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!”

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”

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”

The Sword of Kaigen – M.L. Wang

Synopsis: A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores? Continue reading “The Sword of Kaigen – M.L. Wang”

Blanky – Kealan Patrick Burke

Synopsis: In the wake of his infant daughter’s tragic death, Steve Brannigan is struggling to keep himself together. Estranged from his wife, who refuses to be inside the house where the unthinkable happened, and unable to work, he seeks solace in an endless parade of old sitcoms and a bottle of bourbon.

Until one night he hears a sound from his daughter’s old room, a room now stripped bare of anything that identified it as hers…except for her security blanket, affectionately known as Blanky.

Blanky, old and frayed, with its antiquated patchwork of badly sewn rabbits with black button eyes, who appear to be staring at the viewer…

Blanky, purchased from a strange old man at an antique stall selling “BABY CLOSE” at a discount.

The presence of Blanky in his dead daughter’s room heralds nothing short of an unspeakable nightmare that threatens to take away what little light remains in Steve’s shattered world.

Because his daughter loved Blanky so much, he buried her with it. Continue reading “Blanky – Kealan Patrick Burke”

The Rage of Dragons – Evan Winter

Releases: 7.16.19.

Synopsis: The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.

Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him. Continue reading “The Rage of Dragons – Evan Winter”

Chasing Graves – Ben Galley

Synopsis: Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.

They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.

While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.

Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning. Continue reading “Chasing Graves – Ben Galley”

Osgood as Gone – Cooper S. Beckett

Releases: 4.22.19.

Synopsis: Once an exciting up-and-coming star of the burgeoning paranormal investigation TV genre, now Prudence Osgood finds herself as a barely functioning alcoholic living in daily pain, both physical, from a car accident nearly twenty years ago, and emotional, from the loss of Audrey Frost, her partner and best friend, over an ill-advised hoax. When a random and cryptic email shows up in her inbox, she must begin an investigation that is far more sinister than it initially seems, and far more connected to the last two decades of her own life than she could ever imagine.​

Osgood As Gone cuts a trail from a lonely rest stop papered in missing posters, to a notebook full of symbols and sigils, to a band that could outsell The Beatles that vanished almost overnight. Can our intrepid hero Osgood follow the breadcrumbs, avoid texts from her one-night-stand Nora, make amends for the past, and still have a future? Find out in Osgood As Gone. Continue reading “Osgood as Gone – Cooper S. Beckett”

Never Die – Rob J. Hayes

Synopsis: Ein is on a mission from God. A God of Death.

Time is up for the Emperor of Ten Kings and it falls to a murdered eight year old boy to render the judgement of a God. Ein knows he can’t do it alone, but the empire is rife with heroes. The only problem; in order to serve, they must first die.

Ein has four legendary heroes in mind, names from story books read to him by his father. Now he must find them and kill them, so he can bring them back to fight the Reaper’s war. Continue reading “Never Die – Rob J. Hayes”

Uncanny Collateral – Brian McClellan

Synopsis: Alek Fitz is a reaper, a collection agent who works for the supernatural elements of the world, tracking down debtors and solving problems for clients as diverse as the Lords of Hell, vampires, Haitian loa, and goblins. He’s even worked for the Tooth Fairy on occasion. Based out of Cleveland, Ohio, Alek is the best in the game. As a literal slave to his job, he doesn’t have a choice.

When Death comes looking for someone to track down a thief, Alek is flung into a mess of vengeful undead, supernatural bureaucracy, and a fledgling imp war. As the consequences of failure become dire, he has few leads, and the clock is ticking. Only with the help of his friend Maggie—an ancient djinn with a complex past—can he hope to recover the stolen property, save the world, and just maybe wring a favor out of the Great Constant himself.

It’s a hell of a job, but somebody’s got to do it . . . Continue reading “Uncanny Collateral – Brian McClellan”