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Emma’s Best Books of 2019

Emma’s Best Books of 2019

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


Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m cheating… my Best Books of 2019 post is a little different from the rest of the Novel Notions team.

It’s felt like a bit of a strange reading year for me, with a lot of study, non-fiction, and comfort rereads. My number is sitting at 164 so far, with a whole load getting that very respectable 4 star rating. However, there have only been a small amount that have truly floored me, that have deserved the 4.5 or the big, shiny 5 star rating. These are the kind of books that stay in your memory forever, that you recommend EVERYWHERE and as often as possible. They’re the ones where it’s almost impossible to stop your eyes from flicking forward to see what’s coming next because you’re so excited to get there. When I made that feeling the criteria for my list, it made things immediately clear. I don’t have 20, I have 10. They were all published this year and I loved them all. I hope you consider giving them a go too…

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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists. Check out his portfolio, he’s brilliant.


Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2019)

Here we are, we’re reaching the end of 2019 very soon! This year, I’ve read and reviewed 115 books (96 traditionally published books + 19 indie books.)

It’s lower than the previous two years, but I must say that it’s been another incredible reading year for me. Putting the high amount of 4.5 and 5 stars books I’ve rated this year into consideration, I will be applying four rules into this list; doing this will help me give appreciation to more authors, and I’ll be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) rather than having only a few authors/books hoarding the list every year.

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • Unless specified, the books listed here are published this year.
  • Number one spot aside, none of these are in particular order. All have merit, and most have different strengths that make them stand out from each other; it’s too difficult for me to rank them accordingly.

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2019! (Full reviews of these books can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)


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Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 512 pages (Hardback)

Published: 5th September 2019 by Harper Voyager (UK) & 3rd September 2019 by St. Martin’s Press (US)


O’gentlefriends, Darkdawn concluded The Nevernight Chronicle trilogy on a bloody high note, and it’s not implausible for me to say that this has become my favorite book in the series.

“Don’t fuck with librarians, young lady. We know the power of words.”

Each installment within the series can be classified as Mia’s journey throughout her life; Nevernight as Mia’s book of birth, Godsgrave as Mia’s book of life, and Darkdawn as Mia’s book death. Don’t worry, if you’re reading this without any knowledge of the series, that’s not a spoiler; the first page within the first book of the series has mentioned that Mia died. Now, the specifics leading towards it, and whether Mia’s death is a lie or truth, I’ll leave that for you to find out for yourself. The Nevernight Chronicle, in a way, is Mia’s revenge story told by an unnamed narrator that the reader didn’t know, not until they’ve read Darkdawn anyway. I can’t tell you anything specific about the story in Darkdawn except that it continues immediately from where Godsgrave left off, and Darkdawn really finished Mia’s story. What I can tell you, however, is what made the book worked so well for me.

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Book Review: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2) by Jay Kristoff

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 448 pages (US hardback edition)

Published: 7th September 2017 by Harper Voyager (UK) & 5th September 2017 by St. Martin’s Press (US)


I applaud The Droogs who finished Godsgrave before or around its publication date, thank you for your sacrifice; may the Lady of Blessed Murder bless your patience.

“That’s the power of words; twenty six little letter can paint a whole universe”

Godsgrave is the sequel to Nevernight. The story still follows our beloved ruthless assassin, Mia Corvere, as she continues her journey for vengeance. Godsgrave didn’t start off easy for me to get into. Nevernight was a revenge story with a battle-school setting; Godsgrave is the continuation to that revenge story without any of the battle-school trope. Almost the entirety of the book revolved around a new mission: Mia’s struggle to win the gladiatorial collegium for a chance to complete her unfinished revenge. Although familiar faces and characters—such as Mister Kindly and Eclipse—still played a huge role, many previous characters only appeared briefly; there were a lot of new characters introduced in this installment and for the majority of the time, Mia spent her time with them rather than the characters from the first book. Also, I’ve mentioned in my Nevernight review that the footnotes didn’t bother me; they were entertaining and they provided insights into the world-building of Itreya. This is still true in Godsgrave, but admittedly, the footnotes in this installment were often too long to my liking. I’m talking about one or two pages long footnotes. The longevity of the footnotes ended up being distracting to my reading immersion, and this was especially true in the first half of the book. Because of all these, Godsgrave ended up taking me longer—around 40% of the book—to fully engross myself into. Were all this necessary though? Yes. Rest assured that the build-up and groundwork were put to good use; resulting in an incredibly engaging second half of the book.

Picture: Pale Daughter by Nan Fe

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Book Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 448 pages (US hardback edition)

Published: 25th July 2016 by Harper Voyager (UK) & 9th August 2016 by St. Martin’s Press (US)


O’gentlefriend, Nevernight was incredible. Allow me to join The Droogs from now on.

The Nevernight Chronicle is not a series I’ve never heard of. If you’re active on Book Twitter, Bookstagram, or Booktube, you’ll most likely have seen or heard of this series. How could you not? The fans are very loud and devoted; aesthetically, both US & UK editions of this series look gorgeous as fuck; the content? Let’s just say that the beautiful cover artworks really did the content justice and vice versa. To Emily Fox and Emma, thank you for recommending this book to me. I can’t believe I almost missed such an awesome book just because the series has been falsely labeled as a book/series specifically for YA audience. Now, there’s nothing wrong with YA—this isn’t me judging the quality of YA books—but it feels wrong to immediately label Nevernight or any book as a book targeted for YA audience just because the main character is young; 16 years old in this case. In my opinion, Nevernight sits comfortably in the hybrid stage between YA and adult fantasy; a novel that can be read and enjoyed by both YA & adult SFF reader, just like Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson or Red Rising Saga (just the first three books) by Pierce Brown. So yes, don’t let the occasional mislabeling of this series put you off from giving the series a go.

“Too many books. Too few centuries.”

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