Hi friends! This blog post should’ve been up before I shared my 2019 reading goals and TBR for Beat the Backlist reading challenge, but I messed up the schedule. At the beginning of the year, I highlighted 13 new releases that I was highly anticipating. I thought it would be cool to check in with you and see if those books lived up to my expectations…or if I even read them. I pulled the expectations from my original posts, which you can read here and here. I hope you enjoy!
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann | January 23
Expectation: “LOOK AT THIS COVER. A QUEER BLACK WOMEN ON A COVER. AMAZING.”
Reality: The cover is amazing and so was the content inside the book. The writing style wasn’t my favorite because of the weird parenthesis text that popped up frequently throughout the story, but the story itself was great and I loved the ace representation. ★★★★☆
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist In (White) America by Morgan Jerkins | January 30
Expectation: “I am a black women living in America and love to read about other black women’s experiences and insight.”
Reality: I didn’t even read this book. I was planning to, but something happened on #BlackTwitter that made me hard pass on this book. I can’t remember the details now.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory | January 30
Expectation: “One of my reading challenges for 2018 is to read genres I don’t typically read. Romance is one of those genres. Plus this book is written by a woman of color and blurbed by Roxane Gay!”
Reality: I DNF’d this at 53%. I couldn’t get through the writing, the story was boring and the characters were flat. The relationship conflict was all because of miscommunication.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | February 6
Expectation: “PLEASE GIVE ME ALL THE BLACK WOMEN ON BOOK COVERS!”
Reality: I really do love seeing black girls and women on covers because there are so few of them. 2018 gave me hope for more covers with black girls and women. This was kind of predictable, but an interesting and somewhat disturbing twist on beauty commodification. Visually stunning world. ★★★★☆
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi | March 6
Expectation: “Children of Blood and Bone is my most anticipated read of 2018. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.”
Reality: I don’t think this book is the epic fantasy that it’s marketed as, but it’s a really great book. This book gave me all the Black Panther feels. Loved the characters and it has one of the best examples of character development in YA. Such a complex story and beautiful world that parallels our own social issues. Only wish the pacing had been better and I wasn’t a fan of the romance. I gave this ★★★★★, but I would probably adjust it to 4.5 stars because of the pacing.
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas | May 1
Expectation: “Angie Thomas’ debut novel, The Hate U Give, was one of my favorite books of 2017. I’m excited for her second novel and will buy anything she writes.”
Reality: This book wasn’t even published in 2018. I believe it got pushed back to 2019. Not sure I’m in a hurry to read now though. I’m somewhat disillusioned because I wasn’t a fan of the casting choice for The Hate U Give. That kind of bled over into my excitement for this.
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir | June 12
Expectation: “I have been talking about the third book in the Ember quartet nonstop since I read the first two books in March. I know my heart is not ready for this book, but I need to know what Sabaa has in store for my favorite characters.”
Reality: What a fool I was for thinking I could handle whatever Sabaa had in story for these characters. I am still heartbroken over this book. My heart literally hearts when I think about it. I’m trying so hard to not feel hopeless. ★★★★★
Wrong in All the Right Ways: A Novel by Tiffany Brownlee | July 17
Expectation: “This book is a retelling of Wuthering Heights, which I’ve never read. I borrowed the audiobook from my library a few days ago, so hopefully I’ll have finished Wuthering Heights by the time this is release because it sounds interesting.”
Reality: HAHAHAHA. I returned Wuthering Heights to the library unread. I also forgot about this book as soon as I hit “publish” on this post. ::hides face:: Wow. This wasn’t even on my radar. Dishonor on me.
Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1) by Mary E. Pearson | August 7
Expectation: “I wasn’t sure about this book because the summary says it’s set in an established universe. I don’t want to pick up a new series just to read this book; however, an ARC review I read said it wasn’t necessary. It sounds like romance in a fantasy setting and I’m intrigued.”
Reality: I didn’t read this. read the first book in The Remnant Chronicle, which is the world this book is set in. It was “meh” so I haven’t thought about reading this since. No clue why I was hyped to read something set in a world that I’m utterly unfamiliar with.
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory | September 4
Expectation: “I still haven’t read The Wedding Date, but I’m excited for this book because the summary and light romance with a black female main character is exactly what I’ve been in the mood for.”
Reality: At the time I wrote that, I hadn’t read The Wedding Date. But I tried and it didn’t work out. I haven’t written off the author, but I didn’t even bother to try this one. Also, I think this book got pushed back.
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | October 2
Expectation: “I really enjoyed Strange the Dreamer. I loved the writing, world-building, characters, and Lazlo is one of the purest YA male characters. I can’t wait to read this sequel because Strange the Dreamer ended with a cliffhanger.”
Reality: Really enjoyed the conclusion to this duology. Laini Taylor just has a way with words. She develops her characters in a really fascinating way. 4.5/5 stars
Becoming by Michelle Obama | November 13
Expectation: “I love First Lady Michelle Obama. She is the Queen of my heart and I can’t wait to read her memoir. I’m sitting time aside for that.”
Reality: I’m not sure if I would still call Michelle Obama “Queen of my heart” because…umm…that’s quite a pronouncement you know, BUT she truly is an admirably woman. I didn’t set time aside because I didn’t have time to set aside, but I did read and enjoy this. ★★★★★
Untitled follow up by Trevor Noah (November 13)
Expectation: I absolutely loved Trevor Noah’s memoir Born A Crime. It was the best memoir I’ve read and I want more of his storytelling. I can’t wait to get my hands on this follow up.
Reality: Looks like I may never get my hands on this follow up. This still doesn’t have a cover and the date was pushed back(?). I think it has a title now. But who knows. Lol.
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare | December 4
Expectation: “I was over the moon when I found out Queen of Air and Darkness would be released this year instead of 2019. I don’t know how my heart would go on and on and on if I had to wait two years to find out how things end for these characters. I’ve prepared my heart and my soul for this ending. I’m also willing to give up my soul for an ARC of this book. Just putting it out there.”
Reality: I don’t know if I’d give up my soul for QOAAD, but I certainly would’ve given up something to read it early. I enjoyed this final book and I’m satisfied with the way things ended. I have a few things that I’m kind of bitter about you know, but still love this. I read it in a day and I’ve re-read it once. Rated it 5 stars after I finished it, but I changed it to 4.5 stars because I’m petty and slightly bitter about a few things.
This wasn’t bad after all. Did your highly anticipated releases live up to your hype and expectations? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!