*Cue shock that 2019 is ending*
We all know what happens at the end of the year- the “Best of” lists start coming in. Well, I may be a little late to the party, but of course I had to make one! There were a lot of amazing books that came out this year, and I really want to talk about all of them. And by all of them, I mean 19 of them because I only have so much time on my hands.
Before we get started, I just want to let you know that this list won’t be including debut novels that were released this year. I actually have a whole separate list featuring my favorite debuts, so make sure you check that out!
[ Related: 19 Best Debut Novels of 2019 (Recommendation Nation) ]
Standalones & New Series
11. Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo
(I’m actually still reading this, but based on how much I’ve read so far, I know this book deserves a spot on the list)
Into The Crooked Place is Alexandra Christo’s sophomore novel, following her 2018 release To Kill A Kingdom, which was one of my favorite releases of that year. However, this book is very different from its predecessor, but definitely not in a bad way. It’s got major Six of Crows vibes, with four different protagonists who are entrenched in fantasy criminal underground, but it has plenty of factors that make it stand out.
10. Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Release Date: 1/15/2019
Genre: YA Retelling (Fantasy | East of the Sun, West of the Moon)
Page Count: 389
Purchase: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
[ Click Here For My Full Review! ]
I have to admit, I didn’t know much about “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”, the story that Echo North is a retelling of, but this book got me obsessed with it. If you, like me, don’t know much about it, the best way I can describe it is that it’s like “Beauty and the Beast” mixed with the story of Cupid/Eros and Psyche, but with an epic quest. Echo North is a unique take on this fairy tale with gorgeous writing and a fascinating setting.
Looking for some new books to read? Keep reading for all of my recommendations!
10. The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Jenn Bennett owns the contemporary game, so naturally I was excited when I heard she was delving into historical fantasy. This book was so worth the excitement. The Lady Rogue is a fast-paced, fun adventure following the quest to find Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring.
9. Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury
I’m trash for Anastasia. Seriously. And this book reminded me why I love this story so much. Last of Her Name is by the author of The Forbidden Wish (which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a refreshing Aladdin retelling), and follows Stacia, who’s village is attacked by the Direktor Eminent after he claims they are hiding the lost Princess Anya. When her best friend is captured, she is determined to save her, even if it means risking herself.
8. Sherwood by Meagan Spooner
Sherwood is not the Robin Hood tale you’d expect. After Robin dies in war, Maid Marion is left alone, with the Guy of Gisborne looking to take Robin’s place as the Lord of Locksely, and as Marion’s fiance. But Marion has other plans, taking Robin’s cloak and becoming a beacon of hope.
7. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
The Unhoneymooners is one of Christina Lauren’s latest releases, following two characters who, after an incident at a wedding buffet leaves everyone but the two of them sick, are offered the opportunity to take the free honeymoon trip to Maui. The catch? They can’t stand each other, and now they have to pretend to be newlyweds while on that trip. I think you can guess what happens next. I cannot express enough how much fun I had while reading this book!!
6. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Spin the Dawn is what you get if you mix Aladdin, Mulan, and Project Runway. Yeah, sounds amazing, right? It follows the daughter of a tailor who disguises herself and takes her father’s place in the competition to become the imperial tailor. Throw in some sabotage, a court magician who seems to see through all of her lies, and an impossible task she’ll need to complete, and you have a fantastic read!
5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: 1/29/2019
Series: Cursebreakers #1
Genre: YA Retelling (Urban Fantasy | Beauty and the Beast)
Page Count: 484
Purchase: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
[ Click Here For My Full Review! ]
This book is one of the most refreshing “Beauty and the Beast” retellings I’ve read in a long, long time. Prince Rhen lives in the land of Emberfall, and is cursed to relive this one season again and again, with each one ending with him turning into a beast hell-bent on destruction. However, he could escape this curse, if only he can get a girl to fall in love with him. Harper lives in Washington D.C., and when she tries to stop a kidnapping, she finds herself transported to magical world with a cursed prince and his surly guard. Without a way home for the forseeable future, Harper decides to help the Prince’s kingdom while she’s trapped there.
4. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Roshani Chokshi never fails to write gorgeous and captivating novels. This one is no exception. The Gilded Wolves is what you would get if you mixed Six of Crows and National Treasure. This book has an amazing cast of characters who must team together to complete an impossible heist, set in Paris 1889 in a world full of magic and myth.
3. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Honestly, Margaret Rogerson has mastered the art of the fantasy standalone. If you read her first book, An Enchantment of Ravens, and haven’t picked up Sorcery of Thorns, what are you doing?! Sorcery of Thorns follows a girl raised in a library of magical grimoires, but when one of the most dangerous grimoires is released, she is blamed. With the help of a sorcerer and his demonic servant, she must prove herself innocent and find the person who is actually sabotaging the libraries before it’s too late.
2. The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
Renée Ahdieh should just take all my money already. She somehow always seems to write the books I didn’t know I needed. The Beautiful is a paranormal romance taking place in New Orleans in 1872. When Celine arrives in New Orleans after leaving Paris, she finds herself in the middle of a murder case where a serial killer has been killing people, leaving their bodies drained of blood. To make matters worse, she finds herself drawn to a handsome yet mysterious man who may know more about these deaths than he is letting on.
1. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Speaking of authors I love more than life. Leigh Bardugo’s latest book starts a new duology set in the same world as the Six of Crows Duology and The Grisha Trilogy. King of Scars follows some familiar faces if you’ve read Bardugo’s previous series. The new king of Ravka is desperate to control the monster inside of him, and when he hears of a way to stop it, he will risk anything. This book killed me and I can’t wait for the sequel!!!
Bonus! Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller
So, funny story, I did not realize this book came out this year. I was lucky enough to recieve an ARC of Warrior of the Wild back in 2018, so when I was compiling this list, I just lumped it in with 2018 releases since that was when I read it. Luckily, I remembered it actually came out this past February, but at that point I had already wrote the rest of this post and I don’t want to delete any of it, so I’m including it as a bonus instead!
Warrior of the Wild is the third novel by Tricia Levenseller, who previously wrote the Daughter of the Pirate King duology. This book is such a fun, quick fantasy novel, following a girl who is thrown out of her village and into the dangerous wild. However, her village will accept her back if she completes the task they’ve given her: kill the god that has been plaguing the villages for centuries. But how does someone kill a god?
[ Related: 18 Best 2018 Book Releases ]
I won’t be going into too much detail on the synopses of these books, since I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t read the first books in these series!
7. Defy The Fates by Claudia Gray
The Constellation series has just been so fun for me these past few years, and I can’t believe it’s actually over. Defy the Fates is the final book in this epic sci-fi saga following a war between planets.
6. Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi
Defy Me is book 5 in the Shatter Me series, and continues to develop these amazing characters and this world that we all thought we understood, but boy were we wrong. This book is a very character-focused installment that has me so hyped for the finale!
5. The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
The Iskari series is extremely underrated and deserves way more hype. The Sky Weaver is the final book in the trilogy, but, as with the first two books, can be read as a standalone! This book deals with a thief who will do anything to be free, and a general desperate to protect her family. Also, did I mention it’s f/f?? Because when I found that out I almost died of happiness!!
4. Soul of Stars by Ashley Poston
Speaking of gay- the last book in the Heart of Iron duology finally arrived! The ending of Heart of Iron absolutely destroyed me, and the wait for Soul of Stars was so painful. That said, this book lived up to all of my excitement!! Please, if you’re looking for a good sci-fi, you have to pick up this series!
3. Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
I actually marathoned this duology and boy was that the smart choice. The ending of Dance of Thieves left me dying to know what happens next, and luckily I didn’t have to wait at all. This series is the perfect romance-focused, angsty, enemies-to-lovers fantasy that I didn’t know I needed in my life.
2. Capturing The Devil by Kerri Maniscalco
I can’t believe this series is actually over. Capturing the Devil is the final Stalking Jack the Ripper novel, this time focusing on the White City Devil, a prolific serial killer that terrorized Chicago in the 1890s.
1. The Wicked King & The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Release Date: 1/8/2019 and 11/19/2019
Series: The Folk of The Air #2 and #3
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy (Fae)
Page Count: 336 (TWK), 300 (TQON)
Purchase The Wicked King: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Purchase The Queen of Nothing: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
[ Click Here For My Full Review of The Wicked King! ]
[ Click Here For My Full Review of The Queen of Nothing! ]
Speaking of series ending- we got the last two books in The Folk of the Air trilogy this year. I feel like this series only just begun and now it’s over… and now saying that makes me extremely sad so lets move on. The Wicked King and The Queen of Nothing are both amazing installments in a series I know will always be one of my favorites. Now I just need to figure out what to do with my life since I no longer have to count down the days to find out what will happen to Jude and Cardan.
Books I Read and Loved:
- My Fake Rake (Union of the Rakes #1) by Eva Leigh
- The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date #3) by Jasmine Guillory
- The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang – [Review]
- The Burning Shadow (Origin #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – [Review]
- Storm & Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – [Review]
- Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett – [Review]
Books I Haven’t Read Yet (But I’ve Anticipated For Far Too Long):
- Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orisha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
Okay so maybe I lied, I didn’t just list 19 Best books, but instead there was 28. Sorry about that, I just have no self control and want to talk about every book.
Now that you’ve seen my list, I want to know: what was your favorite 2019 release?