I’ve had an excellent start to my reading year this month. I finished a whole 6 books and that’s only because I made myself stop reading towards the end of the month so I wouldn’t have too many reviews to write! Four of them were five star reads although towards the end of the month things went down hill a little with a DNF.
Away from reading, I’ve been taking the month off from writing and by that I mean I draft zero’d a 10k short story, started writing myself an edit letter for #ExcitingSpaceWIP and did more planning and plot hole hunting for my next wip…..whoops. (i’m officially naming the new one #ChronicallyWitchyWIP). Anyway, it actually was a lot of time off even if it doesn’t sound like it hence all the reading.
Our house is also
officially on the market, so we’ve had lots of people coming and going for
viewings. All the waiting is very nerve-racking.
But back to books. I think one of the reasons I had such a good reading month is that I read whatever I felt like at that moment which meant I bought quite a few books but I did read most of them as soon as I bought them which meant I kept my owned books under 50 which is my aim.
This post is exactly what the title suggests. There are SO MANY amazing books coming out this year (my goodreads shelf has 82 books that sound amazing) but I managed to narrow it down to a top 37. Yes, okay, that might not sound much like narrowing it down but it was super hard. Hopefully there is something for everyone here but a few quick facts:
This list has a mix of YA & Adult books (with one MG squeezed in)
The majority (2/3) are queer
There’s a mix of fantasy, scifi, contemporary and historical (quite a few fit more than one) in lots of sub genres which is why…
I’m ordering this post by release date (according to goodreads) rather than deciding which book goes in which genre
I’m also sticking to standalone or series starters rather than sequels
All links go to goodreads and I’ve tried to include what rep I know about but have undoubtedly missed lots.
I’d love to know what your most anticipated releases are. Are they on this list or have I missed something?
YA // Historical Fantasy POC (Black, Indian) // Biracial (Algerian/French, Filipino/Spanish) // LGBTQ (Bi) // Autism // Jewish rep
Set in a darkly glamorous Paris, it follows a charismatic but cursed heir of a massive fortune as he plots to steal one of three ancient and powerful artifacts of fate. He and his crew will navigate the elite gatherings of secret occult societies, traveling through Paris’s catacombs where they must confront their worst secrets as well as a destiny they never imagined.
Bookbinders remove unwanted memories and trap them safely in writing where they can be kept from escaping. When Emmett is apprenticed to a binder, he starts to suspect his own recollections may have been tampered with.
For Nari, aka Narioka Diane, aka hacker digital alter ego “d0l0s,” it’s college and then a career at “one of the big ones,” like Google or Apple. Keagan, her sweet, sensitive boyfriend, is happy to follow her wherever she may lead. Reese is an ace/aro visual artist with plans to travel the world. Santiago is off to Stanford on a diving scholarship, with very real Olympic hopes. And Bellamy? Physics genius Bellamy is admitted to MIT—but the student loan she’d been counting on is denied when it turns out her estranged father—one Robert Foster—is loaded. Nari isn’t about to let her friend’s dreams be squashed by a deadbeat billionaire, so she hatches a plan to steal just enough from Foster to allow Bellamy to achieve her goals.
Ead, undercover as a lady-in-waiting, must protect the queen from lurking assassins; the queen, Sabran IX, theoretically belongs to a magical bloodline whose existence binds the huge and abominable dragon, the Nameless One, at the bottom of the ocean. Half a world away, young Tané, the rider and companion of a more benevolent sort of dragon, breaks her country’s strict ban on allowing seafarers through its borders. This sets in motion a chain of events that reveals that Sabran’s ancestry may not be the true source of the Nameless One’s bindings, and that tests all three women profoundly in their attempts to keep humankind safe from the beast.
Britain, the not-too-distant future. Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test. He wants his family to belong. Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress. When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death. How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?
In an alternate Cairo where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.
Damian Nettoyer is the Empire’s go-to gun. He kills whoever they want him to kill. In exchange, he and his rag-tag gang of crooks get to live, and Damian’s psychokinetic partner and lover, Aris, isn’t issued a one-way ticket to an Empire-sanctioned lobotomy. Then Damian’s latest mark, a suave revolutionary named Raeyn, kicks his ass and demands his help. The first item on the new agenda: take out Damian’s old boss—or Raeyn will take out Damian’s crew.
Mae and her brother Rossa get sent to live with their Aunt and her teenage ward, Bevan, for the summer. There’s a dark power lurking in the walls that calls itself Sweet James and Bevan wants to magic it’s offering. Mae and Rossa are the only two people who know what happened after the house burns down. Told as a twisting fairytale with multiple timelines woven in.
In a galaxy where corporation is king, an illegal immigrant crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls Excalibur, sealing her fate as the 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur, and awakening Merlin, who has aged backwards into a teenager; together they spark galactic revolution
As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, Amastan’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs. Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed. Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.
Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.
Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder. His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. But the planet he finds it on launches into civil war and his routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. It doesn’t help that a dangerous alien species thought mythical prove unsettlingly real, and their ominous triangle ships keep following Fergus around
Biz, who is floating through life after her father’s death, still sees her dad everywhere: he tells her about the little kid she was, and how much he loves her. But Biz doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. She doesn’t tell them about her dark, runaway thoughts, either, or about kissing Grace and noticing Jasper, the new boy. Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface. But after something happens on the beach, Biz comes undones Her dad disappears, and with him, all her comfort.
An unexpected October snowstorm separates Ash and Vale from the rest of their class on a camping trip. By the time the teens realize they’ve missed the trail, they have wandered deep into the Canadian Rockies. Lost in the wilderness and hunted by deadly predators, their only hope is to work together. But with Vale’s limited supplies and Ash’s inexperience, can the best friends stay alive long enough to find their way back to civilization?
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch. Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
Nova, an autistic, nonverbal, space-obsessed 12-year-old who is awaiting the Challenger shuttle launch and the return of her big sister, Bridget, as she struggles to be understood, and ultimately, shines in her new foster family.
YA // Contemporary Fantasy POC (Mexican) LGBTQ (F/F)
Sisters Marisol and Gabriella Morales make it across the Mexican border only to learn their request for asylum is being denied, unless Marisol participates in a human study for a cutting-edge PTSD treatment.
A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before. For people who like survival stories, f/f, horror, boarding school, and thrillers.
For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing. There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.
Nigerian godpunk. Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.
A comedic thriller about a gay teen who gets caught up in a case of mistaken identity and is forced to go on the run from murderous cyber-terrorists and government agents, not knowing who he can trust even if they’re disarmingly attractive
Set in St Louis circa 1973, the story follows a young man named Jonathan who spends his days hiding under his hoodie, imagining scifi scenarios to avoid all the awful things in the world. When he meets Web and the two boys fall in love, they struggle to maintain their identities in a world trying to tear then apart.
Gideon the ninth is the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton. The emperor needs necromancers. The ninth necromancer needs a swordsman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit. Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. A heart pounding epic science fantasy.
Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy agency that holds people hostage in cryostasis Eva struggles through one unpleasant, dangerous mission after another to pay the ransom debt. To make things worse, she’s stuck with a hold full of psychic cats, a fish-faced emperor wants her dead for rejecting him, and her engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings
A queer outlaw mechanic with a clockwork heart must team up with her worst enemy – the son of the man responsible for a sweeping epidemic of deadly heart disorders and the alluring spy posing as his betrothed – to save her village and the planet.
About a teen wrestling with OCD while working as a black market mirror dealer in a world where reflections spawn deadly cracks in the fabric of reality. Or, as the author puts it, “full of OCD rep and bromance and banter and creeptastic shadowy monsters that crawl out of mirrors”
Phew, lots of books. The ones towards the end of the year don’t have covers yet but they sound awesome enough without them. I’m so excited.
Let me know what you think and what I’ve missed in the comments below! What is your most anticipated book of the year?
I’m starting the year off with a finish and no, it’s neither of the blankets I was working on last time I shared my crochet projects. Whoops! Instead I started a new blanket from the yarn I received from Christmas because it was new and exciting.
My initial idea actually didn’t work as the yarn I bought has colour changes a lot shorter than I expected from the picture and ended up looking muddy and messy. So I frogged it all and had a think.
I decided to follow this pattern from raverly which is a corner to corner linen stitch. One of the projects actually used similar colours to what I had so I copied that and…..
The new idea used
two instead of the the three yarns I was originally planning to use so it’s
smaller. A good sized lap blanket.
I love the colours and the way it goes from rainbow to monochrome.
The pattern says it’s square /rectangle deepening on which you want but I’m not certain it truly is. It might be if I were to block it but currently it lies a little skewed. But then, it’ll be draped over someones lap when in use so it really doesn’t matter much!
Now that’s finished
I should get back to those two linen stitch square blankets I need to finish,
right? Well, ummm, I may have started a completely different blanket from more
of the yarn I got from Christmas! Double whoops!!!
Too early to share it yet but the yarn, scheepjes colour crofter, is SO SOFT it’s actually ridiculous. It’s DK and pretty cheap especially considering how gorgeous it feels!
It’s a new year, and
with finally finishing the stitching on my Christmas project (which no, I
haven’t finished up properly yet), it’s also time for a new project.
I’ve only just got
this started and is going to be a really simple design. A Latin quote, big
letters, nothing fancy except I’m stitching it on black fabric for the first
time (18 count aida, my go to).
The letters are
really big (like 3 inches high) and I might do a smaller version to use up some
of the left over fabric as the scraps are a bit too small to use for anything
I think the black would look amazing with bright colours like I’ve seen a few of the other stitchalongers do but I thought I’d keep it simple for my first time stitching on black but also because I haven’t had time to design anything else!
Here are the links to everyone else stitching something for the SAL:
2018 is over which means I can finally get to my year in books. I didn’t want to share stats or best of lists until I knew they wouldn’t change. So here we are. 2018 was my most successful reading year yet in terms of books read. I set my annual goal at 52 books again, knowing I could meet it but I did even better than my personal best of 63 from 2017 by reading 68 books!
It is swayed by the fact I did read a handful of novellas (and one short story) as well as a few writing craft books which are both shorter and quicker to read. My pages read is actually lower than 2017 but only because for some reason The Queen of Air and Darkness is showing up as 350 pages instead of its 950 pages reality which would easily bring my to the top. It also means that the second longest book I read is showing as the longest.
But onto the most interesting stat, at least I think so. My average rating for 2018 was 4.1 stars. Which is much higher than it use to and i think this is for two reasons, 1) I’m getting much better at judging which books I will like and am more fussy about my picks, and 2) I’m getting less fussy about my 5 stars, I used to feel like only the best books ever should be rated 5 stars but have realised books can be brilliant 5 star reads without being my all time favourite.
My rating chart is also skewed because if I do end up reading something that I think will be 1 or 2 stars I DNF it (life is too short and there are too many books to read!) and I don’t rate DNF’s.
So 68 books read. An average rating of 4.1 stars, 23 of which were 5 star reads. All this means that my Best Books of the Year list was even harder to narrow down than usual but I did it. Here are my favourites of the year….
Ardor is a cocky con artist asked by a priest to steal the kings crown to save the world. Science-y Magic system but more chemistry than physics based which is something I’ve never seen before (except maybe in Mistborn). Its basically different types of powdered dragon poop that explodes. It’s so much more awesome than that sounds I promise. The book is very long but there’s no boring info dumping or world building and Ardor’s & Raek’s friendship is Goals (brotp). Recommend it for fans of Locke Lamora or ADSoM or Mistborn.
It’s Witchy & atmospheric & queer. The MC is trans male and it has a M/M friends to lovers romance. The second novella switches POV to the boyfriend. Theres going to be a whole series of novellas each with a different MC. And I can’t wait. The writing is gorgeous, the characters are real and amazing and the covers for the whole series so far are my favourite covers of the year. A queerer and more adult Raven Boys.
Map makers & explorers & sailors & all things wanderlust. It has 19 yo MCs (yay for older YA) with only a very minor romance subplot (nothing explicit) which is a plus from me. A cartographer goes on an adventure to solve a riddle about 2 missing princes. The friendship between Elias (mapmaker) & Ulises (the king) is everything. One of my favourite friendships ever not just in 2018 and the setting and wanderlust are palpable.
About a fat bigender Baker by day/ thief by night & the cop who wants to catch her as they both investigate magic users going missing. It has a cool mix of science based magic, based in a French-Canadian inspired setting. Really great aromantic & demisexual rep but also lots of other queer & disabled rep in the supporting cast. There’s also lots of baking that WILL make you hungry. And cats….
This is my favourite sci fi series ever. All of the books are amazing (the first was originally written as four novellas and it’s all self pubbed). The MC is in his 20’s but this reads more like a YA adventure than a heavy space opera. I’d describe it as the navy fleet of star trek mixed with a YA harry Potter all overseen by space royalty (and space pirates) and there’s little to no romance plot through out the series. I can’t wait to read the next books.
The library of Alexandria never burned down so it now, obviously, rules the world. There are huge automaton statues that protect books & chase/kill people. Jess is a thief who loves books. Do you see the problem? Anyway, it has a diverse cast of amazing characters, non-stop action and amazing settings (Alexandria, Rome, London…)
Futuristic fully queer Peter pan retelling where Peter is trans and in an M/Enby relationship at the start.(And Tink is a gay AI whose computer code extracts reminded me of illuminae). But when Peter’s partner enlists in military service that will kill them just to be able to fly Peter creates neverland for them. The writing is gorgeous and there are so many little nods to the original story, including Peter having the same ambiguous childish morals but with a different twist….
About a socially anxious security droid that has to save other humans on a strange new planet with things that want them dead. MC is so relatable it’s hilarious. It is short but felt the perfect length for the story with no unnecessarily long description of backstory to slow things down and it’s the first in a series.
Adorable and fluffy read and I loved the email extracts between Simon and Blue. In fact all of the relationships in this are so good. It’s a coming out story where both families are accepting and loving and it has zero secondhand embarrassment which normally scares me off YA contemp.
Favourite Character: Either Jess Brightwell (The Great Library) or Damien Montgomery (Starship’s Mage)
Favourite Friendships: Ardor & Raek (The Thousand Lives of Ardor Benn) and Elias & Ulises (Isle of Blood & Stone)
Favourite World/setting: The Great Library or Isle of Blood & Stone
Favourite Magic System: Dragon Poop from The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn
Most Heartbreaking Book: I didn’t read any absolute heartbreakers in 2018 but there were plenty that had moments like The Poppy War or The City of Brass or The State of Grace
Happiest Book: Simon vs The Homesapiens Agenda
It was a good year in books. I’m looking forward to more amazing books in 2019 which brings me to…
goals for 2019
My annual Read 52 books challenge which you can keep track of on my goodreads if you so want. (I will because goodreads is the only way I have any clue what I’ve read!)
I’ve also made a “What to buy next” shelf which was me going through all backlist books (ie books that were released in 2018 or before) and picking the ones I most wanted to read. This ended up in a top 50 so this will be a rough 2019 TBR. I’ll hopefully be reading most of those books this year.
And finally but very importantly, I want to keep my owned books under 50 on my kindle.
Have you read any of my top books from last year and if so, what did you think? What was the best book you read last year? Hard question, I know, and it’s also unfair of me to ask because I really can’t pick one off my list. They were all so good! And what are your reading goals for the year?
I hope everyone has been having a happy holiday and I’m wishing you all a very happy new year. I got a load of yarn and books for Christmas, no surprises there, right? I love them anyway and I had a very exhausting but happy Christmas. I’m not going to show you the yarn, you’ll have to wait and see what I make with it (Hint: Blankets, it’ll all be blankets!)
I kind of hate resolutions. Especially the ones that say to do something different. New year new you. Those never work for me but I do like seeing goals. Things I want to achieve which are normally a continuation of what I’m already doing. I guess my biggest struggle is to keep doing things not start (anyone who knows me know I start too many things!!). And goals help to keep me motivated and not give in.
But before we get onto 2019 I’m going back for a quick look at last year. I’m not actually going to go through the goals I wrote last year (they’rehere) as I didn’t stick to most of my small goals instead I’ll focus on what happened. I did set one big one though and that was to focus on writing which I’m going to put a big tick next too even if the goal morphed throughout the year.
Finished writing my first ever proper book and edited it
Got feedback on my writing for the first time and learnt so much
Shelved that book which is an achievement for me to step away from something that was not making me happy
Wrote and edited a whole new book that I love so much (I’m getting feedback on it at the moment)
Moved back home (goodbye beautiful guernsey) and made our house ready to be put on the market (26 years worth of clutter and Wear and tear) but now we are just waiting for it to go live.
Got my autism diagnosis. The understanding it brings has already made such a difference to me
Read 67 books (I’ll go into this in my next post)
So that’s my 2018 over. To be honest I’m really proud of myself. I’ve learnt so much and endured where it came to my writing without giving up. The feedback and doubts are hard. And I’ve also learnt where I should step back for my own sake. A lot of it hasn’t been easy but I wouldn’t trade other parts for anything!
Goals and Happenings for 2019
Again my main goal is going to be too focus on my writing. To keep going. To keep growing and not let myself give up. I love it so much but parts of it can be so very hard. I want to edit #ExcitingSpaceWIP based on the feedback I get. I want to get more feedback, edit it again and see where I end up. I want to also at least write a draft zero for my next story idea at some point during 2019 too. I’m not going to say I’ll write the first draft though as, while that may happen, it’s too far away to predict.
I’ll also be setting reading goals as always and also, as always, I won’t be setting it so high that is difficult for me. I like enjoying reading! My reading goal will be 52 books again and I want to keep the books I own on my kindle under 50. (Cross your fingers for me!)
The biggest event this year will be moving again. Only this time the plan is to move to Lanzarote. Finally. After so many years of planning. Which is all very scary right now with brexit happening so soon and so badly.
Linked to this is making ANOTHER attempt at learning Spanish (I think I’m on attempt 7 now? Edit: I just worked it out and this is attempt 8) I’ve downloaded a new app and am going to try to keep at it (again).
This year is going to be scary I think with the move and with brexit happening but it’s also very exciting. I have no idea what my look back at this year will look like!
So what about you? What are the biggest events of 2018 for you and what are you most proud of? I’d love to hear about them! I find that sometimes it’s the small things that we can be happiest about. My diagnosis is definitely up there for me. And what about next year? What plans and goals are on store for you?