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The Most Notable Books I Read From The Past 5 Winters

winter reads

Do you ever find yourself looking back through Goodreads to remind yourself of everything you’ve read and when? I recently did this and was amazed to find that winter is usually a great reading season for me. It probably has something to do with being stuck inside for long periods of time during bad weather. Here are some of the best books I read over the past 5 winters.

2015

Goliath, Scott Westerfield

I remember listening to this entire middle grade series on audiobook one right after the other. I really loved their energetic vibe. The steampunk setting was new to me. After I read these, I actively started seeking out steampunk books.


Alek and Deryn are abroad the Leviathan when the ship is ordered to pick up an unusual passenger. This brilliant/maniacal inventor claims to have a weapon called Goliath that can end the war. But whose side is he really on?

While on their top-secret mission, Alek finally discovers Deryn’s deeply kept secret. Two, actually. Not only is Deryn a girl disguised as a guy…she has feelings for Alek.

2016

Illuminae, Jay Kristoff & Amie Kauffman

Has it really been that long since I listened to this unique series on audiobook? I absolutely loved the audio narration. Even after looking at the typographic way the books were laid out, I still loved the audio just as much. The book is full of memos, ship schematics, texts, etc. and magically the spirit of it still comes across when you listen to them.

Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat.

Blue Lily Lily Blue, Maggie Steifvater

Ah, The Raven Cycle. I heart this series so much. I remember that after I read Blue Lily, Lily Blue I decided to wait a really long time to read The Raven King. I just didn’t want the series to end and I knew that it was going to shake me hard. I finally caved and read it in October of that year and completely sobbed at the end.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

2017

The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers

My first introduction to Becky Chambers and oh my!! I adored this book and told basically everyone who would listen to read it. I’ll admit that it’s not for everyone but I was just so enamored with this different way to approach science fiction that Chambers had shown me. They read almost like literary fiction but include the action of a great science fiction novel.

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

2018

The Dry, Jane Harper

I was on a roll in the winter of 2018. I just picking winners one right after the other. The Dry was such a great read. A solid mystery with compelling characters. I’ve since read and loved the read of this series.

In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain. Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier. But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke’s death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds bleed into new ones.

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas in the house and man did I love The Hate U Give. I finished this one in record time and had a major book hangover afterward. I still haven’t seen the movie version of it though.

The Hate U Give (Book)

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo

Ugh, this series is just so fantastic. I can’t even profess my love for this gang of hoodlums enough. It killed me that this was just a duology. I’m still holding out hope that Leigh Bardugo will revisit them again in the future.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Powerful forces have descended on Ketterdam after the deadly drug jurda parem. Kaz and his gang find themselves in the middle of the battle.

Stillhouse Lake, Rachel Caine

This book hooked me from page one. It’s scary and haunting and you ask yourself over and over again what you’d do if you found yourself in this situation. The books get even more gruesome and terrifying as you move on in the series.

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom. Her husband is behind bars but he has fans he’s asked to find his wife and haunt her for him. Gwen and her children are the target of sick internet stalkers and anywhere they go is not safe.

2019

An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon

2019 was one of those years for science fiction (2020 is kind of shaping up to be the same). I just couldn’t get enough. I loved An Unkindness of Ghosts although I do think it’s one of those books you either love, hate, or don’t get.

Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human. When the autopsy of Matilda’s sovereign reveals a surprising link between his death and her mother’s suicide some quarter-century before, Aster retraces her mother’s footsteps.

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand

This is the only Legrand book I’ve ever read but it packed a punch. Yes, it could have used a bit more polishing and bit a more hole filling, but I loved it and couldn’t stop reading.

Who are the Sawkill Girls? Marion, Zoey, Val. Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

Artificial Condition, Martha Wells

Oh hello Martha Wells! You have killed me one novella at a time with this series. How does Murderbot manage to be so damn relate-able as an AI? Pair science fiction with snark and a lot of gun fire and you win. I love Murderbot!

It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…


Can you remember what you were reading last winter?

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Last modified: March 8, 2020
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