I loved compiling and sharing my favourite reads of 2019, but it can be a real challenge picking only 19 out of 114 books! There are many books that were excellent reads last year that almost made my list and I thought I’d share five of them. What these five reads have in common is that they were such a pleasant surprise. Either they weren’t at all what I was expecting or they were unlike anything I have ever read (or likely will again) or I just didn’t expect much from them and they blew me away.
So here they are, five of my most pleasantly surprising reads of 2019:
Went in with low expectation:
With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo: YA Contemporary usually just isn’t my jam, but sometimes it is done so dang well – combining hard issues, great heart, and important conversations. This is all here in With The Fire on High. A truly delightful story of family, growing up, being an individual, past mistakes, incredible challenges, finding your passion and a lot of yummy food. Such a good read – check out my review here.
Catwoman by Sarah J Maas: I should have known I’d be ok in the hands of Maas, but I’m not the most … passionate of superhero fans. I had read the Batman novel by Marie Lu in this series and it was just fine but not a stand out for me. So going into Catwoman I didn’t set a very high bar and really just picked it up because … well, it’s Maas. But there is so much here – political corruption, black lives matter, environmentalism and the best dang girl gang … if there is one book on this list that is the most surprising and most worthy of picking up, it is this one!
Not at all what I was expecting:
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig: What I knew going into this was that it was a loosely based retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses … a story I was not familiar with. So that could be why it surprised me, but I was not expecting this to be such a deliciously spooky read. It hit all the right creepy, gothic notes for me without heading into the macabre. You can check out my full review here.
Unlike Anything I’ve Read:
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman: If pacing is at times a bit slow and detail is a bit drawn out – it is forgiven when you step back and process what it is you’ve just read. And The Dark Days Club, which combines the proper English regency of 1812 with demonic hunting. There is almost an element of science fiction here too … trust me, you’ve haven’t read a genre smash up quite like it! Full review here.
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: As with Dark Days Club, this little novel is a melting pot of genres – folklore, Mayan mythology, Mexican historical fiction, and little bit of a Cinderella fairytale. It has gods, demons, and love … almost a bit of everything! While I did find myself somewhat confused, especially her walk through the underworld, and initially left a bit frustrated – this novel has constantly come back to my mind and is a truly unique read. Full review here.