My Top Books of 2019 (& where i was when i read them)

WOWEEEE I was able to read 48 books in 2019 and here are my favorites, in chronological order! I currently have both my goodreads and google photos open so I can match these timelines together and create a loose recap of my year, since I associated a lot of these books to what was happening around me while I was reading them. My personal taste generally: likable characters, exciting plot, beautiful writing.

Skip to the bottom for a TLDR version! I will list everything down there!

Verity by Colleen Hoover 

Genre: ADULT ROMANCE/THRILLER/HORROR

Why I Liked It: I think this is my favorite Colleen Hoover book right next to It Ends with Us. I appreciate Colleen Hoover’s way of making romance interesting with plot because let’s be honest, a lot of romance is the same thing over and over again. But the way she spices it up with plot twists and characters is enough to keep me reading her books. Plus, this one has that psychological thriller factor so it’s a fun and quick read.

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Finished January 12, 2019: 2019 was a rough start. Nothing about school was going right: I hated my classes and my professors, I didn’t enjoy my research all that much, and I was tired of having to go through all that dislike day after day. Memories include me crying so much that I made an album titled ‘me, crying 2019‘ on my phone + my friends spontaneously visiting my house for the first time!! I remember that phone call: Patty called me and said, ‘Hi where are you? We’re outside.’ and I physically went outside barefoot looking for their car until she said, ‘Just kidding!!….unless – *imagine eyeball emoji*’ and lo and behold, they later ended up driving 45 minutes to visit me!

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 

Genre: ADULT FANTASY

Why I Liked It: HAHAH this is funny because I’ve spent a good chunk of my energy actively avoiding Sarah J. Maas books after the Throne of Glass series ultimately turned into a soap opera I couldn’t keep up with anymore. BUT for some reason, I was absolutely enthralled in this series, especially this specific one. It’s the first book in 2020 that I’m rereading because I can’t stop thinking about the romantic scenes and the world and the safety it offered me. Very fun to read in my opinion – and since it’s on the thicker side, people think you’re smart when you read it in public (just don’t show the cover).

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Finished January 19, 2019: I vividly remember reading this in my car during my gaps in school and I would try to find a parking spot next to a light source so I could still read when the sun went down. I also got really into makeup and tried to get myself in a routine of putting a full face on everyday because it was fun; consequently a lot of selfies ensued. OH and this was the time it would rain A LOTTTTT. I don’t have any rain attire as a seasoned Californian so I always ended up being soaked and uncomfortable for the rest of the day. This is also why I now really don’t like rain or gloomy weather in general. I took the sun for granted and I will never make the mistake again.

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Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Genre: ADULT FICTION

Why I Liked It: Taylor Jenkins Reid! I feel like I’ve been seeing her name everywhere this year which is incredible – she’s such a talented writer and knows how to spin stories in unique ways. This was the first and only novel I read by her but I know she has a lot of other highly acclaimed ones like Daisy Jones and the Six and Maybe in Another Life. Underlying themes of female empowerment & minority representation. Also set in entertainment industry, some plot twists, great if you like gossip.

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Finished January 26, 2019: January was a very sad blurry time. I just remember reading a lot (in total 14 books)…more for survival purposes than anything LOL. It sounds dramatic but I genuinely grabbed books like they were bottles of water in a barren desert and this was one of the ones I spent reading on a specific couch in my house after everyone went to sleep and I had to keep trying not to cry since I hated going to school the next morning. Memories include: running outside when the sky was pink, meeting my Visions mentees/family, & writing Alyssa’s birthday story.

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller 

Genre: ADULT FICTION, GREEK MYTHOLOGY

Why I Liked It: Honestly, Madeline Miller has become one of my favorite authors. Shoutout to Alyssa for introducing her to me. She magically uses simple words to explain the most beautiful descriptions. Very quotable, very gripping, and very emotional! Her characters, the world, how she reimagines popular greek myths is incredible. I will say that when I started this, I didn’t know if I could finish it because it felt too sophisticated for me (and my taste isn’t at all sophisticated) but the further I got and the longer time has passed since I finished it, the more her words and stories stuck with me.

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Finished February 3, 2019: a breath of fresh air! In the beginning of February, I received a sliver of clear skies – literally – and joy from friends. It was brief but great. Memories include: me eating sushi alone in the rain. Oddly a very calming experience.

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 

Genre: YA FANTASY

Why I Liked It: It’s like Avatar: the Last Airbender and Game of Thrones rolled into one. And the power it holds within the black community, not only as representation but as a physical embodiment of their pain (themes of racism, police brutality) – this is one of those books that you can’t just turn a blind eye to. There’s romance and magic and fantastic world building too.

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Finished February 26, 2019: There was one specific day where it was super cold on the third floor of the science library (aka where I work) and when the maintenance people came to check the temperature it was 62 degrees. That was also the day I sped through 13 chapters because work was light. Other memories include: roadtripping to San Diego to surprise my friend Caitlin (she’s made some art for the blog in its earliest days) for her birthday.

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Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren 

Genre: ADULT ROMANCE

Why I Liked It: It was just a really really fun read. I read it in 4 hours overnight. I remember loving the main character Hazel by the end of the book. If you need a quick, light-hearted read and if you’re in the mood for something a rom-com-y, this is a good one!

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Finished February April 1, 2019: I felt like I had to include this book because even though it wasn’t the most well-written, it was the most uplifting. I even felt compelled to write a review in Goodreads, and this was also the book that prompted me to write a blog post thanking books. By April, the mess that was winter quarter had ended and I spent this time trying to deal with the loneliness of being a commuter. Sometimes, it was fun though. I really really enjoyed packing lunch and eating by myself in the corner of the cafeteria. This was also when I took my first poetry workshop class; I learned so much and wrote pieces that were luckily accepted into journals and exhibits.

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Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo 

Genre: YA FANTASY

Why I Liked It: Probably one of my all-time favorite series. The characters are some of the best I’ve ever read about. There were multiple scenes that I got goosebumps in – the same way you’d get goosebumps when watching a Marvel movie. All about teamwork and wit and a really good world to be in. Leigh Bardugo is also really cool I’ve listened to her multiple times in different podcasts and she’s great + so so talented.

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Finished April 20, 2019 & May 9, 2019: ahhhh this was the time I got to see BTS and the Kinjaz in separate occasions but the same month. That is all.

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Genre: YA Contemporary

Why I Liked It: the writing is so beautiful and different. The whole novel read like poetry, pulling from corners of the words that I’d never seen put together before. Jandy Nelson is really good at reaching into those untapped emotions and pinpointing them perfectly. I didn’t think it’d be a favorite until I kept thinking about it after I finished it. Super memorable!

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Finished October 13, 2019: October in general was an era of all new things. I started my senior year, for one. I also became a Speakers Commissioner which is wild – will probably do a separate post about that since it takes up so much of my time. Memories include: my coworker Kathryn Jeong deciding to move to NorCal and me getting her an overpriced succulent as a going away present, ordering too many plates of sushi (7 plates too many) at AYCE for Patty’s 22nd birthday, getting my first parking ticket (& repealing my first parking ticket), assimilating into my commissioner life, & working at my first internship.

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Circe by Madeline Miller 

Genre: ADULT FICTION, GREEK MYTHOLOGY

Why I Liked It: I couldn’t have picked a better book to sum up my year. I resonated with this story because it was about loneliness and constantly having to deal with people coming and going, figuring out how to fight for yourself, finding validation, any aspect of female empowerment that all us girls need – it’s in here. It was moving and beautifully written and deserves all its praise. It is ranked my #1 for this year!

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Finished December 10, 2019: I had the best quarter of my college career. Funny how I started with the worst one in January and ended like this. What can I even say – I was surrounded by new communities and new classes and new jobs. I was busy but not tired. I’d leave at 7am and come home at midnight without crying or hating any part of it really. I don’t think it had anything to do with me in particular; I’ve come a little closer to experiencing the realness of God’s plan and riding that wave without trying to control every little thing. I don’t know. I do know that I pray a lot and when I do get overwhelmed, I ask: “What’s real right now? What’s happening right now?” And if I answer something like: “Right now, I am standing in the shower and there is shampoo in my hair and I am breathing” it feels better. Sometimes my answer is also: “Take ‘I’ out of it. ‘I’ am nobody.” and for some reason, that helps too. I can’t get too reflective about it otherwise it loses its magic. But I’m thankful. So thankful. But also so scared for what’s to come next.

But whatever. Goodbye 2019! Hopefully I can find better hand signs this year because I am definitely overusing the peace!

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TLDR, IN ORDER OF RANKING:

  1. Circe by Madeline Miller
  2. Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  4. Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  5. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
  6. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  7. Verity by Colleen Hoover
  8. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  9. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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