And the Award Goes To: Reading by Starlight 2019 Book Awards

As of today there are only four days left of the year 2019. In fact, there are only four days left of the entire decade itself. I’m going to give you all a second to process that.

Having allowed it to fully sink in, feel old yet? I do.

Anyway, evident existential crisis aside, the end of the year means it’s time to share our favorite books and I’m shaking things up a little. This year I’ve got new categories – yay! So let’s roll out the red carpet and celebrate the best books of 2019.

Best Book of 2019 – A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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Why I loved it: Oxford’s Bodleian library plays backdrop to a hidden society of witches setting the stage for forbidden romance and danger. A Discovery of Witches basically breaths mythology and alchemical lore. Then there’s the seriously nostalgic Twilight meets Outlander vibe. I still haven’t managed to write a resemblance of a coherent review but I’m obsessed.

Best Standalone of 2019 – House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Why I loved it: House of Salt and Sorrows is a dark retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses blended seamlessly with elements of Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee to create a moody world of brine and terror.  It’s eerie, morbid and deeply atmospheric with a vivid aesthetic. It’s the perfect book to read by candlelight on a wuthering, stormy night

Best Classic of 2019 – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

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Why I loved it: If you want to be a writer, if you want to study English Lolita is a must read. Essentially the jail cell confessions of a pedophile, Lolita is complex, dark, unnervingly beautiful and highly disturbing. It’s a haunting story of a man’s obsessive infatuation with his step-daughter and their on-the-road-esque romp across America.

Most Binge Worthy Series of 2019 – After by Anna Todd

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Why I loved it: After is not a specimen of award winning literature. But, it was that right book for the right time. I was consumed by this series. the complex characters and their toxic love affair. After literally traveled with me everywhere. I read it in the bath, on the train and even in my lunch break. It’s unconventional, it’s problematic but I lived for it.

Favorite Book Couple of 2019 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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Why I loved it: Two words; Edward Rochester. I mean, why does everyone rave about Mr Darcy and Heathcliff??? I practically swooned every time Mr Rochester called Jane “my darling”. And he’s such a drama queen! The man actually disguises himself as a gypsy hag in order to suss out Jane’s feelings. If that isn’t flirting I don’t know what is. Mr Rochester aside, Jane Eyre herself is fiercely independent and feminist. Their’s is a love of equals.

Best Romance of 2019 – The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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Why I loved it: Here’s what you need to know about Lucy Hutton; Lucy is quirky, she’s a workaholic and she hates Joshua Templeman. Absolutely loathes him. And the feelings mutual. The Hating Game basically oozes sexual tension and drips electricity. You could pretty much power the entire world on Josh and Lucy’s banter.  It’s sinfully addictive and seriously romantic.

Best Fantasy Book of 2019 – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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Why I loved it: Sorcery of Thorns was the feminist fantasy standalone I never knew I needed. Gothic, whimsical and lush, Sorcery of Thorns reads like a love letter to book lovers. You have a feminist protagonist, a swoon-worthy love interest and enchanted libraries. Oh yeah – there’s also demon butlers who turn into cats.

Best Science Fiction Book of 2019 – The Martian by Andy Weir

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Why I loved it: You’ve never read a survival book like this. The Martian is a gripping space epic, brimming with edge-of-your-seat suspense that examines the spirit of humanity. The science has been extensively researched, the protagonist is a wisecracking optimist, the narrative is emotional and the sense of connection is inspiring. A must read.

Best Re-Read of 2019 – The Host by Stephenie Meyer

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Why I loved it: Reading Stephenie Meyer is like coming home after a long semester away. Philosophical and probing, The Host takes a multi-faceted look at the fundamentals of humanity in a post-colonization, invasion of the body snatchers Earth. With it’s complex protagonists, The Host will forever be Stephenie’s most ambitious and deeply poignant work.

Worst Book of 2019 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

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Why I hated it: Basically Phantom is better and that’s the tea. I came for gothic architecture, Transylvanian castles, eerie scenes and bloodletting. Instead, Dracula is sluggish, disappointing and dry. I mean, I love the idea but the execution? Not so much. The plot was anticlimactic and tediously slow. The ending was a serious cop out and there was an all-round lack of castles or gore.

As we enter the last stretch of the year I wish you all luck with your TBRs and reading challenges! Let me know below what your favorite books were and as always, happy reading.

Alexandra

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