2019 Wrap-Up: My 5-Star Books (Part 2)

Hi guys!

As promised, here is the second part of my favorite books read in 2019! I’ve been really inconsistent writing blog posts this year 😦 I’m making it a point (dare say, a resolution?) to write more in the new year! I’ve made a lot of excuses to myself for why I haven’t written much. But it really comes down to a lack of confidence about writing in general. Which is funny, because as I get further into college/post-college, my confidence in academic writing goes up while my confidence in creative writing goes down. But it’s funny, because as I get older, I realize more and more that life is a lot easier when you don’t worry about what other people think of you. Just making yourself happy is enough. So I’m going to try to take that mindset into the new year and just do what’s fun!

And now that I’m done with that happiness rant, enjoy my gushing about my fav books of the year! I hope everyone has a great New Years! ✨

The Diviners by Libba Bray

This is book I’ve owned since literally the month it came out. And for some reason, despite the hype around it when it was released, I just didn’t make time to read it. FINALLY I made a good decision, and gave it a chance. I loved the setting (1920s New York *swoon*), the strong female characters, and the general creepy vibe of the villain. This book is part mystery, part paranormal suspense, all fabulous. Also, perk of reading it so late in the game, all the sequels are already available. I see a binge-read in your future.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

This book gave me legit trust issues. The last time that really happened for me was reading The 5th Wave years ago. I just could’t decide who to trust, who was actually on who’s side, and I certainly didn’t expect the ending I got. Major cliff-hanger. But luckily, the second book in this series, Ruthless Gods (which is also a highly anticipated book of 2020 for me), has an April release date. So I won’t have to suffer much longer. Other than the trust issues, this book gave me great world-building and some really cool magic. I also felt sympathy for like every character, whether they were “bad” or not. That’s an impressive feat.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Second Gaiman book on the list (no favoritism, I swear). I’ve had this book in my collection for a couple years, and I actually attempted to read it once but couldn’t get into it. Then I downloaded the audiobook from the Libby app through my library (Neil narrates it himself!), and I loved it. It’s a bit of a slow starter for me, which might be why the audiobook made the difference. But I loved the idea of a secret world beneath London. And the whimsical writing made it feel strange but also possible that it’s real. It’s worth pushing through the slow start to get to the ending!

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

A bittersweet conclusion to a series that is very close to my heart! If you haven’t entered the world of Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell, then you need to read Stalking Jack the Ripper ASAP. Capturing the Devil is the fourth and final book in this saga, and it honestly wasn’t what I expected. The third book in this series was a bit of a let down for me, just because I hate the love triangle trope. Happy to report there were no more signs of that in this installment, even though I didn’t get the easy happily-ever-after I wanted! But I really enjoyed the last adventure with my beloved gruesome girl, who has an affinity for the dark and twisted ways of murder and forensics, same I do. The fact that she’s also kicking 19th-Century cliches about women to the curb is just the cherry on top.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Okay, third Gaiman book on the list. Now maybe this is favoritism… Regardless, this is a short and quick read. I read it in the middle of another book, on a rainy afternoon, in one sitting. And it was magic. I certainly don’t think it’s a book for everyone. My husband recommended it to me, but even he, who liked it, doesn’t quite know what to make of it still. I, however, know exactly how I feel:
This book was odd and magical and made me feel childish wonder about the world again. I loved it. It felt like a Grimm fairytale and a witchy fantasy rolled into a perfect little package. I think it can be overthought or misinterpreted, but if you let go of your adult need for meaning-making and just let the story be what it is, it’s perfection. ❤️

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

This one was so much creepier and more gory than I had expected. But I loved that! I honestly don’t understand why it’s considered YA, other than that the protagonist is a 12-year-old. But themes of the book and plot were so interesting and different than anything else I’ve read. I think all ages can enjoy this book, but kids should be careful because there are definitely some scarier sections. I’ll admit, reading this around Halloween, I left an extra light on when I was home alone. There are 3 other books in this series, and I can’t wait to read them! I have a real appreciation for the way this story is told, in a journal-style. And I just want to give Will Henry a hug. ❤️

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

Okay, I was nervous going into this book. As the last in the Renegades trilogy, I wasn’t sure if I was going to love or hate the ending. And honestly, it was a roller-coster ride from start to finish. I wanted both the “good” guy and the “bad” guys to win for different reasons! I understood everyone’s arguments! I was conflicted the whole time. But the ending was satisfying and I’m left thinking back on this book with warm, fuzzy feelings. Endings are always bittersweet, but I’m happy when I can recommend one!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

If you’re part of the book world at all, you’re probably not surprised by the inclusion of this book. Because boy, was it HYPED UP. But that hype, dear friends, was not misplaced. While it was a few chapters before I was fully invested, this book knocked my socks off. Alex is the unlikely hero we all need. The flash-back, flash-forward writing style was well-executed and made the story exceedingly intriguing. It was dark, twisty, witchy, and Alex broke all the rules I was hoping she would. And the fact that it was an out-of-nowhere murder-mystery as well? Brilliant. The sequel can’t come soon enough.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

If you read part 1 of this wrap-up, you may remember that the previous book in this series was also included in this list of favs. That is no accident, because The Folk of the Air is now one of my all-time favorite trilogies. Holly just writes about fae exactly how I want to read them. As cruel, beautiful, clever, but somehow still lovable and beautifully magical. The ending of The Wicked King broke me inside, but this installment repaired me and more. It was much too short, just because I wasn’t ready to leave this world behind. After the last page, I literally laid down on the couch and hugged this book to my chest. That’s how deep my love is. I’ll certainly be re-reading this series again.

I was sent an e-copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a review. When they sent me the synopsis, I thought it sounded like a cute and fluffy contemporary read for the holiday season. And it unquestionably was! However, it also went deeper and addressed some serious relationship issues that I think we’ve all fallen pray to at one time or another. Attempting to adapt to a new relationship and loosing yourself in the process. The further I read, the deeper my appreciation for the execution of said issues went. I loved all the cute Doctor Who and other nerdy references. I loved Jed and Connie’s friendship. Plus Connie’s relationship with her younger sister and her parents. This is just a feel-good read that made me smile over and over. It was a cute and fun last read of the year.

And that’s that! Thanks so much for reading this far! I’d love to hear what books you enjoyed in 2019, whether old or new. If you want to follow along with my reading journey in 2020, be my friend on Goodreads 😊

I’m sending all the love and good vibes to you in this new year! Let me know your reading resolutions for 2020 and help me formulate some too.

Cheers, my friends! ☕️

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