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My Favorite Reads of 2019!!

I know this post is a little late, most have already gotten theirs up a while ago hahaha. But I was determined to get this up before the new year (decade!!), so here we are! Let’s jump right into it!

#5 – Frankly in Love by David Yoon


“High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.” (source – Goodreads.)

Rating – 5/5 stars

This is the only book on this list that isn’t a fantasy read, and there’s an easy explanation for that. I typically only read fantasy, or books with fantastical or magical elements at the very least. I’ve found that usually when I branch away from those kinds of books I’m left with a sense of disappointment or boredom – that’s just my reading taste.

So when I fell head over heels in love with this book, and the story it told, I was more than pleasantly surprised. “Frankly in Love,” quite literally swept me off my feet. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and – most importantly – it made me think. I’m so glad I stepped out of my reading comfort zone and gave this book a chance!

#4 – The Wicked King by Holly Black


You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.” (source – Goodreads.)

Rating – 4/5 Stars

I know it seems a little odd to have a 4 star read higher than a 5 star read on this list. But to create this top five I took several things besides star rating into consideration, primarily enjoyment factor. Overall I just had a more enjoyable time reading this book, despite its flaws that granted it four instead of five stars. However, this is the only 4 star read on the list!

I had a journey with this book, and the journey begins with the first book in The Folk of the Air series, “The Cruel Prince.”

I bought “The Wicked King” very soon after its release, despite my conflicted feelings regarding the first installment in the series. I began reading it soon after – in the spring of 2019. After reaching the 25% mark, I put this book down and did not pick it up again (for several months).

Then the third and final book of the series, “The Queen of Nothing,” was released in November, and my social medias were filled with praise and adoration of the series as a whole, even by people who were conflicted about the first book as I was. Normally I don’t let “hype trains” influence my reading decisions, but this was an exception. My curiosity piqued again, I picked up “The Wicked King” once more, seven or eight months after DNFing it.

And I absolutely do not regret it. I gasped. I screamed. I cursed. I cried. I finished it in one sitting. Somehow the last 75% of this book made me fall irrevocably in love with this story and these characters, something “The Cruel Prince” had failed to do for me.

However, despite my newfound obsession for Jude and Cardan (who I would DIE for, without hesitation), I recognize that these two novels are flawed. (I can’t speak for the third one as I haven’t read it yet, and therefore can’t speak for the series as a whole.) I also had to take my temporary DNF into consideration when rating this book, and these things are the reason for the 4 star rating instead of 5, despite it being my fourth favorite read of the year.

#3 – Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo


Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.” (source – Goodreads.)

Rating – 5/5 stars

It’s been a goal of mine to read the original Grishaverse trilogy since I read the Six of Crows duology more than five years ago. I finally got around to reading two out of three of them this year, and Leigh did not disappoint.

While I enjoyed the first in the trilogy, “Shadow and Bone,” (4/5 stars) the second book captured my heart. This is rare for me, usually the middle book in a trilogy is my least favorite. The only other exception I can think of is the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas – the second book “A Court of Mist and Fury” is one of my favorite books of all time.

So when I enjoyed this second book far more than the first, I was blown away a little. This series is the perfect balance of hope and despair, and it’s honestly addictive. I can’t wait to pick up “Ruin and Rising,” the third and final book of the series! (soon, very soon.)

(I’m also hoping to squuueeezzeee in a Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom reread before the Netflix show drops!)

If you’re a fan of complex characters who have the ability to simultaneously capture your heart and shatter it into a million pieces, Leigh Bardugo’s book are perfect for you!

#2 – Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin


Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.” (source, Goodreads.)

Rating – 5/5 stars

Okay, so now we’re getting into the books I really really loved (duh.) I knew I would like this book (witches and a hate to love romance, what more could a girl want?), but I didn’t expect to love it this much. From the very beginning, Lou stole my heart in a way that fictional characters rarely do. Which says a lot, by the way, because I’m notorious for being way too obsessed with fictional characters.

There were mixed reviews for this book, with many saying they were bored or it was too slow. While I can see where they are coming from, I can’t say that I agree with them. While the first half of the book may have been a little on the slower side plot wise (although even that’s arguable because the first half is setting up the romance), I found the characters to be so lovable that I simply didn’t mind. This book entertained me from start to finish, and I cannot wait for the sequel, “Blood and Honey,” to release next year. Especially after THAT ending.

But more than its entertainment, this book and its characters warmed my heart. Any reader knows that special, warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you read a book that is just exactly what you needed. This book gave me that feeling, and then some. Lou and Reed forever hold a piece of my heart.

Honorable Mentions

Before we get to my favorite read of 2019, I wanted to leave a few titles here that I thoroughly enjoyed, but didn’t quite make the top five!

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Rating – 4/5

This series is a slow read through for me, despite the fact that I really enjoy it. I read this second book at the beginning of the year and have yet to pick up the third. Oops hehe. I think the thing I like most about this series is Mare, which is a bit of a controversial take hahaha. A lot of people don’t like her, but I dooooo.

TruthWitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

Rating – 4/5 stars

This is another series that’s been on my (terrifyingly never-ending) TBR for a whiilleee. And while I didn’t get to the rest of the books in 2019, they’re certainly on my 2020 TBR.

This book was a breath of fresh air for me. At its center it’s a story of friendship, something that had been lacking from my reading life for a while. Safi and Iseult have a bond worthy of envy. You can only ever hope to find a friendship as strong as theirs in your lifetime.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR, #1) by Sarah J Maas

Rating – 5/5 stars

Sarah J Maas is probably my all time favorite author. I picked up the first two ACOTAR books three years ago, and I was hooked. I’ve finished the ACOTAR trilogy, (even read ACOFAS, which was probably a mistake tbh but oh well), and read the entire Throne of Glass series since then. She has an entire shelf dedicated to her on my bookshelf, and no I’m not sorry.

But since this was a re-read, I refrained from putting it in my top five of 2019.

Aaannnddd finally . . .

#1 – Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell


“Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

Rating – 5/5 Stars

I have so many thoughts and emotions regarding this book that I cannot even begin to condense them into this blog post. I am planning a post dedicated solely to “Carry On,” because it is that special to me, but I’m not entirely sure when it will be up.

For now, let me simply say that “Carry On” is my favorite book. Of all time.

My entire life, when people have asked me what my favorite book is, I’ve answered with several fantasy series. Or, if I can really only choose one (series), Harry Potter. And when they insisted that I choose one singular book, I simply couldn’t.

Now I can. This book is magical, and it made me feel things. It made me feel so many things that I have an incredibly hard time articulating them. Remember that warm and fuzzy feeling I talked about earlier, with “Serpent & Dove?” It’s kind of like that, except times a hundred, and also so much more.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s a whimsical tale about magic and friendship and romance and coming of age and trauma and family and it’s perfect.

And there we have it!

My top five reads of 2019, with a few honorable mentions! I can already tell that this list is going to severely influence my 2020 TBR (series!!!) Let me know in the comments if you’ve read or want to read any of these! I’ll have a related post soon discussing my most disappointing reads of the year, so keep an eye out for that! Happy Holidays!


Published by Alivia Haven

Aspiring author, avid reader.

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