Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Reads of 2019…So Far

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is actually supposed to be a character based freebie. However, as we’re now around halfway through 2019, I’m doing a list of my favourite reads of the year so far. I did a similar list in 2018 and found it really interesting to compare it with the final top 10 at the end of the year to see how things had changed. So here they are, in no particular order and excluding re-reads:

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

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The first of several obvious choices for this list. I don’t hand out five stars that often in my reviews but this fun book is one of a few that have successfully hit the jackpot in 2019. I had such a good time reading this – the characters are great, the dialogue is funny, it’s super queer positive, and the romance is so shippable it hurts. This is a perfect example of what new adult could be. As my eleven year old self would have said, Alex and Henry 4eva!


The Wicked King – Holly Black

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You know those books that you’re so excited for, you binge read them in about a day? It’s rare for me these days but TWK was one of them and not a disappointment at all. The twists keep coming, the characters are still devious little bastards, the romance smolders just a bit, and we get more info on the world. I can’t get enough of this series and I’m counting down the days until The Queen of Nothing releases.


The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang

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I like big BOOKS and I cannot lie…especially if it’s this book. The Poppy War was an intense ride (how could it not be drawing from especially bloody moments in Chinese history) but dramatically enjoyable all the same. This book had some turns I didn’t see coming and ended in a way that had me going, did that really just happen? Like other books on this list, is has great characters and a fascinating setting. It also features a layered protagonist, plus bonus points were awarded for catering to some of my fantasy trope fettishes.


Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

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Why, hello there kickass sci-fi written by a fantastic fantasy writer. This book is basically a movie in literary form, in the best way possible. There’s humour, friendship, action, compelling world building, an engaging plot, and characters that grow on you like moss. The sequel to Skyward is another one of my most anticipated releases for the rest of the year because after that ending, I need to know where we go from here. But also I miss Spensa’s random proclamations of blood and violence.


Verity – Colleen Hoover

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If I had one word to describe Verity, it’d be ‘addictive’ because this was one book I had a lot of trouble putting down. It’s different from Colleen’s usual romantic reads (there is a romance though) but it goes to show, she can do thrillers just as well as her usual genre. A creepy setting, a story which makes you question everything, and then an ending which goes from 0-100 – definitely a book I’ll be recommending to friends.


The Boy Who Steals Houses – C. G. Drews

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TBWSH was an unexpected gem. This novel was such a perfect mix of sweet and fluffy, and tear your heart out sad. It’s got memorable characters, great autism rep, fun banter, and lovely sibling relationships. And waffles, can’t forget the waffles. As far as YA contemporaries go, a good choice and from an Aussie author to boot!


Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

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This book is one of the most loved YA contemporaries around and in January, I finally sat down and read it. I honestly expected the hype to be massively over the top on Fangirl, but I ended up really enjoying it. As a bookworm, I think it’s hard not to relate to Cat on some level in all her crazy fan ways. I liked the fact that the book was a little older in feeling than some other YA out there and also that it took the time to deal with some not so light topics whilst still feeling sweet overall. Worth a reread down the line.


The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

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It only took me about four months but it was certainly worth the time and effort. The amount of work that’s gone into this book is pretty staggering and even if I hadn’t enjoyed the story itself, that alone would be impressive. However, I did enjoy the story. There will likely be people out there who’ll find the direction and pacing a bit slow but for me, I was there for it from start to finish. Now the question is: do I read book two knowing book three is nowhere near release or hold off? Hm…


It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover

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Colleen is doing very well as far as my 2019 is concerned. This was my first experience with her writing and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, only that it would involve a romance and some form of complication. Here she manages to take something as dark as domestic violence and handle it fantastically with all of its emotional complexity. It really helped me think about things differently than I had before. The characters are also likeable, deep and really help connect you with the story itself.


The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

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While the plot is slower at points, the strengths of this particular book are it’s rich and diverse characters, and fabulous world building. Chamber’s universe is full of a multitude of vastly different species all with their own languages, cultures, and histories, and just travelling the universe with her lovely, little Wayfarer crew (or family) is a wonderful ride in itself. There’s adventure, humour, romance, friendship, and most importantly, acceptance of anyone and everyone for exactly who they are.

And that’s my top ten reads for 2019…so far. I expect things to shift a lot by the time we reach the end of the year if 2018 is anything to go by. From what I can see at this point, I’ve read quite a lot of good books over the past six months. Here’s hoping for a bunch more during the rest of the year!

What are some of your favourite reads of 2019 so far?

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn’t (Because I Suck)

There are so many books on a bookworm’s TBR in a given year. So. Many. And as the months progress, we add a whole bunch of new releases and discover books we should have read FOREVER ago. Before you know it, it’s towering over you and you’re facing the question of which book do you read next over and over and over again until you either die or the year ends. As you’d expect, this means that a lot of them are bound to get left out by the time you hit December. There’s only so much time!!! Once again, I ask, WHERE IS MY TIMETURNER?

Anyway, here are 10 books that didn’t make it onto my 2018 reading challenge (some may not have even made it onto my 2017 challenge…awkward…) but let’s cross our fingers and hope they have better luck this year. I mean, it’s a 50%-50% chance – unless of course it’s over 500 pages, then it’s more like a 20% chance of getting read.

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The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang

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REASON: It’s a pretty decent size meaning transporting it will be difficult. It’s also an expansive, new fantasy world with a whole lot of new world building details so I really need to be in the mood for it.

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Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

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REASON: I need to re-read Strange the Dreamer first because my memory sucks and I’m worried I’ll start it and then go, ‘what is this’, ‘who is that’, ‘when did that happen’ over and over until it’s over.

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What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

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REASON: No idea. I just kept picking other YA contemporaries to start instead. I think maybe I might also have lost a bit of momentum after I read some mixed reviews.

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Saga, Vol. 2 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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REASON: I really need to sit down and read through this in the space of an afternoon. It’s not something you bring on the train (blood & boobs might make for some awkward morning trips). So my lame excuse is that I never made the time for it when I should have. Too busy doing gosh knows what.

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles 4#) – Marissa Meyer

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REASON: I really want to buy this in hardback to match my copies of Scarlet and Cress (we’re just ignoring the fact that Cinder is a paperback). Unfortunately, that means I have to order it online on Book Depository and IT NEVER SEEMS TO COME DOWN IN PRICE. Basically I’m waiting until my wallet won’t hurt getting it.

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The Song Rising – Samantha Shannon

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REASON: I managed to do my reread of The Bone Season but didn’t make it to The Mime Order. This means, once again, I didn’t make it to The Song Rising. Once I reread book two I can go into this one with all the facts fresh. Damn, memory. Then again, at this point the time between rereads for books one and two is probably getting so long that I’ll be lost anyway. *sigh*

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The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken

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REASON: I didn’t buy this one until the last few months of 2018 so I think maybe I just had other priorities? Not sure. I’ll get there.

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City of Glass – Cassandra Clare

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REASON: Okay, I’m very, very slowly working my way through Cassie Clare’s books again. One day far, far into the future (as it’s looking now) I’ll be able to read Lady Midnight and actually have a clue what’s happening. CoG & CoFA will be rereads but the rest will be new (I gave up on the series previously). I did reread books 1 & 2 in 2017 but progress has stagnated since then. Still, I’m expecting a resurgence in 2019. Here I come The Dark Artifices!!

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The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus 4#) – Rick Riordan

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REASON: In my defence, I did read like 5 Riordan books in 2018 so it’s not such a big deal that I didn’t get to this one. I read books 2 & 3 in The Heroes of Olympus series back to back so I needed a teensy break before moving forward. I also need to buy it and because I like the US covers better, once again I need to order it.

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Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King

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REASON: Have you seen this book? It’s so big it makes paperweights cry. I have other enormous books on my bedside table that I need to finish first before I can even think about dealing with this brick. I want to but it’s going to take some time.

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Which books missed out on being added to your 2018 reading challenge? 


For Top 10 Tuesday topics, see Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

September TBR: My Sister Picks My TBR

I always have a bit of a hard time picking books from the mounds of things I have to read in my bookcase. So, for something different this month, I’ve taken the decision out of my hands and given it to someone else: my sister, Chloe.

Chloe does like to read but unless she’s on holiday, her pace tends to be more in line with a snail or a tortoise. I think she’s been a third of the way through Crooked Kingdom for the past four months. However, she’s got a good idea of the kind of things I like because I tend to talk about them with her. I gave her a list of sixteen of my books (none of which she’s read and some she hasn’t even heard of) and asked her to pick seven. This is what she came up with (using a little help from Goodreads):

Seven Husbands

Chloe says: The concept of this book seems really interesting and I’m partial to a 1950s setting. Also, I like the idea of the contrast between Evelyn and Monique.

Ashley says: I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book and I’m kind of looking forward to something a bit different from my usual YA and fantasy. Plus the cover is gorgeous.

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Chloe says: Becky Albertalli is really good at creating relatable YA characters with contemporary issues that readers can relate to. If this is anything like her other two books, then I’m sure it’ll be good.

Ashley says: I’ve been putting this one off for months now – I keep adding it to the TBR and then not reading it. It’s only a short YA contemporary and I’ve loved both of Becky’s other books so it’s probably a good thing that Chlo’s picked this one.

The Poppy War

Chloe says: I like the idea of the historical setting and the specific aspects of history included in the plot itself. I love an underdog and Rin seems like the best kind of underdog. Screw the elitists. This book also kind of makes me think of Mulan, and I love Mulan.

Ashley says: I haven’t read a lot of Asian inspired fantasy and this one seems really interesting. Chloe and I both love history so it’ll be cool to see how those elements are woven into the narrative. And yes, underdogs are great.

My Oxford Year

Chloe says: Who doesn’t love a good romantic comedy in book form? Also, Oxford. I don’t know why we romanticise high-ranking universities like Harvard, or Cambridge, but I like the idea anyway.

Ashley says: Can’t go wrong with some good chick-lit. I’m hoping this will be a cute one and like Chlo, I kind of like the idea of the British university setting. They are pretty romantic looking old buildings, I guess?

Howl

Chloe says: HELL FUCKIN’ YEAH!

Ashley says: Chloe and I both love the anime adaptation of this book. We quote it constantly so I’m not at all surprised she’s picked this one. I’ve been interested in reading the book for a while so I’m looking forward to seeing how it differs.

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Chloe says: You love Jay Kristoff so it makes sense that you’d like this book. Also, I like the title and Australians represent.

Ashley says: I do love Jay Kristoff and I’ve been delaying reading this one for forever. It’s another one I keep adding to my monthly TBRs and then losing motivation for. Time to finally do it.

Children

Chloe says: I’m going to be honest, I love the cover and that’s the main reason I chose this, but having read the description I think it fits the list well, too. I chose quite a few light-hearted ones and I think this adds a little more intensity to the list. Plus, the name Zélie is pretty sounding.

Ashley says: It’s definitely an awesome cover – super badass looking. This is another one I’ve heard rave reviews about and you know I can never resist a popular YA-fantasy. I think it’ll be nice to read another book with non-white leads as well.

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That’s seven! Hopefully Chloe’s picked a few winners but only time will tell.

What’s on your September TBR?

New Additions to My Goodreads To-Read Shelf 3#

As the name of my blog suggests, the number of books to read just never stops growing. I’ve added quite a few books to my TBR over the last few weeks so I thought I’d share seven of them with you. To absolutely no one’s surprise, there’s some fantasy and some YA on there.

Love & GelatoThese days I really like reading the occasional fluffy, sweet contemporary. It’s a bit like watching a chick-flick – mindless but you leave feeling cheery. This one’s got an Italian setting (I love Italy, it’s so beautiful), gelato on the cover (yum), and it just feels like it’ll be a nice, light read.

The Poppy WarAsian history inspired fantasy, a military academy, shaman magic, a strong heroine, Gods, need I go on? I haven’t read a decent sized fantasy book for a while and this one looks fantastic! The reviews I’ve seen have been great, especially considering it’s an author debut. I’m looking forward to reading something dark, gritty, and a little different.

My Oxford YearSometimes a girl’s need for a decent chick-lit just needs to be filled and that’s what I hope to get with this one. It’s set at, surprise surprise, Oxford University, and involves a romance between an ambitious American student and cute English scholar. That’s about all I really need to know.

Seven deathsAlthough I haven’t read any in a quite a while, I do enjoy branching out with the occasional mystery novel, and I’m so excited to read this one. The concept is crazy intriguing – a character trying to solve a woman’s death by being forced to relive the same day in the body of a different suspect each time? Come on, even you have to agree that’s compelling. I’ve heard it referred to as ‘Unputdownable’ and akin to an Agatha Christie novel. Either way, I’m in.

Since You've Been GoneMorgan Matson’s latest book, Save the Date, has recently been released and after seeing some mixed reviews, I ended up finding Since You’ve Been Gone which seems to be regarded as her best novel. The concept sounds really nice – a girl completing a to-do list of activities set by her missing best friend aimed at bringing her out of her shell – and I always love reading about well developed female friendships. I’m hoping for a good coming of age, YA contemporary with this one.

The Darkest MindsAnyone who knows me well, knows that I see an adaptation release as a bit of a challenge – I always try to read the book in time to see the movie. I heard about this series a long time ago but didn’t really take much of an interest until it started popping up everywhere in promo for the film. It’s got a great Goodreads star rating, a lot of people seem to love it, and the plot revolving around super-powered teenagers/kids in a dystopian future is certainly interesting, so why not give it a go?

Tempests and SlaughterYou guys have heard me mention my love for Tamora’s Song of the Lioness series quite a few times on this blog, but I’ve actually never read any of her other books. Scandalous, I know! So I’ve decided to tackle this one. There’s a magical school (one of my trope weaknesses) and I’m looking forward to meeting some more strong characters. It’ll also be nice to return to Tortall after so long away.


Have you read any of these? Tell me what you thought!

What’s new to your TBR?

Love Ashley