2019 in Books: the best and the worst

2019 has been an incredible year for books and I read some pretty amazing books and some not so amazing ones as well. I read over 165 books and I narrowed that list down to eleven of my favourites and five of my least favourites. Some of my favourite books have already been discussed but some of them I will be discussing today for the very first time.  

The first book I am going to discuss is The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I absolutely fell in love with this book and I still often find myself thinking about it. I found the storyline thought-provoking, enjoyable, and realistic. I also really enjoyed the main characters Peter (or Michael) and Stella, who I found extremely relatable. I enjoy reading at least one beautiful romance each year, and The Kiss Quotient was definitely my favourite.

Rating: 3 Stars (***)

The second book I am going to discuss is No Exit by Taylor Adams. This was a book that I completed in one sitting and prior to reading it, I was in a book slump after reading a book that was nearly 1000 pages. No Exit was absolutely perfect for curing my book slump as it was very fast-paced, thrilling and it really did keep me on the edge of my seat for the entire book. I love a book that involves abductions and fighting for your life.

Rating: 4 Stars (****)

The third book is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins, and she is definitely one of my favourite authors. This book cleverly combined old Hollywood and new Hollywood all while offering readers a beautiful look into the life of Evelyn Hugo and her romantic relationships. I love a book that has an enchanting storyline and I also really enjoyed the character development of the two main characters Evelyn Hugo and Monique who both truly brought the story to life. This book also had a pretty good twist to conclude the story which is always a nice surprise.

Rating: 5 Stars (*****)

Next, I have a series I want to discuss – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This series was a total of four books and each one easily carried itself, introducing new wonderful characters and expanding on the storyline for each character from the previous book.

The Lunar Chronicles was a wild ride that made me sad when I finished. I really wanted to keep reading, but the conclusion was definitely satisfying and not in any way disappointing. I was completely captivated by all four books and I loved the loose tie-ins to the fairy tales of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and Repunzel.

Rating: 4 Stars (****)

The Dorothy Must Die series by Danielle Paige was another favourite of mine, even though I was disappointed with the fourth and final book. Overall I did really enjoy the series. It offered romance, comedy, and magic. I like a good magical, fantasy-based storyline and the Dorothy Must Die series certainly delivered. I really enjoyed seeing the main character Amy discover herself and develop her self-worth throughout the books as they progressed.

Rating: 3 Stars (***)

Another series I really enjoyed was the Accidentals series by Dakota Cassidy. This is a series I have not discussed but I feel it is definitely worth mentioning. The first book is titled The Accidental Werewolf and there are a total of eighteen books thus far, and I am presently getting ready to read book eight. This series follows Marty, Nina, and Wanda, three best friends and their husbands all while they continually manage to get themselves involved in one supernatural mess after another, all including werewolves, vampires, demons, cats, and genies. Each book focuses on one of the character’s accidental mishaps that turns them into one of these supernatural beings. I will warn you though, that there are some erotic overtones to the storylines, but nothing overly crazy. The books are hilarious and perfect for a light, fluffy Chic-Lit read.

Rating: 4 Stars (****)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was definitely another favourite. I loved everything about this book and I especially enjoyed the 80’s references, as I was a child during that decade. I could definitely appreciate all of the musical and game references. I also loved the post-apocalyptic feel to the story as I really enjoy that genre. Ready Player One was an easy read for me as it was very enjoyable and kept me intrigued until the very end of the book.

Rating: 5 stars (*****)

Another favourite was You by Caroline Kepnes. I absolutely loved this book because it was disturbing and eerily real. It’s so easy for a stalker to follow your every move both online and in real-time, and You reminds readers that you never really know who is watching you. I also really enjoyed the character of Joe as he had a perfect stalker personality. The author Caroline Kepnes really captured the silent thoughts of the characters superbly and this only added to the creep factor of the book. 

You has also been adapted into a television series on Netflix, and it currently has two seasons available to be streamed.

Rating: 5 stars (*****)

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill was another one of my favourite reads this year. It’s a larger book at almost 700 pages, but it’s definitely worth investing the time to read. The story is creepy and scary as it revolves around a child abductor/killer who takes the children to a place called “Christmas Land” and he slowly drains their souls from them. It’s a unique storyline with a wide variety of characters and time-travelling adventures. This book introduced me to Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, and some even say that he is a better author than his father. One thing I know for sure is that Joe Hill is definitely an author to keep on your radar if you enjoy a good horror story.

Rating: 4 stars (****)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris was another phenomenal read that will stay with me for a really long time. The story follows Lal Sokolov during the Holocaust who is forced to become the tattooist, responsible for branding all of the Jews with their number tattoo within his concentration camp. The book is both devastating and heart-breaking as it really depicts the sadness that was the Holocaust.

Rating: 5 stars (*****)

My favourite read this year was definitely Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and he was the prosecutor for both Charles Manson and his family. I love true crime and Helter Skelter is by far the best of the genre. The storyline follows the true account of the Manson murders and provides in-depth detail of the rise of the Manson family, their reign of terror, the trial, and the aftermath of what they did to their victims.

Rating: 5 stars (*****)

Some of my least favourite reads almost made their way to my DNF (did not finish) pile but I powered through them. I do actually have a DNF pile for the year but I am not going to talk about those books. I just decided to talk a little bit about the books that I did not enjoy. None of these books were altogether terrible, except for one and it is a book that I have reviewed and talked about on this book segment.

My first least favourite book of the year is Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, and it is the sequel to one of my favourite reads this year, You. Sadly, Hidden Bodies did not offer the same wow factor as its predecessor. Joe certainly lost his creepy, psychological thriller factor that was so prevalent in You and it seems as though the storyline was trying to build off the original thriller with a new character named Love. As I read along I soon discovered that Love had some psychological issues like Joe, but even with this new love affair, the novel still greatly lacks the literary power of You.

Rating: 3 stars (***)

Next is a novel titled 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, and this is a novel geared towards young adults. I read a lot of books from this genre and I usually enjoy them, but 13 Little Blue Envelopes was just, simply put, very bland. The storyline kept a slow, dragging pace throughout the entire book. The story focuses on Ginny, who receives 13 blue envelopes from her deceased aunt. Each envelope provides Ginny with a specific amount of money and instructions for an adventure somewhere around the world. Ginny then takes on the envelopes and embarks on some adventures linked to her deceased aunt. The storyline had promise but, unfortunately, it just didn’t deliver.

Rating: 2 stars (**)

Next is Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King. I am a huge fan of Stephen King and I have enjoyed every single one of his books – and then Sleeping Beauties happened. The storyline certainly had an interesting plot as women were mysteriously coming down ill with a sleeping condition. Women need to stay awake or face becoming the next victim of the unexplained condition. The book was long at over 702 pages and slow in developing the overall story. I almost DNF’d this book as I often found myself not really paying attention as I read along. I had to go back and reread multiple sections as my mind kept drifting elsewhere. The only reason I finished this book was that it was written by Stephen King.

Rating: 3 stars (***)

The final and my least favourite book I read this year was War Storm by Victoria Aveyard. War Storm is the fourth and last book of the Red Queen series. I have never read a book that I disliked so much and this book absolutely drove me crazy! It was a huge book and it took me forever to read, even taking two breaks to read other books. It was a complete waste of time and I truly felt like celebrating when I finished reading this book, but not for any positive reasons.

In relation to the series, the first book was honestly the best of the entire series and I only finished War Storm because I had invested so much time and effort in reading this series. As a reader, if you haven’t started reading the Red Queen series, don’t. Save yourself from wasting your precious time with a dead-end boring storyline.

Rating: 2 stars (**)

Jennifer Boucher Bourque is a regular review contributor and staff writer at The Lorenzo Review. To read more of her reviews, click here.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *