2019 wrap up (+breaking my 6-month-long hiatus, no big deal)

I’m back y’all! I was gonna post this whole big explanation about why I’ve been gone and why I’m back now and what’s going to change, but then I decided to scrap that and give you a maths equation instead: Depression + Moving countries + Burnout = Not blogging! It’s a lot more complicated than that, but I’ll save it all for another post about blogging with depression or something. I want my return to the world of blogging to be fun and positive, so I decided my hiatus-breaking post would be a wrap of the year. This way, I can catch y’all up on what I’ve been doing, but make it about books (since this is, you know, a book blog). Only other thing I want to mention before we get started is my blogging schedule: I’ve decided to stop being a neurotic perfectionist with a whole complicated weekly blogging schedule that has me posting 4 times a week or whatever crazy shit I was trying and failing to do before. I’ll post at least twice a month, maybe more if I have the time or energy, and that’s all I’m going to promise.

Now, let’s get into it!

Books I read this year

  • Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (rr) ★★★★★
  • Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman ★★★★★
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (rr) ★★★★★
  • The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (rr) ★★★★★
  • Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell (didn’t rate)
  • Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare ★★★★
  • The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi ★★★½
  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor ★★★★★
  • Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu ★★★★
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour ★★★★½
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan ★★★
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager ★★★
  • The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic ★★★★
  • The Raven King by Nora Sakavic ★★★★★
  • The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic ★★★★★
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (rr) ★★★★
  • Fence Volume One by C.S. Pacat ★★★★
  • Fence Volume Two by C.S. Pacat ★★★★
  • Fence Volume Three by C.S. Pacat ★★★★★
  • Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat ★★★
  • Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat ★★★★★
  • King’s Rising by C.S. Pacat ★★★★★
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston ★★★★★

That’s 23 books total, meaning I did not reach my reading goal of 50 books for the year (my goodreads says my reading challenge for 2019 was 69 books but that was just for the memes because I’d already given up at that point). But I don’t mind not completing my reading challenge in 2019. I don’t know what it is, but odd years are always slump years for me. It was the same in 2017, when I only read 17 books the whole year, whereas in even years, like 2016 and 2018, I read over 50 books in a year. I’m really just glad that I read something this year.

Statistics

Thanks to my wonderful friend Sailor, who sent me this really cool spreadsheet thingo to help me create some pie charts and statistic-y type things (can you tell I suck at maths?), I’ve got some charts and statistics to share with y’all.

Screen Shot 2020-01-04 at 10.00.41 pm

This first chart is real fun for me. I love a good visual representation of the fact that I’ve read absolutely nothing for the last 6 months! But yeah, umm, as you might be able to guess, I was in a slump for, oh I don’t know, pretty much the entirety of 2019 (excluding June lmao I’m actually damn proud of my reading in June, especially since I read literally half of my total for 2019 all in June). I guess this means this post is really a “first half of 2019 wrap up”, seeing as how I don’t have anything to wrap up from the second half. Whoops. Anyways, let’s dive a bit deeper into the specifics of what I read, eh?

Screen Shot 2020-01-04 at 10.01.37 pm

So, while 2019 wasn’t my greatest year in terms of quantity, it was a great year in terms of quality. The lowest rating I gave out was 3 stars, and almost half of the books I read were 5-star reads. After reading so many disappointing books in 2018, it was actually quite refreshing to be reading mostly content I absolutely loved in 2019. I figured I’d take this time to share with y’all which books I ended up loving the most in 2019 (excluding rereads), and maybe talk a little bit about them and why I loved them so much.

Captive Prince series
So my amazing friend Caitlin recommended this series to me and I’m so glad she did, because I really did love it. I ended up reading the entire series in under 48 hours because I was just so enthralled by the story and the characters that I couldn’t put it down for even a minute. The series isn’t perfect, and there were definitely some problematic moments, especially in the first book. However, the characters and their relationships stole my heart completely, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with this story in all its angsty splendour.

All for the Game
Speaking of slightly problematic, hate-to-love gay trilogies that I read within 48 hours, I read the All for the Game series this year and holy fuck. I’d been meaning to read this series for a while, as it was the last series in the “holy trinity” that I hadn’t read yet. And I’m so glad I got around to it because, well, holy fuck. It’s kind of hard to explain how I felt about this series, because I did have a fair number of problems with it. Yet, the characters completely took over my life, despite the fact that most of them weren’t even very fleshed out. I think if I’d read this series last year, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it, but because I read it at just the time when I needed something like this series, it ended up capturing my heart in a way I didn’t expect, and I’m really glad for that.

Muse of Nightmares
In 2018 I buddy read all of Laini Taylor’s books with my friend and avid Laini Taylor stan Helena, but I never got around to reading Muse of Nightmares. So I was happy to hear that Helena was going to be rereading the Strange the Dreamer series in 2019 (literally less than a year after she’d first read it but who am I to judge lmao) as it meant that we could finally complete our buddy read of Muse of Nightmares. And damn am I glad we did, because it ended up being my favourite book of the entire year. Some of y’all might remember that, before I went on my blog hiatus, I was writing a review of Muse of Nightmares. Well, I’m planning on finishing that review and posting it hopefully some time this month (but who even knows at this point, it’s already, like, 8 months late). What I’m trying to say is that, if all goes well, y’all will be able to read my extensive thoughts on this book when that review is finally, finally, posted.

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 4.29.02 pm

We Are Okay
I picked this book up on a whim hoping that a short book would help me out of my slump. I’d heard some good things about it, and I was in a contemporary mood, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I was hoping to enjoy it, but I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. Turns out, this story hit me really close to home, and I ended up really connecting to the protagonist. I don’t really know how else to explain my love for this book, because it’s so personal. I just felt incredibly attached to this story, and it really just made me feel. This is getting way too incoherent, even for me, but the point is I loved this book and I highly recommend it.

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 4.31.33 pm

Red, White & Royal Blue
This. Book. I mean wow. This was definitely my favourite standalone that I read this year, probably my favourite book I read this year after Muse of Nightmares. I already knew I would love it, in fact, it was my most anticipated release of 2019. But even with my incredibly high expectations for this book, it still managed to exceed them. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had me feeling such a wide range of emotions. I mean, I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt throughout the whole book, but I was also balling my eyes out every other page, and of course I was squealing excitedly over all the adorable moments, and yet there were moments when I was so angry I wanted to throw the book across the room. I was truly a wholearse mess reading this book, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Screen Shot 2020-01-08 at 4.34.04 pm

Screen Shot 2020-01-04 at 10.01.17 pm

So let’s break down the books I read by genre. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty disappointed by this chart. It’s not that I don’t like my most read genres being fantasy and contemporary; those are my favourite genres, so of course I’ll read them the most. However, the fact that they’re basically the only genres I read (the graphic novels all fell into contemporary or fantasy genres too) in 2019 kind of saddens me. I just feel like I’m sticking to the same two genres, and not really letting myself expand my reading as much as I’d like to. I suppose that since I didn’t really read much in 2019, and I was slumping for most of it, that this can be forgiven, but I’m really hoping to read a wider range of genres in 2020.

Screen Shot 2020-01-04 at 10.00.07 pm

This chart, however, I am quite pleased with. I’ve been trying to read more than just young adult books lately, in a further effort to expand the kinds of books I’m reading, so I’m glad that nearly half of the books I read in 2019 weren’t YA. Hopefully in 2020 I’ll be able to continue reading books written for audiences other than young adults, though, with young adult books typically being my favourite, I’m not planning to stop reading those any time soon.

Screen Shot 2020-01-04 at 9.59.57 pm

The last chart I have for you basically just shows what format I read each book in in 2019. I’m genuinely quite surprised that I read so many ebooks, seeing as how I typically prefer physical books. I’m also just now realising that my dumbarse entered a couple books in wrong because I know for a fact I listened to the audiobooks of Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King so whoops this chart is wrong anyway. I didn’t mean for the clown in me to jump out so soon after coming back to blogging but, oh well, I can’t be bothered fixing it now that I’m already so far through this post, so you can all just pretend that the physical book percentage is actually about 39% and the audiobook percentage is about 8.5% (if that doesn’t add up it’s because I suck at maths, please just pretend it’s correct).

Anyways, lets move on. Whilst I didn’t actually finish any books in the second half of 2019, I did start a whole bunch. So I figured I’d let you all know the books I started in 2019 and how far into them I got, so that A) I can feel better about the fact that I read almost nothing in the second half of 2019, and B) you all have an idea of which books I’ll probably be finishing first in 2020.

  • Solitaire by Alice Oseman: 220 pages in
  • Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare: 180 pages in
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: 40 pages in
  • Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend: 200 pages in
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan: 40 pages in
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare: 150 pages in
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: 120 pages in
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: 30 pages in

…yeah I don’t know what happened. I just kept starting books and putting them down and starting new ones, and it sort of got out of control, as y’all can probably tell oof. But hopefully I end up enjoying all of these books when I continue them in 2020.

So I think that’s really all I have to wrap up for 2019. So now I wanna hear about y’all: what was the best book you read in 2019? Were you happy with your overall reading year in 2019, or do you think you could’ve done better? Do you have any reading goals for 2020? Looking forward to hearing from you all, but that’s all from me for now. Bye 🙂

20 thoughts on “2019 wrap up (+breaking my 6-month-long hiatus, no big deal)

Add yours

  1. This post has literally inspired me to be more active on my own blog, so you’re clearly very powerful for that feat alone. But I loved how you wrapped everything up so eloquently, and getting to hear your thoughts & perspective on it all was really fun. I look forward to your posts for 2020 and I hope that we can help motivate each other to read and blog more! (:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ayyyyy love that for me, can’t wait to read your new blog posts (: eloquently? holy fuck someone just called me eloquent, does that mean i’ve officially succeeded at hiding my inability to be concise? cuz yay. but also ahhhh i still haven’t even started another post yet oof but ye i’m looking forward to growing our blogs togetehr :))))

      Liked by 1 person

  2. LAURA WHY DID THIS POST NOT SHOW UP ON MY READER?! thank god i got a pingback 😭😭😭💖💖💖 YAY I’M SO GLAD THAT YOU’RE BACK. LIKE, SUPER GLAD. I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT FOR MONTHS 💛💛💛💛 (ok i’m gonna stop typing in all caps now.) but in all seriousness, words can’t express how happy i am that you’ve posted something again, and please know that you can post whenever and whatever you want ❤ just do that's best for you ❤

    ahhhh, your reading slump this year must've been super strong, and i'm so sorry that you weren't able to meet your goal :(( It's amazing that you enjoyed so many books this year though because hahaha, i can't relate. and wow these stats are so beautiful 😍

    i'm glad that you enjoyed captive prince so much!! especially because i was the one who recommended it, hehe :)) you're so right that it's definitely not perfect at times and because of that i've kinda stopped recommending it to people, but the characters just crawl into your heart, and i'll never forget how that book made me feel. also, i read the entire aftg trilogy this year, and…. i was kinda disappointed? lmao i'm so sorry. i gave the first book 3 stars as i expected. and then i gave the second book 4 stars because that ending was so good (even though it hurt a lot). and i guess my expectations for The King's Men were just way too high because it didn't live up to my expectations at all :///

    anyways, i hope 2020 is a good reading year for you, Laura!!!! you will crush your reading challenge this time and find even more great books, i know it ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WORDPRESS REALLY FORGOT I EVEN EXISTED HUH? fjshdhsjdjs BUT OMG ILY AND I’M GLAD I’M BACK TOO, FINALLY. and ahhhhh thank you so much for you’re understanding, literally how are you this amazing?? 💚💚

      but omg things have been kind of crazy since i posted this just in my personal life so i haven’t had time to start blog hopping and whatnot again yet, but i’ve finally got some time now and i’m so excited to see what everyone’s been posting while i’ve been gone!! i’ve missed blogging and this community and everything so much, im so happy i’m back :))

      omg it was the literal worst i stg, i haven’t slumped so bad since 2017, but yeah at least i was enjoying the books i read yk? i’m sorry that wasn’t the case for you 😦 hopefully you read so many more 5-star books this year though! also omg ik i’m so happy with how the stats turned out :))

      ahhhhhhh yes! i really did love it, even though there definitely were problematic moments. reading that and all for the game kind of inspired me to wanting to write a discussion post about problematic content and whether or not it’s ok to enjoy it and all that but i think that’ll take some time cuz it’s such a sensitive topic and i really wanna make sure i word everything right. but it is something that i think should be discussed, and it’s especially something that i wanna hear other people’s opinions about yk? oop sorry, that was a massive tangent but yeah nah i totally get why you haven’t really been recommending it to people, i’ve kind of been the same, like as much as i love it, i just don’t want to risk recommending it only to accidentally hurt someone because of its content yk

      but ahhhhh no that’s totally ok. i think i loved aftg so much because i read it at the right time for me, but even i’m not entirely sure if i’d even like it if i had read it for the first time right now, yk? because it DEFINITELY has its issues. but i really loved the caharcters and i just ended up not even caring about whether the plot or writing or anything was good or not, because the characters just meant so much to me. but like, i absolutely get why you’d be disappointed with the king’s men, i think i mostly just loved that one the most cuz we got the most renee content and she’s my favourite lmao.

      but ahhhh i hope so too!! and i hope it’s an amazing reading year for you as well. i think i saw that your reading challenge for 2020 was 100 books or something insane like that so damn good luck hun i’m sure you’ll absolutely crush it 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG LET’S FIGHT WORDPRESS WHY DID IT DO YOU SO DIRTY??? and ahhh, ilyt 😭😭❤ of course I understand!!!
        and I’m so glad that you’re happy to be back!!

        I WOULD LOVE TO READ THAT DISCUSSION, AHHH!! i think that that’s such an interesting discussion to be had!! because on one hand, we should let people like what they like, and if they enjoy a book, why are you so pressed about it you know? but i recently came across these research papers that prove that the more people are exposed to something, the more they tend to agree to it. omg i’m a nerd and you probably don’t care but here they are:

        Click to access perceived%20source%20variability.pdf


        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1057740801703075

        Click to access MereExposure.pdf


        and reading them helped me realize that problematic books do have a negative effect on society!! my take on this is that it’s a reader’s responsibility to recognize that the work they’re reading may be/is problematic, especially if #ownvoices readers are calling the work out. it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should shame people for enjoying what they read, but I think these people should… I don’t know, be more quiet about enjoying the book? like, i’ll always love capri, but I’ve seen the discussions surrounding it, and I’ve stopped recommending it because like you said, I don’t want anyone to get hurt by the content in it—or worse, somehow condone what happens.

        thank you laura!! but you really deserve a good reading year because god knows that 2019 was kiiinda horrible for you :”) and yeah, idk what i’m thinking but the universe seems to be on my side because school keeps getting canceled 😎😎😎

        Liked by 1 person

      2. MY PITCHFORK IS AT THE READY.

        AND AHHHHH IM SO HAPPY THAT YOU THINK ITS A GOOD IDEA!! i’ve started writing a couple notes for it, but i have another post i’m working on rn that i want to come out by a certain date so i’ve been focusing more on that. hopefully i’ll get this problematic content discussion up some time next month though, cuz it’s an idea i’ve been playing with for a while and i really wanna write more discussion posts cuz they’re my favourite posts to read!

        but omg i’m totally saving these research papers, cuz they absolutely will come in handy, thank you so much! and yeah, i think you have a very similar take to me, though you’ll have to wait til my post to hear more about my thoughts ;))

        and awwww that means a lot x but yeah i have really high hopes for 2020 so let’s crush the hell out of it! also omg the universe is really earning back it’s rights ayyyyy

        Liked by 1 person

  3. laura, it’s soooooo great to hear from you again! i missed your rambly intros and i’m really happy to see you back. however, much like you, the past week i’ve been all over the place mental-health wise, which is why it took me so long to get to this post.
    but nonetheless, i am wishing you all the luck to finish your reads in the new year and in finding a blogging schedule that works for you.
    i’m glad 2019 was a good reading year in terms of quality, and 23 books is pretty good! i know you’d have liked to read more, but at least there were a lot of great books that made you feel all the things.
    i started the foxhole court trilogy, but sadly didn’t enjoy it as much. however, i do understand the feeling of something just showing up in your life in the exact moment when you need it. throughout 2018, i fortunately had a lot of things such as albums and tv shows that made me feel warm during a really challenging time and i’m forever grateful for them, even if objectively, i know they aren’t exactly masterpieces.
    as for my 2019: i was really pleased with my reading and my goal for the new year is to keep up a schedule that allows me to read even more! i will be aiming for 50 books, which is the highest that any of my reading goals have ever been, and i’m secretly aiming for 70, lol. thankfully, i found out about audiobooks in 2019 and they’ve been really helpful in improving my number of books read.
    once again, it’s so great to hear from you again, i’ll be looking forward to your posts. hope 2020 treats you well! 💞

    Like

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