Friday, January 3, 2020

Favorite Books of 2019

Oh my goodness, I completely forgot to write this up before the end of 2019! My December was extremely busy, so it just slipped my mind. But, I did have favorite books of the year. What's interesting is that while I rated some other books higher at the time of reviewing them, two of them I wouldn't call favorites now that I'm here. What a world!


Dark Age by Pierce Brown


Synopsis: For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place? Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury. But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance. On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him? Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies. Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption. As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

Why it made the list: Well. My goodness. I've been a fan of the Red Rising series from the beginning, but none of the sequels has quite lived up to the original for me. But Dark Age comes close. It's a brutal page-turner that has you wanting to switch back and forth between the different characters to find out what's going on with them. If you like this series and haven't read this year, what are you waiting for? And if you haven't read the series and are a scifi fan, then get on it!

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson


Synopsis: Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place" he said, "where learning is a game." Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

Why it made the list: I feel like I just blazed through reading this book. It's got an intriguing mystery at its core while also focusing on the relationships of the main characters. Now, I did also read the sequel in the past year, and while it was still good, it didn't quite hook me like this original, so I'm leaving it off the favorites. I'm looking forward to the third one and the conclusion to the ongoing mystery, for sure. 

The War that Saved my Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

 

Synopsis of The War That Saved My Life: An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars. Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him. So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother? This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.

Why it made the list: I always seem to put off reading historical fiction, thinking I'm not going to enjoy it, but lo and behold, I almost always do. And this series was no exception. The story is moving, emotional, and ends in such a satisfying way. I didn't think it necessarily called for a sequel, but the sequel lived up to expectations. Definitely a recommend!  

Other books I enjoyed this year, but wouldn't call my favorites: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus, Circe by Madeline Miller

You can check out all of the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page, but let me know if you’ve had any favorites from this year that I should check out!

Past Years:
2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

2 comments:

  1. I really need to give Red Rising a try! This is the third time in a week someone has mentioned it to me. We often have similar takes on books, so it helps to know that you've liked the series.

    I'm really looking forward to the conclusion of the Truly Devious series later this month. Hoping it finishes strong, because I also really enjoyed the first two.

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    1. I love Red Rising! It is very much a scifi series, so keep that in mind. Either way, I highly recommend it.

      I'm looking forward to the conclusion of Truly Devious as well! That and the Arc of a Scythe conclusion are two of the ones I'm most looking forward to for sure!

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