My Top Ten Books for 2019

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As ever, I’m tremendously excited to talk about my favourite books from this year (pretty much bouncing off the walls!!!). And as ever, this is a really mixed list in terms of genre- though all of them are top quality! Of course, not all of these were released in 2019, though there are a few! And of course, I’m not including rereads. All book covers link to reviews as well. Okay, I think I’ve covered all my bases- let’s just jump into it and talk about some *brilliant books*!!!

number 10

skyward

Skyward– here’s a joyous read to kick off the list. Spensa has stolen my heart and become one of my all-time favourite heroines. This was so much fun and drama from beginning to end- really recommend this space opera and can’t wait to continue with the series!

number 9

wolf in the whale

Wolf in the Whale– this deliciously dark and highly unusual captured my imagination. A wintry fantasy, where Vikings meet Inuit culture, has been a bit of a divisive new release this year. And I get why- some of the events were pretty chilling, so obviously it’s not going to be for everyone. Yet, I found this completely absorbing and was impressed that it wasn’t afraid to show the past as it really was.

number 8

wayward son

Wayward Son– this very late addition was another book that brought me joy (though not always joyful). Really though, given how I’ve carried on about Carry On over the years, is it any surprise I had a soft spot for this second Simon Snow story? Guaranteed to satisfy long term fans and make you smile- even through tough times.

number 7

radio silence

Radio Silence– this book just meant so much for me. I know that there a lot of people who say “this book spoke to me”, but guys, this book really felt like it was speaking to me. That’s the magic of a truly relatable story- somehow it connects with so many different people, from all different backgrounds.

number 6

Impossible Times trilogy– aka One Word Kill/Limited Wish/Dispel Illusion– yeah, yeah, I know I’m cheating by counting this as one book, but I do it every year, so are you surprised? 😉 Also, you can whizz through them so fast you may very well feel like it was one book/you have a time machine 😉 To be honest, every book in this series earned its place here. No other book series has entertained me as much as this in 2019! And I was blown away by the cleverness. I know that in the future, I’m gonna look back on this with nothing but happy memories 😊

number 5

winter of the witch

Winter of the Witch– Arden *one hundred percent* managed to stick the landing. The Winternight series has easily become one of my favourite series of all time. A perfect ending to a perfect trilogy. What’s amazing is how good the other books were to beat this out of the top three. Any other year and this easily could’ve taken the number 1 spot, which is just my way of telling you to get excited about the books that are above this on the list 😉

number 4

beowulf

Beowulf– I loved every second of this. I’m so happy I finally picked this up- but even more grateful I read the Seamus Heaney version, thanks to Joelendil, because it truly was a masterclass in translation.

number 3

in order to live

In Order to Live– now we’re getting to books that made me emotional. I don’t have a full review for this one, because I just struggle to find the words, so I’m gonna try my best to describe how poignant, powerful and important this book is. This memoir was a memorable portrayal of life in North Korea. I learnt so much from it and was moved to tears. It’s just one of those *must-read* books, so you must read it if you haven’t already!

number 2

the man in the white sharkskin suit

Man in the White Sharkskin Suit– this is another book which made me cry. It’s the story of the 1950s Jewish Exodus from Egypt, told in a very personal way, where Lagnado really showcases her relationship with her father. Rather sadly, Lagnado passed away this year, after a lifelong struggle with cancer. Her voice survives in this beautiful book.

number 1

sadie

Sadie– ahh this book- I can’t seem to stop recommending it! Beautifully told and immensely powerful, the reason this book is so good is because too often serials/podcasts/true crime focuses on the perpetrators. I think it’s time we gave the victims a voice and no book could have done a better job than this. It also introduced me to the wonders of a well-done audiobook- for which I am immensely grateful. And yes, it made me cry (a lot).

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!

Dispel Illusion Cast its Spell Over Me!

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for review, but the endless gushing is all me*

That’s right- I’m back baby! Dressed in my Dungeons and Dragons gear, because I’ve been whizzing through time/space/my reads to get to today’s release… (okay I got an ARC, but we can pretend I’m a space-hopping primate, can’t we? 😉) Either way, I am more than ready to review the final book in the Impossible Times trilogy!

Much like the first two instalments, this was a compulsive, dramatic and entertaining read. Unlike the first two, this had interlocking timelines, flipping between Nick’s present and future selves. This worked perfectly. The two stories were layered over each other, taking time to get from point a to b, and yet speeding us to the final destination… I barely had the chance to pause for breath!

From the witty first line to the chuckle worthy last, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out “how on earth are they going to get out of this one”. There were innumerable twists and turns; the plot closed off loops, only to open up more possibilities. I think it’s safe to say I had no idea where it was heading- even though I knew exactly how it had to end.

Still, this managed to hit BIG EMOTIONAL points. The friendships and relationships were beautifully realised. For all the action, there was real heart to this story. As the plot ticked towards a seemingly inevitable conclusion, I felt the protagonist’s desire to roll the clock back. The story began to feel like a love letter to a former self, the wonderful writing giving weight to the narrative and inspiring a sense of longing for simpler times.

Speaking of nostalgia, one of my favourite things about this series was the Dungeons and Dragons subplot. It reminded me of the “what you study in school somehow lines up with real life” trope- except this was way more inventive and ingenious and appealed to my inner geek!

But that was not all- oh no! Because Lawrence had an ace up his sleeve. Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat- I knew it was coming and yet couldn’t see how… until *tada*! Everything came together with a flourish! I’m happy to say, it was one of the best endings I’ve read in a long while and it made me a very satisfied monkey. My reaction to that last masterstroke could only be described as gleeful; my only frustration is that I cannot talk about it for fear of spoilers! Which is why, I’m giving this:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So, have you tried the Impossible Times series? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!