So let me cut to the chase: my 2019 resolution of writing a review of every book I read was very difficult for me to keep up with. Out of the 95 books I read this year, I formally reviewed 39 of them. So… yikes.
Since I have a day off, and I have too much pride to call it quits entirely, I’ll be finishing up the last 50-something reviews I have in two final installments of RFBR. This time, this reviews will be even quicker because I’m not completely masochistic.
If you’d like to get a little taste of the other books I’ve read this past crazy year of 2019, then read on. Settle in with a snack of some kind and get cozy because this is going to be a long post.
The V Girl by Mya Robarts
An erotic novel that was recommended to me with heaps of praise for its timely sex-positive messages, and super steamy scenes. I thought it was alright. Erotica is not really my thing. There was more world building than I expected, the sex-positive messages were good, but the actual romance was pretty so-so in my opinion. There were some sexually violent scenes that were a bit much for me. Huge trigger warnings for this one.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
As someone diagnosed with an anxiety disorder I could always stand to give less of a f*ck about things. Subtle Art was surprisingly helpful on that front- Manson is good at wording things in a way that feel both motivating and do-able. He’s not going to hold your hand though and that’s the start of not giving a f*ck, I guess. It’s very funny too, which helps. Not for people who find swearing offensive.
Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
I am so sorry that I could get my you-know-what together enough to give this a full review, because it really deserves one. This sequel to Kings of the Wyld (one of my favorite books of this year) is absolutely just as good. The character development is even better. Eames is a phenomenal writer, and he has my full attention. Without any hesitation I will buy the next book he puts out because I want to support fantasy writers like him: writers who include diverse characters with agency and depth, and who make the female characters just as (if not more) badass than their male counterparts. Again, the worldbuilding here is flawless, the humor is on point, and the emotional gravity will sock you in the mouth and make you say “thank you.”
If you like fantasy on any level at all, puh-lease do yourself a service and pick up both Bloody Rose and Kings of the Wyld.
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
This was a very enjoyable audiobook. I liked the setting and worldbuilding that was heavily inspired by the vikings. Our main character is likeable and fun to follow. I never felt like I was exasperated by her (like I often do with YA protagonists). The romance felt forced though, and I never really bought into it.
Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
I wish I had read this book for school because I feel like there was a lot I missed. I did some surface reading on the event this play is based on– the assassination of Thomas Becket in 1170 and his martyrdom that led to him being canonized. It was decent, and I’m glad I read it, but I wish I understood it all on a deeper level.
Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin
I picked this up on a whim when it came into the bookstore where I work. I had heard nothing about it and so expected nothing going into it, and it really surprised me. This is a very creepy book about a brother and sister who go to stay with a relative while their parents get divorced. That alone makes it very relatable to me and I enjoyed the discussions about family dynamics and moving on from the trauma that comes with change. But also there was some deliciously dark witchcraft and supernatural mystery within these pages. I really liked this book and ended up buying the hardcover for my own collection.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Probably my least favorite book out of the series but I still enjoyed it a lot. Will Patton makes these audiobooks a truly unique experience and I miss my car rides listening to him tell me about Cabeswater.
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
I had to read this book in a single night as a homework assignment for one of my summer courses this year. Despite being in a panic while I read (because 10 page papers, and deadlines) I learned a lot and enjoyed my time with Ms. Kerman. We really do need voices like hers to shed light on the injustice of our own justice system and the women who get lost within it.
Good Game, Well Played by Brian Crecente
This was an ARC sent to our bookstore to see if it would be something we could sell. I read it since I’m the video game aficionado on our staff and I can assure you, this would not sell at our store. These are previously published video game articles, some of which are 10+ years old. If I was going to pay money for articles I could more easily access online (for free) then I’d want them to be more current, and more interesting. I’m sorry.
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
As an ending to such a good series with such good characters I was expecting a little bit more, but not enough to say I’m disappointed. A large plot twist was spoiled for me about a week before I started reading and I think that took away the impact it should have had on me. Still though, I consider TRC an amazing series and it maintains Stiefvater’s position as one of YA’s best authors.
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
Here’s a petty main character who values clothing and lame-ass men too much for my liking. None of the twists worked for me, and I was not convinced by the broody dark tone it was going for. I can understand why others might like it. I think I’ve just read this kind of thing too many times, and it’s old for me. The cover is really pretty though.
Winterwood by Shae Ernshaw
Not as good as her debut, The Wicked Deep, but still very enjoyable. Sometimes Nora had me raising my eyebrows a bit but I’m willing to forgive that since the atmosphere was so enveloping. I’m excited to see what Ernshaw puts out next.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
One of the most beautifully crafted fantasy books ever, there’s no doubt. I didn’t even mind the Tom Bombadil parts. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook as the narrator will actually sing all of the songs to you and it’s wonderful. I felt like I was listening to my sweet old grandpa tell me the greatest bedtime story ever.
Beowulf by Unknown
This is another case of me wishing I had studied this in school because there’s clearly a lot going on and I think a good deal of it went over my head. What I did understand, I enjoyed a lot. I liked that my copy of the book has the English on one side and the original Old English on the other.
Claymore vol. 11: Kindred of Paradise by Norihiro Yagi
Jean is too good for this world. The addition of Alicia and Beth was surprising and very visually impressive. Isley is a horse with freaking beyblades for arms. What more do you want from me.
Claymore vol. 12: The Souls of the Fallen by Norihiro Yagi
Girl gang government conspiracy!! Miata is a really weird character and I want to like her but one of her “quirks” makes me uncomfortable. I’d explain further but I feel like it’s too NSFW to include here.
Claymore vol. 13: The Defiant Ones by Norihiro Yagi
This one dragged a bit more than others, but it’s setting up for later. I’m still conflicted about Miata and Clarice.
Claymore vol. 14: A Child Weapon by Norihiro Yagi
A main character blinding herself and hiding as a nun was the best part of this volume.
Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker
One of the most unique books I’ve read in ages as the narrative follows a female Utah Raptor from the Early Cretaceous period. We follow her as she hunts to survive, tries to find a mate, and risks her own life to protect her kin. Some parts dragged a bit for me but it was still well worth the read.
Claymore vol. 15: Genesis of War by Norihiro Yagi
Helen gets drunk and we find that Raki has achieved Goku level musculature. We love to see it.
Claymore vol. 16: The Lamentation of the Earth by Norihiro Yagi
Dietrich has the cutest hairstyle in the series. We see that Yagi can masterfully capture the essence of Lovecraftian horror with his addition of the Abyss Feeders.
Sheets by Brenna Thummler
A very cute graphic novel with cozy autumn vibes about a girl, a ghost, and a laundromat. I made this one a staff pick in my bookstore’s YA/middlegrade section.
Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainford
In a word: weird. This book is surreal like it exists just between the real and the unreal. People are monsters and monsters are people and the Ground is an open mouth. I loved that it reads like poetry a lot of the time. While not quite good enough to be 5 stars, its a very high 4 out of 5 that has stuck with me since I finished it.
Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
This breaks my heart to say but I was really let down by this finale. All the books leading up to the end were so dark and no one felt safe. It seemed like every punch got pulled here. It was just… way too clean.
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
I found this book to be significantly slower than the first. I love Treebeard so much (he’s one of my favorite characters in the movies), and I get why he takes his time with everything but his chapters dragged on for ages and not in a way I liked. Everything else was amazing though. I mean, it’s still Lord of the Rings we’re talking about here.
For the sake of not running on too long, I’m going to stop here and I’ll have the rest of my reviews ready for you in the final installment!
If you’ve gotten this far, then thank you so much for reading! I love you (yes, YOU) and I hope your day is going well.
See you in part IV!