A Bookish Wrap-Up | Completing 2019 Goodreads Challenge in 5 Months

I love participating in the annual Goodreads Challenge. I started it in 2013 and continue to do so until the recent date. This year, despite being busy with daily life activities, I've been able to complete my 2019 Goodreads Challenge of reading 30 books and I'm quite proud of it since this is the largest number of books I've completed throughout these past years AND I finished it in May rather than December.

I wish the number of books had been higher but knowing myself for not being a consistent reader, I set a comparatively low goal since I would get stressed out if I wouldn't be able to complete the reading challenge or perhaps even worst, I'd probably push myself to read "cheat books" just to get the numbers up. Anyhow, I wasn't expecting to read this fast, in fact, again, I was doubtful about finishing 30 books in a year, which was also the reason why I originally set it as 15.

Discovering New Favourite Author.
Of the 30s, 8 were books written by Colleen Hoover and it's safe to say that I'd pick up whatever books by her despite her romance story-tellings aren't really one of my favourites to read. Her recent published books had me binge reading from one book to another because I found them very hard to put down. Hoover has this genuine writing style and her words always sounded so realistic that they often put me in emotions. 
So far, I've read;
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | Verity (5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | It Ends with U (3.5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | Without Merit (3⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | All Your Perfect (5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | Ugly Love (1⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | Maybe Someday (3⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | Maybe Not (1⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Colleen Hoover | Maybe Now (2⭐)

source: [here]
All of these books are known to heavily centred towards a romance theme through books like Verity and Without Merit are shelved as Mystery/Thriller and Young Adult respectively. If you're into reading, you would know that Colleen Hoover and adult romance cannot be separated and thanks to her, I was able to widen out my book genre instead of sticking to my comfort zone of reading Young Adult Fantasy. I don't know about you guys, but I personally prefer fantasy books rather than contemporary because I'm all about adventurous escapism and strong female characters that always have been portrayed throughout a lot of YA books. Hoover doesn't write fantasy, at least not yet, so I feel like it's a good thing to alternate between her stories and a world-building that doesn't feel real to exist.

My favourite book from Colleen Hoover out of the ones I've read is 'All Your Perfect' because it literally has become the only book that was able to make me cried whilst reading. Telling the story in 'now' and 'then' perspectives, this book was about a couple, Quinn and Graham who struggled to save their crumbling marriage due to some internal issues that could affect a lot of real-life married couples out there without me realising. I bookmarked so many quotes I liked throughout the story and one of them is this; 

Falling in Love with Chick-Lit.
Continuing with the romance theme, this year, I've also read quite a number of chick-lit books which basically a genre that addresses issues of modern womanhood, usually set in urban areas and the main character is in her 20s or 30s. The best example of this is "Confessions of a Shopaholic" written by Sophie Kinsella, "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes and "The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger.

In 2019, I discovered a writing duo referring themselves as Christina Lauren and so far I've read 3 titles from them with the recently published book is becoming my favourite. Save for Roomies, which I find it bored, I do generally enjoy Christina Lauren's writings since they are simply hilarious and consistently make me laugh out loud when reading. I'd categorise all of the upcoming Christina Lauren books as 'instant grab' since their writing is something I'd trust myself enjoying it regardless of plot.

๐Ÿ’œ Christina Lauren | My Favorite Half-Night Stand (4⭐)
๐Ÿ’œChristina Lauren | Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating (3⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Christina Lauren | Roomies (1⭐)

Two more chick-lit authors I've discovered this year are Helena Hunting for "Meet Cute" and Kristy Greenwood for "Big Sexy Love" and I LOVED THEM BOTH. Again, their stories are warm and hilarious with the right amount of romance and humour, they would be perfect for a summer read. I always feel like a chick-lit book usually comes with a witty and funny writing style and also the pacing is light compared to adult romance, hence I personally enjoy this genre a bit more. Plus, I find that these plots are easy to relate due to age and environment factors.

๐Ÿ’œ Kirsty Greenwood | Big, Sexy Love (4.5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Helena Hunting | Meet Cute (4⭐)

Malaysian-born Writers in Western Publications.
This year I'm all about promoting homegrown authors to my friends (yes, you included)! because they are really like the hidden gems in the literature world. They are goood and I didn't expect them to be this goood, so I was quite surprised to learn that the quality of the writing is similar to international authors. It's also so interesting to see Western readers are willing to get very intimate with the language and culture of our own Malaysia since I've seen many of them are giving these books very high ratings on Goodreads. You would see familiar settings like Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, familiar dishes and kuehs being mentioned and of course, there are a lot of Manglish slangs too

๐Ÿ’œ Hanna Alkaf | The Weight of Our Sky (3.5⭐)

๐Ÿ’œ Yangsze Choo | The Night Tiger (5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Yangsze Choo | The Ghost Bride (4⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Chap Ling Yap | Sweet Offering (2⭐)

I cannot help but to feel proud to see many titles getting picked up by overseas publishers and for those of you who don't know, The Ghose Bride by Yangsze Choo is recently acquired by Netflix for its drama adaptation. So far, all of the books I've read are categorised as historical fiction.

YA? Still Reading Them in My Late 20s.

Having to read YA for most of the days in my life, I feel like this genre definitely goes beyond the age category and there are a lot of adults out there who still read book shelving as a YA. P/S: Harry Potter series paved the way. To publishers, YA might have just become a marketing category for a higher sale pitch because trust me, I noticed (and read) a lot of books that I'd personally categorise them as Adult/Adult Romance but you can definitely find them at the bookstores in the Young Adult section. One of the examples is A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Mass, well, I mean... if you know, you know

I reread "A Court of Mist and Fury" for the second time and it's still, definitely one of my favourites books of all time. While I'm not the biggest fan of Sarah J. Mass writing due to the fact that her writing can get repetitive at times, I can't deny the fact that she's a Queen for YA Fantasy, she knows how to write and what readers want to read. I also started to read her famous "Throne of Glass" book series but you see, I'm a bit struggling to finish it. 

๐Ÿ’œ Sarah J. Maas | A Court of Mist and Fury (5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Sarah J. Maas | Throne of Glass (2⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Sarah J. Maas | Crown of Midnight (5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Sarah J. Mass | Heir of Fire (1⭐)

I adore "The Cruel Price" series by Holly Black and earlier this year, I've read her highly anticipated sequel book that ended up being a major disappointment to myself due to its cliche plot and slow-driven pacing. Regardless, the series is good and I'd highly, highly recommend. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, you're doing yourself a great disservice, there are many good reasons why it has become popular and iconic series among the recent booktubes community.

๐Ÿ’œ Holly Black | The Wicked King (3⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Holly Black | The Lost Sisters (5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Karen M. McManus | Two Can Keep A Secret (2⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Brigid Kemmerer | A Curse So Dark and Lonely (3.5⭐)

First of its, More New Genres to Dive In.

I'm glad my reading genre is expanding this year lol. One of the best books I've read so far is actually a dark, high fantasy book that I'd usually shy away because I prefer light and fluffy reading. "The Poppy War" by R.F Kuang is written based on the Sino-Japanese War and the story is geared toward dark elements such as brutal depiction of war, mass slaughter, rape, drugs and more. And just to convince you to pick up this book, The Poppy War has been nominated with a lot of literary awards, so you know it's a real deal. Apparently, the book comes with a lot of trigger warnings and in my case, it came out to be true because I could feel my anxiety and distressing feeling raising up while reading.

Meanwhile, I picked up another historical fiction book called; "The Seven Husbands of Everly Hugo" after seeing it being hyped up on Goodreads. I did enjoy the book more than I thought I would but I gave it a 3 rating because it  was just an okay-ish, not type of book I generally gravitate to. Same goes to the only mystery book I've read so far in 2019; "An Anonymous Girl".

๐Ÿ’œ R.F. Kuang | The Poppy War (5⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Taylor Jenkins Reid | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (3⭐)
๐Ÿ’œ Sarah Pekkanen | An Anonymous Girl (3⭐)

The Good Writings.

I come to appreciate books that sounded so magical with its writing and the world-building that I'd be able to imagine due to its vivid descriptions and that ladies and gentlemen, was the sole reason why I like 'A Court of Mist and Fury' in the first place. However, there are 2 more authors I'd like to give credit to; Alexandra Christo for "To Kill a Kingdom" and Stephanie Garber for "Caraval" series and I feel like both of them kinda have a similar writing style. Their books are the kind of books that would keep you hooked from the first page and you would find yourself totally immersed in their writings.

๐Ÿ’œ Alexandra Christo | To Kill A Kingdom (5⭐)

๐Ÿ’œ Stephanie Garber | Legendary (4.5⭐)

There are a couple of books I've like to read this year including the sequel to The Poppy War and the final book to Caraval series, so my journey isn't ended yet. Till then, this is my first half of 2019 bookies wrap-up with 30 books and we will meet again at the end of the year in December! Also, feel free to follow me on Goodreads! link [HERE].

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Jennifer said...

I'd love to do this challenge!!

Effortlessly Sophisticated

ieyra h. said...

I look forward to it! :D do let me know if you have an account on Goodreads

xx ieyra

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Alyssa said...

That is amazing! I can never accomplish my Goodreads challenge so I stopped setting one since last year (^^',)

xx Alyssa | STYLE VANITY

Vanessa Berlin said...

Great! I found this post very helpful! I wish I could have some extra hours during the day to accomplish thsi challenge. I love reading, it's one of my favorite hobbies, especially when you find a good book. I bookmarked this post as a reference. I will try to start this challenge soon!
Have a great weekend!