This was the year of books! I read more books this year than I have since my daughter was born, and probably also since the year I was expecting her.
When I became a new mom, I was so tired all the time that I chose to sleep when I could, instead of chosing to read. Or, I watched a lot of TV.
But this year, something happened. My hunger for books re-awoke and I tore through them at an alarming rate, devouring and savouring the words and the worlds inside of them. I wanted to return to my old self, the self that read for pleasure and lost myself among fantastical worlds and characters.
I read a lot of books this year, 41 to be precise, according to my Goodreads account. I had aimed for about 25 and then surpassed that and then I changed my goal to 30 and then soon surpassed that.
I used to post book reviews after reading each book, and that’s kind of how this blog got its humble beginnings. But I don’t have time to do each book anymore and decided to do the whole year in one long post, a sort of year in review.
The year isn’t over yet, but I wanted to share the most remarkable ones I have read. If I read something that completely blows me away after this post is published and the year still isn’t over, I’ll add it. Let’s get started!
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES SERIES BY SARAH J MAAS
For those of you who have followed this blog for awhile might remember my love for teen books. I haven’t read many this year; to be honest, the plots of most of them just don’t excite me or interest me anymore the way they used to.
I bought A Court of Thorns and Roses the year before I think and it sat on my bookshelf for awhile before I finally decided to read it. I had read Maas’s Throne of Glass series a bit; I had tried it out and while I didn’t end up continuing the series, I enjoyed Maas’s writing.
The description of this intrigued me. It’s about a girl who kills an ancient predator while trying to feed her family. Feyre ends up killing a faerie and as punishment gets dragged to the faerie world, where she becomes enslaved. She learns to befriend her punisher, Tamlin, a faerie who keeps his face hidden, and eventually falls in love with him. Tamlin is under a curse and Feyre has to break before his mask becomes permanent. The story is basically a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favourite fairy tales of all time.
The writing is exquisite, but the story is just fascinating. Maas is a master storyteller and the world she creates is beautiful and dark. The characters are three-dimensional and filled with complexities.
While I was reading this book, I shared it on my Instagram and a fellow booklover told me that the second one is even better. I was really enjoying the first one and couldn’t imagine how the second one would get better. But it does.
The second book took my breath away. It basically took the world that Maas created in the first one and turned it on its head. Everything Feyre knew gets turned upside down. Everything seems so perfect in her and Tamlin’s world but then things change.
I have never read a series where the love interest changes halfway through the series. Granted this wasn’t halfway through the series but it was amazing to see loyalties shift. It isn’t an annoying love triangle but a complete shift.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read this series, but each book just gets better and better. Maas continues to build the faerie world with each book. Feyre changes and blossoms into a formidable young woman who can make up her own mind and can battle any faerie.
The last book left me breathless and speechless. It was a perfect ending to an amazing series; most series mess up the ending, but the final battle among the faeries was epic.
If you love fantasy stories with an amazing cast of characters, romance, adventure, and beautiful writing, you should definitely read this.
THE HATING GAME
I read a fair number of chick lit/romance novels this year. They are usually easy reads that I like to read when I want something fun and light. The Hating Game did not disappoint.
It’s about Lucy and Joshua who work in the same office in a book publishing company. Lucy and Joshua hate each other. They are constantly trying to one-up each other by undermining the other person. They have different work ethics but end up competing for the same job. If either of them gets it, they’ll be the other person’s boss. But things suddenly change after a steamy elevator ride, and Lucy is left wondering if she really knows Joshua at all.
This was a fun read that felt like I was watching a fun romantic comedy. Equal parts funny and romantic, it had depth where most romance books don’t. Both Lucy and Joshua have detailed back stories about why they are the way they are, which is why when they finally get together at the end, it is so satisfying.
This was marketed as a psychological thriller, but it definitely wasn’t that.
The One takes place in a not too distant future where there is an app that matches you to your soulmate. Science has progressed to the point that we have discovered through DNA testing that each of us has a soulmate in the world, the one who we are genetically made for. There are no more dating apps, because once you find the one, that’s it.
The book follows a series of people who are ‘matched’ and what happens to them. One character struggles in his current relationships once he realises that his current partners isn’t the one he was made for. Another travels all the way to another corner of the world to meet her Match to find out that he’s nothing like she expected. Another man is a serial killer, one on a rampage in London, killing innocent women. His life gets thrown into a disarray when he gets matched with a beautiful young woman, who ends up being a police officer, the one who is tracking him down.
There is a bit of a thriller element towards the second half of the book, but the book is more of an examination of love and how people act and react in their relationships. It was actually fascinating, since it depicted a world that isn’t too far off from our own. DNA testing is quite advanced now so it isn’t too far-fetched to imagine a world where we are genetically matched.
THE ORACLE YEAR
This was an interesting book. I feel more enamored with the concept than the actual book, but it was still an entertaining read so it makes my list for this year.
The Oracle Year tells the story of Will, a bassist from New York, who wakes up one morning with 108 predictions in his head about the future. He starts a website and quickly becomes known as The Oracle. As his predictions come true one by one, Will quickly becomes the most powerful man in the whole world. Everyone wants a piece of him, from the president of the US to local warlords in war-torn countries.
But with power comes responsibility, and before Will knows it, the whole world is on the brink of war. An unknown force is at work, so that the results of his predictions start colliding and Will discovers there is a ripple effect from his predictions. With his best friend and a journalist by his side, Will races to save the world before his last prediction comes true.
This book started off really strong and the concept of the story just blew me away. It was so different from anything I usually read and I loved that. It started to drag towards the second third of the novel, but then the ending ramped things up again as it became a race to save the world. The predictions that Will had weren’t all big, world changing predictions. Some were small, like about how a man will add pepper to his steak. It was interesting to see how small actions had small ripples that got sent into the world, and how they became bigger and bigger, until they had huge ramifications. That was probably my favourite part of the book, the idea that our actions aren’t taking place in a vacuum. Everything we do has consequences, whether big or small.
THE MOTHER -IN-LAW
This was the year of the psychological thriller. I read so many of them that I have forgotten what the plot of most of them were. Most of them had similar plots that weren’t very memorable or well written. The thriller high from Gone Girl is still going strong, but most thrillers coming out now are forgettable. Yet for some reason I kept picking them up.
I kept telling myself I would stop, since I was getting bored with them but they somehow kept finding their way into my hands.
I discovered that there are some plot lines in psychological thrillers that I can’t read and those are about missing children. So many thrillers feature missing children, whether it’s infants or teenagers, and I had such a difficult time reading, let alone finishing, these novels. Ever since I became a mom I just can’t do it.
This book was completely different. It was also marketed as a psychological thriller, but it was more in the vein of Big Little Lies. I think Big Little Lies was also marketed as a thriller, but it was more about the relationships between the characters and the secrets they were hiding. The Mother-In-Law was very similar.
Lucy’s mother in law, Diana, is dead. Our story starts off at the end and we work our way through the years, in a series of flashbacks, to unearth the relationship between these two women. The book is told through alternating points of views of Lucy and Diana and we discover how fraught and tense their relationship was.
I especially appreciated reading both perspectives because it made the characters more real. We got to read about Diana from Lucy’s eyes and then got to hear Diana’s story in her own words, and vice versa. Diana wasn’t the evil two-dimensional mother in law that you would expect; we get to hear about her struggles and her story and it made for a fascinating character study.
The book culminates in Diana’s murder, and it ends up being someone you don’t expect. This is the only part of the book I didn’t love, but I highly enjoyed the rest of it.
These are just a few of my favourites from this year! I read so many books this year, it was a challenge to pick a few. Here are some other notable mentions: The Runaway Princess and Swept Off Her Feet, both by Hester Browne. I love Hester Browne’s books; her writing style is similar to Sophie Kinsella, and her books are fun and light, usually with a romantic element. Both were highly enjoyable.
It’s been such a great book year. My library card got frequent use this year, but I have a STACK of books on my bookshelf that I have purchases that I still haven’t read yet. So maybe it’s time to make a dent in them!
I had a lot of fun writing this post; I hope you had fun reading it! I can’t wait to see what next year brings.
Thanks for reading,