2019 really sucked for me, in many ways, but especially in blogging. I disappeared for months! I tried to find my drive again, but every time I tried to announce my return, I’d only disappear again. It’s why I promised myself I’m not going to make any announcement this time. It’s better to take it one day at a time. Anyway, 2019 sucked so bad that I didn’t even do my normal end of the year awards.
I didn’t read enough to actually hold awards, sadly.
When I put this post together I had a revolution. I hit a big milestone and didn’t even know it! I’ve been on Goodreads for an entire decade! I created my Goodreads account in 2010, and I’m still there logging all my reads now in 2020!
It made putting this post together so easy!
Year 2010 was the year I discovered Goodreads. Discovering and joining Goodreads led me to joining my first online book group. I currently don’t remember the name of the group, something like ‘Adults who read YA’. Anyway, the friends I made in that group led me to Melina Marchetta. Melina Marchetta happens to be one of my favorite authors ever. She gave me Jellicoe Road AND Finnikin of the Rock. Jellicoe Road and the Lumatere Chronicles are my everything.
2010 was also the year I read my first Patrick Ness book, and particularly the Chaos Walking trilogy. The Knife of Never Letting Go was a really heartbreaking start to an amazing series.
And finally, I also first read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series in 2010. I have long since said goodbye to this series (and to PNR in general), but I will never stop loving Lover Eternal. Now, a decade later, it is still the best paranormal romance book I’ve ever read.
I read Feed in 2011, and to this day it is still my favorite zombie novel ever. It was the first time I’ve read (or saw) anything original in the zombie lore. To this day I still love how it’s the only book (I know of) that’s about life after the zombie apocalypse. It dares to ask why our species can’t not only survive it, but we can continue to thrive. It’s spectacular.
I read The Diary of a Part Time Indian in 2011. I remember the big uproar about this one. It was being banned for talk of masturbation, racism… so much crap teenagers deal with on a daily basis. It tops my ‘should be required reading’ shelf for a good reason.
2011 was also the year I discovered Urban Fantasy, and particularly it was the year I read Darkfever and fell in love with Jericho Barrons. That new infatuation with UF also caused me to pick up Among the Living, which was also my first foray into M/M romance. PsyCop is still one of my favorite series of all time, and anyone who follows this blog knows how much I love M/M.
Unwind wasn’t actually my first Neal Shusterman book. I read the Skinjacker series first, and loved them. Nobody has an imagination like Neal Shusterman, and Unwind especially blew me away. It was a controversial topic done expertly. Excellent 2011 read.
In fell in love with UF in 2012, but in I found my all time favorite UF series ever, Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane. The first book, Unholy Ghosts, wasn’t my favorite of the series but it was my inspiration to keep reading, that makes Unholy Ghosts very special to me.
2012 was EXTRA extra special though, because of Special Forces – Soldiers. Words can’t even explain how gritty this book is. When I started it I had no idea how the authors were going to redeem either of these characters. They were awful. They did horrible, terrible, things to each other; things so heinous that I seriously loathed both of them… until I didn’t. I fell so in love with this raw book. I’ve never been able to read it again, but dammit, it forever changed me.
This post has been the most blogging fun I’ve had in a while! Remembering all of these books, so beloved, so many feels! How to Kill a Rock Star gave me sooooo many feels! Not all of them were good feels. I remember being so angry. Any other time I would have hated a book that filled me with rage, but not HtKaRS. I finished that book and my DNA was forever changed. It gave me one of my favorite characters, and some of the best quotes ever. For example:
“I think happiness is a fleeting condition, not a permanent goddamn state of mind. I’ve learned that if you chase after moments of bliss here and there, sometimes those moments will sustain you through the shit.”
A-freaking-men, Paul Hudson!
2013 was also the year I read anything by Rainbow Rowell. Now she’s one of my favorite authors, but in 2013 I was a newby. Thank goodness for Eleanor and Park. It takes place in the 80’s, with unconventional characters falling in love. It’s coming of age, and romantic, and perfection. If you haven’t read Eleanor and Park, what the hell are you waiting for?!
I also read The Demon King (and all sequels) in 2013. I’ve read them many many times since, and I love them every single time. Still, your first read of a much loved book will always be special, and for me that was in 2013.
Friday Brown! Oh my poor aching heart! Count this one in my shortlist of books I can’t reread. It wrecked me. I was broken. My love for this book is deep, but it hurts so much. It is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read, with one of thee very best characters ever written… when I think about it, it’s hard to breathe, that’s how much it affected me.
And, of course, Red Rising. I mean, the series is still going strong and I’m still buying them in hardcover and devouring them. Red Rising was Pierce Brown’s debut novel, and he knocked it out of the damn park. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but if I did I’m 100% positive it would still be on the top of my list.
Just looking at those books tells me 2015 was a good year. To date, Captive Prince is probably my favorite romantic fantasy ever. The depth to the story, the political intrigue, the build up of attraction… the entire trilogy was sheer perfection. In fact, it’s now a new year (and a new decade) and I’m needing a reread!
So, I’m not a big fan of Sarina Bowen or Elle Kennedy’s backlist. However, something about these authors coming together is magical. Every single book they co-author has been golden, and it all started with Him. It also happens to be their very best book. Jamie and Wesley are relationship goals. Best friends first, and then romantic lovers. I adore them.
Alright, let’s just call it. I’ll admit it proudly. 2016 should be called “Birdie’s year of TJ Klune”. I went looking for something lighthearted and funny, and received the best reading recommendation of my life! If some bandit held a gun to my head and demanded I pick only one book as my favorite, I would probably say How to be a Normal Person. (Under duress.) I can read it, or listen to it, over and over again and I never tire of it. It always makes me laugh. Gustavo Tiberius is my spirit animal, and I love him!
Of course, when I finished How to be a Normal Person, I decided I was NOT finished with TJ Klune. I immediately picked up Wolfsong and devoured it ravenously. It’s a paranormal shifter story like no other. It’s poetic and emotive, with the most unusual and endearing characters. Gosh, I love the talent of TJ Klune.
In 2016 I also read Carry the Ocean. I’ve read these books so many times, it feels like they shouldn’t be four years old. I can’t remember if Carry the Ocean was my first book by Heidi Cullinan, but it is definitely my favorite. The love and compassion between Emmett and Jeremey touched me. The odds against them would seem insurmountable to anyone else, but they fought to be together. (The need for rereads is growing stronger!)
Finally, I’m not a blogger who readily accepts review requests. I’m exceptionally picky, because I hate taking a book and then never reading it. (That’s why my reviewing terms says that my taking a copy of a book is not a review guarantee. I’m terrible about forcing myself through a book that’s not interesting.) I broke that rule for Robert Thier. I was still blogging on Badass Book Reviews when he sent a review request for Storm and Silence that I accepted. The synopsis hooked me. I read the first chapter and never looked back. It’s the best historical romantic comedy ever. EVER.
A Darker Shade of Magic was the first book I read by A Darker Shade of Magic, and so far it’s my absolute favorite. The world building in the series is one of my favorites. I would love to be able to travel through the 4 London’s with Kell and Lila. I almost didn’t read it, because I don’t like the cover at all, but I’m so glad I ignored the vain side of myself and read it anyway. It’s way better than the cover looks.
I’d had my eye on The Foxhole Court for a while before I read it. It’s another book that sounded good, but I continued to pass it over all because it has a boring cover. This book is anything but boring! In fact, it’s almost too fantastical. It has one of the most ludicrous plots ever. While I was reading the series I seriously felt like I should hate it. It had every single thing I despise, but somehow it worked! I was entranced and obsessed. (My reread list is just growing and growing!)
Jay Kristoff was another author I’d been eyeing for a few years, but didn’t read until 2017. I can’t say I’m disappointed that I started with Nevernight. It’s topped most every other fantasy series I’ve read, in characters, world building, and in plot. It’s fantastic, and nobody could complain about that cover!
Leo Loves Aries is so special to me. It was the first book I read after I miscarried. It was the first thing that made me feel some happiness. Theo and Jamie were absolutely adorable, and it was all sweetness and happy, and love. It’s special to me because it’s a good book, and it also takes me to my happy place.
Withered + Sere is a giant departure from the other two TJ Klune books I ready in earlier years. It’s a duology called Immemorial Years and it is dark. It’s post apocalyptic, with cannibals, and violence, and torture… and love. It has a bad dog, and a SIRS, and a psycho rabbit… it consumed me. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. It is fantastic. That TJ stopped writing the series because people weren’t reading it breaks my heart.
I feel like this one could seem cliche, right? I mean, How to be a Normal Person is up there as one of my favorite books EVER, and it’s my fourth TJ book, so it could look like I’m using this as a platform to push this author on you. Still, it is true that How to be a Movie Star is the only book I read in 2019 I feel belongs on this list.
Keep in mind that I only read 30 books last year, whereas in previous years I averaged 100-150. BUT, aside from the fact that these two books are in the same series, they are essentially standalones. How to be a Normal Person was about Gus, and this one is about Josie. I loved them for 2 very different reasons. How to be a Movie Star had a character that reminded me of myself, and it gave me my mantra:
“The world is a big place, and sometimes you just want to feel small.”
This quote is tattooed on my arm. I read that line and I felt something shift inside me, like, “Holy crap, it IS alright to let yourself feel small sometimes.” Because, the world IS a big place! It hit me right in my personal feels, in the good spot, and secured it’s own place in my heart.
Here’s hoping we’re all still here together when we reach the end of 2029!