Welcome to our last Top Ten Tuesday of 2019! I love how perfectly the timing worked out for this. We haven’t wanted to release a ‘Best of’ list yet because all of us were still reading and you never know what treasures you might uncover in the last few days.
Now, to be specific, this is everyone’s favorite reads of 2019 whether or not they were reviewed on the site. With a team this big, there’s bound to be some stuff that didn’t get reviewed on here, but we wanted to give everyone a chance to shout out their favorite reads.
We will also have a few more lists coming to you in early 2020, including Favorite New-to-Me Authors, Diverse Authors to Read in 2020, etc. So stay tuned!
Sci-Fi & Scary’s Favorite Reads of 2019
Lilyn’s Favorite Reads
A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.
Review for Chilling Effect to come on Jan 2nd, 2020
Pet is here to hunt a monster.
Are you brave enough to look?
In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices a young person can make when the adults around them are in denial.
As the walls between our world and the world of the dead grow thin, Rose will have to face her old nightmares to stop the Whispers from breaking free. If she can’t, it won’t just be Memphis that falls to the dead–there will be no safe place left on earth for the living.
Gracie’s Favorite Reads
Funny, frightening and moving, the stories in Simon Bestwick’s new collection explore how our childhoods mark us, our regrets haunt us, and how our innocence is sometimes lost—and sometimes taken away.
The rules are simple:
1) The people in the terminal must choose a single person from among them. That person will live. The rest will die.
2) Anyone who attempts to leave the terminal before the final vote will die.
3) The final vote… must be unanimous.
A nightmare. And getting worse, because the best way to make a vote unanimous… is to kill the other voters.
Welcome to the end of the line. Welcome to the Terminal.
Odd tales of campus life at Miskatonic University!
This is your first year? Welcome! Oh, you’re going to love it here at Miskatonic. Just . . . be careful. I mean, I’m sure everything will be fine, but you know, things happen. This can be a strange place. You hear stories: people changing and buildings rearranging, ghostly sounds and overly attentive textbooks, odd notions and foul deeds . . . even monsters! Hah. Just stories, right? Sure.
Faculty struggling for funding in the occult sciences. Students trying to navigate whole new worlds of possibility. Administration striving for growth and progress and not just damage control. And Arkham residents adjusting to the constant influx of new faces.
Just study hard. Party safe. Maybe find love. And don’t die.
Review to come early January 2020
Nico’s Favorite Reads
Collected for the first time in an omnibus edition, the Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning Binti trilogy, the story of one extraordinary girl’s journey from her home to distant Oomza University.
In her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella, Nnedi Okorafor introduced us to Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family’s concerns, Binti’s talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey.
But everything changes when…
Jacqueline is a young Creole slave in antebellum New Orleans. An unusual stranger who has haunted her dreams since childhood comes to stay as a guest in her master’s house. Soon after his arrival, members of the household die mysteriously, and Jacqueline is suspected of murder. Despite her fear of the stranger, Jacqueline befriends him and he helps her escape. While running from the slave catchers, they meet conjurers, a loup-garou, and a traveling circus of supernatural freaks. She relies on ancestral magic to guide her and finds strength to conquer her fears on her journey.
It was the night HE tried to go home…but got caught in THEIR drama…
It’s Halloween. Nick Roesch, a towering figure of evil and stupidity, escapes from the upstate New York mental hospital he’s been committed to for the past five years. Planning to return to his childhood home, where he brutally murdered his babysitter’s boyfriend, his plans are halted when he crosses paths with an even more terrifying beast—two high school friends with some serious beef…
Olly’s Favorite Reads
Kit Power did not write this book.
Sure, the stories and essays are his – 21 pieces culled from the very best of his fiction and nonfiction work of the last four years, including previously unpublished work – but as to the rest…
At the end of Yellow Street, in a ruined junkyard of a house, an angry outcast hatches a scheme to take revenge for all the wrongs he has suffered. With the help of three alienated neighborhood kids, he plans to hide razor blades, poison, drugs, and broken glass in Halloween candy and use the deadly treats to maim or kill dozens of innocent children. But as the clock ticks closer to sundown, will one of his helpers—an innocent himself, in his own streetwise way—carry out or defeat the plan?
Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her role in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY without losing herself in the process?
Tracy’s Favorite Reads
In her debut novella, Rios de la Luz examines the lives a small family of water witches living near the US-Mexico boarder. Exploring issues of race and trauma along with beauty and magic, Itzá is a powerful reclamation of body and identity.
Suzy and her brother, Lim, live with their abusive mother in a town where the stars don’t shine at night. Once the abuse becomes too much to handle, the two siblings embark on a sordid cross-country murder spree beginning with their mom. As the murder tally rises, Suzy’s mental state spirals into irredeemable madness.
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.
Sam’s Favorite Reads
What does carrion taste like? Andi has to know. The vultures circling outside her home taunt and invite her to come understand the secrets hiding in their banquet of decay. Fascination morphs into an obsessive need to know what the vultures know. Andi turns to Dr. Fawning, but even the therapist cannot help her comprehend the secrets she’s buried beneath anger-induced blackouts….
The Homecoming is at once a gripping mystery, a chilling exploration of how our memories can both define and betray us, and a riveting page-turner that will have you questioning your very existence.
On winter solstice, the birds disappeared, and the mist arrived.
The inhabitants of Nebulah quickly learn not to venture out after dark. But it is hard to stay indoors: cabin fever sets in, and the mist can be beguiling, too.
Eventually only six remain. Like the rest of the townspeople, Pete has nowhere else to go. After he rescues a stranded psychic from a terrible fate, he’s given a warning: he will be dead by solstice unless he leaves town – soon.
V. Castro’s Favorite Reads
Snow Over Utopia is a genre-bending short novel of apocalyptic fantasy, sci-fi psychedelia, and doom metal.
Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street…
Sian’s Favorite Reads
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.
Grief is a black house.
How far would you go? What horrors would you endure if it meant you might see the son you thought you’d lost forever?
Driven to a breakdown by the brutal murder of her young son, Lucy Campbell had locked herself away, fallen deep inside herself, become a ghost haunting room 23b of the William Tuke Psychiatric Hospital.
There she’d remained, until the whispering pulled her back, until she found herself once more sitting in her car, calling to the son she had lost, staring into the black panes of the now abandoned house where Alex had died.
Tonight, someone is watching her back.
Nope, not a mistake, 2 of us chose this book!
JB Rockwell’s Favorite Read of 2019
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
Looking over everyone’s choices, I am happy to see that instead of a list that’s primarily straight, able-bodied white men, we have a lot of diverse representation. It just goes to show that if you think that only white guys write good horror or sci-fi you just haven’t found the right books.
Congratulations to everyone on this list. The Sci-Fi & Scary team read a LOT, are mostly picky as hell, and to stand out enough to make this list it means that you did some exceptional work.
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.