My favorite books of 2019

In 2019 I read lots of books that made me happy I can read!

I’m finally getting my favorite books of the year completed. 2019 was a good reading year since I read many books I liked and many that filled me with joy. So I have lots of favorites this year!

I had set a goal for myself to read 95 books and only read 90, but that’s okay. I love to read. I think I’m reading a little slower these days. However, the important thing for me is that I’m still reading and that I enjoy most of the books I read.

I’ve added links to the books I reviewed (only three books). 😦

Mystery

Mercy Falls by William Kent Krueger, Cork O’Connor #5

This series takes place in northern Minnesota’s lake country. I love the series which features wonderful descriptions of northern Minnesota and well-written mysteries. However, I need to read them a little quicker since there are already 17 books in the series!

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima, Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries #4

This is another series I love. I’m up-to-date with this series and have read these books since started being published a few years ago. I love reading about working dogs and Robo is a great example of a K-9 dog in a police department. He and Mattie are a wonderful team.

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong, Rockton #4

This police procedural is set in one of the oddest towns I’ve read about in a mystery and there’s lots of suspense. Each book ratchets up the suspense a little more.

Fractured Truth by Susan Furlong, Bone Gap Travellers #2

Former Marines Brynn and her K-9 partner Wilco suffer from PTSD and both carry the scars from an IED explosion. Brynn tries to control the flashbacks with alcohol and pain pills–not a good combination especially since she’s now working for the McCreary County Sherrif’s Department. She’s also trying to straddle two worlds–that of the Irish Travellers (a nomadic group from Ireland who came to the U.S. during the Great Famine) and the settled townspeople (most of whom distrust the Travellers.) The mysteries are good in this series and the world of the Travellers is fascinating.

The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman, Leaphorn & Chee #13

I’ve read these mysteries since I was a teenager. My mom and I would talk about the books through the years since we both loved them. One of the best things about this series is that it’s set in the United States Southwest. For a while I stopped reading mysteries so now I’m catching up with this series. And I’m so happy that Tony Hillerman’s daughter Anne Hillerman has continued writing the series after he died.

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8

The books in this series are so well written. Sometimes they’re difficult to read since heartbreaking things happen to characters I like. Things that happen in one book may have far-reaching impact several books later and then we see how skillfully Louise Penny has intertwined so much into her books.

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie, Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #18

I was so happy to read this book since it has been several years since Deborah Crombie had written a book in the series. When I read about Duncan and Gemma and their family it’s like having a chat with old friends. And the mysteries are good, too!

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths, Ruth Galloway #9

I’m always happy to return to Ruth’s world. She’s such an interesting character and I love the mysteries which always have something to do with her forensic archaeology work.

Science Fiction

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells, The Murderbot Diaries #4

I’ve loved every single one of the Murderbot books. They are original, an adventure story and also thought-provoking.

Borderline by Janet Edwards, Hive Mind #4

I like everything I’ve read by Janet Edwards. This series is one I especially love. Ms. Edwards has a great way of writing exciting stories about characters I care about. And her world building is so good. It takes place in Earth’s future.

Mantivore Dreams by S.G. Higbee, Arcadian Chronicles #1

I like the way this book slowly unfolds so that it gives readers time to try to figure things out themselves. I also like that by the end of the book there are threads for future books, but that this book is a complete story. I need to get that next book read! The world building is especially good and I like the way Kyrillia grows and changes throughout the book.

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

I chose to read this book because it was about a dog! I love the bond between Griz and the dogs. However, the book is a post apocalyptic science fiction so the book is good, but also has an overall feeling of sadness.

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

I feel like a lot of science fiction really makes you think in a different way and that’s kind of what this book did for me. It’s also post apocalyptic, military science fiction and during parts of the book I wasn’t really sure what was happening! It went different directions than I thought it would.

Ascending by Meg Pechenick, The Vardeshi Saga #1

Margaret (Meg) Pechenick is a new author to me. (S.G. Higbee @ Brainfluff reviewed this book. I find out about so many good books from her.) I loved this science fiction about aliens visiting Earth and inviting a group of Earthlings to visit their part of space.

Doing Time by Jodi Taylor, The Time Police #1

This was book one of a new series–The Time Police–that came out in fall 2019. It’s a spin-off of The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. These are both time travel series and so much fun. I’m doing a happy dance that Jodi Taylor decided to start another series which comes at the time travel idea from a slightly different angle. Can’t wait for the next book!

Urban Fantasy

These are my favorite urban fantasies (which are about the only fantasies I read these days) and I’ve read every book as they’ve been published!

Wild Country by Anne Bishop, The World of the Others #2 (The Others #7)

The world building in these books is one of the most appealing parts of this series. It very different from other urban fantasy series I read.

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs, Mercy Thompson #11

Mercy Thompson is such a great character. She doesn’t always do the smart thing, but she’s such a loyal friend and she tries to do what’s right for the people she’s responsible for. And I love the world Patricia Briggs has created.

Between Homes by W.R. Gingell, The City Between #5

This series is so unique and the last book has really ratcheted up the suspense. I hope another book comes soon in this world where Fae often come and go in the human world, but very few humans manage to survive a trip either Between or Behind. And most humans don’t even know they exist.

Fiction

Doggirl by Robin Brande

I loved this book! It’s young adult which I seldom like or read, but this book about a high school girl who wants to be an animal trainer for movies is just lovely. And the dogs are wonderful!

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

An out-of-work librarian, a bookstore on wheels and remote towns without libraries all come together in this wonderful book. There’s even some romance in it! And it’s set in Scotland!

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon

I loved all the dogs in this book plus the human characters are great fun to read about.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

At the end of the book I felt so happy I’d read this which is one of the reasons I love reading. It’s set in Maine which is one of my favorite places and Evvie Drake is a great character. She’s certainly not perfect, but she’s someone I’d love to talk to. Linda Holmes is also one of the hosts of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast which I love to listen to.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

One of my most favorite books of 2019! So glad I read it. The language flows and the characters are so vivid–especially Kya (aka “Marsh Girl”). The book is heartbreaking at times, but ultimately a wonderful read. It’s historical fiction, almost a natural history of the North Carolina swamps and marshland and a mystery all set in swamps along the North Carolina Coast. It switches back and forth between Kya’s childhood in the 1950’s and a murder that happens in 1969. Cassandra Campbell narrated the audiobook and made my enjoyment of the book so vivid and immersive.

Memoir

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I don’t usually read memoirs or biographies, but I enjoyed this one a lot–especially since I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michelle Obama. By the end I felt like we had met! So interesting to hear about her childhood, her meeting and marriage to Barack Obama, and then her life as the First Lady in the White House. She’s such an inspirational person.

Have you read any of these books? What were some of your favorite books of the year?

Review: Hurricane by Janet Edwards

Hurricane by Janet EdwardsHurricane by Janet Edwards

Series: Hive Mind #3

Genre: Science Fiction

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

394 pages

Synopsis: Being a telepath means there is always a new challenge.

Eighteen-year-old Amber is the youngest of the five telepaths who protect the hundred million citizens of one of the great hive cities of twenty-sixth century Earth. Her job is hunting down criminals before they commit their crimes, but this time a simple case leads on to something far bigger.

This is a case where Amber’s team have to face the unknown and break all the rules they usually follow. Lucas must take centre stage, while Amber has extra burdens she can’t share with anyone. She has a personal mystery to solve, and questions she wants answered, but curiosity is a dangerous trait in a telepath.

My thoughts

I’ve read all three books written in this series so far. Janet Edwards continues to be one of my favorite authors. I love her Earth Girl series which I read a few years ago and am so happy to have found this series. It’s in a completely different world than the Earth Girl series, but no less interesting.

Strong characterization is one of the hallmarks of Edwards’ writing. I like that I feel I “know” so many of her characters. Of course, Amber is the main character in these books and I have the most insight into her and her thoughts. She’s not always happy in her position as one of the five telepaths of the Hive. However, she’s fully aware of her importance to the Hive and that she must put aside any ambivalence and do her job. She’s slowly growing into her role and slowly coming to terms with her new life.

Another of Edwards’ strengths is her strong world building. The Hive is such an interesting place and in each book we find out a little more about this world. In this book we discover that not only are there other Hives throughout the world, but there is also a small community living outside Amber’s Hive known as the sea farm. People at the sea farm may live their entire lives Outside. This is a mind blowing idea for Amber and her team. Amber and some of her team have been Outside in previous books and have gotten more used to working out there, if necessary, but none of them can imagine wanting to live Outside the Hive. The idea that some people actually want to live Outside is very strange to them all.

Crimes are taking place at the sea farm and since Amber and her team are the only telepath unit that can work Outside they have to travel to sea farm. I found the sea farm very interesting. Janet Edwards has expanded the world building to include these people as well as others in other parts of the world who farm and fish and provide food for the hives. There is even some travel and interaction between these groups.

I like that these books are not only science fiction, but also adventure stories and mysteries. Although this isn’t my favorite book of the three books in this series I did like it and look forward to more books in this series. I felt the mystery wasn’t quite as strong as in the first two books. However, I’m looking forward to learning more about this world and maybe why most people live in Hives. And I want more adventures with Amber and her team!

My rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

The rest of the short reviews from 2015

I’ve finally finished all my reviews for 2015 with these last six shorts. Three of these are short stories, one is a book of short stories and the other two are novels. I have two science fiction, three fantasies and one contemporary fiction. These are very short snippets of reviews…lol. At least I have a post about them which makes me happy!

“Earth and Fire” & Earth 2788 by Janet Edwards

  • Earth and Fire” is a prequel novella. It’s a story about Jarra when she learns to fly a plane (takes place before the trilogy Ms. Edwards wrote). I enjoyed the glimpse into Jarra’s life before the books began. Grade: B
  • Earth 2788–Eight prequel short stories about some of the characters in the trilogy who come from the colony worlds. I really enjoyed reading about how these characters ended up in the class with Jarra. Grade: B

Chasing Christmas Past: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story” by Melanie Karsak

  • Another short story–this one very short (only 30 pages)–but I thought it was a fun story that gave me a flavor for what the series is about. I haven’t read anything else by this author, but this science fiction steampunk has fun characters in an interesting alternate world. Grade: B

Magic Stars” by Ilona Andrews

  • A short story set in the Kate Daniels world about Derek (a shifter wolf) and Julie (Curran and Kate’s ward) both of whom we’ve seen grow up while reading the Kate Daniels books. Both are very likable characters so it’s fun to read a story about them. I loved this! Since this is listed as Grey Wolf #1 (and Kate Daniels #8.5) I’m hoping there are more stories about Derek and as well as Julie. Grade: A-

Radiance by Grace Draven (Wraith Kings #1)

  • I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected. It’s a fantasy romance and was a lot of fun to read. The characters are enjoyable and the story is good. I recommend it! Grade: B+

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

  • This book made me cry. I have to admit I didn’t like it very well. I had trouble finishing it. I don’t like sad books. I can find enough to cry about in real life.
  • I listened to the audiobook and thought the narrator was great, but I thought the book was one sad scene after another. And I felt my emotions were manipulated some of the time. Grade: C+

Have you read any of these books? What’s your opinion?

2015 Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge
  • New Author Challenge
  • TBR Pile Challenge

The characters I would want on a deserted island …

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I take part in occasionally. It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

The topic this week is the characters I would want with me on a deserted island. At first I was thinking “desert” island and so I thought of characters who live in deserts! My first thought was of the book Dune by Frank Herbert which I read many years ago, but which sticks with me. Then I realized it was a deserted island so I had to rethink things!

By the time all these characters are on my deserted island it wouldn’t be deserted any longer!

1. Cassandra (Cass) from the Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Höst. Cass is transported to a deserted planet (except for animals) and manages to survive. She would be very useful!

2. Devi Morris from from the Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach. Devi is very resourceful as well as irreverent. She would keep up our spirits as well as have anyNice Dragons Finish Last weapons necessary to protect us!

3. Julius from Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron. I just finished this book and it’s great! Julius is a dragon–very useful to have around–and since he’s a pretty nice dragon he wouldn’t eat us!

4. Jarra from the Earth Girl series by Janet Edwards. Jarra is brave, resourceful, knows a lot about history so she might be able to help us figure out where we are and how to get back home!

5. Ensign Andrew Dahl from Redshirts by John Scalzi. He would know not to volunteer to go on an away mission and remind us of the same thing!

6. Graham Keith in The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. So I could listen to his Scots accent!

7. Suzume from the Generation V series by M. L. Brennan. I wouldn’t pick Fortitude Scott, because he’s becoming a better vampire…not what you need on a deserted island! Suzume, on the other hand, is a kitsune…a very resourceful fox.

8. Shai from The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. She is a forger–able to copy and recreate anything by rewriting its history with magic. That would be a magic-slaysgreat skill to have to help us get off the island.

9. & 10. Curran and Kate from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. We would need a very good leader and both these characters are great leaders. They’re very resourceful both with magic and when there is no magic.

Sorry I’m late getting this posted…by the time we got home last night I was too tired to finish this and get it read for today…and same problem this morning!

I chose all books I read this year. Not really intentional–they are all characters who would be great on a deserted island! What about you? What characters would you choose?

 

My summer reading list

toptentuesday2The Broke and the Bookish blog hosts Top Ten Tuesday.

The books I’m excited about reading this summer–a mix of books published this summer and books I already own and want to read–more than just ten!

New Books

Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan (June 24)

  • I read the first book (Sleigh Bells in the Snow) in this series around Christmas last year. Sarah Morgan is a favorite author of mine.magicbreaks

Bloodshifted by Cassie Alexander (July 1)

  • I finished the last book (Deadshifted) in this series about a month ago and am looking forward to this book since the last book ended in a cliffhanger.

The Escape by Mary Balogh (July 1)

  • Mary Balogh is an auto-buy author and I’m enjoying this historical romance series.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan (July 14)

  • Courtney Milan is another historical romance author I like a lot. Her books are very well written.

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (Aug 5)

  • The Kate Daniels series is one of my very favorite series and this is my most anticipated book of the summer!

My TBR Books

Earth Star by Janet Edwards

  • I loved the first book (Earth Girl) in this series.medair

Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

  • I bought this book when it came out in March, but still haven’t read it. 😦  Rose Lerner is also a favorite historical romance author.

Medair by Andrea K. Höst

  • I’m loving Andrea K. Höst’s writing and I’ve had this book (actually two books–The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost) for a while so I hope to read it this summer.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

  • I really like the first book in this series so I need to get busy and read this one!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (audiobook)

  • I’ve had this audiobook for a long time and have heard lots of great things about it.

Extras

the-apple-orchardThe Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs (Library e-book)–if the library book comes in this summer

  • I love the cover of this book–it sure looks like summer! I have it on hold and hope I’ll get it sometime this summer.

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz (Library e-book)–if the library book comes in this summer

  • This book came out in January and I’ve wanted to read it. I finally found it at my library so again I’ve got it on hold.

Harlequin books–light reads for summer

  • I enjoy reading Harlequin books sometimes. They’re great books for summer reading and I’ve found some good authors.

 

What books are you excited to read this summer?

My favorite books so far this year…

toptentuesday2I haven’t participated in a Top Ten Tuesday meme for quite a while. Several weeks I’ve meant to, but things have always come up! Anyway, this topic–Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year–is one I’ve been thinking about because I’ve read a lot of good books already! The Broke and the Bookish blog hosts Top Ten Tuesday.

In no particular order…

Caszandra by Andrea K. Host (science fiction/fantasy, Grade: A)–this was the first book I read this year and is the last book in the Touchstone series. I like this series very much.

Pivot Point by Kasie West (young adult fantasy, Grade: B+)–this isn’t a perfect book (what is?!!), but it has stuck with me because of the premise of the book. The main character is able to look at two different futures to see which she wants to choose. I always wonder about the choices we make in our lives and what that does to change us.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (audiobook, historical mystery–WWWI flashbacks and 1920’s; Grade: A-)–a very powerful and emotional read for me because of the flashbacks to WWWI. The narration is excellent in this book.

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (fantasy, Grade: A-)–This is a very good fantasy. Cat is such a strong character and the story is so good.

Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross (young adult contemporary, Grade: A-)–This book has stuck with me since I read it. How Karen learns to cope with the death of her parents is very powerful. Reading about the world of elite gymnastics is also fascinating.

Redshirts by John Scalzi (science fiction/space opera, Grade: B+)–A very funny and fun science fiction, but also made me think about what reality is. This is one of the reasons I like science fiction. I like the ideas and questions science fiction often presents.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (audiobook, historical/contemporary/fantasy, Grade: A)–Such a wonderful book. The language is lush, the story is poignant, the Scotland setting is wonderful and the narration–especially the Scots accent–is just excellent!

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy, Grade: B+)–I continue to love this series!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor –Not Yet Reviewed (audiobook, fantasy, Grade: B+)–The narration is wonderful and Karou is a great character.

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards–Not Yet Reviewed (YA science fiction, Grade: B+)–I just finished this book and I loved it. The main character is so much fun and so honest (even when she’s lying!) Plus the far future setting is fascinating.

Honorable Mention

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop–I love Meg Corbyn and the Others.

In for a Penny by Rose Lerner–This was a re-read for me and I loved it the second time around, too. The characters are what make this book memorable.

Generation V by M. L. Brennan–I love this new series. I just wish there was more about the kitsune,

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch–This series gets better and better.

 

What books are your favorites so far this year?