Switching it up this year! Instead of posting a yearly round-up (because, to be honest, I haven’t had the most fulfilling reading year in 2019!), let’s talk about my absolute favourite books published in the last ten years. That I have read. Obviously.
The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson
This book was everything I didn’t know I wanted; a proper little gem picked up on a whim just because the literary Gods smiled upon me one evening. I did not expect to get so into it, but when your protagonist is a martial arts expert with astral projection abilities who can see into the depths of the supernatural underworld of 19th century Chinatown in San Francisco … I don’t believe it’s possible to go wrong.
Inspiring, thoroughly entertaining, something a bit different and completely unexpected. Plus, it’s always good to support small presses! This book totally makes the list.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Another ghost story has made the list, this time taking place in a dystopian futuristic London/Oxford. Spirits, dreamwalking, clairvoyancy, all that good shit – mixed with some crackin’ characters and world-building that made me put down the book and announce to my empty bedroom, “that was fucking brilliant“. There are to be seven books in this series, with three out currently. And while the two sequels to The Bone Season weren’t quite as riveting as the first in my opinion, I still think it’s a cracking urban futuristic fantasy, and there’s nothing quite like it out on the scene.
_A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
Sarah J Maas exploded onto the YA Fantasy scene at the start of the decade and has churned out two of the most successful series in the genre. Both the Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series are fabulous and well worth a read. Her masterful world-building and character mastery give me life. If I were to pick a favourite of the 10+ novels Maas has released this decade, A Court of Mist and Fury takes the top spot. I had all of the emotions while reading this book. I may have cried. It was an intense 600+ pages and I highly recommend them all.
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
In a world where the end of days isn’t just a threat but a guarantee, where the latest apocalypse is triggered by a powerful madman looking for revenge and the arcane obelisks that float above the Earth are beginning to shift, the heartbreaking story of Essun unfolds. And it was brilliant. It’s another example of world-building that leaves you speechless, characters that never leave you, and a story that wraps you in its thorn-prickled arms and refuses to let you leave. Every book in this trilogy has won a Hugo award, that might give you an idea of how damn good this story is.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
This is 100% a Marmite novel: you either love it or you hate it. And in my case, I was enthralled. Oh so enthralled. Objectively, I know that this book wasn’t terribly well-written: the plot and world-building are basically non-existent, and the purple prose bordered on ridiculous at times. But oh my days, the characters, especially MC Juliette; Tahereh Mafi portrayed her struggle with life and mental health absolutely perfectly. The romance even stole my heart as well, not an easy feat. I completely loved this story. 10/10 would be fatally wounded by this beautiful book again.
Angelfall by Susan EE
I raved about this book. I gushed and babbled about how much I loved it. I called it “the pinnacle of dystopia” with amazing characters, plot, pacing, world-building – the lot. I still remember it fondly – it came out when the PNR (paranormal romance) hype had turned from vampires to angels and wow did the genre capitalise (and fair play, indeed). Angelfall is definitely the best angel book I read during the craze – perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, as it boasts a similar vibe. And … it was an indie book! Love when I find a really amazing self-pubbed book.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Hardcore survivalism? Interesting and different location. High stakes, excitement, a protagonist that makes the Book Boyfriend list? Oh hell yeah. Now I am pretty damn fond of my survivalist literature and I think The Martian may actually be my absolute fave of the genre. I loved every minute I spent with this book, and Mark Watney, one of my very few book boyfriends (I’m highly exclusive). This book was so popular they made a film, and I need to point out that the film is VERY DIFFERENT to the book. The film was boring, the book was amazing and hilarious, read it.
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer. What a woman. What an absolute legend. This is hands-down the best autobiography/self-help book I have ever come across, and it reads as if you’ve gone out for coffee with Amanda Palmer herself and just … having a good old chat about the world. It was not only really interesting to read about Palmer’s life but I loved learning about her philosophies. Her voice resonated so deeply with me and I do think her words have changed my outlook on some things. Ff anyone has an interest in psychology and self-awareness, this is a great one to pick up. Loved it. Absolutely loved it.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I’m crying just thinking about this one. I never wrote a full review (I think I read this before I became a reviewer), but my Goodreads review features a gif of a blue blob with its jaw on the floor. So there’s that. There’s not an easy way to explain how this book made me feel. It was wholesome and pure while also being heart-wrenching in its existentialism. It was depressing in a way that I would totally put myself through that again. This was just John Green all over, him at his absolute finest.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Hello, this is my favourite Neil Gaiman story. We’ve all got one, this is mine. What a whimsical, wholesome, disturbing-yet-relateable, quirky little story. A short, but it packs a punch, and it’s even better as an audiobook read by Gaiman himself – those sultry tones heightened the atmosphere of the story tenfold. It’s one of those stories that don’t have a clear plot, don’t have a clear destination, but the journey is 100% one you want to be on with these characters, just seeing what happens next. Wonderful book, beautifully written, would recommend to anyone.
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