Best of 2019

Hi and welcome to the overview of my bookish 2019! In 2018 I posted my overview too soon and had to add a book afterwards (The Rumour by Lesley Kara), so I decided to post the 2019 one a bit later. As I felt more like reading and less like blogging during the holidays, I’m posting it only now…

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, I just want to take a minute and thank you all, my dear bookish friends, for a fabulous 2019! Other aspects of my life weren’t always up to scratch last year, but the bookish community sure was! 2019 was my first full year of blogging (I started out on Wix mid-November 2018), I learned so much, I did so many things I would never have believed myself capable of (yes, I’m talking about #Orentober), I’ve got to know so many lovely people, in a word: my bookish 2019 was a blast, THANK YOU!

Okay, so let’s take a look at my year in books according to Goodreads:

Yup. 278. That’s the most I’ve ever read in a year, and I find it staggeringly much! It’s 103 books more than the original challenge I’d set for 2019 and 34 books more than I read in 2018, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read this many again. I did spend a lot of time reading, obviously, but 2019 was also the year in which I discovered novellas and re-discovered graphic novels, and I also upped my audiobook listening time.

Aaaaanyhoo, out of 278 what were my favourites? I didn’t try and get the number down to 10 or whatever, I’ve just sifted through the books that I rated 5 hearts at the time and selected those that have stuck with me, and are special to me in their own way, have a look:

Dirty Little Secrets, Jo Spain (the one with the flawless execution and the wickedly brilliant conclusion)
Changeling, Matt Wesolowski (the one with the jaw-dropping reveal and the best narration)
Call Me Star Girl, Louise Beech (the twisty psychological thriller that broke my heart)
Know Me From Smoke, Matt Phillips (the one with the noirest love story ever)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (the one that got me back into graphic novels)
Killer Instincts, Linden Chase (the one with the psychopaths on a desert island, it just ticked all my boxes)
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, C.A. Fletcher (the one that was heartbreaking and clever and one of my favourite dystopian tales ever)
The Willow Woman, Laurence Westwood (the one that was the biggest surprise and has the best supporting male character EVER)
The Doll Factory, Elizabeth Macneal (the one that was riveting historical fiction and a whole lot more)
My Lovely Wife, Samantha Downing (the addictive one with the totally messed-up family)
Recursion, Blake Crouch (the one with the Mandela effect and the best mind-fuck)
Wanderers, Chuck Wendig (the one that looked like King, but made it onto this list when King didn’t)
In the Absence of Miracles, Michael J. Malone (the one that made me eat ice-cream to get over all my feelings)
The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware (the gothic one with the smart home and a whole lot of creepy bits)
Sanctuary, V.V. James (the one with the witches in present-day America that I just couldn’t stop reading)
The Escape Room, Megan Goldin (the wicked one with the elevator)
Here To Stay, Mark Edwards (the one that made me really happy that my in-laws live 30 minutes away)
Nothing Important Happened Today, Will Carver (the dark one about suicide and cults that made me squirm, but still had me glued to the pages)
Violet, SJI Holliday (the one with the human chameleon that took me on a Trans-Siberian journey)
A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer (the one that has its roots in Beauty and the Beast and rekindled my love for YA fantasy)
House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig (the one that is both fairy-tale retelling and horror)
Dear Wife, Kimberly Belle (the clever one with the lightbulb moment)

2019 was also the year of Red Dog Press and T.S. Hunter’s cosy crime novella series Soho Noir. I have been with this series from the start and I’m a huge fan. I rated the individual books 4, 4.5 and 5, the series as a whole is definitely a winner and I couldn’t make the list without adding these:

Another series that had to make the list is Johana Gustawsson’s Roy & Castells series. Admittedly, I was very late to the party, only Blood Song came out in 2019, but I read this entire series in 2019, so I’m putting the whole thing on the list, as it’s a brilliant series, part historical fiction, part present-day thriller, no one does a dual timeline like Johana and I’m eagerly awaiting the next instalment!

I’m getting ready to get out of your hair, I swear, I just wanted to show you these three, which I read in 2019 but are published in 2020 (Beast is available now as eBook, but will be out in paperback in February, I Am Dust is out in February (eBook) and April (paperback) and Three Hours is out on Kindle today and in paperback/hardback this Thursday). Get to (pre)ordering, these are stonking reads! (Reviews to follow soon!)

One thing left to do: give out the award for book of the year to the one book that defines 2019. The book that got me out of a slump. The book that came through for me at a time when I felt let down by the hyped ones:

Yup, it’s Breakers by Doug Johnstone and it will be linked to my summer of 2019 forever!

If you made it all the way here: thanks for joining me today and hearing me out! Here’s to a whole new year of happy reading 🥂

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