I read (about) 116 books in 2019, and to be honest, could barely decide on my top ten reads of the year. Not because I read a lot of bad books, but because I am a very picky reader, and wanted this list to contain the books that truly GOT ME. STABBED ME IN THE HEART. MADE ME LAUGH. SUPER GOOD READS.
And it was hard.
Big shout out to the authors I read this year, though. Whether your book made the list or not, please, it still probably touched my heart, made me smile… and it’ll probably pop up in another list sometime this year. Or maybe it showed up on my Instagram. *hint hint*
Let’s hop to it! I’ll drop y’all titles, covers, blurbs, and my thoughts. If you have thoughts, feel free to drop ’em in the comments. It’s fangirl time.
EVERY BRIGHT AND BROKEN THING by BRIAN MCBRIDE
Haunted by the last question their mother ever asked them before she passed away, the Greyson brothers struggle to cope with their grief and adjust to life after tragedy.
Semi-popular sixteen-year-old Liam spends his nights performing as the lead singer of his high school indie pop/rock band, Liam and the Landmarks. But something happened to Liam two years ago at his friend’s house – a secret Liam will take to his grave. But in small towns like Summit, Colorado, secrets always seem to find their way out.
Twenty-four-year-old Ezra thought that he could cure his grief when he left Summit behind for a prestigious art school in Chicago, but things only got worse. Now a college dropout working at a gas station mini mart, he turns to alcohol, prescription painkillers, and meaningless one-night stands. But Ezra can’t run forever – life always catches up with you.
With striking and abrasively honest dual-perspective narratives, EVERY BRIGHT AND BROKEN THING illustrates the unbreakable bond between brothers and the power in coming home.
Y’know when God says “read this book”? Well, I fought that voice. Beta reader sign ups were open for this book, but I wrestled with signing up because I was busy, moving out of the house, just totally overwhelmed. And God told me to read this book, anyway. I’ve read it three times total and won’t stop rereading it. It makes me cry every time. (#EverybodyNeedsATheo) I have a HUGE review here. 5/5 stars.
AMERICAN ASSASSIN by VINCE FLYNN
Mitch Rapp is a gifted college athlete who just wants retribution for the Pan Am Lockerbie attack. He trains six months intensely with other clandestine operatives, under CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield and protégé Irene Kennedy, to stop terrorists before they reach America. The assassin leaves a trail of bodies from Istanbul across Europe to Beirut, where he needs every ounce of skill and cunning to survive the war-ravaged city and its deadly terrorist factions.
I ADORED THIS BOOK. It made me laugh (way too much, I might have a morbid sense of humor), it made me think hard, it grabbed me from the first page and I didn’t want to stop reading. It also inspired me to write The Infidel Books, so the fact this book helped me in my own writing says a lot. (But Richards deserved better and y’all can’t change my mind) Full review here. 5/5 stars.
THE MARTIAN by ANDY WEIR
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
HILARIOUS. Fast paced and full of laughs, this book was really enjoyable and such a stress relief! I got the movie too, and while it was nice, it didn’t quite capture the humor aspect. I read it back in January so I didn’t review it on Goodreads, sadly. 4/5 stars.
THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. HINTON
No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends – true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. And when it comes to the beating up on “greasers” like him and his friends – he knows that he can count on them for trouble. But one night someone takes things too far, and Ponyboy’s world is turned upside down…
Really fun book, super cute, and I loved the cast. Not super happy with the ending, but I get it. I also liked the movie, too, and Dally is absolutely amazing. Definitely my favorite. Full review here. 5/5 stars.
FLOWERS IN HER HEART by KELLYN ROTH
Can Adele change her entire lifestyle to be a mother to her babies?
When her husband goes off to war, Adele feels lost and confused. In a new, less-than-ideal place in a frightening, less-than-ideal time, she flees to the garden with her daughters, determined to make their new house a home, even if it is from the outside in.
Battered by her own inner turmoil and scoffed at by those close to her, Adele seeks to make something beautiful amidst chaos. But can even the most beautiful flowers cover the years of scars?
Super duper adorable read, packed with painful heart punches and sweet characters. I liked the setting and the main characters. Kellyn did a great job in her writing craft! Full review here. 3.5/5 stars.
SONS OF SLAUGHTER by BRIAN MCBRIDE
It’s 1994 in the small town of Clatskanie, Oregon. In a struggle to escape the grasp of his stepfather, a violent drunk, Beck discovers his late grandfather’s cabin abandoned in the woods and convinces his best friend, Dean – just released from a mental hospital after a failed suicide attempt – to help him repair it.
Defiant Beck has always been a daydreamer. For years, his only escape from his stepfather’s torment was a world he created for himself in his mind. But little by little the lines between the two worlds begin to blur until soon he becomes convinced that the world in which he is Beck isn’t the real world at all.
Quiet Dean never meant to get his girlfriend pregnant, but despite threats made by his former gang, the West Coast Howlers, he’s more determined than ever to create a life for himself, Emilia, and their unborn child. Dean, usually the one who doesn’t control anything, soon finds himself at the epicenter of a storm that threatens the lives of those he loves most.
With explosively vivid and startlingly sharp prose, Sons of Slaughter forms a compelling narrative about the battlefield that lies both within us and around us, and what it means to fight – and bleed – for the ones we love.
Dark, thrilling, bold… just how I like a novel, y’all. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into at first, since a couple of the tough topics addressed in the novel are hard for me to read about, but it was a fantastic book. Beck was easily my favorite character, I could relate to him so much, and watching the end of the novel come closer… It ended perfectly. I can’t say that for a lot of books. Full review here. 5/5 stars.
KILL SHOT by VINCE FLYNN
In the year since the CIA trained and then unleashed him, Mitch Rapp has dismantled, kill by untraceable kill, the network of monsters behind the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. The hunt leads to Paris, where a deadly trap is sprung as the bullet leaves Rapp’s silenced pistol—followed by the discovery of nine bodies, including Libya’s oil minister, in one of the city’s finest hotels. Washington wants no part of the international crisis, and Rapp is deemed a liability by Stan Hurley, one of his handlers. But as he slips outside their control to operate on his own, it will soon become clear that nothing is more dangerous than a wounded and cornered Mitch Rapp.
I decided to read the Mitch Rapp books in order, and after being blown away by American Assassin, honestly wasn’t sure what else to expect. Kill Shot was the next book and wow, y’all. I loved it, too. It held a major surprise and had me turning page after page. Super cool plot, as well, since it was a bit more… I wanna say personal, but, yeah. Full review here. 4/5 stars.
FREEDOM by FAITH POTTS
Having just returned to American soil from the desert sands of the Middle East, James Greene is done with his life. ‘Double amputee’ doesn’t seem like a strong enough phrase to label the physical and emotional pain he bears. Add the lack of love and communication with his family members, the demons that haunt him day and night, and he can find nothing worth living for. Ending it all is the only way out.
Alexandria Lorance is a not-so-ordinary physical therapist, content with aiding in her patients’ recoveries. Her work gives her fulfillment, but alone in the silence, she still endures the hidden scars of a past, unhealthy relationship. Reminding herself that true healing is found in Christ alone, she seeks to show kindness and love to everyone she meets.
When these two broken ones’ paths intersect, the spark of friendship is ignited, bringing hope and joy to both. Can they step out of the darkness of suffering and into the freedom of grace?
A Marine, broken by war. A therapist, scarred by words. A chance meeting in a parking lot bonded them together. But can love grow in these two hurting hearts? Or are they truly too broken to ever find lasting happiness?
A truly moving piece of writing, showing the importance of God and the necessity of hope in a broken world. The book doesn’t shy away from the reality of veterans returning home, the dire struggle of PTSD, and so forth, but it also is the perfect balance of realistic writing and reflecting the glory of Christ through it all. I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait for the rest of the books in the series. Full review here. 5/5 stars.
IVY INTROSPECTIVE by KELLYN ROTH
In a world that doesn’t understand her, how can she grow?
Ivy Knight lives her life in a blur of confusion as the world passes her by in a tumultuous melody. She isn’t the perfect daughter or student, but as long as she can be with her family, she doesn’t mind watching rather than living.
Mrs. Chattoway treasures both of her granddaughters now that they’re reunited. When Ivy’s parents enroll her in a Scottish school for unique children, she’s happy to chaperone.
In a new place with a new guardian, Ivy discovers a special talent that helps her see the blurred world in a new way. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and Ivy becomes determined to find it—and help others do the same.
I read the previous version of this novel in 2019, but Kellyn will be relaunching Ivy Introspective in 2020. The Dressmaker’s Secret, book #1, is new and improved, and you can find it here on Amazon! I enjoyed the original series but look forward to the new books. (I mean, I … might… know what happens differently, but… shhh.) Full (old) review here. 5/5 stars.
EXECUTIVE POWER by VINCE FLYNN
Mitch Rapp’s cover has been blown. After leading a team of commandoes deep into Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from joining the nuclear arms race, he has been publicly hailed by the president as the single most important person in the war against terrorism. After years of working covertly behind the scenes, Rapp is now in the glare of the public spotlight, marked by every terrorist from Jakarta to London, who now know his identity.
Consequently, Rapp is resigned to leaving the front line. That is, until a platoon of Navy SEALs on a covert mission to the Philippines suffers a surprise attack. All evidence concludes that the source of the mission’s leak lies in the US State Department and the Philippine embassy. But a greater threat still lurks – an unknown assassin working closely with the highest powers in the Middle East bent on igniting war. Now, with the world probing into his every move, will Rapp be able to overcome this anonymous foe and once again protect the world from the threat of international terrorism?
Besides the romance and the fact Mitch stepped outta the shadows, I really liked this one. It made my favorite list because of an assassin named Jabril. He was absolutely fantastic throughout the novel. I docked a whole star for what happened in the end, because, sure, should I have seen it coming? Yes. But I had hope. So. Full review here. 4/5 stars.
And that’s my top ten books of 2019. I’d LOVE to hear YOUR top ten of 2019, so be sure to drop a comment below! Or if you’ve read any of these, did you like ’em? Next week, we’ll have the long awaited “Angie’s Most Anticipated Indie Reads of 2020”. Spoiler alert: expect feels.