January 10, 2020

Alexa's Best Reads of 2019

I’m so excited to finally share my fifteen book (or series) favorites of 2019! Honestly, the “best of” book lists that pop up online around the end and start of a year are some of my favorite content. It’s always fun to see what other people have loved (and perhaps find some new books to add to my TBR)! (You can also check out my favorite reads from 2018, 2017, 2016 (parts one and two), 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.)

So, without further ado, here are my favorite reads from 2019! This year, Macky challenged me to try and do an actual ranking based on his scale (which is basically just how the book made you feel). It took me a while (and I even made a couple of last-minute changes), but I’m happy with the order of this list. 

1. The Diviners, Lair of DreamsBefore the Devil Breaks You | Every single one of these books got a full five stars! I was swept up in this saga from the start. Bray combines historical details (from the 1920s! in New York!), well-crafted characters and an entrancing plot into one heck of a series. It truly is the berries, as Evie would say, and I’m dying to read the finale! (I also wanted to note that I listened to most of this on audio, and the narrator for them is so good.) 

2. Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s ChosenKushiel’s Avatar (my series review) | I didn’t originally have this trilogy on my list, and that would have been a tragedy because I love it so dang much. I read and enjoyed the first book years ago, but finally finished the series in 2019 – and it was brilliant. Everything from the characters to the world to the plot to the themes is written with a deft hand. I loved binge reading the series and can’t wait to pick up the next trilogy! 

3. Call Down the Hawk | I suspected I’d really like this one, because I adore Ronan Lynch so, so much. But nothing could have prepared me for being swept away by Maggie Stiefvater’s storytelling. Her character work is still stellar (and I just love the Lynch brothers even more than I already did), and her plotting is still genius (especially because it feels convoluted to begin with, but all starts to come together by the end). I need book two ASAP! 

4. Lovely War (my review) | This novel is incredible, and I’ll be happy to shout about it for always just because I adored it so much. It’s a historical fiction novel that brings to life the story of two sets of couples set against the backdrop of both world wars, but what gives it a fresh feel is that it’s told by the goddess Aphrodite to an audience of Greek gods. I was hooked from start to end! (I listened to the audio for this one as well, and the full cast narration is brilliant.) 

5. Keeper of the Lost Cities, Exile, Everblaze, Neverseen, Lodestar | I still have a couple more books to read before I’m fully caught up on this middle grade series, but it deserves a spot in my top five. It’s such a well-written series, whether we’re talking about worldbuilding, plot or characters (all of which I have loved and enjoyed). I inadvertently end up flying through the books each time I pick one up to read (and having ~feelings). Can’t wait to read the rest! 

6. The Red Scrolls of Magic | First, we’re going to get this out of the way – I’m Shadowhunters garbage for life now. I love this specific book because it centers around my favorite characters (and couple): Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. Not only do we get a look at who they were at this time in their lives, we also get to experience an adventure filled with hijinks and familiar faces as they travel around Europe together. It is utterly delightful and had me fangirling forever! 

7. Red, White & Royal Blue (my review) | Speaking of delightful, there really is no better way to describe my experience with this novel. I had high hopes before I picked it up and it was a pleasant surprise to find out that this story would surpass them all! It is so much fun to read about Alex, Henry, their family and friends, and all the shenanigans and swoons that this story has to offer. I can’t help smiling whenever I think about this one! 

8. The Name of the Wind (my review) | This was my first read of 2019, and I reread it before the end of the year, and that should tell you something about how much I adored it. This is a primarily character-driven story, and it’s not surprising I fell in love with it considering how much I adored main character Kvothe. The way his story unfolds (or at least, how he tells it) is rich in detail and character and plot, and I can’t wait to find out how it ends (whenever the last book comes out). 

9. Lady Midnight | A murder mystery, a messy familial situation, a complicated romance and setting all that in the Shadowhunters world? Yes, please! I love this book so dang much. I was very much caught up in the plot (and it was a wild ride for my feelings, thank you) and happy to be immersed in a new corner of the Shadowhunters universe. But the cast of characters is what made this novel such a hit with me, as I just adored the Blackthorns and Emma Carstairs with all my heart. 

10. City of Heavenly Fire | As of right now, to me, this is the best Shadowhunters series finale I’ve read. We get to experience the last part of Jace, Clary and that gang’s story, and Clare pulls out all the stops for it. There is so much payoff in terms of plot, lore and character growth, as well as a couple of Easter eggs for future series! I really was impressed with how everything came together, and I totally got emotional over a lot of the scenes in the story. 

11. The Darkest Part of the Forest | I will honestly read any Faerie story Holly Black writes, and this standalone ties with The Cruel Prince for my favorite! The writing has such a fairytale vibe (which is helped along with the atmospheric setting). But what really sticks out to me about this tale are the unexpected themes it explores and the characters, who are brilliant and compelling and wonderful to read about. I loved this book so much! 

12. The Bride Test (my review) | This was my second read of 2019, and I still think very fondly of the reading experience because it’s one of the few books I read this year that had me laughing so hard that I had to stop reading to get the giggles out. Helen Hoang has written another wonderfully humorous and heartfelt romance. She really captures romance in a way that personally resonates with me, and I can’t wait for the next book! 

13. The Risk | I love reading a romance that gives me ~feelings, and this one certainly did! It was a rivals-to-romance meets fake dating plot, and it was so good. I flew through this book! It really helps that I liked the two main characters a lot as individuals and, more importantly, enjoyed them together (because damn, they have excellent chemistry). 

14. Daisy Jones and the Six (my review) | I’m happy I wound up loving this book! I wasn’t sure if I’d get on with the narrative style (interview + clippings format), but it wound up working well. I got deeply invested in the story of Daisy Jones and the members of the Six, witnessing their ups and their downs as told from many different perspectives. It felt like a real part of history, and I’m convinced that these people existed – that’s how well-written it was. (I would really recommend listening to the audio for this one! The full cast narration lends itself well to the story.) 

15. Sorcery of Thorns (my review) | You know how it can be great to just have fun while reading something? That’s how I felt about this novel! It brought me back to the days when I would devour a new YA fantasy and simply enjoy being transported somewhere new for a while. Rogerson did a really great job weaving together the elements of this standalone book, and I was especially fond of the fun plot and the characters. 

Apart from my top fifteen reads of 2019, I also wanted to mention two manga series that I really enjoyed devouring! I hosted two rounds of OtakuAThon with Kristin this year (and we’ll be bringing it back in 2020) and ended up binge reading a series per round. 

Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden | I fell in love with the anime for the original Fushigi Yugi story years ago! While this manga series follows the same set-up, it features a whole new set of characters… and surprising no one, I fell in love with them all. I was emotionally invested in the outcome of the tale and trust me when I say that it paid off (and gave me more ~feelings than I knew what to do with). 

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight | Teen Alexa (who is still in my brain and heart somewhere) imagined many a fan fiction plot that mirrored the basic elements of this series, and so, unsurprisingly, Adult Alexa really loved this manga series. It just gives me the warm fuzzies (when it’s not bringing me angst), and I’m really looking forward to finding out how it all ends. 

There are also three 2020 releases that deserve a shoutout (though I’m hoping to reread them all this year to see if I’d put them on my best of 2020 list). 

The Map from Here to There (my review) | The Start of Me and You has always been my favorite Emery Lord book, so it’s not really a surprise that the sequel would warrant a mention. I enjoyed how Emery depicted Paige (and her friends) as they experience their senior year of high school, including all the highs and the lows. She did a great job of showing what it’s like to be in that era of your life, the wanting to hold on to the past while also figuring out the future and enjoying the present. 

Loveboat, Taipei (my review) | I was excited about this book, and it ended up exceeding all my expectations! It combines quite a few things I enjoy in YA contemporaries: depictions of Asian families and culture (in this case, Taiwanese), a foreign setting (Taiwan) and a life-changing summer for the main character. It’s fun, it’s thoughtful and it is so worth the read. 

Where Dreams Descend | This title has been described as having elements inspired by the Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge and while it certainly does, I also think it’s a great story independent of those things. There’s magic and mystery, wonder and whimsy, a dash of romance and, best of all, main characters that you will certainly be rooting for once you meet them. I really enjoyed it, and I’m so excited to reread it this year and book push it on everyone! 

And that, my friends, brings us to the end of my best reads of 2019 post! I hope this list helps you find a new book (or series) to add to your TBR this year, especially if you share my reading tastes. 

What were your favorite reads of 2019?


  1. I absolutely loved The Bride Test too! If you haven't read The Kiss Quotient by the same author, I definitely recommend!

  2. Yass, the Diviners series is SO GOOD! I really want to reread (listen) to them before the finale comes out next month!

  3. Great list! Lovely War has been on my TBR for so long!

    -Heather | Nerdy By Nature Blog


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