2019 in review: top 5 books of 2019

Welcome to 2019 in review episode 2! There was no way for me to decide which of these was my favourite, so instead of pitting my favourite books together, here are my favourite books of the year!


Perfume by Patrick Süskind

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9780141041155.jpg

This book was one that took me a long time to read, but I like to think that I was simply savouring its deliciousness. It was definitely worth it when I finished it, and I gave it 5 stars.

Perfume is a modern classic which was published by the German author Patrick Süskind in 1985. It is set in 18th Century France and follows the story of Grenouille, a man with an amazing sense of smell who feels apart from society. It follows him as he escapes the smells of the city to explore the world of scents, which eventually leads him to becoming a rather horrific murder in the name of creating the ‘ultimate perfume’.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is for-people-could-close-their-eyes-to-greatness-to-horrors-to-beauty-and-their-ears-to-melodies-or-deceiving-words.-but-they-couldnt-escape-scent.-for-scent-was-a-brother-of-breath.-toget-1.png

Grenouille is undeniably a disgusting and twisted character, who is completely unaware of the fact, which is at once interesting and even more horrifying. The story is told from his perspective: he is the protagonist, and so you feel compelled to sympathise with him, understand him, even as you are revolted and reviled by what he is doing. It is, at times, rather uncomfortable to read, but every second is worth it and Süskind has managed to give us a beautifully crafter insight into the mind of the unashamedly depraved (with a side of beautiful description and information about perfume making).


The Royal Tutor by Higasa Aki

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 26153096._SY475_.jpg

On a more light-hearted note, say hello to my new favourite manga series! I swithered between picking this one or Black Butler, as I gave both 4 stars (highly unusual for a manga), I read more of this series (the first 3 volumes) so I ended up picking this one.

The Royal Tutor is a manga series by the Japanese artist and illustrator Higasa Akai, the first volume of which was originally published in 2014. The story is set in a fictional country, most likely inspired by a 17th/18th Century Austria-esque country, and follows the genius Heine Wittgenstein, who is enlisted by the King to teach the four princes.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is i-am-his-tutor.png

The characters were the stars of this story: each of the four princes has a distinct and vibrant personality, and Heine himself is full of fire, defying his tiny size to prove an unstoppable force. Beyond this, both the complexity and richness of family and teacher-student relationships are thoughtfully explored. The story is light-hearted and funny, and the art is adorable, but Akai also addresses many issues faced by young people, and how the right teacher can change a child’s life, adding a level of depth that makes this my favourite manga series to date.


The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 35606560._SY475_.jpg

This is a book that people seem to either love or hate, and I am definitely one of the former. I started reading it at work, almost cried, bought it during my lunch break and finished it the same day. Any book which manages to drive me to tears at work is definitely worthy of 5 stars.

The Sun and Her Flower is a book of verse by Canadian writer and artist Rupi Kaur and was published in 2017. Kaur is the daughter of immigrant parents, and in this book she discusses what that means, the lessons she has learnt from her mother, and the lessons she had to learn for herself. The book is not a collection of poems, nor is it a continuous narrative told in verse, but something in between. A collection of poems, many of which alone would have little impact, but when as part of a collective form a bigger picture like strokes of paint in a painting.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is when-it-came-to-listening.png

Whilst the poems about self-love, finding oneself, and sexual harassment were interesting and contributed wonderfully to the overall impression of the book, it was the poems about the narrator’s relationship with her mother that almost made me cry, perhaps because I saw some of my own relationship with my mother reflected in that. This is the type of book that you will want to call your mum after reading and thank her for everything she has done for you (unless she hasn’t, in which case I am sorry, please call someone who has). You can read my full review for this book here.


A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

This play was one I hd ot red for my English Lit. class and has become my favourite play of all time (it shares the position with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing). Obviously, I gave it 5 stars.

The play was written by American playwright Tennessee Williams in 1947, and in contrast to much of post-war American plays, exposes many of the domestic issues in the US as it takes us on a journey through the dramatic life of Blanche. The story starts with Blanche moving to live with her sister, Stella, and her sister’s husband, Stanley, in New Orleans. Blanche is very out of pace in her new environment and slowly, the truth of why she has come to the city is exposed. Nothing is as it seems about Blanche, and Stanley hates her. But Stanley is no hero either.

There are no good characters. There are no completely evil characters, but no good characters either. Perhaps that is what I loved most about this book. I expect to sympathise with Blanche, especially after some the things she has experienced (no spoilers here!), but I just can’t. And I don’t mind: I love the story even more for it, which is unusual for me. I think it’s because Williams makes me care about the characters and what happens to them without making me feel sympathy for them. I don’t know how he accomplishes it, but this play truly is a masterpiece of plot and writing, too.


After Dark by Haruki Murakami

This was my first proper introduction to both Haruki Murakami and Japanese literature and I have never looked back. I had read a single Murakami short-story prior to this (Birthday Girl), but this was where my newfound love for Japanese literature, and specifically Murakami, began.

After Dark is a novel written by contemporary Japanese author Haruki Murakami and was originally published in 2004. It is one of his less famous ones, but I loved it. It follows two sisters in the middle of the night: Eri, who is sleeping herself into oblivion, and Mari who starts out in a cafe and finds herself wrapped up in the lives of people very different to herself, from jazz trombonists with important life lessons to bestow, to Chinese prostitutes who need her help.

This book has combines the magical realism and contemporary of Murakami’s writing. Eri’s story with a magical mystique that is both sinister and wonderful, whilst the stark and sometimes brutal realism of Mari’s chapters jolts the reader back to reality. This contrast works particularly well in allowing Murakami to explore a variety of huge questions about life, but also reflects the clear differences between glamourous model Eri and book-reading, cigarette-smoking Mari. The writing style feels as if we are behind the camera filming a TV show, focus shifted by the lens of the camera, taken where the director pleases, and this only adds to the sense that we are observing real people. Quiet, listening, watching, as they go about their lives: it’s the best kind of people watching.


And that’s all I have for today!! Don’t forget to talk to me in the comments, I would love to know what you thought of these books!

  • Have you read any of these books? Did you like them as much as I did?
  • What were your favourite books of 2019?

Please recommend your favourite books of the year, or leave a link to your own post below and I’ll be sure to check them out!!

TOP 30 SONGS 2019 JAN-APRIL: K-POP EDITION

Okay, so the title is a bit of a misnomer. It would be better to call this the “asian-language edition” but that sounds kind of funny and seeing as the majority of the list does happen to be K-Pop I just went with that instead, but any songs in a Asian language are eligible for inclusion on this list. In any case, the following is a collection of my 30 favourite songs so far this year. It changes a lot, but this is how I rank them at the moment (let’s be honest, it will probably change the day after I post this but whatever).

Because this is just a quarterly update I’ve only quoted my favourite lyrics from each as opposed to giving a little spiel about why I like the song. In my end of year one I’ll give a bit more detail 🙂 Enjoy!

Continue reading TOP 30 SONGS 2019 JAN-APRIL: K-POP EDITION

TOP 15 MAMAMOO SONGS

Hello everyone! Welcome to my long overdue wrap up of Mamamoo posts celebrating their most recent comeback with White Wind. If you haven’t checked out my previous posts, feel free to click on Review buttons that will show up throughout the post, and otherwise enjoy my countdown of my all-time favourite Mamamoo songs!

Continue reading TOP 15 MAMAMOO SONGS

COUNTDOWN | TOP 10 SEVENTEEN SONGS

Interested in listening to some SEVENTEEN songs but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’ve listened to every song they’ve ever released and are wondering which are my favourites. Either way, you’re in the right place! And if you don’t know who SEVENTEEN are, you can read this post too, but you might also want to check out my introduction to SEVENTEEN! Today I’ll be talking about my 10 favourite songs by K-Pop group SEVENTEEN.


#10- ROCKET


I won’t try to act like I’m someone else. Your yesterday, today and tomorrow is yours. Don’t care anymore about other’s eyes on me.

This song is just so fun and playful that  can’t really help but love it! It also has such a good, empowering song and so sweet as well!


#9- THANKS


Thank you, thank you, that’s all I can say. How to wait and what love is, you taught me all.

To be honest with you, I was a little bit disappointed with this song when I first heard it because I loved CLAP so much, but it has since grown on me a lot, especially because of the amazing performance, and has become one of my favourite SEVENTEEN songs 🙂 Also this was a song especially for their fans, which makes the lyrics so, so sweet and emotional.


#8- Pretty U


Should I ask the internet? What to wear, where to go. I should have studied hard like this.

There is a music video for this song, but I actually started loving this song by watching the dance practices and live performances, so I decided to include one of them instead. The choreography is like something out of a musical, which goes really well with the cutesy, in-love song.


#7- VERY NICE


If I can catch a glimpse of your elusive heart my whole body is itching and beating. What is this sensation, what do I do?

This is really SEVENTEEN’s signature style. It’s fun, playful and very catchy.


#6- Without You


I was scared of being alone so I spent my time foolishly. Didn’t even know how time was passing.

I’ll just say that apart from really liking this song, Vernon’s part at 0:35 was stuck in my head for the longest time. The lyrics of this song really tell a story, so I can only give you lyrics from the beginning or else SPOILERS. But my favourite lyrics are at the end ;(


#5- Don’t Wanna Cry


I loved you so much, where’d you go? Did you leave because you don’t like me anymore?

Like with Without You this song really describes a story, with character development and everything, so I can only share lyrics from the beginning with you, but this is a great song. It was the first SEVENTEEN song I ever listened to as well 🙂


#4- Our dawn is hotter than day


Only the stars fill up the night sky as it shines on us.

We’ve reached the most recent song on this list! This song is such a good summer song that makes me think of drinking cocktails (or in my case, mocktails) at the beach under soft lighting whilst the sun is setting. It’s soft and calm but slightly sultry in a way as well. The lyrics are also so, so pretty.


#3- CALL CALL CALL


Whatever the difficult problem is, yeah, I’m always on your side.

In some of their recent music, SEVENTEEN has been mixing some heavier guitars and other more “rock” instrumentation in which I love. This song is their most recent Japanese release and is the song which first made me fall in love with Wonwoo. In any case, this song is just so much fun!!


#2- TRAUMA


I’m barely breathing, like I forgot how. It’s too hard for me to be lenient with myself.

This is the song which made me realise that I really enjoy stripped back, slower and softer rap. The song is really personal for the members, talking about the rappers’ personal “traumas” which made this song even more emotional.


#1- CLAP


It’s alright, it’s alright, these things happen. Things get all tangled up like earphones in your pocket.

Before this song, I liked SEVENTEEN. I would listen to Don’t Wanna Cry and I would occasionally watch interviews or live performances of them if they showed up on my feed. This song changed everything and made me go and listen to every song they’ve ever released and basically fall in love. It’s a masterpiece AND SO CATCHY in the absolute best way.


Who are SEVENTEEN?



SEVENTEEN are a South Korean boy group who debuted in May 2015. There are 13 members: S.Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, Vernon, Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, Seungkwan, DK, Hoshi, Jun, The8, and Dino. They also have a subunit called BSS containing members Seungkwan, DK and Hoshi.


So that’s it for this post! If you liked it, you might want to check out my introduction to SEVENTEEN or my Top 10 Favourite BTS songs.

Also, watch out for a review of SEVENTEEN’s 2017 album “Teen, Age” coming this weekend!

What are your favourite SEVENTEEN songs? Did you discover any new ones today? Do you disagree with my list? Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading this post today! I hope you enjoyed and found some new music to listen to! Happy listening, Keira x.

If you have a blog, pop a link down below along with a comment and I’ll be sure to take a look!


If you have any requests for other reviews (be that books or music, old or new), leave me a comment below, pop me an email or go here for more information.

Have your own music or book to submit? Take a look at my review policy.

Also make sure to follow me on Twitter to see what the new theme is each week, follow this blog so you’re notified when I next post, and add me on Spotify (I’ll add you back and we can see what sort of songs each other listen to)!