BEST OF 2018: End of the year summary

Calligraphy for 2018 New Year of the Dog

However unbelieveable it is, another year reched it’s end. This one , just like the previous ones, flew by real quick. I know that I wasn’t really active here lately, my work schedule messed things up more than I expected, but I’m trying to get back into blogging actively. I can’t promise that things going to be back to the one post every other day routine because it most certainly won’t, still I would like to publish at leat two posts a week. It’s not even that I don’t read as much anymore, because I read more than 200 books this year as well, it just that between waking up at 5 am and getting home around 6:30 – 7:00 pm I just don’t have the energy to maintan the blog. Thre only reason I can still keep up with my reading is the daily 4-5 hours of commute I have to make between work and home. Anyway, I’m going to stop making excuses and get to the point. Which is basically the highlights of a phenomenal bookish year.

2018 was really rich in amazing book releases. I don’t remember the last time I had so many favorits in one year despite getting into a horrible book slump practically every second week. What didn’t change is my taste in books and the way I choose my next reads. I’m still an impulsive reader, I just can’t follow a schedule when it comes to books, believe me I tried, so still no reading challenges for me.

I try and do a ‘Best of’ every year but I can’t stick to a fix template. Every year I choose different points to mentione and it is no different this year. But let’s get into it.

hr part 1

A bit of a statistic first. According to my Goodreads, I read 59,727 pages across 216 books this year. It is not technocally true because some of these books I DNF-ed. But if you are interested you can check out the detailes here:

My year in books

I don’t really like to shine the light on books that I don’t like but fair is fair, still I don’t have as many categories in the worst column, I like to concentrate on the positive side but I’m not afraid to go against the tide and voice my opinion, I don’t really care if I gain haters for it. I meab we most likely live and ocean apart. You will see why I felt the need to state this.

  1. Favorite books of 2018

I was contemplating leaving this category for the end but I couldn’t contain myself, and in all honest this is the most important one of them all. I choose 12 of them, one for every moth of a year. You will see that I think urban fantasy was slaying this year. It is one of my favorite genre and was so happy to find so many amazing ones this year.
I tried to put them in order but after a couple of hours of failed attempt I gave up and decided to just list them with a slight explanation of why I think they deserve the title.

  1.  The poppy war by R.F. Kuang
    The poppy war is a phenomenally written, utterly captivating, rich, dark, gritty and graphic story that I just could put down. It is just the perfect blend of great world building, interesting characters, amazing writing and action packed storyline.  For more details check out my review.
  2. Luna and the lie by Mariana Zapata
    I’m not ususally fan of slow burn romances expect if it’s written by Mariana Zapata.She has the magical touch for it.  This book is no different, I loved every minute of it and could have read it for another 500 pages. With the great chemistry between the characters, the kick ass heroine and the underlying tension is so good together.
  3.  Pretty venom by Ella Fields
    If you are looking for a book that is full of angst and tension but also breaks your heart into tiny little pieces then Ella Fileds is your girl. And Pretty venom is the best I read from her so far. This book is not for everybody because it contaisn excessive cheating but it’s so worth it.
    My review.
  4.  Iron and magic by Ilona Andrews
    I was worried about this one because I hated Hugh in the original series but I was still sure I’m going to read it. I mean if it’s written by Ilona Andrews then it’s a definit TBR material. In the end I loved every minute of it and it became my second favorite Ilona Andrews book. It expands Kate Daniels world in a positive way, introduces a bunch of new characters and opens up the line for a new story arc in this magically created universe. Can’t wait for the next one.
    My review.
  5. Sky in the deep by Adrienne Young
    This book was one of my most anticipated new releases of 2018. It was completley different from everything I expected it to be based on the trailers and promo pictures, I loved every minute of it. There is fighting aplenty but it is mostly about family bonds and expectations, growing up and learning to open up. It was a beautiful coming of age story.
    My review.
  6. More than we can tell by Brigid Kremmerer
    This is a YA contemporary, that I rarely read due to the amont of teen drama they usually contain. Fortunatley, this is an expectation of that and I loved it. There is a lot of hidden meaning  behind every event that happans in the book and I think the author has an amazing talent to express the feelings of broken and conflicted teenagers without going overboard.
    My review.
  7. Hell’s bell by Keri Arthur
    So if you follow me on the blog or any kind of social media you knwo that Keri Arthur is one of my all time favorite authors. I read and usually love everything form her but this book was expectionally good. It is a full on balls to the walls action kind of urban fantasy with a hint of a romance and amazing characters. There was no breathing room for any kind of doubt or wallowing for the characters or the reader. It was phenomenal.
    My review.
  8. Queen of gods by Scarlett Dawn and Katherine Rhodes
    Technically the whole series could be here because I loved every book that came out so far. It starts out a bit slower thn I would have liked but the world building is phenomenal (but I wouldn’t exect anything less from Scarlett Dawn), the characters are kick ass and sarcastic and the storyline is exciting and unpredictable. Like give me more, I mean seriously according to the authors it is going to be a six book serise but there is now news about the 4th one yet.
    My review.
  9. Dark Queen by Faith Hunter
    I really enjoy Jane Yellowrock’ world and while the books in this series are slower paced than most of the urban fantasy I read they are all full of tension and mystery. Anyway Dark queen was even slower than the rest of the series and I honestly didn’t think we are going to get to the big conflict but the last 20 or so percent of the book was a huge explosion of events and information. The ending of the book simply destroyed me in the best possible way and this book was the most emotional of them all as well. Give me the next book, right now, pleaseee. I like that the neding opens up a whole new can of worms so to speak, starts a new story arc that extends the series but at the same time I think Jane deserves a happy ending, it’s time for her.
    My review.
  10. Flip trick by Amo Jones
    This year in contemporary I went for the angsty, heartbreaking ones and that perfectly fits for Flip trick as well. It is a complicated, emotional romance story with a hint of an edge. One of the authir tamer stories because she usual writes in  darker shades but I still loved it.
    My review.
  11. Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
    The spin-off series of Chicagoland vampires, about Merit and Ethan miracle baby. She is all grown up and ready to be the hero of her of story. I was a bit of a skeptic about this before I started as I’m always with spin-off series, especially since I love the original. It is definitley worth the read, it has a completley different atmosphere than the original series and I loved it for it. It was a shame that  Merit got pushed into the background but the new characters provide plenty of enjoyment. What I enjoyed the most thou is the relationships and the underlying tension present in the book.
    My review.
  12. Magic triumphs by Ilona Andrews
    I’m sad to see the end of the series but I loved every minute of this book. Okay so I was a bit dissapointed about the ending but the overall conclusion was awesome. I also think that this book was the most emotional and conflicting of them all.

Okay, so no matter how much I tried I couldn’t narrow it down to just 12. Okay, so I could I just didn’t want to. I think the follwoing ones deserve to be at least in a honorary mentions column. Shoot me now, I’m not good with lists and restrictions.

  • Reckless by Lex Martin
  • Perfect love story by Natasha Madison
  • Fumbled hearts by Meagan Brandy
  • The flight of hope by H.J. Bellus

2. Most dissapointing reads of 2018

Because I can’t say that these books that I found dissaponting were the worst of the year I decided to title this category differetly. Okay, so maybe some of them were plain bad but not all of them, I just didn’t enjoy them.

  1. Posession by T.M. Frazier
    I really enjoyed the first book Perversion and couldn’t wait for the next book. Yet, when it came out  I found it seriosly lacking. I just couldn’t connect to the characters in the second book anymore. I think the storyline was streched too thin and was pretty predictable. It was pretty lackluster in my opinion and it was a shame because I love the author other works.
  2. Cursed by Keri Arthur
    Just as like with my first choice, I loved the first book with this series as well. The world this takes place in is pretty interesting and complex, which is still true but the plot unfortunatley fell short for me. I think the author tried to cram too many tings into one book and due to this everthing felt rushed and pretty unrealistic. It didn’t help that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character either.
  3. Defensless hearts by Meagan Brandy
    I loved the first book, what a surprise right?? No but reall and I really liked Parker in that one. The simple reason I hated this one, yes you read it right, I HATED this is becasue of the pairing. It’s just no, the whole situation was a big mess and no matter how much I tried I couldn’t get over my dislike towards whats her name.
    My review.
  4. Tower of dawn by Sarah J Maas
    Honestly I didn’t have any kind of expectations going into this one. I learned to be cautious when it comes to Sarah J Maas’ books. Still I pretty much hated this book and I think this was probably the worts I read this year. Other than giving nothing to the whole series it was also slow and boring, with less than likeable characters.
  5. Heart of glass by Nicole Jacquelyn
    I was so looking forward to this one after the emotional roller coaster the first two books so it was a huge dissapointment. I coulnd’t connect with the characters and I thing the storyline was way over streched and not at all as emotional as I wabted it to be.
  6. Heart of fire by Amanda Bouchet
    I don’t think I ever encountered in my reading history with a book series where in the last book the authir simply destroyed everything she built until that point and continued with a washed out version instead. I mean the best part of the whole series, the main character personality, changed from kick ass, sarcastic, scrappy survivalist into a whining,unsure someone who couldn’t function under pressure. And don’t even get me started on the plot. It was just a huge let down.
    My review.
  7. Freyja’s daughters by Rachel Pudeleck
    Based on the synopsis and the cover I was really looking froward to this book. In the end the plot didn’t really made much sense to me and while the world building had some promise the characters took it all away. They were just fumbling in the dark. Not my jam at all.
  8. Crew by Tijan
    I really love this author and was pretty excited for this book but in the end it was pretty lackluster. While the prmise sounded interesting, unfortunatley plotwise the book was a big zero, as there was practically no storyline to the bookk at all. Maybe next time.

3. Favorite authors of this year

For this one I choose authors I read more than one books from and also tried to skip over the ones I mention every year. Alas I focused on the authors I either discovered this year, or simply got into their works in 2018.

  1. Ella Fields, the queen of angsty romance
  2. Mariana Zapata, the slow burn magician
  3. Amo Jones, the dark dame

4. Favorite characters of 2018

  1. Rin from The poppy war
    I think she is a phenomenal but at the same time a pretty controversial character. She makes a lot of mistakes and some choices that could make you hate her. But thats the beauty about her, she is an insanely complex character who presents good and bad personality traits. If I’m being honest she is one of the most morally gray character I ever read, she is hard working and persitent but also power hungry and if I’m being honest pretty selfish most of the times. Still I loved her, she was just expectionally realistic.
  2. Hugh from Iron and magic
    His character was a pretty big surprise for me because I hated him in the Kate Daniels books. I ususally don’t like when writers try to redeem their characters with showing the story from a different perspective. Still with him it strangley worked. His dark humor but caring personality, and the little snipets from his past just changed my mind about him. Him and Elora balanced each other out oerfectly.

5. Most overhyped book I read this year (and didn’t like)

I usually try to avoid books that are plastered overe every surface way before they come out because most of the times I hate them. Okay, not always there are plenty of hyped book that I loved but lately it’s not true. I like to find little hidden gems and also I think these marketing methods create unrealistic expectations in readers that ruins the whole reading experience.

  1. Ace of shades by Amanda Foody
    Okay so the book was actually not bad but I also think that I could have enjoyed it way more without the endless fan art, picture montages and such that was plastered all over social media months before release day. Because of them I was expeting a dark, decadent story that will rock my world and instead I got a slightly edgy YA novel. It was pretty lukewarm in my opinion and it was a shame because it had the possibility to be great.
    My review.
  2. Court of frost and shadows by Sara J Maas
    By now you probably realized that I’m not the biggest fan of SJM’s books lately. I mean I loved the first 3 of the ToG series and I think A court of mist and fury is a brilliant masterpiece but I also think the authir started to give to much into her fan’s demands on the expense of her stories. This book in my opinion was a huge waste of time, basically a long ass epilouge with not one bit of a sustantial information for a pretty hefty price.
    My review.
  3. Kingdom of Ash by Sara J. Maas
    So this book was way better than I actually expected it to be and I enjoyed it mostly but I still don’t think it was as good as it’s rating says. Definitly not the best YA fantasy of the year like the Goodreads choice awards would lead you to think but that is just my opinion. Still i pre-ordered it and I’m so glad for it because I love the physical edition of it. The book has such a great bindingm and the thin pages is a dream to read and hold. Ahh, the simple plesueres of a bookworm. Anyway I think there were way too many POV in the book for it to be truly enjoyable, for me because of the numerous change in perspective broke up the storyline and made everything kind of disorineted.
    It was not a bad book but could have been soo much better.

6. Favorite book couples of 2018

  1. Gwynnore and Belshasar form Queen of gods
    Their relationship is just pure fire and magic. I love the banter and the balance between them, which gets better and better with each books.
  2. Hugh and Elora from Iron and magic
    Almost for the same reason as with my first choice. There is such an awesomeand spicy dynamic them. It is a delight to read.
  3. Kayla and Parker from Maybe don’t wanna
    I’m not the biggest fan of big age difference between couples but with them it worked and they were so cute and natural together.
  4. Elisa and Connor from Wild hunger
    Okay so technically they are not a couple yet but they have phenomenal chemistry. I liked Merit and Ethan but Elisa and Connor leaves them in the dust when it comes to chemistry and connection.

7. Favorite covers of 2018

8. Most anticipated books of 2019

  1. Iron covenant 2 by Ilona Andrews
  2. Kingdom of copper by S.A. Chakrabotry
  3. Shattered bonds by Faith Hunter
  4. The dragon republic by R.F. Kuang
  5. Circle of shadows by Evelyn Skye
  6. Darkborn by Jay Kristoff
  7. The next book in the Legion of angels by Ella Summers
  8. Anything by C.M. Stunich
    I’m part of her group on Facebook and she teases her WIPs a lot there. Some of them are really promising the only problem that they are really up in the air still and most of them never gets past the idea stage. Still there are some that I’m hoping to get my hands on.

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