2019 Writing and Reading Recap

Hello, people of the Blogosphere! I very obviously did not stick to my 2019 goal of blogging regularly or even at all, and i am not making that a goal for 2020 because college and adulting ate my life, and when I’m not doing either of those things, I usually want to be writing books instead of blog posts. however, I have returned to the internet after almost a year of silence for my annual recap of writing goals and favorite books of the year. I do genuinely hope to post more in 2020 because exciting writerly things may be happening in the upcoming year, but no promises!

Let’s start with a recap of my 2019 writing goals…

◦Finish editing Scarred Flawless: I’m calling this one a partial win! I said in my last recap post that Scarred Flawless had a lot of major developmental problems pertaining to world building because the geography of fictional worlds is one of life’s great mysteries, and maps are hard. Well, the developmental edits are DONE as of a few hours ago!!!! I think the whole thing is logical and coherent now, or at least it will be once I finish the line edits and eradicate all the strange sentences I created at 3 AM.

◦Start drafting Fractured Faith: This did not happen. I don’t even have Fractured Faith fully outlined, but it’s fine. Fractured Faith is the sequel to Scarred Flawless, and Scarred Flawless was my priority for 2019, so I am perfectly happy with what I did accomplish in regards to that series.

◦Start outlining Scarred Flawless Book 3: This sort of happened? I have a few index cards for it at least. Again, this is fine though because at least I mostly met my goal for the first book in the series.

◦Finish outlining Unmarked: That didn’t happen either because I started working on a new book, (Indie Blue), instead of Unmarked. I am quite happy with this arrangement though because i feel like I could sit down and draft Indie Blue right now whereas Unmarked still needs a lot of outlining and research before it’s ready to be drafted.

2020 Writing Goals:

I am only giving myself two major writing goals for 2020 because I am taking Creative Writing I in school this semester, and I’m not sure how much or what kind of writing that is going to require. My two goals are:

◦Finish line edits for Scarred Flawless and get it in the hands of beta readers

◦Finish the zero draft of Indie Blue

2019 Reading Recap:

I read 60 new books in 2019 and failed to review all of them because book review formatting is hard and adulting/school/Scarred Flawless took priority over that. So… here is a list of my top ten favorite books of 2019 with links to Goodreads instead of my own reviews!

1. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. The people weren’t kidding when they said this one was graphic and intense, but man was it good! Yet another work of literary genius from Leigh bardugo!

2. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie stiefvater. This one was my 20th birthday present to myself. It was well worth the audible credit. I don’t have anything more to say about it other than Maggie Stiefvater created another literary masterpiece, and I want to reread it now.

  1. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang. This is an absolutely fantastic sequel to The Poppy War.

  2. Sadie by Courtney Summers. This is not my usual genre, but I absolutely loved this book! It is dark, and suspenseful, and it has a very unique writing style.

  3. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. This one has people who can talk to gods, and creepy mages, and it is amazing.

  4. How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow. This is the only book that made me cry in 2019. Kathleen Glasgow is really good at making me cry, but her writing is fabulous, and I will read everything she writes.

  5. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi. To be quite honest, I really don’t remember much about this book because I read it whilst curled up in bed with a sinus infection trying to drown out my roommates with the audio book, but I gave it 5 stars, so it must have been fabulous!

  6. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. I will read everything Karen McManus writes because her first two books have both been 5 star reads for me.

  7. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. This was a stunning conclusion to Holly Black’s “Folk of the Air” trilogy.

  8. King of Fools by Amanda Foody. This was an excellent sequel to Ace of Shades. Amanda Foody did not disappoint.

2020 Reading Goals

My only reading goal for 2020 is to finish 75 new books. I’m not starting any other kind of reading challenges because I definitely will not stick to them. Feel free to leave some of your 2019 favorites or 2020 books you’re anticipating in the comments though, and I’ll add them to my terrifyingly long TBR! Also, if you’re a writer, let me know what you accomplished this year and what you hope to accomplish in 2020.

Top Ten Tuesday | Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and allows us to combine our love of books with our love of lists. This week’s topic is, “My Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019”.


  1. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManis
    This may or may not be cheating because it came out today, but I’m still including it because I can’t wait to read it! I’ll be starting it as soon as I finish The Poppy War. I’d start it now, but I promised myself that I wouldn’t do the thing where I read multiple books at a time this year because it never ends well.
  2. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1), by Roshani Chokshi
    This one has mystery and secret societies. Also, Roshani Chokshi wrote it. That’s enough to make me want it in my life!
  3. King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1), by Leigh Bardugo
    It’s set in the Grishaverse! Need I say more? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read Six of Crows!
  4. The Dragon Republic (The Poppy war, #2), by R.F. Kuang
    I’m in the middle of The Poppy War right now, and I can already tell that I am going to need the sequel in my life!
  5. How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
    I’ll read literally anything Kathleen Glasgow writes after reading Girl In Pieces. Also, that title is brilliant!
  6. Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake, #2), by Victoria Schwab
    This is the sequel to City of Ghosts which I absolutely adored. Also, Victoria Schwab wrote it, and I’ll read anything she writes!
  7. The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields
    The title is enough to make me want to read this one. Also, there are psychics!
  8. Nocturna by Maya Motayne
    This one has shape shifters, and mobsters, and forbidden magic! Enough said!
  9. Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1), by Emily A. Duncan
    First of all, the title is intriguing. Also, there is magic, and murder, and a girl who can talk to gods!
  10. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
    This is not the kind of thing I would normally read, but Angie Thomas made it onto my “Must Read Everything List” with The Hate U Give.

Top Ten Tuesday | The Best Books I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is designed to combine two great things: books and lists. This Week’s topic is…

The Best Books i Read In 2018

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    This was one of the first books I read in 2018. The story is simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful, and it lends a lot of perspective to the issue of racial discrimination in our society. If you’ve been putting off reading this like I did for a long time, stop it, and go read it now! You will not regret it!
  2. Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody
    I’m gonna be honest… I don’t really remember much about this book, but I rated it four stars on Goodreads, and I do remember being absolutely enthralled with the writing as I listened to the audio book and packed up my life to move to college. It has pretty writing, and gambling, and a crazy magic game played with Tarot cards, okay! You should all go read it, and tell me how it ends so I don’t have to reread it before starting the second book! Just kidding… I actually want to reread it.
  3. The Belles (The Belles #1) by Dhonielle Clayton
    Once again, I really do not remember the ending to this book… I’m starting to realize that I retained very little of what I read during the first few weeks of school, and I foresee a couple of rereads in 2019! I do remember absolutely adoring the characters, plot, and writing style, and the only note for it in my book review notebook is, “Think Hunger Games meets Uglies“, so if you’re into that, you should read this!
  4. The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
    This book has crazy royal fairies and murder! also, Holly Black wrote it! Need I say more?
  5. The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert
    This book features a book full of dark and twisted stories that turn out to be real! Enough said!
  6. City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake, #1) by Victoria Schwab
    This book seems to be targeted at a middle-grade audience rather than my typical young adult genre, but I still love it, and I gave it five stars. I absolutely adore all of the characters, it made me laugh several times during a super crazy time in my life, and I will never turn down a book about ghosties!
  7. A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) by V.E. Schwab
    This was another five star read even though there is an aspect of it that simultaneously enrages and entertains me. This book is pretty dark, but it also had me laughing at several points. I don’t want to say much more about it here because I plan to review it in great detail later.
  8. The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
    Okay, so, the romance plot in this book is gag-inducing instalove, but it’s still adorable. Also, there is a car thieving ring and illegal street racing which automatically makes it awesome! Oddly, I remember reading this on the way to my high school graduation whilst unable to breathe through my nose due to a sinus infection. I’m pretty sure that’s the weirdest reading situation I’ve been in this year.
  9. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
    This book almost made me cry, so it automatically earned four stars for evoking so much emotion in my heart of stone. The story is simultaneously beautiful and sad, and… I don’t actually remember if it ended happily or not, but you should read it…
  10. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
    Okay, I actually DO remember the ending of this book, and it ripped my heart out!!!! Like I nearly cried, and that doesn’t happen! It had me laughing up until that point though, and I still gave it five stars because speaking as a writer, that plot twist was brilliant!

Six of Crows

Six of Crows
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
-Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Suspense
Pages: 462
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Published: September 29th, 2015
Amazon
iBooks
Audio
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Six of Crows is very dark for a young adult novel, yet it still manages to be an easy and entertaining read. The character development is amazing, I loved the romantic tension, and it has some of the best world building I’ve seen since Harry Potter! The only major complaint I have is the plot. As far as I can tell, the first chapter is completely unnecessary, and the pacing seems kind of slow for the first quarter of the book. That being said, Six of Crows is easily one of my most favorite books ever because of the characters and world alone!

Everything, Everything

Everything Everything
“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”
-Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything

Title: everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 310
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: September 1, 2015
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Everything, Everything is one of those books that you can read again and again and get something new from the story every time. It is a somewhat slower-paced story, but it still manages to catch your attention and hold it until the very end. The characters, plot, and setting are all very well developed. The only complaint I have is that the romance seemed very “instalovy”.
The characters in Everything, Everything each have their own backstory that contributes to the plot. Maddy, (the main character), has a severe immune disorder that prevents her from leaving her house. Olly, (Maddy’s love interest), hasn’t had the greatest family life. Maddy’s mother lost her husband and another child in a car accident, and now Maddy is all she has left. Each of these unique backstories contributes to the plot and character development in a way that makes Everything, Everything feel like more than the average teen romance.
Everything, Everything has a very interesting writing style. It is told in the first person narrative through Maddy, (the main character). The writing seemed a little… choppy at first, but after the first chapter or so it became much more fluid.
The plot of Everything, Everything is well-paced for the most part. I do think that some of the exposition could’ve been cut from the beginning, and the romance did feel a lot like instalove. I’m choosing to forgive the instalove in this instance, however, because of the unique situation. I believe that the instalove was made up for by the interesting backstory, strong character development, and bitter-sweet ending.
The ending of Everything, Everything was not what you usually see in young adult romance, but it was a welcome change in my opinion. Without spoiling everything about Everything, Everything, the ending brings a psychological twist into the story that ends everything on a bitter-sweet note.
Overall, Everything, Everything is a great read if you’re up for a cute teen romance with a psychological twist!

Top Ten Tuesday | Most Anticipated Fantasy Books On My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “books from X genre that you’ve recently added to your TBR list”. I am choosing to list my top ten most anticipated fantasy books because fantasy is basically all I read…


  1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  2. Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
  3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  6. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  7. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  8. The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross
  9. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  10. The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Embers

Embers
“We all have responsibilities from our circumstances,
even if we didn’t ask for them.”
― Karen Ann Hopkins, Embers

Title: Embers
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Series: The Wings of War #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 394
Publisher: Self-published
Published: March 15, 2015
Amazon
Audio
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.
Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a seventeen year old girl who discovers that she’s immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt’s boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember’s exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she’s a Watcher, a descendant of angels.
While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it’s cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She may be one of the few champions willing to make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.

My Rating: ☆☆

Embers is one of those books that has a lot of wasted potential. The premise is great, but the follow-through just isn’t there.
The plot of Embers is interesting enough to hold your attention, but the story starts earlier than it should. For starters, the prologue is entirely unnecessary! By unnecessary, I mean its only purpose is to make you wonder what’s behind the creepy wall in the woods. The writing of the prologue isn’t that amazing either… It’s in third person; the rest of the book is in first person. Also, it is very gorry and almost made me put the book down. Maybe it’s just me, but heads should not come off in the first twenty pages unless the book is a horror story or somebody super important is being murdered, (neither of which is the case here)! The first three chapters are also just a bunch of unnecessary set-up. The story doesn’t start until the main character gets to her aunt’s house, but for some reason we’re given explicit details about how she got there in the form of three extra chapters. That being said, Embers tells a pretty good story once the plot actually kicks off. It isn’t the kind of thing you read for brilliant writing or a message that’ll stick with you, but it makes good mindless entertainment!
The characters are… flat. The main character, Ember, is basically a puppet who does whatever has to be done to move the plot along. There was a lot of potential for her to go through some major development, but it was not fulfilled. I mean… The girl watched her parents burn to death in a fire and discovered that fire couldn’t hurt her in the process. She should be traumatized to the point of needing therapy, but instead she just comes across as a winy teenage girl who is quite honestly super annoying. Her love interest is slightly more developed. He’s a demon who doesn’t want to be a demon and has actually considered suicide to escape his demonicness, but again some great potential is wasted. The romance was also major instalove, and the love triangle that was introduced about two-thirds into the book was obviously just there for the sake of having a love triangle. Seriously… Who is going to believe that there is actually a possibility that the descendent of an angel is going to fall in love with a human guy when she basically threw herself at a demon the first time she saw him???
Embers is an excellent example of a book that should not have been written in first person. It would’ve been better if the characters weren’t so flat, but because neither of the two narrators was developed enough to have a strong narrative voice, the first person narrative was just really awkward sounding. Maybe I’m just an up-tight writerly snob, but I wanted to scream and rewrite the entire book in third person the whole time I was reading it. The only thing that got me to read through the writing was the plot. It kept me turning pages to see what happened even though I predicted every single twist from the midpoint onward. Overall, Embers is a pretty good read if you’re into plot driven stories with the “mindless entertainment factor”, but you should probably avoid it if you’re going to be irritated by cardboard characters and not so fantastic writing.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Gods and monsters
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts
And started the apocalypse.”
-Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of smoke & Bone #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 613
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Published: April 8, 2014
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Dreams of Gods & Monsters opens by introducing a new character to the series. I would normally consider it a “writerly no-no” to add a main character so late in a series, but in this case, it works! Without the addition of a new key player, the plot couldn’t have ended as it did. The new character is also very well developed to have entered the story so late, and she undergoes a complete character arck by the end.
The plot of Dreams of Gods & Monsters is tight and well paced. While Days of Blood & Starlight seemed slow in places, Dreams of Gods & Monsters flows quickly and holds your attention until the very last page.
The writing style is very smooth and almost captivating in some places, but as with the first two books, the narrator switches were not handled as well as they could’ve been. There were several instances where a narrator swap occurred in the middle of a chapter, and it got super hard to follow! The fact that there were so many characters didn’t help matters either… Honestly, the whole problem could’ve been remedied if the narrator changes had happened at chapter breaks, but because they didn’t, it became “borderline head-hopping.”
The ending of the series was carried out beautifully! I did NOT see the plot twist coming, but I love how everything was wrapped up! The worlds were saved, everyone who mattered got their happy ever after, and the only thing I could find fault with was the head-hopping problem!

Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of blood and starlight
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.”
― Laini Taylor, Days of Blood & Starlight

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2, (click here for my review of book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 517
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: November 6th, 2012
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Days of Blood & Starlight is a pretty good follow-up to Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The plot picks up basically where the first book ended, but introduces an entirely new setting and conflict. The overall plot was excellent, but the pacing did seem a little slow to me. It wasn’t the torturous kind of slow progression that makes you want to skip ahead, but it definitely could’ve gotten off to a faster start!
The character development was amazing! The book was definitely more plot driven than character driven, but all of the main characters began some kind of transformation that was obvious through their actions and the ways in which they interacted with each other. Each of the character arcs unfolded alongside plot events, and the changes they experienced were caused by the plot, which created a nice balance. By the end of the story, all of the key players were placed at a point where they had to make a decision for better or worse. At that point in the story, they had all progressed enough to understand the right choice, and therefore the story reached a form of closure while still leaving room for the next book.
The writing style of Days of Blood & Starlight is very unique. It has a melodic flow that is beautiful and interesting, yet hard to follow sometimes. Part of the confusion also came from the fact that there were multiple narrators. I think I counted three main narrators and a couple chapters from others. I normally don’t have a problem with multiple narrators, but this got super hard to keep up with! I definitely understand why there were so many narrators, and they were all necessary for the story to unfold, but I think it could’ve been written a little more distinctly. Thankfully it was written in third person, otherwise I don’t think I could’ve gotten through all the head-hopping!
This most definitely is not the kind of book you read for mindless entertainment! Coming from someone who can usually listen to audio books while doing a multitude of other tasks simultaneously without missing a thing in the book, this was not an easy read! I mean… I actually had to dedicate time to curl into a small ball on my bed with only a blanket and coffee to read this thing instead of just throwing on my headphones while being a responsible student! That being said, it told a very unique and amazing story, and I have already started the next book because I am totally hooked on this plot!

Top Ten Tuesday | Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s about things that make you instantly want to read a book!


  1. If there’s magic involved, I’ll probably read it without question. I especially love books with super unique magic system like the one in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
  2. Myths/legends from other cultures like those found in Fear the Drowning Deep.
  3. Royal people fighting to take over the throne, (preferably with magic!) 😉
  4. Assassins because they’re sneaky, and sometimes they throw daggers, and I just love them! I mean I love them in books, NOT real life! I would NOT want to meet an assassin in real life!
  5. Any kind of psychological illness!
  6. Bad boys with deep, dark secrets who actually turn out to be good. So what if it’s a giant trope?!
  7. Diverse characters like those in Tiny Pretty things.
  8. I’ll read pretty much anything about angels.
  9. Awkward, preferably writerly characters because they’re just so relatable! Fangirl, anybody?
  10. I will read literally anything by Rick Riordan or Maggie Stiefvater because they have never failed to tell an amazing story. In other words, go read The Raven Cycle right now because you are missing out on great literature if you haven’t!