Top 19 Books of 2019

Wow-oh Wow! 2019 was a GREAT reading year for me! I ready 141 books and only didn’t finish one, which for me is great. For the most part I read a lot of books I truly loved and explored some new authors and genres. I read more contemporary books and actually enjoyed some mysteries (this is impressive just accept it). It was really hard to narrow it down to a tight favorite list and kind of ironically I ended up with 19 for 2019 that I just couldn’t really make a favorites list without. Let me know if you have read any of my favorite or what your favorite reads of the year were!

19. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas: Honestly after Empire of Storms I was nervous, but I loved this story. I loved Chaol. I loved his growth and EVERY SINGLE PERSON on the southern continent.

18. After the Fall by E.C. Myers: So RWBY is one of my favorite shows but I loved this look into the world. It traveled to one of the regions the show had yet to explore after the falling events of season 3.  So it had a lot of freedom. Team CVFY (coffee) was great with complicated relationships and semblances that weren’t for fighting or couldn’t be used. So all the fight seasons were intense. If you love the show it is a must read and will hopefully set up seasons to come.

17. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: This is the story of a town and a girl over a year and wish. This is a beautifully written and constructed book, craft-wise perhaps one of the best I’ve ever read. However, this is probably one of the only books on this list I couldn’t read again just out of pure mental and emotional capacity.

16. Stardust by Neil Gaiman: This a wonderful fairytale for adults or really anyone. I really enjoyed this read and it gave me more excuses to watch the move. You can read about more of my thoughts here.

15. Scythe by Neal Schusterman: Once again a very hyped book and series that deserves it. This dystopian (if you didn’t know) takes place in a world where all ailments even death have been conquered but to control the population Scythes are enlisted to maintain it. It takes so many twists and in a genre that has been so explored I was so surprised. You can read my full thoughts on this post.

14. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: This is a mystery novel that is set at a boarding school where everyone has one passion they study. Stevie wants to explore true crime, specifically the unsolved mystery that happened at Ellingham Academy in the past. There were so many mysteries, some easy and some hard. I was surprised by the twists and nerves I felt as we learned more.

13. Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo: This was a collection of fairy tales from the world of  the Grisha. It was beautiful and strange and I think about at least one of the once a week.

12. The Complete Persepolis by Marjan Satrapi: This one is pretty critically acclaimed, so I probably don’t need to sell it but it is the graphic memoir of a woman who grows up during the Iranian Revolution. Like with all memoirs I am always shocked by how much life goes on  even during revolution.

11. Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce: Really in this slot could be any of the Circle of Magic quartet. This was my first time reading a book of Tamora Pierce’s outside Tortall. I’m happy to report that the works remain great. I really liked how this book highlighted the difference between scholar mages and natural ones, as well as the imagination and hope of this young band.

10. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: Honestly, this one of the most intricate and honestly intimidating fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. It is this crazy world were orogenes who have connection to the energy world that goes through seasons of apocolypse (the fifth season). They are treated terribly by everyone even though they save the world. It is disturbing, heart-wrenching, and so lovable.

9. Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow: This is a portal fantasy as peihaps implied by the title, but largely focused on one door. So many stories are happening collected along a lifetime. January grows up as a ward of Mr. Locke, a wealthy archaeologist. Her father works for him and is often traveling around the world. January is always left waiting and wanting to follow. It is a beautifully written tale, that feels eerily familiar and wondrous.

8. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill: This book surprised me the most I think. It is about a baby girl sacrificed/rescued from a forest and the witch accidentally feeds the young infant moonlight instead of starlight, imbuing her with magic. It was such a beautiful story about community, family, the lies we tell each other and ourselves, and magic.

7. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett: This was the scariest book I read this year. It follows the along the natural succession of The Power meets The Hunger Games. In this community, for their sixteenth year girls are banished away to purge all “magic and temptation” they possess. It is a complex and scary look at the relationships between women, what allies look like, and how to survive in a society that doesn’t give you agency.

6. UnPregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan: This is the funniest book anyone has ever read about abortion. It largely about a road trip, reuniting, and the decisions we make for ourselves versus for others.

5. The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale: This was one of my first reads the year and the final book of the Princess Academy trilogy which I hold very close to my heart. It was a wonderful conclusion about the power of self-advocating and trauma, but also like middle grade.

4. Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada KellyThis is a middle grade book based on Filipino folklore. It is the story of a girl who choses herself and her mother and must brave a journey that none of completed. It is so freaking magical and darker than I had expected. It’s such a flowing read that I immediately wanted to restart the second I had turned the last page. 

3. Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard: This is one of my favorite series currently and I was so lucky to get to go to one of the tour stops for this release. It is the fourth book in a series so I can’t really do a summary. But I am constantly stunned by how much more I love each installment and the way that the witchlands continue to grow .

2. Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro: This is a hard book to explain. I guess at it’s core it is about police brutality and not feeling safe where you are supposed it. It is an incredibly moving story that wears it’s heart on every page.

1. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly: This is a story about a stepsister who needs a wish but cannot make it until she recovers all the pieces of her heart. I truly have never read a book that the entire time I was reading it felt like it had been written for ME and that I had just been waiting for it. It went immediately to my all time favorite list. 

Top 18 books of 2018

I read approximately 140 books this past year. It was awesome I was so lucky to get to have the time and access to so much reading! I read some incredible books that I want to share, yes most are fantasy and most are female authored but that’s what I read.

I want to keep this short and sweet so I am going to keep my “Why I FREAKING loved it” to 10 words or less per book.

To be honest some slots have more than one book by the same author (Don’t judge I really like books and it’s hard to pick more) So without further ado here are the best books I read this past year.

18. The Mines of the Minotaur by Julia Golding

  • Complex environmental discussion with mythical beasts. Minotaurs. Mental Stability importance.

17. Kings Cage by Victoria Aveyard

  • So many payoff scenes that I’d been waiting for

16. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

  • Hades/Persephone angst/smut. Lots of growth and recovery.

15. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

  • Morally grey. Genius protagonists. So many deaths.

14. The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

  • Nostalgic LBD. Emotional and mental abuse recovery. Recovery isn’t linear.

13. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

  • Reads like a fairy tale. Morally grey characters. Magical Mystery.

12. The Evertree by Marie Lu

  • End of Spirit Animals series. Heartbreaking. Sweet relationships. Great villains.

11. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

  • Dragons. Napoleonic Wars. The sweetest dragons. Dragons.

10. Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi

  • Religion-based magic system. Nigerian world. Quest to save the world!!!

9. Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

  • The ROMANCE! The TRAUMA! Amazing found and discovered families!

8, Trickster’s Duology by Tamora Pierce

  • Gods. Political plots. Spies. Unending love for Aly.

7. The House of Hades or The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

  • My precious, sad children! All the Rick Riordan!

6. The Fatal Throne edited by Candace Fleming

  • Historical fiction. All the Wives! Slightly educational.

5. The Woman Who Rode Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

  • Alanna! My perfect little found family. Also George Cooper.

4. The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irene Brignull

  • Beautiful witch-y writing. Perfectly creepy. Lovely heartbreaking work.

3. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

  • I cried the whole time. Beautiful family novel.

2. Windwitch (all the Witchlands series really) by Susan Denmark

  • Angsty Romance. Political Intrigue. Discovery of unreliable narrator. Owl!

1. Damsel by Elena K. Arnold

  • The most beautiful writing of your life! Dragons! Feminist fantasy.