[I wrote this post on Jan 5th 2020 before everything when to hell the day after, an extension of the issues I mention at the beginning. I am starting to get back into the mix, I am certainly reading a lot more now. Thanks everyone for your support in my absence post. I hope you enjoy this list!]
Welcome to my top reads for 2019 post! I know these posts are flying about like nobody’s business but I thought I would add my opinions into the mix. 2019 has been a rocky year for me as a blogger. There has been a lot going on in my personal life which has gotten in the way of my blogging schedule (well not a schedule but a list of cool post ideas that I have bundled together on my notes app…).
The books I have managed to read have been pretty damn amazing which I am eternally grateful for. I have made quite a few posts celebrating all the epic reads I have had the pleasure of reading, separated into their relevant genres but I thought an overall 2019 post was in order too. These are the books that really hit me full force and made the reviews such a fun experience to write. I hope you had a fantastic 2019. I hope you will be seeing more of Always Trust In Books in 2020! [I had such high hopes for 2020, it was apparently not meant to be!]
Best Reads Of 2019
Synopsis: Sanctuary. It’s the perfect town. . . to hide a secret.
To Detective Maggie Knight, the death of Sanctuary’s star quarterback seems to be a tragic accident. Only, everyone knows his ex-girlfriend is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died.
Then the rumours start to fly.
Bereaved mother Abigail will stop at nothing until she has justice for her dead son. Her best friend Sarah will do everything in her power to protect her accused daughter. And the women share a secret that could shatter their lives – and their community.
It falls to Maggie to prevent her investigation – and Sanctuary itself – from spiralling out of control.
My Thoughts: I was actually a tiny bit ‘meh witches’ when I picked up Sanctuary but I was hit so hard in the face with my wrongness that it shot straight to top of my top recommendations list. V.V. James mixes the rich history and lore of witchcraft with a small town murder mystery and teen drama. There is a heap of tension that transforms over the course of this magical investigation and the suspense is captivatingly intense. It is a modern insight into prejudice and how easy it is to sway opinion and encourage violence against a minority under suspicious circumstances. V.V. James love of witches and crime investigation blends well together and with a trio of compelling female leads, it is a true showstopper.
Synopsis: You have heard the story before – of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.
But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?
What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?
Among the Academy’s warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents’ killers.
Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy’s masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfil.
Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . .
My Thoughts: I thought Master Of Sorrows sounded like it had a cool and familiar concept for a fantasy story that I could easily appreciate from the beginning. Upon starting the novel I was treated to the best fantasy prologue I have read in years and it plunged me into this story of a boy, who unbeknownst to him, is destined to be a villain. A boy stolen away from his destiny and hidden in plain sight in a community who would kill him on the spot if they knew who he truly was. A young man who is being dragged between both good and evil, while trying be the person he wants to be. I sank so far into this story that it was genuine shame for it to end. The finale is so fiercely intense that it has stuck in my mind for the whole year (I read this in Jan 2019). Master Of Sorrows is familiar yet refreshingly original and it is a must read for all fantasy readers.
Synopsis: The first book in The Last War series: a debut epic fantasy full of crunching revolutionary action, twisted magic, and hard choices in dark times.
The war is over. The enemy won.
Jia’s people learned the hard way that there are no second chances. The Egril, their ancient enemy, struck with magic so devastating that Jia’s armies were wiped out. Now terror reigns in the streets, and friend turns on friend just to live another day.
Somehow Tinnstra – a deserter, a failure, nothing but a coward – survived. She wants no more than to hide from the chaos.
But dragged into a desperate plot to retake Jia, surrounded by people willing to do anything to win the fight, this time Tinnstra will need to do more than hide.
If Jia is to get a second chance after all, this time she will need to be a hero.
With all the grit of Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence and Ed McDonald, this is fantasy with the sharpest of edges.
My Thoughts: We Are The Dead caught my eye from a mile off. I loved the concept this novel was built on. A powerful nation blindside by their own ignorance. A cast of young, naive and almost hopeless teens forced to survive or die. The old guard that must face their failures and adapt to the new future in front of them. Insights into the evil forces that will kill and maim their way to victory. All taking place in an interesting and well thought out fantasy world. We Are The Dead is brutal, cool and intense. I wrote a lengthy and over-indulgent review that showcases my reactions to each character and the many unforgettable moments. There is so much story packed into this novel, shoulder to shoulder with emotion, pain and outstanding fantasy imagery. Mike Shackle has kicked off this series with a blast, I hope he can keep this momentum.
Synopsis: TRP: Don Tillman has got his love life planned out. He knows exactly who he wants, but is it who he needs?
Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman.
A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner.
Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos.
But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?
TRE: Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie.
Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardised meals and embrace unscheduled sex.
But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life – at the same time as dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace.
Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever?
My Thoughts: I had seen The Rosie Project here and there but thought little of it. When I perusing the library website it popped up and I reckoned why not give it a go. It took me less that a minute to get absorbed in this book. Don Tillman is a fantastic character that had me laughing in amazement pretty much every time he opened his mouth. Don is a geneticist who is on the high function end of the autism spectrum. His view on life is one of objectivity, evaluation and information. Don is formulating an extensive questionnaire to help find him a suitable partner, elegantly named the ‘Wife Project’. While working on this precise and time consuming project, Don runs into Rosie, who is an absolutely awful candidate for his tests but who Don finds fascinating none the less. Rosie is looking to find her biological father and Don offers to lend her his expertise. It is a fascinating and hilarious story of social deficits, rationality and improbability that is a clever idea for a romantic comedy. The Rosie Effect continues the story in even more socially confusing and emotionally challenging ways.
Synopsis: Nine suicides. One Cult. No leader.
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.
My Thoughts: Nothing Important Happened Today is by far the most radical book I read in 2019 and I thought it was genius. Will Carver took an interesting concept and turned it into an explosive and consuming novel that I am still trying to process months after reading. A novel about a suicide cult might feel like a bit too much (yes there is a lot of suicide) but Will Carver’s perspective and voice turn this objectively unpleasant idea into an opportunity for consideration and reflection. It is also a clever crime thriller that has an incredibly satisfying conclusion which is always good.
Synopsis: The explosive conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Arc of a Scythe series.
It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver. In this pulse-pounding finale to Neal Shusterman’s internationally bestselling trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.
My Thoughts: I am going to miss this series. I am gutted that it is over already. The Arc Of The Scythe novels took me somewhere special. Fantastic characters, thrilling plot ideas and a setting that is truly inspired, I never wanted the story to end. But its over and The Toll is the epic finale. If you haven’t given this series a go yet then I highly recommend it. The Toll was a satisfying (and unexpected) conclusion to events surrounding Citra, Rowan and Grayson and Schusterman definitely saved the biggest spectacles for last. The Arc Of Scythe novels are easily my favourite series from the last decade and I will be talking about them and re-reading them for years to come.
Thanks for stopping by to check out my list of best reads in 2019. It has been a great year for books and I was spoilt for choice when compiling my absolute favourites. I didn’t do a huge list because I didn’t want to drown out these spectacular reads too much but I do have several more lists (yay!) for everyone to checkout in the coming weeks. 2019 was a rocky year for me in pretty much every regard. I have seriously considered stopping the blog for some time now but every time I start the process I just can’t face the prospect of not blathering on about books as much as possible.
I am hoping 2020 will be a year of focus, of even more reading and extra effort. I already have a stack of 2020 novels that I am excited to start. Thanks everyone for supporting the page by coming by and leaving a comment or a like. It really helps with my encouragement and positivity. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are ready for another brilliant year for books.