Sunday, January 19, 2020

Review of 2019 Reading Year: The Stats, The Surprises, The Disappointments & the Best of the Best

I am finally getting around to wrapping up my 2019 reading year.  There were a lot of stats to calculate this time around since I didn't do such a good job of tracking throughout the year.

2018 Reading Stats:

In 2019 I read a total of 268 books (give or take a couple that aren't on Goodreads)
broken down that is 34,439 pages and
571:19 hours (23 days, 19 hours and 19 minutes) of audio book time

of those books:
15 earned 5 star ratings
147 earned 4 star ratings
77 earned 3 star ratings
17 earned 2 star ratings
1 earned 1 star rating
7 were DNFed

58 were in the 0-50 page range
48 were in the 51-150 page range
70 were in the 151-300 page range
60 were in the 301-400 page range
19 were in the 401-500 page range
6 were in the 501-650 page range
2 were over the 650 range

31 were Children's Books
20 were Early Reader Books
66 were Middle Grade Books
63 were Young Adult Books
88 were Adult Books

33 were Graphic Novels
67 were Audio Books
80 were Print Books
88 were Ebooks

47 were Romance
55 were Fantasy
19 were Sci-Fi

only 2 were by local Rhode Island Authors

Things I have discovered in 2019:

~ I have gotten extremely stingy with my ratings, so few books are getting 5 star ratings anymore. Books really have to wow me in order to get that rating and I am kind of feeling bad about it.
~ I am super happy with the balance of my reading in both formats and age groups. 
~ I am also happy that I continue to give Sci-Fi a chance and am able to find books to enjoy in the genre.
~ I have also discovered that I am a bit of a mood reader, I just have gotten very good at selecting my TBRs that I don't even notice I am selecting based on my predicted moods.
~ I also tend to read chunkier books and binge read series earlier in the year and later in the year tend to pick up shorter books and dabble with new authors and genres. 

Biggest Disappointments:
So besides the 7 books I DNFed this last year, there were a few disappointments. It doesn't mean that these were bad books, or even that I hated them, just simply books I felt were going to be fantastic but just didn't live up to my expectations.

I know, you can all lynch me now.  But honestly the hype was not worth it for me, I understand everyone is super thrilled with the love/hate relationships and the plotting and twisted fae world but for me it really didn't present anything new I hadn't seen before and it didn't do it better either in my opinion. I am not even going to finish the series.

Everyone who reads MG has been raving about this series, but I should have known better when they kept comparing it to Harry Potter. I barely managed to get through this one (and it is a shame both the books had such pretty covers).

I just didn't get it, maybe I am not aware enough of the rich & famous to recognize the name dropping of designers or describing of beautiful furniture and clothing. I just couldn't picture it and the constant referring to family ties without a family tree just got annoying for me. I think the movie would suit me better this time.

Biggest Surprises:
I read some books this year that I wasn't sure about or that sucked me in far more than I ever expected. Some pulled me into new genres and others introduced me to new authors and worlds.

When Munchkin picked this book out at the library, I thought it would be one we tried and ended up returning to the library unread, but we consistently read it every night for a month and really enjoyed the story. We liked it so much we picked up our own copy along with the next book.  Munchkin is already re-reading it.

This is what I thought Crazy Rich Asians would be! Someone trying to fit in to the higher class.  Not only was it that but it was so much more! I loved the representation in this one and the family ties were amazing.  I absolutely loved the writing style and will be reading more of Helen Hoang in the future.

This is a book I randomly picked up because it looked really cool and it was on sale. I had no idea what I was getting into, and honestly have no idea what I even read or what to believe about this book. But it was amazing and so unique. I really hope I can find more like it in the future!

2019 Honorable Mentions
I don't normally do this but I read so many fantastic books this year that I just had to mention some that just barely missed out on my top books of the year.

I loved the sudden rush of books inspired by Joan of Arc and I am so glad I got to read this one, it was a unique and well researched format and was beautifully written. Even if poetry or historical books aren't your cup of tea, give this one a try anyway!

This is a series that I will forever be raving about! If you haven't started it, definitely go pick it up! Usually I am not a fan of final books in a series but even though we knew ahead of time how this series would end, Chee did an amazing job of keeping the reader clinging to every page.

This was everything I want in a holiday story, a bit of Christmas magic, friends, a little love and a happily ever after ending.  I flew through this story but loved every minute of it and it definitely left me in an upbeat mood even in the midst of my own holiday chaos.

Speaking of Christmas, or more of an anti-Christmas romance, I randomly picked this book up right at the end of the holiday season when I was just a bit sick of the other Christmas books I had been reading and I loved the dark, snarky character and the sunny beach setting, so different from all the other holiday books I had been reading and it still stands out!

This series has been calling to me for quite some time, both from the shelves at the bookstore every time I visited and then again from my own shelves once I gave in, but they are just so darn large! I wish I hadn't been intimidated by the size because even though they are so big, they are pretty easy to read.  I get really drawn into the story quickly and the pages really fly, I regret waiting so long to read them and am really going to push to finish the series early in 2020.

and finally

The Best of the Best Books in 2019:

So here we go with my top books of 2019! I did not expect a single one of these to land at the top, but they have all clearly earned the right to be here. Much like last year, my favorite books have such a variety, and I love that about my reading, any book can become a favorite at any time no matter the target age, genre or format! So in no particular order here are my top books of 2019. . .

I was on a search for strong female role models in books and stumbled across this book at the library and thought I would give it a try, little did I know how inspiring it would be.  While I have very little in common with Ibtihaj, her determination, bravery and work ethic are so inspiring and so is her story and journey so far in life. Proud: Living My American Dream is definitely worth picking up!

I know, I did it again and put an entire series (at least so far) on my favorites list, but The Queen's Thief series so belongs here!! I had been eyeing this series for a while but so many other readers I trust either didn't like it or DNFed the first book.  But then I saw an interview with Megan Whalen Turner and saw the new covers and I just couldn't resist.  While this series might not be for everyone, it is a bit slow moving and has a very intricate plot full of intrigue with even the smallest detail being possibly important in a later book.  I inhaled this series in a single month and am so beyond excited that the next (and I think final) book is scheduled to come out in 2020 *fingers crossed*

Another example of not picking your favorites until the year is over! One of the final books I picked up and read in 2018 ended up being a book that completely blew me away. This book is stunning with the handwritten calligraphy and simple sketched images, along with simple yet profound statements make this the most beautiful book I read this year and it might even earn it a spot in my all time favorite books!

So what were some of your favorite books of 2019? Have you read any of mine? Will you be picking any of these up this year?

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