Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 Books in Review

This year was a good one for reading, and I’ve found that I definitely enjoy setting my goal for types of books rather than number. I still managed to read a lot, 92 in total, which is close to what I would have picked for a number goal anyway. For a full overview of all the books I read this year, check out my Goodreads list.

I also delved more into the joy of audiobooks and e-books while traveling, and when I reached my new library, I found all the books! Okay, not all of them, but my new local library has nearly four times the selection of my last library and that’s not counting inter-library loans and all the book clubs. There’s just so, so many options to explore!

Goal: 1 Book 700+ Pages

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson—I know I said 700 pages, but this beast lies in the 1,200-page range. I had started reading Middlemarch but got bored, then my local book club had a theme “books outside of your comfort zone”, and I figured a thousand-page novel should fit. I really enjoy Sanderson’s works, and if you don’t mind a long narrative and are into fantasy novels, the world-building and the characters are excellent!

Goal: 2 Novels that were Adapted into Movies

White Fang by Jack London—one of my favorite books from when I was a kid. I used to listen to the audiobook over and over, and more recently, I read it while my own dog lounged about. Though she’s quite domesticated, she’s got the alpha personality and some standoffish traits like White Fang. If you enjoy the book like I did, don’t bother with the latest Netflix adaptation.

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, book 2) by L. M. Montgomery—This series is such a joy! While it’s been a while since I’d read the first book, I feel like I’m still familiar with the story, so it wasn’t hard to pick up where the last book left off. After I read the main trilogy, I’d like to re-watch the adaptations with Megan Follows.

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Hornblower Saga, book 1) by C. S. Forester—I remember enjoying the show Horatio Hornblower when I was in high school, and I only just recently found out it was based on a book series. All eleven of them. Not sure I’ll make it that far. This one was a big of a struggle to get through.

Goal: 3 Classics

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel by Fred Fordham inspired by the novel by Harper Lee—this totally counts. Or maybe I should list it as a book made into a movie made into a graphic novel? Send help.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy—a little predicable considering how familiar I am with some of the tropes and a movie based off a book based off this book. (Yes, I’m talking about Zorro.)  But still an enjoyable story.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo—technically several movies were based off this one, but it’s definitely a classic. Not nearly as good as Les Mis, though.

Goal: 5 Books I Own

Rulers and Mages and Healers and Warriors (The Order of the Twelve Tribes, book 2 and 3) by Daley Downing—I started off liking the third book best of the series, but then the plot took a twist I didn’t particularly care for.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan—good story, but I honestly don’t remember it very well.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness—also has a movie based on the book, but that’s such a broad category. Who’s counting? This was a wonderful reread, and I liked it even more the second time! If “liked” is an appropriate word for a book that made me cry. Twice.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson—I actually read this book three times this year. Once at the library as an impulse read, and again after I bought it at the bookstore. And they’re going to make a movie! Bring it one 2022!

A Conspiracy of Stars (Faloiv, book 1) by Olivia A. Cole—I reread this one before starting on the sequel, and I liked it even more than I remembered. Sci-fi fantasy is fun!

Goal: 5 Books Published in 2019

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee—kinda disappointing.

An Anatomy of Beasts (Faloiv, book 2) by Olivia A. Cole—technically I own this one, too, but it came out this year! Also, I totally thought it was a duology, but that ending needs another book. Wow, did I call that wrong. A trilogy perhaps? AaaAaahhhh! I need the next book!

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews—ended up liking this book a way more than expected. Sweet yet heartbreaking, Drews creates well-developed characters I found myself routing for.

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca—an interesting concept, a contemporary Shakespeare retelling, just not the book that spoke to me.

Sounds of Deceit (The Terebinth Tree Chronicles, book 3) by Hannah Heath—the third installment of a collection of short stories leading up to a novel. I can’t wait!

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio—I wanted to like this one. I really did. Alas, I did not. I expected a contemporary and got… a fantasy? Yeah, that was weird. So unrealistic too.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim—lacked the depth that I was looking for, and it felt like the same girl meets boy and oh, look! They fell in love. Again. Somebody save me from the romances.

Strange Waters by Kyle Robert Shultz, E.B. Dawson, Hannah Heath, Beth Wangler, Nate Philbrick, J.E. Purrazzi, and K.L. + Pierce—probably my favorite Phoenix Fiction Writers Anthology (see book review).

Supernova (Renegades, book 3) by Marissa Meyer—I got my sister hooked on the first book, Renegades, then she got her boyfriend hooked, and he’s not even an avid reader. So yeah. All superheroes! I’m still deciding which is my favorite book in the trilogy, but Supernova has an excellent ending with some staggering plot twists. I should’ve seen them coming.

Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins—this book was one that made it to my TBR simply because a dear friend recommended it and lent me a copy. Wow, was it amazing or what! A powerful story about blood and found families, the fight against assault and human trafficking, and culture, this one is a must-read for fans of contemporary YA.

Starsight (Skyward, book 2) by Brandon Sanderson—I’ve been on a huge Sanderson kick lately! From Hero of Ages (fantasy) to The Alloy of Law (western fantasy) to The Way of Kings (fantasy) to Skyward (YA sci-fi) to its sequel, Starsight. They’re just so engrossing! And Doomslug comes back!

Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia—I enjoyed Zappia’s other contemporary YA novels, but this one just wasn’t for me. Ghost stories just aren’t my thing.

If I’m completely honest, I try to read recently published works each year anyway, so this one wasn’t much of a challenge. But it was fun to mention!

Goal: 1 Book Published Before 1800

The Art of War by Sun Tzu—not my usual read, I will admit, but there are so many stories and shows that mention it that I just had to find out what it was all about. And sure, it was an interesting study. If I was more into military strategy, I could see its value, though some of the points seemed obvious. The book led to some interesting discussions with my dad. Overall, the book was a good change of pace and mental exercise.

Goal: 3 Nonfiction Books

March: Book Two and Book Three by John Robert Lewis

Background Noise: Poems, Vignettes and Word Explosions by Danielsen Jerry—poetry! Check out my book review here.

God in the Dock by C. S. Lewis—amazing! While some of the transcriptions didn’t seem as logical as the essays, I really enjoyed reading Lewis’ theological arguments. So fascinating and intellectually stimulating.

The Pilgrimage: A Contemporary Quest for Ancient Wisdom by Paulo Coelho—eh, not my cup of tea.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau—why is his last name so hard to spell? A book full of great insights and an interesting perspective on life and simplicity.

Look me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison—more engaging than I had anticipated. Definitely recommend, especially if you want to better understand the autism spectrum.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman—honestly forgot this book was nonfiction until I was reading it. I might have preferred reading a first-hand account more because I felt like the narrative jumped all over the place.

Looking for Me by Betsy R. Rosentnthal—such a good little book based on the life of the author’s mother. Also a novel in verse!

I’ve enjoyed reading nonfiction this year. Who knew?

Overall: 20/20 Types of Books

Look, I actually did it this year! *throws confetti* *accidentally knocks over TBR stack* *shrieks*

Other Notable Books

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes (see book review)
Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl (see book review)
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
Skyward (Skyward, book 1) by Brandon Sanderson (see book review)


Let’s chat! What were some of your reading goals this year? Did you meet them? Any books I read make it to your TBR or Read lists?


  1. Wow, what a fun variety of reads! I didn't set too many different goals, but I did succeed at #BookADayMay and was only about 20 books off my Goodreads goal for 2019. I was also able to read quite a few graphic novels, which was fun!

    1. #BookADayMay sounds like quite a fun challenge! Graphic novels can be rather fun too. I actually plan on reading more of those this year. May 2020 reading treat you well!