Tag Archive | Terry Brooks

Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2019!

Yes, I’m finally here with my favorite books I read last year! (A wizard is never late. *cough*)

Out of all the 140 books (yes, many of those were short stories or novellas) that I read in 2019 (according to my Goodreads list if you’d like to see all of them! My personal spreadsheet has 175, but anyway. XD), there were MANY amazing stories, but here are some of the ones that stood out!

But first, stats! Because stats are fun.

  • 37 new-to-me novels
  • 48 smaller reads (short stories or novellas etc.)
  • 28 rereads (some were short stories)
  • 6 anthologies
  • 9 nonfiction
  • 13 picture books
  • 10 beta-reads
  • 2 graphic novels
  • 3 misc.
  • 4 audiobook
  • 14 libraried

Oh, and here is a picture of the books I read in 2019 of which I have physical copies. 😀 (54. Last year there were 52. XD)

The pretties! Top: New reads. Middle left: Nonfiction, children’s, anthologies. Middle right: Re-reads (yes, half of it IS by Diana Wynne Jones; why do you ask?). Bottom: bookmarks to represent some books that I don’t own or read in ebook form. Plus a picture book and novella.

Now on with the main post!

In no particular order, other than that the top few are my top favorites, I present…

My Top 15 Favorite Books I Read In 2019

1. Oath of the Outcast (C.M. Banschbach)

Hands-down my favorite book of the year! I had a massive book hangover after reading this and I’m not sure I’ve recovered. It’s just so good! You’ve got a Celtic flavor, epic brothers-by-blood-and-by-bond, much stabbiness, rivers of snark (oh, man, the snark. XD), and of course my smol floof of anger management issues, the Mountain Baron a.k.a. Rhys, outcast and leader of the outlaw Cairns, most epic character of ever, who’s just setting foot on the start of a long road to redemption. I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

[MY REVIEW]

2. Flight of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse)

I adored the first book, and each one gets even more amazing! Flight of the Raven was just SO good (and, spoiler alert, I just read and loved book 3, and I think each one of them is going to end up on the top-reads-of-the-year posts in the years I read them!). Dreamwalking, water powers, growing peril in the land, wonderful worldbuilding and fascinating fantasy “gifts”/powrs, and characters I’ve fallen head-over-heels for! I loved this one so much! ^_^ And getting to dress up as Lady Selene Ravenwood when I went to Realm Makers (and the author also, surprise, dressing as Selene!) was definitely a highlight!

[MY REVIEW]

3. Cress (Marissa Meyer)

I liked Cinder, enjoyed Scarlet, and absolutely fell in love with Cress! I can’t wait to read Winter! Audiobooking Cress was definitely a highlight. I got to live the adventure alongside Cress and Thorne (my faves!) and all the other characters I’d grown to love in the previous book, and all while exercising this summer! (The parts in the Sahara coincided with dead-of-Texas-summer heat, so that made it an interesting exercise companion. XD) IT’S JUST SO MUCH FUN! I’m so glad I finally tried this series. 🙂

4. Curse and Consequence (Savannah Jezowski)

I loved this so much that I read it twice in the same week, because I simply HAD to share the delightful and hilarious story aloud. My siblings and I now quote these characters, particularly Hugh. XD (“Wicky, how could you!”) It’s a Regency-esque fantasy novella, with magical curses and shenanigans, a dragon, and a very Twinkle-like character. IT’S HILARIOUS and I need book two yesterday.

[MY REVIEW]

5. Head in the Heavens (E.B. Dawson)

*screaming* I don’t know WHY I adore this collection so much, other than that the author is apparently a genius. Anyway, E.B. Dawson made me fall in love with sci-fi short stories enough that they’re in my top reads of the year! I binge-read them separately and was THRILLED when they were collected in this handy volume. Sci-fi Moby Dick and Beauty and the Beast, GORGEOUS writing, and edge-of-your-seat dystopian (I don’t even like dystopian but this was just SO GOOD??), are only some of the delights that await you in this anthology!

[MY REVIEW]

6. Deadwood + Hollow (Kyle Robert Shultz)

I simply HAVE to mention these new Afterverse books, Crockett & Crane book 2 and 2.5! (I did edit them, since I am, after all, the Editor of the Afterverse. But they are totally going on this list of simply as a books this fangirling reader loves.)

In Deadwood, Todd and his friends face off against a creepy sentient town in the magical wild west. Also, I love how we get more of Julio, everyone’s favorite (second-favorite?) dragon! There is plenty of signature banter and humor and magical fun, but everything has a more serious side too, as well as creepy Pinocchio elements, and there are plenty of feels! But Todd and Julio are just THE BEST, OKAY? OKAY.

Speaking of feels, HOLLOW! It’s Sleepy Hollow meets Wonderland with a dash of time travel and WOW. It’s so delicious. And, again, feelsy. But with Ichabod Crane (Todd’s ancestor) as the main character, and important characters from both the Crockett & Crane and Beaumont & Beasley series . . . it’s ABSOLUTELY AWESOME and mind-blowing. It packs quite a punch for a novella! (Plus, that cover! *heart eyes*)

[MY REVIEW OF HOLLOW]

7. Dark is the Night (Mirriam Neal)

A new book from Mirriam Neal released and some of my favorite characters, Skata and Angel, have been published — THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I adored this book years ago when I beta-read it, and having it finally on my shelf is A DREAM. I’m so happy to have read the final version in all its vampire-hunter, urban fantasy, southern gothic, snarky-hilarious-banter-buddy-story glory! Buddy stories are my fave, and Skata and Angel are THE BEST. XD

[MY REVIEW]

8. Magic Kingdom for Sale (Terry Brooks)

This one was sheer fun, and I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up on the recommendation of Jenelle Schmidt. I was determined to read one book by Terry Brooks before going to Realm Makers 2019, where I got to meet him (!!!), and this one fit the bill perfectly. It’s a delightful portal fantasy from back when that wasn’t really a thing, and I loved the down-to-earth-ness of the main character, and the quirkiness of the world and other characters! A blast.

9. Mechanical Heart (Sarah Pennington)

Aaahh, this book! I had been dying to read it for years, and I was so excited to get to devour this author’s first full-length novel! Steampunk Rapunzel in a clocktower, with solid characters, politics, mysteries, and inventions? YES PLEASE! I still have not read enough Steampunk, but this is another one to add to the slowly growing list of ones I’ve read and loved. Fabulous!

[MY REVIEW]

10. The Fall of Gondolin (J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien)

Bittersweet as the last book Christopher Tolkien released, made more so by his recent passing, but so, so gorgeous, and a fitting end. I’m so grateful that he got to share so many stories and drafts his father wrote with us fortunate readers! This one was different than The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien, but as the third of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Great Tales of the Silmarillion, it was an absolute delight to get a closer look at those drafts and I was surprised how much detail there was, if sad that it wasn’t finished. I absolutely loved it, and the illustrations by Alan Lee are AMAZING!

11. The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett)

*laughing* The Nac Mac Feegle, though. XD They’re hilarious and totally the reason why I loved this. I had a blast reading it, and really enjoyed the gorgeous illustrated edition I managed to find at a library. It had a more Celtic feel than the other Discworld books I’ve read, and feels somehow different than them, and rather a lot more like a Diana Wynne Jones for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the young main character, who’s great! I can’t wait to read more about the Feegles and their Scottish accents and ridiculous, hilarious shenanigans. XD

12. Flower of the Underworld (Hazel B. West)

At this point, Hazel West is probably my favorite Urban Fantasy author. I absolutely LOVE her Modern Tales of Na Fianna series (the best UF everrrr), so I was curious to try this modern retelling of Hades and Persephone. IT WAS SUCH A BLAST. The normalized setting of Greek mythology in contemporary times was perfect and hilarious, and there were so many shenanigans, as well as much humor. And Hades (who’s like the only nice guy in his powerhungry family) and Persephone (who works at a landscaping business) are so much fun. And she gives him a plant named George so OBVIOUSLY this book is just the best. I just had way too much fun reading it. XD

13. Strayborn (E.E. Rawls)

This just made me happy, okay? It’s a middle-grade Christian Fantasy magical-academy type story and it felt so fresh and delightful! The characters were fabulous and unique and I loved so many of them — particularly the mentor character, Master Nephryte, who reminded me a little of Chrestomanci! Also, that cover! ❤

[MY REVIEW]

14. The Boggart Fights Back (Susan Cooper)

Aaahh! So, the first two Boggart books were on my top reads of the year lists when I read them, and I suddenly found out that years and years later there was a sequel that just came out?? I immediately snagged it from the library and devoured it. Modern fantasy set in Scotland, this time about the children of the characters from the first two. And I love the mischievous Boggart and Nessie! Delightful. 🙂

15. Compass South + Knife’s Edge (Hope Larson & Rebecca Mock)

I haven’t really read graphic novels before, so this was a first for me, and I’m surprised to see these creeping in at the end of my list, but I just HAD to include them! It’s a duology, and I’ve talked about them before, but they’re just SO MUCH FUN . Swashbuckling MG/YA graphic novels, 99% clean historical fiction, with fun characters (and twins!), unexpected twists, and just… These little books made me happy! I’m so glad I randomly picked them up at the library! 🙂


Aaand here’s a picture of all the ones I own in physical form so far!


So there are my “official” top fifteen (ish) favorites . . . but we’re not done yet!

Now I need to share some runners-up and favorites in other categories.

RUNNERS-UP THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

1. Beneath the Haunting Sea (Joanna Ruth Meyer)

This is by the author of Echo North (one of my top five favorite books I read in 2018), so naturally it’s excellent! Sea and island vibes, original mythology and fabulous characters, and all gorgeous and wild. The Silmarillion meets Jane Eyre is how it was pitched to me, which I find rather accurate. Aside from a love triangle, simply fabulous!

2. Ghostlight (Rabia Gale)

BECAUSE TREY. Trey is the hero of this book and singlehandedly gains it a spot on my favorites. A little spooky for me, but it gave me a slight book hangover, and it’s a delightful regency-esque fantasy with fabulous banter, and did I mention Trey?

3. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (Sebastian Faulks)

It may not quite be Wodehouse, but it gets jolly close. What a hilarious set of shenanigans! Bertie Wooster and Jeeves and the usual hijinks, in a fabulous homage to P.G. Wodehouse’s classic tales.

4. Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares (Shaun Hume)

Academy story. Modern-day London. Scotland. Ewan and his misfit friends are my favorite. A dragon. A mysterious castle. It’s just a wonderful romp and it makes me happy! (Sequel to Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith.)

5. Fortunately, the Milk . . . (Neil Gaiman)

Well, firstly, that title, which I quote all the time. Secondly, this is absolutely hilarious and it makes me smile and it just wanted to be on this list! (Even if there are obviously other books I read this year which I liked more in general. But it’s just so funny and I had to mention it. XD) I particularly love re-reading the beginning. XD This currently joins Make Good Art as one of my favorite books from this author.


And then a few other categories…


FAVORITE SHORT STORIES

Arbrook Huxley and the Miraculous Confection (Mollie E. Reeder)

A new short story about Huxley from The Electrical Menagerie! *screaming* This story was an absolute delight, and so well-written. It gave me all of the feels! And the ending was perfect. I laughed so hard and then I had to read it to my siblings. XD I just love it! Absolutely delicious.

The Grift of the Magi (Ally Carter)

I loved the Heist Society books when I read them ages ago, and this might be my favorite one! It’s a short story (or maybe novella?), set after book 3, at Christmas-time, and it’s. so. good. HALE and feels and Christmas and a snowstorm and a Scottish castle and so many cons and things and a great twist at the end. I love it so much!

(There’s not a “cover” for the Jayden and Dana stories, but the one I first read was collected in this anthology awhile back, so I’m using this picture. Also, it’s just a really excellent anthology, even if I didn’t read it this year. XD)

Jayden and Dana stories (Arthur Daigle)

These don’t have covers or anything, and I mentioned them in my favorites last year, but they’re a continuing sort of short story serial over on Booksie. I just LOVE reading about these two characters, Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden. I “met” them in some of the Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, and went on to read more stories of their adventures as they’re posted from time to time. There’s over a dozen of these now and I highly recommend checking them out! Jayden is the best, and so is Dana, and I love their banter and the fantastical adventures they get up to!


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS

‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

I love this so much! The art is so soft and charming and the story and poem are lovely, with elegant borders and a great cover, and the whole is just a gorgeous picture book that I love! ^_^

King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson (Kenneth Kraegel)

I ADORE THIS. I found it at the library and it’s one of the best picture books I’ve read. It’s about the great-great-great-etc. grandson of King Arthur, a little boy, who goes looking for monsters to fight, with the absolute BEST outcomes. XD I just love it!


FAVORITE NONFICTION

I think I read about ten nonfiction books this year, most of them about writing in one way or another, and these were my top favorites.

Not Write Now (Kyle Robert Shultz)

I actually copyedited this one, but it’s a marvelous reverse-psychology writer self-help book. I’ve never read anything like it before, but it’s actually really helpful and also absolutely hilarious. XD

Sometimes the Magic Works (Terry Brooks)

I had the delight of meeting Terry Brooks at the Realm Makers 2019 conference, and picked this up while I was there. I’m new to his work this year, but this collection of essays about his experiences as a writer was fabulous, and really encouraged me in a difficult time. Plus, it was just really fun. 🙂


I know that was a lot! *hides face* I just want to share all the books. XD Have you read any of these? Any going on your TBR? What was YOUR favorite book(s) of 2019? Thanks for reading!

Book Ishness! (July 2019)

Hey, dear Pagelings!

Time for a new roundup of some awesome book releases I’M TERRIBLY EXCITED ABOUT, and what I’m reading these days!


JULY BOOK RELEASES

*shrieks at all the gorgeous covers* ❤ (Titles link to Goodreads pages.)

  • Beast in the Machine – E. B. Dawson — I so enjoyed this short sci-fi Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it’s releasing July 19! Woot! Check out my review in this post of mini-reviews for short sci-fi tales from this talented author!
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — I squealed about this a couple of days ago and will do so again later in this post (not sorry. XD) but it’s hilarious and so delightful! ❤
  • Oath of the Outcast – C. M. Banschbach — THIS BOOK. ❤ ❤ ❤ So, it used to be known as The Mountain Baron (which I beta-read and was one of my top-top favorite reads last year!!) and then got chopped into two books and this is the first of them and it’s being published this month and BE STILL MY HEART. I really, really, REALLY loved this book and I can’t wait to read my ARC of the soon-to-release version! But it has brothers and outlaws and a Celtic flavor and it’s somewhat gritty and dark but it’s so good, and full of tough things and redemption and so much fabulous snark. And of course my favorite smol floof of anger management issues, Rhys, the Mountain Baron himself. IT’S SO GOOD. Okay, okay, I’ll stop, since I’m going to be reviewing it for real during the blog tour later this month, but YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. 😀 (The preorder is up, and there will also be copies at Realm Makers for any who are attending that!)
  • The Story Raider – Lindsay A. Franklin — I enjoyed The Story Peddler last year and am curious to find out where this story goes next!
  • Midnight on the River Grey – Abigail Wilson — Another Regency mystery tale from the author of In the Shadow of Croft Towers!
  • Sounds of Deceit – Hannah Heath — The third in a series of fantasy short stories, which I hope to read soon, from one of the Phoenix Fiction Writers!

But wait! There’s more! (I just had to say it. XD)

A couple of books that released at the end of June:

Deadwood officially released! Go check it out if you need your Fantasy Western, hilarious book, feelsy read, or Afterverse fix. XD (Yes, I edited it. It’s really good. ❤ I should totally review it someday. :P)

Another thing I edited! This is a lovely little collection of short stories which I really enjoyed, and you should totally check out! And you can read all about it in the author’s own words (author of Masters and Beginners, another book I love!), but the stories totally touched my heart and were gorgeous — and, in the case of the zombie one (debut of Daley’s teen son as an author!), freaked me out, in a good way. XD

And two more exciting things!

Havok Publishing is releasing their first anthology of flash-fiction later this month on July 20! And I’m really really excited because my good blogging buddy and talented writer Christine Smith has a delightful story in it, which I absolutely LOVED when I read it on Havok’s website awhile back! (I mean, it’s hilarious and features a fancy dinner party and a cat-fae and yessss.) AAHH! And other stories, some of which I’ve read and others I haven’t — but I’m really excited for this one, guys! ^_^

Another thing I’m super enthused about (get it? Super?) is a new serial story about superheroes, which just started on a place called Tapas (similar to Wattpad), by Calley Jones who is another awesome writer pal, who is finally sharing some of her work with the world! I’m SO excited! I love it so far and I’m super (I’m sorry about the puns; I will show myself out. *cough*) curious to find out what happens. 😀 Check it out!


OTHER JULY BOOK NEWS

Everyone seems to be holding kickstarters etc. for audiobooks these days and I’m just all “whyyy does it have to be right during Realm Makers season when I’m trying to save money?” XD Anyway, Jamie Foley is raising funds to turn her incredible Sentinel series (which I adore!) into audiobooks, so check it out!

Realm Makers + Blogging Absense

So, I’m going to be going to the Realm Makers speculative fiction writers conference in St. Louis NEXT WEEK! Which means I’ll be rather absent from blogging for awhile. (Let me know if I’ll see you there!) I’M SO EXCITED. (And not ready. *disappears to go back to panicking and prepping in equal measure*)

St. Louis Book Festival at Realm Makers

Speaking of which, anyone in the St. Louis area? Be sure to check out the Book Festival that will be open to the public (at the Realm Makers conference) on July 20! You can check out all the details here but tons of authors will be there signing books, including Terry Brooks, C.J. Redwine, Morgan Busse, and Bryan Davis!


MY READING NEWS

MY JULY NIGHTSTAND

My mostly-Realmies TBR for July!

So far this month I’ve read Divine Summons,The Girl Who Could See, and Twisted Dreams, and finished my re-read of Charmed Life (because Chrestomanci!). All enjoyable!

I’m partway through Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold! and Renegade Skyfarer, and I’m looking forward to starting The Shadow Queen!

I’m also listening to Cress by Marissa Meyer on audio — almost done and LOVING it — and I have ARC ebooks to read, including Oath of the Outcast by C.M. Banschbach (yaaas!!), The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin, and Mechanical Heart by Sarah Pennington (aahh!)! *all of the shrieking*


JUNE READS

  • Irresistable Worldbuilding – Janeen Ippolito — *GASP* Nonfiction! A handy, short writing book.
  • Hertz to Be a Hero – Bryan Davis — Delightful superhero story! Such fun. This series makes me happy. ^_^
  • The Wolf Prince – Claire M. Banschbach — Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved this epic story of brothers and faeries and Rangers and snark and wolves! SO good!
  • Stars Descend – Kara Jaynes — This was a bookclub read and probably the strangest book I’ve read all year, but kind of fascinating. O_O Featuring space-elves in dystopian, futuristic Seattle, with a slight twist on paranormal romance, this was totally weird but rather addicting. XD
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — One of my favorite reads of the year, I loved this little Regency-fantasy novella so much that I read it twice this month. XD (The second time, I read it aloud, and there was much laughter at all the hilarious shenanigans.) It’s releasing July 4 and it’s hilarious and perfect and YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. ❤
  • Deadwood – Kyle Robert Shultz — The long-awaited sequel to Horseman just came out! It’s a fantasy Western with a creepy twist on Pinocchio, featuring my favorites Todd Crane (part-time centaur) and Julio the dragon-shifter, and it’s so, so good! 😀 (I mean, I edited it, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased. :P)
  • Heart of the Curiosity – H. L. Burke — Steampunk and secrets and a mechanic with a metal arm and a mysterious old theater and a treasure hunt and blackmail and love and family and so many pastries!
  • Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones — I re-read this and had SO much fun! It’s one of my favorites of the Chrestomanci books, and I love how it stands alone and is a buddy story and has a unique look from the POV of the servantas at a fancy house. And CHRISTOPHER. He’s the best. XD
  • Shadowkeeper – Hope Ann — Vivid, intense, fascinating, though a little melancholy and dark for me and sort of sad, so I don’t really know how I feel about it. I have so many feels. o.o So I’m not sure I like it, but I keep thinking about it, and I bet I should have known more about the mythology it’s based on so that I would know what to expect. XD ANYWAY. I have mixed feelings about it but a lot of it was really, really good, and I do love the characters. 😀

(If you’re curious to read more about any of those, you can find them all here.)


So there we are! So many exciting bookish things! Are you looking forward to any of these? I hope you’re having a good and bookish July! Thanks for reading. ^_^