2019 End of Year Book Survey

Hey y’all!! 😀 It’s that time of year again when I do the End of Year Book Survey. It’s long. It takes forever to do and to read, but I love doing it and reading other bloggers’ responses. So shout out to Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, for creating it and updating it every year!

2019 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 78

Books: 47
Audio: 15
Comics/graphic novels: 13
E-books: 3

Number of books reread: 11

Number of books I did not finish: 4

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Best book I read in 2019:

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

Unlike the past two years, it was pretty easy to choose a favorite for 2019. The books I read didn’t appeal so strongly that the decision would be hard, so The Secret Lives of Color was an easy selection. It’s probably the first that I’ve chosen a nonfiction book as my ultimate favorite read for a year.

Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love but didn’t:

The Fall by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

I so enjoyed the first book, The Strain, that I was surprised this one didn’t appeal to me much. I think it was the narration. It’s a little different and it threw me off. Also, I kept thinking of the TV show the entire time I was reading the book (not that it’s any better).

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way):

Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder, illus. by Natacha Bustos

Good surprise: Evil Eye was surprisingly great. It was the first I’d listened to an Audible Original. It was hilarious and kept me hooked the entire time.

Bad surprise: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur was so boring. I didn’t like the story but thought the art was good.

Book I “pushed” the most people to read (and they did):

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

I told just about everyone I knew about these books because they are both timely and well written. Dopesick is worth the read for the information in it and Bad Blood is highly recommended for its shocking report on the company Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes. I’ve told coworkers and bookshop customers about these books and have gotten a few people to read them.

Best series I started. Best sequel. Best series end:

Beauty & the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen, narr. by Saskia Maarleveld
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Best series start: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast was a strong beginning to the steampunk supernatural romance series I got hooked on. All the books seem to be inspired by fairytales and classic novels. It was fun trying to figure out which fairytale or classic novel inspired it and picking out what elements were included in the story.

Best sequel: Lair of Dreams, which I actually enjoyed more than the first book, The Diviners.

Best series end: Assassin’s Fate, of course.

Favorite new author I discovered:

Jessica Townsend
Nancy Campbell Allen

I quickly got hooked on Townsend’s middle-grade fantasy series Nevermoor because they remind me of the Harry Potter books, and Allen’s steampunk romance novels are simply a delight. I’m glad I took a chance and listened to the first one on audio.

Best book from a genre I don’t typically read/was outside my comfort zone:

All System’s Red by Martha Wells

Certainly All Systems Red. I hardly read sci-fi or books where the protagonist is an android, so this was way outside my comfort zone, but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to continuing the series.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book:

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I was so hooked on this book that I completed it in one night in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down until I got to the end so I’d know what becomes of the sisters. What I thought would happen definitely did not happen.

Book I read in 2019 that I’m most likely to reread in the new year:

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill (illus.)

I’m pretty sure I’ll reread this book in 2020, especially if another book in the series is published, which I hope will happen. I need more tea and dragons.

Favorite covers of the books I read:

Watch Hollow by Gregory Funaro
In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
Moonstruck, Vol. 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, illus. by Shae Beagle and Kate Leth
The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Of course, I couldn’t choose just one. I love the burning orange of the sunset on Funaro’s cover that makes the figures in the foreground seem like haunting silhouettes. It makes the book seem more scary than it is. Bailey’s cover is simply beautiful. The overlapping branches form a tree tunnel that seems eerie because of the lone figure at its end. It hints at the darkly atmospheric story within.

I just love the colors on Ellis’s comic book cover. They are light, appealing, and welcoming to the reader. Meanwhile St. Clair’s cover is teasing, just hinting at the colors that will be discussed within. Hobb’s cover is probably my absolute favorite of the year. It’s more impressive when seen in real life, especially when the sunlight glints off the gold-leaf flakes on the cover.

Most memorable character:

Tracker from Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

It has to be Tracker and his smart-ass mouth. It’ll be a while before I forget him. I was surprised that I started to like him. He’s a badass, which I liked, but he doesn’t know when to shut up, lol! His mouth is entertaining. It’s said he has a nose, but no one mentions his mouth. Lol!!

Most beautifully written book:

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

It’s one of the best written books I read in 2019. I admired it as I read and was so swept up in the descriptions that I felt transported to Alaska. It made me want to visit Alaska.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book:

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy

It’s thought provoking because it’s about the opioid crisis, which the U.S. is currently battling. It gives some history on drugs and prescription pills and how the opioid epidemic began.

Book I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read:

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I enjoyed these two so much that I can’t believe I procrastinated on reading them. I decided to feature them both because they both came to mind when I read this question and were both published in the same year.

Favorite passage/quote from a book I read in 2019:

Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks

From “I, Night Angel,” a short story from Perfect Shadow, which contains two short stories for Brent Weeks’s Night Angel trilogy. This is Kylar speaking to the ka’kari (~).

“But fine, I’ve got my own little contradictions my own self.
Damn, that didn’t really sound very good, did it? Maybe I will have to edit these recollections a bit. Later. If I live that long.
Remind me to edit these, would—
~Oh fuck off.~

Lol! 😀

Shortest and longest books I read:

Zodiac Starforce, #1 by Kevin Panetta, illus. by Paulina Ganucheau
The Stand by Stephen King

Shortest: Zodiac Starforce, a comic book

Longest: The Stand, definitely not a comic book

Book that shocked me the most:

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson

It’s more surprise than shock. When I picked up this book at the library, I didn’t expect it to be about a freed slave’s experience aboard a slave ship or for the story to be funny. The humor is the shocking part, and also that it’s a quick read that packs in much.

Favorite book I read in 2019 from an author I’ve read previously:

City of Dragons by Robin Hobb

It has to be a Robin Hobb book. If you’re familiar with my blog, then you probably expected this. Hobb writes great fantasy adventure books that suck you in with its descriptive writing and expansive worldbuilding.

Best book I read in 2019 that I read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure:

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I read Nevermoor because many bloggers and vloggers raved about how great it is and how similar it is to the Harry Potter books. I so enjoyed the books that Wundersmith, the second in the series, is one of my favorite reads of 2019.

Best 2019 debut I read:

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

I think this is a debut. I checked Goodreads and this was the only book I saw for Tesh. I didn’t love it, but it was a really good read. I liked how atmospheric the forest is. It felt alive, almost sentient.

Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting:

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Definitely The Snow Child. The writing is superb and easily draws the reader into the setting. I felt as if I visited 1920s Alaska as I read. And although the book’s setting isn’t a type of place I tend to favor (cold, snow, wilderness, plenty secluded), the story and the writing made me want to see it, visit it, and experience it myself.

Book that put a smile on my face/was the most fun to read:

To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Lol! To Night Owl From Dogfish fits this category perfectly. I had such a wonderful time reading it that I completed it in two days. The story is sweet and the protagonists are a delight. Their personalities drew me in and kept me hooked.

Book that made me cry or nearly cry:

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

It’s the last book in the Realm of the Elderlings series. There were some moments where I felt deeply sad because of close shaves and wondering if/how characters would make it out of tough situations. Oh man! Such a tense book.

Hidden gem of the year:

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson

It’s such a good book! Well told story, extremely well written, provides some commentary on society yet entertaining…it’s a good one. I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about it. It’s worth trying.

Most unique book:

Evil Eye by Madhuri Shekar

Only because the story is all dialogue and the entire thing takes place through telephone conversations. Although it starts out slow, it’s very entertaining and funny, parts of it.

Book that made me the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t like it):

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy

It’s probably the third time I’m mentioning this book in this post, but it’s really good. It made me upset when it exposed how companies ruthlessly pumped painkillers into rural areas causing many to become addicted.

Best book title:

(This is a category I added to the survey.)

Becoming by Michelle Obama

It’s a simple title that I think succinctly sums up the message in the former First Lady’s autobiography. I like that word and what she uses it to mean, to show that we are all still growing and learning.


New favorite book blog/bookstagram/booktuber I discovered:

Bionic Book Worm

It’s hard to tell when I started following a blog, but I know for sure that I learned about Shanah’s blog in 2019. It’s a great one that I highly recommend you visit. I especially enjoy her Top 5 Tuesday meme and am considering to do a bookshelf tour series similar to hers.

Daniel Greene

It’s the same with YouTube: hard to tell when I started following someone. However, I know for sure that I started following Daniel Greene in 2019. I blame him for making me want to reread the Wheel of Time series and actually make it past the fifth book and complete the series this time. I like his reviews and the discussion videos he posts.

Merphy Napier

I learned about Merphy from Daniel’s channel because they did a video together once. I like Merphy’s book reviews/discussions and also her recommendations. She mostly reads fantasy.

Favorite post I wrote in 2019:

Book review:

“The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey

Guest post:

Fantasy Characters I’d Like to Go on a Quest With (posted on Perspective of a Writer)

Book recs/feature:

Book Recs: Amazing Magical Systems

BBC #6: Book Spines

A Legend Has Passed: Toni Morrison

Best bookish event I participated in:

(photos for events mentioned in bookish and personal section are on Instagram)

On my blog:

The OWLs and NEWTs magical Readathons were the most creative reading challenges I’ve ever participated in. Although I didn’t partake in all parts of it, like the events on Twitter, I had fun with what I did and managed to secure a career as an Aurologist, someone who reads and studies auras. I look forward to participating in this challenge again if it’s hosted in 2020.

I also had fun with the Wyrd & Wonder event, which is a monthlong celebration of all things fantasy. I participated by reading only fantasy books and comics, publishing only posts about fantasy topics, and hosting a Book Depository giveaway for fantasy books. I look forward to participating in it again.

In my bookish life:

Attending the ALA conference in D.C. and getting loads of free books

Staying on budget when I attended the Small Press Expo

Visiting the Mint Museum in North Carolina to see an exhibit on Tony DiTerlizzi and his illustrations

Meeting a bunch of authors:

    1. Marlon James — He signed my copy of Black Leopard, Red Wolf.
    2. Benjamin Dreyer — He signed my copy of Dreyer’s English.
    3. Dhonielle Clayton — She came to my store and I got a selfie with her!! And then I bought The Belles but didn’t get it signed.
    4. Colson Whitehead — He signed my copy of The Nickle Boys.
    5. Ibram Kendi — He signed my copy of How to Be an Antiracist.
    6. Nicole Dennis-Benn — She signed my copy of Patsy.
    7. Molly Mendoza — She signed my copy of Skip.
    8. Ebony Flowers — She signed my copy of Hot Comb.
    9. Ben Passmore — He signed my copy of Your Black Friend and Other Strangers.

In my personal life:

Seeing the play “Into the Woods” at Shakespeare Theatre

Taking a reading retreat with a bookish friend and staying at a sweet, cozy AirBnB

FINALLY touring the Library of Congress

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019:

The Reading Retreat: It came at a time when I really needed it and although we didn’t read anything (lol!), it was still loads of bookish fun.

Also, attending the ALA conference because I got to meet a lot of other bloggers and bookstagrammers.

Most challenging thing about blogging or my reading life in 2019:

Finding the time to do it and keeping up with review posts

Most popular post on my blog in 2019:

My post announcing my participation in the OWL Magical Readathon was the most popular. I think it’s because of the link to the YouTube video where the creator of the readathon goes over the details. It was followed closely by my homepage and my review of Soledad by Angie Cruz, which I thought was weird.

Did I complete any reading challenges or goals that I had set for myself at the beginning of 2019?

Yep, I did well on my Goodreads Challenge and my goals to read comics and horror novels. I failed everything else.


One book I didn’t get to in 2019 but will be my #1 priority in 2020:

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

I just really want to get to this book. I’ve already started it.

Book I’m most anticipating for 2020 (non-debut):

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

It’s her second novel. I loved her debut novel, Homegoing.

One thing I hope to accomplish or do in my reading/blogging life in 2020:

Attend some bookish cons and festivals


That’s it.
I’m done.
It’s long as f***

32 thoughts on “2019 End of Year Book Survey

  1. Looks like a fantastic year. I’m hoping to try the magical readathons this year if someone runs them again. Also another reminder that I need to read that Beauty and the Clockwork Beast book. One day…. lol

    Like

    1. I do hope she hosts those readathons again. It’s one of the most creative I’ve seen.
      Lol! Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is a fun listen. I hope the author adds more books to the series.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great wrap up and it sounds like you had a productive 2019 and read a lot of good books. I’m so excited to hear you tried the first Murderbot novella and liked it! I love that series and I’m looking forward to reading the full length novel coming out later this year 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great book survey, and yay for Robin Hobb! I just knew you’d love Assassin’s Fate 😀
    I really need to read Black Leopard, Red Wolf, I’ve heard so many good things about this book!

    Like

    1. Thanks. Oh man! I love Assassin’s Fate but hate it cause it’s the last book 😭
      Black Leopard Red Wolf is good but not for everyone. It’s dark with LOTS or violence but very well written n subverts some fantasy tropes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do this yet. It’s been a few years and it does take a long time to pull together. But I love seeing all you answers! I swear I’m going to try to read The Book of Color now😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I debated whether or not to do it (it’s so long!) but I do have fun with it so I did.
      The Secret Lives of Color is such a great read and I found and read a children’s book similar to it that has some of the same info — The Colors of History by Clive Gifford. It was good too.

      Like

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