Hey everyone! Back with another post that reflects on the year just passed but this time to take a look at my favourite books that were released in 2019. I’ve whittled it down to the top ten and narrowed it down even further not to count the books that I read in 2019 but were released earlier.
*note: there are a tonne of 2019 releases currently still sitting in my TBR pile that I just haven’t got to yet so this list isn’t by any means exhaustive!
It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and other lies) edited by Scarlett Curtis
Blurb: Inspirational people open up about mental health. Including essays from: Adam Kay, Charlie Mackesy, Emilia Clarke, Jessie Cave and Megan Crabbe, among others.
This book is literally jam packed with the wise words of so many people that a lot of us look up to. It’s so wonderful to see our favourite celebrities use their voices to advocate for self care and a more open conversation concerning mental health. I was a huge fan of Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) which came before this one and I wasn’t disappointed!
The Five: the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
Blurb: Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become more famous than any of these women.
I’m a total sucker for anything that puts women back into history and picking this book up was a no brainer for me. Easily my favourite non-fiction book of 2019, Rubenhold puts gives these five women their voices back and ensures that they’re not simply seen as victims. This book wasn’t a difficult read so I’d definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in history or true crime, however intense!
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Blurb: The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse are four friends who share a deep, unshakable bond. Through a series of brief but profound conversations, Mackesy teases universal truths and rich wisdom from the mouths of his characters, celebrating warmth and empathy in all its myriad forms. Exploring kindness through exquisite, sensitive artwork and delicate calligraphy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a moving study in friendship.
[no official blurb, so the above is taken from Waterstones]
This book is probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen. It’s made up of a series of illustrations that really warm your heart and is perhaps my favourite book of the year. It’s perfect for when you need a pick me up, perfect for when you’re feeling lost or sad or even just want something to remind you of all that life has to offer. This book is a true gem and I can’t recommend it enough.
The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan
Blurb: I see a cluster of jelly-shaped islands, a castle rising out of the sea, and three dragons soaring through the sky. And written along the top of the map in my spiky handwriting is one word: Roar.
This book was a BOTM at Waterstones this year and was easily one of my favourites that I’ve been able to recommend. Fun of fun and featuring everything from dragons to ninja wizards, this is a true contender to the likes of Narnia and Jumanji! Even if you’re not a young reader, I’d definitely recommend this book for an afternoon of escapism and pure joy.
A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison
Blurb: Three sisters trapped by an ancient curse. Three magical objects with the power to change their fate. Will they be enough to break the curse? Or will they lead the sisters even deeper into danger…?
This was another Waterstones BOTM and another one that I absolutely loved! Full of lovable characters and a whole lot of heart, this is a beautiful addition to the middle grade fantasy section. So excited for the sequel to come out this year!
Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day by Dominique Valente
Blurb: Willow Moss is a bit odd. But then the best people often are – and sometimes odd is what it takes to save the day… Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things – like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Useful, but not exactly exciting… Then the most feared with in all of Starfell appears at Willow’s door, asking for her help. Last Tuesday has gone missing. Completely. And without it the whole world could unravel. Now Willow holds the fate of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands… Can she find the day to save the day?
This is a book that made me go from laughing to crying and I loved every minute of it! Willow is a character that you just want to hug, she’s so brave but also such a sweetheart. I’d definitely recommend this book for fans of Michelle Harrison, Catherine Doyle and Jessica Townsend.
Hex Life edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering
Blurb: These are tales of witches, wickedness, evil and cunning. Stories of disruption and subversion by today’s women you should fear. Including Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon wiring in their own bestselling universes. These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat…
I was in such a witchy mood for the last few months of 2019 and this book REALLY hit the spot. It’s full of authors that I love and some that I hadn’t read before which, for me, is the perfect combination for an anthology. There’s witches of all kinds in this book so there’s something for every mood and is definitely one I’ll reread many times!
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
Blurb: One girl can make a difference… Moscow is in flames, leaving its people searching for answers – and someone to blame. Vasya, a girl with extraordinary gifts, must flee for her life, pursued by those who blame their misfortunes on her magic. Then a vengeful demon returns, stronger than ever. Determined to engulf the world in chaos, he finds allies among men and spirits. Mankind and magical creatures alike find their fates resting on Vasya’s shoulders. But she may not be able to save them all.
The long awaited ending to one of my all time favourite trilogies was everything that I dreamed it would be. Vasya’s world of magic and folklore is one that I love to get lost in. The world building is spectacular and it’s just the right amount of fantasy for me. I put off reading this so that I could draw the series out for longer but I’m so glad I finally got around to it. If you haven’t picked up the Winternight trilogy yet, make this the year that you do!
The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
Blurb: Jón Eiríksson buried one wife this year. How long before he buries a second? 1686, Iceland. An isolated, windswept land haunted by witch trials and steeped in the ancient sagas. Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkisholmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders. But Rósa has her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies. The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself? Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim…
This book was one that I received in exchange for participating in a blog tour and oh my goodness I’m so so glad that I had that opportunity as it meant that I was able to discover this story. There’s everything from creepy sounds in the attic, an isolating landscape, characters that you just can’t figure out and a whole host of things that go bump in the night. If you’re a fan of nordic fiction with a dark edge, I’d 100% recommend that this be on your TBR for 2020 and I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup
Blurb: One blustery October morning in a quiet Copenhagen suburb, the police make a terrible discovery. A young woman is found brutally murdered with one of her hands missing. Above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts. Ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner, Mark Hess, is a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man – evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead; the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. But the man who confessed to her murder is already behind bars and the case long since closed. Soon afterwards, a second woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case and the murdered women. But what is it? Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the killer is on a mission that is far from over ….
This was another book that I read as part of a blog tour and it quickly became one of my favourite gory thrillers I’d ever read! I love a thriller but this one was written so well that it played out in my mind almost as if I was watching it on screen. It’s gory in parts and really sends a chill up your spine which is exactly what I want from a book like this. If you want something that’ll make you cringe in horror then I can’t recommend this one enough.
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Blurb: If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken… Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a much-needed fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago, a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely. He says he hears a whispering at his window…
You guessed it, another blog tour book here and another firm favourite. This book played on everything that I find particularly skin crawly. From people who target children to those overly obsessed with crime, this one really had me looking over my shoulder, expecting to find someone looking back. If you fancy a night of being on the edge of your seat, ears straining for whispers at the front door, this book is definitely the one for you.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What were your top reads for 2019? I’d love to know!