Now for the top five of 2020 so far… ordering these was like choosing between favorite children. I hope you’ve enjoyed counting down with me!
#5 – Of Women and Salt
Powerful women against insurmountable circumstances who persevere. The women in this story are inspirational and I came away feeling so deeply for what immigrant women go through. I don’t want to give too many details because I think you should go in and just experience the journey. It will be hard at times to stick with but it is so important to bear witness and to see how their lives turn out.
You can read my original review here:
#4 – The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
Chanel Cleeton. Must I say more? This woman writes perfect historical fiction stories that feature strong women and powerful glimpses into history. This story is one that I knew nothing about but was obsessed with the second I finished the story. You always wonder what happens to people who are a flash in the pan piece of news, especially when they start a movement. It was really interesting to see how the story was developed and how much resources they put into taking care of one woman knowing the impact it would have on the US view of Cuba. I love Chanel’s books but this one is my favorite by far.
You can read my original review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3991750655?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
#3 – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
How I didn’t read this one when it first came out, I don’t know. This fantasy series debut has all of the elements I love in a YA fantasy. It reminded me of Hunger Games meet Daevabad Trilogy. Not since last year’s Raybearer have I been so easily lost in a world with protagonists that I wanted to not only root for but actually be. Malik is our scrappy little nobody who is going to change the world. Karina is our put upon princess who doesn’t want anything to do with power. These two end up on a crash course towards one another that is an epic journey. I am absolutely counting the seconds until the next book.
You can read my original review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3305278360
#2 – Hamnet
Shakespeare. The name alone makes me shiver. I remember sitting in high school hoping that the teacher would not call on me either to read or to interpret what we read. I get the themes are epic but the execution just never worked for me. I did the tour in England where you see Stratford and big Willie’s home and of course I was enchanted. But never did I think I would willingly read anything about his life.
Enter Hamnet… it has been everywhere and won tons of awards. And just in name alone, I was like… nah. But then I saw the tag line “A novel of the plague.” Hmm… I thought, I’m suddenly intrigued. I absolutely devoured this book. It’s historical fiction done right. Each character is well developed and your heart breaks for them with their personal struggles both leading up to the plague and as you see the destruction it leaves. But by far my favorite part was the tracing of the plague from its origin to the Shakespeare home.
If you love historical fiction… READ THIS BOOK!
You can read my original review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3305278360?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
#1 – The Prison Healer
Now to the jaw dropper ending of the year. Kiva is a caring soul growing up in the most desolate prison in her kingdom. Survival is unlikely especially the longer you are there. But Kiva is trying to help everyone survive. She is a ray of sunshine in a black hole. As someone in the medical field, I always love when a story talks about herbs and treatments so I was there for that. But the harsh prison setting is a character in itself, I found myself becoming more and more entranced with the world. What happens to Kiva, how she is forced to rise above and what we learn about her has made this book my favorite of the year. It beat out Hamnet for the top spot for me solely based on the last page.
You can read my original review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3834347502?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
Thanks to everyone who followed along this recounting of the year so far. I hope you found some new books for your TBR!