power takes her mission to horrifying places. They may have destroyed the Fjerdian’s research on Jurda Parem in Six of Crows but apparently that strain wasn’t the only one they were working on. Nina organizes her own heist-like rescue to save more Grisha’s from a truly terrifying fate. I like how Nina is dealing with her grief. I like how she admits that she is not always the noblest of people and has thoughts of lashing out and being rash. It’s real and despite the pain, she hasn’t stopped. She still is out there fighting for the good. There were a lot of twists and turns in this one as you would expect from Leigh Bardugo. It was truly enjoyable and I can’t wait for the next one.
Now that we have looked back on 2018, it’s time to look ahead to 2019. We have a lot of fun things planned for next year. New challenges read a-longs and podcasts! But most of all we are excited for all the new books to read. Expanding our already to long to-read lists even more. 2019 is already shaping up to be our best year ever! So here are some of the books we are looking forward to the most reading next year.
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – Leigh returns to the shores of Ravka to tell us of what happened to Nikolai after the events of Ruin and Rising. We saw Nikolai make a cameo appearance in Crooked Kingdom so we know he still uses his Sturmhond alias even though he is now the King. What other things will we learn about him? and what characters from the past series will show up?
The Everlasting Rose by Dhoinelle Clayton – Camille is on the run from Queen Sophia who is beyond a psychopath. She must find the Princess Charlotte, heal her and come up with a plan with her friends to save everyone. Hopefully she has learned from past mistakes and be a little bit more observant.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi – I can only hope that sequel is as impressive as the first book because damn it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I can’t wait to read what happens next for Zelie and Amari.
The Wicked King by Holly Black – Holly is really at her best when she writes about Faries and that demonstrated with The Cruel Prince. Now that Jude has tricked Cardan into becoming the King of Faerie, what is she going to do next?
Untitled Sequel to Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – I’m not sure this is even coming out in 2019 but I really want it to. I need to know what happens next for Jane and Katherine. Do they make it California? Who did Jane’s mom marry that gave her away? So many questions that need answering.
Final book in the Diviners Series by Libba Bray – Another book that I’m not sure if will be published in 2019 but I’m putting it out into the universe so it will. The final batle with the King of Crows is coming and only our heroes can stop him.
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa – The sequel to the Shadow and the Fox is going to be epic. Yumeko is still on her mission to keep the scroll safe but Tatsumi is now possessed by the demon from him sword. Can Yumeko save Tatsumi and the scroll?
Book 1 of the Dreamer Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater – yet another book that I’m not sure if is coming out in 2019 but I know she has book working on it. Centered on Ronan from the Raven Cycle and how he has and hasn’t changed since the end of The Raven King. It’ll be nice to get back to the barns and see what dreams Ronan dreams next.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – Angie’s first book The Hate U Give destroyed me. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking. I expect nothing less for her second novel about an upcoming rapper trying to save her family.
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas– I’m also very excited about this one!
Women Talkingby Marian Toews– The blurb says the book is about Mennonite women who had thought that they were being visited by demons in the night to be punished for their sins but find out members of their community have been drugging and attacking them. This promises to be an intense story about women coming together to protect themselves and other women in their community.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James-The first in a trilogy by award winning author James, the blurb on amazon calls it an African Game of Thrones. I’m so here for this
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett– Here’s what I know about this: it’s about an HIV-positive black teen. I also know that I enjoy Camryn Garrett’s twitter presence and it seems unlikely that I’m going to stop picking books this way in 2019.
Internment by Samira Ahmed-In this near-future novel, Layla Amin and her parents find themselves in an internment camp for Muslim American citizens. This looks like its going to be another intense tale. Layla works, with the help of others, to obtain freedom.
What books are you looking forward to reading this year?
In the tradition of award shows every way, we at Stacks would like to recognized those series that are no longer with us. They have ended. They and solved all their mysteries and tied up any loose ends. We were said to see them go but they will always be remembered for the joy that brought to our lives.
I will say this about 2016, I read a lot of good books this year. It was hard to narrow it down to just 10. So without further ado and in no particular order.
Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – So it was hard to pick between this one and his other book Riordan wrote, The Hidden Oracle, but I choose this one because of the characters. I love that Rick has added diverse characters to his worlds. Not to mention his characters get sassier with every book.
A Torch Against the Nightby Sabaa Tahir – A cross between historical fiction and dystopian novel. It’s quite a thrill ride and it left a real cliffhanger as to how the series is going to end.
A Court of Mist and Furyby Sarah J. Maas – After a so-so first book this one was a real game changer for the series as a hole. It delved into matters trauma and emotional abuse but still keep the story flowing.
The Raven Kingby Maggie Stiefvater – It’s Maggie and It’s Gansey, Blue, Ronan, Adam and Noah. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect story.
Half Lostby Sally Green – It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. Nate didn’t have an easy life and nothing about this book was easy too. It was very true to life. It doesn’t always turn out the way you expect and in war there are always painful loses.
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – Now this is a fun series. It’s a dystopian fantasy with X-Men qualities. Mare is not perfect. She’s complicated and conflicting but she means well and the writing only gets better with each book.
Pyromanticby Lish McBride – This book doesn’t actually come out until next year so I’ll wait to tell you about it but let’s just say you are going to love it.
Crooked Kingdomby Leigh Bardugo – It’s a crime caper and a fantasy. You root for the the thieves and the con men to win. It’s wonderful.
Ms. Marvel No Normal by G. Willow Wilson – likable and charming, Kamala Khan is worthy addition to the Avengers. She proves that it doesn’t matter where you come from and what you believe, you can still be a superhero.
The Midnight Starby Marie Lu – Another great ending to well thought out series. I may have qualms about who the real villain was but I think it was heartbreaking as it was beautiful.
There are more twists and turns in this book then most streets. While Six of Crows took us to Fjerda and back, Crooked Kingdom stays firmly in Ketterdam. After Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias and Wylan were double-crossed after successfully completing their job at the Ice Court. They plan and scheme to take down Jan Van Eck and get the money they were promised, all while hiding Kuwei Yul-Bo from those who would want to use him for his knowledge of the drug Parem Jurdo, that could change the balance of power to whoever has it. Taking on Van Eck will be no easy task when they are the considered the worse of worst and Van Eck is a highly powerful member of the Merchant Council with the power of the city behind him. Then again, Kaz is never outdone and will not stop until he has his vengeance on everyone who has ever wronged him. Just like the first novel , this is a heist story more then anything else. It would fit in perfectly next to Oceans Eleven if it were a movie. There are so many cons and slight of hands going on that if you are not paying attention, you will miss it. That’s just part of the fun of the book is trying to see if you can figure out Kaz’s master plan before the big reveal. He is always two or three steps ahead. Even when it looks like he’s been bested he already has several cons waiting in the wings, just in case. Each of these characters are deeply flawed but each given time to grow. You may not agree with their decisions but at the same time you can’t really disagree with them either. They use the resources and the circumstances that they find themselves in to their advantage. They are just six teenagers from the barrel and they are going best the powerful merchants at their own gain. You can’t help but cheer. For fans of the Grisha Series will be happy to see some old friends make an appearance that is most welcomed but also made perfect sense to the plot. I recommend this duology to anyone who likes a good heist novel. You’ll be on the edge of your seat.