Last year my new year’s resolution was to read more. My whole life I have been a passionate reader but I am very shy about sharing what I read with others. Many people in my life read memoirs and self-improvement books, I wish I had an interest in those so I could participate in their many conversations about recent reads. But, my interests always lie in the more young adult sci-fi and fantasy types of books. I was always teased growing up about what a weird taste in books I had, which has made me very self-conscious. Despite this, I have decided to try and ignore my reservations and share my reading list from the past year in case someone may share my interests. This year my biggest focus was on reading for pleasure while mixing in some of the classics since my highschool seemed to skip right over those, I also am starting to mix in some self-improvement books here and there although those still struggle to keep my attention. My suggestion for anyone who struggles to find the time to read is to get an Audible subscription. I was so successful with my reading goals this year because I would buy my books at Half Priced Books and buy the audiobooks on Audible. This way I could listen to my books on my way to and from work or at the gym but still read the paper version on lunch breaks or at home in the evenings.


The Lost World: A Novel (Jurassic Park)

by Michael Crichton

The Lost World

It is now six years since the secret disaster at Jurassic Park, six years since the extraordinary dream of science and imagination came to a crashing end—the dinosaurs destroyed, the park dismantled, and the island indefinitely closed to the public.

I read Jurassic Park in 2018 and was shocked at how different the characters in the book were from the ones I fell in love with in Steven Spielberg’s movie. This book is exciting and terrifying. Be careful you don’t read this before a camping trip, this book made me a little jumpy on my morning walks through the woods for a while after reading.

Buy The Lost World on Amazon


What’s So Amazing About Grace?

by Philip Yancey

Whats So Amazing About Grace

We speak of grace often. But do we understand it? More importantly, do we truly believe in it . . . and do our lives proclaim it as powerfully as our words? In What’s So Amazing About Grace? Award-winning author Philip Yancey explores grace at street level. If grace is God’s love for the undeserving, he asks, then what does it look like in action? And if Christians are its sole dispensers, then how are we doing at lavishing grace on a cruel and pain-filled world?

This was a required reading for my religious studies class at school this year. This wouldn’t normally have been a book I would choose to read on a whim but all in all I did enjoy it. If you belong to some sort of bible study or religious support group this book may be a good option to introduce some material to fuel new discussion topics.

Buy What’s So Amazing About Grace? on Amazon


 Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before. What unfolds is the tale of the intense love between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

I think it is safe to say that this was my least favorite read of the entire year. I can understand why this book is considered a classic as the writing itself was beautifully done but I consistently found myself wanting to bang my head against a wall out of frustration with these characters. Everyone was so miserable, whining and moaning about how terrible their lives were while acting so cruel to one another taking out their frustrations on anyone close to them without ever really attempting to solve their problems or improve their situation. I was relieved when the book was finally finished and although I can say that I am glad to have read this book as I know it has had a significant impact on modern literature, I would never ever want to read this book or revisit these depressing characters again.

Buy Wuthering Heights on Amazon


Artemis Fowl: Artemis Fowl, Book 1

by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl 1

Twelve-year-old Artemis is a millionaire, a genius-and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of the bedtime stories-they’re dangerous!

This was one of my favorite books growing up. The combination of science, technology, and magic instantly had me hooked.  When I found out that these books were being turned into a movie I took the opportunity to revisit one of my childhood favorites.

Buy Artemis Fowl on Amazon


The Arctic Incident: Artemis Fowl, Book 2

by Eoin Colfer

The Arctic Incident- Artemis Fowl, Book 2

Artemis Fowl is at boarding school in Iceland when he receives an urgent video email from Russia. It’s a plea from his father, who has been kidnapped by the Russian mafia. As Artemis rushes to his rescue, he is stopped by Captain Holly Short. This time, instead of battling the fairies, he’s going to have to join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people he loves.

After revisiting Artemis Fowl, Book 1 I discovered that this memorable book from my childhood was actually part of a series. I spent the next couple of months reading a number of books from the series and still have a few more to go. Artemis’s sassy intellect, Butler’s fierce devotion, Holly’s ambition, and Mulch’s cleverness make for a killer cast that will lead you on exciting adventures.

Buy The Arctic Incident on Amazon


The Eternity Code: Artemis Fowl, Book 3

by Eoin Colfer

The Eternity Code- Artemis Fowl, Book 3

Artemis Fowl has created the most powerful new supercomputer known to man–using stolen technology from an elite race of underground fairies. When the computer falls into the hands of an IT billionaire with a mob connection, Artemis is in deep trouble. Only one fairy can help now. If only he wasn’t the fairies’ public enemy number one. . .

These books are such fun quick reads they are a great book to recommend to a young reader and still enjoy yourself. One of my friends reads the same book as her husband’s daughter and keeps up even when they aren’t together to provide a fun shared experience. I keep meaning to mention this series to her for them to read once they are through the Harry Potter Books.

Buy The Eternity Code on Amazon


The Opal Deception: Artemis Fowl, Book 4

by Eoin Colfer

The Opal Deception- Artemis Fowl, Book 4.jpg

Artemis Fowl’s memories of the fairy race have been wiped, and his one fairy ally, Captain Holly Short, is on the run. He needs his memory back–and fast–because a power-crazed pixie is out for revenge, scheming to overthrow the Lower Elements Police. With Holly gone, Artemis is depending on a flatulent dwarf. Things are about to explode. . .

The introduction of Opal Koboi as a recurring antagonist in the Artemis Fowl series has created an exciting challenge that pushes Artemis’s wits to new limits and sparks new life into the series.

Buy The Opal Deception on Amazon


The Lost Colony: Artemis Fowl, Book 5

by Eoin Colfer

The Lost Colony- Artemis Fowl, Book 5

Until recently, Artemis Fowl was the only human to have discovered that magical beings do indeed exist. But now a second juvenile genius wants to capture a demon for scientific study. Only an ancient time spell separates the demons from humankind–and Artemis must prevent it from unraveling. If he fails, the bloodthirsty tribe will relaunch their quest to wipe humans from the planet.

Buy The Lost Colony on Amazon


The Time Paradox: Artemis Fowl, Book 6

by Eoin Colfer

The Time Paradox- Artemis Fowl, Book 6

Just when Artemis Fowl decided to forego the criminal activity of the magical kind, his mother became gravely ill.

The only way he can save her is by traveling back in time to steal the cure from the clutches of the devious mastermind . . . Artemis Fowl.


The Atlantis Complex: Artemis Fowl, Book 7

by Eoin Colfer

The Atlantis Complex- Artemis Fowl, Book 7

Dabbling in fairy magic has led Artemis Fowl to develop the Atlantis Complex (aka multiple-personality disorder). And now, with the subterranean city of Atlantis under attack from vicious robots, he is too nice to be of use to anyone.

Can Holly get devious Artemis back before they strike?

Buy The Atlantis Complex on Amazon


A Map of Days
(Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Book 4)

by Ranson Riggs

A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)

Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated by haunting vintage photographs, now with the striking addition of full-color images interspersed throughout for this all-new, multi-era American adventure.

This is the fourth book in a series I have been reading for the past few years. I love the use of old photographs scattered throughout the book that serve as Ransom Riggs’s inspiration for his characters. If you have seen Tim Burton’s film version of book 1, please forget everything you saw and pick up the book, these stories are a million times better than the film adaptation.

Buy A Map of Days on Amazon


Something Wicked This Way Comes

by Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry, step inside. The show is about to begin. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. Two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes…and the stuff of nightmares.

Buy Something Wicked This Way Comes on Amazon


Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch (Villains Book 5)

by Serena Valentino

Mother Knows Best- A Tale of the Old Witch (Villains (5))

The tale of the legendary golden flower is widely known. The story has been told many times and in many ways. But always the flower is coveted by an old witch to keep herself young and beautiful. And always the flower is used to save a dying queen, who then gives birth to a princess with magical hair. Not willing to lose the flower, the old witch steals the princess and locks her away in a high tower, raising her as her own. But the princess always finds out who she truly is and manages to defeat the old witch.

And yet this is only half the story. So what of the old witch, Mother Gothel? Where does she come from? And how does she come across the magical golden flower? Here is one account that recounts a version of the story that has remained untold for centuries . . . until now. It is a tale of mothers and daughters, of youth and dark magic. It is a tale of the old witch.

I discovered Serena Valentino’s books a few years ago and have had tons of fun reading her depictions of our favorite Disney villain’s backstories. In this book, Mother Gothel joins the ranks of Ursala, The Beast and The Evil Queen to help us realize that our villans once had the same hope and kindness we find in many of their famous counterparts. A fun detail to all of Serena’s books in this series is the cover art. You will find one version of the villain’s face on the book jacket, remove it and you will find a different version of their face underneath.

Buy Mother Knows Best on Amazon


Mortal Engines: Mortal Engines, Book 1

by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines- Mortal Engines, Book 1

London is hunting again. Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon London will feed.

In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage — and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.

Ever since I heard Peter Jackson was doing a movie based on this book my curiosity was piqued and this book has sat on my wish list for a while. This year I finally decided to tackle this title. I have to be honest and say I was a little bored with the book. It did have several shining moments and I would be willing to read other books in the series but I felt as though some scenes and characters lacked the development and attention they deserved.

Buy Mortal Engines on Amazon


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

I’m not sure why but the 2005 film version starring Martin Freeman is one of my favorite movies. This was another book that had been sitting on my wishlist for a while. Although it was a fun read I think a prefer the movie’s storyline a little bit more. I was excited to learn that this book is part of a series, I am eager to read on in 2020.

Buy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on Amazon


A Study in Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock, Book 1

by Sherry Thomas

A Study in Scarlet Women- The Lady Sherlock, Book 1

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper-class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

This book was recommended to me by my roommate Emiley (Mighty Miley). This was a fun new spin on a classic character. This series has turned the traditionally male characters Sherlock and Watson into strong females working on the fringes of society in secret.

Buy A Study In Scarlet Women on Amazon


A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

by Mark Twain

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is an 1889 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The book was originally titled A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Some early editions are titled A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur. In the book, a Yankee engineer from Connecticut named Hank Morgan receives a severe blow to the head and is somehow transported in time and space to England during the reign of King Arthur. After some initial confusion and his capture by one of Arthur’s knights, Hank realizes that he is actually in the past, and he uses his knowledge to make people believe that he is a powerful magician. He attempts to modernize the past in order to make people’s lives better, but in the end, he is unable to prevent the death of Arthur and an interdict against him by the Catholic Church of the time, which grows fearful of his power. Twain wrote the book as a burlesque of Romantic notions of chivalry after being inspired by a dream in which he was a knight himself, severely inconvenienced by the weight and cumbersome nature of his armor. It is a satire of feudalism and monarchy that also celebrates homespun ingenuity and democratic values while questioning the ideals of capitalism and outcomes of the Industrial Revolution. It is among several works by Twain and his contemporaries that mark the transition from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era of socioeconomic discourse.

When I mentioned to my grandmother that I wanted to read more classic titles she was thrilled with the idea and gave me quite an extensive list. This book was among the titles she gave me. Unfortunately, I really struggled to get into the story. I expected a lot more excitement and adventure but I was left feeling like I was reading more of a guidebook to modernizing medieval  Europe. It was nice to have my hand at a work of Mark Twain, but to be honest, I could take or leave this book.

Buy A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court on Amazon


The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

Graveyard Book

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

Neil Gaiman has long been one of my favorite authors. He is responsible for books like American Gods, Stardust, and Coraline. This book is easily my favorite title belonging to this author and is probably tied with the Gretta Helsing books as my favorite read this year. Graveyard book is a retelling of a classic. Gaiman’s retelling of the Jungle Book swaps jungle animals for graveyard ghosts and ghouls twisted with secret societies and a smattering of other supernatural forces.

Buy The Graveyard Book on Amazon


The Witches of New York

by Ami McKay

The Witches of New York

New York in the spring of 1880 is a place alive with wonder and curiosity. Determined to learn the truth about the world, its residents enthusiastically engage in both scientific experimentation and spiritualist pursuits. Séances are the entertainment of choice in exclusive social circles, and many enterprising women—some possessed of true intuitive powers, and some gifted with the art of performance—find work as mediums.

Enter Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair. At their humble teashop, Tea and Sympathy, they provide a place for whispered confessions, secret cures, and spiritual assignations for a select society of ladies, who speak the right words and ask the right questions. But the profile of Tea and Sympathy is about to change with the fortuitous arrival of Beatrice Dunn.

When seventeen-year-old Beatrice leaves the safety of her village to answer an ad that reads “Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply,” she has little inclination of what the job will demand of her. Beatrice doesn’t know it yet, but she is no ordinary small-town girl; she has great spiritual gifts—ones that will serve as her greatest asset and also place her in grave danger. Under the tutelage of Adelaide and Eleanor, Beatrice comes to harness many of her powers, but not even they can prepare her for the evils lurking in the darkest corners of the city or the courage it will take to face them.

This title popped up on my Audible recommended reading list. An easy read that left me wanting more. I felt as though this book touched on some very exciting opportunities for plot development but didn’t quite follow through. However, as I was putting together this list I discovered that this book is actually part of a series, which I have no doubt will dive into the storylines I felt was breezed through in book one.

Buy The Witches of New York on Amazon


Interview with the Vampire

by Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

Another book turned into a movie. I vaguely remember the movie starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise that follows the same basic vampire m.o. Brooding vampire struggling with the march of time and dismayed by all the death and pain he has caused. Enter a vampire who has taken to the life of death and desire like a fish to water who tries to convince their depressed counterpart that they need to find joy in their situation. This book follows that same basic concept but went on way way too long. I felt that the same story could have been told in half the time and we all could have moved on to something more exciting. Again, this was a book I thought I should read because it had set the tone for many vampire stories to follow, but in the end, the book had about as much life to it as one of Lestat’s drained corpses.

Buy Interview with the Vampire on Amazon


Strange Practice (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel, Book 1)

by Vivan Shaw

Strange Practice (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel Book 1)

Greta Helsing inherited her family’s highly specialized and highly peculiar medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although she barely makes ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice and her life.

This is another title that has been sitting on my wish list for a while and I could kick myself for not reading it sooner. I could not put this book down and was thrilled to learn that there were two more published books in the series. The Dr. Greta Helsing series was easily my favorite reads this year.

Buy Strange Practice on Amazon


Dreadful Company (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel, Book 2)

by Vivian Shaw

Dreadful Company.jpg

When Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, is unexpectedly called to Paris to present at a medical conference, she expects nothing more exciting than professional discourse on zombie reconstructive surgery and skin disease in bogeymen — and hopefully at least one uneventful night at the Opera.

Unfortunately for Greta, Paris happens to be infested with a coven of vampires — and not the civilized kind. If she hopes to survive, Greta must navigate the darkest corners of the City of Lights, the maze of ancient catacombs and mine-tunnels underneath the streets, where there is more to find than simply dead men’s bones.

This was the second book in the Greta Helsing series and I was just as thrilled with book two as I was with book one. This page-turner had me launching myself into book three.

Buy Dreadful Company on Amazon


Grave Importance (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel, Book 3)

by Vivian Shaw

Grave Importance

Oasis Natrun: a private, exclusive, highly secret luxury health spa for mummies, high in the hills above Marseille, equipped with the very latest in therapeutic innovations both magical and medical. To Dr. Greta Helsing, London’s de facto mummy specialist, it sounds like paradise. But when Greta is invited to spend four months there as the interim clinical director, it isn’t long before she finds herself faced with a medical mystery that will take all her diagnostic skill to solve.

A peculiar complaint is spreading among her mummy patients, one she’s never seen before. With help from her friends and colleagues — including Dr. Faust (yes, that Dr. Faust), a sleepy scribe-god, witches, demons, a British Museum curator, and the inimitable vampyre Sir Francis Varney — Greta must put a stop to this mysterious illness before anybody else crumbles to irreparable dust…

…and before the fabric of reality itself can undergo any more structural damage.

Book three in the Greta Helsing series did not dissapoint. This story was exciting and wrapped many of these characters in a perfect way where I could say a satisfied goodbye while picturing their futures without the need for more from the author, although I would happily welcome another addition to the series.

Buy Grave Importance on Amazon


Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel

by Disney Press, A. W. Jantha

Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this New York Times bestselling two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest vile scheme.

I dare you not to visualize Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, or Kathy Najimy storming through the story as you revisit one of your favorite Halloween stories. I heard each of their voices perfectly as I tore my way through this book and made my way through an all-new Sanderson adventure.

Buy Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel on Amazon


Doctor Sleep

by Stephen King

Dr. Sleep

Years ago, the haunting of the Overlook Hotel nearly broke young Dan Torrance’s sanity, as his paranormal gift known as “the shining” opened a door straight into hell. And even though Dan is all grown up, the ghosts of the Overlook—and his father’s legacy of alcoholism and violence—kept him drifting aimlessly for most of his life. Now, Dan has finally found some order in the chaos by working in a local hospice, earning the nickname “Doctor Sleep” by secretly using his special abilities to comfort the dying and prepare them for the afterlife. But when he unexpectedly meets twelve-year-old Abra Stone—who possesses an even more powerful manifestation of the shining—the two find their lives in sudden jeopardy at the hands of the ageless and murderous nomadic tribe known as the True Knot, reigniting Dan’s own demons and summoning him to battle for this young girl’s soul and survival…

The sequel to The Shining is just as chilling as you would expect from a Stephen King novel. The book was turned into a movie in 2019 starring Ewan McGregor, I have yet to see it but I hope the screen version can do the book justice.

Buy Doctor Sleep on Amazon


The House with a Clock in its Walls

by John Bellairs

The House with a Clock in its Walls.jpg

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan. comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both magicians! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Selenna Izard. It seems that Selenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls–a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can stop it!

A very cute story but another case where I felt the film create much more magic than the book. A fun Halloween read with characters you would hope to visit again and again.

Buy The House with a Clock in Its Walls on Amazon


A Discovery of Witches: A Novel
(All Souls Trilogy, Book 1)

by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches- A Novel (All Souls Trilogy, Book 1)

Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar’s depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life.

I remember my mom reading this book years ago and being intrigued by a story that brought vampires and witches together in a forbidden romance. This was long before the Twilight Saga sparked the vampire craze in the media. This first book in the All Souls Trilogy is a grown-up version of Twilight that incorporates time travel and witchcraft into the overprotective vampire boyfriend story we have all become familiar with. In 2018 this story was brought to life on screen in the television series Discover of Witches. In this case although the show was great and inspired me to read the books, the books were so much better. The imagery in the books was wonderfully done and I missed little but beloved details like the ghosts at Dianna’s house.

Buy A Discovery of Witches on Amazon


Shadow of Night: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy, Book 2)

by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night- A Novel (All Souls Trilogy).jpg

J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice—only a few writers capture the imagination the way that Deborah Harkness has with her New York Times–bestselling All Souls trilogy. A Discovery of Witches introduces reluctant witch Diana Bishop, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and the battle for a lost, enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.

The follow up to Discovery of Witches this second book in the All Souls Trilogy picks up right where the story left off and takes you on an exciting journey through Elizabethan England to continue Dianna’s development as a witch and her mission to find the book of life.

Buy Shadow of Night on Amazon


The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy, Book 3)

by Deborah Harkness

The Book of Life.jpg

After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple, at last, learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.

The final book in the All Souls Trilogy brought a wonderful close to the story but still left me wanting more. I am curious to see what the future has in store for fans of the world Harkness has created.

Buy The Book of Life on Amazon


Time’s Convert

by Deborah Harkness

Time's Convert

On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus’s deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor–the young employee at Sotheby’s whom Marcus has fallen for–is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he’d escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both–forever.

A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time’s Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

This book was a fun way to revisit the All Souls Trilogy characters. In this book, readers are given the opportunity to dive into the backstory of a supporting character, Marcus, and experience what life would be like for someone who was made a vampire in the not too distant past.

Buy Time’s Convert on Amazon


Who: The Method for Hiring

by Geoff Smart & Randy Street

Who- The Method for Hiring.jpg

In this instant New York Times Bestseller, Geoff Smart and Randy Street provide a simple, practical, and effective solution to what The Economist calls “the single biggest problem in business today”: unsuccessful hiring. The average hiring mistake costs a company $1.5 million or more a year and countless wasted hours. This statistic becomes even more startling when you consider that the typical hiring success rate of managers is only 50 percent.

The silver lining is that “who” problems are easily preventable. Based on more than 1,300 hours of interviews with more than 20 billionaires and 300 CEOs, Who presents Smart and Street’s A Method for Hiring. Refined through the largest research study of its kind ever undertaken, the A Method stresses fundamental elements that anyone can implement–and it has a 90 percent success rate.

Whether you’re a member of a board of directors looking for a new CEO, the owner of a small business searching for the right people to make your company grow, or a parent in need of a new babysitter, it’s all about Who. 

As someone new to the world of HR one of my biggest challenges over the past year was learning how to hire new talent effectively for the company I work for. This book was recommended to me by the company I work for’s Director of Operations. This book was a big help to me as I began to revise our current hiring process.

Buy Who: The Method for Hiring on Amazon


Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

This easily made my top five reads of the year. I was so moved by the family’s love for one another and for their friends and neighbors. The kindness and strength shown by the characters in this book made for a perfect Christmas season read that I can foresee me revisiting year after year.

Buy Little Women on Amazon


 

I have so enjoyed getting back into a reading routine, and I really look forward to continuing on in 2020.

 

My Top 5 Reads of 2019

  1. The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)
  2. Strange Practice (Vivian Shaw)
  3. Dreadful Company (Vivian Shaw)
  4. Grave Importance (Vivian Shaw)
  5. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)

 

My Top 5 Reads of 2018

  1. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O (Neil Stephenson & Nicole Galland)
  2. Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
  3. Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton)
  4. Circe (Madeline Miller)
  5. Good Omens (Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman)