My Top Ten Books of 2019

IT’S FINALLY HERE. It’s time to list my top ten books of this year. This list was so hard to create and I sat down last night writing out possible picks and narrowing it down. I think I finally have a finished top ten list that I can share so without further ado, here are my favorite books I read in 2019 in order!

Honourable Mentions:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I really started to read more horror/thriller this year and I found that I really enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s writing. I read Sharp Objects by her and the Grown Up (a short story) and liked them both but they were nothing like Gone Girl. It was so enticing and I loved reading it!

  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Listen, I had a hard time not putting this in my top ten. This was the one Rainbow Rowell novel that I hadn’t read yet because I was waiting to see a used copy in my local bookstore. Eventually, I scored a copy at a newer bookstore near me and decided it was finally time to read it. I ended up loving it, so much so that it’s higher up on my favorite Rainbow Rowell book lists.

  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins

This book was so well done and creative in the way it was written that I couldn’t ignore it this year. If you like Almost Famous the movie, you’ll probably love this book.

  • Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

This was one of my favorite romance novels I read this year. I love the characters in this book and I could seriously see myself re-reading this book for pure joy. However, it didn’t make my favorites list because the ending wasn’t my favorite. But, everything before the ending deserves to be on this list!

AND NOW ONTO MY ACTUAL LIST!

10. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

You guys, I read more thrillers/horror this year than I ever have. I couldn’t believe that I even read Imaginary Friend, a 700 page horror/thriller and I LOVED IT. I have an entire review here.

9. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This was one of my highly anticipated books of 2020 even though I hadn’t read the Handmaid’s Tale at the beginning of the year. I pre-ordered this book and drove to pick it up right when my manager had called me to tell me it’s in. I binge read it in like three days and I loved every minute of it! I think it’s much more entertaining than the first one. I have a review for it here.

8. Frankly in Love by David Yoon

I just recently read this book and I was amazed at how much I ended up loving this book. It was marketed as a rom com but it’s soo much more than that. It’s a beautiful story of living in a Korean family in America with a bit of relationship stuff in it. I totally cried reading this book and I highly recommend it!

7. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

I finally finished Throne of Glass this year and I can’t believe it’s over…This series might be one of the biggest fantasy series of the decade for me. I loved it so much at the beginning and I was growing away from it near the end but honestly, this finale was everything I wanted and more.  I’m so glad it ended on such a great note. If you haven’t read this series yet, it’s truly worth it.

6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I also FINALLY got around to reading the Hate U Give this year and like all the other books on this list, I loved it. I listened to most of it on audio and it made me laugh at times but also sob in other parts. This is a book everyone should read.

5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

YOU GUYS! This is the last book I read this year and I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I’ve had it for awhile and I try to save my historical fiction reads for the winter because that seems to be my favorite time of the year to read them. I knew this book was sad but I didn’t know it would make me cry so much. I loved Isabelle as a character — she’s so strong, independent and outspoken. Seeing such a strong female character like her during WWII was inspiring nonetheless. I understand why everyone has read and loved this book now.

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I’ve been meaning to read this classic for awhile now and I finally got around to it this year. I’ve read and loved other things written by Sylvia Plath but somehow had never read her only novel. This book doesn’t read like a classic honestly and I was shocked at how oddly relatable the main character is. It is a really sad book (like most things she writes) but it kept me entertained throughout. I actually read this mostly in one sitting so that definitely says something about this classic.

3. The Great Alone my Kristin Hannah

This is the book that introduced me to Kristin Hannah near the very beginning of this year. I had gotten a copy of it on super sale from Book Outlet and decided to start the audiobook. I would listen to the audiobook on my hour long drive to work and it’s all I would listen to. I never really listen to audiobooks in the car because I prefer singing to music but this book had me HOOKED. I love books set in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest so the setting was absolutely perfect. I have a review for it here if you want to know more about how I felt.

2. We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

I requested this book the day it had went up on Edelweiss because I was in love with the cover and I saw that it was comparable to Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. If any of you know me, you know that’s one of my favorite stories. I ended up reading this book with my close friend Amber and we both really loved it. I could go on and on about this book but I have an in-depth review that you can read here.

1. The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This is kind of a weird favorite book of the year for me but I think it really was. I don’t own a copy of this book (sadly) because I got it from the library (hehe see what I did) and I really loved it. I picked this book without knowing what it was even about but I remember working at b&n when it was really popular. It’s also a part of Reese’s book club which I tend to enjoy books from so I gave it a shot. This book was so well written considering it’s a non-fiction that I absolutely devoured. I wanted to know what happened next even though it was a cliffhanger type of book. I just loved reading it so I wanted to keep reading. This book isn’t just about the Los Angeles Library fire, but about the histories of libraries themselves and some other library fires in history. She also writes about the case of figuring out who did start the fire but I found the information about libraries so fascinating. It made me want to be a librarian even more…I even just recently applied to volunteer at my library because I love everything librarians do. I want to contribute to my local community in the way that librarians do. So, in a way, this book changed my life a bit. I highly recommend it!

 

What were some of your favorite books of the year? Have you read any of these? I’d love to know!

 

Find any of these titles at your local bookstore!

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a Late Reading Rush TBR

I was totally supposed to post this yesterday but I was too busy watching Love Island UK. I know, embarrassing. Forgive me. Here’s what I planned to read for the Reading Rush! I’ve lowkey already read several things that aren’t on this list but that’s okay!

  • Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Ari Folman (adapter)Anne Frank (Original text), David Polonsky (Illustrator)

Challenge: Read a book in the same spot the entire time [Completed]

I already read this one and absolutely loved it! I’ll be talking about the books I’ve read more in my wrap up but wow, this was so good.

  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Challenge: Read an author’s first book

Challenge: Read a book you meant to read last year

I love Rainbow Rowell so much and this is the only book/story I haven’t read by her!

  • Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Challenge: Read a book with five or more words in the title [Completed]

I already read this one too! I really enjoyed it. I had some problems with it but it still made for a great read.

  • the Handmaid’s Tale: the Graphic Novel by Renee Nault

I just felt like reading this one and I don’t really have a challenge for it! I think this will just add to the bonus of reading seven books.

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Challenge: Read a book with purple on the cover (I think her pants on the cover are purple but that’s up for debate)

Challenge: Read a book with a non-human main character (BAZ COUNTS OK)

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Challenge: Read a book and watch the movie adaptation

  • Water Runs Red by Jenna Clare

This is Jenna’s first book but I’m reading it to read seven books! 🙂

 

 

April Wrap Up | 2019

So, I didn’t have the best reading month ever in April. I read a total of two books but I enjoyed them both so I’m excited to talk about them!

 

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I was sent an e-arc of this book through Netgalley and ended up reading it shortly after. I flew through this book in the very beginning of April (I think about 3 days) and really loved it. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I didn’t think it would stick with me but it did. I will have a review going up for this book closer to the release date! This was also one of my On My Radar books so I’m so thankful I got to read and review it!

 

 

 

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I recently bought this book from BookOutlet and I decided that I would just read it on a whim. It’s set in the 1970s in rural Alaska so of course, I had to read it. I love reading books set in Alaska so I gave this one a shot and I loved it. I did have some problems with it which is why I gave it only four stars out of five. I do have an entire review on it up on my blog though so if you want to hear more of my thoughts, you can read them there!

 

 

 

 

So, that’s all I read during April! I know, it’s not a lot. I hope to read much more in May! What did you read in April? I’d love to know!

The Great Alone [REVIEW]

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 4.39.54 PMAlaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.

For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.”

THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE

Edition: Hardcover, Audiobook
Page Count: 435 pages
Publish Date: February 6th, 2019
Publisher: St. Martins Press

My Rating: 4/5 stars ★★★★

 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: alcohol abuse, domestic violence, violent death of animals

 

“Books are the mile markers of my life. Some people have family photos or home movies to record their past. I’ve got books. Characters. For as long as I can remember, books have been my safe place.”

 

Review

 

I’ve had a fascination about Alaska (Particularly, living in Alaska) since I discovered Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer in high school and loved it. It’s an incredibly fascinating place so of course, reading about it is always fun. I picked this book up because I know it was a bestseller for awhile and it takes place in Alaska during the 1970s.

I’ve heard of Kristin Hannah before because of her most popular release, The Nightingale. People at work (I’m a bookseller) always tell me how much they love the Nightingale and how it’s the best book they’ve ever read. I haven’t read it yet but this one seemed a bit more interesting to me so I picked it up first. As Max said in his review, she makes Alaska feel like it’s own character.

I read both the physical copy and listened to the audiobook. The narration is done beautifully by Julia Whelan. I loved listening to the audiobook on my way home and back from work. It was captivating throughout the whole story, even if not much was going on. This isn’t just due to the narrator but of course, Kristin Hannah’s writing. Her writing is so enticing and lyrical.

Unfortunately, if her writing hadn’t been so beautiful, it would’ve been hard to make it through this book. Not much happened between page one up until about page 250. It wasn’t exactly boring but it wasn’t too exciting either. Things really started going at the 200 page mark but it was A LOT. Most of the shock value and climax is near the end of the book. Big things kept happening one after another in only such a short span of time. The book does skip ahead years which might be a reason for this but it felt like a lot.

I did cry reading this book which is weird because I haven’t gotten so emotional while reading in a long time. I think a lot of this has to due with the discussion of grief in this book. Leni, the main character, talks a lot about dealing with grief and dealing with her dad’s PTSD and his abusive behavior. As someone who understands domestic abuse and has seen it themselves, it was really hard watching her mom talk about how scared she was to leave him. This is why I included the trigger warnings in the review because for some people, this might be a lot.

Other than that, this was still a really great read. I didn’t hate it  — I just didn’t love it. It was enticing, emotional, and overall a great story about life and everything that comes with it.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? Let me know!

If you would like, here’s a little button to add it to Goodreads:

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Buy this book at your local bookstore

 

 

Daisy Jones & The Six [REVIEW]

“Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnanMt, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.”

Edition: Hardcover
Page Count: 368 pages
Publish Date: March 5th, 2019
Publisher: Ballantine Books

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars ★★★★½

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.”

Review

 

Ever since I finished this book, it’s the only thing I’ve been thinking about. I went into this basically having no idea what this book is about except that I knew it was set in the 1970s. I love reading about the 60s/70s so I decided to give it a whirl after only seeing it on bookstagram every five seconds. I truly bought this book because of the hype.

I haven’t read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s other books so I wasn’t exactly sure if I’d like her writing style or not but it turns out, this book is written much differently.

It’s written as an oral history of the band, Daisy Jones & the Six from the very beginning. It’s like you’re reading their responses in a Rolling Stone interview but it intertwines and creates a beautiful story.

It starts off from when the Six was just becoming a band to the very end. There’s several different main characters but I’d say the main ones are Daisy, Billy, and Billy’s wife (I can’t remember her name). As the reader, you’re thrown into the life of a band during the height of rock n’ roll and fame. It’s so atmospheric — between the setting, the writing style, and the personality of each character, it truly feels like a real band. I’m pretty sure it’s based off Fleetwood Mac but I still googled if Daisy Jones & the Six were a thing (lol).

While this book does highlight all of the great aspects of rock n’ roll and it’s time, it also shows you the devastating factor of drug abuse. There’s a lot of substance abuse in this book so if that’s nothing something you’re comfortable with reading, I’d steer clear of this book. Billy is an alcoholic and Daisy abuses pills and other hard drugs like no tomorrow. While Billy is trying to be sober throughout this book, it’s still a heavy topic and hard to read at times but worth it in the end. This story doesn’t glamorize drug addiction and substance abuse. It doesn’t just shame it entirely — it shows that there is a path to recovery and both characters explore it.

Also, I’ve added this to my Feminist list on Goodreads because I’ve never read such empowering female characters in fiction. Every single one of the women in this book (Karen, Daisy, and Camila) are so uniquely powerful in their own ways and I loved it. Karen’s story, in particular, resonated with me. I wish we got to read more of her story because about half way in, I loved her so much. She doesn’t take any sh*t from anybody and is willing to do what’s best for her and it’s admirable.

The only reason I gave this book 4.5 stars instead of a complete 5 is because I felt the ending was lack luster. I didn’t predict the ending but it was a little bit of a let down after what I had just read. It was clever in a way but unfortunately, not my favorite type of ending. The bands ending in itself was foreseeable, though. I just wish the ending was a little bit bigger?

Despite that, this book makes for one hell of a reading experience and I can’t wait to finally listen to the audiobook. I’ve had it on hold at my library and I’m just waiting for my turn because I’ve heard it’s even better. I also can’t wait for this mini series adaptation so I can finally hear all the beautiful lyrics out loud. “Regret Me” by Daisy live? I’m here for it.

 

Have you read this book or are you planning to? Let me know!

 

Buy this book at your local bookstore

Feminist Literature Recommendations

For #FeministFebruary, I thought I’d share with you some of the most popular Feminist Literature read today. You might see something that are blatantly obvious like the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, for example. But, I wanted to share with you some newer novels that you might’ve not read yet. Nevertheless, these are extremely popular and tagged under Feminism on Goodreads so you’ve might’ve seen these before. Let’s get to listing, shall we?

182092681. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.”

 

354805182. The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

“Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer–madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place–feels her inner world light up. Then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined.”

 

 

 

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3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…”

377968664. Vox by Christina Dalcher

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.


On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.”

362223635. The Power by Naomi Alderman

“In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.”

 

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6. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

“Mrs. Dalloway chronicles a June day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway –a day that is taken up with running minor errands in preparation for a party and that is punctuated, toward the end, by the suicide of a young man she has never met. In giving an apparently ordinary day such immense resonance and significance–infusing it with the elemental conflict between death and life–Virginia Woolf triumphantly discovers her distinctive style as a novelist. Originally published in 1925, Mrs. Dalloway is Woolf’s first complete rendering of what she described as the “luminous envelope” of consciousness: a dazzling display of the mind’s inside as it plays over the brilliant surface and darker depths of reality.

This edition uses the text of the original British publication of Mrs. Dalloway, which includes changes Woolf made that never appeared in the first or subsequent American editions.”

1280297. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment.”

114868. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple is a classic. With over a million copies sold in the UK alone, it is hailed as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of literature, inspiring generations of readers.

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.”

 

3950409. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. 

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.”




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