The new year, and new decade, is upon us and what else is a reader to do at the start of a new year but look back on the books they’ve read the past 365 days.
During 2019 I read 61 books and, according to Goodreads, my average rating was a 3.8. I have to admit, the first half of the year I read more books I enjoyed than the second half. After July, there were so many reading disappointments but that isn’t what we are here to talk about. I want to share with you the books that brought me joy.
These are my 5 favorite reads of the year and what about them stood out to me! They are in no particular order, merely as I found their images in my photo gallery.
Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo – A couple years ago I had read Bardugo’s Six of Crows, hadn’t enjoyed it, and personally wrote off her writing as “not for me.” For some reason, I had a mental breakdown during the summer and decided to reads her Shadow and Bone series. I genuinely loved the first book! We had an interesting leading lady trying to find her way in a world that wasn’t kind or accepting of her and a villain that you just hated to love. While the other two books in this trilogy left a sour taste in my mouth, this opening act was glorious and I’m so glad that I gave it a chance!
Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy – My love of this book came as a bit of a surprise to me. Yes, I expected to enjoy it but what I didn’t expect was to love it. The heart of this book is enchanting and I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. I love that the characters in this book encompass different parts of the spectrum seamlessly. There is no awkward coming out or hiding of who you are. In this world there is magic and mayhem and everyone is accepted without fuss.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) by Brigid Kemmerer – This is a book that just made me delightfully happy. I’ve read Beauty and the Beast retellings before to my great disappointment so to say the least, I wasn’t really expecting a lot from this book. In fact, I had written it off when it was announced as not for me. But, in the way things typically go for me, I picked up this book on a whim and ended up falling head over heels in love. The story is well fleshed out, the characters multi faceted and interesting, and the plot clips along at a good pace without dragging. This story absorbed me and I’m so glad that it did.
Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown – Three years ago I read this book for the first time as a library loan and fell in love with it. This year for my wedding anniversary my husband bought me numerous books (which I’m still very thankful for) and among them was the original Red Rising Saga. When I first read these books Golden Son had been my favorite but upon reread three years later I discovered that Red Rising is the book that truly spoke to my soul. Love, loss, the pain that comes with that, and the obsessive determination for revenge. I’ll be rereading this series over and over in the decades to come.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – This book is a downright miracle. Well, at least to me. Spinning Silver is the only book on this list that I read as an audiobook and I simply can’t imagine consuming this any other way. I was swept away into a world I never wanted to leave. While reading this I both couldn’t get enough of the story and never wanted it to end. But, end it did and it left a lasting impression. I love the way this story was written, the ebb and flow of the plot and character progressions. It just…spoke to me. Some people called this story slow moving, overly dense, and predictable. To me is was very nearly perfection.
And those, folks, are my top five reads of 2019. Admittedly, I didn’t read a lot that I absolutely loved during the year but that’s okay. I may not have found a ton of new books I loved but I found many that I liked, some I hated, and a precious few that I adored. For that, I am grateful.