It’s time! After nearly twelve months of reading as much as possible, I’m happy to put forth my “best of” list for your consideration! I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted, but I sure had an amazing time when I was able to read. This year I’m NOT limiting myself to only ten books, for a couple of reasons. First, there are way more than ten that deserve to be called THE BEST, and second, I’m sick at the moment and mentally incapable of deciding which of these to eliminate. So here they are, a BUNCH OF AMAZING BOOKS that made me happy this year, broken into clumps more or less by genre:
Top 5 Books of the Year:
I decided to list my very favorite books separately, because for me, these five were the best of the best.
The Nine by Tracy Townsend crept up on me slowly, but turned out to have one of the best bunch of characters I’ve ever run across. I recommend reading this now, because it’s the first in a series, and you’ll want to be caught up when the second book hits the streets! Read my review here.
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer. This book. It was weird and wonderful, piercingly sad and terrifying, all at the same time. If you can take “weird,” then you don’t want to miss this reading experience. Read my review here.
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock. Another start to a new series, I think this book was the most surprising of the bunch, with incredible world-building that mixed so many elements together in such a satisfying way. I can’t wait to return to his world! Read my review here.
The Queen of Swords by R.S. Belcher. It’s no surprise that Rod Belcher is on my list, he seems to make it every year! The Queen of Swords is technically book #3 in his Golgotha series, but if you haven’t read the first two books, this works fine as a starting point. Belcher’s female characters steal the show, and his world-building is top-notch as usual. Read my review here.
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty. This book! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book faster. I literally could not put it down. Lafferty’s “locked room mystery in space” was thrilling, terrifying, and full of well-thought out characterizations. I read this back in January and it’s stuck with me ever since. Just read it! Read my review here.
I read some amazing debuts this year, and here are my favorites:
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames. I love when a fantastic story with great world-building and characters also has humor and heart. That combination gets me every time, and I am beyond excited for the next book in the series, Bloody Rose. Read my review here.
Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. A fantastic set-up that immediately grabbed my attention, followed by some interesting twists and pulse-pounding terror, if you love haunted house stories then you NEED to read this one! Read my review here.
Devil’s Call by J. Danielle Dorn. I have to mention that three of these debuts are published by Inkshares, which has to be one of my favorite publishing finds of the year! Devil’s Call is a beautifully written story about witches, but it’s also set in the wild West and is brutally violent at times. Read my review here.
The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein. Another Inkshares darling, this mind-bending science fiction tale might make your head spin, but I guarantee you’ll have a great time anyway! So. Much. Fun! Read my review.
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. It seems I read a lot of sequels this year, and this was one of the best. I loved revisiting Kristoff’s grim and violent world, and I can’t wait for the next book! Read my review here.
Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker. Another sequel that I loved, Baker’s urban fantasy series is one of my favorites, and I’m beyond excited to have book #3 on my Kindle and ready to read soon! Read my review here.
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson. This was my first book by Wilson but it won’t be my last. I adored this book, partly because it surprised me again and again. Read my review here.
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. I adored this horror mash-up that gives us a peek into the world of the daughters of some of classic horrors most infamous characters. AND there’s a sequel coming soon!! Read my review here.
Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey. I loved this magical retelling of The Tempest, and it just happened to be my first Carey book! Read my review here.
Metronome by Oliver Langmead. I’ll bet most of you have never even heard of Oliver Langmead, but you really should give his books a try. This one was a fantasy lover’s dream. Read my review here.
The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey. Carey’s sequel to The Girl with All the Gifts didn’t work for everyone, maybe because it was so different from the first book, but I loved it. Carey has yet to disappoint me. Read my review here.
Lost Boy by Christina Henry. If you want to read a story about the darker side of Peter Pan, then look no further. Henry takes the classic children’s tale and spins it into something much darker. Read my review here.
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. Technically a “sequel” to her novella Rolling in the Deep, I found this story to be pretty scary and extremely entertaining. Read my review here.
Best “Hard to Classify” Books:
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. I absolutely adored this sequel to Practical Magic. In typical Alice Hoffman style, her subtle magic realism and relatable characters made this a treat. Read my review here.
Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory. I expected big things from Daryl Gregory, because he’s awesome, but I had no idea what I was in store for before I started reading. This book surprised me in so many ways. It’s a big-hearted upbeat tale about family, something we could all use right about now. Read my review here.
The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne. Mayne’s fantastic thriller/murder mystery was full of cool science, and was such a treat to read. There is a sequel on the horizon, so you should read this now so you’ll be ready when it comes out. Read my review here.
The Genius Plague by David Walton. If you’ve never thought of mushrooms as a threat to the world, well think again. Walton’s plausible futuristic disaster scenario was terrifying and entertaining at the same time. Read my review here.
It doesn’t surprise me at all that Seanan McGuire has two books on this list. First up, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Book #2 in her Wayward Children series. This series is simply odd and magical, and McGuire explores themes like growing up and finding your own path. Read my review here.
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire. This story has both ghost and witch characters, and you may think that combination wouldn’t work, but hey, this is a Seanan McGuire story! Of course it works! Read my review here.
Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan. This creepy novella about alien invasion was soooo good, and one of the best Tor.com novellas I read this year. Read my review here.
Best Young Adult
The saddest thing for me this year is that I didn’t have much luck with YA. I couldn’t even come up with ten books I enjoyed to creative a separate YA list! I know there are a lot of really good YA books that I just missed, that might well have been on this list. But these three were outstanding.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I love everything I’ve read by Taylor, and this is a fantastic start to a new series! There is hope for young adult books! Read my review here.
Black Light Express by Philip Reeve. Book #2 in Reeve’s Railhead series was just as good as the first book. Reeve is one of the most imaginative writers I’ve run across, and if you’re a fantasy/sci-fi fan and you aren’t reading this series, you really need to! Read my review here.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. This was my only re-read of the year, and it worked just as well the second time around. Read my review here.