Mid-Year Book Freak Out!

AKA a mash up of the Mid Year Book freak out tag and a rundown of the best 5* reads of 2019 because what are rules?

I’ve had an amazing year of reading this year so far. The most books I have ever read in a year was 68 but I have already managed to read 58. In just half a year?!?! So I have easily beaten my reading challenge of 52 (I usually set it at a number I know I can reach because I don’t like pressure!). A lot of these books were amazing. So amazing in fact that I only managed to narrow it down to 12 best books for my super quick rundown (Someone save me when it comes to doing my end of year one!)

I’m going to jump straight into it. Partially because I don’t want to bore you when you could be reading about amazing books and partially because I am on holiday and it is sunny outside…. But stick around for the quickfire freakout tag questions at the end and do let me know what you think of these books in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesdays: 2019 Most Anticipated releases July-Dec

Top 10 Tuesdays is a book tag currently hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. There’s a new topic each week and this weeks is Anticipated releases for the second half of the year. Yet again, I have failed to narrow it down to 10 (There are too many amazing books, it’s not even my fault!) but I put in a good effort and this list is just 15 of the books I am MOST looking forward to before the year is out.

There’s a mix of adult and YA, SFF and Contemporay, and as always, most of them are queer. Happy Pride everyone!!

Links go to the books goodreads pages so you can add them and the cover and pub dates are correct as far as I am aware.,,,,

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I should have read that Book Tag

Or the one in which Liz from Travel in Retrospect called me out by tagging me. The tag was originally created by Booksnest. And I have way too many books I should have read by now so feel like maybe they made it with me in mind!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag 10 others to take part
  • ENJOY THE TAG!

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

I really don’t read much that people tell me to read and I also don’t get people telling me to read much which may be related? Who knows! (People should definitely give me suggestions so I can ignore them more!) But a family member has suggested History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. Which does sound good.

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Memo Pad: February Wrap up

Somehow I’m keeping up the amazing reading record I started last month. I thought reading 7 books in one month was a one off but I’ve actually bested it this month, even though it was shorter! I could say this had something to do with the fact I went on holiday for a week and I normally read a lot on holiday but in actual fact I only read 2 books on holiday which is the least I’ve read on a holiday in over ten years.

So why? I’m not sure. Honestly, I think I’m just getting better and better at finding books I’ll love!

I also took most of the month off of hard writing stuff. I did write a fun short story at the start of the month but other than that I’ve not had anything to do which meant I had a lot more time to read. I’m diving back into the writing stuff now. It’s nerve-racking as hell because I’m starting revisions on #ExcitingSpaceWIP and trying to make something better when you’re not sure what’s ‘better’ is scary!

Other stuff that happened this month was that holiday I mentioned. It was lovely to see the sun again! We did some house hunting, looking at property (and by me I mostly mean my parents but I did see a couple of the best ones) which was SO EXCITING and we found an amazing place BUT we haven’t sold our house yet so now that’s nerve-racking too because we don’t know that place will still be there for us.

Basically everything in my life is nerve-racking now! Is it any wonder I’ve been burying myself in books? haha

So back to the less nerve-racking subject of this month’s books starting with my stats….

Read: 8 (!!) Acquired: 7

I didn’t mean to get so many new books but at least the number of unread books I own didn’t go up! Plus 6 of them were arcs and the other one was free with a bookclub so I couldn’t resist!

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Top 10 Tuesdays: Underrated books I loved

I’m back from my holidays, which were lovely and warm (I’m so sad I’m back in the cold), I read some great books but today I’m going to talk about a bunch of my favourite books that are criminally underrated.

Top Ten Tuesdays is a book meme currently hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. It has a new topic every week which you can find here. This weeks topic is Books I LOVED with fewer than 2000 ratings on goodreads.

Fair warning some of these I did originally get for free in exchange for an honest review (I’ve marked them as arcs) but they’ve remained on my favourites because they were awesome.

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My Year in Books 2018

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….

Best Books of 2018:

1. The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn – Tyler Whitesides

Adult fantasy

The Lies of Locke Lamora but with dragons

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.

2. Darkling & Undertow (Port Lewis Witches) by Brooklyn Ray 

NA contemporary fantasy novellas

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.

3. Isle of blood & Stone by Makiia Lucier

NA Fantasy

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.

4. Baker Thief – Claudie Arseneault

Adult fantasy

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….

5. Starship’s Mage series by Glynn Stewart (I read books 2, 3, 4 & 5 in 2018 and they are all amazing so I’m putting the whole series here)

Adult sci fi

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.

6. Paper and fire (The Great Library #2) – Rachel Caine

YA alt-historical fantasy

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…)

7. Lost boy, Found boy – Jenn Polish

Scifi novella

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….

8. All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Scifi novella 

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.

9. Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli 

YA contemporary 

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.

Plus special mentions:

The City of Brass by S A Chakraborty, A Court of Mist and Fury & A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah j Maas, The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

Quick Fire Round:

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…

Book 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?

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Top 5 Wednesday – Most Anticipated 2019 Winter Releases

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Lainey @ GingerReadsLainey on Youtube and has a group over on goodreads. This week’s topic is most anticipated 2019 releases but I’m narrowing that down to 2019 winter releases (or first three months as technically March isn’t winter) because there’s too many great sounding books to do the whole year in one small list.

These are my top 5 most anticipated 2019 Jan-March releases:

(I’m going by the release dates on their goodreads pages which I’ve linked to)

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi 

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

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.

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

Years ago, the house at the end of the lane burned down. The townspeople never learned what happened, but Rita Frost and her teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth of what happened that summer—and they’ll never say a word. When they were told they’d be spending their summer with their great aunt, Mae and Rossa were anything but thrilled. But nothing at Rita’s is as it appears. Bevan is enthralled by a dangerous power lurking behind the walls of Rita’s home. The power—known as Sweet James—is hungry, and what he wants most is a taste of the twins. And Bevan wants the magic and escape that Sweet James is offering her. But Sweet James is never satisfied, no matter what Bevan brings him. Mae would give Bevan almost anything—she is in the grip of first love, both dying for Bevan’s attention and worried she’ll get it. But Rossa is learning some of the terrible secrets the house is hiding, secrets that paralyze him with fear. As the summer draws to a close, Bevan tries to free Sweet James from his prison within the walls, but is thwarted by Rita and her cat (who is more than a cat), Bobby Dear. It’s over for Mae and Rossa, isn’t it? They return home. They don’t talk about the strangeness of that summer. But it never completely abandons them. And things at home only get worse. And so three years later, Rossa and Mae are sent once again to Rita’s home, as their parents’ marriage finally seems to crumble. At first it seems that the strangeness has dissipated. But Sweet James never left. He has been lurking within the walls, waiting the perfect time to return. He’s been waiting much longer than any of them know—any of them except Rita, who has been keeping secrets of her own. Secrets that bring the house down in flames around them and bring them all to the brink of the things they most want—and what they most fear.

The Perfect Assassin by K A Doore 

Divine justice is written in blood.Or so Amastan has been taught. As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, he’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. Every life has its price, but when the tables are turned, Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.

Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

This one is the last in a series so I’m not going to copy the blurb but I simultaneously cannot wait to read this book and am terrified of how the series will end. I don’t want it to end! It’s one of favourite series ever with the cleverest and most awesome thief I’ve read.

I could have done ten to be honest but I was being strict. How about you? Do you want to read any of these books? What is your most anticipated book/s of 2019? Let me know in the comments and feel free to link your lists too.

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