Blogmas #7: Favourite 2019 Books Part 1

Blogmas #7Yes, I’m a little behind, but I’m not going to stress about it. I’m not doing every day, anyway, so skipping a few days or falling behind doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing Blogmas. We’ll just see how it goes.

2019 has been a really good year for me, in terms of reading. I’ve had the pleasure of reading fantastic books, some which I purchased for myself, others I’ve read for reviews, especially ones I’ve read for Dead Head. So picking just a select few is going to be hard. For this, I’m going to try and pick one for every month. And it won’t be ones just released in 2019 – it’ll be ones I read in 2019, instead. There might be some crossover with a previous post I did, but that was more books in general rather than specifically favourites, so we’ll see. And where I’ve done reviews for them, I’ll post the links here, too.

I’ll also include the other books I read that month, so you can see what, exactly, these favourites are being compared to.

January

city of ghostsCity of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab

This was my introduction to an absolutely amazing author, and soon after reading this I devoured the Shades of Magic series. I also have The Near Witch, and the first Steel Prince graphic novel. Basically, I’m slowly building up my collection. And City of Ghosts is an absolutely fantastic book, with some truly creepy moments and wonderful characters.

Also Read This Month: The Haunting of Hill House, And What Is Hell?, Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Gods & Monsters

February

hexHex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Spoiler-Free Review / Review With Spoilers

This book still haunts me. An absolutely fantastic horror novel, with an interesting premise and a really creepy execution. The contrast between the young and older generations works really well, as does the uncertainty around the witch who haunts this town. This book completely deserves some sort of adaptation.

Also Read This Month: Bird Box, Star Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters

March

the wicked king

The Wicked King – Holly Black

Picking one book for March was really difficult, as this was the month where I read The Wicked King AND two of the Shades of Magic books, with the third started in March and finished in April. It was also the month where I got to meet Victoria Schwab herself, and walked away with my first ever signed books and this is supposed to be about The Wicked King, isn’t it? The second in the Folk of the Air trilogy, The Wicked King bridges the gap between The Cruel Prince and The Queen of Nothing. I adored all three, and remembering The Wicked King reminds me of all the twists and turns involved, especially in this one. If you haven’t checked out the series yet, it’s a good time to do so, with all three now out in the world.

Also Read This Month: A Darker Shade of Magic, Mirror Mirror, A Gathering of Shadows

April

on the come upOn The Come Up – Angie Thomas

My Review

This was another fantastic month for reading, and included The Near Witch, but On The Come Up definitely deserves a mention. This and Thomas’ debut, The Hate U Give, are both fantastic, powerful books with strong characters at their core. Brilliantly written, highly engaging, if you haven’t checked out these YA novels yet, you really should. I’m still hoping for an On The Come Up film, eventually.

Also Read This Month: A Conjuring of Light, Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, The Fever King, The Near Witch

May

the doll factoryThe Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal

My Review

Another signed book! This is Macneal’s debut novel, and it is haunting, beautiful, enchanting and eerie. A tale of a young woman in Victorian Era London, who falls in with a group of painters. I attended a short talk by Elizabeth Macneal and picked up my copy of the book there, and I cannot recommend it enough. The praise for this is all very well deserved, and I eagerly await her second novel.

Also Read This Month: The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School,The Queen of the Tearling, Hag-Seed

June

wicker kingThe Wicker King – K. Ancrum

My Review

I absolutely devoured this book, and read it within 24 hours. This is a really engrossing book, told in a unique way, and one that has you questioning the characters and events at every point. The twists and turns are fantastic, and it completely had me hooked from the very first page.

Also Read This Month: Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, Suspicious Minds

And that is part one! I’ll try to get part two up as soon as I can. What about you? Any particular favourites from this year, or have you read any of the ones I particularly enjoyed?

The Doll Factory – Elizabeth Macneal [Books]

the doll factoryThe Doll Factory is author Elizabeth Macneal’s debut novel, telling the story of Iris, a young woman who earns to escape the doll shop she is trapped in, and who wants to paint. A meeting with a pre-Raphaelite painter changes her whole life, but there are other dangers, lurking in the shadows.

The novel is told from three different point of views. Iris, Albie, a loveable street urchin with no teeth, and Silas, a creepy, strange man who runs a shop of ‘curiosities’. In parts, the story reads like Dickens (in a good way), completely plunging the reader into the underbelly of Victorian-era London, allowing us to see the dregs of society alongside the fairly well-off painters, as the site for the Great Exhibition is built, and the PRB try to gain some small measure of critical acclaim.

Honestly, this book is beautiful. The language is gorgeous and an absolute pleasure to read. I have to admit, I don’t often read Historical fiction. Not because I don’t like it, I just don’t seek it out, and I tend to lean more towards books with elements of fantasy or horror. But I am so glad I read this one. There are some very small horror elements in there, combined with aspects of thriller, and they all come together to create a rich atmosphere, really bringing the setting to life.

Although the characters are Victorian, and very much rooted in that era, they have a relevance to the present, as well. Iris is constantly holding back parts of herself, scared of what people will think, fretting about being alone with men, and Silas…Silas will be all too recognisable to anyone who’s ever had an unwanted ‘admirer’.

I would seriously recommend picking this up. Vibrant characters and settings in an atmospheric world, London on the cusp of change as much as Iris is, and an absolute pleasure to read.

Find out more about the author and book on Elizabeth Macneal’s website, including links as to where to buy in the book in the UK & USA.