Happy New Year everyone! 2019 has finally come to an end and that means it’s time to look back at the year that was to get ready for the one ahead. This year was a different one for me. I read a lot fewer books than in 2018 and found myself stuck with some serious book burnout for a large part of it. I also feel as though there weren’t as many books this year that I can say I truly loved as there have been in the past. Still, that doesn’t mean it was a bad year – I re-read more books, read a couple of bigger books, and gave audiobooks a go. As for the nitty-gritty, here is my 2019.
Books I Wasn’t So Keen On
- Again, but Better – Christine Riccio: ABB had a cute premise and some funny/sweet moments but in the end was let down by multiple writing issues, an uninteresting first half, and the MC baring a little too much resemblance to the author…
- The Unbecoming of Mara Dwyer – Michelle Hodkin: Tropes. Oh, the tropes. A damaged lead, a bad boy love interest, mean girl nemesis, and an outsider bestie. I had a lot of trouble finding & understanding the paranormal plot buried underneath the not so great romance in this one.
- Middlegame – Seanan McGuire: While I appreciate what this book was trying to do, unfortunately the slow pacing, lack of connection with the characters, and confusing timelines meant it wasn’t the book for me. I’m in the minority here though.
- After – Anna Todd: I only have myself to blame. I went into this one expecting it to be awful but curiosity got the better of me. The relationship is toxic as hell, there’s pretty much no plot to speak of (argue, have sex, and repeat) and the writing is atrocious.
- Nos4A2 – Joe Hill: Disappointed is the feeling here. There were sections I enjoyed but overall, I found it too long, the tone confusing, characters not likeable enough, and the execution of an interesting concept not as enjoyable or gripping as I’d hoped.
- Caraval – Stephanie Garber: Even on reread, I really wanted to like Caraval, but it just has so many issues – a boring protagonist, vague magic system, game that’s not really a game, and a melodramatic climax. It does get points for atmosphere & speed-readability though.
Most Frequented Authors
- Holly Black (4): Technically 3 books though as I read The Wicked King twice in 2019.
- Jay Kristoff (4): I re-read the first two Nevernight books, finally got to read the third, and also tackled Jay’s new collaboration with Amie Kaufman, Aurora Rising.
- Cassandra Clare (3): I continued with my TMI re-read/read and now only have 1 more book in the series to go.
- Colleen Hoover (3): Hoover was a new author to me this year. While she’s not likely to be a favourite, I’ve certainly enjoyed her books so far.
- Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson: After a lukewarm reaction to An Enchantment of Ravens, I wasn’t sure whether I should read this. I’m so glad I did, because I ended up loving the characters and the world building. Magic, monster books, demons, sword fights, all the good stuff. Would 100% read a follow up if it were ever published.
- Legendary (Caraval 2#) – Stephanie Garber: So, it turns out that people were right when they said the sequel was better. While I still had issues with Legendary, I enjoyed it more than I expected. The world & characters were better fleshed out, Tella was a more interesting protagonist than Scarlett, and, of course, there was Jacks.
- Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee: As someone who previously avoided NF like the plague, I was shocked by just how engrossing, heartbreaking, and horrifying this was. To everyone out there who asks why women don’t report sexual assault, I wish I could make you read this.
- The Boy Who Steals Houses – C. G. Drews: I’ve only ever been able to read PaperFury reviews in small doses so I went into this with low expectations. It ended up being a fantastic YA read with wonderful autistic rep, a sweet brotherly relationship, great use of the found family trope, and plenty of genuine emotion.
These 3.5 star entry disappointments can all be narrowed down to too high expectations on my part.
- Aurora Rising – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman: I LOVED The Illuminae Files so I was majorly looking forward to this release. AR wasn’t a bad read, just missing that spark. I had trouble connecting with the characters and found the choice of antagonist… odd. However, points for world building and plot momentum.
- King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo: Another case of not a bad book, but unmet expectations. The characters, world and dialogue are great, but unfortunately the plot bored me in sections and by the time it picked up, it wasn’t really what I was looking for.
- The Queen of Nothing – Holly Black: You have no idea how excited I was for QoN – this series has been my addiction. In the end, a lack of twists, scheming & violence, and several not properly/satisfyingly wrapped up plotlines put a damper on it for me.
- The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi: I went in expecting a Six of Crows-esque heist in historical France with magic. What I got was A LOT of confusion. A great cast of diverse characters and good plot momentum certainly lessened the blow, though.
- Spensa Nightshade & M-Bot (Skyward – Brandon Sanderson)
- Alex Clairmont-Diaz (Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston)
- Daniel Arlington (Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo)
- Louise le Blanc (Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin)
- Zoya Nazyalensky & Nikolai Lantsov (King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo)
- Silas (Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson)
- Jude Duarte & Cardan Greenbriar (The Folk of the Air Series – Holly Black)
- Declan Murphy (Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer)
- Henry & Alex (Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston)
- Josh & Hazel (Josh + Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating – Christina Lauren)
- Jude & Cardan (The Folk of the Air Series – Holly Black) AGAIN
- Elisabeth & Nathaniel (Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson)
- Andie & Clark (The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson)
- Owen & Megan (Always Never Yours – Emily Wibberley & Austen Siegemund-Broka)
One of my goals for 2019 was to do more re-reads. In the end, 8 of the books I read this year were re-reads which is not too bad at all. I think I’ll try to aim for something similar in 2020.
2019 Posts I’m Proud Of
- Let’s Talk: What’s so Good about Fanfiction?
- Claim the Stars: ‘Skyward’ by Brandon Sanderson (Book Review)
- #LoveOzYa: Giving Some Love to YA Books by Australian Authors
- Waffles, Glitter & Heartbreak: ‘The Boy Who Steals Houses’ by C. G. Drews (Book Review)
- Page to Screen: Looking for Alaska
- Let’s Talk: The Challenges of Reviewing Diverse YA Books
- Let’s Talk: My 2019 Book Burn Out & How I Finally Sent it Packing
- The Witcher – I was eagerly awaiting this one. Sure, they were things that could have been improved but I really enjoyed it. It’s even encouraged me to go back to the books.
- Looking for Alaska – I liked this so much more than the book. It really added additional depth to the characters whilst still retaining the general flow of the novel.
- Killing Eve – While I haven’t actually read the books KE draws from, I’m addicted to this series. The acting is fantastic, the twists keep coming and once I started, I couldn’t stop.
- His Dark Materials – It’s always good to see an adaptation respect the book/s it draws from. The series looks fantastic and the casting is perfect.
And that’s a wrap on 2019! I’m looking forward to a new year filled with wonderful books (fingers crossed) and wish you all the best going in 2020.