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Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 Lists. His work is amazing, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have been favored with it. Thank you so much, Felix!

So far, 2019 has been an incredible reading year for me. Between January 1st and June 30th I read right around 60 books, and have found a number of new favorites. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to ten books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

For the first time, I’m ranking my reads. That being said, every single book on this list was a 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link  in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of the past six months.

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The Emperor’s Soul

The Emperor’s Soul

(I read this in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection)

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely incredible novella. Apparently, 105 pages are sufficient for Sanderson to craft a fantastic story with a strong beginning, wonderful characterizations, memorable climax scene, and a satisfying conclusion. The Emperor’s Soul has become my favorite novella of all time; it has qualities that surpassed a lot of other fantasy novels I’ve read.

I won’t go into any details on what the plot is, it’s only 100 pages long, try to jump into this story without knowing anything about it as I did. The plot dances upon several themes such as the nature of humanity and what truly defines art. There was a lot of beautiful philosophical contemplation to be found here and the novella was utterly well-paced. The Emperor’s Soul doesn’t waste any time getting into the plot; there’s no info dump, the magic system and world building were introduced gradually together with the plot and character development. Have I mentioned that the main character Wan ShaiLu (or Shai in short) is a lovable and intelligent heroine?

“There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person’s life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn’t take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn’t led you better.”

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Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Is anyone else hesitant to read a favorite author’s work outside of their usual genre? I’ve loved Brandon Sanderson for years, but I’ve been extremely reluctant to try his young adult or middle grade offerings. I know that he writes addictive, immersive adult fantasy and was afraid to find out if that carried over into other genres intended for radically different audiences. I shouldn’t have doubted him. Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians was my first foray into Sanderson’s middle grade books, and it definitely won’t be my last.

“If you don’t believe what I’m telling you, then ask yourself this: would any decent, kind-hearted individual become a writer? Of course not.”

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Skyward (Skyward, #1)

Skyward (Skyward, #1)

Skyward GollanczSkyward by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Skyward is a fine example of how one writes Young Adult. I am once again in awe of this master of storytelling, who excelled in his first full-length space opera novel.

This novel is another hallmark of Sanderson’s ability to spin the most incredible stories. He described the book as How to Train Your Dragon meets Top Gun and Enders Game. These references, however, would count for nothing if the execution was poor. Fortunately, and to solidify my unwavering faith in my favourite author, he shows that he is still at the top of his game.

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Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My review probably won’t be able to do this book justice. Well, justice is dead but I’ll see what I can do.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that my expectations regarding Oathbringer were extremely hard to contain. I had heard a lot of fantastic things about this series the first time I went through The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance last year, but I read through them many years after their original release dates. Oathbringer is a different experience in terms of environment and surrounding hype; this time I’m actually in the midst of all the hype, praises, and excitement everywhere. Because of this my expectations were Skybreaking high; especially after reading one of my favorite books of all time: Words of Radiance. Despite my irrational expectations, I’m gratified to say that Sanderson managed to meet my expectations because Oathbringer ended up being another masterwork installment in The Stormlight Archive series.

“This book, the third in the Stormlight Archive, is the most intimate, most tightly woven, and most eclectic book I’ve ever written—all wrapped up into one… I like this book. I really, really like this book.” –Brandon Sanderson

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Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this is finally happening. I’m ranking The Stormlight Archive as my number one favorite book series of all time, overtaking the throne previously held by Mistborn trilogy, and I don’t think this will change anytime soon. The Gods of the Cosmere knows how much I love the original Mistborn trilogy but Brandon Sanderson really raised the bar for the epic fantasy genre sky high with this series.

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The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Incredible, impressive or fantastic, all these words are an understatement to the quality this book holds. The Way of Kings is the beginning of a masterpiece series in epic fantasy. It is now my life goal and a new addition to my bucket list to obtain and read the entire series of The Stormlight Archive, which will probably take at least another 20 years from now to complete.

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Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Legion, #1-3)

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Legion, #1-3)

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun and thrilling to dark, poignant and intimate, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds have them all.

This omnibus was my second venture into Sanderson’s non-Cosmere book/trilogy; the first one being Snapshot. Once again, Sanderson didn’t disappoint. Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is an omnibus that encapsulated Sanderson’s Legion trilogy into one volume, specifically, Legion, Legion: Skin Deep, and Legion: Lies of the Beholder. If you haven’t read any of the trilogy, I strongly suggest you get this edition.

“My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.”

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The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not a review. This is a story, a story about a man who opened the first pages of Mistborn: The Final Empire.

Back in August 2016, there was a man who lived in emptiness. He was probably clinically depressed, but he would never know; he didn’t get himself checked. His heart didn’t ache, his smile was freely given, but he was never happy; he felt empty every day. Damages were added when he realized his hobbies didn’t interest him that much anymore, which resulted in reluctant social interaction with his friends. His insomnia was so acute that he couldn’t sleep without alcohol so he drowned in it every night. These symptoms were most likely the aftermath of cumulative mental damage afflicted by those closest to him. His best friend spread lies about him, his closest cousin stole tons of money from him, and then he lost his job and his then girlfriend dumped him. He was alone. He told himself, this can’t be it. There’s always a way to come back stronger. He decided to do something new; he decided to fully immerse himself in reading novels. There were countless choices out there and he didn’t know what to choose first, but on the 1st of September 2016, he dived into the mist and hope was born.

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The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A slow paced book containing an utterly powerful climax sequence; a spectacular middle book for the Mistborn trilogy.

When I first read The Well of Ascension, my experience was that I thoroughly loved it. It’s not until later that I discovered that apparently, a lot of people found the book disappointing. Because of this, I was scared that my reread experience would be ruined. Apparently, there’s nothing to worry about. Yes, it’s slightly an inferior book in comparison to The Final Empire but my overall experience of this reread is that I found the book almost as good as the first time I read through it.

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