Before I begin, I want to start with a disclaimer: not all of these books released in 2019. I thought about making two lists, one with books that actually released last year and one with my favourite “back list” books, but I decided that I’d prefer to group them all together and I hope that’s okay with you guys. I read a grand total of 140 books last year, beating my goal of 100 quite considerably, and I’m super happy to announce I read quite a few series in full (which was one of my 2019 reading goals). I’ve always been the kind of person to get halfway through a series and then get distracted by a new release or a different shiny book or a review copy and what that means is I end up reading the first few books in a series multiple times whilst never actually making it to the last book. 2019 was my year to read series, and I’d like to tell you now that where I’ve put a “book 1” on my favourites list, I’m pretty much including the entire series (unless I mention differently). It’s just easier that way.
Without any further faffing about or explaining things that I probably don’t need to, let’s get into my favourite books of 2019! (In no particular order because they would be far too complicated for me…)
The Fever King by Victoria Lee
I read this one back in January and instantly fell in love, knowing that it would be on my top books of the year – before the year had even truly started. It was one of those reads where you know nothing can compare and it made my heart so full and so empty at the same time, taking me on a journey of emotion whilst also proposing a really interesting world that I can’t wait to revisit.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
I’m pretty sure this book has made it onto everyone’s top list of the year and that’s for one reason alone: it was just truly epic. Groundbreaking, in fact. It was humorous, relatable and brought all the feelings of a beloved chick-flick into reading format and I remember flying through this book in one sitting. The characters are precious and must be protected at all costs and although it took place in the real world, I really enjoyed the made up politics and scandals. Perfection.
The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G Drews
I loved Cait’s last book, A Thousand Perfect Notes, and I knew without a doubt that I’d love this one too. She has a way of writing that absolutely tears down your defences and shatters your perception of reality, making every moment, every heartbreak completely and utterly believable. She had me sobbing, she had me laughing and she had me absolutely torn that I now have to wait so long for her next book. Unless she wants to take pity on me and share her shopping lists or something, but at least I have her blog posts to enjoy until then!
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury
Jessica is becoming quite a big name with quite a few books out in the YA world now, but this was my first of hers and can I just say… it was epic. It’s a space-adventure Anastasia retelling that combines all the magic of the original tale with all the science of a world buried between stars. I went into this one with low expectations having never read (or even heard of) the author before, but she has managed to blow me out of the wager and I promise to never underestimate her again. Ever.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
I read this one twice last year, for the first time in January just before it’s release and then again when I got my hands on an ARC of the sequel. I loved A Heart So Fierce and Broken too, and I just knew that I needed to have this one on my list to be able to talk about the beauty that is Brigid Kemmerer’s world building. She somehow has me begging for Grey to come and take me away to a magical land, even though I have no skills for survival and would most definitely die. At least I’d die happy… right?
Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell
This was arguably one of my top two favourite reads of the year and whether that’s because it is a MASTERPIECE or because I’m a sucker for musicals and retellings, I don’t know. Both? Both is good. This author duo managed to nail Les Miserables on the head whilst rating this rich universe where the imagery is so vivid that you feel like you are right next to the characters every step of the way. When I finished I generally had to go outside to sit in the cold and bring myself back to reality. I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been real and that I wasn’t in space after all. I’m getting emotional again just thinking about it. GIMME THE SECOND BOOK NOW PLEASE!!!
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
I went out of my comfort zone with this one, but I’m super happy I pushed the boundaries of my reading because I ended up really loving it. Whilst I never previously could have predicted that I’d enjoy an adult romance about an autistic woman and a hired-escort, this was silky smooth and completely and utterly adorable. Consider me impressed.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
After my foray into adult romance with Helen Hoang’s books, I decided to meet booktube’s favourite bisexual: Evelyn Hugo. The writing style was very different to what I was expecting, but the interesting narrative kept me hooked whilst also occasionally giving me a brief respite from the tension of Evelyn’s life. I’m also a sucker for plot twists and Taylor Jenkins Reid managed to the hit the nail on the head of a surprise that I would have never seen coming.
Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan
A Touch of Gold was one of last years favourites, and I’m delighted to put Tiger Queen right next to it on my ‘I love Annie Sullivan’ shelf. This was an interesting desert based fantasy about a group of survivors, a kick ass warrior princess and a corrupt government system. Whilst primarily romance-orientated, the background behind this book really sold the story for me and I loved exploring the world alongside the queen of the tigers.
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenburg
I’ve seen this one appearing on quite a few “least favourites of 2019” lists, but I actually really enjoyed it. I thought the creepy Disneyland setting was a really interesting world for a psychological thriller murder-mystery esque book and I thought it was written really well. Everything, for me, was written in perfect clarity and detail whilst also holding back the most important information so I was left surprised til the very end.
The Opposite of Always by Justin A Reynolds
I’m always a sucker for cutesy contemporaries, and this one was no exception. Add time travelling and “she’s the one” into the mix and I’m throwing all my money at you, desperate to the read the book you are offering. Justin did a really good job at building a rich, vibrant story that took place over the same few days – repeatedly. He also made me fall in love with the main female character over and over again and I count that as a win.
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
Surprise bisexuality and a hot dog suit?! What more could a girl ask for, really! I related so much with the main character and her “I’m always stuck with the worst jobs” luck, even though I’ve never worked in a theme park. Or dressed as a hot dog, for that matter. I did dress up as a Christmas elf for a scavenger hunt in my toy store once though. That was… interesting. (I loved it really).
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Discovering a new auto-buy author is one of the best feelings in the world, and discovering a new absolute favourite is actually the best. Timekeeper has been on my radar for a long time and I finally got round to reading it and then had to immediately order the next two books. Upon discovering the final book isn’t out in paperback yet, I used my precious Audible credit to get it. I couldn’t go on without finishing the trilogy. I just couldn’t.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
This is probably one of the most surprising books on my list, and by that I mean I actually expected to hate it. I’ve never been a fan of witch books and pretty much DNF’ed every one I’ve ever read, but somehow… this is the one that broke that certainty. Now I’m wondering how many similar kinds of books I’ve been missing out on due to my stubborn avoidance of anything witchy. This book really has that much power.
Ninth House by Leigh Barudugo
I’ll be honest: if a book has Leigh’s name on it, I’m going to read it. Whether or not it actually sounds like something I’d enjoy. Frankly, this one sounded way too dark for me and way too historical for me but somehow I loved it and I would give my life for Darlington. If you don’t know, Ninth House takes place in modern Yale University as we know it, expect with one big difference. The old societies that exist at Yale are actually houses who have dedicated themselves to casting very dark magic. Alex training to be in charge of making sure no one dies. Or, she is, until her mentor disappears.
Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford
This was a super easy, super sweet read about sister adoration and rebellion. It takes place in the middle of an ocean and the imagery and the way the author describes the world makes you feel like you are about to take a lovely plunge into a calm sea. And then sh*t hits the fan. Or should I say, the ocean comes crashing into shore and brings you back to reality. I really loved the concept behind this story and the execution was really enjoyable, and I had one of those big cheesy grins on my face most of the way through this one. You know the kind I mean.
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeno
This was another one where my expectations were weirdly low, due to never having read any of Rin’s books before, or even wanting to – although this one definitely was the one I wanted to start with. And I’m glad I did. It might be that her writing has matured over time so I wouldn’t like her other books, but The Never Tilting World was a complex masterpiece that had me on the edge of my seat. Literally. It felt like my entire world was tilting underneath me and I was flying through the pages at super speed. I was so invested in the characters and the land that I needed everything to be okay with a desperate passion. I’m not going to spoil you but I am going to say that now, 4 months later, I’ve almost recovered. Almost.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
How do you produce the words to describe a book that has constantly replayed in your heart and mind every day since finishing it? How do you paint a picture in a way that Nina managed to with Crier’s War and still manage to do it justice. Because nothing, nothing, I write would tell you my true feelings about this one. The best I can say is that quite a few pages are stained with tears and I have discovered my favourite book of last year. Maybe even… ever. And I love a lot of books. I just love love this one.
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
If you are a fan of crazy big families, supportive friendships and a hilarious plot line, this is the book for you. Not only is it a contemporary but it’s one of the few that is perfect for Winter time, without actually making you feel cold and miserable by mentions snow. (Yes, I hate snow). Even though it’s the Christmas holidays in this one, the sun is out and blindingly hot, filling you with lovely warm feelings as you sit by the fire and digest it. I would know, as I read this one in one sitting on Boxing Day. Especially if you’re missing summer, like I am.
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen
Whilst technically a January release, my local Waterstones had this one out early and when I went a few days after Christmas with my spending money in hand, I really couldn’t resist this one – despite already having it on preorder from the same store, which wasn’t due to arrive in for a few days. I figured I’d cancel my order and just get started, and I even managed to read it before the new year. It’s a super sweet story where our main character goes to Taiwan to study Mandarin but little do they know the summer school she is sent to is world reknowst for its sex scandals, sleeping around and spendiferous fun.
Infinity Son by Adam Silvera
This was my final read of the year and actually almost didn’t make it onto the list, but I felt I had to due to the sheer shock factor of it being good enough to make my top 20. That probably sounds really cruel, so let me explain. I’m not usually a fan of authors who write across-genres. It just feels like they are trying to appeal to too many different audiences and they should really just pick one, or at least a few similar ones and focus their attention there. So far, Marie Lu is my only exception to this rule. And now maybe Adam. Maybe.
Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire
This little book stole my heart. I’m not sure how and I’m not sure what page I was on but suddenly there was a bleeding cavity in my chest and I was 98% certain it had gone off and found it’s own door to a magical land. That magical land being this book. Seanan has a way of writing concisely with no-nonsense whilst also making every sentence a sheet of silk sliding over clouds. Very soft, very whimsical and a sight to behold. Her words are powerful without being loud, gentle without being soft. The Wayward Children series has firmly planted itself in the hole in my chest and I’m not mad about it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern
I’ve put this one off for so long and now I hate myself for it. It wasn’t exactly one of the easiest reads ever for me, in fact it took me several weeks to complete – but the writing was the closest I’ve come to experiencing Strange The Dreamer all over again and for that I will love it forever, even though I believe it was actually published first. There’s a special magic to whimsical slightly bizarre writing that paints a picture so well you can see it perfectly in your minds eye, and Erin completely conquered the difficulty of it and came up with a beautifully told tale of a travelling magical circus.
Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim
Whilst this is the last book on my list, it is by no means the least. I discovered Tara Sim’s other books, the Timekeeper trilogy this year and adored them so much I simply had to read this one as soon as possible. I traded for an ARC and dove into this one… only to be surprised it wasn’t a science-fiction? That’s the vibe the cover and the title gave me so I was confused for a while but eventually embraced it and ended up loving it. A lot. Even though it wasn’t what I was expecting and that almost threw me off the trail, I was really grateful to experience Tara’s gorgeous writing again and be carried along on the story of a vengeful half-trained assassin.
AND THOSE ARE ALL MY FAVOURITE READS OF THE YEAR!!
This has been a crazy long post so I’m not going to waffle on any longer. I hope you enjoyed me talking about so many books and please let me know if you love any of my favourites as I have a desperate need to talk about them… always.