Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Since I’m about to hit 100 books read this year (I’m reading #99 right now), it seemed like a good time to recap my favorites so far. I’ve given 13 books the 5-star rating this year, and one of them will be appearing in the review post this Friday, so I won’t be including it here. How easily can I choose which two don’t make the cut?
Pretty easily, as it turns out. This time around, the titles link to my reviews, if you want to know more.
#1 – Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey
I was a show-watcher first, and I adore it, so I knew I had to read the books. I’m completely sold on them now, too, and can’t wait to read the rest–hopefully I can catch up before the next season comes out. (Hurray for it being saved, too!)
#2 – Steering the Craft: A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, by Ursula K. Le Guin
A book filled with thoughtful and often challenging writing exercises, written by one of my favorite authors. I worked through (most) of them as warm-ups before my Camp NaNoWriMo writing sessions back in April, and I look forward to finishing the rest eventually, as well as revisiting some in the future. I recommend this to anyone serious about improving their writing, no matter what your current skill level is.
#3 – The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building, by David J. Peterson
This delighted my word-geek heart with its technical nitty-gritty. It’s not for the faint-hearted, though, because it can get arcane–though the author has invented numerous languages for television shows and movies, the bulk of the book is instructional, not autobiographical.
I really want to make my own language someday. Not sure when I’ll find time…
#4 – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli
I started Pride Month early this year by buying this from Common Language in April after they went viral with a post about falling sales. I read it in early May, because there was no way I could wait until June when I’d heard so many good things about the book, courtesy of its movie adaptation. Which I still haven’t seen, though I fully intend to.
#5 – Magic Bleeds, by Ilona Andrews
Should I be surprised that my favorite entry in the Kate Daniels series is the one where Kate and Curran finally get together?
Not even a little bit. Romance wasn’t this story’s only strength, though, it did a great deal to move the story of Kate’s family forward, as well as signaling the change in her allegiances.
This series is only getting stronger as it goes on.
#6 – Save the Date, by Annabeth Albert and Wendy Qualls
More adorable, realistic, quality queerness. So many m/m “romances” I’ve been unfortunate enough to read in the past have been all about fetishizing gay sex rather than creating a true relationship between two characters who both just happen to be men.
This was a quick, fun read that I thought would be fluff going in, but was surprisingly sensitive to a number of issues surrounding sexual identity, without being melodramatic or angst-ridden.
#7 – Corambis, by Sarah Monette
After the Doctrine of Labyrinths series started strong and waffled in the middle, I wasn’t sure what to expect from its conclusion–so many series I’ve read, especially in fantasy, get progressively worse as they go on. Not the case here, where I was so happily surprised by the end that I wanted to start the series all over again right away. I didn’t (obviously) but I’m looking forward to a reread someday.
#8 – Cipher, by Moira Rogers
A stand-out romance in a paranormal series that left me otherwise unimpressed.
I’m not usually one for loads of angst, but this had me twisted in knots. I guess I’m a sucker for a psychic in love.
It’s hard for me to recommend this in good conscience, though, because without reading the prior novels in the series, most of the setting would be confusing at best and incomprehensible at worst–the first three entries do a lot of worldbuilding, as well as showing briefly the early stages of the relationship of this book’s couple. And the rest of the series just isn’t that good.
#9 – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee
Apparently queer romance is my happy place this year, because this is the third one in my top ten!
Everything about this was fun, charming, at times downright captivating. The plot twists kept me turning pages–I read this over two days, but definitely in less than 24 hours.
#10 – With a Twist, by Staci Hart
Rom-coms are not usually my thing, because I generally find them straining to be actually comedic. Too often the comedy falls flat, and when it’s just because that’s not my taste, it’s fine–nothing is funny to everyone. But when the comedy is based on thin stereotypes, degrading any group of marginalized people, or tired tropes about women and their quirks, I drop the book like a hot potato.
This one did everything right (for me) and put twists on classic romance tropes that delighted me. It’s my first Staci Hart, and I’m definitely planning to read more of her.