Top NON-2019 Pubs I Read In 2019

It’s hard to believe we’re at this point already, but here we are: the end of 2019. And it was definitely a great year! I read some great books and met some great people. These are the top books I read that were NOT published in 2019!

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TEN: All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

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NINE: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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EIGHT: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

SEVEN: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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SIX: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan

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FIVE: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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FOUR: The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie – Sue Hitchcock

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THREE: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

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TWO: Circe by Madeline Miller

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ONE: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What were your favorite backlist reads of the year??

xoxo

Jen

December Wrap-up

I had a really slumpy November, so I was super relieved when my reading mojo returned for December! Unfortunately, my reviewing mojo remains hidden somewhere… oh well, I guess we can’t have everything, right?

Here are the books I read in December:

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  1. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan (ARC): 
  2. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston (TisTheSeasonAThon): 
  3. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (audio, TTSAT, BOTM): 
  4. Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert (Dragons and Tea Bookclub pick): 
  5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (backlist pick):
  6. Finale by Stephanie Garber (audio): 
  7. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (ARC): ★★
  8. One Day in December by Josie Silver (BOTM): 
  9. The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand (bookclub): ★.5

How many books did you read in December? Are you all ready for 2020??

xoxo

Jen

December Haul

The end of the year – and the DECADE! I know a lot of people’s December hauls are going to be ginormous, but mine is pretty small. My family and friends find it daunting to try and buy me books I may or may not already own, I think. Honestly, it’s a good thing – my TBR shelf has literally no more room. Someone send help.

Here are the books I hauled in December:

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  1. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher – BOTM pick
  2. The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
  3. Heartstopper Vol 1 by Alice Oseman – thank you so much to my lovely friend Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills! If you don’t follow her on any of her platforms, DO IT. She is one of my favorite people I’ve met through this bookish journey!
  4. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – good job, hubby!

What books did you haul this month? Any good Christmas gifts??

xoxo

Jen

Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

This is always a depressing list to write, and also sometimes hard to choose. This year I picked 5 books that man…were just really disappointing. I’ll be honest, I was super surprised at the ones I picked this year. I had such high hopes, and not loving these books hurts my heart a little bit. But I guess we can’t love them all, right? Here they are, in no particular order:

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Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rating: ★★

I really, really, really wanted to like this one. A lot of people I love also loved this book, and I trust their book opinions. But this was NOT the book for me, and I should not have picked it up. The characters were super unlikeable, there wasn’t a ton of plot, and the entire book revolved around perpetual misunderstanding, which is one of my biggest book pet peeves. I know a lot of people loved this one, but I wasn’t one of them.

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The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Rating: ★★

I had really high hopes for this one. So much so that we picked it as one of our FridayFrightAThon reads this year! Unfortunately, it struck out big time. It had really good potential at the beginning, but the pace slowed down and honestly it just got super…weird? Not a fan, and it was on a lot of top horror lists for the year, so I was expecting more.

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

Rating: ★★★

Now, hear me out on this one, because I definitely didn’t hate it. BUT I didn’t love it either. I gave both Caraval and Legendary 4 stars each, and after such a magical series I was expecting a great wrap-up. But I didn’t love the storyline, the main characters all annoyed me, and also made super dumb decisions?? Plus, I completely fell in love with Jacks as a villain from Legendary, but I feel like he really got downsized in Finale, which was a big bummer.

Never-Contented Things by Sarah Porter

Rating: DNF @ 27%

Ahh, we’ve reached the point in the list where I literally DNF the book. I received this as an ARC, which I HATE not finishing, so you know I really had issues with this one. And they were BIG ONES. I don’t want to trash the book too horribly, so if you want you can check out my reasoning on my goodreads page, but just know that I hated pretty much everything about this one. And don’t be fooled by the Fae references. This book was marketed somewhat along the lines of The Cruel Prince, but IT IS NOT.

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Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Rating: DNF @ 15%

Ok I feel like I should have ended with the previous one, because I had much stronger feelings about why I DNF’d that one. And I’ve honestly heard a lot of people I love scream from the rooftops about how much they love this book. However, I was so confused from page 1 about what was going on. I gave it my all, but I just could not get into it. And I will say that I know there has been a lot of recent drama involving this author and what they’ve written in the past (I am not fully informed but I’m sure a quick google search will help you out) that has had a lot of readers setting this book down for good.

And that’s it, y’all. The saddest list of the year. What books were you disappointed by in 2019??

xoxo

Jen

Review of 2019 Bookish Goals

Hard to believe 2019 has almost come to an end! And not just the end of a year, but the end of a decade. In January, I set some bookish goals for myself – you can check them out in this post. But I thought it might be fun and see how I fared over the year! SO without further ado, let’s go through them one by one!

MINIMUM OF 3 BLOG POSTS PER WEEK

I want to be able to say that I did this…and a lot of weeks I did…but definitely not every week. In fact, there were a lot of weeks that I didn’t post at all. I hit a little bit of a burnout, especially over the past few months. Hopefully I come through that soon!

REACH OUT TO PUBLISHERS MORE

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I actually did do this during the first half of the year, which I’m pretty proud of myself for. Again though, with the burnout, adding to my plate of books that had to be reviewed by a certain time added to the stress.

BE MORE PICKY WITH ARCS

THIS I did a great job of doing, and it actually helped out a lot with my mental burnout. I started only requesting books I REALLY wanted to review prior to publication date, which kept my load light. I’m going to continue this through 2020.

READ ONE BACKLIST READ PER MONTH

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I’m going to do an entire post on my MUST READS OF 2019 list, as well as highlighting my MUST READS OF 2020, BUT I will say: I did not get to all of them. I believe I am rounding out the year at 8/12? So those four remaining books will hopefully be some of the first I get to in 2019!

READ ONE BOTM BOOK PER MONTH

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I did a good job at this! I believe I read 11/12 BOTM books throughout the year! I will be continuing this goal into 2020 as well.

BUY LESS BOOKS

I did a GREAT job at this. My hauls this year were much smaller, and I’m pretty proud of myself for that. Alas, I still have an entire bookshelf of books that I have not read. Time to get cracking!

REACH OUT TO TWO NEW (TO ME) BOOKSTAGRAMMERS PER MONTH

Ok I did terrible at this BUT I did manage to meet some pretty awesome people over the course of 2019! Doing Summerathon was super helpful in this regard, and I loved connecting with you all!

How did you do with your 2019 goals? Let me know!

xoxo

Jen

December Pick: Book of the Month

Holy cow, you guys, how did we get here? Not only was this my last BOTM pick of 2019…it was my last pick of the DECADE. Fingers crossed that I picked a good one???

This is what I went with for December:

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The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Goodreads Synopsis:

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

Why I Picked It:

Honestly, the synopsis really did it all for me here. This book sounds SO GOOD, and I’ll probably read it shortly into the new year. While I did love Red White and Royal Blue, I already have a copy of it, and none of the other choices really jumped out at me.

Which books did you pick this month??

If you haven’t tried BOTM yet but have been thinking about it, here’s a link that I believe gets you a free book with your first try!

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: Girls of Storm and Shadow

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Title: Girls of Storm and Shadow

Author: Natasha Ngan

Pages: 403

Release Date: Nov 5, 2019

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

Goodreads Synopsis

Rating: ★★★★

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher, Jimmy Patterson Books, in exchange for an honest review.

 “Wren and I might not be Paper Girls anymore, but we are still capable of creating fire. And now we have a whole world to burn.”

Girls of Storm and Shadow picks up right where Girls of Paper and Fire left off. Lei and Wren have escaped the palace after slaying the Demon King, but their work – and the danger – is far from over. In order to overthrow the monarchy and defeat the king’s army, they must win the support of other clans to bolster their own forces. This is made much more complicated by the fact that it all must be done in secret – there are people from the palace hunting for the two escaped paper girls.

While Lei and Wren are busy fighting dangers all around, they’re also battling their own doubts and terrors. It’s hard to know who to trust, and soon the confusion and doubt threatens to tear Lei and Wren apart. Will true love prevail? Or will the horrors of war, and the pieces you have to sacrifice of yourself to win, come between them in the end?

“Being vulnerable isn’t a flaw. It is the most beautiful thing in the world. If you were invincible, being brave would be easy.”

After Girls of Paper and Firemade my list of top 2018 publications last year, this was one of my most highly anticipated sequels. I didn’t love it quite as much as the first one, but it was still a good follow-up.

GOSAS has a lot of what I loved from the first installment. There’s great representation, and a lot of great messages. Ngan goes deeper into how survivors may deal with their trauma, as well as the effects PTSD can have on your life and your relationships. She does both of these things beautifully and without pulling any punches. It’s realistic and hard and raw, and I truly cried tears for my beloved Lei and Wren while they were hurting.

“Fear is good. It means you care. And caring is its own kind of magic. One just as powerful as any dao I can weave.”

Her characters were as lovable as ever, and the new ones she brought to the table became high on my lists of favorites. I absolutely loved the witty banter and friendships that sprung up between this band of misfits. The world building that was so fabulous in the first book was expanded upon by bringing more clans and magic to the table. I fell deeper and deeper into this world, and loved every minute.

HOWEVER. And I hate having to put this, because I did really enjoy this book, and I was looking forward to it so much. I did have a few complaints. First, the pacing was pretty rough, y’all. I struggled the first half of this book. While I flew threw GOPAF, this book took me a couple weeks (!!!) to read because I just couldn’t fully immerse myself. Once I hit that 2/3 mark it did take off, but the first 60%…yikes. Also…towards the end… I feel like some of the decisions made by certain people (I’m being purposefully vague to avoid spoilers) were so out of character that I just didn’t find them believable. I honestly rolled my eyes a few times because their choices were just so out of left field and didn’t make much sense.

Overall though, I still loved this book, and I know Ngan has said that the ARCs are pretty early copies – the final copy could be completely different! This book still has the same magic, love, and themes that drew me in with GOPAF, and if you liked the first one I strongly encourage you to read it. I’m already on the edge of my seat waiting for #3.

GOSAS was released on Nov 5, 2019. 

*All quotations are taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

 

December TBR

The LAST TBR OF 2019! Wow that year flew by. I have been TERRIBLE at sticking with a TBR this year, so I have no doubt this month will be more of the same. HOWEVER, I do have a few goals for December:

First, I’ll be participating in TisTheSeasonAThon again (click the link for more info!), and I am so so excited! I did make a TBR for this week, and my husband will be traveling on business, so I will have plenty of time to read! These are the books I’m going to try to get to for the readathon, and what challenges they tick off:

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  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston (the buddy read book)
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver: snow on the cover, holiday themed book
  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: book related to music
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: book you received as a gift

Second, I want to finish ALL of my 2019 ARCS. Luckily, I only have 2 left, and I’m halfway through one of them:

  • Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
  • Coral by Sara Ella

As for the rest of the month, I will either be picking up Backlist Reads (there is NO way I will finish all of the ones I wanted to hit in 2019) or 2019 releases that I think could be potentials for my top 2019 pubs. Here’s hoping we can squeeze one last month of good reading into the decade!

Happy December, everyone! What are you all planning on reading??

xoxo

Jen

November Wrap-Up

Annnnnd the slump returns. I definitely had a super slumpy November, which is a bummer because I was hoping to finish this year strong. But hopefully December goes a little bit better!

Here are the books I read in November:

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  1. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (FridayFrightAThon): 
  2. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (audio, reread): ★★★★★
  3. Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo (ARC): ★★★★
  4. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (BOTM): ★★★★
  5. Queen of Nothing by Holly Black: ★★★★★
  6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (audio, reread): ★★★★★
  7. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: ★★★★★

Yikes. Here’s hoping I read more in December??

How many books did you read this month?

xoxo

Jen