As we are coming close to the end of 2019 it’s time to reflect on all the great books I have read. In total I am at xx currently but I believe a few more make the list. Of course I had a few favorite books in 2019 so let’s dive in.
Oremere Chronicles by Helen Scheuerer | ★★★★★
“In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian, still trying to suppress her magic and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the commander of the king’s army, and summoned to the capital.”
You might think when reading this premises “I’ve read those stories a million times” and while this might be partly true I found the world it is all set in very interesting and different. Also to me the story felt a bit more grown up. Issues of addition were tackled, the ups and downs of friendship and forgiveness. I enjoyed it immensely and might have shed a tear too.
Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews | ★★★★★
“During World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 young Korean women to be sex slaves or “comfort women” for their soldiers. “Daughters of the Dragon” is one woman’s riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept.”
This was an intense read. The first 20 % are tough to go through and heart shattering. After that it gets a bit easier but nevertheless it is not a “pleasure” read. Still I flew through the book and forgot everything around me.
I was aspecially impressed how graceful the whole topic was told. While it was often brutal and detailed it was never vulgar or pervers. I also felt the feelings of woman were well captured and that is not always the case with male authors. Chapeau.
I highly recommend reading this book. However be aware that it is no beach read.
“If you do not have courage, you will never blossom into the flower you were meant to be.”Daughters of the Dragon – William Andrews
Dragon Queen by William Andrews | ★★★★★
“As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, US diplomat Nate Simon is sent to Seoul to gauge the political situation and advise the president. He also needs to find out why someone sent the president an ancient, intricately carved comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon. Though familiar with Korea’s language and culture, Nate knows little of its troubled history. Beautiful and mysterious embassy aide Anna Carlson believes it’s time he learns, starting with the extraordinary story of Korea’s last queen.”
As the first book “Daughter of the Dragon” it was wonderfully written and swept me away into the world of a proud but grief stricken Korea.
I didn’t much care for the present story of Anna and Nate. But the life of the Dragon Queen was so interesting and engaging. It showed compassion and toughness in a male dominated dynasty. It showed humanity and love. All while quietly education about Koreas culture and history.
“You can wear the crown on your head and sit silently on the throne like the stones in the palace walls. Or you can wear the crown on your heart and be like a dragon who rules the forest. If you choose to be a stone, you must make yourself dead. If you choose to be a dragon, you must be alert and quick because many will want to slay you.”Dragon Queen – William Andrews
Requiem for a Robin by Carter Bowman | ★★★★★
The haunted world of the Chryssians has crept upon the country of Passerine for the past one hundred years. Today, seventeen-year-old Lily Egret stands at a crossroads: spend the remainder of her days in hiding, or risk exposing the secret that will put her life in jeopardy.
But something dangerous is growing inside of Lily—something that refuses to hide any longer. With no options left, Lily breaks the rules holding her life together and flees into the ruins of Chryssus, where more than specters wait for her in the shadows. Even safety comes with a price, though. With war on the brink, Lily will have to choose between her new allies and the only home she’s ever known.
This was a pleasant and surprising read. I am glad I picked this one up.
Great world building and different setting from what I came across so far. The main character is not the smooth I-know-it all-heroine but has flaws and struggles that are actually relatable and believable. Looking forward to read more in the Second Soul series.
Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor | ★★★★★
“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel.”
Laien Taylor was a new to me author and I will definitely check out her other books. Her writing is just amazing, so whimsically crafted and the wording had such a nice flow.
I loved all the characters – they were not flat but had personality, good and evil had depths to it. And of course the storyline line was just beautiful, engaging and magical. A whole new world to discover.
if you like fantasy go read!
“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.”
Muse of Nightmare – Laini Taylor
Vergiss kein einziges Wort by Dörthe Binkert | ★★★★⭐︎
Three epochs, three women, three destinies.
It’s the story of Martha, Maria and Magda from small Salesian town Gleiwitz which mirrors the history of the boarder region between Germany, Poland and Chzechia. The life between Christians and Jews, families being formed, families being expelled, families being left and reconnected. This stories takes place between 1920 and 1960 and beautifully portraits area and region and how close joy and sorrow are intertwined.
I immensely enjoyed this read. I struggled a bit to get into the writing style but the story immediately captured me. Even though this book was over 600 pages I would have continued reading to hear more about certain lives.
I especially enjoyed it as my Grandma was born and raised in this region and fled during WWII. It sometimes felt like reading her story.
Also some situations made me wonder about certain parallels to todays politics and situations. It felt very up-todate.
If you enjoy historical fiction this one is for your. Unfortunately it’s only in German but I hear translations are in progress.
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak | ★★★★⭐︎
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
I’ve heard so much about this book that I really wanted to read it. It is beautifully written and is bordering on poetic. I enjoyed that very much. The story itself could have been a bit stronger for me. Don’t get me wrong it was nicely told and had lots of detail and heartbreak. However I was missing something. Maybe I was just very bothered with the German phrases that were included and always translated – so when you understand German it’s a bit annoying. Until the very end it was a 3 star book for me. But then I cried while reading the last pages and since I can not remember the last book doing that to me I upgraded to 4 stars.
“It was one of those moments of perfect tiredness, of having conquered not only the work at hand, but the night who had blocked the way.”Mark Zusak
Nachtblau by Simone van de Vlugt | ★★★★⭐︎
“Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five-year old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as a housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East. Madam Van Nulandt passes her time taking expensive painting lessons from a local master, Rembrandt van Rigin, and when Catrin takes up a brush to finish some of her mistress’s work, Rembrandt realizes the maid has genuine talent, and encourages her to continue.
When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to the smaller city of Delft. There, her gift as a painter earns her a chance to earn a living painting pottery at a local workshop. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival fancy blue-on-white imported Chinese porcelain—and the graceful and coveted Delft Blue designs she creates help revolutionize the industry. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin must decide whether to defend her newfound independence, or return to the village that she’d fled.”
I really enjoyed this story and the setting in the art scene and characters one might know from art class or museums. Mentioned people and paintings do exist. Of course it’s historical fiction but I liked it and it was a entertaining read.
“Wohin fliegt der Seufzer?, fragt er. “Nirgendwohin. Er bleibt hier. Es war ein Seufzer des Glücks.”Nachtblau – Simone van de Vlugt
This is my selection of favorite books 2019. I’ve read many more and you can find my reviews on Goodreads. Also let’s be friends there to build our TBR pile.