Better late than never, I guess 😉 In a way, you have the coronavirus to thank for finally getting this post, since I now have plenty of introvert time to dedicate to this blog. I hope you and your families are also healthy, safe, and not too bored!
It took me forever to narrow this down – at first, there were about 20 books on here. On the one hand, I suppose that’s good. It means that maybe 2019 wasn’t as bad of a reading year as I thought. Still, I didn’t just want to list a third of what I read in 2019; I wanted this to be a reflection of my absolute favorite books of the year. So I swore that this time, this would finally be a top ten list. As you’ll see, I didn’t quite make that. I started cutting books, but by the time I had it down to twelve, I just couldn’t get rid of any more. I love all these books so much I just couldn’t exclude any one of them! Which I took as a sign to mean the list was done 😉
However, since the list is quite long and I already have reviews for these books up in my monthly wrap-ups, I went with my decision from last year and kept my descriptions very brief. For those of you who’d like a bit more of my thoughts on them, I’ve linked the respective wrap-ups.
Before we get to the list though, a short explanation on how I picked the books. If you go through the titles, you’ll notice that there are books on there that I didn’t rate five stars, and five-star books I read last year that are missing. For one thing, that’s because the rating I give my books reflects my opinion immediately after reading the book. In this list, however, I also go by how much the book has stuck with me over the months, and what I think about it in hindsight. For example, I loved An Ember in the Ashes when I first read it, and I still think it’s a really good book. However, it didn’t really stick with me over time like some of the other books on here did. That may have to do with me not really liking the following books in the series as much, and yes, maybe that’s a little unfair. If I’d read the sequels some other year, maybe An Ember in the Ashes would be on here. But these are my favorites, and my feelings about the book just aren’t as strong anymore. There are other books that just stuck with me, books that even though they may have had had flaws, I couldn’t stop thinking about.
In addition, I rate my books based on a mixture of my enjoyment of them and the overall quality (writing, plot, character development, worldbuilding). However, sometimes I just love a book even if, objectively, it does have flaws. Sorcery of Thorns is one of those. Overall, it could have had side-characters that were more fleshed out, and yes, maybe it was slightly predictable sometimes. I don’t care. I love that book, so it’s on this list. And finally, there were some books that were great, but when I was making the list, I realized that I just didn’t love them quite as much as the others on here. Sure, I really liked Becoming, Darkdawn, Ivanhoe and Frankenstein, but when it came down to trying to narrow the list down to ten, I realized I was fine with them not making the cut. So, I guess what I want to say is – these are the best of the best: the books that really stuck with me and the ones that I see myself re-reading a lot in the future.
And, finally: I tried to put them in order, starting with the books I like more, but I couldn’t come up with a definite ranking. Some of these, I just liked equally. So as a rule of thumb, just know that the closer the books are to the top of the list, the more I probably liked them, but this is by no means a strict ranking.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
(read in March)
This book is about a fictional band – how it was founded, how it created its most famous album, and how it split up. It’s told in interview style and is full of music, drugs, and sex. I didn’t expect to like it, but somehow, it made it to my favorite book of the year. I absolutely loved everything about it 🙂
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
(read in October)
This is a standalone fantasy novel about a girl who grew up in a magical library, gets charged with a crime she didn’t commit, and is sent on a journey with a sorcerer she fears on the way to her trail. It includes lots of powerful books, magic, demons, and a great hate-to-love romance. I guess it’s not hard to see why I like it so much…
The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neil Shusterman
(read in December)
The Toll is the finale to the Arc of a Scythe series, which takes place in a future where death has been eliminated and certain people, called scythes, have been tasked with killing in order to keep the population under control. If you’ve been here long enough (or read my old posts), you’ll know that both previous books made it into my favorites of 2017 and 2018. So, obviously, this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. And it didn’t disappoint 🙂 If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I highly recommend you do!
The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S. A. Chakraborty
The first book in this series, The City of Brass, was also among my 2018 favorites, and I’m glad the sequel managed to do it justice! This series is heavily inspired by Middle Eastern mythology, has tons of politics, intrigue, and magic, and is among the most unique adult fantasy stories I’ve read. Check it out if you haven’t already!
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
(read in August)
This is a book about the son of the President of the United States falling in love with the Prince of Wales. It was the cutest story ever, filled with so much hope and love that it can’t help but make you happy. If you want a good book to cuddle up with and cheer you up, this is a great candidate!
The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuan
(read in February)
The start to a Chinese-history-inspired fantasy series, this has one of the most unique worlds and most driven main characters I’ve read about in a while. I loved how hard Rin had to work for what she wanted, the military academy setting, the friendships, the politics, the magic. A must-read for fellow high fantasy lovers!
Semiosis (Semiosis Duology #1) by Sue Burke
(read in May)
I never thought an intergenerational colonization story centered around an alien bamboo plant would be among my favorites. But here you are. This is fantastic science fiction, and I need more books like this in my life!
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
(read in September)
An adorably cute friendship-to-love story featuring a lot of hilarious dating fails and smut. If you need a good romance that will cheer you right up, this is perfect!
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
(read in August)
And here’s yet another really cute Christina Lauren romance, this time catering to those of you who love a good hate-to-love story. It’s about a girl who ends up going on her twin sister’s honeymoon trip with the groom’s annoying brother when the newly wed couple falls ill, and it’s full of wonderful fake-dating clichés. Pure comedy and smut that still manages to have a bit of depth to it 😉
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
(read in October)
Now that I’ve finally read this in its entirety, I see what all the hype is about. I haven’t stopped thinking about this since I read it, and I think I really need a Mr. Darcy in my life…
Heartstopper: Volumes 1&2 by Alice Oseman
(read in November)
These graphic novels are just preciousness in its purest form. They tell the cutest story of two boys falling in love, and I just want everyone to read these and feel happy!
Educated by Tara Westover
(read in September)
This is the biography of a woman who grew up in a very rural, isolated area and never set foot in school until she decided she wanted to go to college. It’s a story about family, finding yourself, and education. I think everyone can get a lot out of this one!
Anyway, that’s it for now. I can’t wait to discover the books that will be on my list next year 🙂