What a great reading year 2018 was! Even though I had an eye infection that prevented me from reading much for over a month, and I went on several trips where almost no reading was done, I am still determined to make my goal.
But man. It was strong in what I did read. And I think that was because I was more picky. I know what I like. And I am not much into romance, or just drama for drama’s sake. So the big YA series like Throne of Glass or A Court of Whatever are not really for me. (Before you gasp, I tried Throne of Glass, and I got three or four books in, and nah, I’ll just continue on with what I like, tyvm.)
My first book of the year continues to be one of my favorites – The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert! I loved this darkly macabre fairytale! Set in contemporary New York City, it quickly scuttles over to a dark and sinister fairytale place. I am chuffed to find that they will be publishing the actual Tales of the Hinterland (a book integral to the plot), as well as a second in the series! Very excited for those.
I can’t really pick my top three. I had so many five star reads! But here are a few more that I really loved:
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Give me Vikings and a really strong female protagonist! And the world building! Oh, this was a great ride.
Tales of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
Read this with a group starting right after her untimely demise. We read the whole series, and I’m so glad I did! It was wonderful, each book individually, but also, wow, the series as a whole! Highly recommend.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Oh my gosh, why did I wait so long? This was a feast for the senses, as well as a really cool story. I loved it, and it made me very keen to do everything in black and white (with a touch of red, of course!)!
The Illuminae Series by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman
I did a group reread of the series leading up to the release of Obsidio, and oh man, it just gets better. This series was so fun and heartbreaking and intense! I don’t generally read scifi but I will die on this hill.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Another one that I can’t believe I waited so long for! Here is to backlists, people. This was fantastic! And THEN, AND THEN… I got to meet him at a Con this summer! Oh my gosh. And hearing him read his work was just amazing. I’m going to have to devour the rest of this series soon because he is working on something new!
The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
Look. I understand. You think that Lord of the Rings is boring, or too dense, or too long. But hey. IT IS ONLY BRILLIANT. And this book is kind of a prequel. So it deserves some love. Reading it during Middle Earth March gave me a lot of background for the many references made in Lord of the Rings, so on my current reread of the series, I am getting even more out of it than before. Which is saying something.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
This was a seriously fun romp through Europe, combining historical fiction with YA in a way that was clever and entertaining. I loved this as a summer read, and I am looking forward to reading the second one. I will say, though, that it had moments of gripping tension and dealt with serious issues. But the cast! This ensemble cast was amazing.
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Ahhhh! I LOVED LEAH!! This was a snarkfest masquerading as a contemporary. I didn’t get to meet Becky (even though she came here, because airport duty), but my friend Lupe shot a video of her saying hi to me and then she got me a signed book! Oh my gosh, my heart. This was a bookish highlight of the year for me. I also read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda this year and yes, of course I loved that too. Becky is my newest auto-buy author.
A few Middle Grade – so many good ones!
The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler
This was astounding in its imaginative scope. Slightly scary. Amazing high stakes. I put this in my Halloween Reads but it deserves a spot here as well. Get thee to the backlist, folks!
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Another one that I hadn’t read for whatever reason. But then I also watched the movie. Oh my gosh. This is for kids? Give me a break. The book, dear reader, was better.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
I got to meet Victoria!! She was amazing! I had not read this when I met her, and I am sad that I didn’t get a copy signed, but this series in one that I will be looking forward to each new book. I still haven’t read Vicious or Vengeful, either. More Victoria for me!
Oh, just go read all of it. I had several Laini books on my list this year. I got to MEET her! I finally finished the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, based on her advice to finish that before reading Muse of Nightmares. So I did. And I read The Night of Cake and Puppets (great break in the middle of the DoSaB trilogy if things are getting too intense for you), and I read Strange the Dreamer. Now I need to read Muse and her short story collection, Lips Touch. I am here for all things Laini.
So as you can tell, it was really an amazing Book Year. I met some very wonderful authors, and I just can’t thank them enough for their graciousness and really, they were so nice! I did a lot of readalongs, which helped with some things (like two Shakespeare plays and some classics such as Jane Eyre and The Picture of Dorian Grey!). I met a ton of great folks over on Bookstagram, and I mean, I’m having such a good time on there that I am probably slacking on this blog because of it. But if you have read this far, thanks so much and I really do hope to post more on here in the coming year.
Some plans for 2019:
I am going to be participating in #theunreadshelfproject2019 for the coming year. Monthly challenges, intentional library building, and a great host in Whitney! The first task she asked for was that we should count our unread books. Oh my. But I’m going to start that as soon as I make my goal. I know it is in the hundreds. But I also know that there are many books in the house that I do not want to keep. So I’m hoping to sort that out better this year.
I’m also going to be taking part in a couple of long-term readalongs. One is for Jane Austen, under the hashtag #ArdentlyAustenBookClub – we’ll be reading one of her books every month until July. This is great, because I’ve only read one! And I’ve always meant to read more. I will also be reading an Agatha Christie book every month. I’m doing two of these – who knew that she was so popular, right? One is #AYearwithChristie2019 with @thewrittenwordandtea and the other is with a friend, where we are going to read all the Miss Marple books. I don’t think there is much overlap, so by the end of the year, I’ll be very much caught up on my Agatha! And my Jane! And my undread books! Oh, this is going to be great.
If we are not already connected on Bookstragram, come find me at @lindabookmania. I’m posting there daily, and I love to chat!