• Kara Cushway

My Top Reads of 2019

I mentioned a month ago in my What I Read in November post that 2019 didn’t really start off in a great place for books. I would read one that I kind of thought was good? But I wasn’t certain that I considered it GREAT. Which made it difficult for me to choose good books, since I’d have some that were “good” but I’d sort of second-guess myself, like “Am I being too picky? Is this book actually great where I thought it was meh?” I’ve decided now that my pickiness is not the problem; the books’ mediocrity was the problem.


Nevertheless, where 2019 started off weak, it finished off strong. So I’m happy to report that I have a good handful of books that I LOVED from 2019, which I’m about to share with you here. Hang onto your hats, nerds.


As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Though it can be hit or miss when a book is read by its author, I knew even before actually deciding on this one that I wanted to listen to it as an audiobook, because, well, Cary Elwes. Having Westley read to you for seven hours is basically a dream come true. Check out my Best Books for Travel post to read more about it!


Summary: A book of wonderful behind-the-scenes stories from the cast and crew of The Princess Bride.





Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

Have I mentioned before how much Jennifer McVeigh makes me love Africa as a book setting? After reading her work I always want to find every book set in Africa that I can, just so I can get back there. (Australia is a close second if Africa isn’t available, though.) I made a whole post about this book, so you know it's good.


Summary: A girl returns home to her father’s ranch in Africa only to find he’s married a stern, unlikeable woman who seems to be turning him against his own daughter.



Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Will this book make you cry? Yes. If it doesn’t, maybe you should talk to someone because you don’t possess a heart and should get that checked out immediately.


Summary: Ever wonder if your therapist needs therapy? Well, they do. This is a nonfiction book of anecdotes from a therapist, and her experiences with HER therapist.






All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller

WHOA. If Cinderella were set in real-life Dark Ages Britain, this is how the classic fairy tale would look. There are some words in this book that I’ve never even come across before, and I read A LOT, so that doesn’t happen to me very often, and is a pleasant surprise for me when it does. Read (just a little bit) more about it in this post.


Summary: Cinderella’s stepmother has a reason for being the way she is. You’ll find out why in this book, and I’m pretty sure that by the end of it, you, like me, will be on her side more than Cinderella’s.



Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, read by Dan Stevens

Oh, did you miss where I wax – maybe not eloquently, but certainly long-windedly – on how much I loved Dan Stevens’ reading of this book? If not, check out my gushing here. For someone who has been hurt before by sh*tty audiobook narrators, Stevens’ narrative skill is a soothing balm to the jaded audiobook-listener's soul.


Summary: A man is horrifically murdered in his bed on the Orient Express, and it’s investigator Hercule Poirot’s job to find out who did it and why. Huge cast of quirky, secretive characters, read to perfection by Dan Stevens.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The crown jewel of my 2019 reading list. I fell in love with this book so hard, it’s a wonder I didn’t break anything. JK THO because my heart broke when this book ended. It’s hard for me to express to you how much I loved everything about it: the setting, the premise, the CHARACTERS? The characters were a miracle. I told my aunt, with whom I share all my best reads first, that I would marry every single primary character in this book, and I stand by that statement to this day. Includes horses, humor, and what is basically the perfect romance in all literature.


Summary: Based on the myths of the waterhorses of Britain – aka kelpies, or about 10 other, less pronounceable names – this novel follows two riders who will compete in the notorious Scorpio Races. Each rider races to win, but winning may not be enough this time around.


Annnd for those of you who are interested, here are a few honorable mentions – books that were enjoyable but didn’t fit all my criteria for making it onto the official list of my 2019 Best Reads:


Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

A book of hilarious mom fails. Potentially stressful for non-moms or anal-retentives.


French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

A funny name for an actually informative and elegant non-diet “diet” book. Champagne is its own food group.


The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

If you love The Golem and the Jinni or Aladdin, this’ll reawaken your love of Arabian settings. Plus, it’s fantasy, my fave genre.


Do you have any books that were totally worth it from 2019? I’m always looking for my next great read! Share some of your best books in the comments below!

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