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Reading the Top 12 Fantasy Books on Goodreads | 2020 TBR

I've slowly been sticking my toes into adult fantasy for the past few years, and lately, there have been a lot that I have wanted to read but just keep putting off for some reason or another. But mostly, because I'm intimidated by them.

Adult fantasy seems so inaccessible for me. And I think that's because I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Over half of the books I read are via audio. And like a lot of people, adult fantasy is very hard for me to grasp onto via audiobook. I'm not quite sure what it is. Something about all the fantasy names and locations and none of it seeming real I think is part of it.

But I really want to conquer my fear of adult fantasy in 2020. And I want to get back into the habit of physically reading books because it's something I really enjoy and have missed in the past year or so of mostly listening to audiobooks.

Enter, a Goodreads article. 

After a few years of consistent book buying, I have amassed a not-that-small collection of unread fantasy books. That results in me being kind of overwhelmed when I go to my shelves to pick out one that I'm interested in reading because I'm interested in all of them! So, when I logged onto Goodreads to see a list of adult fantasy that I'm very interested in reading (and I already own most of them), I figured that this would be as good a jumping-off point as any.

Now, I've already read two of these, The Hobbit and A Game of Thrones, so here are the ten adult fantasy books that I'm challenging myself to read throughout the year.

  • NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo: Starting this list off with two women feels good. Adult fantasy is a genre historically dominated by men (as the rest of this list will show you) so it makes me a little happy that the two top trending fantasy books on Goodreads are ones written by women. Ninth House, in particular, I am a little hesitant about because I've heard mixed reviews. However, I do generally like Bardugo's work so I'm going in optimistic, even though I know the subject matter is dark.
  • CIRCE by Madeline Miller: This one is a recommendation from a) Goodreads b) everyone on the internet and c) my sister. So this one is a definite must-read for me because once books (especially ones that aren't adaptations) go beyond the bookish internet and into mainstream culture, I know that I've got to read it, especially when it's got the older sister stamp of approval. 
  • THE LAST WISH & BLOOD OF ELVES by Andrzej Sapkowski: I'm planning on starting The Last Wish in February because I just recently finished watching the show and have the bug to know more about this world and this story. If I like the first book, then I'll probably immediately jump into the second collection of short stories, Sword of Destiny.

  • THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING by J.R.R. Tolkein: I knew there was going to be one classic fantasy on here that I was not excited to read, and here it is. I do own a very 80s book club edition of this series, so I was definitely planning on reading it at some point in my life. But I'm nervous to read this because I didn't grow up on any Tolkien. The movies came out when I was very young, and I remember being terrified of Gollum. And when I watched them through in college . . . I was really bored? I did start the first book years ago in high school (right after I finished reading The Hobbit) and got to the point where Frodo and Sam start their journey before I got tired of Tolkein's descriptions. Hopefully, I've matured a bit as a reader since then and can appreciate this series and its impact.
  • GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: Probably the one on this list that I'm most excited to read? I started reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld series last year (and feel very comfortable in saying that reading through that series is a lifetime goal because it's so long) and I really loved what I read. Also, I read some Gaiman last year that I really loved, so I'm excited to read the collaboration between these two. I'm really confident that I'll enjoy it because I enjoy some humor in my fantasy and Pratchett does that incredibly well. 

  • AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman: I don't know a lot about this one. I did find a used copy of this for a couple bucks, so I do own it and am terrified of it because it's massive. 
  • THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss: Speaking of terrified . . . this is one of the very first adult fantasy books I ever bought because I heard so much buzz about it. And it's sat on my TBR shelf for years because there's still no announcement for the third book in this trilogy and it's been something obscene like ten years since the second book was published? So part of me is terrified of reading a very large fantasy book that I might not enjoy, and then the other part of me preemptively scared of getting through books one and two and having to wait an indefinite amount of time for the third book. 
  • THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman: The only book on this list that I a) have firmly DNF'd and b) do not own. I started reading this ages ago in high school because it was an almost-boyfriend's favorite book and I wanted to impress him. But, uh, I started it and did not enjoy it so I just kind of gave up on reading it. I'm going to try one more time to read this, but I will not beat myself up if I still don't enjoy it and just end up DNF'ing it again.
  • THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin: Wow, am I glad this book is on here because this list is dominated, with the exception of Bardugo and Miller, by white men. And there is so much more to fantasy and so many more fantasy writers than just white people. Jemisin was the first black woman to win the Hugo award (I believe for this book, but it could be for one of her other series). This is a very highly acclaimed book, both in terms of awards and from people that have read it, so I'm excited to read it. 

I want to review as many of these books as possible, too. Is there one that you're particularly interested in my thoughts on? Is there one on this list that I need to read first? Or if you want to read some of these, we can totally read them together. Let me know down in the comments!



2020 Books I've Preordered | My 6 Most Anticipated Releases (+16 Bonus Books)

Happy belated new year! I'm not making any promises about blogging regularly (we all saw how that turned out last year, oop), but I just got the blogging bug again and wanted to chat about some of the books that I'm absolutely bursting at the seams to read. A few of these have already come out because this is getting posted late into January, but that doesn't mean they were any less anticipated by me!

I don't preorder a lot of books usually, but I feel like this year was kind of an outlier because most of these books are sequels in series that I love and adore (with a couple of exceptions).

Come Tumbling Down - 7 January

Even though this one has already been released and I already have it in my home and on my shelves, I haven't read this one yet. I like to save these books for a time when I'm feeling a little bit down and want a quick escape to a different world. This one also is more of a direct sequel to the second book in the series, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which is my favorite out of the four books I've read so far, and I kind of want to reread that before jumping into this one.  

I've pretty much had this one on preorder since the cover was revealed.

And it's a good thing that I did make this list late in January because otherwise, I wouldn't be able to gush about how much I love this series. I added this to my preorder list maybe a week or so ago because I impulse bought and immediately devoured the first volume of this in the first week of January. As soon as I finished it, I immediately bought the second book. 

It's been a long time since I've been this attached to a series and been this ravenous to read on with the story, so I had to preorder it. 

This one is a little bit of a gamble for me. But how could I not gamble on THAT COVER and this synopsis: 
Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.
A F/F rom-com where the hardened against love character falls in love with a soft romantic is everything that I didn't know I needed. Also, I just have a gut feeling that I'll really relate to Saoirse's character. I am not prepared.

The sequel to one of my favorite reads of last year was another immediate add to this list. I really don't know what this will be about (I'm honestly worried that it won't be very good) other than it will obviously pick up after the events of the first. I really didn't need more.

While Rory Power's debut book, Wilder Girls, was one of the most divisive releases of last year, I was firmly in the this-is-amazing camp. It gave me major Annihilation meets Lord of the Flies vibes, and that atmosphere totally made the book for me. 

All I really know is that Power refers to this as the "corn book" and that the cover is stunning. I really love her writing style, and that was all I needed to preorder this book because I knew for sure that I would want to read it as soon as it came out.

The third book in the best current middle-grade series was an immediate pre-order for me. Like everyone else, I'm absolutely obsessed with this series. I can't believe we're finally getting the third book. I'm actually unbelievably excited, this is my most anticipated book of 2020.

The rest of these are some of my most intriguing releases of 2020. If you want all the releases for this year that are on my radar, here is my goodreads shelf. Most of these are ones that I will get from my library, see if they appear on scribd, or might buy for myself if I hear enough good buzz about them.

Loveboat, Taipei - 7 January | Dark and Deepest Red - 14 January

Eight Perfect Murders - 3 March | Wild at Heart - 3 March

Frozen Beauty - 17 March | The Glass Hotel - 24 March

Check, Please!: Book 2 - 7 April | The Prettiest - 14 April | Running - 5 May

A Song Below Water - 2 June | Loveless - 9 July | Grown - 15 September

And that's it! I'm really excited about all of these books, and so many more! 2020 feels like it's going to be an incredible year for book releases. And if these stunning covers are anything to go by, I have high hopes.

What are some of your most anticipated releases of this year? Do we have any of the same books on our lists? Let me know!