Hello, happy Hump Day! As you’re reading this, I’m not at work (woo, 4th of July and paid holidays. I’m gonna cherish it). Today’s topic is favorite books of the year so far! I’ve actually already hit my goodreads goal of 40 books, so I have quite the selection to pick from. All of the below books were a solid five stars. Rating them 5 through 1 is a bit superfluous, so take their order with a grain of salt.
If you’d like to participate in Top 5 Wednesday, you can do so here!
5. A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape From North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
Genre: Nonfiction – Memoir
This is a very recent read for me, I just finished it last week, but it’s definitely made its way into my heart. This book is a memoir written by a man who somehow escaped from the North Korean totalitarian regime. It’s written in a very matter-of-fact way – it doesn’t shy away from the suffering that Ishikawa or his family felt. It doesn’t give you an illusion of a happy ending.
This book is powerful, heart breaking, and will stick with me for a long time.
4. The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
The Broken Eye is the third book in Weeks’ Lightbringer series, which is one that I’ve been raving about for a long time. The series follows a slew of characters in world of political and magical upheaval. The magic system, based on colors, is really, really cool. The users of the magic are able to visualize a color and morph it into physical matter. Most can do one or two colors, but the Prism, one of the main characters, can draft them all.
And each time a magic user drafts a color, it brings them slightly closer to their deaths.
The world that Weeks has created is so great. I love the plot development, I love the characters, I love the humor. I love it all. I’m currently reading the fourth book, The Blood Mirror and am loving that as well. I hope the fifth (and final??) book comes out soon so I’m not left in a deprived state. DON’T LEAVE ME HANGIN’ WEEKS, OKAY? OKAY.
3. Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy, M/M Romance
Really, this one and King’s Rising deserve this spot, but I’m keeping it to single books, and I’m trying to keep one series from hogging multiple spots in the list. So think of it as this book with the third book peeking over its shoulder.
Prince’s Gambit is the second book in the Captive Prince trilogy, which has also become one of my favorites this year. Out of the three, this one in my opinion is by far the best. The other two are good as well, but this one is my fave.
This series, taking place is a fantasy world and dealing with politics and war, is not for the feint of heart. It contains gruesome violence, rape, and just unpleasant situations. It’s gritty. But it’s just so addicting to read. The two main characters – the prince of one land and the prince of the other, find themselves in a situation where… well, read the synopsis of the first book and it’ll be rather clear.
This series is not by any means a modern classic, but holy cow did I have fun reading it. I couldn’t put it down.
2. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku vol 1 by Fujita
Genre: Manga – Slice of life/Romance
Yep, a single volume of a manga gets the number two spot. I loved this so much.
It kinda came out of nowhere – a comedy youtube channel I follow did a review of the first three episodes of the accompanying anime, and it made me curious enough to go pick it up. I buzzed through the first season in two days, and then I got the ‘need more’ itch I couldn’t scratch. So, my husband bought me the first volume of the manga as a surprise, because I’d been blabbering about it non-stop. I thought that I would like the manga less, only because I had just finished watching the same plot material and figured it might be repetitive from the closeness of consuming to two.
But hoo-boy was I wrong. This manga is even better than the anime. I absolutely adored it and am a fan for life. And I’ve only read the first volume! There are two currently out, the third being released in English in October. You bet your butt I’m going to suck them into my collection.
My favorite part about this series is its simplicity. It follows two mid-20s working individuals, both nerds in their own way, who decide to date each other because they’re most likely to understand each other’s obsessions. It’s cute, it’s light, and it’s drama-free. There’s no teenage angst, there’s no miscommunication… it’s just fun and adorable and funny and I really, really enjoyed it.
1. Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
Again this is another ‘this book and the third one in the trilogy’. Not saying the first wasn’t just as good – it was, but technically I read it in 2017. 😛
I’ve been making my way through Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world for almost two years now. I started Assassin’s Apprentice back in 2016 I think, and by the time I got to Assassin’s Quest (Or was it Royal Assassin?!) I had begun buddy-reading everything with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks. We’ve covered all the books since then up through this series… and this one by far is both of our favorites. Golden Fool in particular was just so wonderful. So much character development! So much heart-throbbing-ness, so much suspense! AH, BELOVED. ❤
This series will be getting a blabber from me very soon – I still haven’t been able to calm down enough after the end of Fool’s Fate (book 3) to articulate my thoughts in an even semi-coherent manner. I’m reeling! I’ll get there.
But this series, this book, by far, is my favorite read of the year so far. It’s tops, and I love it. Robin Hobb has a fan for life.
And that’s it! Out of the forty books I’ve read so far this year, these ones are the top of the top, they’re the cat’s pajamas, they’re the bee’s knees!
Have you read any of the above? What were your faves? Happy reading!