Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Reads of 2018

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Welcome 2019! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Best Books I Read In 2018”. I’m going to tweak this prompt slightly and make it my “favorite reads of 2018” because I read a lot of 5 star reads, but there were a few 4.25/4.5 star reads that I found myself enjoying more.

Wow, I realized after writing this list that these books are all rereads and popular/hyped books?! So yeah, I might be a bit cliché in some of my choices/rankings, but honestly, this was such a hard list to make, so can ya blame me? I did my best to rank them, but honestly, I enjoyed all these books relatively the same.


For those of you who don’t know:

“Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”

(This quote comes directly from the blog That Artsy Reader Girl)


First, before we dive into this list, let’s glance at my “The Best Books I Read in the First Half of 2018” list:

  1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  3. When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  4. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  5. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
  6. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  7. The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
  8. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
  9. Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
  10. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

Now for my final favorites list of 2018:

10. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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I love The Little Mermaid, so, of course, this dark Little Mermaid retelling with sirens was a big hit for me! And with secret identities, witty banter, and an awesome world, this book was an immense joy to read! Why aren’t there more good mermaid/siren books out there?

9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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How could I not add this to the list? I honestly think my favorite part about this book, and what I admire most about Thomas’s writing, is her characters. All her characters are so fleshed out and I adored Starr’s family dynamic.

8. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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Another popular I finally read! My favorite things about this book was the narration and of course the love story! Ahhh, Simon and Blue are such great characters! I will forever be wanting more of them. (Leah on the Offbeat was not enough; I want to see them in college!)

7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I finally hopped on this bandwagon! I loved all of the protagonists and it was so great to discuss this book with my roommate and book club. I can’t wait to pick up Crooked Kingdom this year!

6. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Honestly, I enjoyed both these Leigh Bardugo books pretty equally, but how I could I not include one the Grisha trilogy books? I adored rereading this series and ahhhh, it was great. Alina is such a great morally grey character and I loved her character journey. I’m not sure if I would absolute say that the second book is my favorite of the trilogy, but I technically reread Shadow and Bone in 2017 so I couldn’t include it for this list.

5. Circe by Madeline Miller

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OMG MILLER’S WRITING IS GORGEOUS! Ultimate writing goals right here. I thoroughly enjoyed getting Circe’s side of the story, because honestly, until I read this book, I kept getting Circe confused with Calypso. It was so cool to see all this Greek mythology woven into this Circe retelling.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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And I LOVE Jane Austen’s writing too! I’ve only read 4 of Austen’s novels, but this one is without a doubt my favorite. It was so great to reread this book this year and discuss it with my Jane Austen class! That’s the only part I’m sad about in regards to my fall semester finishing; I won’t be in my Jane Austen class again! Luckily, I got Austen’s other 2 books for Christmas, so you might see those books popping up on my 2019 list!

3. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

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Wow, another reread (and 2nd book in a trilogy) making this list! Who would have thought? This was my 3rd time reading this book, and the story did not disappoint! I love The Remanent Chronicles so much (except for the trilogy’s ending but we don’t talk about that shhhh). I will say that this series has a lot of cliches with the “chosen one” trope and all, but despite this, it honestly works and I 100% recommend the trilogy to all YA fantasy readers.

2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Like nearly everyone else in the YA book world, I fell in love with this novel! I adored Jude’s morally grey character and all the crazy plot twists. And now we’re only a week away from the release of The Wicked King! Crap, I still need to pre-order that book…

1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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A classic choice, but how could I not declare a SJM book my favorite read of the year? I love her writing, characters, and supreme foreshadowing skills. Funny enough, this was the first book I read in 2018! I still haven’t read Kingdom of Ash yet, but hopefully it will be on my favorite reads list of 2019!


What were some of your favorite reads from 2018? Do we have any in commmon?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your posts in the comments below, I would love to read them!

December Book Haul: Lots of Fantasy with a Surprising Amount of Adult Fiction!

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Normally, on a month-to-month basis, I don’t acquire a lot of books–if any–but December/Christmas is the time when I accumulate most of the books I own. Between Christmas, a book exchange between my book club, and using some old gift cards to treat myself to a few mass market paperbacks, I hauled 18 books this month! The majority are fantasy novels (so surprising, right?), but I didn’t realize how little YA I acquired and how many “adult” books I got until I lined them all up to take a picture! Perhaps I’m “maturing”? (baha, unlikely; YA Forever!)

Also, I just unhauled ~12 YA books and a couple dozen children’s books yesterday so hopefully I’ll be able to find the shelf space for these books (and omg, it feels so nice to have donated and rid myself of so many books). I have 2 full bookcases, 1 short bookcase, and an additional shelf which I use for books. Once I reorganize my remaining childhood books, I’ll should be able to have all my books neatly tucked away. But let’s be real; I’m horrible at cleaning–as in you can barely see the floor in my room–so it’s unlikely that I get to this before returning to school. 😅

eightteen books stacked in front of a glowing christmas tree

From my Book Club’s Exchange:

There was so much hype around this book last year/earlier this year and I’m so excited to own a copy! My book club does a white-elephant-style book exchange every semester and I was super excited to snatch this book up at it! My friend, who contributed the book, said she loved it, so I’m very curious to see exactly what this book entails.

Books I Bought for Myself:

Using some Barnes & Noble and Amazon gift cards, I treated myself to these 3 books after finishing some particularly stressful finals and moving back home. I’ve actually already read one of these books, Heroine Complex, and really enjoyed it! It’s a fun, relatively quick read that parodies the expectations and work of superheroes.

**Post Edit**

I completely forgot to include a book, making my total haul 19 books! I picked this book up in a used bookshop in at a library. When the Emperor was Divine is an amazing book. Julie Otsuka is the queen of show and not tell, and additionally, her use of perspective is extremely powerful. I’ve read this book twice now and I can only dream of writing like her.

the book When the Emperor was Divine lying against a red background

Christmas Gifts:

I am extremely fortunate and blessed to have parents and grandparents that are willing to buy me lots of books for Christmas. My book collection and my passion for reading would be nothing without them, particularly my mom. If it wasn’t for her tirelessly searching for books that piqued my interest and reading with me during my elementary school years, I wouldn’t be the reader I am today (or probably a reader at all).
Wow, I just got really sentimental there, sorry guys. 😅 Essentially all that I meant to say is that I’m really grateful for these books and that I’m equally excited to dive into all of them (ahhh, why I can’t I just take an entire suitcase full of books with me back to school??)


That’s it for my December book haul! 😄

What books have you acquired recently?
Any suggestions on which of these books I should pick up first?
What’s your favorite book that you own?

 

 

November Wrap-Up: Too Much Homework, Leather Jackets, and I finally started Six of Crows! [ALSO My Semi-Hiatus Continues]

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Hey guys, just popping on here real quick with my November wrap-up before I return to my hiatus. I will officially be back and active on my blog come December 14th, when my semester ends and all my final projects are turned. I literally have all 3 of my big projects due within 12 hours of each other (but so far I am somewhat managing to live in denial of the stress, so that’s good).

Let’s see, November was…a stressful blur and I’m not sure I really remember much of what I did, or if I care to, honestly. I think it was me really just holding out for the end of the semester (which is sooo close, ahhhhh).

ALSO I just finished a rough draft of my 10 page paper for my Jane Austen class and I feel so accomplished, omg.

Good gracious, why are intros so hard to write? I never know what to say. Okay, let’s just move on because I need to go to sleep after I post this. 😴


BOOKS I READ:

four books lying against the carpet

1. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

Rating: 2 stars

Yeah, not a fan. I get that it was written in the 90s and that feminism was different then, but there was just so much self-loathing in this book and I hated reading about it. Not to mention that Bridget is a ditzy character and arghhhh, she drove me insane.

2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Rating: 4.5 stars

Definitely had a slow start (and the book totally could have been shorter), but omg the writing was amazing. I also loved how instead of being written in chapters, the book was written in vignettes (which was so much more engaging). I don’t know if I can concisely summarize this book, so definitely look it up if you haven’t heard of it before!

(also this book ended up being helpful for a project that I had to do for my Cultural Heritage class which was sooo nice).

3. Emma by Jane Austen

Rating: 3.25 stars

As always, I loved Austen’s writing, but as for the rest of the book? Not a big fan. The protagonist is annoying, not a lot happens plot-wise (I swear like a third of the book takes place in Emma’s thoughts & imaginations), the romance is too creepy, and the ending was too easy/passive (Emma did nothing to bring about these resolutions).

4. Austenland by Shannon Hale

Rating: 3 stars

Basically a loose Pride & Prejudice retelling featuring an Austen fanatic and an Austen-inspired resort. A quick, cute & fun read but there wasn’t a lot of substance to it. This novel was literally under 200 pages. I loved reading all the shout-outs to other Austen books though!


DECEMBER TBR:

Okay, this is more like my TBR for the rest of the semester (so until December 14th). I plan to do a separate post about my Winter Break TBR (for the Top Ten Tuesday on December 18th). Also, I’m already technically reading Six of Crows (I’m just over 1/3 of the way through), but I still wanted to include it in my TBR. Marbles is a graphic memoir that I have to read for Cultural Heritage class (and then get write a 6-8 page final paper on, yay me!!😭)


RANDOM LIFE UPDATES:

  • My roommate and I watched the first season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power on Netflix and fricking adored it!
  • I got to see my pets while home during Thanksgiving break! Came home to find that my third cat, not featured below, has taken over my room and lies in my bed on a daily basis, the darn rascal. 😝
    • Aahhhh, I can’t wait to see them when I return home!
  • My fiction writing class had lunch with Emily St. John Mandel, the author of Station Eleven, who gave us such helpful writing advice!
  • My friend and I completed our goal of finding leather jackets! We noticed when we attended the YA Fandom Frenzy last year that the majority of authors seemed to wear black leather jackets, so we decided that in order to accomplish our dreams of someday becoming authors, we needed to acquire leather jackets. 😁

two girls in leather jackets back to back

  • I HAVE TWO WEEKS LEFT IN MY FALL SEMESTER! Praise the freaking lord.

What books did you read in November? Do anything fun? If you’re in school currently, how are you doing now that the semester is coming to a close?

SEMI-HIATUS ANNOUNCEMENT/ WWW Wednesday: November 21st, 2018

WWW Wednesday

As you guys may have noticed, I have not posted for the last 2 weeks. The only reason I’m managing to post now is because I’m on Thanksgiving break (lol and it’s still 15 minutes until Thursday here, whoops). As this semester has been coming to a close, I’ve found myself stressed and swamped over all that I have to do for my classes and I have not been able to find the time, energy, nor motivation to post. Thus, I am announcing a semi-hiatus until my semester ends in the middle of December. I will be around to respond to the comments of this post and I also plan post a November Wrap-Up at the end of this month, but besides that, I will be absent and focusing on college. Thank you guys so much for understanding; I can’t wait to be fully reunited with guys come winter break! 🙂 ❤


Now for a brief update on my reading:

(For those of you who don’t know: WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer 3 ‘what’ questions about your reading.)


What are you currently reading?
(again, a lot)

  • Olive Kitteridge– Reading this for my fiction writing class!
  • Station Eleven– Was suppose to read this for November 13th when the author visited my college. As you can see, I did not succeed. Only got 1/3 of the way through…
  • Rule– Still at 34%…(since September 7th, yikes!)
  • Celtic Tales– Haven’t picked this one up in awhile either.
  • Ruin and Rising– Ditto here. 😅

What have you recently finished?

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As always, I loved Austen’s writing, but as for the rest of the book? Not a big a fan. Emma is annoying, not a lot happens plot-wise (I swear like a third of the book takes place inside Emma’s thoughts & imaginations), the romance is kinda creepy, and the ending was too easy/passive (Emma did nothing to bring about these resolutions).

This marks the 4th Jane Austen book I’ve read (I’ve previously read P&P, S&S, and Northanger Abbey). I am still looking forward to reading Mansfield Park and Persuasion someday though!


What do you think you’ll read next?

  • Austenland– Going to read this for my Jane Austen class! I love Shannon Hale, so I really hope this book doesn’t disappoint me.
  • Six of Crows– I’m finally hoping on this bandwagon!! I mean, I kinda have to since my book club is reading it and we’re meeting on Monday to discuss the first half, so yeah…but still! I meant to finish my reread of the Grishaverse trilogy, but as you can see by my “currently reading” list, that didn’t happen. Oh well 😆

What books are you currently reading? Any books you’re looking forward to reading? What’s your favorite Jane Austen novel?

If you’re in school, are you hanging in there? (If you’re managing to blog while also balancing school, can you give me tips?)

If you made a WWW Wednesday post this week, feel free to link it up in the comments below, I would love to read them!