Year in Review: 2019 Wrap Up

Hello friends!  It’s good to be back after a small hiatus.  Honestly I didn’t mean to disappear from the blogosphere but between the chaos of Christmas with a small child in the house and family visiting from out of state, I simply haven’t had time for blogging or even reading.

But they’re back home now and I’m excited to get back to some semblance of normalcy, even if that means vacation is pretty much over.  So before we get much into 2020 I figured I’d start with some stats for 2019!

Books Read: 122

Novels: 78

Novellas: 10

Graphic Novels: 8

Short Fiction: 20

DNF: 6

Pages Read: 36,000 – ish.  I wasn’t counting my short fiction reads for quite awhile.  GoodReads is factoring in all my DNFs.  This is my best guess.  *shrugs*

Genres Read: (Not including graphic novels and short stories, of which they were mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy.)

Science Fiction: 35 (37%)

Fantasy: 34 (36%)

Thriller: 8 (9%)

Horror: 7 (8%)

Historical Fiction: 6 (6%)

Classics: 2 (2%)

Western: 1 (1%)

Mystery: 1 (1%)

Authors Read: (An extra author has been factored in since one book was cowritten.)

Women: 51 (42%)

Men: 68 (55%)

Queer / Non-Binary: 4  (3%)

Top Reads: I gave 7 books a 4.5 star rating and up in 2019.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky – I went for the Vikings I stayed for the love story.  I know it wasn’t for everyone, but it still stands out as one of my top five for the year.

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley – A contemporary retelling of Beowulf with a despicable female lead.  Pretty much my favorite kind of book.

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – A crazy military science fantasy with lots of terms I don’t understand and a sociopathic ghost for a main character.  Don’t overthink it.  Just go with it.

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade – I know not all my blogging buddies loved this as much as I did- but the humor just hit all the right notes for me and I loved feeling like I don’t know how it’s all going to end.

Inland by Tea Obreht – A Western that subverts all tropes and expectations.  I blame the camel.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I loved this- part coming of age, part romance, a little adventure, and all so very relevant.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia – Tuesday was that rare character that I could see a little of myself in.  I loved her friends and the Boston setting and treasure hunt aspect of the book too.

As an added bonus I just realized that all my favorite reads this year were written by women!  Which will be great motivation for me to read more of them next year.

Biggest Disappointments: These aren’t necessarily the books I rated the lowest this year, but books I had high hopes for and just didn’t live up to my too high expectations.

The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald – It’s only because I love McDonald and his Luna series so much that I was so disappointed with this.  It’s hard to say how I would have felt about it without having those expectations in the first place.

The Blade Itself and A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – There are a lot of “Fantasy Greats” I have yet to read, Sanderson, Rothfuss (well, lets just say I’ve never finished a Rothfuss book), Pratchett, Hobb… the list goes on.  Of all those, I honestly expected to love Abercrombie the most.  His name has become synonymous with the term grimdark.  I was expecting Mark Lawrence meets Vikings and instead I got… something else.  #SorryNotSorry #ItsNotMeItsYou

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer – Much like McDonald above, I expect a lot out of VanderMeer.  Unfortunately I wasn’t aware he decided to take it in a whole new direction with Dead Astronauts, and it just didn’t work for me.

The Stand by Stephen King – It’s a sad year when even my favorite author can’t cheer me up.  King, despite being my favorite, has always been hit or miss.  It’s bound to happen when an author publishes 2+ books a year.  I wanted to love this like I loved Under the Dome, but ultimately the villain was kind of silly and the horror was a little lacking.

Most Read Authors:

Brian K. Vaughan – I read 6 books from the Saga series.  I’m not sure Vaughan really counts since they’re graphic novels and relatively easy to read, but I also didn’t want to leave him out because I love his stuff!

Ian McDonald – I read his two new novellas, The Menace from Farside and Time Was, as well as the final book in the Luna series, Moon Rising.

Stephen King – Always makes it onto my most read list, just because he has so much backlog.  I read The Institute, Pet Sematary, and The Stand.

For the rest of these authors I read two books each.

Most Popular Post:

The Need by Helen Phillips

The Need by Helen Phillips – As much as I’d like to pretend it’s my super awesome writing skills people are reading in this post, mostly they are just here to ask about the ending of this book.  It’s cool.  I even updated my review with a spoilery interpretation of the ending in response.  Someone even kindly thanked me for it even though my interpretation sucks and doesn’t explain anything at all.

My Personal Favorite Post:

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday: My First Ten Reviews – In which I re-reviewed the first ten books I reviewed in gifs.

Ugh.  I think that’s it.  I’m tired of stats.  The best thing about 2019 was all the wonderful new bookish friends I’ve made.  The blog turned one back in August and I totally forgot to celebrate.  Oh well.  I wouldn’t be here at all if I hadn’t met all of you and my year was better for it.  I’m looking forward to all our bookish adventures together in 2020!

How was your 2019?

30 thoughts on “Year in Review: 2019 Wrap Up

  1. Welcome back, Sarah! I may start recording all my stats now so I can have a wrap up at the end of the year. But not sure I can keep up the momentum of recording it all. Looks like you had a pretty awesome year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks- I’m really excited to be back! Tracking stats is not too bad if you do it once every couple weeks or even once a month. This is something I’ve always done as motivation to make sure I’m reading more diversely, and it helps!

      Like

  2. Hullo! I’m new here; I found your blog through The Captain and liked the looks of the books you review. It is interesting to see that the Ten Thousand Doors book is one of your top rated. I checked it out from the library and then scared myself off right away because people either loved it or said it was a long, dragging novel, and I didn’t want to get caught in the middle of a lengthy book that I had to internally fight about (to finish reading or not!).

    Anyway, pleased to meet you! I blog over at grabthelapels.com and have been reading more and more fantasy and science fiction lately. This year, my friend and I are reading and reviewing 10 Mercedes Lackey novels. If you’re interested, feel free to read along with us! My post about the dates will be on my blog on Thursday.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi! Nice to “meet” you! I appreciate the introduction.

      I haven’t had a chance to come over and check everything out but I’ve followed you and hope to get over there later today.

      For Ten Thousand Doors- definitely give it a try! I don’t think it was long at all (300/400 pages? Which to me is average). I think where some of the disappointment from others was coming is that it is a light Portal fantasy. We don’t really get to see all those ten Thousand Doors. It’s more a coming of age novel. If you are okay with that (as I was) it’s definitely worth reading!

      I don’t know if I’ll have time for the Mercedes Lackey books but I’ll see if I can work them into my schedule, and regardless I’d love to follow your experiences with them. Looking forward to an awesome 2020!

      Like

      • Ahhh, okay. It almost sounds like readers wanted more in-depth fantasy from ten thousand and got something more akin to….maybe YA? Though I know not all coming-of-age fiction is YA.

        The cool think about Lackey’s Valdemar books is they come in trilogies, so even if folks don’t read all of them, they can read some. We’re starting with the oldest in the Valdemar chronology, The Mage Wars. I’m stoked.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! Ten Thousand Doors felt very YA to me without having a lot of the YA tropes that eventually put me off YA in the first place.

        And that is really cool! Sounds like a good pick for a readalong. I’ll try to join in At some point.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you liked Ninefox Gambit! (I was on hiatus when you read it, so I had missed it)
    …I don’t think I’ve heard much about Inland, but now I really want to know what’s up with the camel.
    Also I keep seeing people say that they were disappointed by Dead Astronauts, so I’m probably just going to avoid it at this point.
    I hope you’ll have a good reading year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I LOVED Ninefox. It was just so perfect I think for the mood I was in. I read it after Dead Astronauts so the whole science magic mashup just worked. Dead Astronauts was unfortunately a disappointment. You aren’t missing anything by skipping it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Expectations – especially the ones that turn into disappointments – can lead us astray, sometimes, so it stands to reason (with hindsight, as always…) that some books don’t fare as well as we hoped. Still, what’s important is that last year was a good one, book wise: and here’s to an even better 2020! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah- expectations have lead me astray so many times. It’s almost better when I have low expectations since the book can’t do anything but get better or be exactly as I expected. With high expectations disappointment can be pretty common.

      I hope we both have a great 2020.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic wrap up. Wow, you read a good amount of science fiction. I really need to branch out more into sci-fi. I have a lot of classics on my shelf, maybe I’ll get to some this year. The Stand is such a massive book, you should have counted that one as two books. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • If we averaged it out it probably counts as 3! Lol. I think science fiction encompasses more than people realize. There are so many sub genres- it doesn’t have to just be space opera! I’ll have to see if I can come up with any good recommendations for you. Do you ever read Michael Crichton? He’s a good example of Science Fiction that doesn’t feel like science fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have read Crichton, but not for a very long time, probably just after high school, I liked his Jurassic Park books. I do enjoy Space Opera! I think that’s the most of what I read for SciFi. That and dystopias and post-apocalyptic books lol. I also read The Martian Chronicles in high school and loved that. And Dune! I’m actually going to be rereading that one soon.
        What other Crichton books would you recommend?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve also read State of Fear – which I actually enjoyed, not quite as much as the Jurassic Park ones, but I recommend with a grain of salt since Crichton has some very controversial views on climate change. I honestly think that book is more about how the media manipulated the public than climate change but consider youself warned. It is a great read I just hesitate to recommend it because I know some readers are much more passionate about the topic.

        I also read Airframe not too long ago and enjoyed that one quite a bit. I’d definitely still qualify it as science fiction but I think it’s more mystery than thriller.

        I haven’t read Sphere or Congo yet but I think if you liked the movies at all they are probably worth checking out! I’m hoping to get to them this year myself. I’ll have to see if I can come up with any other non-Crichton recs for you.

        Are there any space operas you recommend? Because I recent realized I was actually lacking in that subgenre.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, that sounds interesting. I think I do have one or two of his books in my TBR, maybe Timeline or whatever it’s called, the time traveling one? I also enjoy time travel stuff even though it’s always so tough to avoid paradox and things like that making your brain hurt lol.

        I think for space opera it depends what you like? My friend Krista wrote a kind of grim space opera called the Collaborator series where aliens came to earth and basically stole a bunch of humans and some humans are on the aliens side and some are obviously very much not. It’s grim in that the main character is dealing with a lot of mental health issues but they are quick reads.

        Recently I’ve been enjoying Jesse Mihalik’s space operas, although I like her novella serial slightly better than her novels because I think the characters are better and have more development. Her’s are very much romance based space operas if you’re looking for that.

        I read one book (Shards of Honor) of Lois McMaster Bujold’s epic space opera. It was okay but a tad dated. I think later books in the series (chronologically–she writes out of order so the publication dates and the timeline are two different things) are much better but haven’t gotten to them yet–one blogger I follow has been reviewing them all–if you’re interested I can find a link.

        I also like planetary romance like Dune and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern (well, I like Anne’s stuff but wow there is some eyebrow raising stuff in some of her books and they didn’t all age well). She also has a kind of space opera in her Talent (or Tower and Hive) series where people use brain powers (such as telekinesis and teleportation) to make long range space travel possible. Again, CW–they are a bit dated and there is definitely some eyebrow raising stuff in regards to some of the relationships between characters.

        My current favorite space opera is the Red Rising series. The first book is not really much of a space opera but consequent books have been and they’re pretty much everything I’d want Star Wars to be if it was willing to go very dark and very violent, no punches are pulled with those books.

        There are a lot more authors I want to check out, some classics like Leigh Brackett, who I just haven’t gotten to yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahh… Red Rising! How could I forget?! I loved the first book and still need to read the next two despite owning them. But these all sound like great recommendations, so thanks for taking the time. I’m going to go through and add them (and I think I follow the same blogger – Space & Sorcery – that recently reviewed them all so don’t worry about the link!)

        Liked by 1 person

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