Top 5 Books of 2018

Here are my top five favorite books that I read in 2018 (regardless of when they were published). I know I’m a month or so late, but better late than never! Two of my top five are actually graphic novels, because I got into those last year quite a bit.

Clicking on an image will take to you Amazon through an affiliate link.

Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Looking back over the year, this one just stands out as a nice, solid read. It was outside my normal pool of books, but was enjoyable. I think it also helps that I read the “Young Readers Edition” which made it a quick read, which, to be honest, I missed. This book is the story of the ballerina, Misty Copeland, and how she got into the art even though she started later than some other children usually do. The dance world is one I’m not familiar with on a personal level, so it was great to get the chance to look into it through this book.

Blameless by Gail Carriger

The more I read Gail Carriger, the more I love her books. I read the first three of the Parasol Protectorate series in 2018. Each book got more and more suspenseful, which is why the third book is the one that made it to the top five list. This story follow’s Alexia, preternatural, as she navigates through steampunk Victorian England. There are werewolves, vampires, ghosts, normal humans, mechanical ladybugs, and so much more! Read it!

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

This book was quite refreshing. Of the comic books/comic book compilations I picked up last year, this one was definitely my favorite. We get to follow Kamala Khan as she develops and learns how to use her powers.

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

This is such a beautiful graphic novel! Both the story and the artwork are great.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I know I’m a little late to the party on this one. But I quite enjoyed this one. Unfortunately I haven’t actually used her policies (yet) but there are a lot of great ideas to be found in this book. If you’re not familiar, Marie Kondo has different methods of decluttering your house (once, not forever) and advocates choosing what to keep by how much joy you get from a particular item. (As a side note, some of her principles are similar to corporate principles such as Six Sigma.)

So there are my top five. What were your top reads of 2018?

❤ Annette

1 year ago: Top 5 Books of 2017

top 2018

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Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

I’m probably cheating with this one a little. I’m writing this post during National Novel Writing Month in November 2018. (Hi future me!) So here are the ten most recent additions to my list as of 11/3/18.

  1. This Dog for Hire by Carol Benjamin
    I just added this to my to-read list while writing Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2018. (And yes, I pre-wrote that post too!) This is a cozy mystery with a dog involved, which is pretty much all I need to know to want to pick it up.
  2. Pointe by Brandy Colbert
    I also just added this to my list while writing Ten New to Me Authors I Read in 2018. This author wrote Life in Motion with Misty Copeland, and I enjoyed reading that. Pointe sounds a lot darker and heavier than Life in Motion, but also seems like a very interesting story about a ballet dancer.
  3. Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes by Joanne DeMaio
    I’m a sucker for Christmas and winter themed books, what can I say? I recently went through and added a bunch of Christmas themed books to my list, after discovering that Goodreads lists Christmas as a category that you can browse!So you’ll probably see some more coming up.
  4. Max’s Christmas by Rosemary Wells
    I love Christmas books, and picture books count too!
  5. The Assistant’s Christmas Wish by Lexi Ostrow
    This romance sounds very cozy. Two people who are attracted to each other, but unwilling to admit it, get snowed into a chalet together for a weekend. Yes. Please.
  6. The Art of Fixing Things, Principles of Machines, and How to Repair Them: 150 Tips and Tricks to Make Things Last Longer, and Save You Money by Lawrence Pierce
    I think the title says it all. I’ve always wanted to know how to repair things on my own, but never took the time to actually figure out how. This book sounds like a great way to learn! I found this while browsing a Christmas gift idea list on dodoburd, which advertised everywhere on Pinterest.
  7. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
    I was watching an interview of Captain Scott Kelly and he mentioned this book as one of the main reasons he wanted to become an astronaut. So of course I need to read it too!
  8. Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole by Bob Raczka
    How can you not want to read this book after it’s very clever title?
  9. Santa’s Favorite Story by HisakoAoiki
    I heard about this book via a blog post by the Dating Divas about books that keep Christ in Christmas.
  10. Itsy Bitsy Christmas by Max Lucado
    I also got this one from the Dating Divas post referenced in number 9. I love Max Lucado’s You Are Special, so I’m hoping this one is just as great as well!

So there are my ten most recently added books. I found it quite interesting to recall where I heard of each book and why I chose to add it to my list. I got ideas from websites, YouTube videos, Goodreads lists, and while researching for my blog!

What books did you just add to your TBR? And where to you get your ideas for books to read?

❤ Annette

1 Year Ago: Guide to 2018 Book Challenges

Top Ten Platonic Relationships in Books

(I definitely wrote this for a Top Ten Tuesday in 2018… but then never got around to posting it. So here it is for you today!)

I read a lot of romance novels, so this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is going to be a little bit hard. (If you want to see my favorite book boyfriends, you can see that post here.) 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl – I will be linking up there. 

  1. The Merrick brothers in the Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer
    This was the first platonic relationship I thought of when trying to create this list. Their parents are dead, so the brothers (all in the age range of 15-25ish) all sort of take care of and look after each other. They are still teenage boys though, so there’s still plenty of family drama. I just love how they can band together when they need to. 
  2. Rev and his Parents from More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
    Brigid Kemmerer is great at writing relationships apparently. I love most of the relationships in Rev’s life actually. His parents are loving and kind and always seem to know just what he needs – which is pretty impressive considering he doesn’t always know himself. His best friend, Declan, is also a great influence in his life. There’s one specific scene that I especially love with the two of them, but I don’t want to give anything away. 
  3. Kel and Neil from Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce
    Neil is just an awesome character to begin with, but he and Kel have such a fun (and crazy) friendship in this series. 
  4. Briar, Daja, Tris, and Sandry from the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce
    I know some Tamora Pierce fans only like her stories set in Tortall, but I like Circle of Magic series’ as well. The concept of how their magic works is so unique, and I love seeing these four characters learn and grow together throughout the series. 
  5. Evan and Jessie from The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davis
    This was the perfect little-kid sibling relationship. The characters, 8 and 10, are brother and sister and definitely compete and squabble like siblings. But at the end of the day, they actually complement each other very well with their individual skills, and they seem to stick together well as a family. 
  6. Diedre, Helena, and Muriel from The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch by Glynnis Campbell
    These sisters are willing to make sacrifices for each other and seem to do everything together when they can. However, they’re each very independent and unique as well. They practice swordfighting together, but step in to protect the others when needed. And they never seem to underestimate each other as well. 
  7. Hermux Tantamoq and his ladybug from The Hermux Tantamoq Adventures by Michael Hoeye
    I’m not sure owner/pet counts in this category, but I’m throwing it in anyways. I mean, how cute is the idea of a mouse (who is a watchmaker) with a pet ladybug!? 
  8. Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse from Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Lio Lionni
    It’s so sweet how Alexander wants to help his friend (the wind-up mouse) become real! Also, the illustrations in this book are adorable, so how could you not love any of the characters? 
  9. Alexia and Ivy Hisselpenny from the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
    These two have such an unlikely friendship. Alexia is cunning and not afraid to speak her mind, while Ivy always seems to be trying to be fashionable and in-vogue. However, scenes with them together are usually quite hilarious and they both grow as characters and as friends throughout the series. (At least the books I’ve read anyway.) (You can read a quote from one of my favorite scenes of theirs in my book review here.) 
  10. Alanna and Myles of Olau from Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce
    Alanna has actually quite a few fantastic parent figures in this series. Among them are Myles of Olau, who is a wise mentor, Eleni Cooper, who teachers her about being a woman and mothers her, and Coram Smythesson, who helps her get started on the whole adventure. 

What are you favorite bookish platonic relationships? 

❤ Annette 

platonic

 

Bookish Items I Would Love to Own

Here are ten book-related items that I would love to own. Hopefully it helps you find something you like too! Or get ideas for gifts for Christmas next year. 🙂

(I got the prompt for this post from That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday.)

  1. Frederick T-shirt
    There are so many fantastic things for book lovers from Out of Print. This t-shirt is one of my favorite. Leo Leonni’s mice are freaking adorable. I like Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse more than Frederick, but I’m not opposed to the adorableness in any form.

    l-1232_frederick-leo-lionni_womens-book-cover-tee_01_1800x1800 (1)
    From Out of Print
  2. Eiffel Tower Earrings Inspired by Anna and the French Kiss
    These are adorable and could be used/worn with a lot of different things. Also, I’m quite a fan of the Anna and the French Kiss series. (Although Lola is my favorite.)

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    By BaublesBeadsandStuff from Etsy
  3. Hungry Caterpillar Pouch
    Look how fat and cute the caterpillar is! I don’t use pencil pouches really, but this one is so adorable, and reminds me of a beloved children’s book. Plus it’s more practical than the similar tote bag they have, because I feel like the white will get dirty too quickly on a tote bag.

    recc-1005_very-hungry-caterpillar_pouches_1_1800x1800
    From Out of Print
  4. Origami Rose Earrings made out of book pages
    These are so. darn. cute. I think they would be a subtle way to hint at my love for literacy. Plus they’re quite versatile so I could wear them in my everyday life.

    il_570xn.642357262_gtdf
    By STCHandmade on Etsy
  5. Pusheen Tote Bag
    If you haven’t sensed a pattern yet, a lot of things on my wish list were chosen because of their cuteness. I love Pusheen but rarely find Pusheen items that can easily be used as an adult. But this would make a perfect book bag for trips to the library! And there’s Pusheen! So yay!

    polka-dot-tote-bag-model
    From HeyChickadee.com
  6. Read Past Your Bedtime PrintThis is so pretty! My walls are quite bare, and I think this would spruce them up quite nicely.
    il_570xn.1208427649_g1so
    By BookwormMamaCo on Etsy

    7. Newt Scamander Pop Funko
    I’ve never really wanted a Pop Funko before, even though I know they’re quite popular. But as soon as I saw this one I changed my mind. Newt Scamander is probably my favorite character in the Harry Potter universe.

    0889698330626_p0_v1_s550x406
    From Barnes and Noble

     

What would you add to your bookish wish list?

❤ Annette

1 year ago: Finishing the Series Challenge

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Series I Finished in 2018

I don’t think I was as successful at finishing series this year as I was last year, but I still have some to show. Here are the series I finished in 2018, as well as the average book rating I gave for books in the series. I’ve hyperlinked any reviews of mine.

It Had to Be by Tamra Baumann

It Had to Be Him
It Had to Be Love
It Had to Be Fate
It Had to Be Them

Average Rating: 4.25

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Letters to the Lost
More Than We Can Tell

Average Rating: 4.5

Sterling Canyon by Jamie Beck

Accidentally Hers
Secretly Hers
Unexpectedly Hers
Joyfully His

Average Rating 4.5

It makes sense that the series I actually finished had pretty high ratings! What series did you finish in 2018? Do I need to add any series to my TBR?

❤ Annette

1 Year Ago: Series I Finished in 2017

copy of series 2018

Series I Started in 2018

It’s time for all of my end-of-the-year  posts for 2018! I love this particular one because it’s a fun way to look back and reevaluate series I’ve started.

Below each series name are the books of the series that I have read. I have linked to any I have reviewed. I’ve also included if I continue reading the series or not.

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal
Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why
Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed

Continue? Yes

Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
Soulless
Changeless
Blameless

Continue? Yes

Not Quite by Catherine Bybee
Not Quite Dating
Not Quite Mine

Continue? Yes

Warcross by Marie Lu
Warcross

Continue? Yes

Meet Clara Andrews by Lacey London
Meet Clara Andrews

Continue? No

Desert Rogues by Susan Mallery
The Sheik and the Christmas Bride

Continue? Maybe

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Continue? No

What series did you start this year? Are there any you would recommend I pick up this year?

❤ Annette

1 year ago: Series I Started in 2017

series 2018

Puzzles for Book Lovers

It turns out there are a lot of fantastic book-themed puzzles out there! So here are some of the ones I found.

All the pictures are from BarnesandNoble.com, and clicking on the picture will take you there.

Book Collages

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Libraries and Bookstores

4005556817269_p0_v1_s550x406 0724819259090_p0_v2_s550x406 4005556817498_p0_v1_s550x406 4005556197224_p0_v1_s550x406

Harry Potter

0849421004484_p0_v6_s550x406  0849421004590_p0_v1_s550x406 0819844012731_p0_v2_s550x406 0819844012465_p0_v1_s550x406

Miscellaneous

0079346170777_p0_v1_s550x406  4005556197521_p0_v1_s550x406 9780735348806_p0_v2_s550x406 4005556823499_p0_v1_s550x406

Sorry that today’s post is more pictures than words! Sometimes I’m just in the mood to look at pretty things.

Which puzzle is your favorite? I think the cat one under “Miscellaneous” is mine.

❤ Annette

puzzle

The Ultimate Fall Bookish Bucket List

It’s still hitting 100° F almost every day here (ick), but I’m trying to get into the fall (autumn) spirit! Here’s a list of bookish things to do before fall is over!

  1. Make (crochet, knit, etc.) a Harry Potter house scarf
  2. Curl up with a pumpkin spice latte (or any fall drink) and a good book
  3. Read a fall-themed book
  4. Dress up as a book character for Halloween
  5. Have book club around a bonfire
  6. Take a walk while listening to an audiobook
  7. Read a spooky novel/thriller
  8. Light a candle to read next to
  9. Build a blanket fort to read inside of!
  10. Make a fleece blanket for cozy reading
  11. Read a novel with a supernatural character
  12. Make butterbeer
  13. Make an autumn recipe from your favorite book
  14. Find a new bookstore
  15. Read a book about football
  16. Carve a pumpkin with a bookish theme/character
  17. Make autumn decorations out of books pages
  18. Find a new coffee shop
  19. Buy a used book
  20. Learn archery (because so many book characters know how, why shouldn’t you?)
  21. Donate books you don’t need/want anymore
  22. Do a fall photo shoot for Bookstagram
  23. Attend a library hosted program
  24. Have a picnic! When you’re full, lay down and relax with a good book
  25. Find out of there is a free little library near you
  26. Make a list of books you are thankful for
  27. Go antiquing and find a vintage book
  28. Create a 3D pumpkin out of book pages
  29. Create a kindle cover out of an old sweater
  30. Read about a fall holiday (such as Dia de los Muertos, Oktoberfest, etc.)

Which one are you most excited to do? What should I add to this list?

❤ Annette

fall list

10 Picture Books I Want to Read

I know that I’m technically way too old to read picture books, but what’s the point of knowing how to read if you can’t read whatever you want? Plus, I find that children’s books can be incredibly creative and the artwork is beautiful.

Clicking on an image will take to you Amazon via an affiliate link.

How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk

Found this one thanks to Poisoned Pen’s monthly newsletter. It sounds interesting but also very fun.


Never Take a Shark to the Dentist by Judi Barrett

This looks fun and quirky.


Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward

I really like balloons? Usually hot air balloons, but I’m not going to be picky. 🙂 (You can also check out Hot Air Balloon Books on My TBR List.)


Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen

I’m mostly intrigued by this one because the title rhymes. 😛


Tea Rex by Molly Idle

Dinosaurs and tea. Sold.

The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman

A book about a story! (Which sounds weird… Goodreads describes it better.)

Firebird by Misty Copeland

I loved her young reader’s edition chapter book, so I’m excited to read her picture book as well.


Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson

Now that I have a dog, I’m more of a dog person. Which means I need to catch up on my dog-ish reading. 🙂


There Might Be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi

Another doggie book!


Found Dogs by Erica Sirotich

This looks amazingly adorable! Just look at the cover!

 

What other picture books should I add to my list?

pic books TBR

1 year ago: My Favorite Childhood Picture Books

Can’t-Wait Wednesday

CAN'T

I got this idea from Wishful Endings who hosts a weekly link-up for books for which people are waiting. So here is a book that I can’t wait for!

Wildcard by Marie Lu

While I don’t think I loved Warcross as much as others did, I still enjoyed it enough that I have to find out what happens next! Wildcard is the next book in the series, and it’s expected to come out on September 18. I’m not reading much about the sequel so I don’t go in with weird expectations.

(affiliate link)

What books are you looking forward to reading?

❤️ Annette

1 year ago: Can’t-Wait Wednesday