It’s the most wonderful time of the year: that moment when I realize I’ve completed my annual reading challenge! This year I challenged myself to read 50 new books, and as of right now, I’ve successfully read 56. For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you know this means it’s time for my one-sentence reviews.
Every year, as soon as I finish my personal reading challenge, I immediately create a new challenge for myself: go back and write a one-sentence review for every book that I read this year. These are super fun to write, and also incredibly difficult. Describing a book in one single line can be hard, especially when it’s a book I read nearly a year ago.
But, before we get into those, I’d like to take some time to reflect on this past year as a whole.
While I was able to read 50+ new books this year, all of my other goals were not as successful.
I had also vowed to do the following:
- Adhere to a strict book buying ban: While I bought significantly less books this year than ever before, I still feel like I purchased too many for the amount I actually read. I need more self-discipline here!
- Read more library books: I did borrow a decent number of library books, but again, this is a resource I should utilize more because libraries are awesome, and it would help me work on buying less.
- Write a review for every book I read: While I didn’t write a review for every single book I read, I did successfully write a review for every book I read that was sent to me by a publisher. Sure, the goal as a whole wasn’t achieved, but I’m still proud of the work that I did on this one.
Once January rolls around, I’ll be writing down my 2020 reading goals, so be sure to check back.
Now, without further ado, let’s get to my one-line book reviews for the first 50 novels I read in 2019!
one line book reviews
The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley
A group of friends plan a getaway to a snowy, isolated cabin resort, and of course, someone gets murdered.
Mother Country, by Irina Reyn
This literary fiction novel explores one woman’s life as she immigrates from Ukraine to America, and waits for the day when her daughter can join her.
In An Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire
The fourth installment in the Wayward Children series brings readers to the Goblin Market, and explains why Lundy ages in reverse.
Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig
This book explores some of the reasons why humans become so stressed and anxious, and how we can try focusing on what really matters in life.
Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History, by Tori Telfer
Murderinos should add this female-focused true crime book to their TBR lists if they haven’t already.
Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami
Thank you to my friend Brittany for annoying me to read this book every single day until I finally did, because this OG fight to the death was worth it.
The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
A beautifully written historical fiction novel based on the haenyeo (female free divers) in South Korea.
The City of Brass, by S. A. Chakraborty
The first book in The Daevabad Trilogy introduces you to a vibrant world full of magic that will leave you itching for the second book (which is available).
The Dreamers, by Karen Thompson Walker
I’ve never read a story about a deadly sleeping sickness written so beautifully.
The Last, by Hanna Jameson
When a nuclear war breaks out a bunch of people are stuck in a hotel, and a middle aged white man (the narrator), recounts daily life and survival tactics.
Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
Iconic feminist poetry that EVERYONE should read at least once.
Lizzie, by Dawn Ius
A YA retelling of the infamous Lizzie Borden case that is probably better off being skipped.
Nocturna, by Maya Motayne
An “own voices” YA fantasy that has a cast of badass characters fighting against dark magic as it threatens to take over a city.
The Paper Wasp, by Lauren Acampora
This literary fiction novel didn’t make a whole lot of sense at times, but left my brain spinning afterwards in the best way possible.
Last Things, by Jacqueline West
A YA horror that focuses on a high school metal band, and how the lead singer has to fight for his life and the future of his musical career.
The Last Guest House, by Megan Miranda
One of my favourite thriller authors did it again, and wrote a fast-paced story about a sea-side cottage community that is dealing with the death of a popular local, and a string of strange events.
The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, by Mallory O’Meara
In this book Mallory O’Meara takes a look at the woman behind one of horror cinema’s most well-known monsters, and does a deep dive into her life and career while also providing insight into research methods, and rampant sexism that exists in the movie industry.
The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
This story follows four siblings after they visit a fortune teller and learn the dates of their deaths, and it was one of the few books that made me cry this year (so you know it’s a good one).
Looker, by Laura Sims
A past-faced thriller that follows one woman’s descent into psychological turmoil after her husband leaves her.
The Grace Year, by Kim Liggett
A feminist story in the same vein as Lord of the Flies, this book had me totally encapsulated, and I’m going to be recommending it to friends for a while.
Dear Wife, by Kimberly Belle
A domestic thriller with three different points of view, that ties together a murder, a missing woman, and one shitty police officer.
The Arrangement, by Robyn Harding
This book centers around a new sugar baby who falls in love with a client, and has to deal with the reality that it was only a business arrangement to begin with.
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide, by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Fans of the SSDGM podcast will likely enjoy the book as well, where the two hosts go into detail about aspects of their personal lives, and the lessons they’ve learned over the years.
A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas
16-year old me would have been OBSESSED with this book, but I still enjoyed it as a “guilty-pleasure” despite being an old, grumpy 28-year old.
Midlife Action Figure, by Chris Banks
A collection of poetry that requires a lot of thinking in order to be enjoyable.
A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
The second book in the ACOTAR series has some moments that will either make you blush because of the fiery romance, or scream because it’s too cheesy.
How to Hack a Heartbreak, by Kristin Rockaway
This contemporary romance follows a 20-something female lead who creates an app called “Jerk Alert” for fellow ladies to record shitty dates they’ve been on, and warn others of crappy guys they’ve encountered through online dating.
Vox, by Christina Dalcher
A dystopian story where women are only allowed to speak 100 words per day.
A Court of Wings and Ruin, by Sarah J. Maas
This series was just good enough for me to read the third installment, although it maybe went on for too long.
Ashe: Warmother, by Odin Austin Shafer
This graphic novel explores the backstory of one of my favourite video game characters, and was an automatic win for me.
Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me: Depression in the First Person, by Anna Mehler Paperny
This nonfiction book was difficult to read, and explores the author’s suicide attempts as well as the mental health system in Canada.
Rules for Vanishing, by Kate Alice Marshall
A YA horror/portal fantasy that gave me chills from beginning to end.
The Bone Houses, by Emily Lloyd-Jones
A YA fantasy story with some horror elements that explores local lore about why the dead come back to life.
Flourish, by Jacqueline Turner
This collection of poems draws on the author’s personal experiences, and uses writing as a tool for reflection.
Wilder Girls, by Rory Power
This book included so many different things that I love: horror, an LGBTQ+ relationship, and badass girls fighting for the truth, as well as their own survival.
Pumpkinheads, by Rainbow Rowell
A cute, perfect-for-October graphic novel about two friends working in a Pumpkin Patch, and the true meaning of their relationship.
Take it Back, by Kia Abdullah
I’m still not over this courtroom drama; it’s full of twists and emotion, and will leave you absolutely furious by the end because it’s such a good book.
Burn it Down: Women Writing About Anger, edited by Lilly Dancyger
This collection of essays features work by 22 different women, all writing about how they experience feelings of anger.
Unpregnant, by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
When a senior in high school finds out she’s pregnant and the closest Planned Parenthood is in a different state, she sets out with a friend on a road trip to get an abortion.
The Grey Sisters, by Jo Treggiari
A YA thriller about three friends who go visit a plane crash site where they lost friends and family, and end up finding more than just closure.
When You Ask Me Where I’m Going, by Jasmin Kaur
This collection of poetry and prose is comparable to Rupi Kaur, but somehow packed a more powerful punch for me.
Winterwood, by Shea Ernshaw
A magical story about a young witch, a missing boy, and finding yourself through magic.
A Court of Frost and Starlight, by Sarah J. Maas
I know I said I was tried of this series after the third book, but then I had a craving to read something that would require zero thinking and this did the trick.
Silver in the Wood, by Emily Tesh
This short story is perfect for anyone who wants to run away and live in the woods, practice old magic, and make friends with dryads.
The Border Keeper, by Kerstin Hall
This short story takes readers into the land of the dead, and through the the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, on an epic adventure full of terrifying descriptions.
The Witches Are Coming, by Lindy West
Lindy West’s most recent collection of essays is packed full of political commentary, feminism, and of course, her trademark humor.
The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell
A twisty thriller that includes multiple dead bodies, a cult, and three different characters that are connected in a way you’d never expect.
Half Spent Was the Night: A Witches’ Yuletide, by Ami McKay
This story is a follow-up to The Witches of New York, and follows the same characters over the few days between Christmas and New Years Eve as they deal with strange events.
Goodbye Vitamin, by Rachel Khong
This short book follows a young woman as she moves back home to help take care of her father, who is slowly developing Alzheimer’s.
The Dead Girls Club, by Damien Angelica Walters
A thriller/horror hybrid that contains a chilling ghost story, and a look at how past memories can continue to haunt us.