Ah, 2019. Another year (almost) gone. It was… a time. Some of it was great, some of it not-so-great. But you know what was great? The number of books I managed to read!
50 books, y’all! I’m so proud of myself! Just a couple years ago, I was barely managing to read 10 books, if that. So the fact that I managed to hit 50 in 2019 makes me so happy. I love reading and I feel like I missed out on so much during the time where I barely had the energy to pick up a book.
I also really enjoyed having this blog to share what I read. While I may not have managed to write a post every single month, I still blogged about everything I read. That’s another feat I’m proud of! I’ll never call myself a real book blogger (I couldn’t degrade the real book bloggers by doing that) but writing about books is fun.
Anyway, here’s everything I read in 2019 and my favorites of the bunch!
First, a full list of all the books I read in 2019!
For the most part, I enjoyed everything I read (except for a select few that I either didn’t care for or outright thought were terrible). But there were a few that really stood out.
My favorites of 2019!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.
I wish I could forget this book so I could read it all over again, it was that good. Or at least, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to read slower so I could savor it even more. For 2020, I definitely want to read more of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books.
The Bride Test
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
This entire series (yes, I know it’s only two books so far!!) is so wonderful. I love the autism rep and the romances are both swoonworthy and touching. I definitely liked this one better than The Kiss Quotient, but I’m really excited for book 3.
Red, White & Royal Blue
What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?
Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.
I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Honestly, I kind of mad about it? Is that weird?? With all the hype it had, I expected it to be good, but it still blew me out of the water. Sometimes I randomly think about that Thanksgiving turkey scene and just have to laugh. Brilliant book.
Darius the Great is Not Okay
Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran.
Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.
Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.
Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.
I love this book and I want everyone I know to read it. It’s not often that I read books with Persian representation, so to see it alongside other rep that means a lot to me, this was truly my book of the year.
Honorable Mention – The Royal We
American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.
Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.
Which is how she gets into trouble.
Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.
I didn’t love this book. I thought it was too long, too drawn out, and yet ended too abruptly. That said, I did enjoy it and I couldn’t get it out of my mind for months. Heck, sometimes I still think about it. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel when it comes out, whenever that may be.
I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty excited for 2020 and all the great books it’s going to bring. Can’t wait to keep reading!
What was your favorite book this year? Did you have a reading goal? If you did, did you reach it? And if not, do you think you’ll set one for 2020?