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

Books I Meant to Read in 2018 But Didn’t

When it comes to books, my desire to read is often much larger than my ability to read. So just like I never got around to some books in 2017, here are ten books I meant to read in 2018 but didn’t. 

This post is part of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I will be linking up there! 

  1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
    When will I finally read this one?! It’s traveled with to me to more apartments than I can count, and yet I still have not managed to read it. 
  2. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    I loved Illuminae so so so much, and yet never took time to read it’s sequel.  
  3. Meatloaf and Mistletoe by Katie Mettner
    I forgot about this book until I was looking through my old TBRs for this post. But gosh darn, it sounds cute. 
  4. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
    I’m a sucker for a pretty cover, and this book is no exception. Except all I’ve done is look at the cover, and I haven’t yet delved inside. Which needs to be remedied. 
  5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
    This has been on my TBR forever, what’s wrong with me?! I even own it so it’s not like I need to track it down to buy or borrow it!! 
  6. The Best Friend by Melody Carlson
    I re-read the first book in this series so I could read this one and have some idea what was going on. Then I purchased this ebook. And yet… I still didn’t read it. So many books, so little time. 
  7. Fast Food Genocide by Joel Furhman and Robert Phillips
    To be fair, I did start reading this one last year. And it was super interesting, but it was also taking forever to read since it is so chock full of information. So I returned it to the library and now feel bad for not finishing it. I’ll have to check it out again soon! 
  8. See How They Run by Ally Carter
    I tried to get caught up on different series last year and while I succeeded with some, I failed with others. This would be one of the “failures”. 
  9. The Psycopath Test by Jon Ronson
    I thought this would be a great book to read a year after reading So You’ve Been Publicly ShamedIt sat on my shelf for a while and I got super psyched to read it, but never did. I so want to know more about the psychopath test, especially after watching Jon Ronson’s TED Talk. 
  10. Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
    I love (and have read!) almost all of Tamora Pierce’s books! This is another one I checked out of the library but then just sat on my shelf for a while. I really need to read this one before the next book in the series comes out! 

What books did you mean to read in 2018 but didn’t get around to? 

❤ Annette 

copy of books i meant to read

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

 

New to Me Authors Read in 2018

2018 was focused very much on finishing series I had already started, so a lot of the authors I read were returning favorites. However, I did mix it up a little, so here are the top ten new to me authors I read in 2018. (Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, so I will be linking this post to her blog.) 

  1. Laura Lee Gulledge
    She wrote Will and Whit and Page by Paige. After reading the first graphic novel of hers, I went to Goodreads and added all of her books (only a few at the moment) to my TBR, since I absolutely love her reading and writing style. 
  2. G. Willow Wilson
    I really tried to get into graphic novels and comics in 2018. After Laura Lee Gulledge, G. Willow Wilson was probably my second favorite author of the year. Ms. Marvel is an awesome series that I definitely need to catch up on. 
  3. Jennifer Smith
    I read her book Windfall at the beginning of this year and quite enjoyed it. At the time I didn’t even realize how many of her books I already had on my TBR. The next one of hers I want to pick up is probably going to be The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. 
  4. Marie Lu
    Believe it or not, Warcross was the first book I ever read by Marie Lu. The book was intriguing enough that I want to pick up the next one in the series. Plus, I’ve heard such great things about Marie Lu’s other series’ that I should probably pick those up too! 
  5. Brandy Colbert
    She wrote Life In Motion with Misty Copeland. I absolutely loved this non-fiction book. I’ll have to check out some other books that she’s written! 
  6. Marie Kondo
    I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure if I like Ms. Kondo’s writing style so much as I like the ideas presented in her book. Regardless, she is a new to me author that I read last year. (I should also note that the book I read was translated by Cathy Hirano, so I’m sure some of the writing skill/voice also came from her!) 
  7. Patty Hall
    She writes historical romances – the one I read was set during World War II. I’ll have to read her a little more to tell you if I’m in love with her writing style, but I liked the book I read enough that I want to pick up the next one in the series. 
  8. Leddy Harper
    She wrote well enough to get me quite invested in the story! Which is the goal of any author, really.  
  9. Carol Benjamin
    This author writes dog-themed books, both fiction and non-fiction. The book I read of hers, Second-Hand Dog, was a quick, easy read, but was also full of very useful information. I think I might pick up one of her fiction books next. 
  10. Bryan Lee O’Malley
    I didn’t know it when I read the graphic novel Seconds, but Bryan Lee O’Malley is also the author of Scott Pilgrim. Before reading Seconds, I didn’t think I’d enjoy this author’s works, but Seconds definitely convinced me! 

What are the best new to you authors you read last year? Have you read any of mine? 

❤ Annette 

2018 authors

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.)

    il_570xn.1452392253_q04o
    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

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

To be honest, I’m not eagerly anticipating anything quite as much as I was last year. That’s okay though, because I prefer to “binge-read” series instead of waiting for them to come out one-by-one. Because of this, though, I only have five books for this list, plus one coming out at an unspecified time this year. So it’s only half of a Top Ten Tuesday really. 😛 Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu (Expected January 8, 2019)
This sounds like a fantastic fantasy novel, sort of along the lines of The False Prince, but for Young Adults. 

Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Crompton (Expected January 22, 2019)
This can either be really good or really boring, but since it’s a YA romance, I’m definitely down to find out. If you couldn’t guess by the title, this is a play on Groundhog Day, where the main character has to relive the same day over and over again. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve seen other movies use this concept well (like in Naked by Netflix) or poorly (like The Twelve Dates of Chrismtas). I’m interested to see how the author handles it. 

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel (Expected February 5, 2019)
This is a young adult novel focused on mental illness. It sounds super intriguing and like we get to follow the character as she discovers or realizes things about herself. I found out about this book from We Live and Breathe Books. 

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Shulte (Expected February 26, 2019)
Young adult fantasy/murder mystery/romance. Do I really need to say more? 

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (Expected May 28, 2019)
I’m a sucker for super cute romances, if you haven’t picked that up by now. This sounds like another one to add to my list. Plus, it’s published by Scholastic, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book of theirs I didn’t like. 

The Exile’s Gift by Tamora Pierce (Expected sometime 2019)
Now I’m super sad that I haven’t read the first book in this series, Tempests and Slaughter. Tamora Pierce is definitely like my favorite author ever, so this series is definitely high on my radar. 

What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

❤ Annette

1 year ago: Top Ten Books I Wanted to Read in 2017 But Didn’t

2019 new

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