Need book recommendations? After spending the year reading these are my best books of 2019 and the books I’m really looking forward to reading in 2020. Find a new author, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in for some great words.
I made a goal to read at least 100 books during 2019 and while I didn’t hit the goal, I came really close! I use Goodreads to track my reading but I swear there are some I forgot to enter. Plus a few were collections and each mini book in a single collection should count as an individual book, right? Sure. I did end up getting 77 books finished so I’m pretty pleased with that.
I used Kindle Unlimited several times this year to do most of my reading. I think I managed to find three discounted subscriptions throughout the year (and there is another trial for 3 months at only $0.99 if you sign up by 12/31!) which allowed me access to a huge number of books. I really enjoy the Christian suspense series available from a variety of authors in Kindle Unlimited. If you want my full review of Kindle Unlimited and if it’s worth the cost you can read that here.
If you are looking for a new read, these may spark your interest. There is a little of everything in this list. Non-fiction, fiction, suspense, romance, comedy, and thrillers. I’ve linked to the Kindle versions of the books but don’t forget to check your library or these other ways of finding cheap or free books if you are interested!
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My Best Reads of 2018 and Books I Want to Read in 2019
Best Books of 2019 – Non-Fiction
I was a little burnt out on non-fiction reads this year so I only read a few and these are my top two
Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy by Connie Albers
We are heading into the season of raising teenagers. What? Our oldest turned 11 years old in the fall and the next will be 10 this spring. Those teen years will be here in a flash! Rather than waiting until we are in the thick of it, I wanted to start looking for inspiration now.
I really appreciated Connie’s honesty and practical ideas for connecting with teens and creating quality relationships with them, rather than demanding obedience and expecting a quality bond to form. She has five kids herself and has been working with teens for more than twenty years so she has plenty of experience to draw from! I actually kept this book to be able to refer back to it as needed.
Have More Fun: How to be Remarkable, Stop Feeling Stuck, and Start Enjoying Life by Mandy Arioto
Mandy Arioto is the CEO of MOPS International, an organization I have been a part of since 2010. When I heard this book was coming out I jumped at the chance to get it. I’m all about having more fun and enjoying life (hello type 7 on the enneagram!) so I knew this book would hit the spot. I was right! It was a super quick read full of easy to do ideas for authentic fun in the midst of real life. It talks about parenting, marriage, friendships and so much more. I definitely recommend grabbing this one for some inspiration for adding some pizzazz to the ordinary.
Best Books of 2019 – Fiction
Fiction books are my jam, especially suspense and mystery. I’m okay with a little romance as long as it’s not overly mushy or ridiculous. I tend to read mostly Christian suspense books because I love trying to figure out “who dun it” with a little bit of hearts going pitter-patter thrown in. Some of these are not faith-based though so if that’s not your thing, make sure you check!
Squeaky Clean Mysteries by Christy Barritt
I read some Christy Barritt in 2018 but this was the first complete series I started in 2019 and I could not stop. It’s a good thing there are more than a dozen in the main series plus several others in spinoffs. Gabby St. Clair, the main character, is loveable and can’t help stumbling into mysteries during her job as a crime scene cleaner. There is a lot of will they – won’t they with her love interest Riley and I found myself actually heartbroken at various points of the story. I was so thankful to come into this series after so many books were published so I didn’t need to wait for the next one to come out.
A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
This book is not Christian Fiction!
I grabbed this book because the movie by the same name was due out soon. I usually prefer to read a book before I see a movie and I’m really glad I did for this one. There are several differences between the two but both are worth the time. I love these psychological thrillers and the twisted way things aren’t always what they seem. Warning: both the book and movie contain language and adult content.
Tip: This book is available free for Prime Members!
Lantern Beach PD Series by Christy Barritt
I read more Christy Barritt books this year than any other author. Nearly every single book she has written is available in Kindle Unlimited and I’ve never read a book of her’s I didn’t enjoy so I keep going!
The Lantern Beach PD series takes place after the Lantern Beach Mysteries but with the same characters. If you are interested in these types of Christian suspense/mystery books I recommend starting with Hidden Currents, book one in the Lantern Beach Mysteries and moving through the series in order. It’s possible to start with the PD series but you will miss all the character development and relationship building that happens in the original series. This page on Christy Barritt’s website has the chronological breakdown of all the books set on Lantern Beach.
The Sound of Echos by Eric Bernt
The Sound of Echos is the second book in the Speed of Sound series. The Speed of Sound made my list for top reads in 2018 so I wasn’t surprised that the follow-up was just as enjoyable. It’s a fascinating concept – what if you could capture soundwaves from years, or even decades past, and listen to them again. And what if that technology fell into the wrong hands? No secrets would be safe.
Both of these books are available in Kindle Unlimited. You can get a free 30-day trial here.
Here to Stay by Mark Edwards
I got this book through First Reads, a perk to being an Amazon Prime member. Each month Prime members get to choose one book out of a small selection of upcoming releases for free.
I could not put this one down. It centers on a newly married couple and what happens when the wife’s parents and sister come for a visit… and then won’t leave. Heads up, not a Christian book!
Under Lying by Janelle Harris
If you enjoy books like Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and other suspenseful mysteries with a good twist then Under Lying will be right up your alley. This is another book I found through First Reads and I could not stop reading. I had to know where the story was going, what the deal was with the flashbacks, and how it would all tie together.
Where am I getting most of my books?
A good portion of my top reads from the year are available through Prime Reading, First Reads, and Kindle Unlimited.
Prime Reading is included for Prime members – yay for books! Prime members have access to over 1,000 books, audiobooks, magazines, and comics. New items are added each month… but some disappear at the end of a month as well!
First Reads is another Prime member perk – and I think I love it more than Prime Reading! One the first of each month I get an email with five to six books that are set to be released that month and I get to pick one – for free! Quite a few of my top reads this year were found because of First Reads.
Kindle Unlimited is an extra subscription, but it’s not limited to Prime members. For only $9.99 per month you have access to over one million books, plus current magazines, unlimited audiobooks through Audible narration, and it all works on any device with the Kindle app. You can read my honest review in this post.
If you are an avid reader and love having books at your fingertips at anytime Kindle Unlimited is a worthwhile investment. The inventory grows frequently and the selection is fantastic with lots of current releases added on a regular basis. I signed up again last week and I’ve already read 4 more books!
On My Reading List in 2020
I don’t usually keep a huge list of “must read books” because I get so many of my book suggestions from other people. If I kept my reading to only books that I come across on my own I’d miss tons of great reads! Instead I usually have a few that I’m interested in and then see where the year takes me.
Dark Water (Lantern Beach Blackout Book 1) by Christy Barritt
Christy Barritt is expanding the Lantern Beach Universe with another series, this time centered around former special ops members creating a team on Lantern Beach. Thankfully this one is on Kindle Unlimited and I just started a new 3-month membership!
Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell
I will have to put the physical copy for this one on hold at the library because I doubt it will be available in First Reads or Kindle Unlimited, or at least not for a long time. I really enjoyed A Simple Favor so I think this one will be a hit as well.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
I have this book on hold at the library right now and if it weren’t for the blizzard, I’d go pick it up right now! This movie is due out soon and while I won’t see it until it’s available to rent, I wanted to get the book before the waiting lists get really long!
I’m planning on using Goodreads again this year to track my reading and I’m telling myself I’ll leave reviews more frequently so I can remember my thoughts more accurately, but we’ll see. My goal is 100 books again but I’m completely content if I don’t reach it. I simply like the simplicity of the number.
Want to fit more reading in to your life? These are my best tips for sneaking in reading whenever I can. And these are my favorite places for finding books for super cheap or even free!
What are your top reads from 2019? What is on your reading list for 2020?
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