Top 10 Reads of 2019

When I was younger, I had a vision to have read every book in the library. At some point I realized that that wasn’t going to be achievable so I decided to try to read all the New Releases to keep up on all new matter. Eventually I realized that couldn’t possibly happen even if I read all day, every day, exclusively. Then there were approximately 10 years where I hardly read at all.

Where this history of my reading leads is that when I picked up the reading habit again in 2019, I had a LOT of very excellent material to work through that had been missed in my absence. When I picked books to read in 2019, it was largely based on those books that got me excited on booktube, bookstagram and goodreads. I’ve been working through some of the most recommended reads and those whose reviews sounded like gems. Along the way though, a few surprise finds also made it in to my Top 10. I make no claim that these are the best written books or that they are even solid reads on a larger scale, but these are my Top 10 books I read in 2019, regardless of their actual rankings:

#10 – Carve the Mark – Veronica Roth

This book was a re-read for me. I actually meant to pick up another book, but by the time I realized what book this was, I was invested in the storyline again and couldn’t really remember how the series ended. By the time I got through the second book in the series – The Fates Divide, I remembered why I couldn’t remember the conclusion – because in my opinion it was an unremarkable / forgettable end to this story that started out so strong in Carve the Mark. All in all, this book still makes me feel good and is a solid contended in the Top 10.

#9 – Skipping Christmas – John Grisham

This was the only other re-read on my Top 10 List. I started this book as a selection for the #ohwhatfun readathon, in the midst of all the crazy, Christmas fun, and thoroughly enjoyed it again. Maybe next year I’ll have to forgo all the presents, decorations and mayhem for a carribean cruise.

#8 – Talking As Fast As I Can – Lauren Graham

This was the first audiobook that I listened to, which was read by the author themselves and it was a FANTASTIC journey with Lauren, who really sounded like a best friend in the back of my head…

Obviously, this book is for fans of Lauren’s hit show, Gilmore Girls, and if that wasn’t your thing, really, REALLY, don’t waste your time, but it was a fantastic story and a great trip down memory lane. Well done!

#7 – Roar (Thirty Women, Thirty Stories)- Cecelia Ahren

This book was truly a random pick off the library shelf and clearly has a strong, feminism leaning, so if that’s not your thing, then totally bypass this suggestion, but for the most part I found the stories incredibly cute, funny and insightful. I would say that probably 75% of the stories were gems and fantastic, however there were a few, particularly near the end of the book, that just didn’t do it for me. But for a random pick, I was thoroughly impressed and entertained.

#6 – Kingdom of Ash – Sarah J. Maas

In preparation for this final book of the series, I did a complete series re-read in 2018 / 2019 because I knew that I had skimmed over some parts of the previous stories to get to this point. The re-read and the series conclusion did NOT disappoint!

Probably my favourite part of this book was, let’s say a character “evolution” more than a “development”. So many of the characters ended this book in a different frame of mind / role than I had expected them to at the beginning of the book. The fact that this series featured several different love interests / plot lines that actually made me change who I was hoping would match up is a huge plus for the storytelling, because I am usually very loyal to the first matchings and can’t get away from that… Just typing about this series gives me all the feels again and makes me think about another re-read for 2020.

#5 and #4 – Clockwork Princess / Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

Although the second book of the Infernal Devices series (Clockwork Prince) didn’t actually make my Top 10 list, it was still a solid read, but I just found myself less invested in that story as the others.

Clockwork Angel, at #5, made me fall in love with the Shadowhunter Universe again, and made me forgive Cassandra Clare for writing about something other than Clary and Jace.

And Clockwork Princess, at #4, was just a wonderful read, that I was completely mesmerized in and couldn’t tear myself away from. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, it was a wonderful experience. And the tie-ins to the “The Mortal Instruments” series, which happens years in the future, were gems that maybe I should have guessed at, but it had been a while since I had last re-read the original series.

#3 – The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Okay, I’ll admit that I had read sooooooooo many great reviews of this book, that I was almost afraid that if I ended up liking it, I would be pandering to the court of public opinion. I had picked it up as an e-book several times and just couldn’t really get into it… until I discovered the audiobook gem that is this story being narrated by death, who apparently has a german accent.

At the end of the day, I know that this was a great read, because parts of it keep coming to mind randomly as I’m thinking or seeing something entirely unreleated, even weeks after completing the story. Also, it taught me a few choice curse words in german that my family doesn’t know so there’s that bonus!

#2 – The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys, and in fact the entire The Raven Cycle series, was a book / series that I was excited to read based on booktube recommendations. I was completely expecting this to be a light, easy-reading, YA romance that would make me feel all squishy inside and get through super-quick.

The truth is, whether you agree with me or not, that this is actually a solid read. The story is very well developed, with captivating characters and just a smidge of romance to keep my heart a-flutter. This being now several days into 2020, I can say that I’ve completed the 2nd book and am now well on my way into the 3rd and the remainder of the series so far is perfectly in-line with my comments of the first book.

So glad that I picked this gem up…

#1 – Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

If you had asked me at the beginning of 2019 if my top read would be a hardcover, e-book or audiobook, audio would have been my absolute last choice, however this was an excellent audiobook with a fantastic narrator. I only read this book via audiobook, because it was one of the relevant titles I had heard of that was also available at the library when I was looking for something to listen to. I doubt that I would have picked up either the hardcover or e-book format.

This was a great story, with a great message, even though I do feel like some of Hannah’s antics were problematic and I come from different stock in terms of how I dealt with bullying situations when I was a teenager. This book was so good, I’ve added it to my Netflix listing to watch the series.

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