Hey all!

So, we’re over a week into 2020, believe it or not. I certainly can’t. And so far, 2020 has been spectacular. But let’s reflect on 2019.


2019 was a year of phenomenal (by which I mean both amazing and just like – HUGE) change for me. I achieved a lot, from landing my dream job to moving to a different city/finally moving out of my parents’ house. One other thing I achieved in 2019 was reading a ton of books, the most I’ve read in years. In part, this was due to my regular reading habits and adding more audiobooks to the mix, but my full time job now involves books and kids, so I read more children’s book than I have in ages.


As a result, I read 142 books in 2019! Don’t start ooh-ing and ahh-ing yet. Remember, this counts the many short kids’ books I read!

So here’s a recap of the ones that really stood out to me.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on and/or purchase from some links, I make a portion of the sale. This helps keep Bitch Bookshelf running.

My First Read

Bride of Dreams by Amara Luciano

Bride of DreamsBride of Dreams by Amara Luciano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Romantic, exciting, and fun! I loved diving into this new fantasy world. My only complaint: I knew this was a novella going into it, but I wanted it to be longer! I would have loved more adventure details. The non-friendship between Diya and Gabriel was my favorite part! Can’t wait to read more from this author. 💜

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My Favorite Romance Read (…aside from my #1!)

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0.5)Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Only Lisa Kleypas can make me more excited and emotional than most of the dudes I’ve dated. Some of these tropes aren’t as feminist as my brain wants, but damn, do they work for my heart and uh, more – and in her usual fashion, the author all but admits to the fantasy in the text. As always, her characters are memorable. Bonus: We get two steamy, romantic love stories in this one, and LOTS of cameos from Marcus, the hero of my favorite Kleypas romance so far and the brother of our two leading ladies. I was too emotionally invested to rate this anything less than five stars.

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My Favorite Book Club Pick

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the WindowThe Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one. It was suspenseful and while I had a vague idea of what was REALLY happening, it kept me guessing. (Then again, I often don’t try to solve mysteries. I just read for enjoyment.) I love unreliable/potentially unreliable narrators, so Anna Fox really worked for me. However, I can see why her voice might be tedious and slow for some readers.

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My Favorite Children’s Read

How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti, illustrated by Yancey Labat

How Many Jelly Beans?How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is TOO COOL. A perfect representation of numbers and great for kids learning about place value and the meaning of numbers.

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My Favorite Audiobook

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pederson, narrated by Hillary Huber

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure EverythingQuackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was super fun. It definitely has a playful tone even though the subject is somewhat serious. Of course, there are modern forms of quackery (conversion therapy, anti-vaxxers) but this book touches on events from the past. I listened to the audiobook and it was enjoyable. The reader was clear. I did feel she leaned a little too heavily into the sarcastic tone of the book at times and was super dry as a result. But overall I enjoyed delving into things I only knew a little about!

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My Favorite Indie Read – Romance

Becoming Mr. Bingley by Samantha Whitman

Becoming Mr. BingleyBecoming Mr. Bingley by Samantha Whitman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ahhh! While I didn’t love BMB as much as I loved DMD, this book was still so fun. There are some sad, dark moments in this one and Miss Whitman tackles incredibly difficult subjects so well. This is a rom com with the typical frustrations that could be eliminated if the characters communicated better – so if that’s not the trope for you, be warned. But for me, it worked perfectly. The final chapter was so hilarious and amazing. And Millie is the best character ever!

Still convinced the author and I are the same person. So many references to things and places I love. 😉

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My Favorite Indie Read – Non-Romance

Sourpuss by Merricat Mulwray

SourpussSourpuss by Merricat Mulwray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Omg, I loved this book. If you cannot stand characters that you hate, then this isn’t the book for you. But for me, I couldn’t help but both despise Mallory and Graham and root for them at the same time – and eventually even sympathize with them. (As for everyone else in the book, with the exception of Darius, Callie, Ken, the Panda, and the twins, my feelings are pure hatred.) A scathing take on the culture of misogyny, including internalized, that permeates college campuses even in today’s world. My only complaint was the cliffhanger ending. I wasn’t expecting for things to be happily ever after in the end, but this one left me feeling “WTF?!” Hoping for a sequel, not gonna lie. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Read my fill review on bitchbookshelf.com on February 8. I received this copy for free in exchange for my honest review.
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My Favorite Reread

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson

A Song for SummerA Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is hands down one of my favorite historical romances. I first read it as a teen and just reread it (after reading my other favorite by Ibbotson, The Morning Gift). A few lines didn’t age well but overall this is just such a heartbreaking and lovely romance. (The last chapter made me SOB.)

I definitely reread The Morning Gift soooo many times as a teen but think this might be my first or second FULL reread of this because I forgot a lot and was left in suspense, forced to keep reading after each chapter once I got beyond the first half. Ellen and Marek are two wonderful characters who will stick with me, and as always, Ibbotson writes the best side characters and settings that are somehow also characters. As an adult, this one beats out The Morning Gift for me. The romance is both gorgeous and relatable.

If you are also an Eva Ibbotson romance fan, Ella Risbridger write a great intro for the edition (May 2019) that covers all of my feelings about Ibbotson‘s writing. Also, with I think one exception, if memory serves correct, all of Ibbotson’s heroes are highly intelligent and/or artistic broody messes, and Marek is probably number one on the list or bloodiness if that’s your thing! Ughhh PLUS Ellen is this fabulous post-modern feminist character who loves cleaning and cooking and raising kids, has career goals, doesn’t want to be blinded by her love for some man, and is a total Babe In Total Control of Herself. K I’m done.

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My Final Read

Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Please, Baby, PleasePlease, Baby, Please by Spike Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kadir Nelson’s illustrations are beautiful and fun. I absolutely love the baby’s smirk on the cover! Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee craft a cute story about all the times we tell a baby “no” over the course of the day, and about how we love and are loved by our babies.

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My Absolute Favorite Read of 2019

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1)Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Omg, amazing. This is the best historical rom com I have EVER read. The plot is great, the romance is so steamy, and I cried as much as I laughed. I cannot wait for Book 2 in 2020, especially because Lucie (my favorite of the side characters) is the heroine. But I’m dying for every character mentioned who isn’t just background or a “bad guy” to have a love story of their own. (Especially Peregrin/Catriona though I want him to mature a little – but even Sebastian’s most recent ex and Annabelle’s other suitor! Not naming names because spoilers, kinda.)

Sharing my favorite quotes, all of which I found super relatable:

She wouldn’t make a convenient wife to any man she knew. It had probably been thus from the moment she had read about men like Achilles, Odysseus, Jason; demigods and men who knew how to navigate the seven seas. Perhaps her father should have made her read “Sleeping Beauty” instead of The Iliad – her life might have turned out quite differently.

…intimidation roused a strong emotion in her: resistance.

“… how frustrating is it to be surrounded by people considered your betters when they don’t hold a candle to your abilities?”

Making noise sounded ominous when, from the cradle, one had been taught to be quiet.

“I have been used and discarded once before,” she said, “and some days… some days I still feel utterly disposable. I cannot go through it again.”

“You must know that you want too much.” / “Yes … I always did.”

“There are people who always feel responsible … They can’t quite help themselves.”

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Yep, 2019 was a memorable reading year for me. I highly suggest all of these books! They were all very memorable. Use the links above to add them to your Amazon wish list or cart – and to follow me on Goodreads. Hoping for an even more memorable year of reading in 2020.