Best Books of 2019 | Yearly Wrap-Up


2019 was a great reading year for me. I smashed my Goodreads challenge of reading 100 books, I found new authors who have since made it onto the list of my all time favourites, and I've stepped outside of my comfort zone way more than I did last year. It's always hard narrowing down things like this to my best-of-the-best but I'm going to give it a good go. This post is about the best books I read this year, and I will have a follow-up blog up soon discussing the books that surprised me positively. Like with everything, we'll also have a few posts talking about the worst/most disappointing books I unfortunately picked up. We all love a good yearly wrap-up! Without further ado...

Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
When party girl Daisy Jones joins the 60s-70s rock band The Six, they are dubious as to whether she'll fit the bands image. Billy, the lead singer dislikes her attitude and she isn't all too fussed about him either. Can two people who dislike each other get along for the music that will undeniably skyrocket their careers? This is already well loved online, but boy, I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. Hands down my favourite book of the year. This is a beautiful story filled to the brim with strong women who you want to not only befriend, but you want to become. I never felt so inspired by a fictional group before, it was such a unique reading experience. As this novel is told through an interview format, I recommend you listen to this rather than read it. I personally picked up the book physically but a part of me wishes I had had the pleasure that so many people gained from listening to it's fully cast audiobook.

Valley Of The Dolls
by Jacqueline Susann
Anne, Neely, and Jennifer are three women trying to make a life in New York in the aftermath of WWII. Each has her own story to tell in this almost frowned upon classic that became a cult classic movie. It took me by surprise how much I fell in love with this book, as it really isn't like anything I've ever enjoyed in the past. The characters were so flawed and the story took a heavy look into the downsides of fame. In other words, this was a dreary book. Yet it was honestly so addicting and the characters stayed with me after I put the book down, names and all. I've written up a full review gushing about this novel will I will link to at the bottom of this post.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles
by Hiro Arikawa
This a beautiful story of man and cat as they travel across Japan to visit people from the man's past. I went into this book expecting a few laughs (it's mostly written from the cat's POV) and heartbreak. I got both, but I also got a 5 star read that I would recommend to near enough anyone. This isn't a fictional travel memoir, which the synopsis made it seem. It's a book with heart and though I think you'd get more from this book by being a cat lover, it is also filled to the brim with wonderfully written characters who each hold up on their own.

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
After sitting on my TBR for way too long, I finally picked up this modern classic in 2019. Set in the 1960's in Mississippi, society girl Skeeter decides to put together a book interviewing all the black women living in the town who have spent their lives raising and serving the white women. I didn't know what to expect going into this as I haven't seen the movie and was only vaguely aware of the backlash it seems to get online for being not factual (but.. I mean.. it's marketed as fiction), but I absolutely adored it. I loved the characters, and I so badly wanted to know most of them in real life. Despite it being written in multiple POV's, I never felt disappointed when jumping from character to character - a rarity for me. I'd most definitely recommend you giving this a go.

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn
The year is 1915 and Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans. When she unexpectedly gets her chance and is recruited to work as a spy, she's sent into enemy-occupied France to be trained by the mesmerising Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose. Thirty years later, and haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the matter where it leads. I knew I was going to enjoy this book as it ticked so many boxes--historical fiction, empowering female characters, and wasn't marketed as a romantic tale. Yeah! But it actually came as a surprise how much I enjoyed this tale. The mingled stories of past and present captured my heart and refused to let it go.

Everything I Never Told You
by Celeste Ng
Being a Chinese family living in Ohio in the 70's, the Lee's are just trying to be the perfect portrait of an American family. So when their sixteen-year-old daughter's body is found in the local lake, they struggle to come to terms with the news. This is a beautiful family centred story of the troubles and expectations that go with being different in such a time. Jumping between the past and present, you'll find yourself growing to care about the characters as though this were a 1,000 page book. (It's only 292 pages). The parents are frustrating but you still find yourself understanding their reasoning behind actions, and you'll want to take their children into your heart and give them a safe place to curl up. It's been a long while since I read a book by an author and immediately picked up some other work by him/her because I loved it so much. Much like Little Fires Everywhere, this is a domestic fiction novel centred around a family. But oh, this was so good. And if you're choosing between Celeste's work, then I'd suggest you go with this one first.

Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriaty 
At heart, this is a book about the obstacles that women go through in their 20's and 30's. We have a single mother, a woman with a seemingly perfect life, and a mother going through the trouble of shared custody with her ex husband. But if you go by synopsis's alone, this is a "who did it? what happened?" thing after a murder takes place. I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, in fact, I'd go as far as to say that this would make it onto my favourite books of all time list. Even if domestic fiction isn't your usual genre, or even mysteries, I'd suggest you give this a go. It's surprisingly witty and you'll grow to adore all the characters.

So, there we have it. The best books I read in 2019. See any that you also loved? What was your top book of the year? Let me know!

Read my full review of Daisy Jones & The Six HERE.

Read about who I'd dreamcast in the TV adaptation of Daisy Jones & The Six HERE.

Read my full review of Valley Of The Dolls HERE.

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