2018 End of Year Survey

This annual survey was developed by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

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**2018 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 147
Number of Re-Reads: 8
Genre You Read The Most From: Mystery/Thriller and Romance/Contemporary
**These are the stats as of 12/26/18, it’s likely to go up by one or two before the end of the year

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1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

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I can’t pick one, so here are the three that I gave 4.5 Stars in 2018: Close to Home by Cara Hunter, Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies. I absolutely adored My Lady Jane and I expected to love this one just as much, but it was probably my biggest disappointment of the year.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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I mean come on, does Let’s Get Textual by Tegan Hunter look like a book I would enjoy? But I totally did enjoy it. I read it in a day and laughed all the way through it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

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So I don’t actually feel like I pushed many books on people this year. I will say that I told my mother about Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas and then when I started sharing some quotes with her she said she wanted to read it so I bought it for her for Christmas.

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

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Started: Beartown by Fredrik Backman, Sequel:  What You want to See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka, Ender On Magnolia Lane (Blue Ridge #3) by Denise Hunter.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Cara Hunter and Fredrik Backman

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. I don’t read a lot of horror and while I had my issues with this one, I mostly enjoyed it.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

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I can’t really think of any books that were really action-packed, so I’m going with one of my re-reads for this year, Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown.

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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Beartown

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

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The Promise (DS Imogen Grey #4) by Katerina Diamond

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Benji from Beartown

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

I mean, not to sound like a broken record, but Beartown. 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

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There were a lot of good lessons in the The Faithful devotional.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

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Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. Brandie bought me a copy for my birthday in 2017 and it was almost a year later before I read it and I really enjoyed it.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“When we decide that boundaries are needed, they can be hard to set – and maintain – if we doubt ourselves and our assessment of the situation. Survivors often wonder if they are overreacting or being too sensitive…Another reason setting boundaries is difficult to do? We internally worry that we are withholding forgiveness and staying resentful. Boundaries have nothing to do with forgiveness or resentment. They have everything to do with the quality of our interactions with the people in our lives.” – Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

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Shortest: My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel

Longest: Oblivion by JLA (this was a re-read!)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

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The subtle twist at the end of Our House by Louise Candlish is probably my favorite shock of the year.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

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Bellarke forever!!! This is more about the show than the book, but I’m counting it.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

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The group of friends in My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

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The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

Have to go with Beartown again. I wouldn’t have ever picked it up if Brandie hadn’t lent it to me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

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Chase from One Small Thing by Erin Watt.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

Close to Home by Cara Hunter.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

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Iron Gold (Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Let’s Get Textual by Tegan Hunter.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

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Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Beartown and Us Against You

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi. I was so excited for this series to continue, but the majority of this book was just the characters taking major steps back and rehashing old drama. It seemed like really lazy writing and it made me mad because I expect more from this author.

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1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

I always feel too bad to answer these questions. Add to that I always forget how long I’ve been following someone, so I’m going to skip this question. I love you all, though!

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018:?

This beautiful book-themed cake my former co-worker made me for my goodbye party.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

This year I went to events for Linda Castillo, Karin Slaughter, and Linwood Barclay and they were all fun.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

I hit over 1,000 blog posts and reached over 1,000 followers.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Due to real life, I ended up taking two month-long (or almost month-long) hiatuses.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

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My review of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I mean, honestly, all of them.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I don’t really feel like I made a bookish discovery this year?

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did the Good Reads reading challenge with a goal of 105 books and I surpassed that (147 at the time of writing this, but it will probably go up before the end of the year).

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

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I don’t think it will be my number one priority, but I really wanted to read Archenemies by Marissa Meyer. I got it from the library, but my hold came in at a bad time and it expired before I got to it.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

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The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

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Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Review more books. It feels like I only properly review ARCS and a few select other books and I want to get back into reviewing the majority of what I read again.

6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing and I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

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The Jingle Bell Book Tag – 2018

 

Silver Sleigh Bells

I’ve seen this tag going around and thought it looked familiar. Turns out I did in 2016. But a big thanks to Alyssa at Reading, Reading, Reading for tagging me this year! I’m going to try and not repeat any of my answers.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” – What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

So I know this sounds crazy, but I only asked for one book for Christmas. And only when it was on on sale for Black Friday and when I found out the person I asked for it didn’t buy it then, I told her don’t worry about it because in all honestly I will probably never use it. Anyways, the book was The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.

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Elf – What book unleashes your inner child?

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Better off Friends was one of my few re-reads this year. While I’m not really sure it “unleashes my inner child”, the book starts out with the main characters in middle school (or maybe even earlier? I can’t quite remember now, even though I’ve read this twice) so relating to them is kind of inner child-esque?

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” – Which book has most festive look to it?

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Hot Winter Nights is actually the only Christmasy book I’ve read this year.

The Holiday – Name your favourite TWO couples…

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Ruby and Aaron from Dear Aaron and Jasmine and Ivan in From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. While I do have several issues with Zapata’s books, I can’t deny that the couples in these two books melted my cold, black heart like nothing else.

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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Beartown by Fredrik BackmanThis is one of my very favorite books of the year and I think everyone should read it.

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

*I’ve traditionally included every book I’ve read in a month that hasn’t been reviewed, but I have decided that I am no longer going to include books that will have full reviews posted at a future date.*

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Us Against You (Beartown #2) by FredrikBackman. Read September 3-8. 4.5 Stars.

Beautifully written. I was just as invested in all these characters as I was during the first book. I was really expecting this book to be more uplifting and focus on the recovery from the events that took place in the first book. And it still has those elements of hope and inspiration, but this story was probably even heavier than the first one. Backman portrays really well how much hate there is in the world today. I liked how he showed it’s easy to blame one person or one side, but it’s really everyone’s fault. 

I love the characters. Benji will always be my favorite, though. There were a few that played bigger roles in the first book that I would’ve liked to have seen more from in this one (David, Amat), but I liked getting to know others (Teemu, Richard Theo – who is either a genius or a sociopath (probably both)). While we do hear about a few far in the future endings, things were still left a little too open for me. This book was probably more of a 4 than a 4.5 for me, but I’m giving it that extra half star for all the emotion Backman managed to wrench out of me.

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The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips. Read September 9-11. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute and humorous at times. I thought it was going to focus more on the Bachelor-like reality show, but it’s more about what happened after. I thought the big conflict was kind of unrealistic, though. Hanna was nicknamed Holy Hanna because of her Christian values, but then Will insinuated that they slept together (when they hadn’t) and it completely ruined her life. While I do believe that the internet likes nothing more than someone’s supposed fall from grace, I don’t think the extensive tabloid coverage and all the hate mail would really be as extreme as it was. And while I liked that it portrayed a Christian going through a phase of questioning God and her faith, I thought the “come-to-Jesus” moments could’ve been a little better written. I thought the book was a little too long, but I was looking for something fun and light that I didn’t have to think too much about and this definitely entertained me. Would recommend to Christian Contemporary/Romance fans.

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Just One of the Boys (The Chicago Falcons #1) by Leah & Kate Rooper. Read September 11-12. 3 Stars. 

This was a little uneven for me. Both the lead characters were really unlikable for long stretches at a time. But then there would be chapters here and there where I really enjoyed them. The story is pretty much the hockey version of the She’s the Man movie. I don’t really have too much to say about this one. I read the second book before this book. I might give the third one a shot whenever it comes out.

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Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. This was just as cute as I remembered it.

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Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I just read The Darkest Star (the first book in the spin-off series) and it made me feel so nostalgic for this book that I decided I should re-read this series. I love Daemon and Katy so much. I love the banter and the humor. It’s not going to win any great literary awards or anything, but it’s definitely a fun read.

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Oblivion (Lux) by Jennifer L Armentrout. I decided to re-read this whole series and decided I would read Oblivion after each of the first three books. So I read Obsidian and then I read Daemon’s POV of Obsidian and then I was going to read Onyx, but I decided just to stick with Daemon’s POV for books 2 and 3. I enjoyed this just as much as I did the first time. It really reminded me that Daemon is one of my favorite characters. The only thing that kind of bothered me was the bonus chapter with Luc. After reading the spin-off book, I feel like this scene doesn’t make sense with the book. Maybe I still need to read the remaining books in this series to remember the timeline exactly, but I’m thinking this scene contradicts how things played out in The Darkest Star.

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Fight or Flight by Samantha Young. DNF @ 11%. I just can not get into this book and I am really not in the mood to make myself try. I really dislike both the lead characters so far and the male lead’s Scottish accent is driving me insane. A couple of main words (like “to” and “didn’t”) are spelled out differently to show the accent and I’m just not feeling it. I think you need to do most of the dialogue like that or none at all.

Review: Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman

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Synopsis from GoodReads:

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded town. And that rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national championships, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of the town now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

A victory would send star player Kevin onto a brilliant professional future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. And it would justify the choice that Peter, the team’s general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Hers is a story no one wants to believe since the truth would mean the end of the dream. Accusations are made, and like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Have you ever read a book that’s kind of depressing and really inspiring at the same time? That’s Beartown.

To be perfectly honest, I really had no interest in this book, despite all the amazing reviews. I just didn’t think it sounded like it would be for me. But then a friend lent it to me (thanks Brandie!) and after it sat on my table for a month, I finally felt like giving it a try. And now it’s one of my favorite books of the year. Though it took me a little while to really get into the rhythm of the writing, once I did I was completely enthralled. It’s beautiful and insightful and will be sticking with me for a long time.

The story is very character driven. There is a very large cast of characters in this town and they all play a part and provide a unique perspective. I thought I would have trouble keeping them all straight, but I really didn’t. While it did make the pacing a little slow, Backman really lets us get to know all the characters. I had my favorites and I had those I hated and some characters I both loved and hated. They were real and relatable and heartbreaking and inspiring.

“…Most people don’t do what we tell them to. They do what we let them get away with.”

I thought this was going to just be a sports book and even though I knew something bad was going to happen, I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy. I thought this was one of the most honest books I have every read and that honesty will both make you despair and and give you hope.

Overall, I really loved Beartown. I know this little review doesn’t come close to expressing how much. I was incredibly invested in the characters and their town and I know this story will be with me for a long time. The writing was beautiful and sometimes I found myself just wanting to cry without even really knowing why (and other times when I definitely knew why…). If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and give it a try.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4.5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: My Summer TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach (This can also serve as your summer TBR). I’m very much a mood reader so I find it hard to stick to a set TBR list, but these are all books I’m hoping to read soon.

36301023My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies (Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows). My Lady Jane was such a surprise hit for me and has become one of my favorite books and I have been looking forward to this one ever since reading it.36347470Dead Drift (Chesapeake Valor #4) by Dani Pettrey. This is the last book in this series and I’m really excited for it.35924499Our House by Louise Candlish. I got approved for this on NetGalley, but I also won a physical copy from a Goodreads Giveaway and I’m really looking forward to it.36502041Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. Slaughter is one of my favorite authors and I’m sure I will enjoy this just as much as I have her other books. I’m over 100 people on the wait list for this at the library, though, so I don’t know if I’ll even get it this summer, but fingers crossed!36620943Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins. I FINALLY got approved for a Kristan Higgins book on NetGalley, but I still haven’t read this yet. I’m really looking forward to starting it soon, though.35410511Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and I’m a little concerned it’s been over-hyped for me, but I’m still looking forward to it. It sounds super creepy – in a fun way.37793086Girl’s Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. I’ve never read anything by these authors and this one sounds really interesting. Plus, I love that cover!36461789A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay. Barclay is one of my favorite authors and I’m so excited for this one. I am also planning on seeing him when he’s in the area in July with my book buddy, Amanda!33413128Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman. I hear such amazing things about Backman, but I was never really sure of his books. However, Brandie from Running on Words and Wine recently read and loved this one and she let me borrow it, so I’m looking forward to finally giving him a try!36547961Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. I’ve seen some really great reviews on this one and I am next in line for it at the library!

What books are on your Summer TBR? Do we have any in common?