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As we’re about to ring in a new year, I want to take a look back at the best books of 2019!
How was your reading year in 2019? I will say I learned a lot this year about my reading preferences. Thanks to all the generous publishers and publicists, I’m way more open to different genres than in the past. I read more epic style novels, thrillers, nonfiction and even some romances this year. Give me a well-crafted story and defined character arcs and I’ll enjoy it, regardless of genre.
And this leads me to my list of the best books of 2019 (aka my favorite books of the year). There’s no way I could limit this list to just one novel—where’s the fun in that?? BTW, I arranged this list in the order that I read the novels. Let’s get right to it!
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Well, I started off my 2019 reading list on the highest note possible with Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Daisy Jones is quite ambitious—the story is told in an interview format. That right there had the potential to alienate a large section of the reading population. But because Taylor is such a talented writer, telling this story in that style became so impactful and engaging. Her stories have a way of hitting you right in the emotional feels and never letting go. I loved this novel so much and so did you all—it’s also one of the most read book club questions of the year.
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin
I love family saga stories—they are typically so well-crafted. I had high expectations for The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin and it definitely delivered. Once this book gets rolling, it’s an incredible journey and very unique and interesting. I remember being surprised by many aspects of this one and it also delivers an emotional punch. A smart and engaging read that is very much worth your time. Check out my book club questions here.
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson is such a good spy novel, however, the key is that it’s so much more than that. It shines a light on what it’s like to be a black woman in America working in a predominately male and white field. This story tackles race, gender, politics and history. There’s also a romance. It’s so original and very well done. I’m so glad to have seen many book clubs use my discussion questions for it!
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
By far the most original, imaginative and magical story I read this year was The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo. There is no way you’ve ever read a book like this one before. It’s full of age-old superstition, modern idealism, sibling rivalry and forbidden love. I’m not typically the biggest fan of fantasy type stories and I wasn’t sure where this one would fall. But from the first page on, I was hooked. Check out my book club questions here.
The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey
One of my favorite historical fiction reads ever is The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey. It’s so good in every since of the word. This one is inspired by the real-life Red Cross Clubmobile girls of WWII—something I knew nothing about going into this read and I really enjoyed learning all about it. It was also refreshing to read about an incredible bond of the trio of women. The best books are when women lift each other up. Check out my book club questions here.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Say hi to the book that made me realize I do in fact like thrillers: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. It also helps that this is one of the best in the genre in years. It’s so well-crafted, dark and surprising. I could not put this one down and read it in one sitting and was still shocked by the ending. A must read!! And book clubs LOVED this one—the book club questions are by far one of the most popular ones on this site.
The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz
Another creative one in the thriller/suspense genre is The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz. It’s a mystery, an examination of memories as well as a look at the confusing time of 2009. Something that made this one stand apart from others is that all the characters felt like real people—I’m sure you’ll recognize elements of people you know in this one. And Andrea completely nailed the era of 2009. It’s so original and intriguing. Another popular one for book clubs.
The Editor by Steven Rowley
If you haven’t read The Editor by Steven Rowley, I’m not sure we can be friends. Obv, I’m kidding but seriously go read this one right now!! I adore this book so much. Yes, there’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, which is amazing she’s featured but I most loved reading about a son reconnecting with his mother. I honestly feel like after you read this story you’ll be like the Grinch where his heart grows big once he discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Go read this and then discuss it with your book club.
Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova
Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova is such a well done and original psychological suspense tale. This is a satisfying and intelligent debut novel that will stick with you after you finish it. While the word heartfelt is not often associated with a thriller, this one is that rare book that is suspenseful but also quite emotional at the same time. And there’s so much to discuss with it so another great one for your book club.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. This nonfiction debut gives a voice to three very different women, focusing on the complexity and inequality of female desire. The writing is absolutely engaging, compelling and unflinchingly raw and honest. I’ve seen some people love it and others not so much, which means this one is another very popular one with book clubs.
Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
I know I would love Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb—it’s everything I want in historical fiction and more. I really enjoy when authors take a real-life figure and bring them back to the life on the pages. But the twist is that they’re a supporting character, which I think just adds something special to these kinds of stories. If you enjoy old Hollywood and stories set in stunning locations, you’ll love this one.
The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr
The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr is one of my favorite contemporary women’s fiction novels I’ve read in years. This is one of those novels that has received so much love on #bookstagram and I definitely see why. It’s full of heartbreak, healing and hope. And with a setting primarily in France, you can’t go wrong. There’s also lots of things to discuss for book clubs.
Other Books I Loved
While I focused this list on books published in 2019—I have to include two other books that published years earlier but I read this year and loved: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Both feature hugely popular book club questions too, which you can find here: A Gentleman in Moscow and All the Light We Cannot See.
Whew, as you can see I loved so many books in 2019! What was your favorite book you read in 2019? And if you’re wondering what to reading 2020, check out my must-read book club picks for 2020. Happy New Year!