Wednesday, January 01, 2020

2019: A Year in Review

I enjoyed answering Jamie's (The Perpetual Page Turner)  End of the Year Survey in past years and decided to join in again this year. I did alter some of the questions and subtracted a few to make it my own.


Some Fun Meaningless 2019 Reading Statistics:

Number Of Books Read: 100

Genre Read The Most:
(Some of what I read falls under more than one genre. Here, I count them under the genre I most identified with the book. Also of note, my categorization of each book by sub-genre using broad definitions).

Crime Fiction/Mysteries - 22
  • 8 Middle Grade
  • 6 Cozies (3 paranormal, 2 contemporary, 1 historical)
  • 4 Thrillers
  • 2 Historical
  • 1 Historical/Thriller
  • 1 Romance/Fantasy
Fantasy/Science Fiction - 24
  • 8 Children's (6 picture books, 2 chapter books)
  • 4 Science Fiction
  • 4 Urban Fantasy
  • 2 Postapocalyptic
  • 1 Science Fiction/Fantasy/Romance Cross-Genre
  • 1 Historical
  • 1 Fantasy YA
  • 1 Middle Grade
  • 1 High Fantasy
  • 1 Contemporary/Indigenous Fantasy
Fiction - 31
  • 16 Children’s
  • 10 Middle Grade
  • 4 Historical
  • 1 Contemporary
Romance - 14
  • 7 Contemporary
  • 6 Mystery/Thriller
  • 1 Historical
Nonfiction - 9 
  • 9 Children’s
Of the book I read, 1 was an audio book, 53 were print copies (hardcover or paperback), and 46 were e-books.

16 of the 100 books I read in 2019 were written by men.
78 of the 100 books I read were written by women.
6 of the 100 were written by both male and female writers.

70 of the books I read in 2019 were written in 3rd person point of view.
26 of the books I read were written in 1st person.
4 of the books I read were a mixture of both 1st and 3rd person.

Months I Finished the Most Books: October (20)

Best In Books

1. Favorite Reads in 2019?

I read many wonderful books in 2019, and I wish I could list them all here. The below 5 books were the cream of the crop. This means the books have a combination of good writing, well-developed characters, a memorable setting and/or world-building, an entertaining and thought provoking story, and one that brings out an array of my emotions.

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (reread--this time with my daughter)

2. Best series I started in 2019?

I can be picky about contemporary romance, but this year I seemed to really choose some good ones. Melonie Johnson’s Sometimes in Love series was among my favorites with  Getting Hot With a Scot Smitten by the Brit, and Once Upon a Bad Boy (review pending). This is such a smart, witty and fun series.

I have to give a shout out to the Ivy + Bean books by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall because my daughter adores them. They really are cute and relatable. Any books that get my daughter excited about reading are winners in my mind. (She also is into the Dork Diary books, which I have not had a chance to read.)

I am not sure if it is fair to list a "best series" when I have only read one book in the series so far, but wanted to mention three that I have high hopes for after reading the first book.

My year got off to an excellent start when I read the first book in Anna Lee Huber’s historical mystery series featuring Verity Kent, This Side of Murder. I am hooked!

Julie Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox (#1) is a wonderful start to the YA Fantasy trilogy. The world building is amazing, and I was also very taken with Yumeko and Kage Tatsumi. 

And I have to mention S.K. Dunstall’s Stars Uncharted, which I had such a hard time putting down. It had a Firefly vibe that I found irresistible.

3. Favorite Series Book From a Series I Was Already Involved In Before 2019?

It is a three way tie between The Mortal Word (Invisible Library, #5) by Genevieve Cogman, Sweep of the Blade (Innkeeper’s Chronicles, #4) by Ilona Andrews, and Jennifer Ashley’s Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway, #3). I cannot get enough of any of these series. 

4. Favorite Authors I Discovered in 2019?

I read a number of new-to-me authors whose books I enjoyed, but these in particular stood out this past year for me.

Alix E. Harrow
Jing-Jing Lee
Simone St. James
Jen DeLuca
S.K. Dunstall
Anna Lee Huber
Melonie Johnson
Amanda Bouchet
Allison Brook
Christina Henry
Julie Kagawa
Pam Jenoff
Marie Lu
Chloe Neill
Astrid Lindgren

5. "Old" Favorite Authors Whose Books I Thoroughly Enjoyed in 2019:

Ilona Andrews
Genevieve Cogman
Jennifer Ashley
Yangzee Choo
Judy Blume
Sarah Morgan
RaeAnne Thayne
Jenn McKinlay
Seanan McGuire
Hazel Gaynor

6. Most Memorable Character?

Red from The Girl in Red by Christina Henry is definitely one. Her belief that she will get to her grandmother's house despite everything she has been through and seen takes such strength and fortitude.

The same can be said for Myra in After the Flood by Kassandra Montag. As mother, I can really appreciate her fierceness and protectiveness toward her daughter Pearl under the conditions she is forced to live in. I also really liked Pearl who for so long had had to live in her sister's shadow.

7. Author or Series I Binged On This Year?

I binged on Allison Brook’s Haunted Library series in October reading all three books (so far) in the series nearly back to back. It's a fun series, and I just love Evelyn, the library's ghost.

8. My Favorite Covers of Books I Read in 2019? 

 The Night Tiger by Yangszee Choo

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

9. Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2019 to Finally Read?

Warcross (#1) by Marie Lu. I have had the audiobook on my phone since it first came out. I really enjoyed it, and am not sure why I took so long to get to it. Probably because it was an audiobook.

10. Shortest Book I Read in 2019?

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler wins this prize, coming in at 28 pages. It was a reread—and an excellent one at that.

11. Longest Book I Read In 2019?

I guess after 2018’s huge tomes, I unconsciously shied away from books with many pages in 2019.  The longest book I read this past year was Genevieve Cogman’s The Mortal Word which has 448 pages.

12. Book That Put A Smile On My Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Both The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman and Well Met by Jen DeLuca made me laugh and cry, and walk around with a huge grin after I finished both. I adored these two books. They both still make me smile when I think of them. 

13. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Lady and the Thief by Megan Derr was a delight to read. It is a well-balanced mix of LGBT romance and mystery set in a Victorian time period.

14. Best World Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I am totally smitten with the world building in The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow--not only the worlds on the other side of the doors, but also January's own time and place.  I also was very invested in her parents story, especially that of her mother's. Harrow's writing took me into her characters' world, and I experienced everything right along with her characters.

I was also quite taken with Broken Girls by Simone St. James, a dual time line historical novel. It was atmospheric and the setting was its own character. St. James knew just how to create the right mood for this murder mystery ghost story. I also really liked the way the author weaved the historical threads into her novel.

15. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Vox by Christina Dalcher was a good book, but the way women and girls were treated and how complicit society was in allowing that kind of thing to happen made me furious. My husband heard all about it as I was reading the novel.

16. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee absolutely did that. What a beautiful book and so heartbreaking! I felt so much for Wang Di. That this novel is based in fact makes it all the more soul crushing. Human beings are the cruelest of all animals.

Coming in second for books that hit me hard emotionally is Hazel Gaynor's The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter. It is a heartbreaking book that left me in tears more than once, and yet left me with a sense of peace at the end.

I would love to know what your favorite reads of 2019 were! Please share a link to your favorite's list below if you posted one--or just tell me in the comments. Did we read any of the same books? If so, what did you think?

My Blogging Bookish Life

I published 93 blog posts. February was my most prolific month with 13 posts, and June was my slowest with only 4 posts.

In 2019, I continued to take part in Michelle's My TBR List Meme at Because Reading, enlisting your help in choosing one book each month to read. I really enjoyed having you take an active part in selecting what I would read. It can be difficult to choose on my own with so many choices. You wouldn't believe the amount of time I can waste in deciding. Or maybe you can . . . I am grateful to Michelle for coming up with the idea. I plan to continue to participate in the meme in 2020, and hope you will join me! 

Books Read Because Of You (My TBR List Poll Winners of 2019):

• January: The Mortal Word (Invisible Library, #5) by Genevieve Cogman
• February: Stars Uncharted (#1) by S.K. Dunstall
• March: Broken Girls by Simone St. James
• April: The Master Key by Masako Togawa, translated by Simon Grove
• May: Shadow of the Fox (#1) by Julie Kagawa
• June: Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1) by Seanan McGuire
• July: Vox by Christina Dalcher
• August: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
• September: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow & The Girl in Red by Christina Henry
• October: Death Overdue (Haunted Library, #1) by Allison Brook
• November: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
• December: Did not participate

My Reading Goals for 2019 Were:

1. Read more Classics ~ Do children’s books count? And even then, not many. I really fell down on this one.

2. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading ~ It’s a work in progress.

3. Read more of my older TBR books ~ Yeah, no. Honestly, I think I forget about these goals as soon as I hit publish on the post.

4. Be better about recording in Goodreads the children’s books I read with my daughter ~ I did manage this one.

5. Read more poetry (and feature more on my blog) ~ Still a dream and not a reality. Somehow I did not read one poetry book all year. How is this possible?!

6. Make more time for reading in general ~ I wish time grew on trees . . .

Two thousand nineteen overwhelmed me. And more than once I felt frozen because of it. So much going on in every circle of my life and my anxiety did not help. It was a stressful year at work with so much uncertainty in the air. I had to take on greater responsibilities as a result. Much of the year I was wrapped up in my daughter’s dance/theater life which at times seemed nonstop. Although, the latter was more pleasant because it was something the entire family got into. But that takes a toll too, along with other things I (and my family) had going on this past year, including Girl Scouts and school. Both my reading and blogging took a substantial hit.  I imagine that is why my reading veered more toward lighter fare too--more romance and cozy mysteries.

It is getting harder to find time for blogging, which makes me sad. I enjoy the time I spend with all of you be it reading and answering your comments, visiting other blogs, or writing posts. I have ideas I want to try out, and yet finding the time to sit down and actually get anything done is a challenge. I am sure many of you can relate. We have so many different priorities pulling us in a multitude of directions.

I'm not much for the One Word trend/movement/idea, but took a quiz to find that One Word just for fun because I like taking quizzes. I'm sure the word choices for the quiz are limited, and frankly the questions and answer options were not very relevant to me (they were religious based). The word I got? Rest. How fitting is that? There are so many different facets to the word "rest." Calm. Comfort. Motionlessness. Leisure. Break. Quiet. Peace. Nap. And that is just for starters. If I did take on the One Word challenge, "rest" would be a good word for me to take on, if only as a reminder how important--and necessary rest is.

I would like to think that this New Year will be different. That I will find a way to blog more. I certainly intend to find ways to read more. Now that my daughter is more into the middle grade books, I plan to expand my reading more in that direction. I might actually review some of those books, which I did not do this year at all.

I am keeping it simple in terms of bookish goals this year. I will continue to keep my reading (and blogging) flexible, fitting it in when and however I can.

My 2020 Bookish Goals:

1. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading ~ A continuing work in progress.

2. Read more poetry ~ and feature it on my blog. My dream is to do a monthly poetry feature, but I know that is not likely my reality. Perhaps if I aim for quarterly, I can make it happen. Maybe. It is worth a try, right? Perhaps Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit and her Poetry Reading Challenge will be my inspiration.

3. Keep a reading journal ~ I already keep a spreadsheet of my reading with basic statistical information, including my ratings of books read, and will continue to do that. But this year I want to get back into keeping an actual reading journal as well like I used to, a place where I jot down my thoughts on a book as I read or, at the very least, right after I finish a book. It is rare I get a chance to write a review directly after I finish a book, and this will help jog my memory when I do sit down to write one. I am really not sure why I gave up keeping a journal, but it is time I get back into the habit of keeping one.

Thank you to all of you for your visits and comments this past year. It means so much to me. As my blog turns 14 this coming summer, I cannot be more proud to be a part of this wonderful community of book bloggers. I have enjoyed visiting with you and look forward to seeing what this year will bring us, both in books and in life.

How did your past year shape up? Did you accomplish your reading and blogging goals? Have you set any for the new year? 

My First Book of the Year will be

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Every time I considered which book I should start the year off with, this title popped into my head. I cannot wait to see where it will take me!
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart. [Goodreads Summary]

What book are you starting the year off with?

I hope you all have a very Happy New Year

© 2020, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. The Ten Thousand Doors of January looks amazing, and I saw a short story by the author a while back on or somewhere that made me really want to read more of her stuff, so I hopefully will get to that soon.

    Happy New Year!!

    1. Greg - I hope you get a chance to read The Ten Thousand Doors of January. There's so much to it. It really is amazing. I heard a bit about the author's next book and am just as excited, if not more, about that one. Happy New Year to you as well!

  2. You had a great year of reading, thanks for sharing it, and good luck with your goals for 2020!

  3. Oh, I definitely need to read Ten thousand Doors -- it's got such wonderful reviews! The Haunted Library series sounds like I should be adding it to my cozy mystery TBR too.

    1. Verushka - Do read The Ten Thousand Doors of January if you get the chance! It's such a great read. I hope you also get to read The Hanuted Library series. It's a fun!

  4. Nice recap, Wendy! I, too, am hooked on the Anna Lee Huber series. Your comments on the Melonie Johnson series prompt me to take a closer look at those books.

    Happy new year! Happy new books (and lists)!

    1. Catherine - Thank you! I just love the Huber series. I haven't read her other series, but I hear it's good too. Maybe this year I can read more of her books! I definitely want to! If you do give Melonie Johnson a try, I hope you enjoy her books. Happy New Year!

  5. What a great wrap up post! Quite a few books will be added to my TBR list. I started the Verity Kent series this year too and can't wait to continue. Best of luck with your reading goals for 2020

    1. Nise' - Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed the first Verity Kent book too! I wish you the best in 2020 also!

  6. So much to love about this post Wendy. Glad you had such a nice and diverse reading year. Happy New Year to you and yours. My first book of 2020 will be American Dirt; Jeanine Cummins - very addictive so far.

    1. Diane - Thank you! I was disappointed I didn't read more books for myself initially, but I do love reading with my daughter and treasure that time even more. I hope you enjoy American Dirt! Have a great New Year!

  7. What an awesome year of reading! Here's hoping 2020 is even better. :D

  8. I love seeing everyone stats and really should do a better job of recording my own. I'm impressed by all the e-books you read. I had planned to read more that way this year but didn't accomplish it. I hope 2020 is good to you and your family!

    1. Kathy - It is fun reading everyone's year end posts. Reading e-books is so convenient for me. I tend to do most of my reading that way--at least the books for just me. Happy New Year to you and your family as well!

  9. Wendy, first of all, I loved that picture of you and your 'first book' - even if we didn't get your whole face. I also loved this post - all of it. I know that you are at such a busy, busy time of life. I remember those days and think I can relate a bit because I had one girl who was involved in lots of things - including Girl Scouts. Ah, well. I could say 'enjoy this time', but I know you do. I could say 'it passes quickly', but you know that - even though I know that sometimes you are so immersed in work and life that you almost feel you can't catch your breath. I think the 'rest' thing sounds very good. You know, reading for a bit could be 'rest'. So, wishing you and your sweet family a peaceful, joyful 2020. You're at one season of life. Another will come before you know it. Take care and happy reading...

    1. Kay - My daughter took the photo. She kept asking me why I wanted the book in front of my face. LOL Yes, reading is a kind of rest--it certainly helps me slow down for a bit. I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

  10. I love your very detailed and comprehensive wrap-up post, Wendy. And I've just put Ten Thousand Doors on my TBR list... I hope the coming year is a bit kinder to you in terms of time. Have a happy, healthy 2020, Wendy - and a great reading year!

    1. Sarah - Thank you! I hope you do get a chance to read The Then Thousand Doors of January--and that you love it as much as I did. Have a Happy New Year too.

  11. What a wonderful post to kick off the year! Congratulations on a great reading year and wishing you all the best in 2020! I look forward to sharing the reading year with you!

    1. Iliana - Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful 2020 as well!

  12. Hope you love your First Book... so many bloggers have raved about it. Great photo, too!

    1. JoAnn - Thank you! So far I am really enjoying it. :-)

  13. You had a great reading year. I also loved The Ten Thousand Doors of January. I do understand how hard it can be to find time for reading and blogging with everything else going on in your life. I love when you post but understand when you need a break so take them when needed. I hope you have a wonderful 2020!

    1. Carole's - Thank you! I am so glad you loved The Ten Thousand Doors of January too! Yes, finding a good balance between work, personal and blogging seems to be a forever challenge. I hope you have a great 2020 also!

  14. Enjoyed your recap post of the year. I have not picked my first book yet, thinking of rereading Little Women, or going with Sgt.Reckless.Or something totally different..

    A thought on poetry. I try to read a book of poetry in April which I believe is Poetry Month. It motivates me to pick out one. You might enjoy Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Best Loved Poems edited by Caroline Kennedy. It has a variety of styles, mostly short poems. I found it very easy to read.

    1. Carla - Thank you! Little Women would be a good choice. I have yet to read it. Maybe someday. Did you decide which one to go with? Little Women or Sgt Reckless?

      Thank you for the poetry recommendation! I have quite a few collections sitting on my TBR pile. I just need to pull one out and start reading.

      Happy New Year!

    2. I went with Sgt. Reckless.
      Happy New Year back at ya!

  15. Wow, I'm impressed at how much reading you were still able to get done even with being so busy this year. Your daughter's dance schedule reminds me of my son's travel soccer schedule. Hopefully we'll both be able to find a good balance for all of the things we love in 2020. Happy New Year!

    1. Suzanne - So many children's books is how. LOL I know you know what it's like to be so busy. Here's to a great 2020!

  16. I was just thinking about re-reading some Judy Blume myself, the other day. My youngest isn't quite old enough for those books yet, but she has been going through the Ramona Quimby series with me!

    1. Jeane - We started Superfudge just before the end of the year and are working our way through that. She's still a bit young to read them on her own yet, but I hope she will be interested in continuing with Blume's books as she gets older. The Ramona Quimby books are fun too!

  17. That's a great post, Wendy! I love seeing everyone's reading stats. I need to check out The Ten Thousand Doors of January since I keep seeing this book everywhere. I hope you've a wonderful year ahead, Wendy!

    1. Melody - Thank you! It's always fun to look back on the year's stats and see how it compares to previous years. I hope you enjoy The Ten Thousand Doors of January if you decide to give it a try. Have a Happy New Year!

  18. Lovely summary of your reading and blogging year! Your goal #4 of last year "Be better about recording in Goodreads the children’s books I read with my daughter" is something I am shooting for, this year. I have not been successful so far, so maybe this is the year? Good luck with your reading goals this year!

    1. Athira - Thank you! It took me awhile to get in the habit of logging the books I read with my daughter. It's harder when they are really young because you do so much re-reading. At least I did. We'd read the same picture books over and over. LOL I hope you have a great year, Athira. It's so good to see you blogging again!

  19. What a lovely wrap up. I hope you have an enjoying a good 2020 and that you have fun reading. Check out my wrap up here and my yearly wrap up

  20. Love this detailed post(s)! So much bookish info. I hope in the coming year I can do a year wrap-up like you, but for now I'm settling for just my favorite 20 or so titles from 2019. My first book is White Houses by Amy Bloom because I really respect Eleanor Roosevelt as a woman before her time. Your first book sounds very interesting!

    1. Cleo - Thank you! It's probably overkill, but I enjoyed putting this post together. I hope you enjoy White Houses. It sounds like something I would enjoy as well. I feel the same way about Eleanor Roosevelt. Have a Happy New Year!

  21. What a reading year you had in 2019! So many great reads. I loved The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter though the beginning broke me. Sarah's story was so heartbreaking but I was glad I persevered. Enjoy your first book!

    1. Katherine - It was a good reading year overall. I kind of felt bad I didn't read more books for myself, but I did read quite a bit when you count Mouse's books in there too.

      Sarah's story broke my heart too-I am still not over it. I can't even imagine how she must have felt. How did she go on?

      Have a Happy New Year!

  22. Sounds like a wonderful year of reading but I hope 2020 is even better (:

    1. Eustacia - Thank you! I hope you have a great New Year as well.

  23. You had a great reading year Wendy! I am always trying to catch up on my NetGalley reviews also. The blog is 14 this summer! wow. Time flies.
    Enjoy reading The Song of Achilles, my first book of the year is Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell.

    1. Naida - Thank you! I think I'll always be playing catch up the way things are going. LOL It is hard to believe my blog will be 14 in just a few more months. It's crazy to think we've been around so long. I hope you enjoy Then She Was Gone. I've heard such great things about Lisa Jewell.

  24. Such a fantastic year in books! I love that you have a Judy Blume on your best books list! She continues to be one of my favourites, for sure. Happy New Year! :)

    1. Lori - Thank you! My daughter is really enjoying her books too, which makes me happy. Happy New Year to you as well!

  25. You do such a great job of reading across genres!

    1. Lisa - I do like to mix up my reading to avoid getting tired of any one type of book. I like a little bit of a lot. LOL

  26. I love that you reread Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing along with your daughter! So fun. I get an email from Poem-a-Day with a poem each day (guess that's pretty obvious, right?). I'm definitely trying to read more poetry!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Nicole - We are reading Superfudge right now. :-) I haven't been very good about reading a poem a day, but I have been saving them to read when I have a moment to focus on them. We'll see how it goes.

  27. I also liked How We Disappeared and found it intense. Looks like a great year of reading in 2019, I hope 2020 is just as good.

    1. Helen - I am glad you liked How We Disappeared too! It really was good, wasn't it? And so sad. I hope you have a great 2020 also!

  28. You can tell by how long it's taken me to get here that finding tim for blogging is difficult here too. We do our best and know our bookish friends get it :) I recently saw Sarah Addison Allen (one of my faves) recommended January and that cover! So it's on my list :)

    1. Stacy - Ten Thousand Doors of January is amazing. I hope you enjoy if it you read it.

  29. Excellent year of books! I love that you read every age group and vary your genres too. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is now high on my list--you aren't alone in loving this book and I don't want to miss out. I also enjoyed Warcross, and have the sequel here, just haven't read it yet.

    1. Danielle - It was a good year. I hope you enjoy The Ten Thousand Doors of January when you read it!


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