So far this year I’ve read about 115 books, and I present to you my top ten favorites based on my scoring system. Some of these will be well known, and many of you may have read them already but they were new to me! Many of these are Indie published though (including my number 1), so if you haven’t heard of them pick them up!
I’m a big fan of LitRPG, so this one may not be for everyone. When I heard that Rachel Aaron, the author of my favorite urban fantasy series, Heartstriker, was making a LitRPG I nearly fell out of my chair. This is a “sucked into a video game” trope, and I had considered myself utterly burned out on that plot line. The only reason I picked this up was author loyalty lol. Man, I was so happy that I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it has a fresh take on the world building and it had characters that weren’t flat and boring just there to move the plot along which is a big problem in this subgenre.
This book ticked all my boxes, it was a fun light adventure with a sassy old lady who kept me smiling through the whole book. Despite this being a simple “going on a quest” book, the characters are what made this so enjoyable for me. I love a diverse group dynamic, and this one had 4-5 very different people grouped together and trying to get along – it’s one of my favorite tropes. It was also entered into SPFBO last year, and another of MM Perry’s books has been entered this year.
Don’t mind the cover, what’s inside is great. This will be a book for people who love cute fun stories with a lot of comedy. It’s a King Arthur’s court satire about a wayward young villager looking to become a knight. It’s whimsical and has a lot of heart, and if that sounds like your kind of book, pick it up!
I read A Star Reckoner’s Lot a few years ago, and while I liked it quite a bit, I was pretty blown away by how much the writing, plotting, and pacing improved with this book. I liked Tirdad more than I thought I could and watching his struggle with guilt and grief pulled on my heartstrings. If you’ve tried out ASRL and you want more divs being crazy – do check this one out, it’s totally worth it!
I bounced off of the first series, Powder Mage starting with Promise of Blood. I’m not sure why, it had all the makings of a book I should love, but I just didn’t connect. I really encourage people to try out an author at least twice to see if maybe a different book would work better for you – I’ve found a lot of favorites simply by trying again. This is a military flintlock with great world building and pacing.
Oh, Michael J Sullivan, what have you done to my heart? I usually consider MJS’s writing to be more light-hearted and more whimsical, but boy did he manage to throw more gut punches into this book. The world was expanded, the characters were put through serious personal hells, and overall I loved this book to pieces. This one isn’t out just yet, but it’s coming out very soon on July 3rd. Hit that pre-order button!
This book did very well when it was entered in SPFBO, with many of the judges marking it as a favorite. This is a multi POV high fantasy with tons of action, non human races, teleporting dragons etc. I picked this up on audio and I crushed the entire series in less than a week which is impressive even for me. This one gripped me and I couldn’t put it down until it was done.
I tried this series long ago, so long ago that I didn’t remember a thing that happened in it and I needed to start over again. I remember in college reading it and liking it, but not continuing on. I am rating this #4 as a series, not just the first book. The first one was good, but it left me wanting more. Then when I got to the “more” in the second and third book I HAD to know more about this world. So, I picked up all of the stand alones as well and devoured them in short order. This is another series with incredible audiobooks that I just could not put down. This series and Path of Flames are the only two series this year that I read completely in under a week – and they aren’t short books.
This book won’t be out until August 21st, so I debated even putting this one on the list since it can’t be read just at the moment. However, it’s brilliant and you can always put it on pre-order and have something exciting to look forward to at the end of your summer. It has extremely original world building which is always a bonus for me, and I connected with the characters almost immediately.
MY NUMBER ONE THIS YEAR!
Holy shit you guys, holy shit. This is an indie gem and I can’t believe that it hasn’t been picked up by a publisher. I rant and rave about this series all the time, and when I saw it in SPFBO I got so excited. There are three judges in SPFBO who already mark this as a favorite – myself, Lucasz from Fantasy Book Critic and Swiffer from Fantasy Book Review. Both gave this over a 9/10 and we’re chomping at the bit to get more people to read this. Multi-POV, with engrossing characters that just suck you in and don’t let go. Incredible world building that feels real and fleshed out. I could go on and on about this book and I will be stopping everything I’m reading to get to the second one when it’s released. It currently has 106 reviews/ratings and it stands at a 4.62 – that’s crazy!!!
I was using my spreadsheet of ratings to get this post out. There are a few books that I really loved but I haven’t written a review for them yet so they’ve been left off the list. I would imagine something like Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence making it onto the end of the year list 😀