In 2019 I only managed to read 32 books, which was below my goal for the year. As 2020 approaches I decided that my goal for next year will be to read 50 books or more. With that being said out of the 32 that I read this year I had four absolute favorites that came to mind. Each one is of a different category but the common denominator with each book is that I couldn’t stop thinking about them after I finished them and they were back on my bookshelf. This post serves as a brief overview of why these books were top choices, however, each book has a full review already on Mountain Mama Book Reviews which gives more detail and can be read by clicking the highlightEd link in each subsection of this post.
Best Historical Fiction
Lost Roses was a beautiful novel in its own right, however, when compared to its predecessor it falls short. Lilac Girls holds a special place in my heart, as World War II fiction is a favorite era of mine to read, and I better connected to those characters. Lost Roses was brilliantly and eloquently written but personally lacked the strong connection I made with Lilac Girls characters. However, the one character I always found myself connecting to was Sofya, as my respect for her grew with each chapter. When not comparing the two books, I feel that Lost Roses is easily a top historical fiction novel for me. The narrative never strayed or became too slow, and I always found myself engaged, never wanting to put the book down. I enjoyed learning about the happenings of that era, like the overthrow of the Romanov family, as it is always fascinating to learn about events that I am not quite as familiar with. Though the book included many tragedies, there was always a bright light of hope for each one of the main characters. And as always, it is inspiring to read a well-written story about empowerment and overcoming obstacles. I certainly recommend this book to historical fiction fans. And to those who have yet to read historical fiction, this book may just have you discovering a new favorite genre.
Best True Crime
Delve into the mind of one of America’s most ambitious and terrifying serial killers in modern history. American Predator details the life and crimes of serial killer Israel Keyes - a truly complex and horrifying human being. For those of you who have read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, be prepared to read this intense and sinister true crime book! It will give you chills, all while pulling you into even darker depths of the mind of a true psychopath. I was shocked, scared, and intrigued with the information on every page. Though the book focuses mostly on Keyes, it discusses some of his known victims and their deaths in an informative but respectful manner. It also details law enforcement's endless efforts to catch Keyes and the interviews that took place after his capture. Callahan is very detailed, as her passion for this book is evident with every chapter. This book is thorough but easy to follow, and is nothing short of a page turner. True crime lovers - this is simply a must read! Best Psychological Thriller
Michaelides easily created an intense story that will lead readers on a seemingly consistent path. Yet, there are twists and a major turn that are truly unexpected. (As proof, I had to reread a few pages to make sure I was understanding the ending correctly because it was so shocking, I couldn't believe it). Reading The Silent Patient was like playing a game of cards with the author, and Michaelides was unknowingly holding a royal flush in his hands. It was a true psychological thriller that any fan of this genre will enjoy from the beginning to the very end.
Kathleen Jacobs boldly and gracefully creates the life of Betsy Blossom Brown, a young girl with Asperger's syndrome, who is an insightful character that keeps her spunk and curiosity throughout her years. Betsy Blossom Brown is wise beyond her years, and her internal dialogue is at times peculiar, yet always intriguing. Betsy Blossom Brown broaches difficult topics and exposes the delicate nature of the human spirit when faced with unforeseen trials. Jacobs is a gift to Appalachian literature, as she develops Betsy Blossom Brown's story while creating a beautifully accurate depiction of West Virginia's geography and culture. Jacobs' books are always nothing short of eloquent and endearing, and Betsy Blossom Brown - is a wonderful addition to her collection of works.