My Favorite Reads of 2019

(Last Updated On: January 17, 2020)

My Favorite Reads of 2018

The community decided on the best books of 2019, but now it’s my turn! I read a total of 91 books in 2019, which is honestly amazing considering how much of the year I spent whining about being in a book slump. You can read more stats about my year in reading in the 2019 Adventure Log.


Top Five 2019 Releases

I was blessed to read so many amazing books in 2019, but when I set down to come up with a list these were the books that my mind and heart instantly gravitated towards.

๐Ÿฉฐ House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craigย is a beautiful and magical read. I was swept away by this captivating retelling ofย Twelve Dancing Princessesย and it’s Gothic vibes. | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full review

โšก The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee is what comes to mind whenever I think about my favorite book of 2019. It is so unique, so tightly and beautifully written that I think about the book all the time. I actually own two copies of this one (digital and physical) and can’t wait for the next book! | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full review

๐ŸŒฉ The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1) by Kalyn Josephson made me feel seen with it’s depression representation. And the story? It’s beautiful, unique, and richly built. It features good sibling relationships, intricate world-building, female friendships, too. | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full review

โšœ๏ธ The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh was my white whale of 2019. My expectations were astronomical when I finally got to read it, and I was swept away! The city of New Orleans is almost a character itself with the attention to atmosphere that was placed. I loved the characters and the romance? Yes. | ๐Ÿ“– Read my full review

๐Ÿน House of Rage and Sorrow (Celestial Trilogy #2) by Sangu Mandanna is a stellar follow-up to the amazing A Spark of White Fire. I didn’t think my heart could be broken any more after the first book, but this one packs a punch and made me feel so many things. Also, Titania is the best.
๐Ÿ“– Read my full review

Honorable mentions: The Merciful Crow, Rules for Vanishing, Gravemaidens


My Monthly Favorites

Thanks to my book blogging / reading spreadsheet, I kept track of my monthly favorites so I could list all of the monthly faves and provide links to the full reviews!

2019 Monthly Faves

JANUARY: Sadie by Courtney Summers was the first book that I read in 2019 and wow, what a way to start. This book is beautiful, powerful, and so sad. This book is definitely worth all of the hype it received and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

FEBRUARY: The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee โšก

MARCH: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He is such a beautiful fantasy debut that is fast-paced, action-packed, with characters that I still adore several months later. There were so many twists, I didn’t know who to trust because the narrative builds such tension, unease, and high stakes.

APRIL: Storm of Locusts (Sixth World #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse brings witty banter and found family feels to this urban fantasy series. I love the way the world is expanded in this book, a rare instance of the sequel being better than the first one!

MAY: Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan was an incredible mystery/thriller read! Iโ€™m hardly ever surprised and usually have the killer pegged early on, but this one kept me guessing until the very end!

JUNE: The Phantom Forest by Liz Kerin is instantly gripping with poetic prose that flows easily off the page and sets a truly haunting mood for the reader. I was hopelessly entranced and am hungry for more of this story!
& Roar (Stormheart #1)
by Cora Carmack
is such a cool story with a fantastic magic system and world. I love the characters, I love the story, I love the romance. It was such a great reading experience for me.

JULY: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson ๐ŸŒฉ

AUGUST: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig ๐Ÿฉฐ

SEPTEMBER: A House of Rage and Sorrow (Celestial Trilogy #2) by Sangu Mandanna ๐Ÿนย 
& Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
is another top read of mine for 2019, barely missed the top list. Told in a faux-documentary style of Blair Witch Fame with mixed media format, it’s spooky and landed the author on my autobuy list for life.

OCTOBER: Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens #1) by Kelly Coon is aย beautiful story about love and sacrifice. I laughed, I cried. Sometimes at the same time. This was the best book to buddy read because it features such an iconic ride or die friendship, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this with Haley & Ruby.
& The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh โšœ๏ธ

NOVEMBER: Crier’s War by Nina Varela was such a surprise. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing this one yet, but I loved it and it kind of put me into a book hangover.ย 
& The Deep
by Rivers Solomon
is a powerful story about reclaiming traumatic past in order to move forward. Itโ€™s a story of memory and history, the individual versus the group, of identity, of pain and of hope. This is such a beautifully crafted and powerful story

DECEMBER: My Lady Jane (Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows is hilarious. Sometimes what you need to banish a book hangover (caused by Crier’s War) is historical fantasy where Lady Jane Grey is married to a man who spends his days as a horse.
& Embrace Your Weird by Felicia Day is full of character, quirky, and also helpful. I feel like some books just kind of find me when I need them, and this is one of them. Also, I love Felicia Day.


Well there you have it, my favorite reads of 2019!

What were some of your favorite reads of the year? Do you agree with my list? What did I miss out on in 2019? Let me know in the comments below!

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Evelyn

    January 16, 2020 at 11:46 PM

    Ooh I loved House of salt and sorrow and the fever king!
    Great list!


    1. Rach @ Anxious Nachos

      January 17, 2020 at 12:14 AM

      This is an amazing list, so many of these are my 2019 favourites as well. Descendant of the Crane is so spectacular, The Fever King of course, Rules for Vanishing, & The Storm Crow which was one of my biggest surprises of the year! I randomly picked it up the library not knowing much and loved it

      1. Kal

        February 16, 2020 at 3:03 PM

        Thanks so much for commenting and I am so glad we seem to have so many faves in common! Rules for Vanishing might have been one of my biggest surprises as well.

    2. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 3:02 PM

      Thank you, and I am glad you also enjoyed those books!!!

  2. Nicoline

    January 17, 2020 at 12:34 AM

    I really need to get me a copy of Sadie! Even though itโ€™ll probably break my heart it sounds something I would enjoy โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ–ค

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 3:04 PM

      Sadie is such an incredible book, but it is definitely a sad one. Highly recommend it though, and if you do read it, Macmillan produced the podcast parts of the book that you can listen along with for free here!

  3. Jess @ Jessticulates

    January 17, 2020 at 1:32 AM

    Sounds like you had an amazing reading year! Crier’s War and Sadie are both on my TBR – I’ve heard so many good things about the audiobook for Sadie – and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about The Fever King, so I really need to check it out.

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 3:06 PM

      I did have a fantastic reading year, blessed with so many great reads! I highly HIGHLY recommend the audiobook for Sadie, but even if you don’t pick it up in that format, Macmillan produced the podcast parts that you can listen to for free here!

  4. Sophie @ Me and Ink

    January 17, 2020 at 4:43 AM

    I loved reading about your favourite reads and I love the way you set this out!!
    The Fever King is one I really want to read, like SO bad. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read it. I hope the sequel lives up to your expectation!!
    I would love to read Crier’s War and My Lady Jane too. I’m glad to hear some good things about The Beautiful as I has heard some mixed things about it!!
    I read Descendant of the Crane this year and I thought it felt like such an original fantasy and I love the political intrigue side to it.
    Great list and I hope 2020 brings more great books to you.

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:30 PM

      Thanks so much for reading and your compliments on the formatting of the post!!! I am so happy to hear you also enjoyed Descendant of the Crane! I hope you read and enjoy The Fever King, Crier’s War, and My Lady Jane if you have a chance to read them!

  5. Stephanie

    January 17, 2020 at 6:00 AM

    91 books is pretty darn good for a slumpy year! My worst year on record is 78, which is shockingly low for me, but that was the year my daughter was not. sleeping. EVER, to the point where I was hallucinating due to lack of sleep and doing scary things like forgetting where I was going as I was driving down the road (I actually had to ask my twelve year old son where we were going. I was taking him to school. It was as disconcerting as it sounds, and I’m still really bothered by that memory). I couldn’t focus well at ALL and it was just another aspect of my misery that year, not being able to read.
    But you made it, and it sounds like you read some seriously awesome books despite the slump! I’m proud of you. <3

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:31 PM

      91 books honestly is so amazing to me considering how slumpy I felt! Like I still can’t reconcile my disconnect between how I felt about reading and the actual reality of numbers, lol. That sounds like a very scary time, and understandable that you weren’t able to read!

  6. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

    January 17, 2020 at 7:56 AM

    Yesss, The Fever King is such a good book! Honestly, I’ve never read anything like it. It felt less like I was reading a story and more like I was reading a real-life event! And I loved Crier’s War as well! It was so gay—I loved it. I can’t wait for your review of it!
    Ahh, I’m so excited to read House of Salt and Sorrows (though I do know major spoilers for the ending ๐Ÿ˜‚)! The same goes for The Beautiful, especially because your positive review made me more excited for it! hope you find even more faves in 2020 ๐Ÿ’–

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:33 PM

      I swear, it’s been a YEAR since I read The Fever King and I still think about it often. Like how is it so good? Crier’s War was so beautifully sapphic and I love the ‘robots catching feelings’ trope, a great combo if you ask me!

  7. Kristi @ConfessionsofaYAReader

    January 17, 2020 at 10:11 AM

    This is a great list and I definitely see some that are on my TBR. I loved The Storm Crow, too.

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:34 PM

      Ahhh, I hope you enjoy the books that are on your TBR when you get around to reading them, Kristi!

  8. Xandra @ Starry Sky Books

    January 17, 2020 at 4:54 PM

    Iโ€™m reading House of Salt and Sorrows right now, and Iโ€™m definitely enjoying it! Itโ€™s just the right amount of spooky for me ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m so happy to see a lot of my anticipated reads on this list, and now Iโ€™m more excited to read them!

    I have been wanting to read The Fever King for so long, and now it looks like I must do it very soon! Iโ€™ve heard nothing but good things about that series, and your enthusiasm makes me happy! I also have a copy of The Storm Crow, and Iโ€™m excited for that as well!

    91 books in a year is absolutely incredible!! Well done! I barely read 50 books, and half of them were for college anyway ๐Ÿ˜‚ Good luck with your reading this year, Kal! I hope your 2020 is off to a good start so far! ๐Ÿ’•

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:36 PM

      *screeches into the Void* House of Salt and Sorrows was such a great, spooky, Gothic read and I am happy to hear you’re enjoying(ed?) it! I sincerely hope that you love The Fever King and The Storm Crow when you get around to reading them, both of the books are so damn special.

      50 books is amazing!!! ESPECIALLY with you being in college! Good luck to your and happy reading, Xandra!

  9. Charis @ Charis Rae

    January 18, 2020 at 8:46 AM

    Sadly, I didn’t read a lot of good YA books in 2019? My whole reading life fell by the wayside a bit. I did try some George Orwell and classic dystopians, all of which I enjoyed. I read My Lady Jane soon-ish after it came out and loved it! It was hilarious. XD

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:38 PM

      Aww, sorry to hear that you didn’t read a lot of good YA last year and hope that 2020 is a better reading year for you! My Lady Jane was hilarious indeed, if you haven’t yet read My Plain Jane I would recommend it!

  10. La La in the Library

    January 18, 2020 at 9:59 AM

    The Merciful Crow is on my TBR, but it has to wait until next year because I’m reading all classics this year. I’m happy to see you liked it a lot! ๐Ÿ‘โœจ

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:44 PM

      I hope you enjoy it when you get to it next year, and at least the sequel will be out for you to immediately consume after!!!

  11. Meaghan

    January 18, 2020 at 12:39 PM

    Kal, I am absolutely taking this as a rec post, because I’ve been eyeing The Beautiful despite my neutral stance on vamps, and because I NEED to get my hands on Rules for Vanishing. Also!! I’m still so glad you enjoyed The Storm Crow and Gravemaidens!!!

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:45 PM

      YES PLEASE TAKE THIS AS A REC POST! Please read The Beautiful and Rules for Vanishing so we can screech about them together!

  12. Ruby @ Ruby's Books

    January 18, 2020 at 1:31 PM

    Amazing list, KalKal! I also had tons of fun reading Gravemaidens with you and I am excited for the sequel. I need to read House of Salt and Sorrows too, because I hear tons of good stuff about it. 2019 had a ton of good books fortunately. also my TBR is getting bigger because of this post ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:48 PM

      Thank you so much, Ruby-ru! Gravemaidens was such a funny buddy read, and I hope the three of us can read the sequel together! Please read House of Salt and Sorrows, I am begging you.

  13. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    January 18, 2020 at 5:32 PM

    Why, oh why have I not read House of Rage and Sorrow yet?! I must fix that! I actually haven’t read any of your favorites yet, but these are almost all books I really want to get to at some point.

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 5:49 PM

      You indeed need to fix it, House of Rage and Sorrow was so incredibly good and I need the third book immediately. (Did you see the cover reveal?! My heart)

  14. Jess

    January 20, 2020 at 2:19 PM

    Such a great list! It’s so fun seeing you get super excited about a book because when you love it, you love it sooooo much.

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 6:07 PM

      Thank you so much, Jess! And you are right… when I love a book I love it HARD!

  15. Michelle

    January 21, 2020 at 1:54 AM

    Oh man I feel so bad, I have only read one of these *hides face*, if you had to tell me one book of these that I had to read, which one would it be? (I have a feeling that it’ll be Gravemaidens, but you’ll never know)

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 6:16 PM

      Don’t feel bad, there are SO MANY BOOKS to read! If I had to choose just one?!!?!? Honestly, it depends on your mood but I am inclined to shove The Storm Crow at you for the depression rep that was so special to me or The Fever King/The Beautiful because the books are queer.

  16. Krisha

    January 22, 2020 at 10:16 AM

    I absolutely love your list! I loved House of Rage and Sorrow and Descendant of the Crane too and they were on my 2019 favourites list too. I read Fever King this month and I adored it so so much! So many great books ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’›

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 6:43 PM

      Thank you so much, and I’m glad we have some favorites in common!

  17. Haley

    January 24, 2020 at 1:42 PM

    You have such perfect taste in books, you’re like a book connoisseur, I imagine you flipping through the pages to see their bouquet now that I phrased it like that, but OMG. ALL THE YES, to House of Salt and Sorrows and House of Rage and Sorrows. I loved a good few of these as well and I wouldn’t have had the chance to read House of Rage and Sorrow with you <3 Descendant of the Crane though feels like a lifetime ago lol

    1. Kal

      February 16, 2020 at 7:00 PM

      ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š this is literally the highest of compliments, thank you so much!!!

  18. Isabelle @ Nine Tale Vixen

    January 25, 2020 at 2:39 PM

    i am thankful that pretty much all of these were already on my TBR, because you have a gift for incredibly persuasive reviews and blurbs that hype up books so that it’s impossible to resist adding them.

    of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve *read* even half of them bc my TBR will outlive me; The Fever King, The Phantom Forest, Gravemaidens, and Crier’s War in particular are still high on the list and here’s hoping I’ll finally get to them soon … ish ๐Ÿ˜… I really liked Sadie and DotC, though!

    my top three of 2019 were Call Down the Hawk, The Starless Sea, and In Other Lands – the first two definitely weren’t a surprise since I adore TRC and The Night Circus, but I think I heard my TBR whine as I piled on more books by Sarah Rees Brennan oops.

    1. Kal

      February 17, 2020 at 1:52 PM

      You are so incredibly kind, and your compliment came to me on a day that I’m feeling particularly sad and dejected about things so thank you. I relate to damn hard, I joke that I will need a damn mausoleum to bury my TBR with me to read in the afterlife… there is no way that I’ll be able to read everything I want to. I can’t wait to read The Starless SEa… eventually

  19. DB

    January 26, 2020 at 4:48 AM

    I didn’t know The Storm Crow had depression representation! Definitely more interested in reading it (even more than before, I mean).
    Thank you so much for recommending Rules for Vanishing and The Waking Forest!! I really really enjoyed BOTH of them and now will recommend them to other people ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Kal

      February 17, 2020 at 2:01 PM

      DB, the book made me cry because I felt so damn SEEN during a particularly tough situation with my MH. The book was just there for me and made me feel not alone, and I will treasure it forever.

      I am so glad you enjoyed Rules for Vanishing and The Waking Forest!

  20. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    January 26, 2020 at 6:01 PM

    I have heard a lot of good things about A House of Salt and Sorrow. I love the twelve dancing princesses tales, so it sounds like I shouldn’t skip that book! My favourite read of 2019 is Middlegame by Seanan Mcguire. I recommend it to everyone, lol.

    1. Kal

      February 17, 2020 at 2:04 PM

      I honestly plan on shoved A House of Salt and Sorrows on everyone I meet for all of eternity, I enjoyed it so much. And I have heard so many amazing things about that book!!!

  21. Lauren

    January 31, 2020 at 1:00 PM

    i promise ill read rules for vanishing next monht!

  22. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall

    February 5, 2020 at 9:11 PM

    Ooh, I love the way you constructed this list, Kal! <3 I really enjoyed a House of Salt and Sorrows when I read it, and STILL need to read A House of Rage and Sorrow! I adored the first book so much and have heard nothing but spectacular things about the sequel. I also want to pick up Rules for Vanishing soon. The concept of it is fantastic, and I want to experience the chilling atmosphere! I hope your 2020 has been filled with awesome reads so far! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kal

      February 20, 2020 at 3:21 PM

      Kelly I wholeheartedly recommend dropping everything for Rule for Vanishing if the concept sounds good to you! The book is SO GOOD and it got the author on my insta-buy list. I hope you are equally emotionally devastated by House of Rage and Sorrow when you get to it, and happy reading!!!

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