My Top Ten Books for 2019

top ten 2019.png

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– 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– 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– 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!

Uplifted by Skyward!

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- but any into-the-stratosphere level of gush and (bad) space puns is all me*

skywardWhen I got approved for this book, it’s safe to say that I pretty much lost my head I was so excited! I mean, I have endless respect for the author’s writing and this space adventure was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Needless to say, I was on board!

And then we had lift off! And *wow* I was carried away by the immediacy of the voice and the fantastic characterisation of the lead. Spensa’s personality leapt off the page, waved off all the competition and roundhouse kicked my butt to attention! If ever there was a character who literally grabs you and pulls you into the story, it’s her! She was so spirited and zesty and funny- it was easy for me to fall for her. Her turn of phrase (or I should say the author’s command of her character) was particularly hilarious.

I was soon propelled on by the mysteries embedded in the story. As we delved deeper into the background of the world, it quickly became apparent that there were hidden notes and plot points hiding behind the stars. There were beautiful snippets of stories within stories, family histories and a universe of secrets. The world building wasn’t just a passenger for the plot either- it played a massive role in the narrative (which of course I can’t mention cos of *spoilers*- but whether you guess the twist or not, it’s a good one!) This is the kind of story that takes you along for the ride- it rises and falls and swerves unexpectedly. All culminating in a stunning ending- but, in my enthusiasm, I’m getting ahead of myself.

One of the best things about this tremendously action-packed book is how character driven it was- and not just by the aforementioned sensational protagonist. Each supporting member of the cast pulled their weight- which is pretty tricky to do in space 😉 They were not just well drawn or there to serve a purpose- they felt fleshed out and real. This was largely thanks to so many of them being inversions of clichés and designed to turn tropes on their head (my favourite example being Nedd, the not-so-stupid stupid character). All of them played their role perfectly- creating friction and tension for Spensa- and then surprising her (and us) in equal measure. I was legit cheering them on by throughout! There wasn’t a single dud character- even the antagonist was both thrillingly threatening and fascinatingly human. And, of course, I had my usual soft spot for the AI 😉

I also adored the way this handled larger themes, like the question of following your programming versus being defiant. It raised so many questions and was entrenched in complex philosophical ideas. There were so many details and exquisite writing choices- ultimately it all came together in a harmonic new world symphony, an out-of-this-world experience, and made me starry-eyed with wonder. Plus, it was the kind of self-contained story that leaves you satisfied, yet hungry for more! There’s no doubt in my mind this is going to be a future sci fi classic. Can’t wait for the next one! Obviously:

Rating: 5/5 bananas


monkey in space (2)

So, have you read this? Are you planning to? (seriously- if you haven’t already- do it!! You won’t regret it!!) And who else is psyched for the sequel?! Let me know in the comments!