Desdemona Wren’s Top 10 Books of 2019 (Let’s face it, 99% of these are gay)

Most of the books I read are either about queer life or by queer authors. So if they do include a romance, which I do generally like to see in stories because I love romantic subplots, the romance is usually queer or they’ve got a queer side romance.

From this list you’ll learn that I’m obsessed with coming of age stories and I read probably way too much YA, but since YA and NA are the genres I usually write for, that makes a lot of sense.

Below my ratings include both stars and rainbows. The stars are my general overall rating of the book (these will all be 5+ stars) and the rainbows are the overall queerness rating (rainbow ratings with a 3 and below only contain queer side romances and not a main romance ALSO rainbow ratings that include a purple heart have canon bisexual characters).

I also include one of my favorite quotes from the book and in lieu of a review, I’m just going to speak briefly about what each book meant to me. That way this blog doesn’t get too long. And if I’m being honest most of these books I never even reviewed because I’m about 40 book reviews behind.

So, without further ado, here is my top 10 reads of 2019 (they’re not all from 2019, I know, but shh).

10. This Time Will be Different by Mia Sugiura

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People talk about starting over after they’ve made a big mistake or a bad choice in life. But you can never really start over. You can’t fully reset. And I don’t think you should. There’s no point in dwelling on the past, but you can acknowledge it and try to make things better. Or try a new way, and know that this time will be different.

Description: Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: The reason this book made it onto my list despite only have a queer side character is because the main character, CJ, struggles so much emotionally throughout the book and all of her mistakes and anger really made me identify with her. Also it’s set in San Jose and I’m a sucker for anything set in California.

9. Sadie by Courtney Summers

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“I can’t take another dead girl.”

Description: A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: While there is bisexual representation in this book, the point of Sadie is not romance. The entire point of this book is that it’s literally just from start to finish incredible. It’s told from two differing points of view, one being a podcast, the other being the story Sadie herself tells. This resonated with me because I was a victim of childhood abuse and also sexual trauma. I spent most of this book openly weeping and every time they kept saying “I can’t take another dead girl” I got so scared and the ending literally just ripped my whole heart out.

8. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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🌈🌈

“And so at the age of four, I learned someone could cry from a happy memory.”

Description: With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: The reason I picked this up was in part, because of the gorgeous cover and also because it is so hard to find books with Black Puerto Rican rep. This story was so beautifully written and Emoni’s passion for cooking and for her daughter was so incredible to me. I just…I wanted a mom who would love me that much.

7. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

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“The most important four-letter word in our history will always be LOVE. That’s what we are fighting for. That’s who we are. Love is our legacy.”

Description: It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: How do I even begin to explain how much this book means to queer culture in America? I wept so openly while reading this book. There was so much about the AIDs crisis and the fear the queer community experienced during that time. Honestly this book was just heart-wrenching and so unbelievably important.

6. Reverie by Ryan La Sala

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“Just because something is imagined doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.”

“It’s just gay enough to work.”

Description: Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

Get your copy here, on Amazon

What this book meant to me: Ryan La Sala basically owns my soul now. Everything about this book was poignant and just full of rich description. Honestly, this has got to be one of my favorite books I’ve ever read in my life. Which is why it’s on my list of top 10 from 2019. Hell, if I had to pick my top 10 of the decade, I’m pretty sure Reverie would make the cut. It is so rare I come across so richly woven queer-centric stories. I recommend this to everyone who loves good writing and questionable villains.

5. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

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“I can’t help it. I’m a Slytherin.”

And I’m the worst kind of Slytherin. I’m the kind who’s so stupidly in love with a Gryffindor, she can’t even function. I’m the Draco from some shitty Drarry fic that the author abandoned after four chapters.”

Description: Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: Leah’s experiences are so close to mine as a fat queer growing up in the deep south that this book has a special place in my heart. I love everything Becky Albertalli has ever written, honestly. Her stories are the kind of gay adventures I wish I’d been able to have growing up and Leah is my soulmate.

4. Slay by Brittney Morris

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“Je viens de la putain de toundra”

Description: By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: This book takes place in my hometown of Bellevue, WA and everything about it is incredible. I love the story of how Kiera is portrayed and how her creation of Slay gave people of color a place to be who they are in games. This book was very educational for me and it also spoke to a lot of what growing up in Bellevue is like. This book is so important, funny, and has a great story. I’m so glad I picked this up.

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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“The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.”

Description: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: As soon as I finished reading this book I immediately went home and made my (now ex) boyfriend watch the movie with me. I cried from the very beginning of this book to the very end. It’s not technically a 2019 title, but since I didn’t read it until 2019, I’m putting it on this list. The struggles Starr and her family face throughout this novel completely gutted me and this book is just incredible. The way Angie Thomas tells this story through Starr’s eyes is breathtaking and the writing style stuck with me. It felt less like a book and more like living life through someone else’s eyes.

2. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

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“If we’re not all free, none of us are free.”

Description: At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: This book was basically everything I wanted out of 2019. Women helping women and falling in love. The enemies/rivals to lovers thing that happened between Carmen and NAME really spoke to my soul and Tehlor Kay Mejia blew me out of the water with her storytelling and world-building. This is honestly one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. I cannot wait for the sequel to come out next month!

Honorable Mention: All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell

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“Everybody else gets to leave a mark on me. Why can’t I leave my own?”

Description: There’s no such thing as a secret.

SOMETHING happened to Ava. The curving scar on her face is proof. But Ava would rather keep that something hidden—buried deep in her heart and her soul.

She has her best friend Syd, and she has her tattoos—a colorful quilt, like a security blanket, over her whole body—and now, suddenly, she has Hailey. Beautiful, sweet Hailey, who seems to like Ava as much as she likes her. And Ava isn’t letting anything get in the way of finally, finally seeking peace. But in the woods on the outskirts of town, the traces of someone else’s secrets lie frozen, awaiting Ava’s discovery—and what Ava finds threatens to topple the carefully-constructed wall of normalcy that she’s spent years building. Secrets leave scars. But when the secret in question is not your own—do you ignore the truth and walk away? Or do you uncover it from its shallow grave, and let it reopen old wounds—wounds that have finally begun to heal?

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: This book hurt me. The experiences of the main character, Ava, are so similar to my own that I experienced a lot of flashbacks to my life as a child and a victim of pedophilia and sexual assault. I understood her so well and the way these things make you feel and shape you into the person you become. This book resonated with me so much I still think about it even though it’s been almost a whole year since I read it. Remembering Jane still tugs at my heartstrings.

*Also this is a special case. I believe the MC, Ava is canonically bisexual, but I think Mitchell preferred not to “label her” which I think is a cop-out so I didn’t mark the MC as canon bi.

1. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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“History, huh? Bet we could make some.”

And way too many others to name, but there’s a twitter account that tweets quotes from this book and I’m obsessed with it.

Description: What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: I know this might be a little cliche to all of you, but this book was so unbelievably important to me that nothing else could’ve been number one. I don’t usually read and enjoy M/M books, but I picked this one up on a whim after seeing it advertised everywhere. And honestly? I’m glad I did. Reading a book about someone figuring out they’re bisexual after years of thinking they were straight and then launching into a wholly forbidden relationship with a prince? Yes, please. I loved everything about this book. I loved the sarcastic writing style, the characters, Henry and Alex’s complete inability to process their feelings because they’re both total idiots, and all the girls being like “Wow you’re all idiots.” 2019 and 2020 is going to be the year of all the queer books and Red, White, & Royal Blue is driving the ship.

How I’ve changed: Over the Decade

Stayed single almost the whole year?
2009: No, been in a relationship for a year!
2019: Yup.

Were involved In something you’ll never forget?
2009: Dude yeah.
2019: Non, je ne regrette rien.

Tripped over a coffee table?
2009: Lol yes.
2019: Don’t have a coffee table.

Dyed your hair?
2009: Yes.
2019: No, actually.

Came close to losing your life?
2009: :/
2019: No.

Saw one of your favorite bands/artists live?
2009: No
2019: No.

2009/2019: FRIENDS & ENEMIES…

Did you meet any new friends this year?
2009: Sure!
2019: A few.

Did you hate anyone?
2009/2019: Yes.

Do you have any regrets when it comes to your friendships?
2009: NYes
2019: Non, je ne regrette rien.

Did you miss any friends?
2009: Yes
2019: No.

2018: YOUR BIRTHDAY…

Did you have a cake?
2009: No
2019: Nope, pie.

Did you have a party?
2009: No.
2019: No.

Did you get any presents?
2009: No.
2019: I did!

2009/2019: ALL ABOUT YOU…

Did you change at all this year?
2009: No
2019: I am literally a completely different person than I was.

Were you in school?
2009: No.
2019: No.

Did you own a car?
2009: No.
2019: Yes.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
2009: Yes!
2019: Again, yes.  

Did you go on any vacations?
2009: No
2019: Yes?

2009/2019: WRAP UP…

Was 2018 a good year?
2009: I think so.
2019: No? But also yes? It was just hard.

Do you think 2020 will top 2019?
We’ll see?

Do you think 2009 will top 2008?
Yes. And it did!

IN THE YEAR 2009/2019 I CONFESS THAT I…

Kissed in the snow?
2009: Naawww
2019: No.

Done something you’ve regretted?
2009: Yeaaa
2019: No.

Painted a picture?
2009: Lol sure.
2019: No.

Wrote a poem?
2009: Yes.
2019: Yes.

Ran a mile?
2009: No
2019: No, but I’ve walked several.

Visited a foreign country?
2009: No
2019: Does Canada count?

Cut in a line of waiting people?
2009: No.
2019: UHHH…Maybe at BART?

IN 2009/2019 I…

Broke a promise?
2009: Yes
2019: No.

Lied?
2009: Yes
2019: Yes.

Disappointed someone close?
2009: I’ve always been a disappointment to my parents!
2019: Sure have.

Had a secret?
2009/2019: Yes.

Pretended to be happy?
2009/2019: Yes.

Slept under the stars?
2009: Yes
2019: No

Kept your new year’s resolution?
2009/2019: I don’t make those.

Forgot your new year’s resolution?
2009/2019: Don’t make them.

Met someone who changed your life?
2009/2019: Yes.

Changed your outlook on life?
2009: No.
2019: Yeah.

Sat home all day doing nothing?
2009/2019: Yeah, for a little while, I think.

Learned something new about yourself?
2009/2019: Yup.

Met great people?
2009/2019: YEAH!

Kissed someone that means a lot to you?
2009/2019: No.

Stayed up till sunrise?
2009: Plenty of long nights.
2019: I actually haven’t.

Cried over the silliest thing?
2009: Yes.
2019: No, nothing worth crying over is ever silly.

Had friends who were drifting away from you?
2009/2019: Always.  It’s part of growing up.

Had a high cell phone bill?
2009/2019: Nah.

Spent most of your money on food?
2009: No
2019: Yeaaah.

Had a fist fight?
2009/2019: Nah.

Gotten sick?
2009/2019: Yeah.

Liked more than 5 people at the same time?
2009/2019: Big no.

Became closer with a lot of people?
2009: Yeah!
2019: Nah.

Song that reminds you of summer 2019?
Sucker – Jonas Brothers

Lost any friends this year?
2009: No
2019: I’d actually say they lost me.

When people say, “Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever talked shit about anyone” do you think it’s possible?
2009/2019: No.

How do you feel about gay marriage?
2009: :/
2019: I’m gay. So. It’s gr8.

Give me a random lyric from the song you’re listening to:
2009: Not listening to anything.
2019: Calling calling calling me home.

Do you think you’re approachable?
2009/2019: Unfortunately yes.

Do you make sexual innuendos about everything?
2009/2019: Yes I am a child.

Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable?
2009: Nope!
2019: Only if the other person is being gross.

Who is the last person you texted?
2009: My boyfriend!
2019: My boss.

Song playing right now?
2009: No idea?
2019: I can’t really hear it? Something top 40 on the radio above my head.

My “Decade” in Music

Since I’ve only been using Google Play since 2017 and Spotify wants to act like it doesn’t know me, allow me to show you guys what I’ve been listening to for the past 3 years. Starting with 2017.

My Year in Music 2017

Most played Artists 2017

  1. Mae
  2. Mayday Parade
  3. Panic! At The Disco
  4. CHVRCHES
  5. Carly Rae Jepsen
  6. Demi Lovato
  7. Stephen Sondheim
  8. Jonas Brothers
  9. TV & MOVIE SOUNDTRAX
  10. Taylor Swift
  11. Kesha
  12. Purity Ring
  13. Britney Spears
  14. Halsey
  15. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast
  16. LANY
  17. My Chemical Romance
  18. Melanie Martinez
  19. Lorde
  20. Imagine Dragons
  21. Ke$ha
  22. A Great Big World
  23. Rick Astley
  24. Alan Menken
  25. Kelly Clarkson
  26. Fall Out Boy
  27. All Time Low
  28. Bebe Rexha
  29. Ed Sheeran
  30. Relient K
  31. Selena Gomez
  32. Sam Smith
  33. L’Arc-en-Ciel
  34. Hey Violet
  35. AJR
  36. OneRepublic
  37. Skrillex
  38. Vertical Horizon
  39. One Direction
  40. L’Arc~en~Ciel
  41. Adele
  42. Rachel Bloom
  43. The Griswolds
  44. Transviolet
  45. Rebecca Black
  46. Sam Tinnesz
  47. Ariana Grande
  48. Daughter
  49. Phoebe Bridgers
  50. Astrid S

Most Played Songs 2017

  1. Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry
  2. Mae – The Ocean
  3. CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
  4. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me
  5. Kesha – Hunt You Down
  6. Demi Lovato – Sexy Dirty Love
  7. Jeff Williams & Casey Lee Williams – Time to Say Goodbye
  8. Demi Lovato – Games
  9. Melanie Martinez – Soap
  10. Rachel Bloom – Sex With A Stranger (Demo)
  11. A Fine Frenzy – Now Is The Start
  12. Sam Tinnesz – Wolves (feat. Silverberg)
  13. Mayday Parade – Call Me Hopeless, But Not Romantic
  14. Selena Gomez – Kill Em With Kindness
  15. Kelly Clarkson – Never Again
  16. Lorde – Writer In The Dark
  17. The Downtown Fiction – I Just Wanna Run
  18. CHVRCHES – Under The Tide (Single Version)
  19. Rick Astley – Let It Rain
  20. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
  21. The Griswolds – Hate That I Don’t Hate You
  22. Taylor Swift – This Love
  23. Demi Lovato – Only Forever
  24. A Great Big World – Already Home
  25. Mae – Anything
  26. Krewella – Alive
  27. Eels – Fresh Feeling
  28. Ed Sheeran – Give Me Love
  29. Adele – Set Fire to the Rain
  30. Frederick Knight – I’ve Been Lonely For So Long
  31. CHVRCHES – High Enough To Carry You Over
  32. Taylor Swift – The Way I Loved You
  33. Demi Lovato – Cry Baby
  34. Demi Lovato – Lonely (feat. Lil Wayne)
  35. Demi Lovato – Hitchhiker
  36. Celeste Buckingham – Unpredictable
  37. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
  38. Transviolet – Don’t Put It On Me
  39. Lorde – Perfect Places
  40. Halsey – Is There Somewhere
  41. Scarlett Johansson – Set It All Free
  42. Purity Ring – Crawlersout
  43. Britney Spears – Womanizer
  44. Billie Eilish – hostage
  45. Gym Class Heroes – Cupid’s Chokehold / Breakfast In America (Radio Mix)
  46. John Legend – Love Me Now
  47. AJR – Weak
  48. Kesha – Bastards
  49. Chvrches – Recover
  50. Linkin Park – Bleed It Out

My Year in Music 2018

Most Played Artists 2018

  1. CxGf Cast ▲ 15
  2. Panic! At The Disco ▲ 1
  3. Mayday Parade ▼ 1
  4. Mae ▼ 3
  5. CHVRCHES ▼ 1
  6. Carly Rae Jepsen ▼ 1
  7. Taylor Swift ▲ 3
  8. Demi Lovato ▼ 2
  9. SOUNDTRAX
  10. Jonas Brothers ▼ 2
  11. Stephen Sondheim ▼ 4
  12. Purity Ring
  13. Halsey ▲ 1
  14. Sam Smith ▲ 18
  15. Kesha ▲ 6
  16. Panic! at the Disco
  17. Imagine Dragons ▲ 3
  18. Rachel Platten ▲ 7
  19. MCR ▼ 2
  20. LANY ▼ 4
  21. Lorde ▼ 2
  22. Britney Spears ▼ 9
  23. Bebe Rexha ▲ 5
  24. Kelly Clarkson ▲ 1
  25. Ke$ha ▼ 24
  26. Hey Violet ▲ 8
  27. Relient K ▲ 3
  28. Ed Sheeran ▲ 1
  29. All Time Low ▼ 2
  30. Angelspit
  31. Rick Astley ▼ 8
  32. Alan Menken ▼ 9
  33. A Great Big World ▼ 10
  34. Ella Vos
  35. Smooth Jazz All Stars
  36. Phoebe Bridgers ▲ 13
  37. Lana Del Rey
  38. Vertical Horizon
  39. Anna Kendrick
  40. OneRepublic ▼ 4
  41. Steven Universe
  42. Aly & AJ
  43. One Direction ▼ 4
  44. Fetty Wap
  45. DWNTWN
  46. Rebecca Black ▼ 1
  47. Ariana Grande
  48. Selena Gomez ▼ 17
  49. He Is We
  50. The Griswolds ▼ 7

Most Played Songs 2018

  1. Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry
  2. Death Cab for Cutie – Soul Meets Body
  3. Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams
  4. Taylor Swift – I Wish You Would
  5. Taylor Swift – All You Had To Do Was Stay
  6. Nicky Jam – El Amante
  7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – It Was a Shit Show (feat. Santino Fontana)
  8. Taylor Swift – Welcome To New York
  9. Loren Allred – Never Enough (Reprise)
  10. Lana Del Rey – Dark Paradise
  11. Sam Smith – One Day At A Time
  12. Jonas Brothers – Pom Poms
  13. Bebe Rexha – That’s It (feat. Gucci Mane & 2 Chainz)
  14. Emily Blunt – Moments in the Woods
  15. Sleeping At Last – Total Eclipse of the Heart
  16. Sia – The Greatest (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  17. Bebe Rexha – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
  18. Alan Menken – The Ends Of The Earth
  19. Taylor Swift – This Love
  20. Rachel Platten – Loose Ends
  21. Halsey – Hold Me Down
  22. Lorde – Sober
  23. Phoebe Ryan – Forgetting All About You (feat. Blackbear)
  24. Rebecca Black – Heart Full of Scars
  25. Angelspit – I, Weapon
  26. Keri Hilson – Pretty Girl Rock
  27. Purity Ring – Obedear
  28. Demi Lovato – Lonely (feat. Lil Wayne)
  29. Bo Burnham – Repeat Stuff
  30. Carly Rae Jepsen, Owl City – Good Time
  31. Lorde – Homemade Dynamite
  32. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – Love Kernels (feat. Rachel Bloom)
  33. Hailee Steinfeld – Starving (feat. Zedd)
  34. Rachel Platten – Fight Song
  35. Mae – Night/Day
  36. Gym Class Heroes – The Fighter (feat. Ryan Tedder)
  37. Bridgit Mendler – My Song For You (from “Good Luck Charlie”)
  38. Rascal Flatts – Easy (feat. Natasha Bedingfield)
  39. Amy Adams – Happy Working Song (From “Enchanted”/Soundtrack Version)
  40. My Chemical Romance – Blood (Hidden Track)
  41. Transviolet – The Hamptons
  42. Bea Miller – yes girl
  43. Jenny & Tyler – Song For You
  44. Hey Violet – This Is Me Breaking Up With You
  45. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – I Love My Daughter (But Not In A Creepy Way) (feat. Pete Gardner)
  46. MIKA – Grace Kelly
  47. All Get Out – The Season
  48. CHVRCHES – Miracle
  49. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
  50. Loren Allred – Never Enough

My Year in Music 2019

Most Played Artists 2019

  1. Panic! At The Disco ▲ 1
  2. Jonas Brothers ▲ 8
  3. Mayday Parade
  4. Taylor Swift ▲ 3
  5. CHVRCHES
  6. Hey Violet ▲ 20
  7. Halsey ▲ 6
  8. Mae ▼ 4
  9. Juice WRLD
  10. Carly Rae Jepsen ▼ 4
  11. Stephen Sondheim
  12. Sam Smith ▲ 2
  13. Ariana Grande ▲ 34
  14. Purity Ring ▼ 2
  15. Imagine Dragons ▼ 2
  16. SOUNDTRAX ▼ 7
  17. Doris Day
  18. Steven Universe ▲ 23
  19. MCR
  20. LANY
  21. Angelspit ▲ 9
  22. Janelle Monáe
  23. Britney Spears ▼ 1
  24. Alan Menken ▲ 8
  25. Rachel Platten ▼ 7
  26. Hayley Kiyoko
  27. Vertical Horizon ▲ 11
  28. Lorde
  29. Phoebe Bridgers ▲ 7
  30. All Time Low ▲ 1
  31. Rick Astley
  32. Post Malone
  33. Queen
  34. Blackway
  35. Nicki Minaj
  36. Lana Del Rey ▲ 1
  37. Duckwrth
  38. Bebe Rexha ▼ 15
  39. Kesha ▼ 24
  40. Jazz All Stars ▼ 5
  41. CxGf Cast ▼ 40
  42. A Great Big World ▼ 9
  43. Kelly Clarkson ▼ 19
  44. Ed Sheeran ▼ 16
  45. DNCE
  46. Ella Vos ▼ 12
  47. Alessia Cara
  48. Thutmose
  49. Lil Wayne
  50. Beau Young Prince

Most Played Artists 2019

  1. Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
  2. Blackway – What’s Up Danger
  3. Duckwrth – Start a Riot
  4. Nicki Minaj – Familia (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) (feat. Bantu)
  5. Taylor Swift – New Romantics
  6. Panic! At The Disco – (Fuck A) Silver Lining
  7. Thutmose – Memories
  8. Beau Young Prince – Let Go
  9. Ski Mask The Slump God – Save The Day (feat. Coi Leray & LouGotCash)
  10. Juice WRLD – Hide (feat. Seezyn)
  11. Aminé – Invincible
  12. Panic! At The Disco – Hey Look Ma, I Made It
  13. Panic! At The Disco – The Overpass
  14. Panic! At The Disco – Roaring 20s
  15. Vince Staples – Home
  16. DJ Khalil – Elevate (feat. Denzel Curry, YBN Cordae, SwaVay & Trevor Rich)
  17. Lil Wayne – Scared of the Dark (feat. XXXTENTACION)
  18. Panic! At The Disco – Old Fashioned
  19. Panic! At The Disco – Say Amen (Saturday Night)
  20. Halsey – Colors
  21. Post Malone – Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
  22. Jaden Smith – Way Up
  23. Taylor Swift – You Are In Love
  24. Halsey – New Americana
  25. Panic! At The Disco – One Of The Drunks
  26. Panic! At The Disco – Dancing’s Not A Crime
  27. Panic! At The Disco – King Of The Clouds
  28. Jonas Brothers – Sucker
  29. Panic! At The Disco – Emperor’s New Clothes
  30. Panic! At The Disco – LA Devotee
  31. Jonas Brothers – Cool
  32. Panic! At The Disco – Impossible Year
  33. Panic! At The Disco – Victorious
  34. Snakehips – All My Friends (feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper)
  35. Panic! At The Disco – Golden Days
  36. Hey Violet – Break My Heart
  37. Panic! At The Disco – Hallelujah
  38. Panic! At The Disco – Dying In LA
  39. Jonas Brothers – Only Human
  40. Panic! At The Disco – Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
  41. Jonas Brothers – Every Single Time
  42. Jonas Brothers – Used To Be
  43. Jonas Brothers – I Believe
  44. Camila Cabello – Never Be the Same (Radio Edit)
  45. Panic! At The Disco – The Good, The Bad And The Dirty
  46. Panic! At The Disco – House Of Memories
  47. Jonas Brothers – Comeback
  48. Jonas Brothers – Happy When I’m Sad
  49. Jonas Brothers – Love Her
  50. Jonas Brothers – Don’t Throw it Away

5 Local Restaurants You Should Support Instead of Eating at Applebee’s, Episode 1: Petaluma, CA

Petaluma is the last stop in the Bay Area before it becomes wine country. Located in the scenic Sonoma county, it has tons of amazing food, wine, and, yes, even beer.

Lagunitas, one of California’s most famous beers, is headquartered here a stone’s throw from Penngrove, CA where wine country truly begins.

The rolling hills and fog make the view not only scenic, but a “must see”.

People come from all over the country to visit Napa, but they often sleep on Sonoma, CA which is arguably even better. And much closer to the coast.

Risibisi

From their website: RATED BEST RESTAURANT IN PETALUMA.

Risibisi Restaurant in downtown Petaluma serves healthy, fresh, Sonoma Italian cuisine featuring the finest local ingredients found in Sonoma County. We provide a memorable fine dining experience second to none, transporting you to the rustic elegance of an Italian Trattoria.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The food was excellent. The drinks were delicious. The service was impeccable. A perfect dinner. Definitely our new favorite restaurant in Petaluma!!

⭐⭐⭐

I have been to Risibisi many times. But my last visit was very disappointing. After being seated I had to go to the bar to get water after asking for it when we arrived and it never came. We did not get any butter or olive oil with the bread and had to ask for it.

My beet salad was just okay and the crispy duck salad was not good. Our main course was mediocre. The waiter must have noticed my displeasure at the end he brought Muscat and some doughnuts that had way too much cinnamon.

We came for my mom’s birthday. I mentioned that when we arrived. The waiter brought a candle on a plain plate with the check. I am sad about my dinning experience because I have had a great time at Risibisi before.

I probably won’t be rushing back soon.

My Review: Trying it out today. Will report back. Though it is VERY expensive. Expect to pay $20 for one here.

El Gallo Taqueria

From their website: Best food, good food.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fantastic food and amazing service. My friends had burritos and I had tacos and they were all equally good and they all came out at the same time. The speed at which they brought out the food was almost instantaneous!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Delicious food from a family-run style restaurant I usually get the combination plates and have yet to be disappointed. Food here tastes real without any fillers. The have delicious chile rellenos that are made very well.

My review: This is my favorite place to eat in all of Petaluma. The food is good, reasonably priced, and the staff is friendly. Honestly this is one of “MUST EAT AT” places. Their pupusas are AMAZING. Their burritos, especially the chorizo one, are fantastic.

Gohan

From their website: Enjoyment is key , which clearly shows in our restaurant. We offers Orient cuisine with modern influences. Our chefs work with fresh seasonal, preferably local, products. All dishes are prepared in our own kitchen. We offer an excellent product at a fair price.

We are happy to serve you a typical Japanese rolls with fresh fish and vegetables, a fine glass of wine or one of the carefully prepared meals from our kitchen. Our friendly and guest-oriented service staff will make sure your every need is being taken care of.

What locals are saying:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This spot is worth a visit. They serve large portions for fair prices. Constantly well kept and with fantastic ambiance. Would recommend to others.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This place offers extraordinary service and tasty food. One of my favourite spots around town. The food came out rapidly and the rates are fair. Will definitely recommend this spot.

My review: Service has always been incredibly slow for me. Even though every time I’ve gone it’s been completely empty, but the food is really good. So I’d recommend it if you like sushi.

Fourth & Sea

From their website: First off, we have the best fish and chips in Sonoma County and maybe this side of London!

How do we know? People tell us!

But we’re more than just great fish and chips. Our fish tacos for example, are nothing short of addicting. We know; we’re addicted. Two flour tortillas, cheddar cheese melted in-between, filled with seasoned grilled fish, coleslaw, and mild salsa.

Really good, really big, really filling.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Delicious food! Fish and fries were great. Clam chowder was amazing as well as the smothered hot dog. Its probably for the best that this establishment isn’t close to me or else I’d be eating out way too much! Dog friendly patio. Eat inside or out. Huge menu with home made ice cream for dessert.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This place is a classic little spot in Petaluma. Great fish and chips, and monthly shake specials. Lots of other items on the menu as well if you’re with a group. Seating inside and out; great on a warm summer evening. Only downside is listening to the guy running the kitchen demean his employees constantly.

My review: Honestly? Great fish & chips for this area. There’s a place down south that I love a good deal more than here, but if I had to pick a place in North Bay it would 100% be Fourth & Sea.

El Roy’s Mexican Grill

From their website: Authentic Mexican Food Truck where the food ranges from burritos, tortas, tacos, platillos (specialty plates), sopes, gorditas, to mexican hot dogs.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Y’all know El Roy’s is great, I’m not sure what more I can say. So good, always great service. Only thing missing is margaritas!

⭐⭐⭐⭐

We love the food at El Roy’s. My favorite is the shrimp tacos. The salsas are excellent. The problem with the place isn’t the food or service it’s the location. It’s too small and hasn’t got much parking.

My review: This food is so good! I didn’t really like the tortas, but everything else is *kisses fingers* fab.

What it’s Like to Write Every Single Day When You Have ADHD

NaNoWriMo is upon us and we’re 4 days in. I’ve been participating since roughly 2005 and this is the time where I start ‘feeling it’.

“But Des!” You say, “It’s only 4 days in. Surely someone who has been writing books for a number of years can go longer than this.”

I can. I can write every single day for 5 months straight if I have to, but would I want to? No. I get burned out really easily from having dyslexia and ADHD and I need frequent breaks from my manuscripts so I don’t go insane.

With NaNo, I don’t get that luxury.

Yesterday I went on a cleaning spree before I even sat down to get my words in. Even then I had to break up my writing by watching YouTube videos.

See, I have a very difficult time focusing on things like writing when I don’t take frequent breaks to do other things.

If I focused on writing for a full day, I could pull 20,000 words out of my ass, and trust me when I say I’ve done that. I’ve only ever done it once, but I’ve still done it.

But after I did that, I proceeded to not write for nearly 3 weeks. I can’t do that during NaNoWriMo. I would never finish.

So instead, I trick myself by allowing my brain to get all happy from watching a TikTok compilation, a crack video, or maybe even a 20 minute episode of something that I know makes me happy and then I force myself to write for 3-5 minutes.

It’s a huge time suck, but it works out really well for me. I’ve made word count every year I’ve done this. And I know how it must look to the people who are watching me, but trust me when I say I am definitely working. This is just part of my process.

Happy Halloween!

Here’s a quick gallery of my Halloween fun that I had today!

We did a party at work where we had a pot luck and people brought in baked goods. I made meaty rice crispy treats. They were good, but probably could’ve used more marshmallow.

I did accidentally dump an entire pound of rice crispies into them, after all.

Otherwise, I was Toni Stark, Iron Woman extraordinaire and my cat Ophelia was my Penny Parker, Spider-Cat.

I have 4 books!

It has come to my attention recently, after a few of my close friends yelled at me, that people don’t know I’ve written books.

So I’m here to set the record straight. My name is Desdemona Wren and I have written 4 books; 2 novels & 2 novellas and I’m going to tell you a little bit about them.

First up, The Marjorie Diaz series: Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society and Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play.

The Marjorie Diaz series follows Marjorie Diaz, a 22 year-old Mexican American college student who manages to piss off some magical high royals and gets herself marked for death.

And while that seems like a very bad thing (TM), the story keeps cutting deeper and Marjorie discovers everyone has a secret, including her best friend.

This title is LGBT with acespec rep, lesbian rep, bisexual/pansexual rep, and transgender characters. There is also POC rep with Mexican American, Black American, Zimbabwean, and British Indian characters.

Next up, Bloom: A Monster Love Novella and Call Me Eli (my anthology piece).

Both of these books feature transgender characters in same-sex relationships.

Bloom: A Monster Love Novella is about Holly Juniper who falls for a nymph who comes through a portal in her barn. She gets more than she bargained for, when Nia helps her discover what she was truly meant to do.

Call Me Eli is about a transman who falls in love with a rock star when he shows up and hijacks Eli’s cab ride back from his impromptu concert at CosFest, a huge con he goes to with his best friend every year. It’s a Cinderella story, but with a fresh take. They’re adorable together and I’ll be rewriting their story when I get the rights back in August.

I have another few books I want to release this year: Nighthawks: A Monster Love Novella, A City of Glass and Sand, Marjorie 3, A Reverse Harem story, and The Incredible Origins of Suzie Q, Demon Hunter Extraordinaire.

To keep up with my books, what I’m up to, and get sneak peaks of my writing: sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website!

I’m doing a giveaway!

This may come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but I am doing a giveaway for my 3,000 follower count (I’m about 5 away now, but I’ll be running this for a full month!) with a lot of great prizes (and even some from Lisa Stapleton!) ! I’m really excited that I’ve almost made 3,000 followers on Twitter!

Click here to enter!

I’m doing a giveaway!

This may come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but I am doing a giveaway for my 3,000 follower count (I’m about 5 away now, but I’ll be running this for a full month!) with a lot of great prizes (and even some from Lisa Stapleton!) ! I’m really excited that I’ve almost made 3,000 followers on Twitter!

Click here to enter!

I’m doing a giveaway!

This may come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but I am doing a giveaway for my 3,000 follower count (I’m about 5 away now, but I’ll be running this for a full month!) with a lot of great prizes (and even some from Lisa Stapleton!) ! I’m really excited that I’ve almost made 3,000 followers on Twitter!

Click here to enter!