Top Ten Tuesday: Ten of My Favorite Books I Read in 2019

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Ten of My Favorite Books I Read in 2019

These are all books I read this year. They didn’t have to be published in 2019. They’re just books that have stuck in my mind long past finishing them.

1. Daisy Jones & The Six
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

2. The Other Side
Author: Kim Holden

3. Letters to Molly
Author: Devney Perry

4. Collared
Author: Nicole Williams

5.The Simple Wild
Author: K.A. Tucker

6. Salvaged
Author: Jay Crownover

7. Flight Patterns
Author: Karen White

8. Beard with Me / Beard Necessities
Author: Penny Reid

9. Next Year in Havana
Author: Chanel Cleeton

10. The How & the Why
Author: Cynthia Hand

2019 End of the Year Survey

Welcome to my 2019 End of the Year Survey
(Hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner)

**2019 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: More than I care to admit. Let’s just say I hit my Goodreads goal and then some. I actually read about 50 or so less books than in 2018, though.

Number of Re-Reads: Like 16? All were audiobook re-reads, so actually listens.

Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary Romance

1. Best Book You Read In 2019?

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Good: I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did for some reason.

Bad: There was so much hype surrounding this one, and it just didn’t live up to it at all.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Hmm… I’m not sure. I feel like I’m pushing Bright Side by Kim Holden and Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn every year. I don’t know if everyone read it that I told to, but I did push this one a lot.

5. Best series you started in 2019? Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019?

This question is brutal this year! Honestly, I could have answered these so many different ways, but here’s what I am going with…

Best series I started: Landon & Shay: Part 1 by Brittainy C. Cherry
Best sequel of 2019: Letters to Molly (Maysen Jar, #2) by Devney Perry
Best series ender of 2019: Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) by Penny Reid

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?

Devney Perry

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m lumping these two together. I read Illuminae a couple of years ago, but just got back to finishing the series.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

This is probably my favorite thriller I read this year.

 9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

For some reason, this is my go-to book and series to re-listen to. I have a feeling I’ll be doing that again next year.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

11. Most memorable character of 2019?

Daisy Jones

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?

Bryn Greenwood writes such ugly things is such a pretty way. I don’t even know how to describe it.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?

This is a personal one for me because both the author and her MC are adoptees. I am as well, so I identified with a lot of the thoughts and feelings.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read? 

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019?

“Guilt and me, we’re conjoined. One. When it isn’t stabbing me, I drag it around like a ball and chain.”
Kim Holden, The Other Side

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?

Longest: 1014 pages

Shortest: 32 pages

(How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

I did not see the cliffhanger coming at all.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

I read mostly romance, so this was a hard choice for me. I have to go with Wheeler and Poppy, though.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Cap, Kline, Thatch, Will, Trent, Theo… All the billionaire book club members.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

21. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

Thanks, Ari!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?

I don’t really do fictional crushes and this guy would be too young, so he’s just one of my new favorite male characters: Jace from Girl at Heart. Jace was super nice and an all around good guy.

23. Best 2019 debut you read?

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

I couldn’t just pick one, so you get three: The Guy on the Right, Top Secret, and Girl at Heart.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019?

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I felt so horrible for the kids in this book.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?

The format really set this book apart. The audio was especially amazing.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

If you’ve read this one, you probably know why. There’s a relationship that I was not okay with. It made me really uncomfortable, but the writing was so dang good!

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019?

Our Book Boyfriends

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2019?

I don’t have one. That’s sad, right? So here’s my review for my favorite book of the year:
https://www.anovelglimpse.com/2019/03/29/review-daisy-jones-the-six-taylor-jenkins-reid/

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2019:?

I didn’t really take any bookish photos that would be favorites. Lol.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

Sadly, I didn’t attend any bookish events this year.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?

This year I focused on reading backlisted books on my TBR. I was able to prioritize and bring the number of books on my TBR down.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Writing reviews. I didn’t always feel inspired.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My review for Meghan March’s Deal with the Devil:
https://www.anovelglimpse.com/2019/01/17/review-deal-with-the-devil-meghan-march/

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Can I just say ALL OF THEM?

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

My most recent discovery is probably the Read Me Romance podcast. It’s a fun way to listen to romance novellas written by some of my favorite authors.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did a Goodreads Challenge of 200 books and completed that. I also set out to read a book set in each of the 50 United States. I was able to complete all with the exception of Delaware, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Rhode Island.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020?

I’m just waiting for my library hold to come in…

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?

3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020?

I want to finish reading all of the backlilst books on my TBR and then focus on the new releases I want to read. I want to continue to limit the ARCs I request as well.

6. A 2020 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

Review: Firecracker (Kelly Jamieson)

Firecracker
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Publisher: Kelly Jamieson Inc
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Arden Lennox’s charmed life may be in pieces, but she’d sooner get her hoohaw bleached than move back in with her parents. She’s no longer the prom-queen princess married to the football star. She’s a broke, penniless widow, and it’s time she stood on her own two feet.

An under-construction unit in a quaint Chicago brownstone is cheap (free), but it comes with an unexpected surprise. Tyler Ramirez, her brother’s gawky high school best friend, is now a smoking hot firefighter who spends most of his spare time in her unit hammering, drilling, and screwing. Usually with his shirt off—a temptation she has no intention of indulging.

Tyler can’t believe his high school crush is living right across the hall, or how fast his fierce lust for her comes blazing back. She’s still gorgeous—a little sadder, a little quieter, but still with the amazing smile and sweet body that fueled his awkward teenage fantasies.

Despite her best intentions, Arden can’t resist grown up Tyler but the sparks between them send her into full retreat. And by the time she realizes the heat between them could last a lifetime, it could be too late to tell him…


I’m a big fan of a few of Kelly Jamieson’s hockey romance series, so when I saw she was releasing Firecracker I jumped on the opportunity to read it. I thought I would love it based on her previous writing and the blurb. I love a falling in love with your brother’s best friend romance.

Firecracker is one of those books that I didn’t completely fall in love with but enjoyed for the most part. Arden and Tyler’s romance was super cute, sweet, and packed with scorching chemistry. Where it lacked for me was in Arden’s character. I didn’t like what was going on in her head. It felt a little forced and frustrated me. That could be largely in part to this book being written in third person or maybe I just didn’t truly connect with Arden’s character. I don’t know. Whatever it was left me feeling in like but not love with Firecracker. I would still totally read a book about Jamie and Mila, though, if Jamieson was to write one.

Series Review: Jamison Valley (Devney Perry)

Over the past couple of weeks I have been binge reading the Jamison Valley series by Devney Perry. Today, I’m sharing with you my mini reviews for each book.


The Coppersmith Farmhouse ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
I can’t believe this was Perry’s first novel. It was written like a seasoned veteran author. I mean, I can see how her writing has matured since I read some of her newer releases first, but I was still impressed. I loved everything that was going on in the novel. My favorite thing about it had to be Jess, though. I loved the way he loved Gigi and Rowen. I have some of the same concerns Gigi had, but I loved how those worked themselves out. My only complaint about this book is that Jess didn’t get his own POV.

The Clover Chapel ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I read the Gypsy King last month. I didn’t realize that this book was connected to that book. It was a great surprise — one that started this book out on top. I ended up loving The Clover Chapel so much. It’s Devney Perry’s writing at its best. I adored Nick and Emmy. Their romance and story was fabulous!

The Lucky Heart ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
I thought that I wasn’t going to be as big of fan of this book as I was the first two because of Felicity. The introduction to her character in The Clover Chapel did not make me a fan. The Lucky Heart did. I liked that she had grown up over the years since high school and wanted to make amends to the people she hurt. It didn’t hurt that Silas brought out the best in her. I loved their romance.

The Outpost ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
This was another book in the series I wasn’t sure I would like because of how I met Sabrina in the previous book. I wasn’t her biggest fan in that book. I ended up really loving it. Beau and Sabrina were so cute together. I loved the build up of their relationship and how it all came together in the end. I also liked the peak at Bryce, who we meet again in Perry’s new series Gypsy King (Tin Gypsies, #1).

The Bitterroot Inn ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I don’t have much to say about The Bitterroot Inn other than I loved it. It was predictable in the way romances with a touch of suspense can be, but that only added to the story. Hunter was so sweet to Maisy. I was so happy she got her happy ending after that first book.

The Candle Palace ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
This was a great way to end the series. It was short and sweet. Perry somehow managed to pack as much punch in this novella as she did in each of the full length books. I loved that I got to know how Milo met Sara.

Overall, this was a great series. I loved that I could see Perry’s writing progress and strengthen throughout it. Plus, all the romances were lovely.

WWW Wednesday: December 25, 2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating today!
This week I finished binge reading the Jamison Valley series with The Bitterroot Inn (Jamison Valley, #5) and The Candle Palace (Jamison Valley, #6). I read 2020 ARCs of Firecracker and Bitter Falls (Stillhouse Lake, #4). I also read the holiday novella Kissmas Eve and Tempt the Hookup (Tempt, #3).


Currently Reading

I’m reading Perfectly Oblivious (Perfect,#1).

Reading Next

Since I’m writing this post ahead of time, I won’t know if any books “magically” showed up under my tree today. If one did, I’m going to make that my next read.

Did any books show up under your tree today or did you receive any as holiday gifts if you celebrate a different holiday? Let me know which ones in the comments! Also, make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Some of My Favorite 2019 Romance Novels

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree

BUT… I’m not going to do that topic today. I only put two books on my Christmas list this year (I Carried a Watermelon: Dirty Dancing and Me by Katy Brand and #IMomSoHard by Kristin Hensley & Jen Smedley – in case you were curious). Instead, I’m going with:

Some of My Favorite 2019 Romance Novels

This list is only going to be romances that were released and read in 2019. The list is longer than 10 because I couldn’t contain myself. Ready? Here we go!

1. The Guy on the Right
Series: The Underdogs, #1
Author: Kate Stewart

2. Someday, Someday
Author: Emma Scott

3. Letters to Molly
Author: Devney Perry

4. Landon & Shay: Parts 1 & 2
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry

5. The Billionaire’s Forbidden Little Sister
Authors: Max Monroe

6. The Prenup
Author: Lauren Layne

7. I Knead You Tonight
Author: Teagan Hunter

8. Beard with Me / Beard Necessities
Author: Penny Reid

9. Down Too Deep
Author: J. Daniels

10. The Best Thing
Author: Mariana Zapata

11. Lake Redstone
Author: J.D. Hollyfield

12. The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

13. The Accidental Girlfriend
Author: Emma Hart

14. Top Secret
Authors: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

15. Just One of the Groomsmen
Author: Cindi Madsen

16. The Risk
Author: Elle Kennedy

Thoughts: Cats (Play vs. Movie)

This post is something different than what I normally write. It has nothing to do with books and all about the musical Cats.

THE MUSICAL

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to go see the musical with my mom and sister. I wouldn’t exactly say we’re theater buffs or anything, but we have seen quite a few musicals together over the years. When we left the theater after the show, we all had similar thoughts. The biggest one was “What did we just see?”. None of us had read what the musical was about prior to the show and we left a little confused. There seemed to be little plot with a ton of singing and dancing. I honestly almost fell asleep in the first Act. The music pretty much lulled me to sleep. The second Act was better and the story started coming together for me.

My overall thoughts on the musical were that while the singing, dancing, sets, costumes, productions were all amazing, it wasn’t my favorite. It was kind of boring. There will be a TON of people who disagree with me. I know this. Cats is highly celebrated. Obviously, it just wasn’t for me. It would be 3 out of 5 stars for me. I might have given it 2 stars if I didn’t think it was so well done for what it was.

So if I wasn’t a big fan of the musical why would I see the movie?

THE MOVIE

I have to admit I saw the Cats movie based on curiosity and star power. It’s been hyped just about everywhere. I was wondering how Hollywood would turn a slightly confusing musical into a movie. Honestly, I think they did a pretty good job. The screenplay was able to do something the musical didn’t. It made the story easier to follow and added in some moments where the characters talked instead of sang. The little changes here and there enhanced the story. The dancing, singing, and sets were beautiful. I did find the cat-like appearances of the cast a little creepy at times, but they looked like cats so…

As for that star power, I know you’re curious. I was surprised at how good some of the actors were. James Corden and Rebel Wilson were a couple of my favorite cats. I also really liked Francesca Hayward. I thought I would love Taylor Swift’s performance, but she didn’t take on as many cat-like movements as I thought she would. I could see her personal performance movements in the film, which surprised me. Not that she didn’t do a nice job, she did. There were just other actors who shined more.

Overall, I enjoyed watching  Cats the movie more than the musical. It wasn’t that it was necessarily better than the musical. (It probably wasn’t in all reality.) It was just easier for me to understand. Now, I kind of wish I could go back and re-watch the musical. I think I would enjoy it more because I would have a better understanding of the story — that there actually was a story.

Oh! I feel like I should report that my almost 12 year old loved it. It seemed like the four older women in the audience with us also did. I did see a younger couple leave before even half way into the movie, and a mother-son duo left about 3/4 in. So only 6 out of 10 watchers finished it.

Review: Call Down the Hawk (Maggie Stiefvater)

Call Down the Hawk
Series: Dreamer, #1
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .


The first two chapter of Call Down the Hawk had me wondering if maybe I had outgrown this this author. I just wasn’t pulled in as I expected to be. Once I got to the first chapter that was actually Ronan, I was pulled back into his world. I became interested in the story and what was to come. I was glad I didn’t simply give up on this book because there was so much to love about it.

Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is as enchanting as always. Her dream world, while sometimes overly descriptive, is mesmerizing. I got bogged down a bit by all those descriptions and the almost 500 pages felt long at times, but the underlying story was so good that I didn’t care.

I loved being back with Ronan. I liked getting deeper into his thoughts and opinions. His world was more than I was expecting. I was happy we got to see some of the other Raven Cycle characters through his POV. (Though, not as many moments as I was hoping for.)

As for the other Lynch brothers… I loved them. Declan wasn’t my favorite character in the other series, but he opened my eyes in this book to the good parts of him. He ended up being one of my favorite characters. Matthew… Well, who doesn’t love Matthew?

There were a couple new main characters in Call Down the Hawk. At first meet, I was a little confused by Jordan Hennessy and Carmen Farooq-Lane. It took some time to build their stories, but I loved how they were woven into the Lynch brothers’.

When I got to the end of Call Down the Hawk, I had two feelings. I both wanted more and was relieved that it was over. It feels weird to say that, but I needed a break after so many pages. I’m very curious about where this story is taking us. I’m both relieved I have to wait a bit for the next book and chomping at the bit to find out what’s next. Weird, but true.

Review: The Guy on the Left (Kate Stewart)

The Guy on the Left
Series: The Underdogs, #2
Author: Kate Stewart
Publication Date: December 8, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

It started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student.

I wasn’t her student, yet it was the single most defining night of my life.

I’ve never been the man she thinks I am.

Most people have no idea about the life I’ve lived or the words that ring true when it comes to me—still waters run deep.

But you’d be hard-pressed to find a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise…because I’ve never corrected them.

The clock is ticking down, it’s Fourth and Inches with the ball inside the one-yard line and the focus is on me, The Guy on the Left. I’ve never felt like a football god, inside I’m…just Troy.

It’s time to set the record straight.

For my son, I‘ll find the strength.

In her eyes, I’m determined to gain redemption.

I will have them both, even if I have to take my eye off the ball.


Before I get into my thoughts on The Guy on the Left, I want to clarify something in the blurb. The blurb makes this sound like a student-teacher romance. It’s really not. Troy was 18, Clarissa was 25, and they did not meet in a school setting. I won’t go deeper into things, but I’m not into student-teacher relationships and this book did not push my boundaries with that. Okay. Now that I have said that. Here’s what I thought about this book.

When I read The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs, #1), I had all these questions about Troy and the family that lived next door. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Troy. He didn’t seem like the best person. The Guy on the Left put everything from that book into perspective. I ended up really loving and respecting his character in ways I didn’t think could happen. Most importantly, he was a good dad.

What surprised me even more than loving Troy was that I didn’t love Clarissa. I liked her, but her decisions and grudge holding made me lose some respect for her. I get why she did what she did in the beginning, but she played the martyr too when it came to their past too much. That being said, Troy’s evolution probably wouldn’t have been so fantastic without Clarissa’s constant need to paint him as the bad guy.

Troy and Clarissa’s relationship was fascinating, but what really got to me in this book was Troy’s relationship with his son, Dante. Dante was pure delight. The way Troy cared for him wasn’t special — it was the way a father should care for his son. What made it made it so fun to read was how it showed who Troy truly was behind all the rumors and frat boy actions. And, like I said, Dante was a delight. He made me smile so much.

Overall, The Guy on the Left was a great new adult romance. It wasn’t as sweet in a funny way like The Guy on the Right was, but it was sweet in an emotional way. I loved how it kept in line with what The Guy on the Right set up, but was it’s own book with a completely different type of relationship. I’m really excited to continue this series with The Guy in the Middle.

Review: The Wives (Tarryn Fisher)

The Wives
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: December 30, 2019
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?


What. The. Heck. No, seriously. What the heck?

I’m exhausted from reading The Wives. It is a great example of why I love Tarryn Fisher’s writing. She’s so crafty in her delivery. It may start out in a sleepy thriller sort of way, but when things start to go down THEY GO DOWN. I was on edge for the entire second half of the book. Surprises were lurking behind every corner, people! Just when I thought I had finally figured freaking Thursday and the story out, BAM! I was proven wrong again… and again… and again. I want to say I loved every minute of this thriller, but I can’t — only because my stress level was way up there. My nerves are frayed in the best way.