Posted in Fun Lists

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2020

“Night fell as death rode into the Great Library of Summershall.”

First line in Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Hey, it’s the last Tuesday in 2020! Who would have thought we’d get here? Today you get the post I love making every year: all of the best books I read in 2020. It was actually quite difficult to narrow it down to 10 books, and there are technically also more than 10 books on this list. If I’ve read multiple books in a series, they only take up one spot unless I had widely differing opinions on them. To torture myself even further, I’ve also decided to put them in order. Last year I remember being completely sure what my number one was, but this year, 1 and 2 are practically interchangeable. 10 to 3 are pretty set though.

Top Ten Tuesday is as usual hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Enjoy!


10 – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

YA Fantasy

Sorcery of Thorns doesn’t only take the number 10 spot, it is also my most surprising read of the year as I originally hadn’t intended to read it. But oh am I glad I did! I’m not sure how I would have gotten through 2020 without being able to reminisce about the funny banter and the generally beautiful relationship between the two main characters. And it’s a book about books! (You’re going to see a trend on this list).

9 – Burn by Patrick Ness

YA Fantasy

This is the book that finally made me understand why so many fantasy readers go crazy over dragons. Combine that with Patrick Ness’ unparalleled way of writing YA, and I think I have a new favorite book by this author.

8 – The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker

Fantasy

The Bone Ships introduces the reader to a highly intriguing and brutal fantasy world with a culture that often circumvents expectations. I was so excited to learn more that I was able to ignore that I don’t normally like seafaring stories. I’m also pleased to announce that The Bone Ships is the winner of my own unofficial contest called “Best First Line of 2020” with its very simple opening: “Give me your hat.” Other than it made me laugh, the author also quickly proved how this is the only line that can start this story, and I think it’s bloody brilliant.

7 – Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Fantasy

Even though Words of Radiance didn’t manage to beat The Way of Kings as my favorite Stormlight Archive book, it was very close. It has two of the most epic scenes I’ve ever read, so it was very easy for me to forgive the small parts of this book that I didn’t love. Some of my favorite Kaladin-scenes are also in this book.

6 – The Last Sun and The Hanged Man (Tarot Sequence #1 and #2) by K. D. Edwards

Fantasy

A diverse urban fantasy series that is very adult in some areas, but still has a lot of lighthearted and funny moments. It has some of the most hilarious banter between some of the characters, and the friendships in here are so precious. Even though they claim to want to kill each other a lot. Don’t worry, they only mean it, like, half of the time.

5 – The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Fantasy

Hey, it’s another book about books! And it explores the very cool concept of characters from unwritten books coming to life to search for their authors. This book is an example of a unique idea that is just executed so brilliantly, but the book still manages to be more than its concept. You also get a character-driven story with a bunch of wholesome characters that each have their own struggles. It takes place in Hell after all.

4 – The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a very simple story about the life of an Irish man called Cyril. It’s a story that doesn’t have any kind of plot, but that didn’t bother me in the slightest. It tore at my heartstrings anyway and even produced a few tears. The writing is exceptional. Boyne had a certain way of relaying information that I’ve never seen before, and I loved every sentence.

3 – Silver in the Wood and Drowned Country (The Greenhollow Duology #1 and #2) by Emily Tesh

Fantasy novellas

I don’t read novellas, but apparently, I should make exceptions for dark fairytale-like stories with an intense focus on nature elements and lovable characters. I admire how Tesh manages to tell this story in so few pages and still create depth in every character. When all you need is a few sentences to make readers understand and love a character, there’s really no need to write a 500-page book.

2 – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Lost Future of Pepperharrow (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street #1 and #2) by Natasha Pulley

Historical Fiction/Magical Realism

You know when you love a book so much because of how it makes you feel, so you can’t explain why you love it other than going 😍😍😍🥰🥰❤️❤️❤️😍😍? These books are like that for me. That I don’t usually enjoy magical realism, but you still find these books at the top of my list of favorites, should also tell you all you need to know. The characters won me over with their depth, and the writing made me love it with its cleverness.

1 – The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Fantasy

The Starless Sea is one of those “either you love or you hate it”-kind of books. For me, it is one of the most perfect books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I’m in awe of Morgenstern’s imagination portrayed through all the minor stories sprinkled throughout the book. Every single one of them felt unique while still reminding you of an old fairy tale. And of course, a book about books needs to be my number one in 2020.

I had such a great time looking back on these amazing books to remember why I loved them so much. Proof that 2020 wasn’t all bad. Please let me know what your favorite book of 2020 was! Do we have any books in common? Happy reading in 2021!

Posted in Fun Lists

Reading 1-Star Reviews of My Favorite Books

“There was a boy in her room.”

First line in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I’m a firm believer in the statement that art is subjective, and that includes books. We all know this, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to smile and nod whenever someone trashes your favorite book. However, I felt inspired to give it try and looked up some 1-star reviews on Goodreads for some of my favorite books to see what people aren’t loving about these obviously amazing books. I needed to share my agony with all of you guys and also my attempt at accepting other people’s opinions. But, guys, I found some crazy ones so check it out.


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This review starts out alright. The Hunger Games is quite brutal, and not everyone is going to be into that. It starts getting a little weird when the reviewer claims they don’t like present tense. I rarely notice the tense myself, but sure, let’s say that’s a valid complaint. Then we get the plot twist, which is that the reviewer didn’t even manage to read the first chapter… I’m sorry, what? So basically, this person decided to rate a book 1 star on Goodreads purely based on what they had heard the book was about. I cannot stress how wrong that is, but sadly it was something I saw a lot of while looking for reviews for this post. “It was such a bad book! Couldn’t even get through the title. 1 star.” Please, stop.

I’m also personally a bit affronted over the eye roll for the amount of romance when The Hunger Games is one of the YA books with the least amount of romance I’ve ever read. It’s very clear the person never read it.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Ah, the ever-prevalent assumption that if a book is written by a woman it must be YA. The Winternight Trilogy is adult!
That they thought the book was boring, that’s fair. I know I love a lot of boring books, although I would categorize the first book in the series, The Bear and the Nightingale, as more boring than The Girl in the Tower. The plot really picks up in the second one, so I wonder why the reviewer even decided to continue on with the series. They must have hated the first one even more.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

HOW DO YOU NOT CARE ABOUT KATSU???

I’m sorry for that outburst, but I just can’t relate. That mechanic octopus is possibly one of my favorite animal companions.

But that the story is boring? Yes. Not a lot happens, as it focuses on the characters a great deal.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I had to include this so that you can all get the mental image of Sanderson and Rothfuss tipping their fedoras at a screen.

Now, I’m also quite baffled over how someone deems Sanderson and Rothfuss “straight up bad writers”. Yes, Sanderson’s character-work is lacking, but not to an extent that makes it unreadable. There are so many other aspects he does incredibly well, so ‘bad writer’ seems a bit unfair. I’m actually curious to know who the reviewer considers a great writer 🤔

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I can respect continuing with a book simply to witness the deaths of hated characters. And that they call upon Melisandre is an… innovative way of bringing it about. I can’t really fault them for anything here. It is the crossover between A Song of Ice and Fire and The Iliad we didn’t know we needed 😂

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

I’m sorry, but We Are the Ants is sci-fi. It might have a contemporary feel, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are aliens in this book. I generally think this reviewer just went into this book with wrong expectations and rated it low for not being what they wanted. Because, you know, if you don’t like books with “super whiny and emo”-characters, maybe don’t pick up a book with a severely depressed main character. Just a thought.

That was actually quite fun. I learned that I love a lot of boring books, apparently, because that was the main complaint in most of the reviews I found. I can accept that as many of the books I love are character-driven stories with zero plot. However, I also ran into many of those weird Goodreads reviews where you wonder why everyone is allowed to review books, even when they haven’t read the book. We know the average ratings mean a lot, so it’s just very frustrating to see.
But anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. I plan on doing the opposite of this so 5-star reviews of books I hated, which could possibly be even more challenging for me.

Posted in Book Tags

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

“There is a pirate in the basement.”

First line in The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Hi, guys. It’s time to freak out because it’s the middle of the year, although I do seem to have been in a permanent state of “freak out” for the entire year. Can 2020 please end?

Nevertheless, the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag is a great way to sum up the first six months of the year. I have read a lot of books if I compare to my normal standards. So far I’m on 35 and might even be able to read more books than I ever have before in a year. My current best is 65 so I think it can be done. But let’s move on to the questions!


What is the best book that you’ve read so far in 2020?

Or rather the best book I’ve read that doens’t fit any other question in this tag. That means that I’m choosing The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. This one opened my eyes to how much I actually love books about books. Mix that with a fairy tale-like story and Morgensterns immersive writing and it simply has to become one of my favorite books of the year.

What has been your favourite sequel of the first half of the year?

I hate this question because I’ve actually read a total of four 5-star sequels so far this year. I’m picking Chainbreaker by Tara Sim because this series needs more attention. It’s a diverse historical fantasy/steampunk series that manages to stay highly relevant and educational. It has the most wholesome characters, too. I really loved the second one for how it just took everything to the next level and expanded on both the world and the story.

Is there a new release that you haven’t read yet but you’re really excited to?

Well, there are a few. Echo Cycle by Patrick Edwards. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune. The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos.

What is your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab, of course.

What is your biggest disappointment so far?

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth. This follows a group of ‘chosen ones’ 10 years after they defeated the bad guy and really seemed like it was going to dive deep into their PTSD. It didn’t exactly and I’m so disappointed. The story had so much potential. Instead of following all of the chosen ones, we only follow one and the plot itself could have been more relevant to their PTSD.

What is your biggest surprise so far?

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. A hyped YA fantasy book is something everyone needs to be wary of, but I hadn’t needed to with this one. Rogerson’s writing really makes this story come off the pages so I couldn’t help but be invested. Then you have the characters and their banter and their friendships and their romance. Oh, and the plot is centered around books that come alive!

What is your favourite new to you or debut author?

A. J. Hackwith, the author of The Library of the Unwritten.

What is your favourite fictional crush from this year?

I’ve already mentioned this book, but I really love Nathaniel from Sorcery of Thorns so I guess that’s my answer.

Who is your new favourite character?

Rune Saint John from The Tarot Sequence series by K. D. Edwards. He is such a layered character. He has a big heart and cares deeply about the people around him. He’ll protect them at all costs and is very self-sacrificing in that regard. No character deserves as much love as he does.

A book that made you cry?

Only one book has made me cry this year and that is The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. This one follows the life of Cyril Avery as he grows up and tries to live his life to the fullest as a gay man in Ireland. As any other life-story, his has its ups and downs, and there was one moment in particular that touched my heart and made me tear up. Amazing book!

A book that made you happy?

I don’t really read ‘happy books’ so this was kind of hard. I’m going with the first and only graphic novel I’ve ever read which is Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell. A very sweet Halloween story about friendship that was really uplifting to read.

Your favourite book to movie/tv show that you’ve seen so far?

I can never remember what I’ve watched. I guess I’m going with 13 Reasons Why because the fourth season came out in June and I watched all 10 episodes in a day. It’s based on the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, which I have not read. Most people seem to hate the show but I really love it for tackling difficult topics and not being afraid of being controversial. I’m so sad it’s over.

What is your favourite post that you’ve written so far this year?

The two posts I’ve written about the Danish translations of Harry Potter (book 1 and book 2) where I really allowed myself to be a language nerd. Those were so much fun to make and looking forward to writing the rest of the series.
I’m also pretty proud of my discussion post about embracing the nuances of the fantasy genre.

What is the most beautiful book that you have bought?

I bought the US paperback editions of the entire Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. I love looking at them on my shelf.

What are some books you need to read by the end of the year?

I did a post recently about my reading goals for 2020 and what books I still needed to read. Just to mention some other books I need to read:

  • Harry Potter (book 3-7, reread)
  • King of Crows by Libba Bray
  • Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
  • Burn by Patrick Ness

That was it for my mid year check in. Was it the best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

Posted in Fun Lists

Bookish Quotes from my Favorite Books

When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.”

First line in Circe by Madeline Miller

Hi, readers. Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes with you all. I use the Goodreads Quotes-feature quite a lot and often go through the quotes for a book I just read. I “like” the ones I really connect with so that I can go back to them later and be reminded of their wisdom (or get a good laugh).

For this post, I’ve picked some of the best quotes from my favorite books that all have something to do with books or reading. They are just the most relatable to me and hopefully also to you.

God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.”

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Haven’t we all been told we read too much? This quote a perfect reminder that that can never be a problem.

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reading is just as necessary as breathing? I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convince that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The quote to show your friends when you very aggressively force them to read your new favorite book. I mean, we’ve all done that at some point.

It was amazing how many books one could fit into a room, assuming one didn’t want to move around very much.”

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

There is simply no such thing as too many books.

“You’ve read the books?”

“I’ve seen the movies.”

Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”

“I’m not really a book person.”

“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The lovely discussions with non-readers who firmly believe that seeing the movie is the same as having read the book. And how is someone not a book person?

Drinks were a lot like books, really: it didn’t matter where you were, the contents of a vodka tonic were always more or less the same, and you could count on them to take you away to somewhere better or at least make your present arrangements seem more manageable.”

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

Never though I would see books compared to drinks but here we are. They can both be a way to escape reality, but I think books might be healthier.

If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger–

If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early–

If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless–

If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won’t understand what Bastian did next.”

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

This is simply the most relatable thing I’ve ever read. Full stop.

Bonus quote just for you:

To really be nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This doesn’t necessarily refer to books but is very fitting anyway. I’m definitely a nerd.  

I hope this was somewhat fun to read. I definitely enjoyed making it. I intend to make this into some kind of series of post but with different themes each time. I’m planning to do one on friendship next but let me know if there are topics you’d like to see.

Also, I’ve of course only included quotes from books I’ve read, so feel free to comment with some of your own favorite bookish quotes.

Happy reading,

Line

Posted in Top 5 Tuesday

Top 10 All Time Favorites

“The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it ‘the Riddle House,’ even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.”

First line in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I’ve worried too much about this post than what was strictly necessary. I’ve reminded myself that books don’t have feelings and therefore won’t hate me for not picking them for this list (are we completely sure about this?). Shanah from Bionic Book Worm is the creator of Top 5 Tuesday (which today is a top 10) and she has come up with some pretty cool topics, so I needed to participate. Here are the topics for June if you’re interested.

In making my list, I decided to expand it a little so that it’s a list of my favorite books/series. If I have a favorite book in a series, I will mention which one. The list is ordered although 10-3 are somewhat interchangeable. Spot number 1 and 2 are completely set though. Now then, I can’t seem to put it off any longer so here are my Top 10 all time Favorite Books/Series.

10 – Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness

Such a thought-provoking series of books in so many ways. Also, the best villain ever. He’s so manipulative. Patrick Ness writes him so expertly that I found myself thinking: “Maybe the villain is right?”. I’ve never experienced an author trick me like that and I love it. A movie is coming at some point and I can’t wait.

Favorite in series: The Ask and the Answer

9 – Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch

This is a newer favorite of mine. The main characters Locke and Jean are absolutely perfect in the way that they are violent, swearing con-artists and also the best of friends. The plot is intricate, full of action and extremely exciting. 

Favorite in series: Red Seas under Red Skies

8 – The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

From a new favorite to an old favorite. These books were the first to open my eyes to a lot of issues in our society and I really appreciate them for it. Katniss was also the first introverted main character that I’d ever read about, and I remember identifying with her lot. Maybe that is also why I have an unpopular opinion: I really like Mockingjay (gasp!). It’s not my favorite but it really fascinated me because so much time is spent inside Katniss’ mind.

Favorite in series: Catching Fire!! (As in, I love this a lot!!)

7 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Here we have the first standalone on my list and it’s one of the popular ones I think. You should know that I really love sad books and books that just in general hurt me. Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but I want to feel things. The Book Thief is so devastating that it, of course, belongs on my list of favorites.

6 – Mistborn (Era 1) by Brandon Sanderson

This is just quality fantasy. It’s action. It’s politics. It’s a world so detailed and “real” that you can’t help but want to know more about it. I’ve only read the first trilogy of Mistborn but I intend to read the rest at some point. I just want more of this world.

Favorite in series: The Final Empire

5 – Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab

Victoria Schwab is one my absolute favorite authors, and this was the first of her series that I read. The magic system is interesting without being too complex so it’s easy to love. I mean, there’s a coat that changes to whatever shape and color you need it to be. I need that to be real. The characters are easy to love as well, except for Lila. Without her, this series would have been higher on the list, but I still love everything else about it.

Favorite in series: A Conjuring of Light

4 – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Remember when I said that I love books that hurt me when talking about The Book Thief? A Little Life hurt me a hundred times more. Even though I read it about 5 months ago, it’s still a book I find myself thinking about. It’s just that good (and so traumatizing). Also, I can’t express the love I have for Jude and Willem. They are everything to me.

3 – Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows is the heist novel I didn’t know I needed. Bardugo has such a great focus on the characters and their development that I don’t mind that not a lot happens in the first book. All six main characters are relatable and deep. The plot contains all the action and scheming I could hope for, but it is definitely a character driven duology and that’s what I love.

Favorite in series: Six of Crows

2 – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

How can I explain this? I’ve never related so much to a character as I relate to Cath. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy to read about her issues because it made feel understood and not so alone. Also, I’m in love with Levi. I know he’s the most perfect character to ever exist and therefore completely unrealistic, but I don’t care. I love reading about him.

1 – Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

Yeah, I can’t not put this as my number 1. I grew up with them and back then, it was the only thing on my mind. I still reread them as an adult and my experience is that I don’t love them any less than when I was 14.

Favorite in series: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

There you have it. This was difficult so now I really want to know if you’ve read any of these books and where they are on your list of favorites.

Have a happy day of reading.

Line