Last year I had about 20 books on my initial favorites post–10 published in 2018 and ten published pre-2018. It made for a good balance. Well, this year I’m doing something different because I think all of us in the SFF community can agree that 2019 was a year of too many amazing books. Not that it’s a problem, except when it comes to a) keeping up with all of the amazing new releases and b) compiling favorites into a list.
So my current plan is to break my favorites into several lists and then do a ‘best of the best’ list because that’s the only way I can figure out how to cover all of the wonderful books I’ve read in 2019.
Favorite Reads of 2019: Part One
Books Published Prior to 2019
These are books that were not published this past year but I read them this past year for the first time. This will be my easiest list to put together simply because I didn’t read a lot of books that weren’t published in 2019. It was hard to squeeze in back list reads because there were so many awesome new releases coming out all of the time. Still, I managed several and some of them were fantastic and had me wanting to kick myself for not picking them up sooner.
Not all of these were five star reads for me, which may seem contradictory for a ‘favorites’ list, but I think you can have a favorite reads that aren’t 5 stars. Or at least I can and this is my list so I’ll do what I like. 🙂
1. The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards (2018) – 5/5 stars
I loved this book so much! It has to be one of the funniest, snarkiest, books that is also full of action, lovable characters, and some of the most original world building I’ve ever encountered. If this is the future of urban fantasy, color me excited. Full review here.
2. Wolfsong by T.J. Klune (2016) – 5/5 stars
I’m not into werewolves but damn if I didn’t love every minute of this book. T.J. Klune really knows how to take you on an emotional journey. I laughed, I cried, I felt everything in between. This book was a rollercoaster and a delight. Romance!!! Also there are some sexy times so yay. 😉 Mini-review here.
3. Touch by Claire North (2015) – 4.5/5 stars
This was my second Claire North book, but wow, what a book. After this and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan of her work and want to read more. What Claire North does great is come up with a fascinating concept and then use it to explore what it means to be human. I also love the slow burn, the slice of life, the way the story builds to a crescendo at the end. Loved the experience of reading this one. Full review here.
4. Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron (2018) – 4.5/5 stars
Over the last couple of years I’ve become a huge fan of Rachel Aaron and have been working my way through her backlist. This one came out just last year, but she writes so quickly that I’m almost always behind. This is the first in her DFZ series, set in the same universe as the Heartstriker books but a little bit in the future. Once again Aaron has impressed me with her characcters and it’s such a blast to be able to revisit this setting. Full review here.
5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Aston, and Jodi Meadows (2016) – 4.5/5 stars
This was one of the most unexpected delights of the year for me. This book wasn’t even on my radar and I saw another blogger mention it and decided to check it out on a whim. I’m so glad because it was such a hilarious book. I laughed so much with this one. You just have to throw all you know about history out the window and go with it. Honestly prefer this to the history anyway, it ends happier. Full review here.
6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (2018) – 4.5/5 stars
This is definitely a book I’m glad I finally dove into because I ended up loving the entire series (and read them all this year!). Everything about this, the things I was hearing, kept putting me off of it but people also kept telling me how addictive this book was and I didn’t believe them until I experienced it for myself. Mini-review here.
7. Blood Trail by Tanya Huff (1991) – 4.5/5 stars
Wow, have I been missing out on an essential author of early modern urban fantasy. Here we have Tanya Huff writing an urban fantasy series about a former police dective turned private investigator paired up with a 500 year old vampire to solve supernatural crimes. This might seem a staple of the genre now, but back in 1991 this was the hot new take (trust me, I was there). This is definitely a ‘I can’t belive I never read this’. Not only that, but I just love Huff’s writing, especially her characters. I have a feeling I’ll be binging the rest of this series soon. I just read this one recently so I don’t even have a review up yet (have a feeling I’ll be recycling some of this!)
8. Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly (1988) – 4/5 stars
Speaking of earlier urban fantasy…how about an historical urban fantasy about a proffessor and ex spy teaming up with (wow, you guessed it) a vampire to solve supernatural crimes? Well, have I got the book for you. This was a lot of fun and I’m definitely going to continue the series. I also love the main character’s wife, I think she’s probably the real star of the show. Mini-review here.
9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (2017) – 4/5 stars
This is such a wonderfully weird epic fantasy novel. The characters are weird, the concepts are weird, the world is original and….well, a little weird. I embrace weird, and it’s nice to see it in a more epic fantasy type of story. Also, there is some really lovely romance. I need to read the second book soon. Full review here.
10. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (2017) – 4/5 stars
This is not a perfect book, HOWEVER, I still really, really, really loved it. I stayed up super late reading it and if that isn’t a testament than I don’t know what is. It’s also a perfect book to read for the fall. If you like the fae and you enjoy a bit of romance then maybe check this one out. Full review here.
Well, that’s the first of my favorites lists. What did you think? How are you doing with narrowing down your favorites list this year? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!