My top 5 books of 2019 so far
Thank you for reading the very first of (hopefully) many bookish posts here at Anxious Nachos. I’m Rachel and I’m here to talk to you all about the many books I’m reading and loving.
I thought I’d start with a little introductory post that would give everyone an idea of the type of books I read and enjoy. So without further ado, here are…my Top 5 books I’ve read so far in 2019!
2019 is the first year in quite a while that I have properly got back into reading, and I’ve already read so many excellent books that narrowing it down to just 5 was so tricky.
There is one book I’ve read this year which I had no problem deciding to put on this list. It has become one of my absolute favourite books, it is ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR: The Fever King by Victoria Lee. The Fever King was released earlier this year, and I picked it up after spotting it on a ‘Best queer books releasing in 2019’ list. It tells the tale of Noam, a queer Jewish immigrant, in a post-apocalyptic America. Lee combines science and magic into a fantastic, unique magic system. A full review will follow for this title, but suffice to say, it is my favourite book I’ve read so far this year, and I fully expect it to be a contender for my favourite book of the year. I couldn’t sleep the night I finished this book because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The sequel, Electric Heir, is out in March 2020 and I cannot. wait.
The next book on my list is a bit different from my normal reads. I picked it up after V.E. Schwab kept recommending it and I am so glad I did. It is the marvellous If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. If Were Were Villains opens when you meet Oliver, a man who has just spent 10 years in prison for murder. The story jumps back and forward between the present day, where Oliver is telling the true story of what happened to the police officer who investigated the murder back when it originally happened; and then the past, which takes place at a elite arts school and follows Oliver and his 6 friends as they study Shakespeare. This book is absolutely beautifully written, and it twists and turns until the very last page. The ending is just…..Gah. I have no words.
I won’t say much about this third book, it’s a book I completed very recently and there will definitely be a full review to follow in the next week or so. Do You Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh I think might be my favourite sci-fi book EVER. There’s not a huge amount of focus on technology or space, instead, it is very character-driven which I loved. Do You Dream of Terra-Two follows 6 teens who have been training to go to space in search of a new, habitable planet (Terra-Two). It follows them as they launch their mission and is very much focussed on how space travel and the mission affects each of the characters. Absolutely fantastic, more will follow on this book soon..
The Book of M by Peng Shepherd was the first book I bought when my hard copy purchasing ban ended (a move to Australia and lack of space at various flats very much limited my buying power). But The Book of M caught my eye as it has such a pretty cover and looked beautiful in the bookstore. Set in what feels like a very near future, people start losing their shadows. And it turns out that shadows were where memories were stored. The book follows the story of Ory and Max, a couple who escaped to a hotel in the woods when people started losing their memories. However, when Max loses her shadow, she runs away from Ory to avoid causing him any pain at seeing her deteriorate. The story then switches between Ory’s point of view, as he tries to find Max, and Max’s, as she tries to reach New Orleans, where ‘something’ is happening. This is another one that has an ending that hurts (appears to be a theme in this list), but it felt very unique and I really loved reading it.
The last one for this list is very special one for me. I read it very early in the year, and it was so fabulous and magical and I cannot recommend it enough: Witchmark by C.L Polk. This book was really what propelled me to start reading in earnest again, because I was so happy at seeing the diverse cast and the beautiful queer relationship that it made me want to go find more awesome diverse books to read. Witchmark is set in what feels like a Edwardian England, where noble families use their powers to control the nation. Miles Singer was born less powerful than his sister, and thus was destined to spend life enslaved to his family’s desires. Not willing to suffer this, he went to fight in his country’s war. When he returned, he started work in a hospital, where he treats those suffering mentally after the war. His powers give him a gift for healing, but when a patient is murdered and his powers are revealed, he has to investigate the death. I struggled when I first read this to find words other than MAGICAL to describe this book, because that’s what it truly is. It features such an interesting magic system, and yet feels like it could’ve been taken out of a history book, the setting is so realistic. Add the fierce character list, and it really is just such a wonderful read. Witchmark has a sequel coming out in 2020 with Grace, Miles’ sister at the helm, and I am so interested to see her thoughts on what happened in the first book.
And that’s it for my first post! In working out this list, I noticed two very clear themes that come through:
- Queer books are killing it in 2019. Expect to see quite a lot of amazing books featuring queer characters on this blog. This year so far, I’m very much reading for teenage me who would’ve killed to see such awesome queer books on her shelf (but instead had to resort to fanfiction).
- I like to be hurt: 3 of the 5 books on this list had endings which absolutely killed me
Let me know what you think of these reads, or if they’re on your TBR!
Goodbye from me, and Draco (my cat)
P.S. Okay so I’m cheating with the whole ‘Top 5’ and giving a special mention to The Poppy War by R.F Kuang which I only finished last week and which was phenomenal.