This year I’m trying to bring back my Fictional Friday feature where I share something book related every (other) week. I don’t want to make any promises, as you know, last year was a blogging disaster for me. Especially when it came to book posts which I think were non-existent. Yet, your girl still loves books and is surrounded by them daily (literally sleeping in between bookshelves, guys). In other words, it’s time to share my favourite books from 2019.
QUICK READING YEAR SUMMARY
2019 was a rough year not just for my blog but for my life entirely. One of the things that was affected by this lousy year was also my reading. I read only 39 books which is not a lot, and very few ended up being my favourite books. I read 53 in 2018, 70 in 2017, 69 in 2016 and 53 in 2015. This year I set a goal to finish 20 books (clearly afraid to fail again) and I hope to get to the big chunky ones I have been too anxious to pick up. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked.
In 2019 I read 39 books and 16 746 pages in total. The shortest book was 159 pages, the longest was a whopping 893 pages. I read three graphic novels, one poetry collection and DNF-d three books. During the year I reread five books and I picked up one non-fiction self-help book. All in all I think my reading year was okay but there is definitely room for improvement. For instance, I need to pick up more diverse reads, different genres and just expand my horizons a little.
My average rating for 2019 books was 3.9.
HONORABLE MENTION & THE FAVOURITE FIVE
* FRANKLY IN LOVE by David Yoon / ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating manoeuvre leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.
My thoughts: The beginning of this book was a little difficult to get into. The plot dragged and I wasn’t sure where the story was going. I was also lead to believe that this is a love story. It is not and I think at the end of the day, Frankly in Love is so much more. Yet the reason I gave it just four stars and didn’t put it in my favourite five list is because it felt like two books in one. I wish the focus of the entire book was like the second half. Instead it’s this strange set up that eventually serves a point but yet, it’s so small considering the entire outcome.
I loved the perspective of an Asian-American kid because there aren’t many books that tell these kinds of stories. By the end of the book my favourite thing was the emotional impact it had on me as well. But like I said, I thought the book had two different stories and I wish the plot had been more grounded in one.
5. THE POPPY WAR by R. F. Kuang / ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good.
My thoughts: Fantasy has always been my favourite genre and it is delightful to get stories that are so different. Now, I have a very vague knowledge of The Poppy War because my brain is failing me. Not because it’s a bad book but because I had a rough year and well, depression messes with your memory. So I have a hard time remembering information, character names and some of the plot points at this moment. I do remember that I enjoyed this book a lot because for some reason, no matter how bad I feel, I will always remember the emotions a book gave me.
One of the things I must say is that I wished the academy part was longer. I have a distinct memory of sighing out loud when the main character leaves the school. I think school settings, especially in fantasy books, are amazing! Here I think we even got like a two year time jump somewhere in the first part and I wasn’t happy about it. Partly because the magic in this book is unique and interesting, so I wanted to know more about it.
4. THE UNHONEYMOONERS by Christina Lauren / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis: Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests. Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
My thoughts: The last read of 2019 made it all the way to the top of my favourite books list! This book is freshly in my mind because I read it so late during the year and I loved every single page! Granted, this book has one of my all time favourite tropes – fake relationship – so I might be slightly biased.
One of the things that The Unhoneymooners gave me was a good story, funny dialog and believable conflict. Those three things in one book are so hard to find these days. Definitely revisiting this book in the future again and if you’re looking for a light, funny read to take on vacation or just lounge around with on Sunday, this is it!
3. QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS (THE DARK ARTIFICES #3) by Cassandra Clare / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synopsis for the series: It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions.
My thoughts: Now since it is the third book in the series I cannot really talk about it. One thing I will say is that The Dark Artifices is currently my favourite Shadowhunter series, I have read The Mortal Instruments and was not a fan of that. The Internal Devices is on my shelf but I’m not yet brave enough to pick it up – it’s steampunk, I’m not a fan of steampunk.
There are many characters in this book but I will point out Ty and Kit as my favourites. Dru is also great and well, they are all special in their own ways. The next series will be focusing on these characters I just mentioned so you can just imagine how excited I am for the next book to come out. I have already ordered it… I’m broke but happy.
2. HEARTSTOPPER by Alice Oseman / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synposis: Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.
Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.
My thoughts: I ventured into graphic novel territory in 2019. I was so lucky to have picked up Heartstopper as my first ever graphic novel. It was fun, had beautiful art and a heartwarming story. The second volume is also great and the third one comes out on my birthday this year.
Graphic novels for me always seemed so fancy and out of my league but I now understand their appeal. I do seem to gravitate only towards LGBTQ+ graphic novels which I think will be my thing. Otherwise if I venture too far I’m going to be in dept because man are these ones expensive… all worth it though because the time and effort that goes into these is everything!
1. DAISY JONES AND THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Synposis: For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed.
My thoughts: This was my first Taylor Jenkins Reid book and I’m glad it was! I think it will remain my favourite for many years. Like many if not all Reid’s books it is written in interview form. While the style of writing takes a bit to get used to the story sucks you in right away! It was the most I cried during the entire year. It was so emotional and well written that I just had to cry. And I read it in March which means that making the top of this list means this book has been in my mind for almost a year. Loved it! And the cover is beautiful!
And some great news to my fellow TV-show fans! This is going to be a mini-series and they cast Riley Keough (Elvis’ grandchild) as Daisy Jones. I do not see her as Daisy at the moment but I’m keeping an open mind. She seems to have the look but I’m not sure about the vibe yet. If done well, including the songs and everything, this could be a major award contender. Tear-jerkers usually are.2
Most of the books are on my to-read list this year. Can’t wait to get started, especially with Cassandra Clare.
Great! Let me know what you think! I definitely think her writing has improved with later books.
I kind of wished that Frankly In Love was exactly how it was marketed to be, but I didn’t hate that it was more than that. It does seem divided into two, but I liked it for what it was.
Same, part of me wished it was a fake relationship type thing from start to finish but I did end up liking the second part more so I wished it had been that all along. I guess it would have been more difficult to market it? Maybe they thought, romance will be more appealing…
I hope 2020 is a better year for you! I don’t read anywhere near as much as I’d like to, but last year I set myself a target of 20. I realised at the start of December I was just going to miss it!
Heard loads of good things about Daisy Jones & the Six, I’d love to read it at some point 🙂
Same.. although the beginning is looking bleak. Trying to keep the blog as active as I can and also working means I have not read any books yet. And 20 I think is a doable goal this year for me too but let’s see what happens. I think reading has become like.. less of a priority in my life at the moment.
Definitely pick up Daisy Jones.. or if you don’t have the time, the mini-series will bring the story to you as well! Hopefully in a good way! 🙂
Totally imprest how much you read! I am interested in Daisy Jones and the Six, but the audiobook is not that good (based on the sample), so perhaps I can borrow it?
Ooh yes, I can lend it though also I think the audiobook as a cast not a single narrator?
Yeah, cast, but the male voices were quite similar and they did say the names, but I don’t know, didn’t seem like my cup of tea, so I would prefer reading it if you don’t mind. 🙂
Yesh, I don’t listen to audio books anyway so I trust your criticism! 😀 I have a physical copy so we can figure something out 😀