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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 Troupe

The Troupe

The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“What I’m going to do up here, kid, is tell you a story. Like all stories, it’s an attempt to make sense of something larger than itself. And, like most stories, it fails, to a certain degree. It’s a gloss, a rendition, so it’s not exact. But it’ll do.”

I’m going to see Paranormal Cirque this weekend and am insanely excited. In anticipation, I picked up The Troupe. While not about a circus, it is about a vaudevillian troupe, which is similar in feel. And though not exactly in the horror genre, I know from experience with his Divine Cities trilogy that Robert Jackson Bennett often weaves horror elements into his novels, and he does so deftly. I’m so incredibly glad I picked up this book. Because as excited as I am about seeing Paranormal Cirque, I already know that The Troupe will stay with me longer than any performance could. It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful story, and I read the last sixty or so pages through a haze of tears.

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Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“All things have a value. Sometimes the value is paid in coin. Other times, it is pain in time and sweat. And finally, sometimes it is paid in blood.

Humanity seems most eager to use this latter currency. And we never note how much of it we’re spending, unless it happens to be our own.”

Foundryside is radically different from Bennett’s Divine Cities series, which served as my introduction to his work. There was an almost flippant lightness to this book, whereas the Divine Cities novels had a philosophical weight to them that gave them immense power and a lasting presence in my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed Foundryside, but it’s not a book I’ll still be mulling over weeks or months from now.

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Petrik Leo’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2018)

Petrik Leo’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2018)

Time really flies huh? Another year is coming to an end soon! This year I’ve read and reviewed 129 books. It’s been another fantastic reading year. Considering the high amount of 4.5 and 5 stars books I’ve rated this year, I’ll even say that this year miraculously ended up being my best reading year so far. There will be four rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.
  • Outside of the two top spots (for good reasons), none of these are in particular order. All have merit, and most have different strengths that make them stand out from each other; putting a rank on them feels odd to me, especially when every book in this list now resides on my ‘favorite books’ shelf.

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 2018! (All full reviews of these books can be found on my Goodreads page; some are already available on this blog.)


Vigilance

Vigilance

ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful and terrifyingly necessary novella; I sincerely hope that it’s not prophetic.

Gun violence and mass shooting, we’ve all heard about it; it has happened way too many times for the past couple of years. I’m not American, I never lose someone close to me to gun violence or mass shooting. Even then, I found that this book was dark, terrifying, and powerful because looking at the state of the world now, I can’t dispute the chance that Vigilance would never happen. I envision this book will be even more terrifying for American or anybody who has lost someone to gun violence or mass shooting. There’s a lot of violent and strong content here. Please remember, this is a work of fiction. Try to be open-minded and let it be a wakeup call instead.

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Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside (Founders, #1)

Foundryside (Founders, #1)Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Foundryside was an incredibly addictive and entertaining read from start to finish.

I’m a recent fan of Robert Jackson Bennett’s books. Three months ago on the last week of May, I binged read his critically acclaimed trilogy, The Divine Cities, and it became one of my favorite trilogies of all time; I forced my friends and everyone I know to pushed the trilogy up their TBR immediately. Since finishing The Divine Cities, Foundryside, the first book in Bennett’s newest trilogy, immediately became one of my most awaited book of the year; I pre-ordered a hardcover (I usually order paperback) of the book because I can’t wait any longer and I want to give my support to the author as best as I could. Foundryside lived up to my high expectation and upon finishing it, I’m happy to say that Bennett has become the seventh author to be included in my ‘favorite author’ list.

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City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3)

City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3)

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

City of Miracles is a stunning accomplishment; it is a marvelous ending to what I now consider my favorite trilogy, and a fast-paced, addictive story in its own right.

“One should not seek ugliness in this world. There is no lack of it. You will find it soon enough, or it will find you.”

Sigrud je Harkvaldsson was one of my favorite side characters in both City of Stairs and City of Blades, and I was both incredibly excited and more than a little nervous to read his story. Sometimes when a side character becomes the focal point of the story, they seem to lose a bit of their appeal for some reason. That was definitely not the case here. Sigrud has a wealth of experiences under his belt, most of them not good ones. Those experiences have shaped him into the man he is today, for better or for worse. He feels that he really only excels at one thing: violence. Once again, he finds himself in a position calling for violent action, and he revels in it. Until he doesn’t. Sigrud grows so much throughout this book, and I loved seeing him learn from past mistakes and struggle with his past and who that past made him.

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Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018 – July 31st, 2018)

Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018 – July 31st, 2018)

So far, 2018 has been a wonderful reading year for me. I’ve found new favorite authors, and had the opportunity to read new work from authors I’ve loved for years. Of the 93 books I’ve read and reviewed this year, I gave 76 of those at least a 4 star rating on Goodreads. The books I’ve chosen have been overwhelmingly successful for me. When Petrik mentioned each doing a Top 10 from the books we’ve read so far this year, I jumped at the suggestion. But now, looking at the books I have to choose from, I’m regretting my decision. How on earth am I going to choose just ten out of the dozens of fantastic books I’ve read so far this year?! All I can do is my best, right?

To help narrow things down, I’m going to follow the same rules Petrik used for his list:

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • Not every book was published this year.
  • Other than the top spot, these are in the order I read them instead of any ranking.

Every book below is one I rated 5 complete stars. Links to my full Goodreads reviews will be provided within each mini-review. Without further ado, here are my favorite books of the year to date!

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Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018-July 31st, 2018)

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018-July 31st, 2018)

Between January 1st, 2018 and July 31st, 2018, I’ve read and reviewed 82 books, and so far it’s been another fantastic reading year. Considering the number of books I’ve read and reviewed this year, there will be four rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. The rules are:

  •  Rereads don’t count.
  •  One book per author.
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.
  • Number one spot aside, none of these are in particular order. Why? Because I spent two hours of staring at my computer screen and I still can’t firmly decide on the ranking!

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here we go! (All full reviews of these books can be found on my Goodreads page; some are available on this blog.)

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City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2)City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Dying nobly is preferable to living savagely.”

I’m completely blown away by Bennett’s world building. City of Blades thrilled me and surprised me and cut me to the quick with its rich character development and lore. I cared so much about the characters, and felt every emotion they felt as I read. Bennett’s world is unlike any I’ve ever come across; he absolutely excels at creating both empathetic characters and compelling mythology and history to add a depth and uniqueness to his writing that I believe to be rare.

“O, the things we kill for our dreams, forgetting all the while we shall wake up to find them naught but dust and ash!
What fools we are to pretend that when we walk to war we do not bring our loved ones with us.”

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