Is there anything a book lover loves to do more than gush about books they’ve read and loved? Well, if you’re me, reading other book lovers lists of favourite reads is a close second … I always have a pen and paper at the ready to add to my never ending TBR pile.
I’ve classified my favourite reads into three lists: Fiction, Young Adult and Middle Grade. Most of these books have reviews on the site that I’ll just link to.
So, let’s get into it!
1. Circe by Madeline Miller: While it took me a bit to get into, this unique retelling – full of heartbreak, tragedy, mythology and ultimately strength & hope – still haunts me.
2. The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo: I loved this story from page one – it grabbed me with its utterly unexplainable, multi layered stories … I’m still amazed at how this maze of stories wasn’t a big-ole mess. But it was romantic, mythological, historical … fantastic.
3. The Lost Queen by Signe Pike: This is the perfect grand, sweeping, all consuming type of historical fiction I love to get lost in. If you’re an Outlander fan, you’ll likely find some magic here.
4. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang: Just the best romance. Period. Steamy romance, sweet characters and smart plot … if you’re a romance fan that hasn’t picked this up, you’re missing out my friend.
5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: Eleanor is a character that never leaves you and I think of her all the time. This is for those who love to fall in love with a character and carry them around forever in your heart. Dramatic, but true.
6. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: Short, sweet, loveable, heartbreaking, tender … and books. Lots and lots of books. You will cry, but it is worth reading anyway.
1. Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi: Even better than the original, Aru Shah continues to be an incredible almost anti-hero you can root for and is balanced by some amazing additional characters. Combining mythology, history, and fantasy and a TON of humour, this is fantastic middle grade at its best.
2. Arlo Finch and the Lake of the Moon by John August: This middle grade series has stolen my heart and just won’t let go. It captivates me with the right balance of a little spooky, a little magic and an entirely loveable, unassuming boy and his two best friends as they explore haunted, magical woods and of course try to prevent the end of the world.
3. York: The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby: The year of the middle grade sequel! If you’re looking for a series that combines steampunk with fantasy, old age with new, heart with humour – sink your teeth into this one.
4. Malamander by Thomas Taylor: So.Much.Fun. From start to stop this hilarious, fast paced middle grade fantasy hit all the right notes for me and my 9 year old.
5. Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas: Surprisingly, not a lot of dragons appear in this middle grade … but you’ll forgive it! Magic, creativity, and ancient stories in need of protection combine in this series that gave me serious Nevermoor and Harry Potter vibes.
6. The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle: Yep, I cried with this one. Such a unique middle grade fantasy in a contemporary package. So, so much heart and so, so interesting. Hard to put this unique, magical story down.
1. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer: Ok, being a 90s kid, I will always gravitate towards Beauty and the Beast retellings but this one brought such a fresh take. And I loved Harper – authors please take note that this is the heroine we want more of! 😀
2. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto: If a book has dragons or phoenixes it already has one star in my opinion … but Nicki wrote a great, unique fantasy around it. A little bit Mulan, a light romance, and animal-human mind bonding (this is a thing, and it is a thing I adore).
3. Nocturna by Maya Motayne: A surprisingly controversial pick, which still baffles me —You can read more about that in my review — but I liked this LatinX fantasy world Maya created that didn’t hang its hat on simply being a romance.
4. The Wicked King by Holly Black: Just a read-it-in-one-sitting, fast paced, twisting fantasy. I ate this sequel up with a spoon.
5. The Lovely War by Julie Berry: Here it lies, my favourite book of the year. This historical YA (a genre we don’t see enough of) was so captivating. Exploring war (from both sides at times) and its far reaching tragedies and impacts. Told through two love stories during WWI delivered to us by the alternating perspectives of Aphrodite, Ares, Hades and Apollo. So very well done.
6. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly: Connecting with me on a somewhat bizarre personal level and full of memorable passages (seriously the amount of page flags sticking outta this book is insane) … but ultimately just a fabulous retelling of Cinderella through the eyes of the “ugly” stepsister. But what is ugly?
7. Illuminae of Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman: I debated putting this on the list because everyone knows this series … but if you are siting on it, don’t. This is the most wild ride of a book and the absolutely unique delivery method of multimedia images and texts … I thought it wouldn’t work. But it does, it is fabulous.