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?
aka that time I didn’t have a post ready so I went with this one.
This week, actually this month, has been pretty slow reading wise for me, so maybe telling you what I’m reading this weekend will motivate me to actually read.
I feel like everyone and their grandchild knows the synopsis of It, but for the few of you who live under a rock –
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry, Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.
It was the children who saw – and felt – what made Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurked, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread. Sometimes IT reached up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .
The adults, knowing better, knew nothing.
Time passed and the children grew up, moved away. The horror of IT was deep-buried, wrapped in forgetfulness. Until they were called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirred and coiled in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality
I haven’t gotten very far into this (this shit is MAMMOTH) but I see why people say this is one of his most memorable pieces. It’s a lot to take in.
Wicked River is set to come out in May 2018, and it’s also very intense. If it does it right, this one could definitely be a top contender in its genre.
Six million acres of Adirondack forest separate Natalie and Doug Larson from civilization. For the newlyweds, an isolated, back country honeymoon seems ideal: a chance to start their lives together with an adventure, on their own. But just as Natalie and Doug begin to explore the dark interiors of their own hearts, as well as the depths of their love for each other, it becomes clear that they are not alone in the woods.
Because six million acres makes it easy for the wicked to hide. And even easier for someone to go missing for good.
As they struggle with the worst the wilderness has to offer, a man watches them, wielding the forest like a weapon. And once they are near his domain, he will do everything in his power to make sure they never walk out again
aka that time I force my opinions down your throat, maybe?
I’ve always been interested in these kinds of ideas and thought, why not give it a try. So here we are, with me pretending that I know what I’m doing with this. Hopefully, I introduce you all to some new things…(or reaffirm your thoughts on them).
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
What works for The Shining is how isolated and helpless to escape their fate our characters are. Off Season by Jack Ketchum features a cast that is on an equally inevitable path to destruction.
It’s gory, for sure, so if that’s something that you can’t handle then give this one a pass. But, Ketchum gives you glimpses of our hunters and the hunted and you feel for both groups in a way that leaves you confused about who you’re rooting for. The ending as well…it got me good.
A Wrinkle in Time
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.
Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space.
You like children on adventures? Are you a fantasy lover who’s always up for a bit of magic? Then Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men is the one for you.
Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle – aka the Wee Free Men – a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds – black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors – before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone…
Tiffany is the kind of girl you want fighting battles for you. She has a single-minded determination and overcomes obstacles like nobody’s business. And those little men are strange in all the right ways. Give it a try.
Or you can try: Gregory and the Grimbockle, a new release that just tugs at you.
Ten-year-old Gregory is about to find out that the enormous mole stuck straight beneath his nose is not just a mole, but is actually a humpy crumpy portal of skin that hides a creature called the Grimbockle.
What’s more? The Grimbockle is just one of the many strange little creatures called Bockles tending to the mysterious threads that connect all humans from one to the other. It is a very important job and one that has long been carried out with incredible secrecy…
…that is, before tonight.
Gregory is an outcast, who you can’t help but want to protect, in a family that could work on communication and affection. I also love that this book reminds us that human connections are OUR responsibility and that there are no magical creatures running around fixing it for us. Put in the work.
Black Dagger Brotherhood
In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.
The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams
Sexy, protective vampires fighting to keep their world secret and safe, all while protecting the human race. Easily binge-worthy material. On par with this series is the Midnight Breed series.
Part human, part otherworldly, the Breed has lived among humankind for thousands of years, maintaining a tentative peace built on secrecy, power, and the dark justice carried out by the formidable warriors of the Order.
But now, a blood war within the race is set to ignite. Vampires are going Rogue in startling numbers, feeding without discretion, killing humans in the streets. It is up to the Order to stop the spreading threat of Rogue domination — and in so doing, each of the warriors will be forced to confront private demons, darkest secrets, deepest fears. Some will know triumph, some will know loss, but each warrior can count on one thing: Love, when it finds him, will often come at the worst possible moment, with the least likely woman . . . and it will bring each of these powerful males to his knees.
Also, if you love loooong series, then both these are right up your alley. So. Many. Books!
Literary fiction at its finest.
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery
If heart-tugging literary fictions that span years/generations then Homegoing and A Thousand Splendid Suns are both for you. They have it in spades.
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them – in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul – they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival
Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.
As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life
When this book first came out it was EVERYWHERE! Every booktuber and book blogger was raving about it, and I wasn’t buying the hype. Well…this was well warranted. Another book that deserves the hype is If I Die Before I wake by Emily Koch.
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.
Mystery/Thriller, unreliable narrator. Check, and check. Both these books leave you confused and enthralled and 100% invested. Oh, and the settings are pretty similar too: hospital rooms, so…
This September is going to be dedicated to series reading. Two of these are going to be re-reads for me, because I never finished the series. If I’m to finish them, then I need a refresher, or this might be the moment when I decide that it’s not worth it. I’m also trying to take it easy this month. These past two months have been intense reading wise and I need to do some real life things.
Blur by Kristen Middleton
Initial rating: 5 stars
Synopsis: There ARE creatures lurking in the dead of night… Seventeen year old Nikki and her twin brother, Nathan, move to the small town of Shore Lake to start over after their mother is brutally attacked. When a missing teenager washes up on shore during their first night at the cabin and there are whispers of vampires in Shore Lake, Nikki begins to realize that there are things roaming in the darkness that are far more sinister than what they left behind in the big city.
Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Initial rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: After a Vampire Tracker Marks her with a crescent moon on her forehead, 16-year-old Zoey Redbird enters the House of Night and learns that she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx and has affinities for all five elements: Air, Fire Water, Earth and Spirit. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is mis-using her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny – with a little help from her new vampyre friends (or Nerd Herd, as Aphrodite calls them).
This isn’t a showstopper series, or even a slow burn. The world won’t encapsulate you. Instead, your curiousity is the thing that will win out on this one. I NEED to see the antagonist foiled.
I decided that I’m going to do at least one Stephen King per month until I’ve read them all (or I overload). This month’s pick is The Mist.
Synopsis: It’s a hot, lazy day, perfect for a cookout, until you see those strange dark clouds. Suddenly a violent storm sweeps across the lake and ends as abruptly and unexpectedly as it had begun. Then comes the mist…creeping slowly, inexorably into town, where it settles and waits, trapping you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world. The mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. What unleashed this terror? Was it the Arrowhead Project—the top secret government operation that everyone has noticed but no one quite understands? And what happens when the provisions have run out and you’re forced to make your escape, edging blindly through the dim light?
Disclaimer: I didn’t get this when I first saw the movie, so I’m hoping this book brings clarity (lol, as if King does clarity).