Joyous Yule, northern hemisphere! Happy Litha to the southern hemisphere!
We do this every year - we write about our favorite books of the year as if there were any hope that I had read a single book that had actually come out this year. That's because the TBR pile is deep and wide. And this year, I managed to read something that was actually published this decade, so that's progress, right? A good portion of my problem is that for ten years, I had a secret TBR stash - paper books - all hidden away from the mildewing influence of saltwater and damp.
So my two favorite books are the first two books in a trilogy by Ilona Andrews.
The trilogy is a paranormal mystery series. Tortured, brooding, scary hero. Plucky, resourceful heroine. Add some romance, lots of sexual tension, magic, bad guys not afraid to kill millions of people, and clues that seem to lead nowhere and you have yourself a really fun time. Super enjoyable books. Love the characters. These are stories I look at when I want to take a finely crafted, well paced story. The last book in the series is also good, but it got a little bogged down in recapping the first two books and the story lost some of its edge for me. I still bought it, mind, but if I had to stack rank the series, book 2 is the best, book 1 is a damned close second and the third book is definitely third.
The other books I read this year that I would call favorites were books I read under some really terrible circumstances. They were whatever I could get my hands on that would take my mind off what was happening. They were 1980s historical romance novels with plots I couldn't possibly recount now. Nor could I tell you the titles or the authors. It wasn't that the books were stellar. It was that by picking them up to distract myself, I discovered that I'd stopped reading over the past few years because I was having trouble seeing my Kindle. Put a paper book in my hand and magic happened. I read. And I read and I read. For two weeks straight I made it through a book a day. A little making up for lost time, I think. Just for the sheer, physical pleasure of scanning a line of text for the joy of it. And have it not be some dire health assessment for someone I love. Those books were the best books because I got to remember how much I love to read and how very much I'd missed it.