Last week I discussed the top 5 books I read and loved that were published in 2019. This week I wanted to talk about the top series/books I discovered in 2019 that might not have been published in 2019.
Though I loved the books on the prior list, particularly the top 3; Stain, The Merciful Crow, and The Devouring Gray, and they definitely are some of the top books I’ve read this year, there are some older novels I discovered that I loved a lot. Quite a few on this list are part of a series, some that have been out for years, but hey, better late than never.
1. All for the Game Series (Foxhole Court, The Raven King, The King’s Men) by Nora Sakavic
Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.
Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.
But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.
Though I only gave you the Amazon description for one of the books, the three books in this series are about Neil Josten as he joins the Palmetto Foxes and he and the rest of the team go from underdogs to rising stars in their division as well as learn how to not only play together on the court but also become their own complicated, dysfunctional found family off the court.
Neil must face not only the demons from his past, but also those of his teammates, and along the way he does find someone he can call ‘home.’
It’s a dramatic, gut wrenching, Mafia/crime syndicate drama, an underdog sports story, and a slow-burn romance. It is hilarious and dark, heartbreaking and violent mixed with the most wholesome moments I’ve ever read outside of fanfiction. It was basically the perfect series. I love Neil Josten and I love the monstrous guy he ends up with.
5/5 Stars for all three books.
2. The Raven Cycle Series (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lilly, Lilly Blue, and The Raven King) by Maggie Stiefvater
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.
His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
Honestly this series is magic. I have too many words for this post alone so I’ll be doing another Raven Cycle post next week that goes into (spoilery) depth about it, but basically, I love it.
With these four books you get to fall in love with each and every one of the characters, but particularly; Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. You see Blue, her Raven boys, and the women of 300 Fox Way take on so much to find a dead Welsh king and save their friends, family, and the town of Henrietta, VA.
It’s hilarious, it’s poetic, it’s magical, and dark, and the stakes are high. It’s a nightmare and a dream and you just have to read it to understand what all that means.
4.5/5 Stars (5 stars for three of the books and 4 stars for one of them)
3. The Selection Series (The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir, and The Crown) by Kiera Cass
Prepare to be swept into a world of breathless fairy-tale romance, swoonworthy characters, glittering gowns, and fierce intrigue perfect for readers who loved Divergent, Delirium, or The Wrath & the Dawn.
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
This series is a series you binge and one that brings out the teenage girl in all of us. It’s a very little of the Hunger Games meets a whole lot of the Bachelor, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s such a guilty pleasure read. I tore through the first three books in three days and I tore through the last two, the spinoff books, in a day and a half.
America is at first unwilling to compete for Maxon’s heart, there is an inevitable love triangle, and I ended up caring about the characters much much more than I thought I would. It’s a glittering spectacle and a feast for anyone who is a romantic at heart.
4/5 stars (Three books are 5 stars, two are 4 stars)
4. Windwitch (Witchlands Book 2) by Susan Dennard
Susan Dennard returns with a follow up to New York Times bestselling novel Truthwitch.
After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.
When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?
After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.
Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…
Okay, why this book is on here is going to take a bit of explaining. So I read Truthwitch (the first book of this series) when it first came out and then I abandoned it. It wasn’t that I didn’t intend to read the rest of the series, but I don’t know, I just… put it down. I think the companion book, Sightwitch, came out before the next book in the series and I just …didn’t read it? But then Bloodwitch (the third book) came out and it was all over my twitter feed and instagram and I was like… okay, okay, I have to backtrack. So I read Windwitch AND LOVED IT!
I still have to read Sightwitch and Bloodwitch to catch up with the series, but book 2 was when the story really, really picked up. There was such depth to the characters in this book I didn’t necessarily feel in the first one and the pieces of how everyone’s stories intertwine with their greater world is set up in this one and you can finally see all the threads (Haha–I think I’m funny–series pun).
I LOVED all the characters and honestly, if you don’t ship Iseult and Aeduan more than life after this book… well then there is no hope for you. (Come on, this is not a spoiler, you had to have seen it coming in book 1)!
5. Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
LobsterShorts, 21. Jock. Secretly a science geek. Hot AF.
LobsterShorts: So. Here goes. For her birthday, my girlfriend wants…a threesome.
SinnerThree: Then you’ve come to the right hookup app.
LobsterShorts: Have you done this sort of thing before? With another guy?
SinnerThree: All the time. I’m an equal opportunity player. You?
SinnerThree, 21. Finance major. Secretly a male dancer. Hot AF.
SinnerThree: Well, I’m down if you are. My life is kind of a mess right now. School, work, family stress. Oh, and I live next door to the most annoying dude in the world. I need the distraction. Are you sure you want this?
LobsterShorts: I might want it a little more than I’m willing to admit.
SinnerThree: Hey, nothing wrong with pushing your boundaries…
LobsterShorts: Tell that to my control-freak father. Anyway. What if this threesome is awkward?
SinnerThree: Then it’s awkward. It’s not like we’ll ever have to see each other again. Right? Just promise you won’t fall in love with me.
LobsterShorts: Now wouldn’t that be life-changing…
I counted this book on this list because I just discovered Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy through their prior books Him and Us early in 2019 which led to me following them on Amazon and being alerted when this book came out.
The connection between these boys, LobsterShorts and SinnerThree is GREAT, both online and in person. It feels so organic and is the driving force of the novel. I really, really felt SinnerThree’s life struggles on a personal level, the poverty, the trying to prove himself, the trying to rise above his family… UGH! My heart! And LobsterShorts ended up being a seriously, seriously romantic person (I don’t feel like this is terribly spoilery). This book is SCORCHING HOT and also sweet and serious and romantic in places. It has real-world drama but a textbook perfect premise and storybook ending.
That’s all for me this week, for more sweet 2019 reads, check out last week’s post.
What were some recent novels or series you discovered in 2019? Leave your answers in the comments below!
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