Top 5 Reads of 2020

Now I know what you are thinking, there are still two weeks left in the year, so how can I be absolutely sure there won’t be something else I read that breaks its way into my top 5? There might be and if there is, then I’ll admit that fact when the time comes, but I’m fairly sure that these are pretty set on being my top 5 books of the year, so let’s get into it!

Night of the Dragon by Julie KagawaI still haven’t forgiven Julie Kagawa for destroying me with this book, but her Shadow of the Fox trilogy has a distinguished place on my favorites shelf. I can easily see myself reading these books time and again as I loved the characters and world that she created. All three books ended up being 5 stars for me which is saying something when you are talking about a series. I was both scared and excited for the last book, and in the last 50 or so pages my boyfriend had to deal with me sobbing my eyes out and not knowing what was wrong. If you haven’t already, please read these books, they were amazing!

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega – This was one of those books that I ended up being so mad at myself about, because I pre-ordered it and then didn’t read it for months! Once I read it I was kicking myself SO HARD because I loved it so much. Even though this was Ortega’s debut I will be checking out her future books based on this read alone. I loved the way she integrated culture, throwback references and her characters are rich and fully fledged. Plus – Chunk alone gets five stars (and all the Goonies references killed me). If you love spooky middle grades that are full of heart and humor, then you NEED to pick this one up.

The Wild Path by Sarah R. Baughman – Oh man, this book. This was another one that had me tearing up because there were definitely parts of it I could identify with. The mystery involving what Claire sees and finds out was a wonderful string to weave through the story and I again couldn’t help but fall in love with the characters and setting. When I originally signed on the the blog tour for this one it was because I was truly interested in the story, but I very quickly fell in love with it. This is another author whose other works I want to check out sooner rather than later not just because of the content, but because her writing style was also such a joy to read.

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones – Ok, I’ll admit it, because I had enjoyed Mapping the Interior so much I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this one as well – but I didn’t know how much. I really enjoy his writing style so it was easy to fall right into this one. I pretty quickly devoured it and was so happy I had decided to pick it up. It’s humorous and dark at the same time, with just enough psychological twist that I was really happy. I can’t wait to pick up more of his work and see if I like them just as much.

The books I’ve mentioned up until this point haven’t been in any kind of order, I haven’t assigned certain spots to them, but I can pretty confidently say which book is my absolute number one of 2020. So I’m going to actually include my full review of this one.

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith – I was super excited about this book when I heard about it. Being a gamer myself I’m very aware of the toxicity that can be found in the gaming community, especially when it comes to female players, so having a book that tackles this head on was such a joy to see.

I was not disappointed at all and can easily say that Don’t Read the Comments will likely appear in my favorite books of the year list. It not only discussed the gaming community and how celebrities in that community are treated, but also addressed other issues in the gaming community, different family dynamics and issues and so much more. The discussion regarding how Divya guards her identity and information out of fear of being pursued or doxxed is something that is seen in a number of industries, not just the gaming community.

I fell in love with so many of the characters, even when they perhaps weren’t acting the best. They were all moving cogs within the story that contributed greatly to the plot. There were also wonderfully inserted moments of humor that not only lightened the events, but perfectly added a realness to the story. This was really such a wonderful read and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

So there you have it – my top 5 of 2020. What were your favorite books?

Happy reading!

My Favorite Books of 2020…so far

Somehow the first quarter of 2020 has passed us by and I know a lot of us (myself included) are having a rough time, so I thought that today I would talk about a few of my favorite books of 2020 so far. I wholeheartedly recommend picking up each of these books and they are definitely in the running for my top books of the year!

First I have to mention Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith. This one took my completely by surprise but I LOVED it. It tackles so many issues that are relevant in the gaming and streaming community, as well as in society in general. The friendships and relationships that Smith crafted were wonderful and there were so many beautifully crafted scenes in this book. I can guarantee this is going to be on my top books of the year as I don’t see many books being able to top it.

Next let’s talk about Poems to See By. This one was really interesting as it was comics created to accompany classic poems. Each comic is a different style that goes along with the subject matter or tone of the poems. While I knew a lot of the poems included already, this would be a great way for someone to be introduced to the poems themselves. It gives a new avenue for people to be exposed classic poetry with beautiful imagery.

Another poetry collection that I have absolutely loved this year was the latest installment from Amanda Lovelace, Break Your Glass Slippers. I’ve read most of her poetry collections and enjoyed them all to different degrees, but Break Your Glass Slippers was by far the best in my opinion. It shares themes with her other works, but this one really spoke to me. It’s definitely going to take a lot for her to top this one in my opinion.

Finally let’s talk about the book that was easily my most anticipated book of the year, Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa. This was the conclusion to the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. I knew this one was likely going to wreck me and oh boy, it did. It was an amazing conclusion to the trilogy even though it destroyed me. If you’re looking for a trilogy that reads like an anime and is a thrilling adventure, definitely check these out.

Do any of these sound good to you? If so, I’ve made sure to link to the amazon pages for each one. Check them out and see if they are new favorites for you too.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: Night of the Dragon

All is lost.

To save everyone she loves from imminent death, kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko gave up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must make one desperate final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using the scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon and make the wish that will plunge the empire into chaos.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko to stop a madman, and to separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

Buy Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound Books-A-Million AppleBooks Google Play

Night of the Dragon was easily my most anticipated book of the year. I have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the Shadow of the Fox trilogy and HAD to know what happened to the characters. That being said, this book pretty much broke me. If Julie Kagawa has a tear quota she needs to meet, I’m pretty sure I provided what she needs.

That being said, Night of the Dragon was just as amazing as the other two books and was a fast paced, well formed conclusion. I don’t really feel like anything was left unresolved but it was certainly a difficult and emotional journey to get to the end. We follow the same characters as we have followed previously as they continue to try to defeat Genno in his quest to claim the Dragon’s Wish. There were so many twists and turns (some predictable and some out of left field) and Kagawa again succeeded in writing this book so that it reads like an anime. It is action packed and there’s never really a dull moment.

It was heartbreaking and amazing at the same time, if you have grown to love the world she has created in the first two books, be prepared to get emotional but to also love this conclusion to the trilogy.

Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey, Blood of Eden, Talon, and Shadow of the Fox series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.

Julie now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two obnoxious cats, and a pair of Australian Shepherds that have more Instagram followers than she does.

Social Links:
Author website: http://juliekagawa.com/
Facebook
Twitter: @jkagawa
Instagram: @juliekagawaauthor
Goodreads

Thank you so much to Inkyard Press for giving me the opportunity to finally read the conclusion and be included in the blog tour!

Happy reading!

Flashback Friday: Books I Loved When I Was Younger

We all have those books that hold a dear place in our hearts. Books that looking back may not be perfect but that we can reread time and again because of how much we loved them in our youth. I’m going to take a walk down memory lane and talk about some of the ones I loved and still love.

Nancy Drew – I read a lot of Nancy Drew as a young teen. I was voracious in my devouring of books so my mom suggested I try them out, thinking they would last me a while. Yeah, I read all of the original stories, the extended originals and most of the files books. I’ve now collected all of the originals and all of the filed through 100. These books are a product of their time and aren’t perfect, but in a lot of ways they are also timeless. I can usually pick up one if I’m in a slump and fly through it.

L.J. Smith – I may be somewhat revealing my age, but I read pretty much all of L.J. Smith’s books when they came out. The Forbidden Game trilogy (my favorite), Vampire Diaries (the originals, not the ones that were added on later), Secret Circle, Dark Visions and Night World (do not even get me started on Strange Fate unless you want to hear a mega rant). I now have two sets of the original cover editions of the Forbidden Game trilogy, as well as two editions of all the Night World books, including first editions and the new beautiful re-released ones. No, they don’t necessarily hold up as well to modern standards, but they all have such a dear place in my heart.

Anne of Green Gables – I was gifted a box set of the entire Anne of Green Gables series as a child, another gift from my mom, because I loved the TV series that was made (starring Megan Follows). I didn’t get to them until I was a little older, but they are a huge chunk of my adolescence. I have thought about getting a new set of books since mine are very battered, but haven’t settled on what exactly I want yet.

So there we have it, a very narrowed down snippet of books that I loved and still love. What are some of your old favorites?

Happy reading!