Most of the books I read are in series. Last year I started reading 45 new series and finished reading 29 series. But sometimes a stand-alone novel can really hit the spot. Here are my top five from last year's reading.
1/ Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Strong voice and humour mix with a serious adult quest in this fairytale-ish fantasy. Enough ingredients from fairytales to give it a distinct feel--impossible tasks, faerie godmothers at christenings, and princesses--yet enough unique elements like the dust-wife and the blister land to still create a sense of wonder.
2/ Dweller on the Threshold by Sklya Dawn Cameron
Strong voice and chapter one hook, rising tension, lots of spooky scenes and an AMAZING ending/solution--everything I wanted but didn't know I wanted. (And yes, I can confirm, the cats are both fine.)
3/ Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier
An electric chapter one put me permanently in the Wolf Duke's camp. A tortured hero who tries so HARD is so my jam. The magic system felt fresh and new and the pages flew by.
4/ Into the Broken Lands by Tanya Huff
I'm a long-time Tanya Huff fan. This one grabbed me very early on, once I found out
the secret of the "weapon". Strong characters, lots of peril and
interesting magic happening across two timelines.
5/ Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Absolutely riveting beginning, good voice, and high stakes made this a page turner. Also lots and lots of science, so if you liked the Martian, you'll probably like this. A lovely twist around the mid-point that I didn't see coming because I followed my usual practice of avoiding the blurb.