Back in July I posted my 5 star reads of the half year. You can read about them here.
The best books of the half year
The last six months I’ve read a whopping 21 5 star books, so I’ve ordered them into novels, short stories, poetry and nonfiction.
5 Star Novels
1. Dead Voices by Katherine Arden
A sequel to Small Spaces, I read this with my buddy, Jonny @ Jaunts & Haunts. I loved the new point of view character, the spooky snowed in ski lodge and the dark world beyond the mirror.
2. Come Join The Murder by Holly Rae Garcia
I discovered this taut physiological thriller through Blackthorn Book Tours. It’s a dark read that packs a strong punch.
3. Killing With Don by Dr Jay Carson
Another outing with my favorite serial killer, Dr Jay. This time he’s giving 50 reasons why you should become a killer like him. Humorous, horrible and insightful, it’s hard to look away from Dr Jay.
4. Devolution by Max Brooks
I loved everything about this darkly humorous, compelling found footage novel concerning a green community and Bigfoot.
5. The Weird Sisters of Wynter’s Hill by Helen Whistberry
Set in the 1950s, this paranormal mystery is lots of fun. I loved the use of the period language, Jim Malhaven is a super protagonist, and the plot had just the right blend of dark and light.
6. The Drop by Jacey Morris
This novel about music that unleashes the beast within has really stayed with me since I read it as part of a Blackthorn Book Tour. An original take on a dystopian world.
7. Neolithica by Dan Soule
This exciting story of bog bodies and massacres in Scotland engaged me from the get go, but it was the emotional ending that made it a 5 star read for me.
8. The Little Town Creeps 2 by Courtneey J Williams
This is such a fun series, with likable characters and a great setup for adventures. I loved the mix of science and myth in the second installment of the Little Town Creeps, which tackled vampires.
9. The Avenging Angel of Hasselwhite Hall by Helen Whistberry
Jim and company are back in this second Malhaven Mystery, and it’s just as good as the first. With angels and nazis, Whistberry continues to provide feel good cosy mystery with a dark touch and lots of paranormal charm.
1. The Encampment by the Gorge & Blood Encampment by Zachary Ashford
Scary, magical and thoroughly Australian, I loved both stories in this short collection.
2. Four by Fay: Four Fantasy Stories by Richard H Fay
Four fantasy stories where the heroes are heroic and the villains are villainous.
3. A Good Provider by William F Aicher
A creepy bedtime story that did not go the way I expected and was delightfully dark.
4. Conscience by Jonathan Pongratz
A thought provoking short story with a glimpse of exciting future world, written by my friend Jonny @ Jaunts & Haunts.
5. Blame it on the Bubblegum by Rhonda Parrish
A wonderful steampunk fantasy story with airships and fae and Bubblegum.
6. Diggum by Isaac Thorne
Diggum, the grave digger, is not a character I’d like to meet. The voice of the main man is strong in this creepy story.
7. The Librarian by Joel Spriggs
This story spoke to me on an emotional level. Short and sweet and surprisingly touching.
8. Boredom & Bedlam by Joel Spriggs
Zombie ducks. Enough said.
1. White Noise by Rhonda Parrish
A book of zombie poetry. I’m not sure if things get better than this.
2. Hellward by James Sale
A modern day English answer to Dante’s Divine Comedy. A personal, spiritual, cultural masterpiece.
1. 5K Words Per Hour by Chris Fox
The tips in this book have increased my writing productivity. Dictation has been a game changer.
2. Bits of a Boyhood by Bruce Goodman
The early years of my friend and fellow blogger‘s life growing up in New Zealand. An absolute gem of a memoir, which I hope will soon be volume one of several.
Best Book of the 2nd Half Year
Devolution by Max Brooks
Really hard to pick just one book from such a stellar line up, but I’m going to single out Devolution by Max Brooks because I’ve been on a quest for Bigfoot books all year, and this is the best of the bunch I’ve read.
It’s an epistolary novel that works. The characterization is spot on. The development of the characters is subtle and engaging. The Bigfoot creatures tie in all the lore and are still a realistic animal. The central theme, which is more or less the same as World War Z, but refined with time, is one that I am fond of – control is an illusion.
Best Book of 2020
The Black Gate Omnibus by Joseph Sale
Ok, I’ve cheated. This is three books in one. I know. Sale’s world and characters blew me away with the rich world building, strong plot and deep meaning. This is a volume I’ll be re-reading a lot.
What was your best book of 2020? Let me know in the comments.