As we close out the year, I wanted to look back at some of the best and worst books I read in 2019.
I’ve already talked about the worst books that just weren’t for me, and now it’s time for the good stuff. It’s time for the books that I absolutely loved reading this year.
This short story collection was published by Stripes in March of 2019, and I was immediately taken by it.
The stories are all about LGBTQ+ characters (some are own voices too), and every story comes with an illustration by an LGBTQ+ artist. The collection is so wholesome and uplifting that I finished it with more than one tear in my eye.
The Priory of the Orange Tree
Not only is this one of my 2019 favourites, but one of my new all-time favourites. And undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Priory is so expansive, imaginative, intense, fantastical, and feminist, with diverse rep, that I would honestly give it six out of five stars if I could. Or ten. Or all the stars.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy
This book was such a joy to read. The character interactions were lively, witty, and cute, and I loved the writing style.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy gave me the ace-positive rep I’ve been wanting to read for such a long time and it was so gentle and lovely.
If you haven’t heard me screaming about Wicked Fox, where were you in 2019???
This book lived up to all my expectations and then some. It was fast-paced, tense, and full of Korean mythology. The characters were dynamic and their were some fun K-drama tropes, but no cloches. Basically I loved, loved, loved this book.
The Candle and the Flame
I feel like this is one of the more under-hyped books of 2019, so if you like middle-eastern inspired YA, with magic and Djinns, get out there and buy yourself a copy.
The character development and unexpected plot twists make this book an absolute gem to read and I can’t recommend it enough.
Tunnel of Bones
Everyone knows I adore Victoria Schwab’s writing and books, so I was expecting good things from this book. What I was not expecting was to love it even more than the first book??? But I did.
This book is pure adventure, plain and simple, but it’s adventure with ghosts, veils, mystery, and darkness, and I enjoyed every single page.
Oh man, this book.
The world-building was just down right cool and the mystery was unravelled so gradually and gracefully that the one or two dramatic reveals felt like a sucker punch. I had no time to brace for impact, but I low-key enjoyed it.
The f/f enemies-to-lovers romance is angsty, dramatic, and damn good.
The Sky Weaver
Speaking of great sapphic romance, PLEASE read The Sky Weaver.
This is the third and final (*cries*) book in the Last Namsara trilogy (I’d recommend reading them in publication order), but it’s BRILLIANT.
The Sky Weaver has pirates, dragons, magical doorways, f/f romance, familial love, politics, and heckin’ good battle scenes.
Sorcery of Thorns
I read this on audio and it was probably my favourite audiobook of the year.
The characters were fantastic and I spent most of the novel having my heart ripped out because Nathaniel was in mortal peril. (I enjoyed it, really.)
Elisabeth is a brilliant protagonist and I loved the fact that a lot of the book is set in libraries. *heart eyes*
This is How You Lose the Time War
This is another sapphic romance novel I adored, but this time in the form of a sci-fi, time-travelling, otherworldly adventure.
The prose in this book is set between Red and Blue’s perspectives, and is beautifully written, with complex, luscious metaphors.
(Also, it’s enemies-to-lovers.)
This is a short story, but I would have happily read a 1000-page novel about these characters.
It’s an own-voices story about Kieran, a trans man, and Seth his co-worker as they navigate their potential feelings for one another. This story is so sweet and trans-positive that everyone should read it.
Red, White & Royal Blue
The final entry into my favourites list: Red, White & Royal Blue.
This was the penultimate book I read in 2019 and I was completely taken with the characters and their blossoming romance. Alex’s discovery of his sexuality also really resonated with me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the witty exchanges between him and Henry.
I’ve been meaning to read this for about 8 months, and it was so worth the praise and hype. Who doesn’t love a royal romance?
That’s a wrap on my best books of 2019. I’m really happy I found some new LGBTQ+ favourites and some wonderful fantasy stories too.
What were your 2019 favourites? Have you read any of these books?