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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HAPPY RELEASE DAY | We Are Lost & Found

43298077A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Source Books Fire

Happy release day to Helene Dunbar’s We Are Lost and Found! I have an entire spoiler free review for this book that you can find here.

If any of you remember, We Are Lost and Found was actually one of my ON MY RADAR picks and I’m so happy for it to finally be out in the world!

Find We Are Lost & Found at your local bookstore!

 

Are you looking forward to this book now as well? Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads to help the hype!

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We Are Lost and Found [REVIEW]

43298077A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Source Books Fire

My Rating:  stars 5 ★★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (5/5)

 

I was kindly sent a physical copy of this book by Source Books Fire  in exchange for a review. Thank you, Source Books! Any opinion is my own.

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

TW: homophobia (unaccepting parents)

We Are Lost and Found is one of the rare books that I found the day it was posted to Edelweiss and emailed the publisher immediately. It had everything that I love in the description — it was compared to Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, it’s a coming-of-age story, it’s set in the 80s and it follows LGBT+ teens during the AIDs epidemic. Not to mention, the cover is stunning.

Coming-of-age is one of my favorite genres for so many different reasons but I love how real the stories feel even if it’s fiction. There’s so much character development and personality throughout these types of stories. We Are Lost and Found was no different. As the reader, you follow Michael and his two best friends as they grow up in the middle of New York during the 1980s. Michael goes to this club often that’s called the Echo, where he finds himself always dancing and forgetting. He’s always hanging out with either Jamie — the performer and artist or he’s with Becky, an strong female character who’s going through a lot at home.

Helene Dunbar was able to write such an interesting and fully developed cast of characters in about 300 pages. I loved all of them — Michael, Jamie and Becky. They each had their own backstories and were nowhere near being flat side characters. They also felt incredibly realistic. I find that sometimes,  in YA specifically, friend groups just seem so unrealistic and have me thinking “these people would NEVER be friends in real life” but this set of characters makes perfect sense. Jamie and Becky are never toxic and are so supportive. They’re the most unproblematic side characters ever and I ADORE them.

Not only are the friendships in this book fantastic, but family is such a huge theme in this book. Michael’s relationship with his parents and his brother plays a big part in this book. His brother is such a great character and I feel as if I relate to both of them. A lot of the times in YA books, families are often nowhere to be seen or also just incredibly unrealistic. It was a joy to see his family play a part in this book, even if it wasn’t exactly for the best reason. I really enjoyed seeing Michael’s relationship with his brother. Seeing them grow and have a healthier relationship near the end of this book is so rewarding and refreshing. On the other hand, Michael has a tough relationship with his parents and he never knows where he stands with them after knowing what they did to his brother. He feels trapped and it’s so hard to read but it’s so well done. I think a lot of readers, especially LGBT+ and closeted readers, will appreciate this.

Since this was the first ever book I’ve read by Helene Dunbar, I had no idea what to expect in terms of her writing style. I opened this book and quickly realized, “There’s no quotations marks.” I had been buddy reading this with Amber and I texted her about it immediately because to be completely honest, I think this might be one of the first non-classic books I’ve read with no quotation marks. I love dialogue and I’m not going to lie, I find myself skimming pages and just reading dialogue. Since this had no quotation marks, I obviously couldn’t do that. This story is written in beautiful vignettes and yes, there’s no quotation marks but DAMN, is it wonderful. I quickly fell in love her way of writing. I ended up marking up my review copy with pencil everywhere. I underlined anything I found funny or lyrical. I have so many quotes that I adored from this book and can’t wait to like them all on Goodreads. Let me share some little quotes I underlined:

(please note that this is from an unfinished copy and that some of these quotes may be taken out, edited, or completely changed)

  • “Happy. And that’s the odd thing. Not being happy, but realizing it. Because how often, when you’re happy, do you have the chance to step back and notice?”
  • “Becky says to stay away. That sometimes wanting is better than having — Whatever that means”
  • In this scene, he’s talking about playing guitar. “Somehow, everything I play sounds like the same thing: longing.”
  • “It’s like I left some important part of myself at Pride, and I don’t know how to get it back.”

Also, if you’re wondering why she wrote her book this way, this is a great interview!

Now to talk about a significant part of this book, We Are Lost and Found is set during the 80s and the AIDs epidemic. I’m usually hesitant when it comes to books set during real life events that are as heavy and difficult to talk about like the AIDs epidemic. Let me just say this: This is such a well researched YA novel set during this time. Since I got to read this book so early, I’ve been able to talk to Helene Dunbar herself and she’s truly so passionate about this subject and the book itself. I strongly suggest you read both the Afterword and Acknowledgements when finishing this book. Also, read the interview I linked above. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know much about the AIDs epidemic besides the fact that it certainly did happen. This book exposes the most difficult and uneasy events that took place during the epidemic. There’s a few scenes in this book that I marked because they were truly excellent and captured the experience of a young, LGBT+ boy in the 80s. One of the scenes is near the beginning of the book when Michael is reading the newspaper and reading the statistics and result of AIDs. Throughout the entire book, Michael is so utterly scared of AIDs — whether it be him somehow obtaining it or his friends and brother. Another heartbreaking scene that captures the pure fear of the AIDs epidemic is when another side character ends up getting AIDs and his family doesn’t even visit him even though he’s dying because they’re scared they’ll get sick. These are such poignant scenes but they truly set the reader up for an eye opening read.

I’m planning to read more books about the AIDs epidemic since this one. I loved it even more than I thought I would. The writing was absolutely beautiful. Helene Dunbar wrote a book on such a complex topic and did it while being both poetic and light hearted at the same time. Don’t get me wrong — this book is a heavy read but it’s well worth it. There’s so much depth within this book that I didn’t quite expect but I really enjoyed it.

On a more random note, I think this would make the perfect book club book. I really love reading this along with Amber. It gives you so much to talk about and makes for incredibly interesting conversations! As a reader, you also learn so much about the AIDs epidemic from the point of view of an LGBT+ teen. Truly remarkable!

I can’t wait for this book to be released (I pre-ordered it right when I finished) so all of you can read it and hopefully love it as much as me! The description of this book seems quite accurate. I think this book has all of the things Perks of Being a Wallflower has so if you are a fan of that book, don’t hesitate to pick this one up! You might love it as much as I did.

Find We Are Lost & Found at your local bookstore! It comes out September 3rd, 2019.

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

Upcoming Reviews | 7/26/19

Hello everyone! These are all the ARCs I have to read into 2020. I will be posting a review for all of them and I hope to meet each of the deadlines I gave myself. I obviously might not post on each of these days but I plan to. As you might’ve noticed, most of these days I plan to post are a week BEFORE the release date. I’ve always done reviews like this because it gives me more time to read the books and it allows me to promote my review whenever the book is published. I’m also probably going to be reviewing more books but might not have the ARCs yet or it’ll be a review of some random book I just read. If you have any questions, just let me know!

  • We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Review Date: Most likely August 26th, 2019

  • Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Review Date: Most likely August 24th (I’m hoping for this but it’s also a VERY long book so who knows)

  • Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Release Date: October 22nd, 2019

Review Date: Most likely October 15th, 2019

  • Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Release Date: January 14th, 2020

Review Date: Most likely January 7th, 2020

  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Release Date: January 21st, 2020

Review Date: January 16th, 2020

 

April Book Haul (2019)

Well, I don’t see myself going on a book buying ban anytime soon. I never realize how many books I collect in one month until I’m creating these posts. This one is going up a little late because it takes me forever to take pictures of all of them. It’s just a lot of work to gather the millions of books I tend to buy in one month and take a photo of them. I blame this on the fact I work at a bookstore now. I’m surrounded by books way too often to not take them home with me. Without further ado, let’s talk about some of the books I got in April!

 

  • Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright

Since I’m getting a new job at this indie bookstore, I felt like every time I went in, I had to buy something. I mean, I wasn’t not going to. The books were discounted so I decided why not. This is also a book I’ve been interested in because I’ve studied world religions for fun since high school and Buddhism has always been the one that’s sparked my interest.

  • Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor

I was so kindly sent a copy of this book by Vintage books. I’m probably going to read it while on my way to Atlanta this upcoming weekend. Very stoked!

  • We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

I requested this book the day it went up on Edelweiss. I emailed the publisher and they sent it to me so generously. It sounds like the perfect coming of age story set in the 1980s and I can’t wait to get to reading it! It was also an On My Radar book and it will have a review!

  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Listen, I bought this because of the hype and it was discounted. Maybe one day I’ll get to it.

  • Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

I was BookOutlet browsing and saw this sequel on there. I was shocked but immediately added it to my cart because I love V.E. Schwab. I haven’t read Vicious yet (lol oops) but I will soon, especially because I already own the sequel!

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

I’ve been looking for some coming of age classics and this one would end up on the list so I bought a used copy from Amazon recently. I’m excited to get to it!

  • The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

I got this on BookOutlet as well because It’s a popular coming of age classic. Who knows if I’ll ever get to it but it was like $2 so I’m not mad.

  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

AH, I recently read The Great Alone and really enjoyed it. I have a review for it up already. I thought I should give her most popular book a try. This book has won awards (I’m pretty sure) and everyone loves it. So, I’m finally picking it up!

  • Turbulence by David Szalay

Before I left my old bookseller job, we would get sent ARCs. I saw this cover and died. The description also kind of reminds me of the T.V. show LOST so I snatched it. It’s a short read so I should be getting to it and reviewing it soon!

 

 

Have you read any of these? Also, what books did you buy in the month of April? I’ll admit, I buy too many books!

Upcoming Reviews 04.15.19

Good afternoon! I decided that today would be the best time to share with you all the reviews I should have coming up in the next few months. This list is obviously going to change as I receive and request new books to review. Most of the books that I review are kindly sent to me. Any books that I read for fun and review anyway will usually be a mini review.

I also want to clarify these reviews SHOULD go up a week before the release date but I can’t promise anything. The dates might change but the review should be up around the times that I say. So, with that being said, let’s list off the reviews!

 

  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid [MINI REVIEW]

I’ve been meaning to write this mini review for so long now and I’m going to write it right after this post (hopefully) so there’s no set date for this but it is coming, I promise!

  • Again, But Better by Christine Riccio [SPOILER FREE REVIEW]

Post date: April 30th, 2019. This review is already scheduled to go up the week before the release date. I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book through NetGalley!

  • Where I End & You Begin by Preston North [REVIEW]

Post date: May 28th, 2019. I was sent an e-arc of this book through NetGalley! I already have a rating of it on my Goodreads because I’ve already finished and enjoyed this book.

  • We Are Lost & Found by Helene Dunbar [REVIEW]

Post date: The date isn’t exactly set since I haven’t read this book yet but I usually post the week before so technically, this should be going up on August 27th, 2019. Wow, I’m ahead of myself!

 

 

Are you excited about these upcoming releases? Have you read the ones already out? I’d love to know!

 

Pre-order any of these books at your local bookstore! Pre-orders help books out IMMENSELY.

 

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 Wanna help these books out even more? Add them over on Goodreads!

ON MY RADAR → We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

On My Radar is a series I’ve been doing since I started blogging in 2016. I share with you books that may not have as much hype that I’m excited to read. I like sharing debut novels or books I just don’t think enough people are talking about. I usually find these books on Edelweiss and try to provide a review closer to the release date. I love doing these posts so I can boost some great books and help others find their next read!

43298077

A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.”

Guys, this book is exactly the type of reads I love. I cannot wait to finally start reading it so I can share with you my thoughts! I love coming of age novels so of course, I had to request this one. Also, it’s being compared to Perks of Being a Wallflower?? aka my favorite book so I have to read it. It’s literally all I want to read right now.

Edition: Hardcover
Page Count: 304 pages
Publication: September 3rd, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN13: 9781492681045
I was so kindly sent a copy of We Are Lost & Found by Source Books so I will have a review coming out near the release date! Stay tuned for that.

Pre-order this book at your local bookstore! Pre-orders help books out IMMENSELY.

 

 

Are you looking forward to this book now as well? Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads to help the hype!

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