I’ve read some phenomenal books so far this year. However, if you only follow this blog for my reviews, you’ve missed most of the reviews of my favorites, which have been posted on Booknest. But I can remedy that! Below you’ll find a list of my top 15 favorite books from March through June that were not reviewed on Celestial Musings, along with mini reviews and links to full-length reviews on Booknest. Remember: these are only my favorites that haven’t yet been reviewed on this site. Enjoy! Happy reading!
The links embedded in the book titles are affiliated Amazon links. I’m not getting paid for any of the reviews or posts I put out; so if you’re intrigued by any of the books mentioned here, please consider purchasing them through these links. Help a sister out!
15.The Library at Mount Char – This was one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. And the bleakest. There was child abuse and rape and human sacrifice and poor victims resurrected to endure the torture over and over again until they grasped whatever lesson was being taught. I almost didn’t finish it. But it was incredibly compelling, despite how dark it was. Not positive if I can recommend it really. If you do pick it up, brace yourself for some serious darkness. Read my full review here.
14. IT – One of King’s doorstoppers, and a foundational building block of the modern horror genre. I put off reading this for years for one reason: Pennywise. Seriously, I think King’s creation is almost singlehandedly responsible for our society-wide fear of clowns. And yet, it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I expected. There was so much about childhood and the power of hope and friendship in this book. IT was most definitely worth picking up. Read my full review here.
13. Etched in Bone – This was the final installment of my very favorite urban fantasy series. I love the world Bishop made here, with shapeshifters and vampires and Others who are so far from human. They will never blend in, and have communities of their own. There’s almost a quaintness to the communities of the Others that I love. And while there is a little romance, it was never a central focus of the series. Highly recommended. Read my full review here.
12. Illuminae – The most uniquely formatted book I’ve ever read. This YA Sci-Fi novel was presented as a case file, with redacted transcripts and emails and surveillance footage summaries. I was always enthralled and excited to see what format the story would take on next. There was never a dull moment. This book deserves all of the attention it has garnered. Read my full review here.
11. The Graveyard Book – I have a soft spot for Neil Gaiman. And The Jungle Book. And graveyards, apparently. This book was just a joy to read. Or rather, listen to. One of my favorite things about Gaiman’s books is the fact that he reads them himself. His audiobooks are some of the few that I actually take the time to listen to. Nobody Owens is one of my favorite of creations. Read my full review here.
10. A Green and Ancient Light – Such a lovely book. It was odd and dreamy and beautiful. I have never wanted to visit a fiction destination more than I wanted to travel to the Grove of Monsters. The grove is a garden of wonders and riddles. It is wild and mysterious and otherworldly. And yet, the garden is comprised of ruined statues and overgrown vines, (slightly) grounding it in reality. Reading this book was like reading a waking dream. Read my full review here.
9. Annihilation – If The Library at Mount Char was one of the darkest things I’ve ever read, and A Green and Ancient Light was one of the most dreamlike things I’ve ever read, this book fell somewhere in between the two. It definitely lived up to its New Weird genre. In the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft, VanderMeer gave us a story with a pronounced and creeping sense of dread throughout. It was lush and beautiful and disturbing. I was tense the entire time I read it. And I still have no idea what was going on. Read my full review here.
8. Valor – If you follow this blog, you know that I loved Malice, the first book in this series. Valor is book two, and it was just about the most epic thing I’ve ever read. The characters are incredibly compelling. But I was tense the entire time I was reading because I know that no one is safe. Gwynne developed an enthralling plot with interesting theology, which makes it one of my favorite series ever. And yes, I’m saying that even though I only read half of the series. Have you ever loved something so much that you’re terrified to finish it? That’s how I feel about this series. But I’ll remedy that soon. Read my full review here.
7. Red Seas Under Red Skies – I love me some pirates. The Lies of Locke Lamora is one of my favorite fantasy novels ever, but I love this second book just as much. More Locke and Jean with their terminal levels of sarcasm plus pirates makes for a happy Celeste. Read my full review here.
6. Red Sister – This was my first Mark Lawrence novel, and I loved it. If you saw and loved the movie Logan, you would totally read this book. Nona is the baddest nun-in-training ever. The writing was lovely, and the action was totally brutal. Read my full review here.
5. Every Heart a Doorway – This was actually a reread, but I’m counting it anyway. It’s such a small book, a less-than-200 page novella, but it has so much to say. It is a beautifully-written ode to outsiders. If you’re an outcast, a misfit, if you’ve ever felt like you just don’t fit, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Read my full review here.
4. Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Both a follow-up and a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, and it has just as much to say. This was less of an ode to misfits than its predecessor and more of a cautionary tale. Parents, never shove your kids into a box just because you believe they should look and act a certain way. They are not props for you; they are their own people, and need the freedom to discover who they are. Don’t damage them by taking that freedom away. Read my full review here.
3. Strange the Dreamer – One of the most gorgeous books I’ve ever read. The writing, the characters, the setting, the imagery… Everything was perfect. If I could bring one literary character to life in reality, it would be Lazlo Strange. He’s just precious. And rarely have I read a book that so evoked my senses. The only think I would change is the publication date of book 2! Read my full review here.
2. The Emperor’s Soul – Probably the most philosophical book I’ve ever read. And it was a novella! I love everything I’ve read from Sanderson, but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite thing he’s ever written. What makes you you? What is a soul comprised of? And what is it exactly that makes something original? Is forgery an art-form in itself? It takes just as much time and talent to create a skillful forgery, but with the addition of in-depth research that the original artist never had to consider. There was also a triune aspect to this that gave me so much for for thought. In order to truly understand ourselves, we have to understand all the components that comprise us. There’s so much more I could philosophize about, but I’ll leave it for you. Seriously, read it. Read my full review here.
1. The Stand – Seriously, I can’t get over how good this was. I’m a King newbie, and have only been reading his stuff for a couple of years. I’ve read a few that were really good. But this one blows all of them away. By far one of the best books I’ve ever read. It had adventure, and romance, and humor, and theology, and a terrifying apocalyptic dystopia. While the story was excellent and the characters were real and compelling, my favorite part of this massive book was the religious commentary. It was the ultimate fight of good versus evil, and watching characters who were firmly against belief in a Higher Power faced with His probability and struggling with the knowledge was absolutely fascinating. I wholeheartedly believe that this is King’s masterpiece. If I could only reread five books for the rest of my life, this would be one of those five. There are depths to plumb here that demand multiple rereads. If you’re going to read one Stephen King novel, make it this one. Read my full review here.
And that’s it for now! If you enjoyed this countdown, be sure to drop me a line and let me know. There will be more to come!