The Cactus by Sarah Haywood 4/5 Stars
I was attracted to The Cactus because of the cover blurb claiming that “fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine will love” this book. I did really like this book and it does have very similar parallels to Eleanor Oliphant but Susan Green is not quite on the Eleanor Oliphant level. Susan is 45, single, and finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Everything about her life is very practical and efficient, which I completely appreciate and even envy a little bit. This book is all about Susan slowly realizing that her life is not either black or white; sometimes there’s a little gray in there and sometimes she might even like it.
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon 3/5 Stars
The second book in the Outlander series did not read as smoothly nor flow as easily as the first one for me. The first book was about adventure, discovery, and new small tasks in daily life. This one had more intricacies of politics and war, which I am not overmuch interested in. I do like finding the differences between the book and show so I may continue reading the series but I’ll probably need a several-month break before the next one.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik 5/5 Stars
Uprooted! I’m so sorry I waited so long to read you. Even though I’ve come across countless recommendations, I suppose I thought you wouldn’t speak the same to me as you did to others. I was wrong.
Set in the Middle Ages, a wizard called the Dragon has come to choose his price from the valley where he lives for protecting them from the corrupted wood: once every ten years he takes a girl aged 17 and she stays with him until it is time to choose another. Agnieszka turns out to be unlike any other before her as she stands up to the Dragon and attempts to do things that have never been successful in the past. This book is definitely my favorite of 2019: a standalone, mid-fantasy masterpiece that makes my inner nature witch cup runneth over.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black 5/5 Stars
In this world, Coldtowns are towns that have been quarantined to keep in vampires, infected (cold) humans, and food (humans). Tana and her ex-boyfriend end up being one of only two survivors of a massacre at a party. In rescuing him, she also saves a vampire who she found tied up at the party and sets out to take them both to their local Coldtown. The interaction between the three of them, the journey to get to Coldtown, and the sequence of events once there were fascinating and captivating for me. This was my first Holly Black novel (this is a stand alone!) and it won’t be my last.
Circe by Madeline Miller 5/5 Stars
Circe took me completely by surprise. I have seen it all over the place since its release but the synopsis didn’t really appeal to me. Libro.fm had a Black Friday sale giving you Circe for free if you signed up. The beginning was a little slow for me because it mostly mentioned the names of a ton of gods I had heard of but didn’t really know about so I wasn’t keeping them straight. A little ways in though I was hooked. If you have the slightest interest in mythology or just a really good story about an exiled woman with a crazy family, I recommend giving this one a try. The narrator was great, I loved the audiobook version.
That was a really strong reading end to 2019 for me. I read 131 books this year and have a few others started. I like to spend New Year’s Day reading a whole book so whichever I choose for that will be #1 for 2020. Keep an eye out for a top 10-or-15 books of 2019 post. I still need to narrow my list down. Happy New Year.