Thursday, 10 January 2019

My 2018 in Books

Happy 2019, everyone! I hope the new year brings you great things and that you manage to get a step closer to your goals, whether they be big or small.

It's time to talk about some of the amazing books I read in 2018! This post will link up with Perpetual Page Turner's End of Year Survey, which I have taken part in the last 2 years (2016, 2017). I've cut it pretty significantly because I didn't have answers for all the questions, but the awesome essence of the survey is still there.

Reading Stats

Reading Challenge Goal: 50
Number of Books I Read: 65
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre I Read the Most: Contemporary
Average Rating: 3.6 stars

2018 proved to be a really good reading year! I read 3 more books than I did in 2017 (although nothing will ever live up to the madness that was the 78 books I read in 2016 - at least not whilst I'm still at uni). My average rating also went up by 0.6 stars from 2017, which might not seem like much, but I definitely felt it.

The most interesting thing I discovered from my reading stats was that for the first time, my most-read genre was not Fantasy, but Contemporary. Fantasy came a close second, followed by Science Fiction, but according to Goodreads, this is the first time this has ever happened before. I still love to read and write Fantasy books, but I have come to realise that I actually really like Contemporary YA books when they're not just about romance and deal with a wider range of experiences. Those kinds of Contemporary books feel more genuine to me, and it's nice to not be diving into new giant Fantasy series' all the time and just take it easy with a book that is more grounded in reality.

Best in Books

  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (Review) - This book was magnificent, and set the bar very high for all the other books I read in 2018.The fantasy world is dark, rich and complex, and none of the characters are what you expect them to be. I fell in love with both protagonists very quickly, and loved the hints of romantic tension, plus the plot is utterly thrilling, and I am itching for the sequel.
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Review) - The love this debut has received is insanely well-deserved. Adeyemi's West African inspired high-fantasy novel is filled with so much adventure that I struggled to put it down. It has stunning world building and at it's core the story is driven by two young women from different backgrounds pushing to make a change in their world.
  • Shatter Me (#1-4) by Tahereh Mafi (Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4) -When I found out this series was written by a young Iranian woman (like myself) who was publishing YA fantasy (the dream) AND making it onto the bestseller list, I couldn't not read it. I'm so glad I did, because I became hooked on it. I binged this series SO HARD. Even though I traditionally hate romance-focused books, I was obsessed with this one, plus the protagonist is epic and grows so much throughout the series.
  • Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Review) - This one punched me right in the gut. In a good way! It was filled with so much raw emotion and the pages felt so vibrant and alive in my hands. The story deals with insecurities regarding family, race, and identity in an incredibly powerful way. Kiko's experience with anxiety felt very true to me, and the story itself, while emotional, felt so hopeful.

  • I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman (Review) - I relate to Alice Oseman's characters so much, so when I found out that one of protagonists for her third book was British-Iranian I kind of freaked out because I've never had that part of my identity represented before. I completely loved Angel and Jimmy, so much that I named my plants after them! This book is filled with teenage anxiety and nerdiness, and I am already in need of a re-read.
  • A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews (Review) - This debut was masterfully written and packed full of emotion. For a book with so much sweetness in it's characters, it left me with more tears than I could handle. The descriptions of the food and the music and the people all felt so vivid and filled with love and turmoil. The writing was magical, and the story was a perfectly painful blend of tragic and hopeful.
  • What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (Review) - I could not stop smiling whilst reading this book. It's about chance bringing people together, and was nothing like what I expected, but in the best way possible. The protagonists are very different and it's clear pretty early on that they don't exactly fit. Their relationship is awkward and imperfect, but ridiculously sweet, and reading it made my week so much better.
  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (Review) - I'm so happy that I found not one but two books with Iranian protagonists in them in 2018, and this one also happened to be #OwnVoices! My life experiences are very different from the protagonist of this book, but seeing all the tiny cultural things from Shirin's life reflecting my own meant a lot to me. Plus the messages within the book about the injustice of prejudice but also overcoming that anger were powerful and beautiful.

  • The Conqueror's Saga (#1-3) by Kiersten White (Book 1 Review) - After re-reading And I Darken to remind myself of what happened, I binged the rest of the series. I never actually wrote a review for the other two books, but I thought they were just as incredible. I love stories with messy sibling relationships, complex politics, and dark characters, and The Conqueror's Saga gave me all that and more.
  • Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand (Review) - This book was wonderfully eerie and vividly written and features 3 fierce queer girls trying to uncover an island mystery of disappearing girls. It taps into the horror genre to show the horrors that come with the female experience, and it subverts traditional fantasy tropes to show that women don't have to be the victims of the story, but can be the heroes of their own.
  • Broken Things by Lauren Oliver (Review) - Broken Things is another haunting book about two girls who are blamed for their best friend's murder, and try to find the real killer. The book was brilliantly plotted to merge past and present, reality and fantasy. The extracts from Lovelorn (the book within the book) echo the main body of the story perfectly, blending the two worlds to create an ending that took my breath away with it's perfection.
  • Villains (#1-2) by V.E. Schwab (Reviews: 1, 2) - My re-read of Vicious cemented it as one of my favourite books of all time. The story is intoxicating, from the characters to the writing to the meticulously structured plot itself. I knew my love for Vengeful could never live up to it's predecessor, but it was still a marvellous read and I didn't want to put it down.

Bookish/Blogging Life

1. Favourite post you wrote in 2018? - I haven't been as active on my blog as I have in previous years, so I have only written a handful of posts that I feel are particularly special. I have been saving a lot of my stronger discussion post ideas for my university magazine where I run the literature section, so my blog has been a bit quiet. But one post that still stands out for me personally is the one I titled 'Where are the university aged books?'. In it I talk about how weird it is to be in your early 20s, and question why we don't see more of those years represented in literature. It's a post that reflects my own existential worries of not knowing what the future holds, and a longing to see that life after high school can be pretty great too.

2. Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2018? - I don't know how to decide these things! I have so many favourites. Here are a few:

3. Best bookish event you participated in? - There were so many good ones this year! I wrap up most of them in this post. But I think my favourite would probably have to be the YA Prom. I'm generally quite an anxious person, but I was with people I love and everything was so beautiful that I couldn't help but enjoy myself.

4. Most popular post on your blog this year? -
a) by comments: Books I Could Re-Read Forever

5. Did you complete any reading challenges/goals? - Yes! Just like last year, I set my reading challenge to 50 books and I beat it once again. 2019 is set to be a busy year for me, so I will be setting my challenge to 20 so that I don't feel pressured, but also I feel that it is a high enough number so that I don't get out of the practise of reading.

How was your 2018 reading year? Have you read any books of my favourite books? What are your reading plans for 2019?


  1. Ace of shades sounds awesome, going to have to pick this up myself! I'm so impressed with how many books you read too, I really need to set myself a goal too haha

    Lotte |

    1. Thanks Lotte! Ace of Shades is excellent! I read it early in 2018 and it really set the bar high for all the other books I read last year. I hope 2019 is filled with lots of great books for you!

  2. Vengeful is my first read of 2019 and I can tell you, it's definitely in my favorites list for this year. It's amazing and just twist my heart left and right!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Yes! What a great way to start 2019. Both books in the Villains series completely hooked me. I hope the rest of your reading year is just as good!

  3. YESS to the Shatter Me books! I fell in love with them this year, as well, despite having already read them five years prior. They definitely resonated with me more now than they did when I was younger, which was awesome.

    I really loved COBAB and A Thousand Perfect Notes, too. COBAB was so refreshing and I loved that it was about Black girl magic, which we don't have enough of, to be honest.

    I really need to re-read And I Darken and Vicious as well because I want to read their sequels!

    I also lowered my Goodreads Challenge goal because even though I "won" last year I don't want as much pressure. I'm already behind so maybe I need to lower it even more *cries*

    1. I adore the Shatter Me books so much! I can't believe I didn't discover them sooner, although I'm kind of glad I read them when I did because I don't know if I would have loved them in the same way a few years ago. A Thousand Perfect Notes went above and beyond my expectations and made me very emotional! And COBAB just checked all the boxes for me. It had all of my favourite things about the fantasy genre yet somehow made them seem entirely new and surprising, plus I am so excited to get more of Zelie and Amari.

      I change my Goodreads Challenge goal constantly throughout the year because I can't deal with the pressure or the prospect of failure :') I find reading manga has kept me on track so far because I get through them quickly, but my goal is definitely bound to change again too.

      I hope you get to read all the books you want to this year, Chiara!