Top 5 Best Books I Read in 2019 // Last Year’s Saving Graces

2019 was not a good year in terms of finding new favorites.

I only had three 5-star reads out of 78 books. And most were not at the all-time fave level, even though I still love them a lot. That being said, I’ve chosen (and ranked!) five of the best books I read in 2019, and I’m gonna gush about them today.

(Also, if you’ve been following my blog for months, you might be wondering why I only had three 5-star reads when it seems like I had more—it’s because I changed most of the ratings I gave in 2019.)

All titles link to Goodreads.

5. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

This was such a beautiful finale. The writing is so poetic and magical—I have no words to describe it. It’s no wonder that Laini Taylor is one of the most popular YA fantasy authors out there.

Read my review.


4. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

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The magic system in this book is one of the most well thought-out I’ve ever read about—I’m convinced that Robert Jackson Bennett is a genius. And I’m usually indifferent to setting descriptions in books, but the ones in Foundryside were AMAZING. The city of Tevanne truly came to life, and I’ve never felt that way about a fictional setting.

On top of that, the characters are all three-dimensional (there is an f/f relationship!), and we follow them accomplish a seemingly impossible heist.

Read my mini-review.


3. The Fever King by Victoria Lee

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Never in my life have I read a YA speculative fiction novel, and felt like I was reading about real-life events. Yes, this is a fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian about a virus that leaves a select few with magical abilities (which, by the way, can be used in such cool ways). But it’s so much more than that. It’s a political novel that isn’t afraid to make a statement—or multiple ones. The characters are so flawed, but I love them so much. And the villain? One of the best ones out there.

Read my mini-review.


2. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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I finished this book months ago and gave it 4-4.5 stars, but I still think about it regularly, and I recognize the impact it had on me. Because of that, I’ve changed my rating to 5 stars despite my small gripes.

Radio Silence is so diverse, with lovable characters who could easily be real people. Alice Oseman is one of the few authors who truly understand teenagers. And this book’s messages about academic pressure and the expectations put on teenagers to attend university were so important to me.


1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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This book was the saving grace of 2019. I have added it to my favorites of all time list with no regrets. I live for V.E. Schwab’s aesthetic okay. Her writing is so atmospheric, and I will never get over how cleverly she incorporated alternating timelines into this book.

The way she made us question our understanding of what makes a hero and a villain is my religion. Is Victor Vale a bad person? Yes. Do I still love him, Sydney, and Mitch? Also yes.

(If you’re still not convinced, this book has the found family and child adoption trope, so there’s no choice but to stan.)

Read my mini-review.

Even though I didn’t find many groundbreaking books in 2019, I still read a lot of god-tier 4-star reads. Here are a few that I want to mention. Definitely go read them!

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All covers link to my review (or Goodreads if I didn’t write one).

Well, this was a blessedly short post, which is a shocker because I’m used to writing 1k+ word behemoths. Here’s to finding more faves in 2020!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? What were your faves of 2019? (Please I need recs.)

45 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Books I Read in 2019 // Last Year’s Saving Graces

  1. I am SO excited to read The Fever King, Vicious and Radio Silence! Especially now that I know they’re some of your favourites! I didn’t have a great reading year in 2019 either (in terms of finding new favourites) though I read and adored The Starless Sea and Heartstopper 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We definitely have a similar taste in fantasy… but I think I like you giving recs because you read more of them… I’m much more 50-50 into romance and fantasy…
        Definitely have to read both TFK and TEH soon… probably gonna be a binge read 😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel the same way! I feel like I didn’t have a lot of five stars reads this past year, and even the ones that were 5 stars were not all time favs of mine either! (except for maybe Legendary by Stephanie Garber and Bloodwitch by Susan Denard)!! That being said I still need to read Muse of Nightmares (loved Strange the Dreamer) and VE Schwab is amazing and I own Vicious sooo #noexcuses and to why I should be reading that.. haha. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that someone else can relate to my problem :(( I think it’s because I started officially reviewing books in 2019, so I’m now wayyy more critical than I was before. I hope 2020 is a better reading year for us though! ❤
      Oh, it took me so long to read MoN after I finished the first book, so I can relate to that! I feel like V.E. Schwab just "gets" my reading taste—she's literally written two of my all time favorite books 🥺 I think Vicious is one of her best works (and I think a lot of people will agree with me on that), so I hope you can get to it soon!
      Thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah, I would be okay with not having a lot of 5 star reads if 2019 hadn’t been filled with meh books (they’re fine and I liked them, but none of them will really *stick* with me). I hope we find more 5 star reads this year!💖
      hehe, no pressure, but you really do :’)) I feel like there’s something in it for everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ahhhhhh muse of nightmares was my favourite book of 2019, i’m so glad to hear you loved it as well!! also omg i’m planning on reading both radio silence AND vicious this year so i’m super hyped to hear that you loved them so much.

    i’ve also heard so many good things about sorcery of thorns (though i’m still a little worried to read it cuz i didn’t like an enchantment of ravens by the same author) and criers war, so maybe i’ll pick those up this year as well (that is if i can find criers war in my bookstore, cuz i’ve looked for it every time i go and they still! don’t! have! it!)

    i wish i could help you out with recs but, as you know, my reading year in 2019 was kind of a flop. but i still really hope you find some amazing books that do become new favourites in 2020 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. omg, i knew that you loved it, but I didn’t know that it was your *favorite book of the entire year*?? But that’s amazing and so understandable!! Ahh, I feel like you’ll love both, especially Radio Silence because it’s so easy to connect with that book 🥰 And we all know how I feel about Vicious, hehe

      You know, I feel like those who disliked An Enchantment of Ravens loved Sorcery of Thorns, but those who liked An Enchantment of Ravens didn’t like Sorcery of Thorns. Seriously, most of the bloggers I follow fall into one category, so I think you have a chance of loving Sorcery of Thorns!!
      I can’t find a physical copy of Crier’s War anywhere either :(( I hope you can find one soon though, because it’s so gAY omg

      lmao, I’d actually also consider my reading year in 2019 as a flop because I didn’t find many favorites :(( But I think I just have to accept that I’m a very picky reader. I think you should be proud of yourself for loving so many of the books you read in 2019 though, no matter the amount of books you read! I think that’s way more fulfilling than reading like, a hundred books and only loving five of them ❤ ❤ And for the record, I'm super excited to read Heartstopper because of you 🥰🥰
      Hope you have an amazing reading year in 2020 because you deserve it 🥺💖💖

      Like

  4. So sad that you didn’t have more but I fully believe that you shall have more five star reads. I also went through a stage where I rated books way too high and have since gone back to change them. Even some books I read this year.

    I really really really need to read Strange The Dreamer and Vicious. They’ve been on my tbr for way too long and I just KNOW that they’ll be great and live up. You have permission to slap me.

    And ahh I MUST read The Fever King asap. Like I ADORE dystopian, don’t get why it’s hated on so much.

    Omg twinning, I also read Radio Silence this year. Absolutely love Alice Oseman’s books, she’s such a cool author.

    AGAIN HERE’S TO MANY FIVE STARS IN 2020

    Liked by 1 person

    1. tbh, I don’t because I’m such a critical reader lmao, how to stop 🙃 lol, my rating system was a whole ass MESS in the beginning of the year because I let peer pressure affect my ratings. like, if I didn’t like a popular book as much as everyone else, I’d force myself to rate it higher, because I didn’t feel like being left out. anyways, I was just a mess in the beginning of last year. And I don’t think that there’s any problem with rating a lot of books high—you deserve to enjoy what you read ❤

      Both are such good books 🥰🥰 I hope you can read them soon, and yes I'll 100% slap you if you don't 😊 (lol JK take your time—I know that we're all drowning under our TBRs!)

      tbh, i have no feelings toward dystopian books—maybe bc I was pretty young during the dystopian craze? But it is a genre that has so much to offer! And I love that TFK isn't just a dystopian, but it's also a fantasy and sci-fi!

      OMG YES!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh, that’s okay! too many books, too little time 🙈
      Coincidentally, I haven’t read most of those books either! I mean, I read The Raven Boys years ago, but I never continued on with the series, and I don’t remember much from it. And I have a copy of With the Fire on High, and it’s so stunning—can’t wait to see if its inside matches its outside!
      THUG is such a powerful books and I can 100% see why you love it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw.. I really hope 2020 is a better reading year for you with lots of 5 star reads!! ❤
    I loved hearing about your favourites though and I really need to read the first three!! Strange the Dreamer has been on my TBR for a while!! The Fever King is one I really want to get to so soon, like so bad!! It always takes me ages to buy books that I want in hardback though because there are more expensive but I'm going to buy this book this year and read it! I'm so excited!!
    We've talked about it before but I also loved Radio Silence– Alice Oseman's is great!! I would love to go to a book signing for her one day!!
    I'm so glad you loved Vicious, I need to reread and then get to the sequel!! But I can be really bad at making time for rereads!! 😂
    Lovely post Caitlin!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sophie! 💗💗 wishing you all the 5 star reads as well!
      I think that Strange the Dreamer is the perfect Ravenclaw read, hehe! And I get the feeling of wanting to read a book so bad but somehow not having read it yet 😭 Also, I get you bc hardbacks are unbelievably expensive 🥺 hope you can get a copy and that you love it though!
      Yesss!! Alice Oseman is such a cool person, & I’d love to meet them someday!
      Omg, same. I always put off reading sequels until I forget everything that happened in the previous book/s. And I’m really bad at rereading too 🥺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank You!!
        Yay I do love Ravenclaw books 😂
        I know it is a struggle. Hardbacks are expensive but it is probably the top of my books I need to buy list o hopefully soon 🤞🏼 thank you!!
        I know same!! They are awesome (I just noticed I used the pronoun her for Alice before and I’m sorry. But you made me realise so thank you 💛)
        I know I try to do goodreads review for books to help my remember details now 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry that 2019 wasn’t such a great reading year and hope that this year will be filled with 5 stars reads and books you’ll cherish! ❤
    I love your list and I'm so, so happy to see Radio Silence on here, it's one of my favorite books of ALL times and I adore it so much. I love eevrything Alice Oseman writes so much. And The Fever King is such a fantastic read!! 🙂
    Lovely post! ❤ ❤

    Like

    1. thank you, Marie! Same to you :))
      I want to read so more books by Alice Oseman so bad, especially Heartstopper, because I’ve heard such great things about it! I’m so glad that everyone loves Radio Silence so much, because it’s truly an important book with so many messages that will resonate with different people ❤
      I can't wait to read The Electric Heir, even though I'm sure it will destroy me!
      thank you so, so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aww I’ms o sorry to hear that you didn’t have a great reading year, but I hope 2020 knocks it out of the park with a BUNCH of 5-star reads for you!!

    Okay your taste is always A++ and I seriously need to add all of these to my TBR if I haven’t read it yet. I really really need to hurry up and read The Fever King, and I’m also super excited because I finally got a copy of Radio Silence!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sad to hear that you’ve had a pretty meh reading year, but I loved reading about the books that you enjoyed! I mean … VICIOUS!!! It was my saving grace of 2018 so I know how you feel, as I accidentally got obsessed with it that year, Victor Vale and his newfound family have stolen my heart 🥰💕 But have I read Vengeful yet? No 😱

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Caro!! 💗💗 YESS!! It was the only all time fave level book I read in 2019 :(( But it’s still like.. a low all time fave book of that makes sense. Still loved it a lot though & im so glad that victor, Sydney & Mitch saved my year! Haha, I haven’t read Vengeful either 😭 I’m afraid I’m gonna be disappointed!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t read any of those 5 star reads yet!! BUT, I was lucky enough to win a book giveaway recently, and I chose to receive Vicious, so I will finally be reading that one very soon! I’m sure I’ll love it and then we can fangirl over it together! 😉 I hope your 2020 is filled with DOZENS of 5 star reads! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I hope you find more five star reads this year (: I have all five of your favourites on my TBR and really hope to get to a few of them soon. I definitely need to hurry up and read the Strange The Dreamer duology and finally pick up some of Alice Osemans books.

    Like

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