Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA from the Show Us Your Books link-up. Or not. That’s cool either way. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s not cool that you didn’t miss me because I missed participating! But after my move, I sought the comfort of rereading favorite books versus reading new books to share with y’all. No regrets because I needed that comfort but I did regret not participating in their year-end link-up because I particularly love seeing what everyone’s favorite books were. And yeah, sharing mine too.
A Few Reading Statistics
Uh. It wasn’t my best reading year. Far too many library books sat ignored on my nightstand until guilt (or the email that said they were due) made me return them unread. Last year, gulp, I only read 28 books.
Yes, I know. 28 books to some would be an incredible amount to read within a year. For me, it’s low. Reading goals stress me out for some reason, which is why I don’t track how much I’ve read until year-end when I normally do a happy dance over the amount but now feel a little bit like a reading failure. Yes, I’m weird. Yes, I’m cool with it.
To be clear, I’m cool with being weird but not a reading failure. 😀
Just the Facts, Ma’am
- 2 of the 28 books were cookbooks (yes, they do too count)
- 2 were non-fiction
- 13 were mystery/thrillers
- 1 was a romance
- 4 were YA (one was probably more middle school but I’m 44 so that just makes me too weird)
- 1 was horror (but not really scary, scary)
- 1 was science fiction
- 4 were just good ‘ol fiction. 😀
My Favorite Thriller
Ah yeah. Give me some murder, a diabolical killer and bad-ass detective (preferably a woman) and I’m good. Real good.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
I read this book in January and it was a great way to kick off 2019. It’s clever, unusual book that has more depth than it appears, which I like. For some, it will just be a great read, which is fine! Others will see more and want to debate whether redemption truly exists or what really is justice? Or perhaps I’m overthinking this and it’s just a superbly written yarn that kept me intrigued and awed over Mr Taurton’s very careful plotting. It’s truly whatever you want it to be. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read his next book.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
44 years old but 14 at heart.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Everybody said, “Read this book Tanya” and I kept nodding my head but never read the dang book. Well, dye my hair blond and call me Britney because that was a dumb move on my part. This book is AWESOME!! First up, while it is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it is very much it’s own story and it doesn’t read like the author was checking off plot points to include from the original. Plus, the heroine, although in fairness Belle wasn’t super damsel-in-distress either, is tough, smart and capable and someone that I’d like teenage girls to emulate. The story is fast-paced, not overly teen angsty with just a teeny, tiny hint of a love triangle that won’t come to fruition versus one that will drag on the whole stupid series and make me want to punch someone.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Not a geek but occasionally like geek things
Recursion by Blake Crouch
He did it again. Mr Crouch wrote another mind-twisty, wonderful book that I could not put down. Seriously, I would love to sit down with this man and learn how he comes up with these crazy, yet also believable, ideas. Pay attention to the dates because you will get confused (I did and had to start over) but once you get into the groove and understand what’s happening, you’ll be hooked. And while he doesn’t dumb things down (i.e. you never feel like a dumb-dumb reading his books even if you are a science dumb-dumb … ahem), he also doesn’t confuse or bore you either with a lot of sciency mumbo-jumbo either. You just accept this can happen (if you’re not that kind of person than this is probably not the book for you) and roll with it.
I like surprises but not a supposedly good book being a bad book surprise.
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Christina Lauren is pretty beloved among romance fans. Her books are known for their humor and sexiness, so I thought they would be right up my alley and … nope. Now, here’s the thing – I legitimately was surprised in the worst way that I did not love this book as fully expected because it felt like a Tanya book but (yes, there is a but) … mood. My reading temperament has been off the past year and humor is very subjective. I felt more annoyed than amused while slogging through this, however, in the right mood, this might have been a love book. Who knows? It was a bad surprise, but I’m not giving up and plan to read another Lauren book because I do believe I’d enjoy them in the right mood. But just not today.
I like surprises, especially when they deliver great characters and excellent world-building.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
This book was very popular last year on the link-up and I dutifully put it on my TBR but super-hesitated to get it due to all the Harry Potter comparisons. I mean, we HP fans see it all the time. Harry Potter fans will love blah, blah, blah. And spoiler alert: most of the time we don’t. Most of the time the comparisons are unearned and make me deeply cynical. But in this case, HP FANS WILL LOVE THIS BOOK! LOL! Yeah, there is a lot of HP DNA running through it but in the best way. It doesn’t feel like a rip-off but evokes the same feelings of wonder and connection to these magical characters. Also, it has a giant, talking cat. And yes, it had me at giant, talking cat, so consider me biased. 😀
Best WTF Did I Just Read?
Verity by Colleen Hoover
This was another book that everyone was talking about last year, but what really caught my attention was that everyone said it was completely bonkers. Well, I am also completely bonkers so it felt on-brand for me. And yeah, it’s pretty WTF. Did I expect a little more WTFness (is too a word) from her? Yes. Only because I’m apparently super bonkers. Note: this book should probably come with a gazillion trigger warnings and is very different than Hoover’s normal books or at least that’s my understanding. She, in fact, published this independently and not through her normal publisher, so I have no idea if diehard fans will like the bonkers Hoover or not. I found it hard to put down, even when I was deeply disturbed.
The Best Book of 2019
Drum roll, please.
Becoming by Micelle Obama
I am generally not a fan of non-fiction; I generally don’t like memoirs. And yet my favorite book last year was Becoming. I needed her sage wisdom. Her kindness and big heart. Her keen intellect, trustworthiness and most importantly, the hope she inspired. The hope that I had lost. There are still plenty of good, generous people in this world. America is still the place where dreams come true. I felt so many emotions while reading this. Pride in what she and Barack accomplished thus far and all they still aim to do. Sadness in the loss of civility and the many steps back we seem to have taken. Hope that all is not lost because you and I still believe and can affect powerful change too. My former hometown named a library after her and it made me so proud to go there. She’s a true inspiration and I strongly recommend you read her memoir if you haven’t already.
To More Great Books in 2020
I admit that I’m not off to a great in 2020 as I haven’t read a new book yet. But I have, however, checked out a bunch of books that are sitting neglected in my kindle. Here’s hoping that I finally pick one up and start reading soon!
What was your favorite book from 2019?