I wanted to wait until we were closer to the end of the year before I wrote up this post because I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t miss anything! I’m glad that I waited because there were definitely some books towards the end of the year that I loved reading that made it onto the list! I listed these in order of 10 through 1, but until the top 5 they could really be in any order.
10. Daisy Jones & the Six
I listened to Daisy Jones & the Six on audio this year, and I definitely think that was the way to go for this book. It’s told in interview format, and each character has a different voice actor so it truly feels like these are real people being interviewed. The reason this isn’t farther up on my list is because it isn’t my usual genre and there were other books that I enjoyed a little more than this one, but it was still highly enjoyable! I don’t know how Taylor Jenkins Reid manages to make her characters seem so real, but after finishing this all I wanted to do was google information about Daisy Jones. The only problem is she doesn’t exist.
So many people talk about how amazing Illuminae is, and while I didn’t doubt them that it would be good, I was still a little nervous going into it because of the mixed media format. While Daisy Jones was in interview format, I didn’t know that going into it and listening to it on audio worked out for me. However, with Illuminae I knew that it was told in case files, interviews, and sometimes in artistic whorls of text. Watching someone read the page where the text is in circles on the page would be a fun time. I didn’t have to worry about not connecting with the story or characters though, because I loved Kady and Ezra, and even Aiden! I have yet to read Obsidio, mainly because I’m afraid of this story ending and what will happen to these characters who have been through so much already!
8. Serpent & Dove
I had high hopes forSerpent & Dove because I love a good hate to love romance, and throw in witches and witch hunters and it was bound to be a favorite of mine. I can say for sure now that this lived up to my expectations, and I’m so excited for the sequel Blood & Honey to come out! I loved the strong female friendships, and while the magic system wasn’t fully explained, it was enough to keep me interested and wanting more! I know that some people found the marriage plot line to be unrealistic, but for a fantasy book I found that it wasn’t as unrealistic as some people have made it seem. I mean, it is a book with witches and magic for crying out loud!
7. A Curse So Dark and Lonely
This book came out early 2019 and for the longest time, I had no intentions of reading it. Then one day it popped up on Book Outlet and I thought why not? I’m so glad that I decided to give this book a chance, because I truly enjoyed this book! I loved the twist on the Beauty and the Beast tale, and Rhen and Harper brought out the best in each other! I’ve read a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings, but this is probably one of my favorites. I can’t wait to see where the second book goes and what happens with Grey and his story line. I can’t say personally if the cerebral palsy rep was good or not, but from others reviews I believe that it is. The one thing that I didn’t really like was how one dimensional the villain Lilith was, but all in all, it was a really enjoyable book!
6. Crown of Feathers
I love a book that has animal companions, and this book was no different! With phoenixes and phoenix riders, this book was bound to be a good one for me and it did not disappoint. There were so many plot twists and every time I thought I knew everything to know about this world, more was revealed. The world building in this book was fantastic and I can’t wait to see where this story goes with the second book, which I was lucky enough to get an ARC of. The main turning point for our main character Veronyka shocked me and from then on I was hooked! I thought that I knew the big plot twist, but I was actually pretty off about it but all the clues were there, which I think makes for a fantastic plot twist. The complex relationships in this book also made it a standout as well for me.
5. Red, White & Royal Blue
This is the only contemporary book on my best of list, so you know it has to be good to beat out all the great fantasy I’ve read so far this year! I absolutely adored Alex and Henry, both when they are together and when they are apart. When I saw all the buzz this book was getting on Twitter I knew immediately that I needed to read it because it sounded so cute, and I was not disappointed. The topics that this book tackled were so incredibly relevant in society today and the way they are handled were honestly so perfect! This book was incredibly sweet from beginning to end, and I definitely hope this isn’t the last time we will see Henry and Alex together.
4. The Storm Crow
I said earlier on this list that I love a book with animal companions, and once again we have a book on this list that fits that topic (and it won’t be the last!). This book has magical crows that control everything from the weather to producing crops for the kingdom. The first thing I fell in love with in this book was the depression rep. It was done incredibly well! Depression isn’t a constant feeling, some days you feel great and other days you can’t get out of bed, and this book showed that beautifully, in my opinion. This was another book this year that had amazing friendships, and the witty banter was perfect! We didn’t get to see too much of the world in this first book because we spent a lot of time in two of the countries, but it seems like the next book we may see more of the world and get more of it’s history.
3. The Priory of the Orange Tree
This was one of – if not my most – anticipated releases of 2019, and it didn’t disappoint! This was the longest book I read this year, and also had the added plus of being a standalone, so the story is finished with this book. I loved how diverse this book was, both in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This was yet another book with complex relationships between not only the characters, but the kingdoms as well. I loved the way that each kingdom based their beliefs off the same story, just looking at it from different perspectives and how that shaped everything in their cultures. This was a lot slower paced than I usually like, but the world was so interesting that I didn’t mind because I just wanted to see more and learn more about this world’s history! Oh yeah, and there are dragons, which is always a plus!
2. Shadow Frost
Have I mentioned that I’m a sucker for the found family and chosen one tropes? Because this book fits both of those. I loved the friendships between all the characters, and I loved that there was one couple already established when the book began! This has so many elements of books that I love, including elemental magic, political intrigue, betrayals, and an interesting world! I loved how the characters grew over the course of the book, and just the characters themselves were so lovable! For me, this was like Throne of Glass but much better, which is saying something because I love TOG but it definitely has it’s issues. This book has a little bit of everything, but it does it all very well especially considering that Coco Ma wrote this book when she was 15! Which is crazy because if I had tried to write a book at 15 it would’ve looked a lot more like see spot run than an actual novel. This book definitely wins for me when it comes to YA fantasy, because my number 1 pick of the year is actually an adult fantasy!
1. The Eye of the World
I can’t believe I put this book off for so long! As someone who is a self proclaimed fantasy nerd, you would think that I would’ve already read this series at least once before this point, but in reality I hadn’t even heard of this until I started my blog two years ago which is a complete shame. I knew going into this first book that it would be heavily inspired by Lord of the Rings so I would probably be able to point out similarities, and while for some people this is a downside to this book, for me it just made it even more enjoyable! The series gets so much larger than just that though, as it expands past what Tolkien wrote for LOTR. Like I mentioned in my review, don’t let the similarities keep you from reading this series, because the details that Robert Jordan included really made this book it’s own and pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. In a way, it reminds me of Game of Thrones because both series give incredible detail, foreshadowing and little nuances to the characters, but where GoT can be very dry with those details, that doesn’t happen with The Eye of the World (and the rest of the series, although I have yet to read the third book). This is honestly going to be one of those series I become obsessed with (similar to both Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings), I’ll be googling facts about the world and the characters and when the show comes out, I’ll probably try to convince my friends to watch the show so I can explain it all to them!
There are my top 10 books of 2019! I do have a few honorable mentions that I want to share though, because while these weren’t in my top 10, they are still definitely high up on my list: Traitors Blade by Sebastian De Castell, The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst, Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen, and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.