For my first blog post of 2020, I wanted to share my favorite reads from 2019.

For most of 2019, I was in a reading slump. I couldn’t find a book I loved, and I had a hard time getting through them when I did. This slump coincided with some health issues and stress I was seeing in other aspects of my life too. Finally, I managed to break out of my reading slump in October and consumed about 20 books between October and December. I’m back, baby!

So, in no particular order, here is my round-up of my favorite reads.

Fiction

Folk of the Air Series

The Folk of the Air Series by Holly Black consists of The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, and The Queen of Nothing.

In October one of my favorites authors (Michelle Madow) posted about a group read along for the Folk of the Air series that was happening on Facebook. I had heard of the Cruel Prince but had never gotten around the reading it. So I checked out both The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King from my local library and devoured them in less than a week. I immediately bought them both and pre-ordered The Queen of Nothing and had an agonizing month long wait for it to come out.

The Folk of the Air series is about Jude, a human who had been raised in Faerie. The books are about her coming of age journey trying to reconcile being a human in this beautiful and terrible world and how far she will go to find her place and feel safe. It has gorgeous world-building, amazing twists and turns in each books, and characters you will love and will love to hate.

These books quickly began one of my all-time favorites and I will be forever thankful to them and Holly Black for create a world and characters that drew me in immediately and got me out of my reading slump.

You can read more about each of the books and purchase the whole series here: https://amzn.to/2FmOI45

Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January is by Alix E. Harrow.

This book. This. Book. The Ten Thousand Doors of January was such a magical read I almost don’t know how to put it into words. It is a transformative read. One that pulls you through its pages and doesn’t let go, leaving you so full of thought and emotion after it’s over it’s almost hard to come back to the real world.

This book meets at the crossroads of fantasy, historical, and academic writing and somehow takes the best of each and spin it into something unique. It toes the line between literary and genre fiction. The writing is breathtaking; the story is enchanting. If there’s one book you need to read in 2020, it’s this one.

I discovered this book on Instagram (yay bookstagram community!) and then, lo-and-behold, the author lives in Kentucky like me. I got the chance to meet her, and she is absolutely lovely.

Read more about the story and grab your own copy here: https://amzn.to/2QryzAR

The Storm Crow

The Storm Crow is by Kalyn Josephson. This is an exclusive jacket from The Bookish Box. Love amazing bookish products? The Bookish Box is amazing. Click here to join through my referral link.

It’s no secret that YA Fantasy is my jam. I love strong heroines, coming of age stories, world-changing stakes, and a good dose of magic. The Storm Crow has it all. After a devastating attack the main character, Princess Thia, has to figure out how to help her country, battle her own debilitating depression, and consider a marriage to the son of her country’s enemy. Not to mention there are magical elemental crows. <3

Crows are one of my favorite animals so I was immediately drawn to this book. They are smart and funny and I’ve always thought they were magic, so maybe Kalyn Josephson is onto something. I like crows so much, in fact, I have a dog named Crow.

Photo of the dog, Crow, for reference. Not a magical elemental crow. Although he is a certified Good Boy.

One thing I really appreciate The Storm Crow is the depiction of mental health. Without giving too much away, Thia goes through a traumatizing event and suffers from major depression. Kalyn Josephson does a great job of not making the depression something that Thia deals with just in passing, but something that is actually a struggle and doesn’t go away as the book progresses. As someone who struggled with depression, I really appreciated the care the author took in included this complicated issue in her story.

Find out more about the book and get your own copy here: https://amzn.to/2uk8v1N

The Storm Crow is book one in a duology. The Crow Rider is book two and is on pre-order now. Click here to preorder your copy now!

Old Favorites

Song of the Lioness Quartet

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce is made up of the books Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like A Man, and Lioness Rampant.

I cheated a bit, this is four books, but I counted the one-volume edition I own of them as one book for my countdown. I’ve always owned this set in the one volume so I always think of it as one book in my head. But really it’s four separate books.

These books helped ignite my love of reading and I devour all the Tortall books by Tamora Pierce every year. Reading them feels like coming home. This first series helped defined the young adult fantasy genre and mould it into what it is today.

In these books Alanna want to be a knight, but girls aren’t allowed to be knights. So she disguises herself as a boy and switches places with her twin brother. How awesome and daring is that? These books are riveting and amazing and if you haven’t read them yet, get to it!

Find the boxed set of these four books here: https://amzn.to/2Qpan1V

Jane Eyre

Truth be told, I don’t read many classics, but Jane Eyre has always held a special place in my heart. Every time I reread it I discover something new. I read it again this year after not reading it for a few years and it was just as enchanting as ever.

Here’s a paperback copy of this book on amazon: https://amzn.to/2Fh2kOj

Non-fiction

Women of the Word

Women of the Word is by Jenn Wilkin.

Whether you read your Bible every day or don’t know where to start, this book is a must read. It helps explain how to dive into your Bible and outlines a framework for studying the Bible with both our hearts and our minds. I highly recommend it to anyone who it looking to deepen their Bible study this year.

Check it out here: https://amzn.to/2STQEZY

One to One Bible Reading

One to One Bible Reading is by David Helm.

This is a great, short little framework for doing Bible study with another person. It has different scenarios and different ways for people to go about learning from the Bible and from each other in a discipleship/group study type setting.

Follow this link to grab your own copy: https://amzn.to/35lg4BZ

The New City Catechism Devotional

As my son get older, I wanted to incorporate learning about God and the Bible into our daily lives but I wasn’t sure the best way to do it. I found this book which is 52 questions and answers, one for each week. Our family tries to read them at the dinner table each evening. For us it’s been a great way for all of us to learn together and rediscover fundamental truths.

From the book description: Each question features a relevant Scripture reading, a short prayer, and a devotional commentary written by contemporary pastors (including John Piper, Timothy Keller, and Kevin DeYoung) and historical figures (such as Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and many others). Designed for use in a variety of contexts, The New City Catechism Devotional is a valuable resource for helping believers learn and meditate on the doctrines that stand at the heart of the Christian faith.

Check it out here: https://amzn.to/2SRNQfD

That’s it for my recommendations! What were your favorite books for 2019? Let me know on Facebook, Instagram, or send me an email at michelle.wilson@tulippoplarpublications.com.

Note: I took all the photos featured in this blog post and you can find more book discussion and bookish photography over on my Instagram at instagram.com/chasinglettersandwords

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