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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 List.


Hello everyone!  This is the first time I’m listing my top reads for the year 2019.  Initially, I wanted to opt for Top 10 but having read 100 books and rated a lot between 4.5 and 5 stars, I felt that I would struggle to limit it to ten.  The parameters for my list are as follows:

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.  Those not published in 2019 will be specified.

With exception of #1, none of these are ranked.  I’ve merely listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  I’ve also included my favourite classic read of the year as we’ve started the Novel Notions Classic Club in July. All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Cover Reveal: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

Cover Reveal: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here.

No long introduction from me; the title of this post is self-explanatory, and I’m sure it’s why you’re here. But for those of you who somehow don’t know, John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors and I will ALWAYS recommend his books to every epic fantasy reader. I’m simply gratified to be given the extraordinary honor of doing an exclusive cover reveal for A Time of Courage, the third—and final—book in Of Blood and Bone series. If you love epic fantasy with fantastic characterizations and phenomenal battle scenes, make sure to do yourself a favor and read ALL of Gwynne’s books. I truly believe that Gwynne is one of the greatest fantasy authors in the making; he already is one for me. Without further ado, here’s the epic cover of A Time of Courage!

Cover art by Paul Young

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A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Sometimes the only answer is blood and steel.”

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I loved getting to revisit the Banished Lands, which is among by favorite fantasy worlds. On the other, seeing the way this world has changed in the over a century since the events of The Faithful and the Fallen (TFatF) was painful. But that’s part of the point.

While Gwynne’s original series set in the Banished Land had a lot of warring and sadness and character deaths, I wouldn’t call it grimdark. There was a hopefulness to the story that in my opinion negated that genre. However, I would say that this first book of the followup series is undoubtedly grimdark. The brightness that managed to shine through in the first series isn’t present here, which made me sad. That said, I get the reasoning behind it. The world that the cast of TFatF fought for has been preserved, but at a high price. It has been undeniably altered, and not for the better. Looking back on the events of the first four books, this alteration saddens me because it makes the fight feel like it wasn’t worth the cost. But that’s not true, and I’m hoping that in the second installment of this followup series, we’ll see a bit more of the hope that defined TFatF.

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A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We shall never forget.

And how could I ever forget? A Time of Dread served as a brutal and stunning reminder that Gwynne is one of the greatest modern fantasy writers.

The Faithful and The Fallen (“TFaTF”) was a superb epic fantasy series with one of the most well-written stories about prophecies and good vs evil that I’ve read in a very long time. And judging from what I’ve read in this book, I believe Gwynne is on track to surpass what he did in the earlier series. AToD is the stamp of a great writer that never stops learning and always keeps improving. While Malice was a great debut that any author would and should be proud of, AToD demonstrated that Gwynne has once again upped his game.

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Cover Reveal: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) by John Gwynne

Cover Reveal: A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) by John Gwynne

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. I’ll keep this introduction brief. John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors of all time. Ever since I finished The Faithful and the Fallen series by him, it has become one of my top three most favorite series of all time. This January, Gwynne released A Time of Dread, the first book in his newest trilogy, Of Blood and Bone. Today, I want to bring you guys a cover reveal of the second book in Of Blood and Bone trilogy. Seriously, if you love epic fantasy and haven’t read any of Gwynne’s books, you’re missing out on one of the greatest fantasy series to grace our world. Without further ado, time to bless your eyes with this glorious cover reveal of A Time of Blood!

Cover art by Paul Young

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A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone, #1)

ARC provided by the publisher—Pan Macmillan—in exchange for an honest review.

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Time of Dread is a work conceived in the mind of a genius.

Simply amazing and almost impossible to put down, A Time of Dread is truly a masterful start to a trilogy which I envision will be crowned as one of the best series I’ve ever read by its end. John Gwynne has proven himself once again to be the constant harbinger of superlative epic fantasy that only the greatest of authors can achieve.

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