My Top Ten Books for 2018

Woohoo my top ten is here! Nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy inside than looking back on the year’s greatest hits. It’s like I get to curl up with my faves and get all cosy with my positive thoughts for them 😀 What could be better? *Cue the satisfied monkey*!

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As always, not all of these were published in 2018, I’m not including rereads and all book covers link to reviews! Alrighty then, enough of the preamble, let’s get to my semi-incoherent-adoration-addled-reasons as to why these books are *awesome sauce with a side of bananas*:

number 10

ravencry

Ravencry– as many of you know, last year I was blown away by Blackwing, so when the second instalment in the Raven’s Mark series stormed onto the scene, I had to pick it up. What’s so cool about this is the immense depth behind the hysterics. Though there can be no doubt that the world was well drawn, the plot was compelling and the characters were to die for, what I liked the most about this was there’s more to this book than meets the eye. Already in the first book psychological complexity was established- but this delves deeper into the psyche with one of my favourite folklore motifs of venturing into the wilderness and returning changed (you may notice a trend in some of the books on this list 😉 ). Incorporating this idea is just one of the ways there’s more to this story than meets the eye- and that’s what keeps drawing me back and back and back to the Misery. I can’t quite get this haunting story out of my mind.

number 9

guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– when I read this I just *had to* share this with my sister- contrary to my review, I didn’t actually write her a letter- instead I immediately put it in her hands and said READ IT. Because that’s what everyone should do. It’s one of the best historical fiction books I’ve ever read and one of the finest in the oft-oversaturated market for WWII. I’m not usually a fan of epistolary novels and only recently discovering how well collaborative books can work- and this one really does work. Guernsey will take you on quite the journey- I can’t recommend this enough.

number 8

titus andronicus

Titus Andronicus– it’s absolutely staggering how shocking this is hundreds of years after publication. Even though I knew what was coming, I still ended up scarred by this story- and that’s quite the feat! Now it’s obviously redundant to describe the finesse of Shakespeare’s language or the substance of his place- but I can say that this is now a firm favourite. I also recommend the 1999 film version- it’s a truly sensational adaptation (and this is coming from someone super fussy about takes on Shakespeare)

number 7

grey sister

Grey Sister– what is most incredible about this book was its ability to drag me out of a slump. I was super busy in June and yet I still managed to read the entirety of this book in one sitting- I just couldn’t help myself! For pure entertainment value alone, I’d have loved this book. However- as I often say on these posts- IT WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! All the intricate details from Red Sister were taken to another level. Most importantly, this book *excited me* and whenever I think about this book I want to jump right back in- and for a bookworm it doesn’t get much better than that!

number 6

words in deep blue

Words in Deep Blue– I need a little courage to talk about this one, because *this book broke me*. I cried from beginning to end. I’m not joking (kinda wish I wasn’t that much of a sap, but there you go). It’s think of book that holds you under its spell- I felt breathless and emotional by the end. The characters, the romance and the story were all *swoonworthy*. I’m also *a complete sucker* for book love in books and this did explored that topic so well. With some genius strokes to the narrative structure, this plunged into much deeper waters than I expected.

number 5

circe

Circe– even though I read this right at the end of the year, I knew while I was reading that I *had to* find a place for it on my top ten. In fact, it rose in my esteem as I got further and further into the book. I often find myself at odds with Goodreads choice awards, but I can safely say this deserved its win. Forged from myth, its epic proportions are well balanced and creatively engineered. It’s more than simply well researched- the stories woven into the narrative feel lived-in. I’d say this is Miller’s aristeia, only I predict she’s going to keep being victorious with every book she releases. Dorky classics allusions aside, it’s such a wondrous retelling that I know I’m going to love this more and more with time. Needless to say, Circe has me under her spell and I can’t wait to see what this author pulls out of her repertoire in the future.

number 4

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– this book combined two of my favourite things: fairy tales and stories within stories. What a match made in heaven! Yes, this goes at a steady pace, yet this still managed to be twisty and unexpected. Perfectly drawing up the veil between a dreamscape and the real world, I was enchanted by how I couldn’t quite pin it down. Somehow it manages to be a retelling of folklore with a Gothic flavour- whilst also having a life of its own. That indefinable quality made feel like it has its feet in multiple worlds- and that’s why I love it!

number 3

girl in the tower

Girl in the Tower– I loved stepping back into Arden’s reimagining of Russia’s mythic past. For me, this exploration seems so enticing and different and lovingly evoked. One thing I adore about the Winternight Trilogy is how each book seems to stand so well on its own. Like the first book, this presented a world that most people cannot see. However, what made it stand apart was that the uncanny elements were ratcheted up and it was darker than its predecessor. That haunting note clung to every facet of this beautiful venture. The writing was just as lyrical, immersive and gorgeous as Bear and the Nightingale; the characters made me fall in love all over again. I’m so freaking wowed by this series- I can’t wait for the last book! Bring on January 9th!

number 2

strange the dreamer duology

Strange the Dreamer/Muse of Nightmares– yes I am putting them both on the list and counting them as one- but you guys should know cos I do it every year… so really this is your fault for letting me get away with it 😉 Anyway, shh, these books are both brilliant, deserve to be here and I couldn’t pick between them! I adore Taylor’s writing and am always spirited away by her world building. I can’t help but feel like her series embody escapism and brilliant stories. They leave nothing behind in terms of what I look for in a book: the characters, romance and intrigue are top notch. Laced with a dreamy quality, this duology lived up to every hope I had for it.

number 1

the master and margarita

The Master and Margarita– simply speaking, I haven’t read a better book in a really long time. Where some of these I had to squeeze into position, I didn’t have to think when it came to placing this book. Describing what I feel about it though? Now that’s nigh on impossible! Perhaps it makes sense, since this is a book of where the impossible meets reality. Surreal and hard to pin down- and yet not totally otherworldly- Master and Margarita deserves more than the accolades and bananas I can give it. It’s strange on the surface- however lurking at its core are more truths than I can possibly articulate. A true artistic endeavour and literary masterpiece, it feels more real than reality. If you’re searching for a classic that’s more than a little magic, look no further.

So have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2018? Let me know in the comments!

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Just *Some* of the Incredible Books I Read in 2018

All of these got top bananas from me and I’m surprised that a lot of them didn’t make it on to my top ten (but also not cos the books on there are frickin’ out of this world- wait till you see it 😉 ). Even if it takes more time for me to do it this way, I really enjoy celebrating the highlights of the year and these books deserve some love. Without further ado, here’s some honorary mentions:

Okay that’s all for now- hope this gets you PSYCHED for what’s to come… I know I am!!

My Top Ten Books 2017

my top ten books of 2017

It’s finally here! One of my favourite posts to do every year! My Top Ten list! Wahey!! And after a lot of deliberation, I’m finally ready to share! Obviously, these are the best books I read in 2017, so not all of them were published this year. Also I don’t include rereads on these lists, because I clearly already love it if I’m rereading it. All reviews will be linked to with the picture of the book. Anyhoo onto the list! Here’s my top ten books of 2017 in ascending order:

number 10

red sister

Red Sister– when I think of books that really WOWED me this year, this jumps right into my mind. The world building was divine, the characters were kickass and this reminded me why I fell in love with the genre in the first place- you can’t ask for more than that!

number 9

Sisterhood everlasting

Sisterhood Everlasting– *avert your eyes if you don’t want to be vaguely spoiled* oh my goodness I don’t think any book has destroyed me as completely as this one did. Because I was A MESS before/during/after reading this- but in a oh-this-cathartic-kick-is-just-what-I-needed kind of way. An amazing end to a wonderful series. And on a completely different note…

number 8

Blackwing2

Blackwing– !!!! – that’s right- we’re barely into this list and I’m already at a loss for words. But I can’t help it- cos this book was crazy mind-blowing!! Beautiful, atmospheric, creepy, unique, gripping- this book had everything you could possibly want in a fantasy!

number 7

going postal

Going Postal– there is tight competition right now for my favourite Pratchett, but if ever there’s a gun to my head and someone tries to make choose one, this will be one of the books I’ll be frantically debating over (hopefully this horrible mental metaphor won’t end in my head being blown off). Pratchett at his best, this satire really got to the heart of what is most important to us Brits: the Post Office and so obviously that’s why I love it 😉

number 6

six of crows duology.png

Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom– yes, I’m cheating to put them both on here under one heading, but c’mon, I cheat every year, at some point… Anyway, frankly, they both deserve to be on here because I LOVED THEM BOTH. Choosing between them would be like choosing between MY CHILDREN (or perhaps something a bit less dramatic). Whatever, this duology was just that good.

number 5

wizard heir

Wizard Heir– okay I have to pat myself on the back for not just putting the whole darn series on here- though I realise that might have been a bit cheeky, even for me. That’s why I’m going with the one that made me fall in love with Chima’s urban fantasy- and nothing else- final answer… sort of (just read the whole series will you?)

number 4

maus complete

Maus- gosh this is one of the most memorable reads of the year. I think the imagery will be seared into my brain forever. What’s even more amazing is that I had never read a graphic novel before this year, yet thanks to books like this, I know that I’ve now got some serious catching up to do when it comes to the genre. Because this was magnificent and showed how moving art infused with literature can be.

number 3

fahrenheit 451.jpg

Fahrenheit 451– another book that is burned into my mind for all eternity is Fahrenheit 451. Chilling and profound, this book brought me to my knees. Still, for all its darkness, it also carries a hopeful message and passes the beacon of freedom onto the reader. Truly a masterpiece.

number 2

all that still matters at all

All That Still Matters At All– again, I cannot truly articulate what this book means to me. A seriously underrated Hungarian poetry collection, this was deep, striking, beautiful, complex and heart breaking. Worth reading for poetry fans and layman alike.

number 1

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the Nightingale– I reckon regular readers of this blog were probably getting suspicious as this list went on with no sign of this book… but of course that’s because it had to be here on the list. The heart knows no reason and this book spoke to me on the most primal level. In case you didn’t already know, I’m a little (A LOT) in love with it.

So have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Books That Really Deserved To Be On My Top Ten For 2017

Well, this is becoming a bit of an annual tradition. Namely that I’ve read so many great books this year that I can’t possibly narrow it down to a top ten. Many of these were *definites* for my 2017 favourites most of the year, but some other awesome book forced them to budge over and make room. So here’s a quick teaser of some of the amazing books I’ve read this year:

Hope that whets the appetite for how awesome my top ten is… see you all again VERY SOON!

Top Ten Books of 2016

Alrighty then- it’s finally time for my top ten of 2016!!! I’m really pleased to say competition for a spot on my top ten was really tough this year- I’ve read some incredible books- so much so that I felt the need to highlight my honorary picks yesterday in a post all of their own! Honestly, it got to the point in the year when I felt like I should stop reading good books so there would be less competition on this list!

For that reason this year’s list is special- these aren’t just great books- but books that are going to stay with me for years to come. I hope that some of them will do the same for you. Without further ado- here’s my top ten in ascending order:

(All reviews are linked to the pics)

10 monster calls.png

a_monster_calls

This is the only book on the list I didn’t review- but that was actually because my emotions were too fraught after reading to come up with anything coherent. What I will say now is that it was nothing short of beautiful– beautifully written, beautifully conceived and beautifully illustrated. It was quite simply, the perfect story. (For the record it gets *all the bananas* from me!)

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infidel

Such an important book to read– this book is only lower down on this list because, while brilliant, it is a heavy subject. That description of FGM at the start is not for the faint of heart!

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Red Rising Pierce Browns

This series blew me away. It’s bloodydamn brilliant!! Shout out to Kat and everyone else that told me to read this- so, so grateful!

7 the martian.png

the martian

One of the best things to come out of this year has been my sudden interest in sci fi- I am so excited to read more in the coming years, but I feel like this was my gateway drug. Ever since I read it, I just kept going back to how perfect it was- sciencey terms and all! (Come on, it’s got Mark Watney!)

6 war and peace.png

war and peace

I can’t believe this was the year I finally read War and Peace! This tome has been on my tbr forever- but this year I felt spurred on to tackle it- and I’m so glad I did, because it turned out to be rewarding for all the right reasons: fantastic plot, realistic characters and thoughts that will make your head hurt! (In a good way 😉 )

5 golem.png

The_Golem_(Isaac_Bashevis_Singer_novel_-_cover_art)

And this is the point in the list where things get really personal. This may be a children’s story, but I was moved so much by this and found Singer’s version to be truly telling about some of the horrors faced by Jews during the pogroms.

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MissPeregrineCover (1).jpg

I read the second one of the series the other day and was just as blown away as with the first one. The imagery and symbolism here is simply magnificent. I love what this series is doing and adore Riggs unique style.

3-the-chosen

the chosen

This book didn’t just feel personal to me, it had a universal message– the central allegory of this story, of letting go of baseless hatred, is one I think we can all learn from. This story is bound to stay with me for quite some time!

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NeverendingStory1997Edition

A book about books, when it’s done well, has to be one of my favourite things ever! And this book is one of the finest I have ever read. Imaginative, philosophical and just plain beautiful- what more could one ask for! I am also eternally grateful that this book was recommended to me by Zezee– book blogging gets you the best recommendations!

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shadow of the wind

Yes, the top two books on here are books about books! This book is up there for me as one of the best books I have *ever* read. It is in the realm of the Book Thief and is without a doubt the best book I have read this year.

That was so fun to do! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book of 2016? Let me know in the comments!