Renee’s Top 10 Reads of 2019

Hello readers!

Next up on our Staff Picks of 2019 (find the rest, and last year’s over here) is Renee! Her list is a good mix of all the genres she reads–from teen to non-fiction naturey things, from contemporary fiction to romance, she’s got a bit of everything! And she, like so many of us this year, couldn’t pick just 10, so there’s an honorable mention down there, too!


Sorcery of Thorns, by Margaret Rogerson

Margaret Rogerson’s second book was a delight to read. It was funny, smart, had a kickbutt heroine, a creepily charming demon, a dark and surly yet beguiling sorcerer…I could go on. Just like her first book, Sorcery of Thorns takes readers on a journey in a magical and dangerous world.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty

My most recent obsession is death. Weird? Perhaps. But also fascinating. Caitlin Doughty’s memoir of her time working in a crematorium is the reason for my newest morbid obsession. Doughty not only talks about the day-to-day life in the crematorium, she also dives into the cultural ideas and practices that surround death and how many of them hinder the grieving process and leave the general public unprepared for something that is guaranteed to happen to all of us. I would recommend any book by Doughty as they are all insightful, educational, and downright entertaining.

If You Want To Make God Laugh, by Bianca Marais

Bianca Marais’ second book is just as beautiful and moving as her first. Her writing is so powerful. She says so much in just a few words. I felt connected to these characters after the first few chapters. They come alive on the page, and it is engrossing watching all of their stories unfold and seeing how they interlink. This book is a beautiful tribute to both motherhood and sisterhood, as well as the ability love has to change our lives. Joy, heartbreak, anger, and sadness are just a few of the emotions one will experience reading this book.

Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

This book. Oh my. Everything about the book was rough and gritty and disgusting but so enjoyable, like it was giving you permission to just embrace all the worst things about yourself. The descriptions were so vivid and creative and just horrible (in a good way!). Also, I have many much FEELSSSS about Gideon and Harrow. There was a lot of “what the F is going on?” in the beginning and then you hit like, page 175 or something, and then you’re like “oh…Oh….OH!” And then you hit the end of the book and you die a little because you now have to wait who knows how long for the next book!!! [Editor’s note: Gotta wait for June! Harrow comes out in June!] 

The Rise of Kyoshi, by F.C. Yee

My little Avatar-deprived heart sang when I heard there was going to be a book series about Avatar Kyoshi. And the fact that it is written by a Colorado author makes it that much more awesome. If you are a fan of Avatar: the Last Airbender, you need to pick up this book. It is just as fun and clever and packed with adventure and weird hybrid animals as the show. Kyoshi has such a different Avatar journey than Aang or Roku, and it is so cool to learn more about the history of that Avatar universe.

The Rise of Wolf 8, by Rick McIntyre

The first in a trilogy about the great wolves of Yellowstone, The Rise of Wolf 8 tells the amazing and inspiring story of Wolf 8 and his family. McIntyre’s writing is simple and precise with minimal frills, but each word has power and pulls emotion from the reader almost without them realizing. No one knows the wolves of Yellowstone better than Rick McIntyre, and this book certainly shows it. 

For Your Consideration: Keanu Reeves, by Larissa Zageris and Kitty Curran

It’s a book all about Keanu Reeves. What’s not to love? This book is the perfect combination of gushing appreciation, biography, and critical reflection on Keanu Reeves’ impact and influence on Hollywood and the wider social consciousness. This tiny book has a lot to offer, just as Reeves himself does.

The Roxy Letters, by Mary Pauline Lowry (pub date 4/7/20)

I certainly wouldn’t call The Roxy Letters a book for everyone. But if you’re someone who has ever felt like a kid stuck in an adult’s body who’s just bumbling around trying to figure out life, you might enjoy this book! Roxy is lacking creative inspiration, has a weird annoying boss who has it out for her, is trying to remedy her lackluster love life, and on top of all that is trying to fight corporate America by taking over Austin’s great local shops. She may be a bit crass, a bit selfish, and a bit dramatic, but I personally loved Roxy as a narrator. It made for a good self-indulgent read.

Redshirts, by John Scalzi

Yes, this is a book that was inspired by that one certainty of the Star Trek universe all Trekkies (and even some non-Trekkies) know about (ask your nerdy friend if you don’t know what I’m talking about). This is the first John Scalzi book I read and I really enjoyed it. It played on all the best tropes and was just the right amount of absurd. It was also rather touching at the end.

Dear Sweet Pea, by Julie Murphy

I’ve liked every Julie Murphy book I’ve read, and she did a great job with her debut middle grade. This is a sweet story about a young girl dealing with her parents divorce, friendships, and just growing up. It’s a funny, relatable, body-positive book tackles some pick subjects in an accessible way.

Honorable mention: Dating You/Hating You, by Christina Lauren

I would be remiss to not include a romance book on my list! Christina Lauren has become one of my new favorite romance authors. Her characters are all so fun and interesting and a lot of her books are enemies to loves-esque (which is my fave). Her writing is easy to fall into and I am constantly laughing at the situations and emotions the characters find themselves having. 


You can get any or all of Renee’s 2019 picks by clicking on the titles above, or calling the store to reserve them!

Happy reading!

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