A year of books

I’ve never been a fast reader, or one who reads a lot. Which is why the number of books I’ve read this year surprised me. I have to say getting a subscription for Scribd to which I’d been introduced by a great friend really helped. They have so many great books, including audiobooks and especially the latter helped me read more. Usually during my commutes to and from work I’d listen to an audiobook. It also helped that it takes less spoons for me to listen to an audiobook than read a paperback or ebook.

An image of a woman reading a book on a sofa in front of a bookcase, with below a black bar with text saying: “Elisa Winther’s Reading List. All my reading goals, favourite tropes, and best books of the year.”

So, what are the numbers? I planned to read 12 books when I started the GoodReads challenge. Thought 1 book a month (average) should be doable, but I ended up upping it to 24 once I found Scribd. Turns out I’ve read 44 books so far!

Boy did I read some awesome books this year. I’ll be sharing my highlights from the past year, choosing a top 3 for each season, highlights for manga, and doing an indie author spotlight! To make it fun, I’ll also made a favourites list for fantasy, romance, science fiction, and other. Since January and February are winter months, I’ll combine books read in those months with December.

First up, the seasonal highlights!

Best of springtime reads

Pale blossoms against a blue background with text: “Letters in full bloom, books I read last spring”.

The year started out quiet, then quickly picked up once I started on Scribd. Read some great books with all kinds of representation, some better than others. Looks like I mostly read fantasy during spring 2019. Joined the reader challenge for Autistic Pride Month: reading as many books about Autistics or by Autistics. Think I’ll do challenges more often! Here are my highlights as I look back the books I read this past year.

The book I absolutely adored the most last spring 2019 was A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) by Alyssa Cole. It’s an adult contemporary romance set in America and a fictional African country. Seriously gave me all the Coming to America vibes but even better.

The main character Naledi really resonated with me. Could relate to her so much and loved she was part of the tech field as well. The worldbuilding was great for the fictional country and the romance was sizzling and kind of like a fairytale.

Next up, An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir, a young adult fantasy with some romance and dark fiction elements. I just couldn’t get enough of this one. What these characters had to go through, whew!!! Epic fantasy and boy did it have it darker moments. Action, interesting worldbuilding, likeable characters, yes to all. This goodness continued on in its sequels A Torch Against the Night and A Reaper at the Gates.

Another romance book, actually I really want to mention both here as well. I loved the rep in these books, the Vietnamese rep as well as the Autistic rep. Got pretty smutty to the point where it started to bother me, but if you’re into erotic romance, READ THESE BOOKS: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang.

Especially the Kiss Quotient had its moments where I got some ace vibes from the main character and it really resonated with me. Those vibes disappeared pretty early on though.

Best of summertime reads

Orange, red and black gradient umbrella with a blue background, and text: “Hot summer heat, books I read last summer.”

Last summer was busy, chaotic and so friggin’ hot. As were some of the books *wink*. You’d expect I read less because I was having the opposite of summer break/holiday, but all that commuting was spent listening to audiobooks. Here’s what I filled my ears, and at times, my heart with!

My summertime highlights:

This book was short, but damn was it cute and hot from time to time! I’m talking about  Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals #2.6) by Alyssa Cole. Adult contemporary romance. This book features a disabled lead getting their well-deserved happy ending with such a cute nerd romance. Novella, the writing was amazing and now I need everyone to read it.

Second in this summer reading list top 3: The young adult contemporary fiction novel On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. It was relatable and I felt so much as I read this. I needed this rep so so much. Damn can Angie write!

And third, another short one, Moon-Bright Tides (Lunar Requiem, #1) by RoAnna Sylver, a romantic fantasy book. It has witches bringing in tides and befriending, eventually romancing a mermaid. Will never forget about this one. This book is by an indie author so go check out their work and be sure to leave a review!

Best of autumn reads

A dark forest and a candlelit lantern in the background with text: “A little light in the dark, books I read last autumn.”

I think I read the most during the fall months and it’s really making picking a top 3 of books hard for me. There were so many great books I enjoyed, so here goes.

My favorite book I read this autumn was And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga #1) by Kiersten White, an alternative historical fiction book about Vlad Dracula’s kids. The characterisation here really amazed me. They were complex, nuanced and some morally grey. They all grew on me to the point where I loved even characters (their type) I often don’t care about in other books.

The second book is Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1) by Natasha Ngan, a young adult romantic fantasy with action, darker themes and an interesting setting. The difficult subject matter at times were pretty well handled since it was ya. It was handled with sensitivity without ignoring the harsher parts of it.

And third, I’m splitting space for two books. Both are paranormal romances. The first is Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling #1) by Nalini Singh. It’s got shifters and telepathically gifted people and some pretty interesting worldbuilding. Thanks to the latter it’s really stuck with me, but what also’s stuck with me is the shifter tropes which turns out I loath in general. Which is why I’m putting Bound to the Monarchs (Lencura #1) by Brooke Winters on here as well. What I missed in Slave to Sensation, I found in Bound to the Monarchs and showed me these typical tropes found in many paranormal romances can actually be handled differently, and in a way which I REALLY appreciate. It’s got great representation for polyamorous romance, a disabled lead, and interesting worldbuilding.

Best of winter reads

Wintery backrgound with pinecones and snowflakes and text: “Holiday cheer, books I read last winter.”

This winter I slowed down in terms of books so I didn’t actually get to read the holiday-themed books I bought. Guess I’ll leave those for next year. The books I did read left me with this neat top 3:

The historical romance Rebel (Women Who Dare #1) by Beverly Jenkins was AWESOME! The characters were so brave and headstrong and the romance was just so incredibly hot. It was perfect!

Science fiction exactly the way I like it in Failure to Communicate (Xandri Corelel #1) by Kaia Sønderby. It’s got one of the best examples of Autistic rep if you ask me and the plot, the settings, the worldbuilding–I’d say this is one of my all-time favorite books.

And another science fiction with Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It was especially the mystery surrounding the plot and the ending which had me put this in my top 3.

Looking back at what I read

I think next year I’d like to read more books which fit the season. Find books with holiday themes and join reading challenges. I might just make some fun GR lists to reach that goal! I’d also like to read more indie works.

So, what’re your plans for your reading list in 2020? Which books are you most looking forward to to read or that’ll come out the upcoming year?

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