Best & Worst books of 2019 & AWARDS!

Yay! 2019 is finally at an end! It’s been one hell of a year – I think a lot of us can agree to that! But it’s been another great year for publishing, with some absolutley amazing books coming out in 2019.

Of course with the good comes the bad. So it’s time for my yearly wrap up of my best and worst books the year! I’ll also be awarding my Best Fiction, Best YA Fiction and Best Graphic Novel awards for 2019!

If you’d prefer to watch or listen to my ‘Best of’ and ‘Worst of’ wrap-ups you can do that below, but in case you’re somewhere where you can’t have volume up or you don’t have time for a video, a blog post awaits you below.

But be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss what’s coming next!

OK, so just like last year, and the year before that, there are a few rules for how books end up on these lists and how they can get awards:

  • To end up in the ‘Best of’ or ‘Worst of’ lists, I have to have read the book in 2019, it does not have to have been published in 2019.
  • However, to receive a ‘Best Award’ for 2019 the book has to have been published in 2019.

So this year I didn’t restrict myself to only 5 in each best/worst category like I did in 2018 because I just didn’t want to. I felt like 5 was too few for each category, so I just let myself choose and I ended up with 9 (kinda, you’ll see what I mean) in the ‘Worst of’ category and 11 in the ‘Best of’ category.

(ps – I’m not counting 2020 arcs that I read this year in either list)

So, let’s get on with the lists!

My Worst Books of 2019

These are in no particular order, except for the very last one, which gets my ‘Worst Book of 2019’ (dis)honour! But I hated them for some reason or another!

The Discipline Volume 1 – Peter Milligan – Urgh, this is the best example of wasting money that I can think of. Pretentious, smarmy and ridiculous all in one package. Top that with a story that is all over the place, shit characters and crap art…yeah…no thanks.

Neverworld Wake – Marisha Pessl A great, if not original, premise that is squandered here. It’s utterly wasted by poor writing and coupled with a cast of charcters that I couldn’t care less about – plus, a bit of diversity ‘tick-boxing’ here. It doesn’t add up for a great book. And this wasn’t.

Everything I read by Amanda Lovelace I set myself a challenge to read all of this woman’s latest few poetry collections. I either don’t understand modern poetry or this woman just throws some random Tumblr-isms together in a random word order and utilises the ‘enter’ key far too much. Oh yeah, don’t forget the attention-seeking nature of her work and the pure, seething hatred of men liberally peppered throughout. If I NEVER read her work again it’ll be too soon. Trash.

Vox – Christina Dalcher Yeah…no. This book was dreadful. For multiple, extensive reasons. Terrible – ridiculous – plot, awful characters, pretentious undertones. Urgh. If you want an extensive list of reasons for why I hate this book, check out my video here.

To Best The Boys – Mary Webber This book has zero originality to it. There are bits and bobs that legit feel like they’ve been lifted from other sources. Also, the romance is laughably ridiculous – it’s so forced. Honestly, the most unique thing about this book is that my edition has grey sprayed edges – which is, ya know, pretty unique.

The Past and other things that should stay buried – Shaun David Hutchinson Urgh. Was I supposed to like the characters? Because I genuinley didn’t. I know that the MC was supposed to be unlikable, but I think we were supposed to warm to her. And I can’t be bothered to spend hundreds of pages caring about a selfish girl who deserves everything bad that happens to her.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman I don’t think I read the same book that everyone else did. What was likable about this book? Or the main character? Try as I might I just couldn’t find a single thing I enjoyed. I didn’t like our MC – at all. She was so ridiculously annoying. I also couldn’t find a shred of believability here either.

The Wicked King – Holly Black Yeah, so it’s no surprise that this book has ended up on this list, but it might be a surprise to you that it isn’t my worst book of the year! I mean, it’s a terrible book – obviously. The Cruel Prince wasn’t any better either – in fact it was on my Worst Books of 2018 list. But I knew I would hate this book – so I decided to hate-read it, and I enjoyed the hell out of the experience! The charcters are terrible, the plot is non-existant, the writing is bad – but when I’m hate-reading this and laughing at how bad it is, I had a good time. But it’s still bad – so on this list it goes. And yes, I know, I’m in the minority here, everyone else loved this book. But I didn’t.

Five Dark Fates – Kendare Blake What. A. HUGE. Dissapointment. Three Dark Crowns was a GREAT book, and a promising start to a series. However, it should have stayed as a duology, or maybe a trilogy at most. Because since the first book it’s been full of filler and forced back story. Five Dark Fates has been the WORST in the series. On top of that, this book absolutley shits on what came before it. Jules is given way too much attention and that ending was the most rushed thing I’ve ever read. If the author had a favoruite from the begining she should have just written a different story about her. Urgh. I’m so angry and dissapointed at this ending to a series and I think I’m just going to ignore any new series that come from Kendare Blake. I might tolerate a stand alone from her, but I have no faith in her ability to be able to hold a series anymore. So dissapointed. So angry.

My Best Books of 2019

Again, these are in no particular order, except for the very last one, which gets my ‘Best Book of 2019’ honour! I loved all of these books for various reasons! Check out why below!

My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix What a hilarious and fun little forray into cheesy 80’s and 90’s horror! The key to enjoying this book to the max is to not take it too seriously and just let it take you where it wants to lead you.

Girls on the Verge – Sharon Biggs Waller This was such a great, and important, book. It’s a road trip-style one so of course I was all about it! But this ended up being a really well written story with a believable plot and dialogue that seemed genuine. Plus it was a wonderful way to explore an unessesarily taboo subject.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers I haven’t read much sci-fi, and I’ve read even less space exploration sci-fi. But this was amazing. It was fully accessable for sci-fi n00bs like me, as well as a great novella for hardcore lovers of sci-fi. Since reading this, I’ve gone out and bought all of Becky Chambers’s back catalogue! But To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a beautifully written explorative story with a cast of characters that I loved being around and an ending that kicked me in the nuts – in the best way!

The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg Ah! I loved this! It’s like a dystopian Disney World fantasy! I thought it’d be like Five Nights at Freddy’s crossed with Disney Princesses, and it’s not quite like that, but it’s still pretty good. There are some dark undertones and there are some fun little twists that you might not see coming (or you might, who knows) and the characters – although robots, are really relatable. I enjoyed the story, the setting and the writing and can’t wait to see what Jess Rothenberg comes up with next!

In Paris With You – Clementine Beauvais Ok, so this one means something to me – but I wasn’t biased when putting it on this list. I promsie. It’s just a happy cooincidence! So The Boof bought this for me from Shakespeare & Company in Paris, so there’s that. But this book was incredible! It’s a novel written in verse and, although it’s modern and I don’t have a great track record with modern poetry, this was beautifully written and descriptive story about love and what could have been. It’s haunting and relatable and so bitter-sweet. I loved it.

Teen Titans: Raven – Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo Argh! This was incredible! This is the origin story I was looking for! And how AMAZING is it that Gabriel Piccolo illustrated it?! Very! That’s how amazing! The story was respectful to the characters established history, whilst being refreshing for readers. The illustrations are to die for too! I can’t wait until the next installments of the other Titans!

Furyborn – Claire Legrand Wow, what an incredible beginning of a series! This is the first book in the Empirium series. I don’t read fantasy that often, and this was quite intimidating because it’s high fantasy and there’s multiple timelines and a wide cast of characters that are fully fleshed out and realised and a wild ride to boot! The story is complex and fully immersive.

Kingsbane – Claire Legrand Yes, this is the second book in the Empirium series, and it doesn’t suffer from ‘second-book syndrome’ like so many second books in a series do! This book is every bit as good as Furyborn! The story is continued in a realistic and plausible way, yet it wasn’t predictable at all. I’m still fully on board with everyone in this series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the third!

Astrid Schotle – Four Dead Queens Ok, I’m probably going to get a bit of flack for putting this book on this list, but eh. I enjoyed it and it’s my list! No, this book isn’t perfect; there are plot holes, and some of the characters aren’t fleshed out, others are massively predictable in their actions and motives, and the plot is a bit A to B – but there’s a charm to it too. The charm is what kept me loving this book all the way through, and if you don’t take it too seriously it’s a great, FUN read.

Finale – Stephanie Garber Oh wow, this was so difficult putting this book here, and not letting it take the top spot. But unfortunately I felt like, as this was the final in a series and we already had established connections with the characters and plot, that the actual winner (which is the first in the series didn’t have), it had advantages that the winner didn’t have. But OMG this book was AMAZING! Holy crap! This is the finale that this series 100% deserved! I LOVED the characters, the plot, I shipped some characters – which is rare for me – and I was LOVING and LIVING for it all! This was truly an ending worth waiting for!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer OH. MY. GOD. THIS. BOOK. IS. 100%. THE. BEST. BOOK. I. READ. THIS. YEAR. OMG SERIOUSLY! Brigid Kemmerer is an absolute QUEEN!! I haven’t read her other books – but after reading Curse I immediatley ‘added to cart’ most of her past works! Curse is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it is FULL of amazing, diverse and complex characters that feel familiar and new all at the same time. The story takes you places where you think you know and all of a sudden you’re in a brand new world and stroy that has recognisable elements, but is something unlike anything you’ve read before! I adored this book and it is the most confident 5 stars I’ve ever given a book! If you want to hear me gush more about A Curse So Dark And Lonely check out my video here.

The 2019 AWARDS!

I have read a lot of books this year – I SMASHED my Goodreads goal (yay, me!) so there were a lot of books to choose from for my category winners this year! Just like last year, I’ve got 3 categories for awards this year. Although I branched out more with my genres this year, I didn’t read enough of mutltiple genres, and especailyl new ones, to justifiy having more than 3 categories – because I’m not about to give a book an award by default!

So the three categories for this year are: Best Fiction, Best YA Fiction and Best Graphic Novel. So let’s get too them!

My award for best Graphic Novel of 2019 goes to…

Teen Titans: Raven – Kami Garcia & Gabriel Piccolo

My award for best Fiction of 2019 goes to…

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers

My award for best YA fiction of 2019 goes to…

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

And that’s it for 2019! What a year it’s been!

I look forward to seeing you all in 2020, because, as always, as there are many, many books to read and review!

Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I hope you’ll stick with me for 2020!


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[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Brooke's Bookshelf says:

    Thank goodness I’m not the only one who feels confused by Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine!! Could not get on board with the irritating narrative voice, felt like an alien because I seemed like the only one who disliked it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Novel Love says:

      Well if you’re an alien so am I! You’re in good company here!


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