My Least Favorite Books from 2019

Least Favorite Reads 2019

I feel like I had a pretty good reading year last year, but there were still some books that I didn’t particularly care for. Note: This list doesn’t include books that I decided to DNF.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict – I read this for a book club and really did not enjoy it. I didn’t find the main character to be strong or compelling and it made me really hate Einstein.

Sisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. Larson – I wanted this book to be more about the sister relationship, but instead I felt like we were given two half-baked romances. And the pacing was NOT good.

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau – I’ve liked some of Charbonneau’s other series’, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I thought Andreus was such a dummy and it felt like this entire book was just a set up for the series.

You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook – This entire plot was just so far-fetched and the main character was incredibly annoying.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I finally read this classic and I didn’t care for it. I didn’t like Mr. Rochester and didn’t really connect with Jane either.

In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund – I’ve really liked some of Peterfreund’s other books! But this one was not a compelling mystery and I didn’t really like any of the characters.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – I just didn’t get this book? Like, I literally didn’t really understand what was happening–I had to look the plot up on Wikipedia afterwards.

What were some of your least favorite reads from 2019?

 

My Favorite Books from 2019

Favorite Reads from 2019

The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard – Really enjoyed this series much more than I thought I would #thehypeisreal. Can’t wait for the next installment!
Reviews: Truthwitch, Windwitch, Bloodwitch

The Library Book by Susan Orlean – This was an amazing read! A must for every book lover.
Review

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – A middle grade I read for book club and LOVED. It’s definitely middle grade, but I feel like I never would have understood its depths as a kid.
Review

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley – Sometimes graphic, but a REAL portrayal of conception, pregnancy, labor, and what it’s like to face impending parenthood.

Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab – Blown away by this series and can’t believe I didn’t start it sooner.
Reviews: ADSoM, AGoS, ACoL

Vicious/Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – I’m very impressed by V.E. Schwab at this point. This is the best depiction of an antihero that I’ve ever read.
Reviews: Vicious, Vengeful

The Big Year by Mark Obmascik – I read this after rewatching the movie. Just as delightful.
Review

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I’d been meaning to read this book forever and I finally did it. Amazing. I understand why it has the reputation it does. Zusak is a masterful author.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (reread) – For some reason I started doubting whether this book was as good as I remembered it being. After an audio book reread, I can confirm that it is for sure.

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn – I didn’t expect much from this book, but was hit hard with unexpected emotion and characters with a surprising amount of depth.
Review

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno – THIS IS WHAT HISPANIC CULTURE IS. The timing of when I read this book could not have been more perfect.
Review

First & Then by Emma Mills – I love the relationship between the main character and her cousin and that it doesn’t take a backseat to the romance.
Review

9 books my baby loves

My baby just turned 1 1/2! It’s crazy how fast that time has gone by, but I also simultaneously know that 18 months is no time at all. My baby does NOT like my reading to him (goodbye dreams of snuggling up before bed reading a book together). He doesn’t like me holding books or turning the pages, but then he turns pages too fast for me to actually read so… It’s been a struggle–he’s just too independent I guess. Regardless, I wanted to share with you guys some of the books he’s loving lately.

Baby books

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst – The board book version has black and white illustrations with Alexander being the only character in color. There’s a lot more text compared to some other children’s books too, so it surprised me that D likes this one so much, but I find him paging through it all the time!

Don Quixote: A Babylit Spanish Language Primer by Jennifer Adams – We got a few of these classics for babies, but D especially loves this one. It has words in English and then the same words in Spanish on the opposite page. A lot of times with books, D will pick out one page especially that he likes, and this one has a page with goats that he always turns to.

I Love You, Blankie by Sheryl Haft – D is rather attached to his own blankie so I guess this one resonates with him? This is a special favorite of his. If I ask him if he wants to read a book, there’s a more than 50% chance that he’ll pull this one off the shelf. It’s such a cute read too, so I don’t mind! (Not that he actually lets me read it to him, but it’s cute to page through).

Baby Shark by John John Bajet – My mom found this as a board book somewhere an sent this to us. D really likes the song (obviously) and will make little pinching motions with his fingers when he wants to read this book. It’s pretty cute. His favorite page in this one is the Great White Shark page.

Baby Touch and Feel: Baby Dinosaurs by DK – We have like three of these books and he loves them all, but he’s been really into the Baby Dinosaur one recently. They’re great because they have both soft and rough textures. For a while D was super into rough textures, so these were perfect.

Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions by Abrams Appleseed – D has always loved this book ever since he was a little(r) baby! He loves the mirror in the back and looking at all the other babies. I also saw a pic where one of Beyonce’s twins was reading this so…you know it’s got to be good if Beyonce’s giving it to her babies.

That’s Not My Panda by Fiona Watt – There are other books in this series, I believe, but this is the one we have. They all look super cute though! D loves scratching the panda’s back and feeling the soft belly at the end.

Never Touch a Monster by Make Believe Ideas Ltd – This is just one more touch and feel book that has super fun textures. We also have the dragon one and it looks like there are others in the series as well!

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy – This book is so great! It’s really basic with words and pictures grouped together in categories. D used to love the bath time pages with all of the babies, but lately he’s been gravitating more towards the animal pages.

10 favorite non-bookish apps

For this post I wanted to give you guys a glimpse of my non-bookish side (it exists). Here are some of my favorite non-bookish apps.

Non-Bookish Apps

Pocket Casts

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a HUGE podcast junkie. Love, love, love. It was a struggle for me to find a good podcast app when I switched from iPhone to Samsung, but I’ve really grown to love Pocket Casts.

Link

Spotify

I used to use Spotify a lot for myself, but at this point it’s a MUST for car rides with my baby. If he starts getting restless, I’ll just turn on his playlist and he’s usually okay for a bit.

Link

Ibotta

I recently started using Ibotta. It’s this cool app where you can get money back on groceries. It’s not a TON of money (I average about $1 per $50-60 shopping trip) but I figure it’s better than nothing. If you like getting name brands for things, though, there are a ton of coupons on the app. If you want to try it out, you can use my referral code: ubaviad (to be completely transparent, I will get a small bonus on the app if you use my code and redeem an offer).

Link

Samsung Notes

This isn’t really Samsung Notes specific, I just use my notes app a lot. I use it to keep track of my monthly TBRs as well as longer term TBRs. For non-bookish stuff, I use it for grocery lists, meal planning, and other assorted lists.

Link

YouTube

I LOVE YOUTUBE. I’m subscribed to a ton of different creators and I love vegging out to some YouTube vids every once in a while. The “Watch Later” function was seriously life-changing for me.

Link

Instagram

I also love Instagram. I’m not a frequent poster myself, but I love seeing what my friends and family are up to. I also like that I can manage several different accounts easily.

Link

Next Episode

This app is SO CRUCIAL if you’re going to binge a show (or intermittently binge as the case may be). You can mark all of the shows that you’re watching and it will help you keep track of what episode you’re on. I know that a lot of platforms like Netflix already have this function, but what if you go somewhere and you’re using someone else’s account? It also shows you when you have new episodes of a show because who has time to remember what day all these shows are on? Seriously, this app is THE BEST.

Link (the website looks kind of janky, but this app is legit)

Yelp

I love eating good food and Yelp helps me to find good food to eat. Since our move to California, this app has been especially useful. Bonus, not only does it help with food but it also has reviews for other businesses.

Link

Two Dots

I love this game. It’s so mindless and I can play it while I’m watching TV or listening to a podcast or audiobook.

Link

Color Puzzle

And then when I run out of lives on Two Dots I can switch over to this game. It’s so aesthetically pleasing while also being deceptively tricky (but not like TOO hard).

Link

What are some of your favorite non-bookish apps?

5 Series I’ve Given Up On

I’ve come to accept that there’s a time in your reading life when you just have to say, “Enough is enough!” and give up on that series that you’ve been “meaning” to read. This has happened to me several times over the years and I wanted to share a few of those with you today.
Series I've Given Up On

I just want to clarify real quick, I’m definitely in the middle of some series that have…ahem…stalled…but that I’m still planning on getting back to (Caraval, Jackaby, or Miss Peregrine’s for example). In contrast, this is a list of series that I have legitimately no intention of going back to.

I Am Number Four series

I really liked this series and meeting the whole cast of characters, but it just has droned on and on. I think there are like…10 books at this point? I’m just done with the series and it would probably read too young for me anyway.

Cassandra Clare

I never ended up reading book 6 of The Mortal Instruments series let alone The Dark Artifices series. This is another case where I really liked the series when I was in high school, but I think that the writing probably wouldn’t live up to my current standards.

Legend trilogy by Marie Lu

I’m pretty sure I read the first two books in this series? But then by the time the third book came out, I’d lost interest. I had a copy of Champion on my shelf for a while, but I eventually unhauled it.

Firebird trilogy by Claudia Gray

Similar to Legend, I read the first two books and I actually still have the third sitting on my Kindle, but I feel no draw to get back to it.

Rick Riordan

This is another series that has kind of exploded with the number of books that are in it. There’s like three different series that are all intertwined or something? I’ve just completely lost track of which books I’ve read in which series. I’ll always love Greek and Roman mythology and they were great for the time of my life that I was in when I was reading them, but I need to move on.

What are some series that you’ve given up on? Let me know in the comments! And stay tuned for another blog post coming soon featuring series that I’ve finished and remember nothing about!

9 Best NetGalley Reads

I’ve been blogging for a while now and have requested MANY books from NetGalley. Over that amount of time, I’ve read quite a few duds unfortunately. That being said, I’ve also read some AMAZING books and have been introduced to some great authors and series as well.

Favorite NetGalley Reads

Here are nine of my favorite reads that I got approved for on NetGalley. I’ll just include a quick TL;DR review for each title with a link for my full review (so you’ll get to see some of my OG reviews haha).

180 Seconds by Jessica Park – Subtly diverse characters created an authentic atmosphere for our main character to develop realistically with her mental health.

Full Review

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – Action, action, action with likable characters. You’ll start reading for the motorcycle race and you’ll keep reading for Yael.

Full Review

Invictus by Ryan Graudin – The most realistic time travel I’ve ever seen with super likable characters that just make the book so much deeper and more emotional.

Full Review

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – This book had such a great atmosphere and the two main characters are seriously #friendshipgoals.

Full Review

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno – This book will make you wish you had an abuela. The Cuban culture is so authentic throughout that it makes my heart hurt.

Full Review

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – The main character is tough as nails and I like how the book focused on her development as a character and her relationship with the women in her family instead of some rando boy.

Full Review

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – The variety in the chapters was really fun despite the heavy topics explored in this book.

Full Review

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – An amazing start to a great series with a fantastic cast of diverse characters and evil librarians. Highly recommend this whole series.

Full Review

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn – Flawed main characters have a surprising amount of depth. The author did a great job of creating emotion when I wasn’t expecting it.

Full Review

5 Best Reality TV Shows for the Summer

This is a departure from my usual, I know, but in addition to reading books, I also love watching TV! My husband and I have a few reality TV shows that we especially love to watch over the Summer.

Best Summer Reality TV

The Amazing Race

If you love traveling but you’re also broke (it me) then this is a show for you! You get to see a ton of cool places while the contestants travel and their challenges are also fun to watch. Their current season is about to wrap up, but if you have time and want to get a CBS All Access subscription (I know, it’s annoying) then you can watch all the back seasons as well as this current one. I liked this current season especially because the contestant were past Amazing Race teams as well as teams from previous Survivor and Big Brother seasons. Which brings me to…

Big Brother

CBS just does reality TV right (we’re also HUGE Survivor fans). The new Big Brother season starts TONIGHT. Since we don’t actually have real TV, we’ll be watching it tomorrow, so no spoilers! I was actually surprised when my husband got into Big Brother too. He already liked Survivor and The Amazing Race, but I thought he’d think Big Brother was dumb since it’s so much more about the social drama. Much to my delight, he’s just as into it as I am! I LOVE the drama and the social politics and it always gives me such pleasure when people are super petty when voting for the winner at the end. Karma, baby.

America’s Got Talent

I’ve been sort of in and out with AGT the past few seasons, but this Summer, I’m solidly in. I really love Terry Crews and I’m excited for all of the fun dance/magic/comedy/variety acts that they have this year.

Songland

Who else has been watching this gem? It’s new this year and my husband and I have been LOVING IT. It’s fascinating to see the transformation that songs go through from conception to being recorded by an artist. I really hope this show comes back next summer because it’s amazing!

So You Think You Can Dance

My OG Summer obsession…seriously though, I went to the Season 4 live tour and had their poster in my room (aka I liked tWitch before he became Ellen’s DJ). I’m SO glad that they don’t have Vanessa Anne Hudgens back as a judge this year and I hope that D-Trix isn’t just a judge for the auditions. I love the new audition stage plus the 360 cameras. The live show format has changed over time, so I’ll be interested to see what they do this year. I liked last season where the contestants got paired up with each other as in the OG seasons, so I hope they do that again.

What TV shows are you watching this Summer? What are some of your favorite shows in general? Let me know in the comments! And if you want to talk about any of these shows I AM HERE FOR IT.