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My Most Disappointing Reads of 2019 :(

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on

This post is late, but it’s here. Shush, leave me alone.

I had a pretty slow reading year, with a grand total of 25 books. Ouch. Oh that? That was just the sound of my ego bruising, no biggie.

But, even with my meager “read” shelf on Goodreads this year, there were still a few books that just left me . . . disappointed.

DISCLAIMER – these are my opinions, that’s all. You know that saying about everyone having opinions . . .? If one of these books is your favorite of all time, that’s perfectly okay.

ANOTHER DISCLAIMER – I actually liked most of the books on this list, there was just a thing or two about them that didn’t sit quite right with me, and so here we are. Okay. Let’s get into it now.

#4 – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon


“A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. 

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.” (source – Goodreads) 

Rating: 4/5 stars

Look, I actually liked this book. I did. Hence the high star rating. But I didn’t love it like I so desperately wanted to, and that’s more my fault than the book’s I suppose. However, there are some specific reasons I was left feeling a little cheated, so let’s discuss those.

The primary let down of this book, for me, was the characters. I understand that this novel was an adult fantasy stand-alone (a feat in and of itself) so it had to be very plot centric to be contained in one volume. I get it, I do. But god**** if I didn’t find these characters to be incredibly dull sometimes. I felt absolutely no attachment to any of them. Me, Queen of Obsessing Over Fictional Characters, felt nothing. I also felt like character arcs were basically non-existent? Despite a crap-ton of things happening. This would have quite easily been a five star read, maybe even a favorite, if there had just been a little more life breathed into the characters. The only one that felt even remotely human was Ead.

The other let down was the romance. “The Priory” contains an f/f romance – something I was beyond excited about when I learned of it. As a matter of fact, it was that information that bumped this new fantasy release to the top of my TBR last summer.

And oh boy was I disappointed. It’s there, for sure. And it’s lovely. But there’s no sustenance to it. It feels like it comes out of nowhere, even though you can tell the author tried to set it up properly.

However, once you get past that it’s quite an enjoyable romance. And overall it is a very enjoyable read, especially if you’re a more plot driven reader rather than a character driven one.

#3 – Bright Star by Erin Swan


“Erin Swan’s YA fantasy debut, Bright Star, is an action-packed adventure tale of rebellion, romance, and finding one’s voice in the heart of a storm.

Paerolia has been at peace for two centuries, and all is well in the land—or so it seems. Beneath the surface, a tyrant is rising to power. 

A traumatic experience in Andra’s childhood has left her mute and subdued, a servant in the Chief Judge’s manor. But when an assassination team, led by the secretive and alluring Kael, infiltrates the manor and makes a quick escape, she takes her chance and flees with them.

Andra is thrust into the ranks of a secret rebellion—a group of outcasts and believers seeking to overthrow the Chief Judge and replace the corrupt government with new members, ones who will restore and preserve the land they love. Now, the girl who was once an outcast must somehow become the leader Paerolia needs. But she is stronger than she believes—and with the help of a fiercely loyal dragon, she may just be the one to lead them all to victory.” (source – Goodreads)

Rating: 3/5 stars

This is a lesser known YA fantasy release, and it had a strange path to publication to boot. From my understanding, it was similar to Wattpad books that end up published – in the sense that a lot of, if not the entirety of, this book was published online prior to official publication. But don’t quote me on any of that, I could be wrong.

I discovered this book in a strange way as well. I came across a twitter giveaway for two of the ARCS, and the synopsis intrigued me so I entered the giveaway and won. This being my very first ARC ever received (and only one at the time of writing this), I wasn’t entirely sure how to handle it. I ended up reading other books (the above book being one of them, come to think of it), and didn’t get to this one until after its release date.

This read is a weird one for me. I like it perfectly well enough, and may even pick up the sequel when it comes out. (I’m pretty sure there’s a sequel?) But nothing about this story or these characters really stood out to me, in any way. They certainly didn’t leave any lasting impressions. I read a review a while ago, when I first completed this book, that stated something to the effect of “this book feels like every other YA fantasy meshed into one” and that does a pretty good job of explaining my overall judgement. It was fun, and I liked it, but there was nothing unique about it.

Even now, writing this, I can barely recall details from this book. I read it sometime in August, so it’s only been a handful of months. To me, that’s never a great sign. “Bright Star” is likable but forgettable.

#2 – Wilder Girls by Rory Power


“It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.” (source – Goodreads)

Rating: 3/5 stars

This was yet another super hyped 2019 release, and it caught the attention of several people simply by being so unique. A mystery horror with strong female leads, an f/f romance, and gory body horror? Count me in, right?

And yeah, for the most part. This was a solid 4/4.5 star read for me . . . until the end. Or really, the third act of the book. I spent the first two acts scrambling to figure out the mystery of the island, and the Tox. My guess didn’t turn out to be completely accurate, and I was a little disappointed about that because my guess was better than the actual plot. In the end, the mystery ended up not even being that??? crucial to the plot at all? I really can’t explain it any better without giving spoilers, but if you’ve read it you probably know what I mean.

But the biggest thing that dropped this book down to a (barely) three star read for me was the ending. I can see what the author was aiming for, which was an open ending that could warrant a sequel but didn’t necessarily require one. However, what she ended up writing was a open ended mess, with loose ends everywhere and character arcs that not only strayed off path and made no sense at the end, but received no resolution either.

Unfortunately many share this opinion, claiming the end almost ruined the entire book for them. While I can still say I enjoyed the reading experience, I can’t deny that the ending was pretty bad. And it definitely lowered my overall rating.

Also, I would be lying if I said this one wasn’t at least partially a cover buy. Oops.

And now for the last one . . .

I just wanna give another disclaimer before I get to number one, seeing as it was the only book I completed this year that I just simply didn’t like. It just wasn’t my cup of tea, and that’s okay. It may end up being your favorite book of all time, and that’s okay too.

#1 – Again, But Better by Christine Riccio


“Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that? 

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! 

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. 

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.” (source – Goodreads)

Rating: 2/5 stars

I have a lot of thoughts about this book and booktubers getting book deals, but I’ll keep most of them to myself. For now, at least.

I found the first half of this book to be incredibly annoying and amateurish, for lack of a better term. The writing itself read like something I would have written in the seventh grade, and the characters, especially Shane, just came off incredibly immature. I caught myself rolling my eyes at the things she would do and say more than once. Basically almost every time she spoke.

And don’t even get me started on that stupid chair she kept knocking over.

I don’t what made me keep pushing through to finish this book, but I did. And I can’t say I completely regret it? I mean, it wasn’t a one star read or anything. I don’t absolutely despise it.

The second half of the book was much more bearable than the first, but it still had several eye-roll worthy moments for sure. Due to the “Again, But Better,” aspect of it, Shane and Pilot were more mature in this half – which was a relief. Although both of them still made several questionable decisions that I don’t understand.

And certain character responses to another character’s actions left me flabbergasted and actually a little mad. (Looking at you Chad and Babe.)

(Side note: what kind of a name is Pilot Penn anyway? Pilot is cool and different, sure. But Penn? Really Christine? AND BABE?? FOR REAL? sorry, hahahaha).

But the thing I disliked the most about this book was the obvious self-insert. There’s a whole discussion about this, but I’m only going to briefly touch on it in this post. Christine Riccio leads a very public life as one of the biggest booktubers on the platform, as I’m sure most of you know. Because of this, it was glaringly obvious to the majority of readers that Shane was just a self-insert character. Shane is Christine. Christine is Shane. And Shane’s life experiences are eerily similar to Christine’s – most notably the studying abroad in London and the passion for writing. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

All of those things culminated into a reading experience that, unfortunately, was more annoying than entertaining. For me, anyway.

Aaannndd that’s a wrap!

I hope you enjoyed this short little list of 2019 books that just didn’t quite hit the bull’s eye for me (or in the last case, the target. Yikes.)

I’m glad that my list of favorite’s was considerably longer than this one. Double the length, actually, if you count my honorable mentions. If you haven’t read my “Favorite Reads of 2019” post, you should check it out! My next post will be discussing my writing plans and goals for 2020, so keep an eye out for that!

PS: I feel like I want some sort of sign off for these things. Do I need a sign off?


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!

The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George

A Book Review


“The Confessions of Young Nero” by Margaret George is an adult historical fiction about the infamous Roman emperor Nero. But more importantly, it’s a gripping tale of political intrigue, personal betrayal, and a young man struggling to find peace within himself.

Thrust into power by his cruelly cunning mother at a young age, Nero is forced to navigate the dangers of his path in life, all the while feeling like an outsider in the power-hungry world he was born into. As accurate to history as it could possibly be, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel.


I must admit that I knew very little about this infamous Roman emperor, or even Ancient Rome itself, before reading this novel. History paints Nero as a wildly inappropriate tyrant. However, Margaret George paints him in a much kinder, and more fascinating light. In many ways Nero was far ahead of his time, and he was revered by the common people for his generosity and fondness of the arts, which were deemed far beneath a person of his status by the aristocrats. He is a fascinatingly complex character, and even refers to there being three versions of himself throughout the novel. The reader comes to understand and empathize with all three Nero’s by the end, despite the dark shadow history has thrown over him.


However, I would have to concede that the most intriguing character by far, to me at least, is Nero’s mother. Agrippina was painted as a cold and callous person, and some of the actions she takes certainly give credibility to that description. But what fascinated me the most was her sheer cunning, worthy of praise in my opinion. Agrippina was the puppet master behind the strings. She orchestrated and controlled an impressively large amount of political events, all to further her own power and importance. She worked her way from exile to empress, and she didn’t stop there. I was constantly left impressed by her subtle manipulation and cunning.

Other Characters

“The Confessions of Young Nero” has an overwhelmingly large cast of characters. Due to the importance of family trees and ancestry in this work, there were numerous names dropped rather frequently, and I found it difficult to keep up with them at times. I got characters confused or forgot ancestors altogether quite a lot; however, I think my lack of prior knowledge had a large part to play in that.

But, there are several interesting characters that stand out from the mix, and we are even given some chapters from their points of view when the time calls for it. The two characters that come to my mind are Acte and Locusta. It would be difficult for me to explain their importance to the story without giving spoilers (although, can you really spoil historical events?). But both of these characters bring very strong female presences to the novel, albeit in very different ways.


Being an accurate historical fiction, this book’s setting is very much Ancient Rome. The author took no liberties with the locations the events of the novel occurred in, and I felt almost as if I had been transported through time. Margaret George paints stunning pictures of scenery that plop you right at the fancy formal dinner couches in the imperial palace, or the flower gardens of aristocrats personal villa’s.

The abundance of locations this novel takes place in could easily have been overwhelming to the reader (much like the names), but the author’s use of modern names for places instead of their traditional Latin names helps stave it off. However, without a prior knowledge of the cities of the ancient empire, it still can be slightly confusing. I found myself looking up a map once or twice, just to better understand the layout of the cities and countrysides they were visiting.


I was very impressed by this novel, and Margaret George’s ability to recount history in such an interesting and entertaining way. Above all else, “The Confessions of Young Nero” reads like the story of a boy thrown into power, and his inner struggles to accept it, thrive in it, and maintain it. It held my interest from the dark, scarring opening right until the shocking end. I will most certainly be picking up the sequel to read the conclusion of Nero’s intriguing tale.

Star Rating

4.25 out of 5 stars

Who am I?

My name is Alivia Haven, and I’m a writer and freelance illustrator. But I am so much more than that. I’m a reader. A thinker. A dreamer. A creator. A lover (not a fighter.)


I’ve been creating stories my entire life, and writing them down almost as long. Creative writing was always something I did for fun, but never something that I thought I would take seriously. As in, try to make it my career seriously. I know the life of an author is tricky and unstable and I will never ever be rich from it. And that’s okay. Because I’ve discovered, in my meager two decades of life, that I would much rather live a life that makes me happy than a life that makes me rich for the sake of being rich.

I’m currently working on two YA fantasy novels as my main projects. They are at very different stages (one is still an uncompleted draft.) I can only hope that one of them is the book that lands me an agent. Fingers crossed!

There are several more novel ideas floating around – some far more developed than others – just waiting for their chance to be written!

I will have a blog post soon dedicated solely to my current writing projects, plans, goals, and dreams. So keep an eye out for that!

Freelance Writing

In addition to novel writing, I am also dabbling in nonfiction and freelance writing. I have a few nonfiction works in the making (articles and essays) and a few more waiting to be written.

I have one article already published on Medium!

I’ve been looking into earning income as a freelance writer, and it’s something I really want to work towards in the new year!


I also dabble a little in poetry, but not as much as the two types of writing listed above. My poetry writing has evolved from the songwriting I dabbled in my last two years of high school, and I feel that it needs a lot more refinement.

But I also have a few poems published on Medium! You can find them by searching my name, Alivia Haven!


I’ve been devouring stories just as long as I’ve been creating them! My mother always read to me as a small child, and when I was about three I began reading along with her from memory. She began teaching me then, and I was a quick learner. She created an unstoppable reading machine. By the time I was in the third grade, my school librarian had to call a meeting with her because I was checking out and reading college level books. Thankfully my mother never did try to censor my reading, and told the librarian I could check out anything I wanted.

I like to think my wide, uncensored range of reading from an early age is one of the main contributors to my open-mindedness and empathy as an adult. Reading transports you to worlds, cultures, societies, and ideas you might never have been exposed to otherwise. It truly is a magical thing.

Favorite Genres

As a child I read vastly – pretty much anything and everything I could get my hands on. I didn’t limit myself by genre or author. In some ways I miss those blissful, carefree days.

Now, as a young adult, I find myself drawn to that category of fiction far more than others. And while I’ve always felt a strong pull towards all things fantastical and magical (thank you Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings), I now find that I almost solely read fantasy. And YA fantasy at that.

But I have made it a goal to branch out a little more in the year 2020, and I’ve already begun to a little with my current read – an adult historical fiction about the Roman emperor Nero (which I’m quite enjoying.)

I would also like to read more nonfiction in the new year (and decade!!), and some more literary classics. I do love me a good classic, but it’s been many years since I’ve read one, and I haven’t read many in total.

I would like to just read more in 2020 than the 25 books I managed this year. Maybe I could try to double it and read 50?

Other Hobbies

As for the other aspects of my life, the ones this blog won’t be focusing on . . .


My main other passion/hobby is illustration. Specifically character illustration. I participate mostly in digital art now, but I started with traditional and would like to go back to my roots a little more in the coming year (more on that in my 2020 goals blog post, coming soon).

I am a freelance artist, which means I take commissions from clients and create custom drawings for them. I’m also looking into opening a store in the future, where I can sell some of my original works as prints.


I’m also a guitar player, although more of an aspiring one now. I played acoustic rhythm guitar for around three years, then abruptly stopped for a while. Around two years I believe? But I’ve recently picked the hobby back up and am woking toward the skill level I was at before I quit!

I also enjoy singing, maybe a little too much. (Ask my cat, I’m sure she’s sick of hearing it.) But I certainly don’t list my singing as a talent hahahaha.

This Blog

My goals for this blog are pretty straightforward. I simply wanted a place that I could share my thoughts about books and book related things, while also talking about writing progress, thoughts, emotions, etc.

I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this blog, and I can’t wait to get started! I can’t wait to see how it grows over time!

Hello, and welcome!

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of starting up a blog for some time now, and finally realized nothing was holding me back. So here we are! On Liv in Books, I will be discussing all things book and writing related, from in depth book reviews to curated lists to writing updates, and everything between. I can’t wait to start this new journey in the new decade! 2020 certainly feels like a fresh start, and a chance to push myself closer and closer to achieving my dreams.