I have always been an avid reader. As a child, every weekend my family traveled 2.5 hours each way to Marblehead for my dad’s fishing business. This was a time before cell phones, tablets, and other electronics. As the only child, in order to keep myself entertained I heavily relied on reading.
One of my goals every year is to read as much as possible. For the past couple years, my goal has been to read 12 books per year – an average of 1 book per month.
For two years, I have been posting my book reviews on Facebook in a Photo Album. And starting in 2018, I started posting my book reviews on my blog.
I know we are already well into the first quarter of 2020, but here is a synopsis of the THIRTY books I read in 2019. This is the most books I’ve read in a year in probably…well, forever!
What are you reading right now and which books should I add to my 2020 list? I am always looking for my next great read!
PS: Looking for more great books? Check out my 2018 Book Review, too!
#1. This is Me, Chrissy Metz
Overall Thoughts: A friend r commended this book to me, and I really enjoyed learning more about Chrissy Metz. She had overcome so much adversity in life, and she provides a lot of actionable advice. She wrote this book in a very impersonal tone, so it feels like you are sitting in the same room with her and chatting over a glass of wine.
#2. The Light We Lost, Jill Santopolo
Overall Thoughts: While this book was a little long and drawn out, it was extremely relatable and left me thinking about this book long-after the final page. The author poses the subject of how a tragedy can draw people together and about decisions made in relationships and love. I would recommend this book as a beach read. Warning: you could shed some tears if you are an emotional person.
#3. The Last Mrs. Parrish, Liv Constantine
Overall Thoughts: This was an EXCELLENT THRILLER!! The twist midway through the book reminds me a lot of Gillian Flynn. This was a very entertaining, quick read that will keep you flipping the page.
#4. The Other Woman, Sandee Jones
Overall Thoughts: You will like this book, but be prepared to be really annoyed and frustrated with the characters! There are a lot of twists in the book, and I really liked the ending. This is a great summer read.
#5. The Proposal, Jasmine Guillory
Overall Thoughts: This is a really romantic, easy read. It is also very funny, and the characters are very relatable. It is a little basic, which is why I didn’t give it an “A” rating.
#6. See Me, Nicholas Sparks
Overall Thoughts: I love a good Nicholas Sparks book and this one did not disappoint. I loved the characters and the book kept me on the edge of my seat. This is a thriller and a romance combined, this is a perfect combo to me.
#7. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women
Overall Thoughts: There are two story lines to this book. One was strong while the other was overwhelming. Also, I feel like the book took a little long to ramp up. However, once you get into the book you will find it entertaining so I think it is still worth the read. I just wouldn’t prioritize it high on your list.
#8. 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman
Overall Thoughts: This was a quick and profound read. I love how easy Dr. Chapman makes the concept easy to grasp. While these concepts are geared towards marriage, it is relevant to any relationship in your life: friends, coworkers, other family members, etc. I also heard Dr. Chapman speak at a marriage conference after reading this book, and he was so inspiring and entertaining. I highly recommend this book!
#9. Missing Molly, Natalie Barelli
Overall Thoughts: This was a great book! It was a very easy read that will keep you guessing and will leave your mouth wide open in shock. I loved the main character and was in awe at all the decisions she had to make during her life. I highly recommend.
#10. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Overall Thoughts: I had high expectations for this book. And while it was really good it didn’t “Wow” me which is while I didn’t give it an “A” rating. While it is fiction, it reminds me a lot of “The Glass Castle” so if you like that book, you will like this one as well. This book is the perfect mix of history, mystery, science, and romance. You should definitely give it a try!
#11. Something in the Water, Catherine Steadman
Overall Thoughts: This book was a little too long and paranoid for my liking. I felt really anxious the entire time while reading, and I like to read as an escape. It does have a lot of twists and the characters go to interesting places and grapple with a lot of moral dilemmas. I would not read again.
#12. The President is Missing, Bill Clinton & James Patterson
Overall Thoughts: This book was SO LONG and drawn out. I thought the premise of the book was good, but it took way too long to get to the point. I did not enjoy this book at all. I almost abandoned this book, and I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time.
#13. Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis
Overall Thoughts: I thought this book was really good and had a lot of tangible takeaways. Rachel provided very realistic advice and ideas on how to live your best life unapologetically. The book is the perfect length as well, and would be great as a book club read. However, I didn’t think it was as good as Girl, Wash Your Face which is why I only gave it a B+ instead of an A. I still highly recommend, though!
#14. 18th Abduction, James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Overall Thoughts: The Women’s Murder Club series is my favorite book series. I thought this book was good, but it was a flashback to 5 years ago and I DID NOT LIKE THAT! I love to see how characters have evolved in present time, and since this book was a flashback it did not afford the opportunity to determine what is going on with characters after the end of the last book. That was highly disappointing to me. However, the book was entertaining as usual and was an enjoyable and easy read. In addition, I read that the next Women’s Murder Club book will be released in December (A Christmas theme!) so I am excited that I don’t have to wait an entire year to read the next one.
#15. Becoming, Michelle Obama
Overall Thoughts: This book was SO GOOD! I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Michelle Obama and her life journey. I loved her writing style and that fact that she didn’t leave anything out. She clearly depicted her experiences in a very classy way while also expressing her feelings about every part of her life. As I was reading, I uncovered many similarities between Michelle and me. I highly recommend this book, no matter what party you may be affiliated with.
#16. Wake Up Happy, Michael Strahan
Overall Thoughts: This was a quick and easy read. I knew that Michael Strahan played football, but I knew him from Live! with Kelly and Michael. It was really interesting to learn about his upbringing, his journey to playing football, and then his experience playing as well as after his career ended. He had a lot of recommendations for how to me happy in life, but I will say his advice was pretty straightforward and simplistic. I didn’t give it an A rating because he skimmed over a lot of details about his life that would have been interesting to discuss. Also, I was hoping that this book would talk about how he left Live! with Kelly and Michael, but it was written while he was still on that show.
#17. Paper Wife, Laila Ibrahim
Overall Thoughts: I really enjoyed this historical fiction book. It was an easy read and honestly probably geared for young adults based on its simplicity. I learned a lot about 1920s Chinese immigration and Angel Island. The book also had a great epilogue which I always appreciate. I definitely recommend reading this book if you enjoy reading historical fiction and/or Asian-inspired books.
#18. Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate
Overall Thoughts: This is probably my favorite read of the year. It is heart-wrenching and eye-opening. This book is historical fiction and I had no idea that this sort of thing happened in our country within the past century. I like that the book jumps from present time to the late 1930s. The characters are well-developed and it is easy to become vested in their journeys. I kept saying, “I will just read one more page!” I just had to see what happened next. This is the first book that I have read from this author and I am going to explore more of her books.
#19. The Cactus, Sarah Haywood
Overall Thoughts: This book is very similar to “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” so if you like that book, you will enjoy this one as well. The characters are well developed and quirky. The main character is going through multiple life dilemmas and the author weaves them together really well in order to craft a memorable story. I thought the beginning was a little drawn out, which is why I gave this book this rating. Overall, I would recommend it – especially if you are looking for a light read.
#20. The Bride Test, Helen Hoang
Overall Thoughts: I was very excited for this book since it’s by the same author as “The Kiss Quotient.” The author used a similar style as her other book and thus the story line was extremely predictable. I did like the characters and there was a nice epilogue (you know I love a good epilogue!). In addition, one of the main characters is the cousin of Michael from “The Kiss Quotient.” This affords cameos of Michael and Stella so it was worth the read just to see what those two characters are now up to in life (they are doing well!). However, if you are expecting a book as high-caliber and page-turning as “The Kiss Quotient” you need to set your expectations lower so that you will not be disappointed.
#21. Anger, Dr. Gary Chapman
Overall Thoughts: This book described anger in a very easy to understand way and had a lot of great actionable nuggets that can be applied to your own life. However, I feel that the book was very repetitive and could have been shortened even more than it already is. I think it is worth a read if you experience anger and/or have people in your life who frequently exhibit anger, but you could read the beginning chapters and then skim the rest.
#22. Whisper Network, Chandler Baker
Overall Thoughts: This book was an easy read and the characters were very relatable. The story is about coworkers (some who are friends) and scandalous events that occurred and the repercussions of said events. Since I am a working mother, I could easily identify with the characters and some of their everyday struggles of balancing work, family, and other aspects of life. I only gave this a B though because there was much of the book that I zoned out on. I felt the book was a little too long and there were too many story lines going on. I think the book could have been more targeted and captivating if it focused on a couple of the main story lines rather than skipping around from character to character.
#23. The Alice Network, Kate Quinn
Overall Thoughts: This book was really great! It looks at the spy network of women in World War II and also another story line that was also really interesting. This was a page-turner that I thoroughly enjoyed. This would be an ideal book club pick as there is a lot to discuss.
#24. 19th Christmas, James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Overall Thoughts: Overall Thoughts: I was very excited to read the latest “Women’s Murder Club” book and I was a little underwhelmed. While it was nice to learn more about the characters I’ve grown to love, I thought that the story line was a little blase. I would only read this book if you are invested in the entire series (which I highly recommend!).
#25. The Last House Guest, Megan Miranda
Overall Thoughts: I thought this book was better than Miranda’s “All the Missing Girls.” If you like mysteries or thrillers, you will like this book. I thought it was a little drawn out in parts which is why I didn’t give it a higher rating.
#26. Every Breath, Nicholas Sparks
Overall Thoughts: Nicholas Sparks got the idea for this book from letters he discovered on a beach in North Carolina. The book started out great, and I was excited to see what would happen to the characters. However, the book ends abruptly in order to “protect the privacy of the actual people the characters are based on.” I found this to be very jarring for the reader and made the book feel incomplete. While the book is based on a true story, it is still fiction and I strongly feel the story should have been elaborated on for a least a couple more chapters. I would not recommend reading this book.
#27. The Lost Vintage, Ann Mah
Overall Thoughts: This book is definitely one of my favorites of the year! The plot goes back and forth between present day and the 1940s World War II France. I definitely learned a lot about wine and saw the war from a very different lens. The characters were well developed and very interesting. This would be a great book club pick and I highly recommend reading!
#28. Target: Alex Cross, James Patterson
Overall Thoughts: I LOVE the Alex Cross series but keep in mind, the series is very predictable. You always know that whatever peril Alex is in, he will be okay. This book does not disappoint and the ending makes you anticipate the next book.
#29. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Overall Thoughts: This book is quite delightful! The book is a series of letters between characters, which I absolutely love. If you don’t enjoy that writing style, you will not enjoy it as much a me. The characters are well developed and the writing is smart, witty, and funny. I loved all the information so subtly provided about the German occupation. It’s like a history book without the boring bits.
#30. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly
Overall Thoughts: This book is heart wrenching and well written. Since there are multiple points of view, it look a couple of chapters for me to be fully committed to the book. But once I understood the plot, I was hooked. The Lilac Girls tells the story of three women during and after WWII, and it was thought provoking to experience the plot from multiple viewpoints. It is centered around the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp in Germany and the experimental surgery that the Nazis carried out on a group of Polish women. This is based on true events and people and knowing that made it even more gripping.