Number of books I read work-related + private = 44 + 59 = 103
of which 4 are audio books and 3 are rereads
Genre I read the most from: Contemporary and SFF
(if I count all the different subgenres of SFF together)
Please keep in mind that I work for a publisher and, as stated above, read a lot of their books. So it’s bound to be quite a couple of them in here. But this is still my personal opinion.
1. Best book I read in 2019
Let’s split that up a little [only counting first-reads]:
- Best Children’s Book: Neun Tage mit Okapi by Sandra Niermeyer
- Best YA/Adult: Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan
- Best Comic/Graphic Novel: 100 Hugs by Chris Riddell
- Best Nonfiction: Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold by Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir with Steve Milton
- Best Audio Book: Das Känguru-Manifest (Die Känguru-Chroniken, #2) by Marc-Uwe Kling
- Best Horse Novel: Mein Herz ist in den Highlands (Pferdeheimat im Hochland, #7) by Ursula Isbel
2. Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love more but didn’t
I was really excited about Renegades (Renegades, #1) by Marissa Meyer because I adore The Lunar Chronicles. It also should have been my kind of book. While I might not be into superheroes in general, I have a soft spot for people with extraordinary powers struggling to be accepted. I adore the X-Men and similar stories. Unfortunately, this one didn’t do it for me. I didn’t warm up to the characters or really got into the story until the very end. And lots of elements are copied from somewhere else. I’ll check out the next one though, since that cliffhanger was pretty neat.
3. Most surprising book I read
I first started Pferdeheimat im Hochland [A Home for Horses in the Highlands] by Ursula Isbel in 2005 and read all but the last one since I didn’t have it yet und it was rather hard to get. I remembered enjoying this series quite a bit, but I didn’t expect how madly in love I would fall with it when I finally decided to go back, reread the first six books, and finally tackle that seventh and final one. The fourth book, Wechselnde Pfade [Changing Paths] was by far my favourite. It’s pretty much perfect.
4. Book I “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)
My standard answer for this one: I didn’t push any books privately in 2019 but I’m still doing it professionally.
5. Best series I started in 2019 / Best sequel of 2019 / Best series ender of 2019
B: Das Känguru-Manifest (Die Känguru-Chroniken, #2) by Marc-Uwe Kling
[The Kangaroo Manifesto (The Kangaroo Chronicles, #2)]
I never thought I would enjoy this series so much, but it’s hilarious! I just love the kangaroo so much!
C: Mein Herz ist in den Highlands (Pferdeheimat im Hochland, #7) by Ursula Isbel
[My Heart is in the Highlands (A Home for Horses in the Highlands, #7)]
I am so so sad to have to say goodbye to this series. It’s incredibly nostalgic but holds up very well considering it’s from the 90s (in this context, that’s actually a bad thing since it means we haven’t come particularly far concerning topics like animal welfare, environment protection, and social injustice). I started out not quite liking this book, but eventually, I fell in love with it.
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2019?
That would be Deirdre Sullivan. I discovered Tangleweed and Brine, her collection of feminist fairytale retellings, in Chapters, my favourite bookshop in Dublin. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories and the topics addressed. You can read my full review here.
7. Best book from a genre I don’t typically read
8. Most action-packed / thrilling / unputdownable book of the year
I fear I’m going to be a bit repetitive, but that’s Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan. I just enjoyed it so much, I couldn’t put it down – even on the train I continued reading, which is rare for me since I don’t like reading on trains.
9. Book I read in 2019 that I’m most likely to reread next year
Ha, let’s continue the list and see if things will ever change! I used to reread a lot; nowadays that has become an exception. Too many books, too little time …
2016: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – not yet reread
2017: The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, #1) by Marie Rutkoski and The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson – not yet reread
2018: Penguin Problems by Jory John & Lane Smith – not yet reread
2019: Well, the most likely candidate would be Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan since I loved it and the second book will come out in 2020.
10. Favourite cover of a book I read in 2019
11. Most memorable character of 2019
Okay, I can’t help it. God, I hate myself for this, but Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2) by Sarah J. Maas. There, I said it. And now I have to look for the earth to swallow me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s toxic as shit. Unfortunately, he’s just my type of character, even though I’m well aware that that’s really unhealthy. Same goes for my precious Malachiasz from Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan. Oh, how I adore that monster.
12. Most beautifully written book I read in 2019
Katrin Zipse is a regular in this category. This year, I finally managed to read her Die Quersumme von Liebe [The Digit Sum of Love], which is such a beautiful and heartbreaking story full of family mystery, love, atmospheric old and derelict houses, non-linear layered narration, and heartbreak written in beautiful prose.
13. Most thought-provoking book of 2019
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin: A fortune teller gives four siblings the date of their death respectively. What follows is the exploration of how they live their lives with that “knowledge”. Really made me think about whether or not I would want to know as well as pondering self-fulfilling prophecies.
14. Book I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read
If I had stuck to my work-related reading plan, I would have finished the Wolkenherz [Cloud Heart] series by Sabine Giebken much earlier. But I didn’t. At least, I finally continued with the second book, Eine Fährte im Sturm, which reminded me how much I love the elements of this series: horses, WWII, and mystery. Can’t wait to tackle the other books soon!
15. Favourite passage/quote from a book I read in 2019
I don’t think I have one? In recent years, I kind of stopped noting memorable quotes. Either I’m no longer paying as much attention to what I’m reading or nothing really caught my attention.
16. Shortest and longest book I read in 2019
A: If I’m not counting the picture books, that would be Snow, Glass, Apples, a dark retelling of “Snow White”, by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran [64 pages]
B: The longest book I read in 2019 is The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1) by Walter Moers . It’s the first time I read any of his books even though he’s kind of a big thing in Germany, especially since The City of Dreaming Books seems to be on every booknerds reading list. Since I wanted to start with the first book (even though I think they are all pretty much standalones set in the same world), I didn’t for the longest time because I didn’t have a copy – but then I found this one for next to nothing and read it when I couldn’t do much with my broken knee.
17. Book that shocked me the most
That would be Soundless by Richelle Mead. This is a perfect example of why white people shouldn’t write Asian inspired fantasy. However, it doesn’t stop there; this book is problematic as fuck on so many levels. Among others, it uses disablism as a plot device. And I just stop there because I don’t want to get worked up all over again.
18. OTP of the year (I will go down with this ship!)
- Laurie & Danny [Pferdeheimat im Hochland by Ursula Isbel]. They are soooo pure and their relationship is so mature and awwwwww.
- Tessa & Scott [Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold by Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir with Steve Milton]. Yes, they are real people. Yes, shipping real people is weird. Yes, they deny having been more than close friends. And that’s all good. No matter what they were to each other, it was epic. The otp of ice dancing. I’m really sad I only discovered them at the end of their career.
- Luzie & Puma [Die Quersumme von Liebe by Katrin Zipse]. Oh boy, they had it rough. So many feels!
19. Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year
- Lale & Käppie [Neun Tage mit Okapi by Sandra Niemeyer]. The girl und the talking okapi. I really like how they helped each other.
- Max, Pascal & Shakira [Maus mit Mission (Extrem gefährlich!, #1) by Mario Fesler]. Chaos trio! And Shakira’s simply the best. Grumpy child genius ftw!
- Leia & Amilyn Holdo [Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray]. Now The Last Jedi makes so much more sense! I really liked their relationship and how deep their friendship was.
- Marc-Uwe Kling & the kangaroo [Die Känguru-Offenbarung (Die Känguru-Chroniken, #3) by Marc-Uwe Kling]. Iconic. Simply iconic.
20. Favourite book I read in 2019 from an author I’ve read previously
I’m trying to only name books I haven’t mentioned a gazillion times already. I really enjoyed Elizabeth Wein‘s non-fiction book A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II about the female Russian fighter pilots in WWII also known as the Night Witches. I went back down the rabbit hole in Tales from Watership Down by Richard Adams and loved spending time with the rabbits there. And Sabine Giebken whisked me away to Canada in Orcasommer [Orca Summer] where a small orca was in need of saving.
21. Best book I read in 2019 that I read bases SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart was pretty much everywhere when it came out back in 2014. Since I’m very perceptive when it comes to spoilers, even the most basic hints had my head spinning long before I ever intended on picking it up. And it was pretty controversial – people either loved or hated it. So I lost interest for the longest time. When I picked it up this year, I was positively surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book I read in 2019
That’s without a doubt Malachiasz from Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan. He’s just my kind of favourite male character. Dark and brooding, very mysterious, and more or less evil. I fell in love with him right away.
23. Best 2019 debut I read
Are you yet mad at me for mentioning Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan at every other prompt? But this is not only the best debut I read in 2019, it’s also pretty much the only one.
24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting I read this year
- The Scottish Highlands by Ursula Isbel
Pferdeheimat im Hochland [A Home for Horses in the Highlands] is one of my favourite horse novel series and the author describes the Highlands so vividly I ached feeling almost as if I were wandering the heathered hills myself.
- The world of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
I’ve only read The Lightning Thief so far but I really enjoyed this alternate reality where the Greek gods and their offspring are wandering earth (or rather the US). I loved Hades most of all, btw.
- Kalyazin and Tranavia by Emily A. Duncan
Yes, once again Wicked Saints. These Eastern European inspired countries with their magic systems, their snowy mountains, and drab cities is just my jam. The atmosphere!
25. Books that put a smile on my face/was the most FUN to read
- Maus mit Mission (Extrem gefährlich!, #1) by Mario Fesler
[Mouse on a Mission (Extremly dangerous!, #1)]
Mario’s books are always so much fun. There are layers upon layers so that you find something to chuckle about no matter your age.
- Molly’s Moon Mission by Duncan Beedie
Yesss, girl! Even though no one believes Molly can make it to the moon, she never gives up – and in the end, teaches lots of other smaller moths to aim for the stars.
- The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson, #1) by Rick Riordan
That was just a really fun adventure all around! Unfortunately, it’s probably going to take me ages until I pick up the next book in the series.
- Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. And yet, I can’t possibly put this book in here without linking to one of my favourite videos of her (the content is also in her book) – I love her super dry black humour:
26. Books that made me cry in 2019
- In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira
A mother daughter generational story (they are similar to the Gilmore Girls) but with a biracial protagonist who wants to find out the truth about her father. And that truth had me sobbing.
- Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen
A girl who lost her way ends up in a therapy camp in the middle of the desert where she has to come to terms with the person she has become. That process is truly heartbreaking.
27. Hidden gem of the year
- Heinrich will brüten! by Anette Thumser & Nikolai Renger
[Heinrich Wants to Hatch!]
A picture book about a little cock defying gender stereotypes: he wants to hatch an egg no matter what the other members of his family tell him – and he carries it through.
- Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan
It’s a collection of feminist fairytale retellings with stellar writing, numerous topics addressed and a fair share of diversity. Whether it is fertility and motherhood, bullying and fat shaming, the many forms of abuse, or just in general patriarchy at its worst. There’s also people of colour, LGBTQIA+ themes, and physical and neural divergence.
28. Book that crushed my soul
Die Quersumme von Liebe [The Digit Sum of Love] by Katrin Zipse was just my kind of book: dreamy prose, non-linear narration, family secrets – and a resolution that absolutely gutted me!
29. Most unique book I read in 2019
Every book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy in five parts by Douglas Adams is unique, whimsical, and confusing, but the fourth one, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, takes the cake. I have no idea what I read there. It’s like someone gave him a couple of really weird prompts – rain god lorry driver, cloud sex, inconvenient raffle lady, the London Speaking Clock, dolphins’ Campaign to Save the Humans, and God’s Final Message to His Creation – and he just rolled with it.
30. Books that made me the most mad
Unfortunately, I’ve got two candidates:
- Just Dreaming (The Silver Trilogy, #3) by Kerstin Gier. I haven’t been that big of a fan of the previous books but this one … Not only is it problematic as hell (re cheating), it’s bland, and the ending a total cop-out. I was both fuming and disappointed. The premise of the series was pretty interesting but it was watered down to nothing, really.
- Soundless by Richelle Mead. Nope, just nope. I think even I could have done a better job at creating a more believable Asian setting and I’m just as white and pretty much take all my ‘knowledge’ from cdramas. Throw in some disablism and all I want to do is roast this book (figuratively, not literally). How did all of that make it through editing?!
Looking back: For 2019, it was The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, which I didn’t manage to read in 2019 but recently read in 2020. So I’m not doing too bad in this category.
For 2020, this will be The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. You might recall that this was my most anticipated book of 2019 – maybe even of the decade. So why haven’t I read it yet? Well, on the one hand, I’m too scared I won’t like it, on the other hand the timing just wasn’t right yet. I want to read it when I’m not totally stressed out for once.
2. Books I’m most anticipating for 2020 (non-debut)
Looking back: For 2019, I had The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK SINCE 2012!), A Thousand Sisters by Elizabeth Wein (non-fiction about the female Russian pilots during WWII called the night witches!), Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (new scifi by the dream team of The Illuminae Files!), The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (new historical fiction from one of my auto-buy authors!). I own them all, but only read A Thousand Sisters, which I really enjoyed.
For two of my most anticipated books of 2020, scroll down to #4 Sequels & Endings. The other one I’m really excited for is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. This might just be my Schwab book because all she’s posted so far about this book just hit a nerve. The whole premise is totally my cup of tea (very vaguely reminds me of Elisabeth, the pretty dark musical about Empress Sisi of Austria I’m totally obsessed with).
3. 2020 debut I’m most anticipating
Looking back: For 2019, I had Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1) by Emily A. Duncan (Eastern European inspired dark fantasy!), We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal (ancient Arabia, a cross-dressing protagonist, and the Prince of Death!), The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad (a girl getting tangled up in the djinn wars!), Descendant of the Crane by Joan He (Chinese inspired fantasy with a young queen tracking down her father’s murderer!), and Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) by Kat Cho (“she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive” – sold!). While I do own all of them, I only managed to read Wicked Saints but absolutely loved it!
4. Series ending/a sequel I’m most anticipating in 2020
Looking back: For 2019, it was The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta and Reticence (The Custard Protocol #4) by Gail Carriger. I’ve not caught up with these series yet let alone read these two books.
For 2020, that one’s pretty easy! Serafin – Das Kalte Feuer (Merle, #4) by Kai Meyer. The Merle trilogy is one of my most beloved series ever since I first read it aged twelve giving me my first fictional crush – and an utterly crushed heart – and loved it even more for it! Getting a sequel almost 20 years later is both weird and exciting, but as much as I’m anticipating it, I’m also a little scared I might not like it and therefore ultimately tarnishing my love for the series.
The other sequel I’m really looking forward to is Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2) by Emily A. Duncan since I absolutely loved Wicked Saints!
5. One thing I hope to accomplish or do in my reading/blogging life in 2020
Reactivate my blog (check!), finding a work-life-reading-blogging-balance that’ll work well for me (remains to be seen …).
6. A 2020 release I’ve already read and recommend to everyone
Once more a book I read for work: Neun Tage mit Okapi [Nine Days with Okapi] by Sandra Niermeyer. I loved how the topic of bullying was handled here and Käppie, the okapi, is just too cute! Such a wonderful book in every way!