Lists & Recommendations

Blogmas | Let’s Talk | Best Books Of 2019

LetsTalk12:17This year I have read some pretty amazing books, I have found quite a few new favorite authors, series and stand alone novels that I really want to share with everyone. At the point of writing this, I have read 103 books this year, a lot more than I thought I would. So it was difficult to narrow down my choices down to 5, but I did manage to keep this list under 10, so that’s good. Anyway, on to thee top books I read in 2019! P.S. my favorite book of 2019 is at the bottom of the list, as they say, “Last, but not least!”


Mort (Discworld, #4)Mort by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am kind of mad it took me so long to read a book by Terry Pratchett. The sense of humor, characters, and world are so unique and fun. His take on the character of death is really interesting and I found that even though that this is a story about Death, I laughed a bunch. Mort is a really fun and interesting character as well, it is interesting to think about how a human would react to the situation and choices he was given. It really make you think. I really enjoyed this story and I will be continuing to read the death books within the Discworld series. I don’t really know what else to say because I loved this story and if you enjoy fantasy and a good laugh, I feel like you will really enjoy this.

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Red, White & Royal BlueRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book made me laugh, tear up, grunt in frustration, and even sing some Panic at the Disco. This was a really enjoyable novel that is in fantasy land, but also showcases the hard discussions that people sometimes have to make. I was rooting the entire time for our main characters and for reelection.

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Smashed: Junji Ito Story CollectionSmashed: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I had found this sooner. It is just the right mixture of good imagery and scary plots to fly through. Each story stands out on its own, even the few that are related. I can say that I really enjoyed each of the short stories in this collection, which never happens for me. I normally hate or dislike at least one. Some of these are gory so if you don’t like seeing blood, I would not recommend. I will be picking up more of his work in the near future. I am so happy I found some horror manga.

TW: Suicide
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The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon, #1)The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very cute graphic novel with a very sweet message to it. On top of the wonderfully cute story, the illustration style was beautiful and just perfect for this story. If you enjoy happy feeling, cute, and wholesome stories I feel like you would really enjoy this graphic novel. The only downside was I think it was kinda rushed and I would have loved to know more about the lessons and the society.
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The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleThe 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book to be a mixture of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and something else I cannot quite place at this time. I really liked how this book was written, it flowed really nicely and the voices of the characters were clear and definite. The way that the author was able to weave this jumping time frame is masterful! Also, I was surprised quite a few times while reading it. The ending really shocked me and I loved the twist it took.
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The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women WriteThe Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write by Sabrina Mahfouz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the wide array of perspectives that were present in this book. Not did the editor bring together a wonderful collection of writings, the writings were created by an assortment of women of different ages as well. I felt like that created a very interesting dynamic in the writing, but also illustrated that deep feelings can be felt at any age. I felt passion and many deep emotions while reading this book. All the writers are very talented. I think my favorite, if I had to pick, would be Islamic Tinder by Triska Hamid.

On top of the quality of writing, I also enjoyed that there were different forms of writing present; short stories, poetry, and plays as well.
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The Virgin SuicidesThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the title you can tell that this book deals with the very difficult topic of suicide. If any discussion of this topic is a trigger for you, I do not recommend you picking it up. If this is not a triggering topic, I highly suggest you read it.

Having personally dealt with a family member who has gone through this, I went into this book a bit worried that it would handle the topic badly. I was very pleasantly surprised that it handled not only the girls well, but also those left behind very well. I don’t really want to say much about the story itself, but I thought the writing was well done, the characters done well, and I was very much enthralled by the plot.
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The Colorado KidThe Colorado Kid by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to say this work is very different from what King normally writes, but I enjoyed it so much. I think it was a combination of where I read this book and just the way it was presented. I feel like I will be thinking about The Colorado Kid trying to picture Stephenie today. Anyway, I am glad King look at those news clippings and thought of this story. It really is interesting and makes you think.
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Favorite Book of 2019!

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I had read this sooner. The characters were fun, the story thought provoking in a way, and all around a great read I read within 3 days. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the works of the two authors, but also someone looking for an end of the world story with some interesting characters.

Update: as the end of 2019 has come to an end, I have realized that I have read this book two times this year and I often want to read it a third. It truly has a great friendship, a wonderfully inventive storyline, and great humor. This is my favorite book I have read in 2019.
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What was your favorite read or reads of 2019?

Do you have a book you think I should read next year?

Are any of these books on your list?

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Lists & Recommendations

Recommendations | Stephen King

Recs

So I have never done a recommendation post and I thought I would give it a try. This post is going to be sharing my favorite Stephen King novels and maybe help steer you in the right direction. If you don’t know already Stephen King has A TON of books out and is still writing. In fact he came out with a new book this month, 2 this year. So with such a large collection it is hard to find a place to start. So I am hoping that this might help you if you are interested in his books, but are lost on where to begin.

Bag of Bones (Standalone)

Bag of Bones

Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose vindictive purpose is to take his three-year-old granddaughter, Kyra, away from her widowed young mother, Mattie. As Mike is drawn into Mattie and Kyra’s struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations and escalating terrors. What are the forces that have been unleashed here—and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

It is no secret that King is one of our most mesmerizing storytellers. In Bag of Bones, he proves to be one of our most moving as well. -goodreads

This was the first Stephen King book I ever read and I stand by it even after reading more than 10 of his books. It paranormal in essence, but also the story itself has a ton of backstory that is explained. I found myself loving the “history” behind the story. It also has characters that you find yourself really caring about and invested. I would start with this one if you either like domestic thrillers or ghost stories in general. 

11/22/63 (Standalone)

11/22/63

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful. -goodreads.com

This is great if you like historical fiction. While it is a retelling of historical events like many historical fiction novels, it has a Stephen King twist. Loving history I read/listened to this book quickly. I listened to parts, the audiobook is done very well, and read others. I felt that it was a great mixture of historical and science fiction. It also had a few parts that made me reflect a bit on society and human nature a bit. I would start here if you like historical fiction or science fiction. 

Mr. Mercedes (Trilogy) 

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1)

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands. -goodreads.com

This trilogy is another great place to start. After reading a bit of his work you can see that overall his story always have a sinister and not so human twist, but he has different types of writing. Some that focus on humanity (thriller like) and others that focus a lot on the paranormal (ghost and monster like). This trilogy is more a human focused and I would recommend starting here if you really like thrillers or mysteries.

The Shining (Duology) 

The Shining

This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel’s past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrence family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendary Stanley Kubrick — featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson –The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia. -goodreads.com

Now The Shining for me is “classic” Stephen King. I don’t mean classic in the way that it is one of his first published works, but rather that it has a little bit of everything that he has to offer. Especially more so since it has in the more recent years been expanded more on.  It is creepy, has both his humanity style and his paranormal style. This for me is one of my favorite stories I have read for him. I may be a little bit biased because when I was little I was obsessed with the 6 hour TV version of this, but I think it is a great story and a good way to test to see if you like his work. Overall, I would say that if you want a sample of his work it is good to read this. Divider

I hope that some of you find this post helpful and interesting. I had a lot of fun going through my collection and picking a few of his books that I thought were good starts. Aren’t you glad I did not recommend It as a place to start? If you have anymore questions or idea please let me know I would be more than happy to hear.

Have you read Stephen King? What book was your favorite by him?

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