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  • Laurel Anne

Books of 2019: 11-20


If you read my post in May about the first 10 books of 2019, you know that this year my goal is to read 50 books by December 31st. And even though I'm behind because I'm in the middle of some pretty hefty ones right now, I think I'm tracking pretty well.

I want to keep track of these books and what my thoughts are on them, so I made a story highlight on my personal Instagram where you can get an overall view of my thoughts on each one. But I wanted to also write these blog posts every so often, giving me the space to go a little more in depth.

So, enjoy this review of the 11th-20th books I've read so far. Let me know which ones you've read, which ones you haven't, and which ones you might even give a different rating to!

11. Persuasion by Jane Austen

This is one of those books I read every year. It's my favorite of Jane Austen's novels and shorts (if you haven't read Lady Susan, you should), and fun fact: men were her primary audience until WWII, when women started to read her novels more. So dudes, you guys should read her work more often. She's not a romance novelist. Her books all center on some type of political, religious, or morality theme. Persuasion is fantastic, and I attribute part of it being her finest work to the fact that it was one of her last ones. She crafts a beautiful story of love and loss, manipulation and coercion, family values, and ultimately, redemption. She gives you a lot to think about. For the time period, her writing is well-paced and a lot faster moving than some other authors of the time. It's easy to keep reading. I will always recommend it to anyone who wants to read a classic. I also happen to have 2 or 3 copies, so Laurel's Library is open if you want to borrow it. Overall: 10/10.

12: The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown

Honestly, it was a weird coincidence that I read this book on the same week Notre Dame burned. It made me feel more emotionally connected to the story than I think I actually was. The storyline was predictable and it made me roll my eyes a few times. But there were sweet parts and I enjoyed the ending. With romance novels, I can't say I'm easily impressed--so if you enjoy this genre, assume you'll always like the books more than I do! And once you're done reading this book, read the author's note at the end. It made me like the book even more. I don't know if I'll read it again but it was a nice one time thing. Overall, 6/10.

13. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

This wasn't my favorite book, but I liked her message and thought it was really important for culture nowadays. Being present, instead of focused on being perfect. Her writing style isn't my favorite and I found it hard to not skip sometimes when things got slow or repetitive. I skimmed a few boring parts. Not the best book of its genre, but if perfectionism is a topic you want to learn about and be encouraged in, I'd recommend it to you. While it wasn't what I necessarily was looking for when I started the book, I still enjoyed it more than I thought I would when I was a few chapters in. And I think it's been impactful to more people than not in my circle, so I think a lot of people will enjoy this one. Overall, 7/10.

14. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I'm not sure how I feel about Cinderella being a cyborg. I expected this book to have more shades of the original fairytale, but the only resemblance it holds is a girl with a mean stepmom who goes to a ball. The characters (aside from the stepmom) were not similar to their namesakes. It took me a while to get used to that. For its genre, it's pretty well done. Very predictable, but that's okay because that's what YA fiction is all about. I'll be picking up the sequel, though I'm not sure if I'll get through the whole series. I give it a 7/10.

15. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman

I'm not 100% sure what I think of this book, to be honest. I didn't enjoy his writing style, but the story ended up being better than what I expected based on the beginning. Slow to start, and I wouldn't say everything in the book needs to be there; he could've cut out a lot of random paragraphs that didn't move the story along or give you any information you needed. And again, his writing style was tough for me to get through, so those paragraphs were brutal. But it ended up cute and had some really interesting pieces to it. I think I liked it. And I'm looking forward to reading more of his work to get a better idea of him as a writer. Overall, 7/10. (I think this tends to be my standard rating, haha)

16. The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle

Wow, I love this book. It's a wonderful story beautifully crafted with a lot of thought put into it. It was published in 2018, so I don't think there's a sequel yet. But I'm on the lookout. And I'm definitely going to buy this one. The author has such creative ideas and executes them very well! Not too wordy, well-paced; as far as middle grade books go, this one's going towards the top of my list. I plan to buy it, actually. The characters are easy to love/hate (based on if they're good or evil ;)) and the dialogue was pretty fun. Honestly, I kept thinking as I read it, 'That was such a good idea!' Well done, Catherine Doyle. I'm a fan. I definitely gave it a 9.5/10.

17. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

What an interesting premise! An island where letters of the alphabet are displayed on a statue and as they fall off, one by one the letters are banned from use, until there's almost nothing left. It's an epistolary novel, written in the form of letters between family members. At first it was difficult to tell who was who, but as soon as I got it, it was really fun. The ending is difficult to read/understand but kind of funny because of that. It was a simple and straightforward story, easy to read quickly, and entertaining. I loved seeing how the author used the English language in cool, unique ways. I recommend it for an easy read! Especially during the summer. It's good for a bit of a laugh while also staying concerned with the characters and their lives! Overall, 8/10.

18. Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

I loved reading a story that was separate, but still had pieces woven in that connected with the original trilogy. I love the universe the Star Wars franchise has created, and seeing it from the perspective of this book was pretty cool. I got to see the entirety of Episodes IV, V, and VI from another point of view! Every time I wondered where in the storyline I was, something would happen and these characters would somehow collide with the OG Star Wars story. You guys know I'm a huge Star Wars nerd. There were a few steamy scenes, but other than that it was relatively clean. A few parts did feel boring. But it picked back up really quickly. It was a good read, for sure. I'd recommend to other Star Wars fans! I give it an 8.5/10.

19. By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson

I loved this book! I was reading until 12:30am because I couldn't put it down. This fantasy book will definitely go on my "always recommend" list. I enjoyed the dialogue and world building, the characters were great. It went pretty much as I predicted but there were some twists in the story that were well done, and I didn't see one of them coming. Well paced and entertaining, but also had some heavier themes in there as well. It's got a similar feel to books like the Narnia series, where the author weaves in Christian theology into the story, and I enjoyed the way she's going about it so far. It's the first in a series and I'm already looking up the second book.

20. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

It's the sequel to Cinder! And I think I liked it more. I'll keep going through the series for now. It was pretty predictable but there were a few parts I didn't really expect, which I appreciated. Her writing style is pretty good, dialogue is okay; I liked what she did with the Red Riding Hood premise more than with Cinderella. That might be because I'm not as emotionally invested in the original fairytale haha, and I also have really enjoyed the different adaptations of RRH I've read through the years. I'm not sure yet if I'd recommend the series as a whole, unless you're big into YA, and then I'd say go for it. You'd like this for sure. We'll see how the whole series turns out. Overall, 7/10 for this one.

I'm excited for some of the books I have coming up! It's mid-June and I've only finished 20 books so far, but that just means I might have to add some shorter/easier reads to help me get caught up. Or just read more. We'll see. But either way, I hope you keep up with the list as more reviews come out!

Tell me what books you're loving this summer, give me all the suggestions!

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