Hi friends, long time no see! (Is a week a long time?) I’ve had a rough week or so and fell behind on my posting schedule, but I am here today to share the books I nominated for the 2019 Bookish Reader’s Choice Awards with you all!
Designed to actually give readers their voice to determine the “best” reads of the year, the goal of these awards is to recognize all of the amazing stories we got to read this year! You can learn more about the awards and rules for participation by visiting the announcement post here.
My goodness, this was SO HARD for me to do — which is why I put off working on my nominations until the final five days of the nomination period. I wound up opening my Goodreads Reading Challenge page so all of my reads were there in front of me to see what sung to my soul when I saw the cover… but I quickly realized it would be easiest to sort my copy of the Book Blogger Spreadsheet (2020 edition coming soon, y’all!) for 2019 releases and then for YA/Adult accordingly.
I didn’t read books in all of the nomination categories, let alone love everything that I read, but all are books I absolutely adored and see myself screaming about them for years to come.
✨ YA Mystery
Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan kept me guessing until the very end, which is refreshing for me since I almost always guess the killer within a few pages of their introduction. But this is more than just a murder mystery: It’s about the bonds of friendship and how fragile those connections can seem to be, a wonderful m/m relationship, and the setting of a small town trying to pick up the pieces after a horrific tragedy. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for Keep This to Yourself!
✨ YA Fantasy
Fair warning: these books make a few appearances on my nominations. I read mostly YA SFF books this year, and we’ve honestly been blessed with so many amazing releases (many of them debuts!).This was the most difficult category for me – three nominations is not enough! These three YA Fantasy releases particularly left an impression on me. I find myself not only thinking about them often, but also shoving them on everyone I know.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin. A Craig is nothing short of magical. It’s genre-bending and lyrically written, a book that totally enthralled me and kept me reading until I finished at four in the morning. 📝 Read my spoiler-free review of House of Salt and Sorrows here.
The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Adieh captivated me from start to finish. I was so enthralled with the setting and characters, New Orleans came alive on page!
The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1) by Kalyn Josephson meant so much to me as a reader with its depiction of grief and depression representation. But it also touches on cycles of violence and vengeance being carried on through generations, delving into whether we are doomed to continue the cycle? 📝 Read my spoiler-free review of The Storm Crow here.
✨ YA Horror
Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall surprised me in the best of ways with its atmospheric and descriptive narrative. Told in mixed media format in the found footage vein of The Blair Witch Project, this one is a tense and spooky thriller with a cast of fully developed characters with robust backstories. 📝 Read my spoiler-free review of Rules for Vanishing here.
✨ YA Science Fiction
This was another really difficult category for me to narrow my nominations down on, but these three books meet the “I think about them a lot and shove at people often” criteria.
A House of Rage and Sorrow (Celestial Trilogy #1) by Sangu Mandanna actually destroyed me. I’ve been loudly shouting about this trilogy for over a year now, and this sequel actually managed to be even better than the first book. Tightly plotted, beautiful writing, characters I am completely addicted to. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for A House of Rage and Sorrow here.
Immunity (Contagion #2) by Erin Bowman was such an amazing conclusion to the Contagion duology, and delved more heavily into the science fiction and political elements introduced in Contagion rather than the horror. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for Immunity here.
The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee is one of those rare books that not only grips you from the first page but also stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. I literally think about this book at least once a week, and I read it in February. 📝 Read my spoiler-free review for The Fever King here.
✨ Adult Science Fiction
Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse blew me away. I loved the first book, and this one was even better! Action packed, fast paced, and full of heart. If you’re a fan of witty banter and found families, this sequel is definitely for you! 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for Storm of Locusts here.
American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan is the only true crime book I read, but it is so good. I knew I was reading nonfiction, but it almost feels like a thriller when reading it. Callahan’s writing is beautiful, descriptive, and past-paced, sucking you in until the last page is turned. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for American Predator here.
the mermaid’s voice returns in this one and to drink coffee with a ghost by Amanda Lovelace both found me when I needed them the most. I’ll cherish these collections forever.
✨ Favorite YA Villain
Vianca Augustine (King of Fools by Amanda Foody)
Calix Leher (The Fever King by Victoria Lee)
Corien (Kingsbane by Claire Legrand)
✨ Favorite YA Setting
The world of Caraval in Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber never fails to sweep me away. 📝 Read my spoiler-free review for Finale here.
New Orleans in the 1800s from The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Adieh perfectly captures the city and food.
The world 1,000 feet below the surface of the ocean in The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World #1) by London Shah is deeply atmospheric and a fantastic twist on the post-apocalyptic setting. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for The Light at the Bottom of the World here.
✨ Favorite YA Sequel
Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand freaking destroyed me. This book is a mindf*ck in the best of ways. I need answers. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for Kingsbane here.
King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody broke my heart and I still haven’t recovered. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for King of Fools here.
A House of Rage and Sorrow (Celestial Trilogy #2) by Sangu Mandanna took the remnants of my heart and broke them even further.
…there’s a theme with these nominees, isn’t there?
✨ YA Cover Appreciation
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens #1) by Kelly Coon
Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
✨ Favorite YA Squad
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi was such a delightful book for me because of the characters and their found family. I read this book almost a year ago and still think about the characters! 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for The Gilded Wolves here.
King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody was nicknamed the Girl Gang Book by the author, and Enne’s gang is freaking iconic. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for King of Fools here.
The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow #1) by Margaret Owen brings together an unlikely and kind of unhappy group together towards a common goal, and let me tell you: I love that band of fools. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for The Merciful Crow here.
✨ Debut YA Novel
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He is such an amazing and action packed debut, definitely worthy of the “Chinese Game of Thrones” comparison. The stakes are so high and everyone is a suspect – it was a tense read! 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for Descendant of the Crane here.
The Storm Crow (Storm Crow #1) by Kalyn Josephson
There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool is epic fantasy at its best, building the world up around the reader through the characters and their experiences.The world is rich and vast, but the world-building is doled out slowly so it never feels like an info-dump. 📝 Read my spoiler-free ARC review for There Will Come a Darkness here.
✨ Favorite YA Book
The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee
House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig
The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1) by Kalyn Josephson
Want to nominate YOUR favorites of 2019?
So far, 60 nomination forms have been submitted and there’s still time for you to participate! All of the books that will be part of the voting round come from the nominations directly, so if you want to be sure books you loved get the attention they deserve don’t wait too long, the form closes at 23:59 on November 30th (Pacific Time)!
If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comments or reach out to me on Twitter @kalventure!
Go forth and nominate, my dear friends! I can’t wait to see what books everyone loved this year, and give the authors a boost of recognition and appreciation in the process. If you do make a nominations post to explain your nominees, please be sure to use #BookishReadersChoice2019 on Twitter to make sure that I see it!
What do you think of my nominations? Do we have any favorites in common? What books did I miss / do I need to read?