27 December 2019

Best Reads of 2019



I love looking back at the past year's reads. 

It's interesting to see what I rated them then and if that rating has changed in my mind now that the book has marinated in this brain of mine.  These aren't necessarily books that I rated 5 paws up, but books that I hated to finish or would definitely pick up again for a reread.

Here are the ten that made the cut:





House of Salt and Sorrow

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

I love dark twists on fairy tales and this one was amazing. I loved every minute of it and immediately went searching for more books by the author. I was shocked to find out that it was a debut!

(Read my review here)

Beasts of Babylon

Gunslinger Anastasia Thorne won’t stay dead.

Ten years ago, monsters murdered Anastasia and her children. Now, she’s back to hunt down the creatures responsible. She knows their names, their faces, and even where they’re hiding.

There’s just one problem. No one in town believes her.

After a botched bank robbery, Anastasia finds herself on the wrong side of the law, riding into the mountains in search of vengeance, notorious outlaw, Jesse Gallagher, at her side.

With the sheriff of Babylon hot on their trail, ghouls on their heels, and werewolves and skin stealing monsters in the mountains, Jesse and Anastasia quickly find out they’re outgunned and in for a long night.

It’s going to take more than silver bullets to put these monsters down.
 

Western horror. Yes! I was sad when this one ended and looked for book two, just sure that the series was out there. Sad face. It's not.

(Read my review here)

Snowball

A group of motorists become stranded on a lonely stretch of highway during a Christmas Eve blizzard and fight for survival against an unnatural force in the storm. The gathered survivors realize a tenuous connection among them means it may not be a coincidence that they all ended up on this highway. An attempt to seek help leads a few of the travelers to a house in the woods where a twisted toymaker with a mystical snow globe is hell bent on playing deadly games with a group of people just trying to get home for the holidays. 
Review coming soon for this little gem. 

Terminal

All passengers, please prepare for departure…
An employee, a cop, and five prisoners; a prisoner, a stowaway, and a madman.
These are the people waiting at the Lawton bus terminal. Mostly late-night travelers who want nothing more than to get to their destinations, and employees who want nothing more than to get through the graveyard shift.
But when a strange, otherworldly fog rolls in, the night changes to nightmare. Because something hides in the fog. Something powerful. Something strange. Something... inhuman.
Soon, those in the terminal have been cut off from the rest of the world. No phones, no computers. Just ten strangers in the terminal... and The Other.
The Other is the force in the mist. The Other is the thing that has captured them. And The Other wants to play a game.
The rules are simple:
1) The people in the terminal must choose a single person from among them. That person will live. The rest will die.2) Anyone who attempts to leave the terminal before the final vote will die.3) The final vote... must be unanimous.
A nightmare. And getting worse, because the best way to make a vote unanimous... is to kill the other voters.
Welcome to the end of the line. Welcome to the Terminal.
Terminal was a dark horse. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Very twisty!

(Read my review here)


For King and Country

Mòrag’s world is one of proud magical creatures and fierce armies bristling with steel and sorcery.
Welcome to twenty-seventh century post-apocalyptic Scotland. A land changed by nuclear war, where the only technology in the land is medically orientated — as decreed by the new leaders in the emergence, during the immediate aftermath of near-global destruction of the human race — all in order to kill just one ruler. Now, more than six-hundred years later, immortal beasts once again roam wild in the countryside; mighty princes battle for power and the common folk do their best to avoid being trampled in their wake.
Born of a forbidden coupling between the Albannach and Sasannach royal houses; Mòrag is destined to rule. But her birth right has been kept secret - even from her, and discovery of her royal blood could cost her life.
Mòrag is no ordinary girl. Her royal blood's hidden talents begin to reveal themselves during her military training at Sruighlea Castle, and she is suddenly in a lot more trouble than she ever dreamed of.
Mòrag is about to enter a brutal world of conflict and turmoil which will challenge everything she knows and believes in.
Futuristic fantasy. So good. I need to take some downtime (ha) and dive into the other books in the series.

(Read my review here)

Ashkickers

With ex-firefighter Cole Brannigan in command of the Smoke Eaters, the dragon menace is under control. Thanks to non-lethal Canadian tech, the beasts are tranquilized and locked up, rather than killed. But for Tamerica Williams, this job filled with action and danger, has become tediously routine.
When a new threat emerges, a legendary bird of fire - the Phoenix - it's the perfect task for Williams. But killing the Phoenix just brings it back stronger, spreading fire like a plague and whipping dragons into a frenzy. Will it prove to be too much excitement, even for adrenalin-junkie Williams?
Firefighters fighting dragons. Get some.

(Read my review here)

The Blood Prince

The price of freedom is always paid in blood.
The sovereigns of the Silver have awakened, but the Queen is a fractured shell of the woman Cam remembers. He hopes to put her back together by finding her son, the missing prince. At least, that’s what he tells his friends when he leaves for the Red.
Back in the Blue, Julia’s old tormentor Rufus is hounding her at every turn. She’s sick of feeling powerless, but she has a plan that will bring the Nobles to their knees.All she needs is blood.
The Blood Prince is the final book in Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign trilogy, set in a dystopian Europe where vampiric Nobles control the last remnants of the human race.
 
The Blood Prince is a great blending of dystopian YA fantasy. I loved the take on zombies and vampires.

(Read my review here)


How to Break an Undead Heart

Grier finally has the one thing she’s always wanted: Boaz Pritchard. Too bad her dream boyfriend is keeping her up nights, just not in a sweaty or fun way. Boaz has dialed down the Southern charm and stopped returning her calls. His job forces him to keep secrets, but his radio silence is cranking up her suspicions. He’s a shameless flirt, but he’s her shameless flirt… right?
Soon an attack on Woolworth House leaves her with bigger problems than he loves me, he loves me not. Vampires are on the prowl, and they aren’t the only predators circling. A new threat has emerged, one with blood rights to Grier. With enemies closing in on all sides, she must choose her allies, and the decision could make or break her… and her heart.
Warning: This book contains a buttload of zombie parakeet poop. Like grab a poncho and thank me later. Watch out, y’all. It’s about to hit the fan. Hearts will break, and heads will roll. Literally.
I got stuck on the series earlier this year. I don't cry at books, I swear.

Fortuna Sworn

We were meant to be seductive. We were designed to lure humans in.
Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind.
Her brother disappeared two years ago, leaving her with no family or species to speak of. She hides among humans, spending her days working at a bar and her nights searching for him. The bleak pattern goes on and on... until she catches the eye of a powerful faerie.
He makes no attempt to hide that he desires Fortuna. And in exchange for her, he offers something irresistible. So Fortuna reluctantly leaves her safe existence behind to step back into a world of creatures and power. 
It soon becomes clear that she may not have bargained with her heart, but her very life.
Another total sleeper! I thought this was fae fantasy, instead it was a kickass UF.

(Read my review here)

Spells, Salt, & Steel

“When all else fails, the ass end of a carp makes a damn fine weapon.”Your new favorite monster hunter has arrived! Bubba the Monster Hunter has some competition in this horror comedy collection from best-selling author duo Gail Z. & Larry N. Martin!By day, Mark Wojcik can be found elbow-deep in engine grease, making cars and trucks safe for the highway. By night, he can be found traipsing through the wilds of Pennsylvania, making the world safe for humans. He’s more than just a mechanic, he’s a New Templar Knight. He travels the backroads and byways fighting weresquonks, ningen, selkies, ghosts, and…gnomes? Is that gnome…naked? (sigh).Season One collects the first four novellas in the Spells, Salt, & Steel series –Spells, Salt, & SteelOpen SeasonDeep TroubleClose Encounters
A collection of short stories in the same character/universe. If you enjoy Supernatural or books like Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, you'll love this horror comedy.

(Read my review here)

I can't wait to discover the great reads of 2020!

So tell me: What was your favorite read this year?