Top 25 of 2019!

Oh, hello. I’m just here, making a list. As I do. It’s the end of the year, y’all. I’m sure you’ve seen many Best Of lists on your timeline recently, but there’s always room for more.

Right?

Right.

I’m forever the Fantasy Chick™ but this was the year that I felt like I got back to reading a bit more broadly & diversely again.

I read many phenomenal books this year, folks. SO MANY! I rated a whopping 36 books 5 stars. FIVE FUCKING STARS! I know what I like, what can I say?!

Narrowing the glorious Best Of list down wasn’t an easy decision. I did simplify it by removing authors that had books appear multiple times by choosing my absolute favorite. Once again, because I have a slight rebellious streak, I counted the badass Seanan McGuire (also writing as Mira Grant) as two different entities. I DO WHAT I WANT!! For the astute meat suits among you, yes.. there are 26 books in the pile (the wee one between High School & Holy Sister without writing on the spine is Jedi Summer!) It wouldn’t be a Holly list if I didn’t include a sneaky bonus pick!

Without further ado, my top 2(6) books read in 2019! ::air punch:: Continue reading “Top 25 of 2019!”

Working for the Devil – Lilith Saintcrow

Synopsis: The Player: Necromance-for-hire Dante Valentine is choosy about her jobs. Hot tempered and with nerves of steel, she can raise the dead like nobody’s business. But one rainy Monday morning, everything goes straight to hell.

The Score: The Devil hires Dante to eliminate a rogue demon: Vardimal Santino. In return, he will let her live. It’s an offer she can’t refuse.

The Catch: How do you kill something that can’t die? Continue reading “Working for the Devil – Lilith Saintcrow”

Freezer Burn – Joe R. Lansdale

Synopsis: Bill’s got his problems. He’s not overly bright, has no visible means of support, and lives with his dead mom whose social security checks might stop coming if anyone else finds out. What’s a good son to do in a situation like this? Stick up the firecracker stand across the street with two buddies, naturally. But only Bill makes it out of the bungled holdup alive, beaten down by exhaustion, exposure, and thousands of mosquito bites from the neck up. Rescued from certain doom by a cut-rate traveling freak show, Bill exploits his hideous new looks to evade police and blend in with his new comrades. And he probably won’t stand out too much among the dogmen, bearded women, hermaphrodites, and the mysterious frozen man whose mute, sinister aura seems to tie them all together. Continue reading “Freezer Burn – Joe R. Lansdale”

Solace Lost – Michael Sliter

Synopsis: During times of war, no one goes unscathed. By Ultner, even in times of peace, few can escape suffering. Ardia is on the brink of civil war, though most citizens are woefully unaware of this fact.

Fenrir de Trenton, a disgraced guardsman-turned-ineffective-criminal, is accustomed to taking orders. So much so that, despite the danger, he finds himself neck-deep in the politicking of his current superiors as well as the rulers of the country. The fact that Fenrir’s father would rather see him dead doesn’t help matters.

Emma Dram, a handmaiden of the great Lady Escamilla, hates Fenrir with a fiery passion and with good reason: he lopped off most of her hand. Nonetheless, she finds herself in close proximity to her former lover as she seeks to serve her lady liege in fomenting her own rebellion.

Hafgan Iwan is a Wasmer, a race reviled by humans, who serves the same masters as Fenrir. His efforts to assimilate with human culture only earn him the derision of his own race, and he seeks to find belonging amidst the escalating conflict.

Meanwhile, Merigold Hinter, a serving girl with an unusual power, lives a simple existence, hoping for love, adventure, and to see the world. Her life should be untouched by political maneuvering and war. However, her world becomes a crucible—how much can one woman bear before breaking? Continue reading “Solace Lost – Michael Sliter”

God’s War – Kameron Hurley

Synopsis: Nyx had already been to hell. One prayer more or less wouldn’t make any difference…

On a ravaged, contaminated world, a centuries-old holy war rages, fought by a bloody mix of mercenaries, magicians, and conscripted soldiers. Though the origins of the war are shady and complex, there’s one thing everybody agrees on…

There’s not a chance in hell of ending it.

Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx’s ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war–but at what price?

The world is about to find out. Continue reading “God’s War – Kameron Hurley”

Shadow Moon – George Lucas & Chris Claremont

Synopsis: In Shadow Moon, war and chaos have gripped the land of Tir Asleen. An ancient prophecy reveals one hope: a savior princess who will ascend to the throne when the time is right. But first, a Nelwyn wanderer must face forces of unimaginable malevolence and dangerous, forbidden rites of necromancy that
could bring back a powerful warrior from soulless sleep.
Continue reading “Shadow Moon – George Lucas & Chris Claremont”

The Blood-Tainted Winter – T.L. Greylock

Synopsis: Raef Skallagrim wants to take the sea road. His ship is fast and sleek, his crew skilled and eager, and they will seek out new lands and win fame in the eyes of the gods. But Raef’s father refuses to allow the journey and when a stranger brings word that the king is dead and a gathering has been called to choose a successor, Raef must set aside his dream for his duty to his ancestral lands and his father.

When factions split at the gathering to choose a successor, Raef finds himself mired in bloodshed and treachery. Forced to make an uneasy alliance with a man he does not trust, Raef must navigate the tides of a war among three kings while seeking revenge for cold-blooded murder.

But winter has come early to Midgard, and even the gods will feel the cold. Continue reading “The Blood-Tainted Winter – T.L. Greylock”

Half-Off Ragnarok – Seanan McGuire

Synopsis: When Alex Price agreed to go to Ohio to oversee a basilisk breeding program and assist in the recovery of his psychic cousin, he didn’t expect people to start dropping dead. But bodies are cropping up at the zoo where he works, and his girlfriend—Shelby Tanner, an Australian zoologist with a fondness for big cats—is starting to get suspicious.

Worse yet, the bodies have all been turned partially to stone…

The third book in the InCryptid series takes us to a new location and a new member of the family, as Alex tries to balance life, work, and the strong desire not to become a piece of garden statuary. Old friends and new are on the scene, and danger lurks around every corner.

Of course, so do the talking mice. Continue reading “Half-Off Ragnarok – Seanan McGuire”

Fortuna – Kristyn Merbeth

Synopsis: Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.

But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.

Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight. Continue reading “Fortuna – Kristyn Merbeth”