The Books I Read {2019}

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Each year I aim to read more than the year before. I used to love reading before the children came along and so now I’m trying to make time each week – and most days – to read again. Here are the books I’ve read through 2019:

Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

This was a teen fiction book and the main characters were secondary school age children. The story is about an on the run criminal who they are trying to help locate but underneath that story there is so much more to this book.

Turtles All The Way Downgave me a real insight into mental health issues and the main character has quite a lot going on in her head to deal with every day. After reading the book I really felt like I’d had an insight into something I’d never taken time to understand before and I’m so glad I read it.

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

This book was so sad in places, so emotive and so, so deep. I couldn’t put it down and although most of the book revolves around teenagers I could relate to so much of what the characters were going through. It covers first relationships and teenage issues but it’s definitely not a teen book – I won’t spoil it by giving away the huge unexpected twist and the story of where the main characters came from but I can guarantee if you pick this up you’ll not want to put it down. It was a really great read.

The Hidden Legacy – G J Minnett

Now this was a book that took a while to get my head around. It jumped from years ago to the present day and to so many years in between. It was written from so many different character’s viewpoints and had so many characters in it. But, once I’d made sure I was paying attention to what year we were in and who was in each scene the book flowed really well and I was gripped.

This book had so many twists in it and I was not expecting the ending at all. It was a book that kept me guessing and was just so satisfying to read.

Together – Julie Cohen

I’ll admit, I didn’t have high hopes for this book. I bought it from Amazon on a whim, hadn’t read the back and didn’t find the cover very inspiring. So I left it until the bottom of my pile to read. But I was so impressed with the story.

I had absolutely no idea where the book was going until the last couple of chapters and although it hinted towards things I had no idea what those things actually were. It was so well written and one that I was so confused by after reading it – but in a good way. It pushed me to assess my own thoughts, wonder what I would do in that situation and try and decide whether I thought the characters were right or wrong. I still haven’t worked that out. Definitely read this book.

How to Be Happy – Eva Woods

I think I really got a lot from this book. On first glance it looks like a self help guide but it’s actually a really emotive story about friendship, families, love and death. It was raw, heartbreakingly honest and just so sad. But, it was also uplifting, inspiring and aspirational – I feel like I’ll make each day fuller and be a touch more positive for reading it.

Her Name was Rose – Claire Allan

This book took a while to get into and a while to get used to the characters in it as there were quite a lot of characters with interlacing stories. But, as soon as we got to know the characters a bit better I really got invested in the story and invested in the characters – and I was quite sad and shocked by the end of the book. It was a great read but I wasn’t expecting the ending.

Still Me – Jojo Moyes

This is the third book in the Louisa Clarke series and anyone who loved Me Before You needs to read this book – after reading After You anyway. It’s another installment following Louisa’s life, this time across the Atlantic. It’s a book with a story that was incredibly loose in places and with characters that lack much depth – apart from Louisa and her unlikely companion that shares the second half of the book. But, that aside, I really enjoyed the book and I was really pleased with the ending. I’m sure there will be another book in the series before too long.

The Woman in the Window – A J Finn

I heard great things about this book and was really looking forward to reading it but I found it really hard to get into. The main character is a really strange one. She has mental and physical health problems and although the book is really well written to help portray that I found it hard to really get on with the character which stopped me fully enjoying this book.

I guessed a few of the twists in the book early on but the full story was pretty shocking and I hope that after the end of the book everyone managed to live happily ever after. It left me feeling quite empty afterwards.

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

This book was such a disappointment. After Liane Moriarty’s other books I was really looking forward to reading this one but it was so hard to get into. With nine different people, and the story told from each of their perspectives, jumping from character to character I found it hard to really get into the story or find where it was going. It’s meant to be full of suspense and danger but I found it lacked any real depth. The story didn’t get going until quite near the end and it felt like the author just didn’t really know where she was going with it. One that I’d happily never look at again.

The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story – Christie Watson

This book was not what I expected. After reading This is Going to Hurt last year I was expecting something similar – light hearted and humorous. Instead I got a really educational and insightful look at the world of nursing over the years. It made me laugh but mostly it made me think and it brought out a whole world of emotions. This was quite slow going and hard to read in places but I feel like I’ve learnt a lot from it.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

I had seen this book talked about so much and everyone I spoke to recommended I read it. But, it took me months to bring myself to actually open it and start reading. I always find any difficult topic turned into entertainment really hard to deal with – it just doesn’t sit right with me – but I always want to learn more and understand more about events in history. And I am so glad I read this book.

This really wasn’t an easy book to read. It was graphic and horrific in places but it was true. Horribly true. It gave such a stark account of life in concentration camps but it also had an underlying love story and a sense of hope that you can’t help but hold on to. The Tattooist of Auschwitz was a great book. It taught me so much and opened my eyes to so much too.

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

This book is actually the second in a series – but I didn’t realise that when I started reading it. However, it still works well as a standalone book. It’s a teen fiction novel but it is very heavily sex and relationships focused so not really aimed at young teens. It’s all about revenge porn and how in some parts of America revenge porn is legal and a fictional crusade to change the laws. It’s a really empowering book – feminists will love it but it doesn’t slate men either – it shows how both good and bad men and women can be.

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read – Philippa Perry

This book isn’t my usual kind of book. It’s verging on being a self-help book but I felt I should read it. Having had issues with my own childhood and long term relationships with my parents as well as having children of my own it felt like a book I could really take something from.

This book definitely reinforced to me that we take a lot from our own childhoods into later life and life as parents and we need to make conscious decisions to either be that way or to move past it. It also showed me that so much of life impacts how we are as parents and it helped me to see new ways of dealing with situations. I’m really glad I read it.

Marly’s Ghost – David Levithan

This book wasn’t like anything I have ever read before. It was like a Christmas Carol meets Valentine’s Day and it was an incredibly sad book with what should have been a really uplifting ending. However, it just made me feel sad and unsettled. Not one I’d recommend.

Playgroups and Prosecco – Jo Middleton

This book was a perfect holiday read. It had really good characters in it, a few twists and a storyline that I could really relate to. It made me laugh so much and I think any parent would get something from this book and I really enjoyed reading it. It had real life, social media, parenting and even a love story in there too.

I Invited Her In – Adele Parks

This book was not what I was expecting at all. There were so many twists in the story and I’m not sure if I really enjoyed it but it definitely kept me hooked until the end. I love a book where all the loose ends come together and where people get their comeuppance. I didn’t really feel that from this book but it kept me turning the pages.

Right Behind You – Lisa Gardner

This book’s main characters are two orphans who grow up in the care system in America. That was eye opening for me and gave a really different perspective on the characters. This book is one where you think it’s all done and dusted within the first few chapters but then the pace picks up and it keeps you guessing until the end. A really great read.

Sweet Little Lies – Caz Frear

This book was so hard to read in places. It was mainly about a dark underworld that I’m sure exists but no-one really wants to know about. It’s was horrific, dark and scary but it was a story that kept me reading and left me feeling quite empty afterwards. It was a great but difficult read.

Copy Cat – Alex Lake

Oh my gosh. This book. Anyone on social media would feel some level of unease whilst reading this book. It brought to life the risk we take by sharing information about ourselves online – simple things like our date of birth, children’s birthdays or our jobs. The book spiralled from a bit of a what’s going to happen suspense into something a lot darker and more sinister. About three quarters of the way through the book everything came to a head and I found it so shocking yet a really well written book. It’s worth a read but I’d steer clear if you suffer from any level of anxiety.

The People at Number 9 – Felicity Everett

This was probably one of the hardest books to read this year. I spent the whole book trying to work out where it was going – and it ended up not really going anywhere! The characters were all equally annoying and grating, the storyline lacked any real substance and I felt quite sorry for all the children in the book. I’d definitely skip reading this again in favour of any other book.

The Working Woman’s Handbook – Phoebe Lovatt

Ignoring the sexist title, this is a fantastic book for anyone who works in the creative industries. It’s the best ‘self help’ book I’ve read related to my work and it really spoke to me like no other book ever has.

The book is a great read for people just starting out or people who have been in business for years. It’s aimed at freelancers or those starting businesses and has tips and ideas about every aspect of working life. It talks about setting up a business, how to keep momentum and find inspiration, tax and the importance of savings, having time off and how to manage your time to make sure your health is a priority too. The best book I’ve read this year.

And there you have it, a year of books and I managed 21 over the course of the year, two more than last year! Have you read anything good recently?

You can see the books I read over previous years here: 2018, 2017, 2016.


  • Donna Wishart

    Donna Wishart is married to Dave and they have two children, Athena (12) and Troy (11). They live in Surrey with their two cats, Fred and George. Once a Bank Manager, Donna has been writing about everything from family finance to days out, travel and her favourite recipes since 2012. Donna is happiest either exploring somewhere new, with her camera in her hand and family by her side or snuggled up with a cat on her lap, reading a book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. She firmly believes that tea and cake can fix most things.

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One Comment

  1. Wow, you’ve read loads! I don’t actually know how many books I read but probably not that many. I’m going to read the working woman’s handbook on your recommendation, it sounds really helpful. Terrible name though!

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