Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)

Posted August 16, 2020 by stuckint in Features, Friday Favorites / 1 Comment

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Friday Favorites! Today I’m sharing ten titles that I hav read this year!

This list is in no way exhaustive. There are plenty of titles that I had to leave off but its a good representation of the types of books I love to read.

Backlist Titles

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 28, 2020
Pages: 336
Goodreads

*A 2019 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book*
A dark, twisted, unforgettable fairy tale from Elana K. Arnold, author of the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of
The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: When the king dies, his son the prince must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.
When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon or what horrors she faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome young man, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny of sitting on a throne beside him. It’s all like a dream, like something from a fairy tale.
As Ama follows Emory to the kingdom of Harding, however, she discovers that not all is as it seems. There is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows, and the greatest threats may not be behind her, but around her, now, and closing in.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 9, 2019
Pages: 368
Goodreads

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgenm

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
Published by Ember on June 19, 2018
Pages: 400
Goodreads

"A high-octane thriller . . . Nyxia grabs you from the first line and never lets go." --Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Warcross
Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller--the first in a trilogy--that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae.
What would you be willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune? Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Forever.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.
"The 100 meets Illuminae in this high-octane sci-fi thriller." --Bustle

Slay by Brittany Morris

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)Slay by Brittney Morris
Published by Simon Pulse on September 1, 2020
Pages: 352
Goodreads

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019! “Gripping and timely.” —People “The YA debut we’re most excited for this year.” —Entertainment Weekly “A book that knocks you off your feet while dropping the kind of knowledge that’ll keep you down for the count. Prepare to BE slain.” —Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out
Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther–inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for Black gamers.
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”
But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”
Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly
Published by Dutton Books on July 23, 2019
Pages: 387
Goodreads

An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly
For the lucky among us, life is what you make of it, but for Dixie Wheeler, the theme music for her story was chosen by another long ago, on the day her father butchered her mother and brothers and then slashed a knife across his own throat. Only one-year-old Dixie was left alive, infamously known as Baby Blue for the song left playing in the aftermath of the slaughter.
Twenty-five years later, Dixie is still desperate for a connection to the family she can’t remember, so when her childhood home goes up for sale, Dixie sets aside all reason and moves in, re-creating a macabre decor with her family’s salvaged furniture. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the home that was once theirs, Dixie starts to question her own sanity and wonders if the evil force menacing her is that of her father, or a demon of her own making.
In order to make sense of her present, Dixie becomes determined to unravel the truth of her past and seeks out the detective who originally investigated the murders. But the more she learns, the more she opens up the uncomfortable possibility that the sins of her father may belong to another, and, perhaps most tragically, to Dixie herself. As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre and redeem what little remains of her soul.

2020 Releases

Devolution by Max Brooks

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
on June 16, 2020
Pages: 286
Goodreads

The #1 bestselling author of World War Z takes on the Bigfoot legend with a tale that blurs the lines between human and beast--and asks what we are capable of in the face of the unimaginable.
As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier's eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.
But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town's bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing--and too earth-shattering in its implications--to be forgotten.
In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate's extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it.
Kate's is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity's defiance in the face of a terrible predator's gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death.
Yet it is also far more than that.
Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us--and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.
Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it--and like none you've ever read before.

Godshot by Chelsea Bieker

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)Godshot by Chelsea Bieker
Published by Catapult on March 31, 2020
Pages: 336
Goodreads

Drought has settled on the town of Peaches, California. The area of the Central Valley where fourteen-year-old Lacey May and her alcoholic mother live was once an agricultural paradise. Now it’s an environmental disaster, a place of cracked earth and barren raisin farms. In their desperation, residents have turned to a cult leader named Pastor Vern for guidance. He promises, through secret “assignments,” to bring the rain everybody is praying for.
Lacey has no reason to doubt the pastor. But then her life explodes in a single unimaginable act of abandonment: her mother, exiled from the community for her sins, leaves Lacey and runs off with a man she barely knows. Abandoned and distraught, Lacey May moves in with her widowed grandma, Cherry, who is more concerned with her taxidermy mice collection than her own granddaughter. As Lacey May endures the increasingly appalling acts of men who want to write all the rules, and begins to uncover the full extent of Pastor Vern’s shocking plan to bring fertility back to the land, she decides she must go on a quest to find her mother, no matter what it takes. With her only guidance coming from the romance novels she reads and the unlikely companionship of the women who knew her mother, she must find her own way through unthinkable circumstances.
Possessed of an unstoppable plot and a brilliantly soulful voice, Godshot is a book of grit and humor and heart, a debut novel about female friendship and resilience, mother-loss and motherhood, and seeking salvation in unexpected places. It introduces a writer who gives Flannery O’Connor’s Gothic parables a Californian twist and who emerges with a miracle that is all her own.

House or Dragons by Jessica Cluess

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)House of Dragons (House of Dragons, #1) by Jessica Cluess
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on May 12, 2020
Pages: 448
Goodreads

Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?
When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call....
THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.
THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.
THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.
THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free--he must take what he wants.
THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles
Published by HarperTeen on January 21, 2020
Pages: 304
Goodreads

Two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles delivers his first contemporary YA—an eye-opening novel that spotlights societal pressures, confronts toxic masculinity, and asks the question: What does it mean to be a “real man”?
Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed himself up for a Purity Pledge. His best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe anyone is worth this long of a long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl.
And that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word, but with other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move now. However, with all his plotting and scheming, Del never really stops to think: What does Kiera want? No matter, though—once he gets the girl, he’s sure all will sort itself out. Right?

One To Watch by Katie Staymen London

Friday Favorites– Our Favorite Reads of the Year So Far (Haley)One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
on July 7, 2020
Goodreads

Real love...as seen on TV
Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers--and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?
Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition--under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She's in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That's it.
But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She's in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men--and herself--for a chance to live happily ever after.

What About You?

What have been your favorite reads of 2020 so far? What do you think of my favorites? Let me know in the comment!

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