aka That time that I struggled to make a decision…
This was the hardest decision I’ve had to make all year. I’m sure of it. But, I somehow managed to get it done.
In no particular order, because THAT would have been IMPOSSIBLE to choose, here are my absolute favorite books this year.
If I Die Before I Wake
I’ve been gushing about this book ever since I read it (see all my gushing here), and honestly, if this didn’t make my list something would be wrong.
This was one of those moments where the book and the movie are perfectly in sync, and I truly appreciated that. The spook factor was high. It brought up all the nostalgic feelings of my first time watching the movie and being hooked on Stephen King adaptations.
History Is All You Left Me
Is this a surprise to anyone who follows my blog? Anyone at all? I don’t think so, because I am the biggest Adam Silvera stan that there ever was, and anything he writes is pure gold as far as I’m concerned. There were tears, but the story in and of itself was simply beautiful. And worth the tears.
They Both Die at the End
I’m still not over this. It hurts so good. Rufus and Mateo are my new faves tbh. I gushed more here.
This one is Becky Albertalli level sweet. Cavities are a guarantee and Baz and Simon are the perfect couple. Also Simon is the best anti-hero ever written. I can see myself rereading this time and again, falling even more in love with their love.
There were so many more amazing books that I read this year, but I couldn’t possibly list them all. What books stayed with you over these 365? Any on my list?
I hope you all are ready for that influx of family and forced family time over the next few days. I’m not.
Harry Potter all day, every day!
This one has so many possible answers: Belle/Matilda/Jo March. I was (still am) always stuck in a book just like these characters. Of course, my life was never anywhere near as dramatic as these women’s but…you know. Also, HP was my entire childhood.
1984 by George Orwell which speaks to the government being overly involved in our daily lives (I see you Big Brother). It was a worry then, and it’s a worry now.
T.H.U.G. by Angie Thomas. This one I’m predicting just based off of its current impact alone. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of my own.
This one might hurt some feelings for those Selection lovers out there but The Elite by Kiera Cass. Girl why???? Book one was mushy and fluffy and all of the good things about YA Romance and then came book two with an unnecessarily dragged out love triangle. Nah. Nah!
The Graveyard Book, mainly because there were so many more things I wanted to learn about the characters. I didn’t want Nobody to ever leave that cemetery. More please Mr. Gaiman. Please!
Aaaanyway, this is the last post from me until after Boxing Day (Dec. 26) as that’s my grandfather’s birthday. Lots to do!
If you’re here then I’m guessing that you love books (or at least know someone who’s as obsessed as I am*). This, this little post is going to give you a few moments to bask in the wonder that are bookish gifts. Go on. Bask!
(*if it’s book-related then I’m overly interested.)
These soothing, fragrant pieces of wax are magic all on their own, but when you add in a quirky bookish name or scent and the game is won!
Here are a few suggestions that tickled my fancy.
For those areas that don’t need/can’t fit a full sized candle or want to pretend like these smaller ones are less of a commitment. Lol…
I’m particularly drawn to Pemberley but they all sound like money leaving wallet.
Old Books are an objective scent I think. Either you love it, or you don’t. I personally find it appealing. I can pretend that I’m in Belle’s library or that I own as many books as she does…
There are so many creative ones out there, you’re bound to find one for your book-loving candle collector.
Apart from my addiction to books, coffee is my lifeblood. In order to get this sweet nectar into my body, I need to have aesthetically pleasing mugs. (Or I guess you can use them for tea too…or whatever)
It’s what I want to say to every person that ever interrupts my reading time with questions like ‘why are you crying?’ and ‘did you even eat breakfast?’. Ugh. (Okay, maybe not necessarily those questions. Those are good questions. Keep them coming.)
You get to drink coffee, read books aaaand watch the Cheshire Cat slowly reappear while your coffee gets cold because you’re too lost in the book to remember to drink it while it’s still hot and…oh. Oops.
This one has a bit more whimsy. And the message rings true. If only someone would tell the rest of society.
Very simply designed but, again, a very true statement.
Self control? I don’t know her.
Out of all the suggestions I’ve made thus far, this one might be the one that gives me the most pleasure.
I found it so hard to narrow down the options that I showed you guys. There were so many lovely options…but I couldn’t put them all so. Here ya go.
Bookends are a wonderful space breaker that also adds some personality to your shelves. It’s also that thing that makes you feel guilty as you add more books to your collection and can no longer fit them and your bookend onto the shelf at the same time.
These cute ones could help the guilt…maybe.
This one doesn’t take up quite so much room and it’s Harry Potter themed so I think it’s a must.
Quirky and functional. Plus this might be me one day…
I think this one is classy looking and can blend well with most decor.
aka the time I suspected everyone is guilty, including our MC.
How Do You Solve Your Own Murder?
Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen.
But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger.
As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.
Imagine having to solve your own murder. How terrible, and painful, and frightening that would be. Trying to piece together memories, overheard conversations and basic intuition. Having to rule out the people you knew and once trusted, and having to stand by as your family, your life, the world moved on without you. Poor Alex.
Look, I admit these are sometimes overdone, or not always well done. But…I can’t help myself okay, so…just let me live!
Hate to love / Friends to lovers
Blame the hardcore fanfiction addict that I used to be for this one. This was one of the most prevalent tropes out there, and I fell for every one. The beauty of a blossoming relationship and two characters finally seeing each other for who they really are, just gets to me. I’m a sucker, so sue me!
Who doesn’t love it when a character with less than stellar motives/personality etc shows some much-needed sense and grows into someone more likable? Just me? Oh well. Real life works very much like that so maybe that was why I liked that.
Antagonists you just love to hate
Think the Darkling. He is the definition of evil and yet, he’s so bloody charismatic that you can’t help but fall under his spell. I gladly walk towards this evil.
Emotional endings / All of the angst!
There is clearly something very wrong with me that I voluntarily look for books that will break my heart and stomp on my feelings. But, it is what it is. I like the rollercoaster.
Even though I love angst, I want there to be some kind of payoff. There must be some semblance of the struggle was worth it. Unless the book tells me from the get-go that I’m not going to get that. (i.e TBDATE) or it’s done really well (i.e Our Dark Duet)
What tropes do you think you can’t help yourself with?
aka The time I forgot that chronological order was a thing. I’m sorry.
BY JAY KRISTOFF AND AMIE KAUFMAN
Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?
Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.
With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.
I’m hooked, and I NEED to know how this all ends for our band of characters. Plus, an action-packed sci-fi is never something you should pass up. The first two books in the series have been four stars for me, but I have high hopes that this one will surpass them both.
WHAT IF IT’S US
BY ADAM SILVERA AND BECKY ALBERTALLI
*no cover yet
What If It’s Us opens as Arthur and Ben meet at the post office as Ben is shipping his ex-boyfriend’s things back to him. They subsequently endure the frustration of knowing there was a missed connection, before the universe pushes them back together again in a series of failed “first” dates.
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by HarperTeen
Two things: Becky and Adam. You need more of a reason? Okay, it’s a possibly cavity-inducing definitely heart wrenching teen romance novel. You need this book in your life, I promise.
*LEGENDARY (CARAVAL 2)
BY STEPHANIE GARBER
Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling and breakout debut Caraval, following Scarlett’s younger sister, Tella, on a journey to the empire’s capital to fulfill a mysterious bargain.
The first book in this series was a creeper. I started off not being impressed and on the verge of dnf’ing, then it all changed. Now I’m invested in Tella, Scarlett and Legend’s story.
BY AMIE KAUFMAN
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.
For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.
In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race…
Their first collaboration series was entertaining, and gave me Illuminae feels. This one also reminds me of These Broken Stars and the Illuminae Files, so I’m curious. Maybe it will be the best parts of both and I will have found my new favorite series. Who knows?
CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE
BY TOMI ADEYEMI
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
If after reading that synopsis you still aren’t sold on this book (and this series) then there is NOTHING that I can say to you that will change your mind. It’s a fantasy series, there is royalty plot, there’s going to be battles, and romance. Like? GET. ON. THIS.
LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT
BY BECKY ALBERTALLI
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
Have you read Simon? Are you going to see the movie? Well…then it’s clear why you NEED this book in your life (and why I’m desperate to have it in my hands). Leah is that badass, fiercely loyal best friend that you need but may not deserve. I want to see her get all the best things in her life.
BY JENNIFER L ARMENTROUT
Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.
I’m hoping for all of the fluff. Pleaaaaaase give me cavities!!!
*IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE
BY EMILY KOCH (FINISHED VERSION)
Review coming soon. Expected publication: January 11th 2018 by Harvill Secker.
I can’t wait to see the finished product for this one.
BY GRETCHEN MCNEIL
WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.
When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?
This looks like one to get the blood pumping and the brain box going. Yes and please.
BLACK MIRROR Volume I
BY CHARLIE BROOKER
From the creator of Black Mirror comes the first book in an anthology series featuring original stories from leading fiction writers, all set in the world of the cult series.
I love the TV show and if this is anything close to the original, well then I know I’ll love it even if it gives me nightmares till I’m 100.
BY STEPHEN KING
An eleven-year-old boy is found in a town park, hideously assaulted and murdered. The fingerprints (and later DNA) are unmistakably those of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a man of impeccable reputation, with a wife and two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland coached, orders an immediate and public arrest. Maitland is taken to jail, his claim to innocence scorned. Maitland has a foolproof alibi, with footage to prove that he was in another city when the crime was committed. But that doesn’t save him either.
It’s Stephen King. End. Of
MISS PEREGRINE 4
BY RANSOM RIGGS
*no cover yet*
The first three novels in the series introduced Jacob Portman and the world of the peculiars – and saw that world threatened by, and spared from, destruction by a hostile splinter faction and their monstrous servants. Now, in a thrilling new story arc, Jacob’s adventure continues as Ransom Riggs reveals even more secrets of the peculiar world, set against the rich landscapes of American history.
(HOW DID I MISS THIS ANNOUNCEMENT????) Expected publication: May 1st 2018 by Penguin LCC US.
More adventures with my peculiar babies!!! (And maybe now we’ll actually get some diversity).
YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE
BY RACHEL LYNN SOLOMON
Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.
But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.
When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.
These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?
I’m already feeling the tears that this one is going to bring. This one is going to be REAL and REAL HARD to read.
THE QUEEN’S RISING
BY REBECCA ROSS
When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.
Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?
Magic!!!! Action!!! Where do I sign up?
BY COURTNEY ALAMEDA
Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.
Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.
Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.
Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.
In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you’ll hear.
Sci-fi and horror mixed into one? Sounds like a recipe for 5 stars to me!
THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER
BY EMILY X R PAN
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
This one is going to hurt so good. I can tell and I CANNOT WAIT!
TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE
BY JAY COLES
When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.
The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.
Well anyone who’s looked at the news in the past ever, will find this situation all too familiar. Books like this are so necessary.
THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR
BY TESSA GRATTON
The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.
The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.
Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.
Tag yourself, I’m Elia. But also, why is he waiting so long to choose a successor? This is serious business man!
* A RONAN (TRC) TRILOGY <UNNAMED>
BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER
*no cover/release date yet*
Maggie Stiefvater just outlined three books “for a Ronan-centered trilogy”.
aka I’ve waited until December to do this, feel proud of me.
Full disclosure, in my country we start Christmas early af, so waiting this long to spring this on you was the biggest exercise of self-control ever. Like there is a “100 days of Christmas” countdown! It’s serious! Also, since we don’t have ‘Thanksgiving’ it’s the biggest celebration we have at this time of the year.
So now that that’s settled, let’s get on with the actual tbr… it’s a short one. Ain’t no Trinbagonian getting reading time in the middle of cleaning and cooking for the season.