End of Year Book Survey + Reading Wrap-Up | 2019 Edition

Hey guys and welcome back! Today is the 7th day of 2020 and life is finally getting back to normal. Yesterday was the first day of school again, and to be honest, I kind of missed having classes and assignments. I know. I can barely believe that I even thought that myself. But of course, when assignments properly start, I’m going to be wishing for another break once again.

Anyways, today I’m going to be wrapping up my 2019 reading year.

To help wrap up my past reading year, I’ve decided to do Jamie’s End of Year Survey with a twist. Instead of answering all her questions (46!!), I’m going to pick a handful to answer, and also do a wrap-up my way. Initially, I was going to do 2 different posts, one with the survey and the other with my wrap-up, but that’s going to be repetitive, so I’ll be combining both.

(This is the 10th year that Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner has hosted this tag, so if you’d like to do it, head right over to her lovely blog to see all the prompts and questions!)

This is probably going to be rather long, so without further ado, let’s get started!!!

2019 Reading Stats

Number of Books Read: 98

Number of Re-Reads: 3

Genre You Read the Most From: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense


I didn’t make it to 100 books. But that’s okay. Because I got to 98, which is still a pretty good number and I’m really proud of myself for making it that far.

The re-reads were The Fixer and The Long Game, both by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter. The first two were great, and I loved re-reading them. The third one was a little cringey, and I can see why it appealed to a Younger Rukky, but it was not for Current Me.

Lol, no surprise. Mystery/Thriller/Suspense was by far the genre that I read the most from, with Fantasy coming in second, and Contemporary in third.

I made a little pie chart to break down my reading even further, and I’m so relieved that it turned out looking okay.

if it’s a little fuzzy, I apologize!

I also did another chart showing my year in books by rating, so here you go:

I like how most of my books were 4 or 3 stars. The books were either mediocre or pretty good, just not super great, and I’m happy with that. I think it also shows that I’ve figured out what books work for me, and what don’t, and so hopefully next year, this will have much less 2 or 1 star books.

I did have a couple of DNFs (Did-Not-Finish), and most of them, I plan on trying to re-read another time, while some I absolutely did not like.

For Blanca and Roja, Ninth House, and Blindsighted, I don’t think i was in the right mood when I picked them up, so I was really bored and impatient with them. These are the ones I plan on picking up some other time.

Marshall Law just wasn’t for me. I got it for review from Reedsy, but I didn’t like it and never finished it.

Captive Witness was disappointing, because I loved Nancy Drew once upon a time, and when I picked this up, I couldn’t get over how old fashioned it was. I was cringing so much, and decided to stop so that I wouldn’t ruin all my great memories of reading all the various series.

The Perfect Husband was a nightmare. I am so done with that book. Usually, when there is extra stuff going in books, especially in thrillers and mysteries, I just skim past and move on. But this book had stuff in pretty much. Every. Single. Chapter. I can’t believe I got to 74%. SEVENTY-FOUR, guys. And you’d think that they don’t have time for any of this extra drama, and so called “romance” when the MC is being hunted by a pure 100% psychopath. But no, they can’t stop their “love” for five seconds.


So yeah. 3 of them, I might try later, 2 of them were just not for me, and 1 of them was a true nightmare. But I’m still pretty glad that I only had 6 DNFs the entire year.

Best in Books

Best Books Read in 2019:

Mystery:

  • Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci
    • This was more of a political thriller, but I still loved the mystery of who was behind the attack. I’m also a huge fan of any book with “secret agents” and Mary and Stone were amazing and made me love the story even more.

Suspense:

  • I Found You by Lisa Gardner
    • It was interesting being told what happened to Frank in bits and pieces, and what brought him to that beach. There was so much suspense, as things were slowly revealed and I liked that. The book wasn’t perfect in other aspects, but the suspense was really great.

Thriller:

  • No Exit by Taylor Adams
    • This is a master thriller. It was honestly the first time that I’d been truly petrified and nervous, and anxious about how things would end in a book. It was a little over the top, and would probably be better as a movie than a book, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fantasy:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • I loved this. I loved the characters. I loved Kaz’s cunning ruthless and brutal, I loved Inej, Jes, Wylan, Nina and Matthias, I loved everything about it. Well, it was slow until the heist at the end, but I liked the build-up and relationships between the characters, and how we got to know them so well. This is honestly my top fantasy book of 2019.
  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
    • This is a fantasy that I loved because of it’s worldbuilding. The way Allomancy was described, the way the Empires and cities felt so real that I could literally picture everything happening clearly, that was amazing. I loved the heist, and was shocked at how things turned out, but what I loved the most about this was how real, and possible, and well-thought out the world and Allomancy was.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stievfater
    • I got a recipe for November Cakes. That’s honestly enough to bribe me into loving this book. But really though, I sincerely enjoyed the story. The happiness, calm, and peace that came after I finished reading it. The deadly but utterly beautiful horses. Puck and Sean fighting for what they want, what they love. It was really beautiful, and I’m so glad that Meegs pushed me to read this.

Contemporary:

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    • He’s grumpy. He’s strict. He’s mean. But underneath that tough exterior, Ove is hurting. And this book is about what caused it, and what happens when a new bustling family, with a fiery and delightful mother, moves in next door. I loved this because of the characters, and because the found family relationship that all the neighbors built with one another. Ove is also really endearing, and it was heartbreaking reading about everything that went wrong in his life. Even if it was fictional. This book made me so happy, because Ove learned to live and love again.

Historical Fiction:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    • I may have loved this solely because the ending shattered my heart. But I’m also a big fan of coming-of-age novels, and this is one of them. At first, I didn’t like many of the characters, and I was a little annoyed, and maybe bored. But as the story continued, and the years passed, and the war dragged on, I began to feel for all these characters. I began to understand them, love them. And when that ending came, even though I knew, even though I’d been warned, it still shattered me when that happened. It’s a book that made me laugh, made me smile, made me cry. And I don’t think a book has ever done all three to me.
  • The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
    • This was a great book about a woman fighting society’s sexist and racist views through a newspaper column in 19th century Georgia (aka the 1800s). Jo was a great main character, and I loved Old Gin, Noemi, and Nathan so much. She’s brave, she’s fierce, and she was risking so much to write her Miss. Sweetie column and using it to inspire change in her community. This was one my most anticipated books this year, and it did not disappoint.

Best series you started in 2019?

Honestly, it was Mistborn: The Final Empire, but to pick a different book, I’m going to go with the Shades of Magic trilogy.

I’ve already read the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, and even though it was slow in the beginning, I loved the magic and the world, and I can’t wait to read the second book.

Best Sequel of 2019?

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab. This was such an awesome sequel, and I loved the new villains, as well as Victor’s search for a cure. The ending was really great, but I hope that there is still a 3rd book! Mitch, Syd, and Victor were so sweet together, and honestly, this book was just perfect.

Best Series Ender of 2019?

Nope, none. The only Series Ender I read in 2019 was The Queen of Nothing, and that was most definitely one of the worst I’ve ever read. I’m just really disappointed and salty about it.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2019?

My new top three authors that I discovered in 2019 are:

Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races), V.E. Schwab (Vicious), and Brandon Sanderson (The Final Empire).

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019?

It’s a tie. I can’t pick one over the other! Both covers are just so beautifully gorgeous.

 Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read? 

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I’d seen it in my library a lot, and I can’t believe that I never picked it up until earlier this last year. It was one of the first YA mysteries that I read, and I really loved it.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?

This post is already over 1,500 words long, so I’m going to stop here. I think I’ve covered all the major questions, and if you’d like to see all the books I read last year, check out my 2019 Year in Books on GoodReads. I’ll probably be doing a Blog/Life Wrap-Up next, and I may do a Most Disappointing Books of 2019. Not sure yet, but keep an eye out for another wrap-up!

Chat with me

That’s it for this post! What was your favorite book of 2019? Have you read any of the ones mentioned above? What did you think? How many books did you read in 2019? Chat with me in the comments below!

Book Recommendations | Mystery/Thriller Edition

Good morning dearest readers and welcome back! Today, I’m going to be doing a book recommendation post (my very first one!!!) and sharing with you some of my favorite books.

At first, I wasn’t sure whether to do this in a “if you liked this, then I think you should read…” format, or if I should do it in a “here are all my favorite books! I highly recommend you read them” format, or if I should do it by genre.

I’ve finally decided to do it by genre and I’m going to try to do them monthly. To start it off, I’m going to be sharing some amazing mystery and thriller books.

I have another idea which is to recommend books to characters from other books (inspired by Meeghan’s Overwatch recommendation posts! Definitely check them out!!!!) but I’m not going to do that for now. Let me know if you’d like to see it soon though!!

Without further chit chat, let’s get started!

The Fixer: ★★★★★ | The Long Game: ★★★★★

by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

These two books are my all time favorite political thrillers, and I loved re-reading them again this year. Tess, Asher, Vivvie, Henry, even Emilia, were all spectacular characters and I loved following them on their adventures from navigating friendships to terrorists. The twists in both of these books are amazing, and I really wish that there had been a third book.

I definitely would recommend this for a YA political mystery, with some family drama.


Look For Me by Lisa Gardner: ★★★★★

Lisa Gardner is one of my automatic-read authors, and this book did not disappoint. The mystery was engaging, and the topics that the story touched on were heart-breaking while also being realistically portrayed. D.D. and Flora were both really great characters, and I loved how different, but also how similar, that they both were. The final reveal shocked me, and it never even crossed my mind that X could have been the killer.

I would recommend it if you like police procedurals and murder mysteries.


Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci: ★★★★★

Baldacci books and I have a complicated history. I loved the Will Robie series, read one of his King and Maxwell books and wasn’t really wowed by it, and then I read Long Road to Mercy and I was so annoyed and angry about it.

However, Hell’s Corner was a hit for me and I loved the complicated plot and characters. Mary and Stone were really interesting and made an awesome pair. I loved how Stone taught Mary some really important life lessons without explicitly doing so, and watching them both have each other’s back. I was sorely disappointed to find out after I read the book, that this was the last one in the series. The ending was absolutely shocking and kind of aggravating, but in a good way.

I would recommend this, especially if you’re looking for a political mystery with assassins and MI6 agents.


Vicious by V.E. Schwab: ★★★★☆

Even though this is technically sci-fi, I’m still going to put it here, because it was definitely a thriller and I loved it. The concept of ExtraOrdinary people, who unlock powerful powers after a near-death traumatic experience, was so intriguing.

I loved reading about how Eli and Victor became EO’s and what led to the thrilling chase and fight between these two ex-best friends. And guys. Victor is not a hero. Eli wants to be a hero but he’s also not a hero. They are both villains, and that made everything much more fun, because there’s no “good guy” to root for.

I also loved the found family relationship with Mitch, Sydney, and Victor. It was really sweet and honestly, I just really liked this book.

I’d definitely recommend this for a science-fiction novel with thriller aspects, and amazing characters!


No Exit by Taylor Adams: ★★★★☆

This was really good. The mystery is not very interesting, but it is really thrilling. Darby was a great main character, and I felt her pain and struggles as she tried to help the little girl, while surviving a horrible blizzard.

The setting and the blizzard added to the helplessness of the situation and increased the terror of Darby, and me as the reader. The ending was rather implausible, but to be honest, I didn’t really care and I was glad that things turned out the way they did. This was one of the first truly thrilling thrillers that I read.

I would recommend this for a short thriller, with a powerful punch.


Chat with me

That’s it guys! I feel like this was not a really good recommendation post, but hopefully it’ll still make you want to pick up one of these great books! I am obviously horrible at this lol.

What are you reading? Have you read any of the books above? What did you think? Do you have any suggestions for great and amazing thrillers? What recommendation post would you like to see next? Was this an utter disaster, or are you partially curious about these books? Chat with me in the comments below!

Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci – Reivew

Welcome guys!!! Today’s review is of Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci. This was an amazing thriller with a political conspiracy that was so twisted, I couldn’t see, let alone guess the ending. I also really liked Oliver Stone, and loved Mary Chapman.

Book: Hell’s Corner

Author: David Baldacci

Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Oliver Stone and the Camel Club return in #1 bestselling author David Baldacci’s most stunning adventure yet.An attack on the heart of power . . . “In sight of the White House . . . “At a place known as . . . “HELL’S CORNER John Carr, aka Oliver Stone-once the most skilled assassin his country ever had-stands in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, perhaps for the last time. The president has personally requested that Stone serve his country again on a high-risk, covert mission. Though he’s fought for decades to leave his past career behind, Stone has no choice but to say yes. Then Stone’s mission changes drastically before it even begins. It’s the night of a state dinner honoring the British prime minister. As he watches the prime minister’s motorcade leave the White House that evening, a bomb is detonated in Lafayette Park, an apparent terrorist attack against both leaders. It’s in the chaotic aftermath that Stone takes on a new, more urgent assignment: find those responsible for the bombing. British MI-6 agent Mary Chapman becomes Stone’s partner in the search for the unknown attackers. But their opponents are elusive, capable, and increasingly lethal; worst of all, it seems that the park bombing may just have been the opening salvo in their plan. With nowhere else to turn, Stone enlists the help of the only people he knows he can trust: the Camel Club. Yet that may be a big mistake. In the shadowy worlds of politics and intelligence, there is no one you can really trust. Nothing is really what it seems to be. And Hell’s Corner truly lives up to its name. This may be Oliver Stone’s and the Camel Club’s last stand.


Quote: “Everyone has choices. You make them and then you live with the consequences.”

*Oliver Stone aka John Carr. I read the last book in the series, without knowing, and yet I was still able to enjoy this. It even made me more curious to learn more about Stone and his past. Even though Stone is old, he is still as sharp and quick as he was in his younger days and I liked that. He didn’t let age get the better of him, and he also didn’t really care about the fact that he upset a lot of important people. He only cared about his friends, his partner, and his back. He was willing to sacrifice himself for them and I really admired that.

*Mary Chapman. I. Need. More. Mary. I was horrified when I found out that this was the 5th book and the current last one, and that it was also published in 2010 meaning that there is pretty much a 0% chance that I’ll get more Mary. She is really sassy, and I loved her amazing British self. She’s also much younger than Stone, but just as seasoned and smart as he. They made an amazing team and she also added a lot of humor in an otherwise humorless book. She’s also from MI6 which is terrific, since I love MI6 (and FBI and CIA…). I also liked how she learned to question orders, and also how, even though she was loyal from the start, she grew even more loyal as the story progressed and was ready to sacrifice herself for Stone and his friends. And that’s really something, because she doesn’t really know his friends but she trusts Stone and he trusts them, and so she trusts and helps them too. It was just uplifting and put a permanent smile on my face.

*Plot. I really liked the conspiracy aspect, and how it was introduced from the get-go. I had a few theories, and was exasperated at first because no one seemed to be thinking about my ideas, but it turned out that my theory was wrong. The plot was intense, the characters were being led all around the place, and I was following right behind them. I also really liked the dynamics between the FBI, NIC, NSC, CIA, ATF, and all the other countless agencies that were involved. It was also hilarious how Mary was baffled at all the politics going on, and the fact that agents didn’t even trust their agencies, and how each agency seemed to be trying to bring the other down.

*The Ending. I was shocked, I was in disbelief and I really believed that (no spoilers!) it actually happened. I was going to cry. It was so amazing, fast paced, and wowing, and it was a really satisfying end, even though I sincerely wish that there were more books with Mary, or that she got her own series. *sighs*

*Restaurant Scene. There is this scene, Chapter 79, page 330 in the hardcover, in which Stone and Mary were arguing at a restaurant, and Mary got up to go, and Stone grabbed her wrist to stop her, and this guy comes over and tells Stone to let her go. And then Mary says:

“We were just arguing over who was going to pay the check. But thanks for coming to a lady’s aid, love.”

Chapter 79, Page 330

I just loved it (And I also loved the “love” part too lol). It’s pretty trivial, and I’m probably over-exaggerating, but I really really liked that moment. It just made me feel so happy and warm.


Quote: “And just because they’re no longer a superpower doesn’t mean they don’t want to be again.”

*Nothing. I can’t think of a single thing that I disliked about this. Maybe it should have been a bit faster, but no, I think it was perfect.


Quote: “Every time I walk with Alex I’m reminded both how lucky I am to have friends like him and also how unworthy I am to have friends like him.”

I really loved this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The plot was great, the characters were fabulous, and the ending was totally unexpected and shocked me so much that I couldn’t believe it.

One sentence summary: An amazing political thriller with two spectacular main characters.

Overall, 5 stars

★★★★★

That’s it for this review! Have you read Hell’s Corner? Were you just as shocked by that ending? Do you know any books with amazing female agents from MI6 or another government agency? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2019

Happy Saturday my friends!! I hope you all are having a fantastic start to August. Today, I’ll be sharing my Monthly Wrap-Up post for July 2019.

July was meh. To be honest, I didn’t really want to blog, I didn’t post on time, I’m behind on two reviews, and I was really busy IRL. But I still posted when I got the chance, and I joined Top Five Tuesday for the first time which was great! I loved the A-Z book idea and you can find a link to the letters that I did, below. Let’s take a look at this meh month.

Books:

Covers are from Goodreads | Click on the titles to visit my reviews.

Key: * = Book for review | ^ = Review to come

So I read 6 books this month which is great, but I am behind by 5 books on my GR reading challenge which is bad. I really need to catch up and hopefully I’ll do that this month!

Trust Me I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer // Rating: ★★☆☆☆ One sentence summary: A disappointing read with a naive main character.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland // Rating: ★★★☆☆ One sentence summary: A quick thriller with okay characters.

Look For Me by Lisa Gardner // Rating: ★★★★★ One sentence summary: A great mystery with strong and amazing main characters.

*The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai // Rating: ★★☆☆☆ One sentence summary: An okay contemporary novel with a passionate main character.

^Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci // Rating: ★★★★★ One sentence summary: An amazing political thriller with two spectacular main characters.

^The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton // Rating: ★★★★☆ One sentence summary: A confusing, but interesting and unique murder mystery.

DNF: I also DNF’d Captive Witness by Carolyn Keene. It was a bit dated, too cliche and unbelievable for me, which is sad considering I loved Nancy Drew as kid.

Total Number of Books Read This Month: 6

DNF: 1

Tags:

Okay, so I really can’t believe this but I have done only ONE tag all month! How…???

2019 Mid Year Freak-Out Tag (I tagged myself for this one!)

Here’s a link to the Top 5 Tuesday posts that I did:

K-O | P-T | U-Z

Great Posts From Around the Blog-O-Sphere:

5 Things No One Tells You About Blogging // ft. the real truth about what bloggers do!! by Olivia @ Purely Olivia

Beyond the Blurb | How Blogging Has Helped Me as a Reader by Siobhan @ Siobhan’s Novelties

Why You Should NEVER Compare Your Blogging Statistics with Others’ by Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

Summer Blogger Promo Tour: Blogging Made Me More…Introverted? by Tiffany @ Read By Tiffany (Ok, so this wasn’t published in July, but I loved it and had to include it anyway!)

Anything Else?

Yes! I started a weekly meme called Let’s Talk Bookish which hopefully will encourage me and others to write more discussion posts (yes, I know, I posted this yesterday, August 2nd, but I shall sneak it on here anyway). You can learn more about that here. As you can guess, I didn’t do a discussion post this past month.

Also, school starts this coming Monday, and I’m not sure how easy it’ll be for me to blog and do my school work at the same time, so please bear with me if I don’t post regularly, or on time.

I also reached 1,000 comments/pingbacks, and I believe that is an achievement so HOORAY!! I’m also close to hitting the 150 followers mark so again, YAY!! Thank you guys so much for loving my blog, chatting with me so much, linking to me, and following 💚

That’s A Wrap!

In the end, I read 6 books, wrote 4 reviews, did 1 tag, and 0 discussion posts. 3 of the books I read were either 4 or 5 stars which is great, but sadly, I am behind on my reading challenge.

I did meet one of the goals I set in June, which was to read at least 6 books, but I think my content quality took a bit of a dip instead of a rise. I did discover some new blogs, thanks to May @ Forever and Everly hosting the 2019 Book Blogger Awards so that’s definitely a plus!

For August, my goals are to: post more often, but even if I don’t, I hope that my posts are great and not generic; do maybe 3 out of the 4 discussion topics for Let’s Talk Bookish (at least 2 though); and read 8 books.

And that’s it for this wrap-up! How was July for you? Did you get as much reading as you wanted done? Did you take part in the 2019 Book Blogger Awards? Ideas for discussion posts you’d like to share? Chat with me in the comments below!

WWW Wednesday #27

Hello friends! I hope you are having a fantastic day! It is time for my weekly reading update, WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Let’s get started!

All covers are from Goodreads

What I Just Finished:

I think I finished Hell’s Corner on Thursday last week. It was great, my theory was wrong, I was led around like the rest of the characters, and the ending shocked me. I was so very shocked. I loved the characters, especially Mary Chapman!

I started The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle on Friday, and finished it on Monday. I really liked the idea, however, I was confused for, around the first 20-30% of the book. But after I got a hang of it, I was really curious to know who killed Evelyn and why Aiden was there. I felt so sorry for Aiden, because it seemed like torture to force him to solve the mystery when it seemed so unsolvable.

What I’m Currently Reading:

At the moment, I’m not reading anything.

What I Plan To Read Next:

The cover is intriguing, the title is perfect, and the plot has me sold. Hopefully my library copy will be in soon!!

In the meanwhile, I’m going to start Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong.

That’s it for this Wednesday. What are you reading? Have you read An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments below! (Be sure to link to your WWW’s so that I can check them out!)