2020 End of Year Survey

This survey was originally developed by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner. I maybe got rid of over half the questions – the original is long!

**2020 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 143*
*As of 12/29/20, it’s likely to go up by one or two before the end of the year

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Best Books You Read In 2020?

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Beach Read by Emily Henry and The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

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

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I just have to give up on reading horror novels. I never appreciate them.

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

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The F List by Alessandra Torre. I went into this with no expectations and it became one of my favorite books of the year.

 Favorite new author you discovered in 2020?

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I loved The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler.

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

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I don’t read much historical fiction anymore, but I loved Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

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Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan. I think this cover is just so cute and romantic.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

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Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer (originally released in 2015).

Favorite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

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No Way Out by Cara Hunter

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

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The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. I know a lot of people didn’t love this, but I really enjoyed it!

Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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I thought A Path to Redeeming Love was a very good devotional and recommend it if you’re looking for one!

Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

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One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be A Priority in 2021?

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I bought a hard copy of this when it first came out and still haven’t read it.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021?

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People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry. Beach Read was one of my favorites of 2020 so I have high expectations for Henry’s next book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful for This Year

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is a Thanksgiving Day freebie. In this dumpster fire of a year filled with book slumps, I decided to go with the top ten five books I’m thankful for this year.

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1. Beach Read by Emily Henry. This was completely different than what we all thought it would be, but it ended up working for me. This is one of my favorite books of the year.

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2. The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I have been waiting for a sequel to The Royal We for so long and it didn’t disappoint.

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3. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. After loving the Beartown books, I was a little afraid to read anything else by Fredrik Backman because my expectations were so high, but this book definitely stands out as one of the best of 2020.

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4. The F List by Alessandra Torre. This book kind of came out of nowhere for me and I was surprised by how much I loved it.

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5. The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler. This one stands out to me because it was the only 4 star read in the midst of a bunch of 2 and 3 star books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies.

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1. The Simple Wild series by K.A. Tucker

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2. The Royal We series by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.

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3. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

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4. Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

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5. The F List by Alessandra Torres

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6. The Beartown series by Fredrik Backman

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7. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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8. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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9. When it’s Real by Erin Watt

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10.  This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

What books would you like to see adapted on Netflix?

Review: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

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(I had to include the non-American cover because it’s perfect. You’ll understand when you read the book.)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Anxious People publishes September 8, 2020. 

Even though the Beartown books made me a Fredrick Backman fan for life, this is only my third book from him. I was a little afraid that no other book could live up to my sky high expectations. And while the Beartown books are still my favorites, Anxious People did not disappoint.

Backman has such a way with words. I am continually blown away by his honest – and humorous and sometimes heart wrenching – description of the human condition. There is no other author that can make me want to laugh and cry in equal measure. This story is about depression, anxiety, and desperation. But it’s also about hope, love, and forgiveness. It’s about idiots. It’s about the thoughts we have in our lowest moments and the reassurance that we are not alone. There was one passage that described my teenage self so accurately, that I really wish there were more books like this back then.

“She isn’t traumatized, she isn’t weighed down by any obvious grief. She’s just sad, all the time. An evil little creature that wouldn’t have shown up on any X-rays was living in her chest, rushing through her blood and filling her head with whispers, saying she wasn’t good enough, that she was weak and ugly and would never be anything but broken…In the end you get exhausted from always tensing the skin around your ribs, never letting your shoulders sink, brushing along walls all your life with white knuckles, always afraid that someone will notice you, because no one’s supposed to do that.”
(Quote taken from ARC, may be different in final version.)

The story is very character driven, and there is quite the quirky cast to get to know. I loved how we learned things about each of them, bit by bit. Characters who might come across a little unlikable at first are given context and background that will make you grow to love them instead. There’s even a twist or two that will keep you on your toes. I will say there were a few times where it felt like things dragged just a little and I wanted to get on with the story, but the character development was still definitely worth it. The story is told in a non-linear way, which could have gotten confusing, but I think Backman handled it really well. I loved the excerpts of the witness interviews most of all.

Overall, I loved Anxious People. Backman’s writing was just as wonderful as I hoped it would be. It was honest and relatable and filled with emotion. It was also laugh out loud funny at times. I definitely recommend this one and am looking forward to going back and reading more of Backman’s backlist.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: July 29, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1) by Karla Sorensen. This ended up being 3 stars for me. There were many things I liked about it, but the way the main character reacted to things really rubbed me the wrong way.

Outsider (Kate Burkholder #12) by Linda Castillo. This was another solid installment of the series. I’m looking forward to the next one!

What are you currently reading?

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I haven’t had a lot of time to read over the past couple days so I’m not very far in yet, but so far I’m loving it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I just got This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf from the library.

What are you reading?

WWW Wednesday: July 15, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Girl in the Love Song by Emma Scott. Super angsty and a little too long, but a sweet love story. I enjoyed this one.

What are you currently reading?

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Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan. Honestly, I’m not really interested in this at all yet. The writing isn’t bad, I was just expecting a Thriller and this is more Women’s Fiction so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m not sure if I’ll read it next, but my next ARC on deck is Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

What are you reading?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top Books that Weren’t What I Expected

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is: Top 5 Books that Weren’t What I Expected. 

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1. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I expected another run of the mill dystopian and wasn’t prepared for this epic Sci-Fi adventure.

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2. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. I expected another super cute, fun romance like Thorne’s The Hating Game, but this one lacked all the charm of the first book.

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3. The Fallen Crest High series by Tijan. I think the most unexpected thing about this series is how much I actually enjoyed it. It’s not my usual type of read, but I was addicted.

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4. Beartown by Fredrik Backman. I actually had no expectations of this at all and only decided to try reading it because Brandie lent me her copy. It ended up becoming one of my favorite books of all time.

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5. My Lady Jane by the Lady Janies. Alternate history and shapeshifters are two things that I’m not generally a fan of, but all the great reviews I saw on this one made me read it – with great hesitation. It’s another one I ended up loving. Every weird thing about it just worked for me and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

What are some books that turned out differently than you expected?

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018. I’m going to break this up by established authors and 2018 debut authors.

Established Authors

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1. Fredrik Backman. Read: Bear Town, Us Against You

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2. Mariana Zapata. Read: Dear Aaron, From Lukov with Love, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, Under Locke, Luna and the Lie

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3. Peter Swanson. Read: All the Beautiful Lies 

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4. Jennifer Hillier. Read: Jar of Hearts

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5. Teagan Hunter. Read: Let’s Get Textual, I Wanna Text You Up, Can’t Text This

2018 Debut Authors

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6. Cara Hunter. Read: Close to Home

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7. Carola Lovering. Read: Tell Me Lies

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8. Joseph Knox. Read: SirensThe Smiling Man

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9. T.M. Logan. Read: Lies

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10. Oyinkan Braithwaite. Read: My Sister, the Serial Killer

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

The Jingle Bell Book Tag – 2018

 

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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