My Favorite Books of the First Half of 2019 Are...

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's (self-chosen) topic:
My Favorite Books of the First Half of 2019 Are...

Okay, okay, this isn't the official topic this week (I'm not sure what it is, actually. I didn't look ^^; )

Now that we're halfway through the year, I wanted to take a minute to point out my favorite books so far this year!

There have been SO many books I've read and enjoyed -- and even a few that are new favorites from authors I've been reading for a long time! But what makes a book a favorite of the YEAR? A book can be my favorite from an author but won't wind up on my best list, you know? I've also been reading really slowly this year, and not reading as much of my favorite genre, fantasy, because it takes longer and is more taxing on my brain. So I have a lot in my TBR that can still be an end-of-year contender!

So far, there are four books that I've read this year that still stick with me, ones I believe will stick with me all year. I read three of them early in the year and they are still with me half a year later. One, I'm constantly recommending -- and it's so far outside my normal wheelhouse, it isn't funny!

I know four is an odd number for a list. I have considered adding other books, such as favorites from various authors, etc, but in the end, I just wanted to focus on these titles, you know? There's something special and unique about them!

In no particular order...

1) CIRCE by Madeline Miller

I was a little late to the party with this one. Everyone was raving about CIRCE in 2018, but I didn't have time to read it. It was the last book I picked up and began reading in 2018 and the first book I finished in 2019....and currently one of my favorites of the year!

I have always loved mythology, and this book was lush and overflowing. Miller could convey so much about history and story background and familial relationships with just a single sentence. I was maybe ten pages into the book and it felt like I was fifty in with how much information I already knew. It has been too long since I read literary fiction, and my soul was singing over its special treat.

I would recommend this to any mythology lover! I personally imported the UK edition from the Book Depository because, seriously, look how pretty! That cover! Those map endpapers! And best of all, that hidden embossed design underneath the jacket!!!


This is the book I've recommend more than any other so far this year. This is the book so incredibly outside the wheelhouse I normally read in. This is one of the most brilliant books I've read in  years...and I almost never read it.

I received this at the Book Expo Conference last year at a panel from an enthusiastic publicist, but I didn't plan to read it. I planned to share it with a colleague who enjoyed mystery novels. Instead, it sat forgotten in a pile. When Barnes and Noble had a 50% Blow-Out sale, I remembered it (and admittedly may have had it confused with similarly titled THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO that everyone raves about) and decided to pick it up.

I was hooked from the very beginning. This novel is a mix of EVERY DAY by David Leviathan, Groundhog Day, and being stuck in a game of Clue. And it's utterly brilliant. I can usually figure mysteries out so fast. I thought I had this figured out less than a hundred pages in. Then I had a second theory two pages later. And nothing ever prepared me for how twisty and unique this book would be! 

It has been almost half a year and I still can't come up with the words to properly leave a full review of this one!

3) THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi

I was intrigued by THE GILDED WOLVES because I enjoyed everything else Roshani Chokshi had written, but I never expected to be so invested in this book. It felt like a delicious mix that had the heart of SIX OF CROWS and the historical intensity of THE DA VINCI CODE, with the visual, ethereal descriptions of CARAVAL. I was so hooked on this world and am eagerly anticipating a sequel!

This was one of the earliest books I read this year, and actually one of the ones I struggled to read. I kept picking it up and having to put it down, or not being able to read anything for a couple of weeks. And then a couple of months went by and I kept thinking about how much I'd enjoyed what I'd been able to read at the beginning of the year, so I picked it up again and was finally in the right mood for fantasy and blew right through this!

4) STEPSISTER by Jennifer Donnelly

I feel like, for me, STEPSISTER is this year's TO KILL A KINGDOM. Not in tone or story. Just in the way people react to my recommendation, if that makes sense. Last year, when I said TKAK was a favorite of the year, people were like, "Bonnie, of course it is. You love mermaid books!" But the truth is, because I love them so, I'm HARDER on them and judge them more. TKAK is now one of my all-time favorites in its genre, and that's rare. When I talk about how much I adore STEPSISTER, people roll their eyes because it's a fairy tale retelling, so of course I do. But it's also more than that.

I love the very framework of the book, the way it opens on a competition between Fate and Chance over whether or not destiny can be corrected. About the way a girl's very future lies in their hands, in their feud. About how the story goes AFTER Cinderella's stepmother makes her daughters cut off their heels and toes to win the prince. About how they're treated, about how their new self-inflicted disability shapes them, about their own hopes and dreams.

The world and structure of the sentences reminded me of the darker, grittier Sarah Cross tales KILL ME SOFTLY and TEAR YOU APART that are favorite fairy tale retellings of mine and made me want to read those again as well. I was very fortunate to have the author come through the area on tour and get to meet her and blather to her about how good this book was! I'd read her books before, but THIS ONE was just...really special. And I'm so glad she's working on another title set in this world and can't wait to hear more about it!

I seriously marked up so many pages of this book because there were so many sentences I enjoyed! I don't do that frequently at all. (I think I deleted the picture off my phone, and when I shared it to Instagram, the top showing off all the little pieces of paper markers got cut off. C'est la vie!)

What books have been YOUR favorites so far this year????