Feel Good Reads for Stepping Out of a Funk – *Books with Positive Vibes*

Because if books can’t help, what can? I was looking for lists of books that can really help get you out of a funk and couldn’t find one that quite fit what I was looking for, so naturally decided to write my own. I have tried to look for books in a range of genres and moods- but all of them should be equally life-affirming! Enjoy!

Obviously, Man’s Search for Meaning goes without saying (reread it recently, still brilliant). But if you’re looking for MORE MEANING- then why not try Frankl’s recently translated series of lectures on the subject? Life-affirming and uniquely insightful, I feel like this is the perfect place to turn if you’re searching for wisdom.

Eat Pray Love– I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s non fic- it’s honest, hearty and very inspirational. This globe-trotting memoir is so much more than a simple journey- it’s about rediscovering hope and finding your way into healing.

Furiously Happy– if you need an out-of-the-box non fic about mental health, then this could make you furiously happy! I laughed so much at this book and found it so unusual.

A Man Called Ove– the way I’d describe this book is as an adult version of Up, in book form! This deals with dark subjects, in a moving and ultimately uplifting way. Focusing on friendship and the power of human kindness, this book shines a light on all that is good in the world.

The Flatshare– what I love about this quirky romance is that it doesn’t just focus on finding new love- it’s also fundamentally about overcoming past hurts and heartbreak.

Bookish and the Beast– this fairy tale has always had elements of second chances- and that’s really evident in this retelling. Coupled with an exploration of opening your heart to new possibilities and coming to terms with what has passed, this is my favourite in the Once Upon a Con series so far.

Afterlife of Holly Chase– okay, I swore to myself that I wouldn’t mention this book again until next Christmas rolls around, but I can’t help it! I love this retelling of A Christmas Carol! It perfectly captures the spirit of the original, whilst also giving it new life. Just do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy ready for the next holiday season!! If you don’t, I’ll haunt you!

Clap When You Land– in this moving contemporary YA, Acevedo shows us how hardship can bring us crashing down to earth, and yet also uplift us.

Bright Side– this one may be more of a kicker, so make sure you have tissues handy. It’s a beautiful romance about seeing the bright side in hard situations. Give it ago (when you are emotionally ready to have your heart ripped out).

Words in Deep Blue– I adore the way this book delves into grief- with such heart and deep thoughts. One of the most cathartic books I’ve ever read, it shows that there really is a road to recovery if you seek it.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– layered with moving stories, this unforgettable epistolary novel is about people rebuilding their lives after they’ve been shattered by WW2. It demonstrates that there is life and love to be found after disaster.

And that’s all for now! Do you agree with any of the books on this list? And do you have any uplifting recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

Top 20 for 2020!

Oh my goodness, I can safely say that even if 2020 was not an amazing year, I read some pretty phenomenal books! Which is why I decided to expand the list to twenty for a change! Yes, that’s right- the reason I’m not doing 2 posts this year is because there were just TOO MANY INCREDIBLE BOOKS TO TALK ABOUT! This was one of the hardest years to narrow down and rank because SO MANY OF THESE WERE OUT OF THIS WORLD! And even though I increased the number to 20, I still had too many books to talk about!! But since it’s my blog and I make the rules, here’s a few honorary mentions before we get started:

Yeah there’s a couple there that easily could’ve been in the top twenty in a normal year… which should give you an idea how good this list is going to get! ***As usual all pics link to reviews*** Now let’s kick off because there are so many great books to talk about! 

Sorcery of Thorns– I had loads of fun with this. The romance was adorable and the characters cute- but what I enjoyed the most was the magical library setting!

Winter Rose– I read my first two Patricia McKillip books this year and enjoyed both of them. While Atrix Wolf may have been technically better, this is the one that really snared me. I can’t explain it- I just have a weakness for creepy, enchanted forests… and this was done so exquisitely well.

Uprooted– this Russian-inspired Beauty and the Beast somehow managed to feel really fresh and different. The world was vivid, the protagonist striking and the romance especially tantalising. And one can only stand back and admire Novik’s writing style.

Enchantment of Ravens– it may surprise people that this is higher on the list than Sorcery of Thorns, but the heart wants what it wants! This is not a perfect book and yet I liked it so much more than I thought I would. I loved how Rogerson explored the idea of immortality here and found she made craft something special. I’ve been under this book’s spell for months and can’t shake the enchantment!

Winterwood– as I’ve said many times, I have a real weakness for witchy woods. This had an intensely dark and mysterious atmosphere- I couldn’t help but be captivated by it. I will admit that I could see a lot of the paths that this would take, yet that didn’t make them any less enticing and exciting. I couldn’t look away from this haunting tale. I gobbled it up faster than two lost children coming across a gingerbread house 😉

Labyrinth of the Spirits– this was not my favourite of the series, but it absolutely did the story justice. Taking us back through the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, along for stories of war and beyond, this tied everything together. Zafon clearly showed us he had the string to guide us through this labyrinthine saga all along. 

Lair of Dreams– I’m rather excited to give this series a mention, because it is surely a definitely part of my reading year. And for once I’m not cheating and plonking the whole series on the list, just going with my favourite! (Although, honestly, if you get into book 1, why would you stop there?!) Starting out as a straightforward (but pos-i-tutely fab-u-lous) ghost story, this is the kind of series that expands in scope. What I loved most about this quartet was how the intriguing powers intertwined with characters and backstories. I also loved how all the family relationships, friendships and romances were to die for. Plus, let me tell you, I listened to the audiobook version, which was insanely long, and yet I was entertained for hours on end!

This is How You Lose the Time War– a hate-to-love story in space about two people on opposite sides of a time war falling in love?! Yes please! However, what ultimately makes this so vivid in my mind is how wonderfully written it is! By both authors!

The Huntress– this memorable historical fiction crosses deftly into thriller territory. Chasing a Nazi called the Huntress, this is a story of how the hunted become the hunters. With multiple timelines seamlessly interweaving, this story had so much scope. Everything about this story held power to me. I have definitely found a new amazing author to follow.

Art of War- (not to be mistaken for the war of art 😉). I learnt so much from this! No, I’m not planning on going to war any time soon 😉 I just found the advice more universal than I was expecting! 

Nevermoor– this perhaps deserves to be even higher on the list, because it’s one of the best MGs I’ve ever read! In a lot of ways it deconstructs the typical tropes of the category, whilst bringing all the whimsy and delight you’d expect. It’s really a wonderful take and I know I’d have loved it even more if I was a kid!

With the Fire on High– there’s no two ways about it: this was a delicious read. A masterful contemporary with colourful prose, this brought heart and soul to the table. The plot revolving around culinary ambitions and the realistic characters were paired perfectly on this plate. I especially appreciated how this gave light to stories we don’t typically see in YA.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase– this was more than just an enjoyable YA retelling of Christmas Carol. It had a depth I wasn’t expecting, taking the classic in a unique direction. Exploring every facet of redemption and what leads someone to become a Scrooge in the first place, this packed an emotional punch I wasn’t expecting. This got to the heart of the original and thought beyond it. That’s a bold and brilliant move. I also listened to this on audio and loved every second of it.

Alias Grace– no one is more pleasantly surprised than me that I loved this so much. I’ve always admired Atwood’s writing, but haven’t clicked with her stories… but this was different. It’s one of the books that made me the most obsessive this year. Not only is it masterfully written, it’s so addictive and layered and conjures incredible pictures to my mind even now.

Inheritance– I can’t stop thinking about this thrilling genealogical memoir. Set up like something of a detective story, I found myself turning the pages at an alarming rate, wanting to know what was going to happen! Beyond being utterly compulsive, I liked the depth of themes. It begins by tussling with the question WHO AM I and ends by getting to the root of WHO ARE WE? It doesn’t give you any firm solutions either- leaving you thinking. It’s truly an experience if you want to be intellectually stimulated and challenged.

Wild Swans– this is more than just an intergenerational memoir- this story covers so much of China’s history and gets into the truth about what happened under the Mao regime. This does more than take you on an emotional journey- it is a true education. Everyone should read it.  

Big Magic– an inspiration and a must-read for any creative, there’s something so delightful about this book. Elizabeth Gilbert has a way of bringing joy to her non fic. If you like to procrastinate, this will surely prod you in the right direction. And if you need it, this will give you the spark to keep going.

Ten Thousand Doors of January– I haven’t been able to shut up all year- and for good reason. This took me beyond this world- into countless others. A layered fantasy, it opens the door to something new.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue– the more I think about it the more I just love this book. On the surface, it’s about a girl cursed in exchange for immortality. Yet it’s so much more than that simple description. It is quite simply one of the most unique and compelling books I’ve ever read. It’s the kind of story that stays with you. 

Once and Future Witches– this was undoubtedly my most magical reading experience of the year. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK. Interlacing history and fantasy and myth in a remarkable way, this book utterly bewitched me. I couldn’t stop reading: for the characters, for the beautiful writing, for the story. Harrow must know something about how to command the ways and the words herself, because I am absolutely spellbound by her work. There’s more than a pinch of genius here.

So, have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2020? Let me know in the comments!

A Few Books I Found Relatable (And Why…)

Hello all! As I mentioned in my last post, I feel like a lot of talk about “relatable” books, without really going into the *whys and wherefores*. So, today, I’m going to do just that! To avoid making this list ridiculously long, I’m going to keep this list short, sticking to books I found relatable for multiple reasons. Let’s get right into it!

Isla and the Happily Ever After– I related so much to Isla as a character: she’s shy, awkward and (unlike other characters in the series) doesn’t have everything figured out. Most importantly, I really got her sappy, romantic attitude… and simultaneous struggle to accept good things happening. It’s like this character was written just for me! Also, I reread this recently, and I was shocked by how much I still related, despite how much older I am since I first read it (which I guess says a lot about my maturity 😉).

Cress– okay, no, an evil witch-queen doesn’t keep me hostage in a space station. And okay, no, I didn’t fall to earth with a handsome stranger… But I did really relate to this character’s romantic outlook and her geeky out-of-step personality.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean– Lara Jean is the kind of down to earth character that lots of us relate to. And her family bonds come across as very realistic. For me, the part that hit close to home was how it dealt with the process of getting into uni. It didn’t give us the typical sunshine and roses version- which I feel a lot of us will get. I loved how this didn’t have things go according to plan and how it spoke to the struggle of growing up. Surprisingly, this fluffy YA had a more mature response to the topic. 

Radio Silence– this is one of those rare books that *frequently* gets the moniker “relatable”, because there’s so much about it that’s realistic and familiar. Apart from capturing the way teens talk, this also highlights significant aspects of what it’s like to be a young person in Britain today. Loads of people talk about liking how this brings up fandoms, internet culture, creativity and so much more! Personally, I liked how it handled the topic of uni. So often, including in books, it’s hyped up, which can be tough if the whole journey doesn’t quite live up to expectations. This narrative shows us the many sides of the stories that don’t get told- and I loved it for that.

Little Women– there’s a lot I love about Little Women– I love the sisterhood, the family and the romances. But one of the things that makes this story so close to my heart is how much I relate to (and aspire to be like) Jo. I feel like this is something many, many aspiring writers will get. Her story encapsulates the highs of falling in love with writing… and the lows. What I love is how this shows us the difficulty of staying true to your art and not selling your soul to be published. It’s very idealistic- but that’s something I very much appreciate about this story.

Eliza and Her Monsters– speaking of creativity, Eliza’s story centres on her web comic. I related to this for a few reasons- not just what it feels like to make friends on the internet, but also what it’s like to get the sense of an ending and the endeavour to execute it well. I also liked how this explored mental health (and will admit parts of that hit close to the bone).

Shadow of the Wind– this one’s a little less personal, because Shadow of the Wind is one of those rare books that I feel *everyone* that loves reading will be able to relate to. Zafon beautifully captures that feeling you have when you fall in love with reading that we all relate to (partly by making you fall in love with his book 😉). That’s why I recommend all readers give this a try!

And that’s all for now! Did you relate to any of these as well? What books did you find really relatable? Let me know in the comments!

Most Unique Books I’ve Really Enjoyed!

There’s nothing new under the sun… except for these beauties! Originality is so hard to come by- and even harder to pull off without a hitch- which is what makes these unique reads special. There’s no two books the same here! And I can recommend them all for very different reasons:

Illuminae– this series has such a  u n i q u e  format!! It felt a little far out at first- but I soon got swept up in this spectacular space opera. The plot, the characters, the romance, the villains, the drama- all had me on the edge of my seat. It was such a ride!!

Horrorstor– designed like an Ikea catalogue, this was funny and entertaining and horrifying all at once. I was surprised by how much I liked this, considering I’m not much of a fan of scary stories or furniture for that matter 😉

The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- this would be original for the premise alone: Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day. But this cross-genre novel goes further than that, exploring complex and unexpected themes. It was completely different to anything I’ve ever read before.

Homegoing– I loved the way this innovative cross-generation epic progresses the story with a character from each generation. It had so much scope! 

Secret History– a murder mystery told in reverse, it is all the more compelling for it!

The Trial– there’s a reason the term Kafkaesque exists- no one writes quite like Kafka. This is an oddly prophetic novel… emphasis on *odd*.

Master and Margarita– equal parts strange and sublime, I’ve never read anything quite like this. Surreally realising reality, this is an unusually philosophical read that will make you question everything.  

Life of Pi– similarly (and yet totally different) Mantel challenges the very notion of what is real with this survival novel.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children– using old, unusual photographs, Riggs builds a very peculiar narrative indeed. Simultaneously an alternate history of the holocaust and an adventure fantasy, it’s not your typical read!

Wolf in the Whale– I simply had to include this for its unique subject: when the history of Inuits and Vikings collided. It feels refreshingly different.

Night Circus– I’ve seen a lot of books compared to the Night Circus– but it’s a pretty impossible feat, because nothing is like Night Circus. The structure, writing and world are all completely original. Don’t believe me? Pick it up for yourself and you’ll see how unbelievably delightful it is.

Wilder Girls– this is a hard one to pin down. In parts it’s a straight horror; other parts read more like a Sapphic romance; and sometimes it just feels like a straight retelling. For all those, it’s not your usual YA.

Scorpio Races– no one writes quite like Stiefvater. Not only is her world building very original, this is so atmospheric, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped out of reality.

Phantom Tollbooth– eccentric and charming, I can’t think of another book to compare it to… because there isn’t one! Playing with language and just plain playing around, this is one of my all-time favourite children’s books.

Good Omens– all of Gaiman’s and Pratchett’s works are so OUT THERE, I didn’t know which one to spotlight… so I decided to go for the one where the great duo teamed up! The concept for this post-apocalyptic story is wildly different and so much fun. And, of course, as you’d expect from these two authors, it’s also completely hilarious.

And that’s all for now! Do you like or dislike any of my picks? And what books have you read that stood out as unique? Let me know in the comments!

Fun, frothy and fantastical reads for when you’re in need of a distraction!

orangutan list

Granted, that title has doubtless got you thinking about *that thing going on outside*. A bit like playing “the game” (we’ve all just lost the game!) Even so, I think we could all do with a break from impending doom life at the moment- which is why I wrote this list of the ultimate distracting reads! No way you can focus on anything other than turning these pages…

crown of feathers

Crown of Feathers– a book about phoenixes, because WE WILL RISE FROM THE ASHES! (or all go down in flames… 😉)

shadow of the fox

Shadow of the Fox– but if you want to throw yourself into even more mythological, why not take a trip to Iwagoto? See if you can spot some tricksy kitsune along the way…

six of crows

Six of Crows– on the note of tricksters, the dregs will look after you if you’re looking to score (and doubtless pick your pocket on the way 😉)

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– if you need something else with a bit of an edge, then I always recommend deep-diving into this Little Mermaid retelling. No doubt this book siren song is calling to you right now 😉

the young elites

Young Elites– of course, talking of dark YA fantasy, I can scarcely neglect this beauty. Sharp and a little different, it has one of my favourite heroines in the genre.

thief

The Thief– on the note of protagonists I love, Gen’s perspective makes this book a real hidden gem. Personally, I do only recommend the first one, but fortunately it works as a standalone, so you can’t go wrong!

vicious

Vicious– ahh this is my *go to* book if you need something you absolutely cannot put down. This supervillains story is guaranteed to keep you on your toes.

renegades

Renegades– take flight into a world of heroes and villains! With great characters and a riveting romance, I was gripped from the start (incidentally I’m going to be taking my own advice with this one, cos I’ve just ordered the third in the series and will be jumping into the action again soon 😉)

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– for something a bit gutsier and adult, you could try this take on Romans in space! (which I am recommending for the millionth time because it’s amazing!)

scythe

Scythe– now I don’t know about you, but beyond entertainment, I’m also craving some depth, and this high concept dystopia is cutting edge in that regard. There are ideas here I’ve not seen in YA before- or dare I say- even in adult!

one word kill

One Word Kill– and if you want mind-blowing, mathematically inspired time travel, then I have the series for you. Dramatic and character-driven, you can whizz through this at the speed of light!

And that’s all for now! Do you agree with my choices? And- more than ever I need your advice- what fantastical books would you recommend for distraction? Let me know in the comments

Hyped Books I’ll Never Read – Spring Cleaning My TBR

orangutan list

Usually I’d never say never, but we are in the End Times- JK! JK! This is a promise to myself- life’s too short- let’s see if I can keep to it.

cursed child

Cursed Child– starting with a book that needs no introduction! When this came out, I picked this up in a book shop and I was pretty unimpressed. I then went and spoiled myself for the plot… annnd I’m glad I didn’t try to read it. Apart from graverobbing the original series, it’s just doesn’t sound like a good story to me.

testaments

Testaments– in case you didn’t see my ranty unpopular opinions post on books I don’t like that everyone loves, I’m no fan of Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not opposed to reading more Atwood- she’s an impressive writer- but I’m not giving this series another try- sorry!

go set a watchman

Go Set a Watchman– this was another BIG RELEASE that I was cautious about and then decided to just read a plot synopsis in advance… and it sounds worse than Cursed Child!! I cannot fully express my fury that this book ruined Atticus Finch’s character- but let’s just say it made me go bananas! To Kill a Mockingbird is a personal favourite and I don’t care how this monstrosity came about- I’m not reading it.

normal people

Normal People– this is the toughest one so far, because while I didn’t like Conversations with Friends, I’ve heard that people usually like one and not the other. So, I am tempted to see if I can find out what the fuss is about this author… and yet, something about her writing style just didn’t gel with me last time and I don’t want to risk it.

raven king

The Raven King– I’ll admit, I was weak and read the first Foxhole Court book after I was to avoid it. I’ve not heard from anyone that shares my views on the first one that it gets better- I’ve got to stay strong and not read it (as much as my eye is drawn to it like watching a car crash…)

chain of gold

Chain of Gold– this is less about the specific book and more that I just don’t plan to read any new Cassandra Clare book. It’s nothing personal, I’ve just outgrown her world and stories that always end up being exactly the same (okay, maybe it is a little personal 😉)

lady's guide to petticoats and piracy

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy– as you may know I was pretty disappointed with Gentleman’s Guide, so as much as the title appeals to me, I just don’t see any reason to continue the series. Plus I wasn’t a fan of Felicity’s character in the first one- I doubt I want to read an entire book about her!

infinity son

Infinity Son– when Silvera announced he was publishing a fantasy book, I was intrigued and a little excited. I’ve enjoyed his books and I’m always up for some fun fantasy. Alas- when I read the blurb, I wasn’t enamoured. The premise just doesn’t light my fire and I could see the twists a mile off (something that reviews have since confirmed). I think it might leave me a bit heated, so I’m gonna give it a miss.

And that’s all for now! Do you think I’ve made any big mistakes with this list? Or do you have any books you *absolutely will not* read? Let me know in the comments!

Some Fun Alternative History I Actually Like

orangutan list

As I mentioned the other day- I do like a fair amount of alternative history- which is why I thought I’d share a quick list today!

american royals

American Royals– an alternative history where the Washingtons set up a 250-year dynasty? Yes please! Plus, *bonus points* for all the romance and drama!

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– you guys know how much I love this fun and totally off-the-wall take on Lady Jane Grey. It doesn’t give a hoot about historical accuracy- but at the same time it really manages to cleverly embrace the past- and I love that about it!

what the wind knows

What the Wind Knows– I mentioned this in my last post- because yeah, it’s not super realistic to time travel back to the fight for Irish independence… but it is entertaining as heck!

V_for_vendettax

V For Vendetta– a hallmark dystopic graphic novel, this gives us a view of what a totalitarian Britain might look like.

noughts-and-crosses

Noughts and Crosses– an old one, but a good one- Blackman’s now classic YA series reimagines racial division, intertwining the story with reflections on history and star-crossed lovers.

diviners

Diviners– for something a bit more fantastical, I’m thoroughly enjoying the Diviners series (I’m up to book 2). Set in a more magical and spookier 1920s New York, this is one hell of a wild ride! Also, I’ve recently been listening to the audiobook version and I can’t recommend it enough!

city of masks

City of Masks– sticking with the fantasy, the Stravaganza series gives us a taste of Renaissance Italy, as teens step from one world to the other. What I really like about this series is how it allows each of the characters to grow and come to understand their own issues through their journeys.

ten thousand doors of january

Ten Thousand Doors of January– thinking about other portal fantasies featuring historical elements, this more recent release springs to mind, for the way it balances modern sensibilities whilst maintaining a degree of authenticity. I especially liked the way the otherworldly element became an extended metaphor for finding your place in the world.

missperegrinecover-1

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children– not always a popular book, because it is highly unusual, I stand by how fascinating a take this is on the holocaust, imagining WW2 through the metaphor of monsters and peculiarities.

Have you read any of these? Do you like them? Do you have any alternative history books you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite (Chill) Fairy Tale Retellings

Today, I just wanted to share a super quick list of some of my favourite atmospheric, fairy tale retellings. All of these deliver on the wintry vibes- without you having to the hassle of going outside 😉

snow child

The Snow Child– it’s been a long while since I mentioned this exquisite historical fiction. Set in 1920s Alaska, it draws on the Russian fairy tale by the same name and delivers something utterly unique.

bear and the nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale– also inspired by Russian folklore, this has a more fantastical touch and is set in an authentically medieval setting. If you’re in the mood for high fantasy, then I can’t give you a better recommendation for the winter months.

wolf in the whale

Wolf in the Whale– this is more inspired by a patchwork of different mythologies, stories and histories- which I think qualifies it to be on this list. Plus, it certainly delivers on the atmospheric quota- you’ll need to be nice and snug while you’re reading this, or you’ll catch a chill!

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– if you’re looking for something a bit creepier, then look no further! This deadly little mermaid retelling will cut you to the quick!

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– while not technically a retelling, it does draw on so many fairy tale motifs. Plus, it has a gothic edge to it too.

So, have you read these? Do you plan to? And what retellings give you the wintry vibes? Let me know in the comments!

Just *Some* of the Incredible Books I Read in 2019…

Before we get to my top ten, I always like to do a little teaser to share some of the other amazing books I read this year. All of these are TOP BANANA- so they deserve some love and attention! Here are just a few of my reading highlights from the year…

Aurora Rising and Cruel Prince were excellent series openers. Soul of the Sword got me excited to read more! Holy Sister and Crowfall were both excellent ways to wrap up a series. Daisy Jones has been playing on my mind ever since I listened to it on audiobook. I got tried Laini Taylor’s delectable Night of Cake and Puppets. Woman in Black was *freaky*. Evelyn Hardcastle was one of the most unique books I’ve ever read! Woke made me laugh out loud! And I fell in love with Cait @Paper Fury’s books this year as well. And, of course, Secret History has been making reminisce ever since I read it.

And that’s all for now! Feel free to get excited about the top ten, because they rock!!

My Most Disappointing Reads of 2019

most disappointing 2019

As you may well see in my next few posts, I have had an *amazing* reading year. Thanks to blogging (and possibly growing up 😉) I’m getting better at picking reads I’ll actually enjoy. That said, there are always a handful of stinkers… though that’s not what this list is about (for the most part 😉). I’d say about half of these aren’t bad books by any stretch of the imagination. Most of these aren’t even the worst books I read this year- cos a couple of those I’ve forgotten by now- these are, as the title suggests, the ones I was most disappointed by. And the biggest change this year is that I only have 9 books for the list– I just didn’t see the reason to squeeze extra books on that didn’t deserve a spot (that’s right, I’m not just being a negative Nancy for the sake of it! 😉 ). These books could’ve been great, yet all ended up as misses for me… and that’s enough of the preamble- let’s just get into it!

number 9

behind her eyes

Behind Her Eyes– this started out so well… and then nosedived in the last few chapters. Here’s the thing, it’s really not fun to read a psychological thriller that flips the switch at the last second and becomes a paranormal thriller. I’ve read a few other genre-bending books this year- and they all worked because there was proper set up for the payoff! It all felt like it was done to say “betcha didn’t see that coming!”- and no, obviously I didn’t see that coming, cos I’m not a psychic.

number 8

gentleman's guide to vice and virtue

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue- this may well be the most unpopular choice for the list- but here’s the thing, this is a list of books I was disappointed by and I was enormously disappointed by this book. I had really high expectations going in because it was so hyped and it’s the kind of thing I really love- but it just fell so flat for me. The main issues for me were that I didn’t fall for the characters and wasn’t convinced with the supposed “18th century” setting. So, not for me, though I do feel there’s enough potential in the idea that I could enjoy the upcoming adaptation.

number 7

immortal reign

Immortal Reign– again, this was by no means the worst book I read this year- BUT I’ve been reading this series a long time and I just wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out. Part of this could be that I fell out of love with it a couple of books back, yet to be honest, not enough was done with the story to elevate that ending. Everything was resolved a little too easily and the emotional payoffs just didn’t land.

number 6

queen of air and darkness book

Queen of Air and Darkness– the more I think about this, the more disappointed with it I am. While I liked parts of it when I was reading, it’s the kind of book I like less and less over time. I think as I wrote the review I realised quite how dissatisfied I was with it (hence the disjunct between my rating and my thoughts). I had an existing fondness for the series… but I feel like all that was thrown away here. As cool as some of the concepts were, a lot of it was recycled from other series and the rest was just set up for another. I can’t get behind a book of this length that merely exists to sell another book. So yeah, I was disappointed with this, to say the least.

number 5

wonder woman

Wonder Woman– I pretty much summed it up in my review: this is a cashgrab. I don’t recommend this for anyone- whether you’re a fan of superheroes or not. It’s not worth your time and not worthy of the author’s talent. Highly recommend you read anything else by Bardugo instead!

number 4

bridget jones's diary

Bridget Jones– this isn’t something I was anticipating or had high hopes for in any way, so I’m breaking my own rules putting this on here, but I just hated the writing style so much that it earned its spot here 😉 It’s full of fragmentation. All the time. Every. Single. Sentence. Ugh.

number 3

conversations with friend

Conversation with Friends– ah one of those massively acclaimed books… that I didn’t get at all. I should’ve guessed from the shite title it’d be wanky and a waste of time- cos that’s exactly what it was. It was so boring that I’m already bored talking about it again… so I won’t bore the rest of you and I’ll move on!

number 2

an inspector calls

Inspector Calls– ooh this came so close to winning the top spot- because there are a lot of reasons Priestley’s pretentious garbage deserves it! It’s badly written, filled with crap characters and moralising to boot! Don’t expect deep philosophy from this though- you’ll get more depth out of a toddler’s toys.

number 1

atlas shrugged

Atlas Shrugged– it’s kind of fitting that out of my two worst reads this year, one is left wing and the other right. This one edged out Priestley’s preachy play by a whisker. The reason this “won” top spot was twofold: 1) from what I’d heard of it (only that it was a seminal work of American literature) I had higher hopes for this and 2) it made me suffer longer. Boy did I make a huge mistake (a-1168-page long mistake) reading this! I guess now it’s time to shrug it off and move on!

So- dare I ask- what do you think of these? Have you read any of them? And what were your worst books of 2019? Let me know in the comments!