Wednesday, 16 January 2019

2018 | End of Year Survey

Number of Books You Read: 140
Number of Re-Reads: 18
Genre You Read the Most From: Fantasy

1. Best Book You Read in 2018?
This is a really difficult one as I read a lot of amazing books last year, but I think I'll have to go with either The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid or The Magician's trilogy by Lev Grossman. I am writing a top ten books of 2018 blog post though that should be up very soon so you can see all my favourites then!

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?
Artemis by Andy Weir. I loved The Martian by the same author but this book was a major disappointment. The main character felt like a woman being written by a man, the plot wasn't as engaging, and the characters just didn't feel fleshed out at all.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton, and unfortunately in a bad way. I expected really good things from this book and I usually love long, epic fantasies, but this book felt unnecessarily long and very dense. It really surprised me that it felt like this and it took me about 2-3 weeks to read (a crazy amount of time for me!). I did love the characters and atmosphere but overall I really struggled with this book. I have a full review here with all my thoughts if anyone is interested.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read (and they did)?
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?
Best series started: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. A fantastic book with an assassin school and an amazing cast of characters.
Best sequel: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. Easily my favourite book in this series so far and it follows two of the characters from the first book. I loved everything about it.
Best series ender: The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman. I feel like this trilogy needs to be read back-to-back practically as one book to fully appreciate the overall narrative but this finale in itself was fantastic.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2018?
I think N.K. Jemisin or Taylor Jenkins Reid.

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare which was a romance novel recommended by April from Aprilius Maximus.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad or Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty. Both of these books I read in a day because I just needed to know the ending so desperately. I think 172 Hours on the Moon was more fast-paced but they were equally 'unputdownable' and I highly recommend both of these for fans of thrillers.

9. Book you read in 2018 that you would be most likely to re-read next year?
Possibly Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi as the sequel comes out this year, but I don't tend to re-read books that soon after first reading them.

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2018?
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. In fact, the covers from this entire series are really beautiful.

11. Most memorable character of 2018?
Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She just feels like a real movie star and has such a personality.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?
This one was actually easy for me this year, it has to be The Diviners by Libba Bray. The first chapter of that book is easily the best first chapter of any book I've ever read. It was so beautifully written and unbelievably atmospheric. It felt like a film opening because I could see it all so clearly.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2018?
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This book is a collection of true stories about women who have overcome dire circumstances in order to change the world. Through their stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to progress lies in unleashing women’s potential—and they make clear how each of us can help make that happen. This was incredibly difficult to read and I want to give trigger warnings for rape, sexual assault, and drug addiction.

14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2018 to finally read?
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becki Albetalli. I'm not the biggest contemporary fan so I've been putting off this book for a while, but I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it this year. This story follows sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier who prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. This book was just such a light and easy read. I just felt myself smiling as I read it and I kept wanting to pick it up to see what would happen next.

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2018?
Similar to question 12., I'm having to go with the whole first chapter of The Diviners by Libba Bray. Highly recommend!

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2018?
Shortest book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander at 42 pages
Longest book: The Stand by Stephen King at 1325 pages

17. Book that shocked you the most?
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (and it shocked me in a good way!). I knew I would probably enjoy this book when I picked it up, but because it's over 1000 pages I thought it might be longer than necessary; I'm so glad I was wrong. This book was fantastic. The characters were so intriguing and three-dimensional. It was also far funnier than I thought it would be. I loved everything about this story and I would definitely say to not be daunted by the size of the book because it's so easy to read. 

18. OTP of the year? (you will go down with this ship!)
A relationship in The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, but I won't say which one because of spoilers!

19. Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?
All of the friendships in The Novice trilogy by Taran Matharu. They felt somewhat reminiscent of the Harry Potter friendships and I just love that nostalgia.

20. Favourite book you read in 2018 from an author you've read previously?
The Stand by Stephen King. This is an apocalyptic book where a computer error in a Defence Department laboratory and a million casual contacts form the links in a chain letter of death. In this bleak new world of the day after, a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people, a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. The characters and the story of this book were both incredibly written. Stephen King is easily one of my favourite authors and this book is a great representation of why.

21. Best book you read in 2018 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure, etc.?
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. A fantastic grim dark fantasy based on modern Chinese history and set in a military school. It is probably one of the most unique fantasy books I've read in a long time. (A warning for younger readers though, as this deals with extremely dark topics as it bases part of the narrative on the Nanjing Massacre and the Second Sino-Japanese War, so there are trigger warnings for drug abuse, substance addiction, brutal rape, animal cruelty, genocide, and experimentation on people).

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?
I didn't read any good ones this year that stood out!

23. Best 2018 debut you read?
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, although I didn't read very many debut authors last year. I did enjoy this book, but it didn't make it onto my favourites list of this year; I think the hype surrounding the book had built it into something that no book could actually live up to.

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. I think this is easily my favourite book in this series so far. I love the way it follows the twin sisters (Jack and Jill) and their upbringing before they ever went to their 'fantasy' world or Eleanor West's home. It was fascinating to see the backstory of these two characters from the first book, but the Gothic setting of their 'fantasy' world was just so vividly written that I adored it. It was very reminiscent of the settings from Dracula and Frankenstein but with it's own unique twist.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. I really like Anna Kendrick and this was a fun, anecdotal book about her life before and after becoming famous. The way this book is written is so playful and humorous that I couldn't help having a smile on my face throughout reading it. 

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. I know, I know, it's literally in the title but that didn't make it any easier to read though!

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. This book got me out of the biggest reading slump this year and I feel like I never hear anyone talk about this trilogy. It's a fun fantasy trilogy that's super easy to read and I highly recommend to people who need a lighter fantasy book.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys. This is a historical fiction book based on the worst maritime disaster in history (MV Wilhem Gustloff) where over 9000 people lost their lives. Naturally this book crushed my soul.

29. Most unique book you read in 2018?
Sadie by Courtney Summers. Mostly because of the book's unique layout. This book is half a 'true crime podcast' that follows the disappearance of a teenage girl called Sadie, while the other half of the book follows Sadie's perspective before and after her disappearance. I highly recommend the audiobook of this as it has a full cast and has been recorded to genuinely sound like a podcast (e.g. sound effects, interviews, etc.). This is a beautifully written book that deals with very heavy topics, so as I've said with other books on this list there are definitely trigger warnings (I recommend checking the Goodreads page for more details).

30. Book that made you the most mad? (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (and I didn't like it). I knew this book had been published in the aftermath of Twilight but I thought I'd give it a chance anyway. Unfortunately, I really didn't like it. The book romanticised an abusive relationship and the main characters were just so one dimensional and flat. I was so close to DNF'ing the book but persevered because it was so short. I just don't understand the hype around this book at all.

1. New favourite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018
Definitely Book Roast. She makes fantastic book videos and has really interesting vlogs. (She also has two beautiful cats if you need more encouragement to check her channel out!).

2. Favourite post you wrote in 2018?
Probably my review of The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin!

3. Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2018?
I actually don't think I have any book related photos this year (shock horror I know).

4. Best bookish event that you participated in?
I didn't go to any signings or events last year but I'm hoping to get to some this year!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?
Getting to be involved in all the Book Tours with Love Books Group this year!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Making time for blogging while a lot of life/work stuff was going on. Reading-wise I think I did well this year though.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
My book review of The Cold Cold Sea by Linda Huber.

8. Post you wished got a little more love?
My 'Let's Talk' of Underrated Books

9. Best bookish discovery? (book related sites, shops etc.)
Nothing new really except for the new Waterstones card which collects the stamps for you automatically.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did! My challenge was to read 100 books last year and I managed to read 140 so I'm very happy with that. I also completed 49/52 of the Around the World book challenge last year.


1. One book you didn't get to in 2018 but will be your number one priority in 2019?
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I've heard a lot of good things about this book and I know it was a bestseller in 2017, so I'm really looking forward to it.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2019 (non-debut)?
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas or The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. So excited for both of these books!!

3. 2019 debut you are most anticipating?
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan.

4. Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2019?
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. I know this book has been delayed twice already so I'm really hoping it will still come out in 2019. The first two books were amazing and I need to know what happens in this finale!

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2019?
I want to read over 100 books again this year, and I would like to make time to blog more.

6. A 2019 release you've already read and recommend to everyone (if applicable):
None right now! I'm trying to get through my backlog of books so I've not been requesting any arcs recently!