2018 End of Year Book Survey

Hey y’all!! 😀 It’s that time of year again when I do the End of Year Book Survey. It’s long. It takes forever to do and to read, but I love doing it and reading other bloggers’ responses. So shout out to Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, for creating it and updating it every year!

2018 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 64

Books: 29

Audio books: 10

E-books: 15

Comics/graphic novels: 10

Number of books reread: 11

Number of books I did not finish: 8

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Best book I read in 2018:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

Choosing just one book is difficult, but it was easy to select these three as my favorites of the year. The Shape of Water surpassed the movie it’s adapted from to make the story richer; Kintu at times felt like a fantasy novel though it’s historical fiction with magical realism mixed in. It engrossed me and I loved how its end circled back to its beginning. And The Golden Fool was fun to read. I loved the developments in it and what it hinted at to come later in both the Tawney Man trilogy and the larger Realm of the Elderlings series.

Book I was excited about and thought I was going to love but didn’t:

School of Psychics by K.C. Archer

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

I received an ARC of School of Psychics and though I thought it entertaining in the first few pages, the story lost my interest as it progressed. The premise of The Hazel Wood sounded interesting, but I wasn’t a fan of the story. I thought it would be more magical and atmospheric than it was. The Enchanted Wood is a book I read and loved as a kid and had fond memories of that I assumed would be renewed when I found and revisited the book, but that didn’t happen.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way):

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (narr.)

Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

These three are all positive surprises. They are books or formats I usually don’t read, but I enjoyed them when I did. Angels & Demons is not a genre I usually choose but when I read the book, I was so hooked I could hardly put it down. Now I’m looking forward to reading its sequel. I don’t listen to audiobooks without having read the story in physical form first, but I switched up things with Springsteen’s Born to Run and was surprised that I paid close attention to what he says and remembered what I heard. Home and Away is a story I didn’t expect to like, but I got hooked and enjoyed the story.

Book I “pushed” the most people to read (and they did):

Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Krause

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri (transl.)

Well, I definitely know some of my friends bought Kintu because of the many times I mentioned it and sang praises about it. (It’s a historical fiction, magical realism novel set in Uganda about a family that’s supposedly cursed, btw.) I’ve also mentioned The Shape of Water quite a lot because of how much I love the book and the movie and have inspired some peeps to either read the book or watch the movie; and, now that I work at a bookstore (yeahie me!!), I’ve mentioned The Book of Hidden Things to several customers who’re looking for a different sort of fantasy novel or a fantasy novel that will appeal to literary fiction readers. I have no idea if I convinced any of them to get it.

Best series I started. Best sequel. Best series ender:

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

It was hard to choose just one for Best Series Started because I started so many great and interesting series in 2018. However, I went with The Diviners, which I recently completed, because it left me the most excited and curious to see what comes next (but Dread Nation was a good series starter too). As for sequel and series ender, I chose books from Robin Hobb’s Tawney Man trilogy — man, I love those books! The Golden Fool, second in the trilogy, is one of my favorite reads of the year, and Fool’s Fate wrapped up that story well while leaving the reader curious about what else is going on in the fantastic world Hobb has created.

Favorite new author I discovered:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri (transl.)

It’s the writing, the prose, in these three that excited me the most. I’ve read one other book that del Toro co-wrote with another writer, so I assume the writing style in The Shape of Water was all Kraus. Because of that, I’d love to read a book written by him. The prose in Garden Spells captivated me as soon as I started reading, which made me buy another book by the author as soon as I completed it. And I just love the descriptions in The Book of Hidden Things and how atmospheric the story is and that I felt transported by it. I look forward to reading more by Dimitri. (Btw, Francesco Dimitri is an Italian author and he translated The Book of Hidden Things himself.)

Best book from a genre I don’t typically read/was outside my comfort zone:

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

I love watching thrillers and mystery movies and TV shows, but I hardly ever read such books. Angels & Demons convinced me to give them a try every now and then, but a major part of why I enjoyed this book is because of the history and art mentioned and discussed in it. I hardly reach for romance novels, but I read a few in 2018 and Duke by Default was the best of them. It’s a sweet story that made me want to go find me a Scottish dude, lol! 😉 Contemporary YA, and especially YA romance, are not my sorta reads, but the hype made me curious about Geekerella and I was surprised I liked the story.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book:

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks

Amulet series (bks. 1-4) by Kazu Kibuishi (illus.)

I decided to focus on “action-packed” and these three definitely were. I love the protagonist’s badassery in Dread Nation. Jane McKeene is a zombie slayer and is good at it, and I loved reading about it. It was mad entertaining. Shadow’s Edge was also full of action. The protagonist in it is another badass because he’s the best damn assassin in all the lands. There was a lull in the early chapters, but Kylar makes up for it later with his skills. Kibuishi’s Amulet series are middle-grade fantasy graphic novels that’re all adventure and full of fun and, yes, action-packed. I enjoyed them.

Book I read in 2018 that I’m most likely to reread in the new year:

Amulet series (bks. 1-4) by Kazu Kibuishi (illus.)

The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo (illus.) and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi (illus.)

Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez (illus.)

I’m most likely to pick up one or all of these middle-grade comic books to reread in the new year. The Amulet series is fun. I love the art and would like to continue with the story, and so too for The Dam Keeper. However, Nightlights is a standalone, but I wouldn’t mind rereading it to once again see the vibrant, colorful illustrations.

Favorite covers of the books I read:

The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Mother of the Sea by Zetta Elliott

I couldn’t choose just one! The cover of Yang’s Black Tides of Heaven is what made me want to read the book. Though I don’t love the story, I think it does some interesting things and I would like to know how the series will end. This is also the first story I’ve ever read that includes gender neutral characters. The Hazel Wood is another one that drew me in with it’s cover, but I didn’t like the story and do not intend to continue the series. Same too with A Duke by Default. I love the lady’s dress on the cover, so I sorta jumped in the story blind and was glad that I enjoyed it. I first heard the synopsis of Mother of the Sea, I think, before seeing the cover, but when I saw it, I bought it. It’s a short story about an African girl who’s captured and brought into slavery but is aided by a Yoruba deity. I hope to find more stories like it.

Most memorable character:

Jane McKeene — Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Evie “Evil” O’Niell — The Diviners by Libba Bray

Rapskal — Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

Jane is one of the best characters I read about in 2018. She made me enjoy reading Dread Nation. I just love me a badass female character who gives zero fucks (most the time). Being nicknamed “Evil” doesn’t mean Evie is evil, she’s actually good but not a “good” girl. She’s a badass too in her own way and I like her for it (though she can be annoying). And Rapskal is my favorite character, so far, from the Rain Wild Chronicles. He’s so upbeat and optimistic. I love him for that.

Most beautifully written book:

See my answers for my favorite new author of the year.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book:

Here by Richard McGuire (illus.)

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Just these two for this answer: Here because it’s a study on how a place changes over time and how we affect the areas we occupy, and Horrorstör because I can never look at a department store the same again after reading it.

Book I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read:

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Diviners by Libba Bray, narr. by Finty Williams

Because of how much I enjoyed them, I wish I’d read them back when they were first recommended to me. With The Girl with All the Gifts, I attempted the physical copy back when there was much hype for it, but wasn’t in the mood to read it then. I listened to the audio book and was hooked from the jump. The narrator did a great job.

Favorite passage/quote from a book I read in 2018:

I was lazy this year and didn’t include in my reviews all the passages and lines I highlighted as I read, but here are a few that I loved:

“The bottle cap blunders from sweaty fingers, bickers off floor tiles, squirrels behind the toilet.” — The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

“Death is a progressive shrinking that brings you from vastness to nothingness.” — The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri (transl.)

“Trust is a fragile thing. It requires allowing others to see as much of ourselves as we have the courage to reveal.” — Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Shortest and longest books I read:

Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole (illus.)

Pandora by Victoria Turnbull (illus.)

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan, narr. by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer

Spot, the Cat and Pandora, both children’s picture books, were my shortest reads of the year at just 32 pages each; while Fool’s Fate  by Robin Hobb was the longest new-to-me book read at 805 pages. When rereads are included, the longest book is Robert Jordan’s Fires of Heaven at 989 pages.

Book that shocked me the most:

Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks

Regarding the wedding earring at the end — I didn’t see that coming. I was like whaaatt??!! No way! I didn’t expect that at all. I thought Weeks was messing with me. (This reminds me that I need to post my review.)

Favorite book I read in 2018 from an author I’ve read previously:

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Since I’ve mentioned Robin Hobb’s books so many times already, I’m gonna go with Kepnes’s Providence here, which was a good read. I was hooked the entire time and kept wondering how it would end.

Best book I read in 2018 that I read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure.

Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri (transl.)

The Diviners by Libba Bray

These three are all good reads that were recommended to me by other bloggers. I enjoyed reading Shadow Weaver, a middle-grade fantasy novel. It was recommended to me by Lilyn at Sci-Fi & ScaryThe Book of Hidden Things was also great and though I didn’t first learn of it here, Mogsy’s review at the Bibliosanctum made me want to read it, and it was Becky’s review over at Blogs of a Bookaholic that made me add The Diviners to my TBR and later purchase it.

Best 2018 debut I read:

Home and Away by Candice Montgomery

I think this is the only debut author I read, but her book was good. Home and Away was a pleasant surprise because it’s not a book I usually go for yet I enjoyed it.

Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting:

Waverley house and garden — Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Southern Italy — The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri (transl.)

the Rain Wilds — Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb

1920s New York — The Diviners by Libba Bray

These were the most outstanding settings and the ones that stuck with me long after completing the book. The Waverley house and garden from Garden Spells is now one of my favorite fictional settings. I imagine the house as a large Queen Anne with a wraparound porch and bay windows with a large, neat garden in the back. (Love it!!) Dimitri’s writing transported me to southern Italy in The Book of Hidden Things. I could feel the horrible winter wind smacking me in the face and the blinding, overpowering sun of its summers.

I believe the Rain Wilds rainforest I imagined as I followed the characters up the river in Robin Hobb’s books is a pale imitation of whatever it must really be. I tried to imagine giant trees so large that several houses can be built inside them but because I’ve never seen such trees, I had trouble holding onto the images. Still, I’d love to visit the Rain Wilds despite how dangerous it would be for me to do so. And I just love the glitzy, gauzy New York depicted in Bray’s Diviners. Reading that book made me want to join the neverending parties, though I could do without the spookiness.

Book that put a smile on my face/was the most fun to read:

Fairwick Chronicles by Juliet Dark

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Blythell

These three were fun to read. The Fairwick Chronicles are a paranormal romance series that begins with The Demon Lover. They are quick, fun reads that I enjoyed, and I managed to complete all three books in the same year, which I never do. Wild Magic was a reread but it was a fun, nostalgic experience because I kept remembering when I first read the book. And The Diary of a Bookseller was so hilarious at times that it made the reading experience fun. I enjoyed it.

Book that made me cry or nearly cry:

The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

There are several times throughout this book when I either shed a tear or was tempted to cry. One of those moments is when Chade shows how much Fitz means to him that he almost (or does) let slip who Fitz is to Dutiful.

Hidden gem of the year:

Kintu by Jenniger Nansubuga Makumbi

I don’t see many people talking about this book and I think it’s one more people should read. There’s so much packed in and the writing is great and the story is enthralling. I HIGHLY recommend it.

Most unique book:

Here by Richard McGuire (illus.)

It’s the most unique graphic novel I’ve ever read because the entire thing focuses on just one room in a house. It shows what that area looked like/what happened there in the past, even in prehistoric times, and what it will look like/will happen there in the future.

Book that made me the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean I didn’t like it):

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

They didn’t make me mad, but they were very frustrating reads. Delicious! was going great until about midway through when things started to get shaky. I was still with it then, but the rush at the end was very unsatisfying. And the protagonist in City of Saints and Thieves just frustrated me with her silly decisions.

Best book title:

(This is a category I added to the survey.)

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Lol! I think it’s perfect for what the book is about and how this edition is structured.


New favorite book blog/bookstagram/booktuber I discovered:

WordPress doesn’t tell me when exactly I started following the blogs I follow, but here are a few I enjoyed visiting in 2018:

Way Too Fantasy

Great place to get book recommendations. I enjoy the weekly wrapups and Friday Favorite Five posts.

Karina Reads

Another blog I enjoy visiting for book recommendations. I enjoy her discussions and reviews.

Kristin Kraves Books

I enjoy Kristin’s posts. I always find interesting book tags to do.

Umney’s Alley

Some great review posts here. He posts both book and movie reviews and I enjoy reading them both.

Favorite post I wrote in 2018:

Book review:

“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen

“The Shape of Water” by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Discussion:

Weekend Reads #85: Book-to-Movie Adaptations – not everyone likes them; not everyone wants them

Book recs/feature:

BBC #3: Favorite Fantasy Book Covers

Best bookish event I participated in:

On my blog:

The I Heart Characters meme hosted by Dani at Perspective of a Writer. It’s such fun to do and I enjoyed thinking up answers for the prompts. Unfortunately, I was too busy to keep up with it in the past few weeks, but I plan to catch up and hop back on it this year.

In my bookish life:

Attending “Potted Potter,” a parody of Harry Potter, at the Shakespeare Theater. It was so hilarious!

In my personal life:

Getting a job at a bookstore!!! 😀 😀 😀

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018:

Visiting Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando — that was such fun though I got pissed at myself for spending too damn much.

And meeting up with other bloggers, vloggers, and bookstagrammers for #parkinglotbookswap. That was great and I grabbed some good books. I wish I could meet up with other bloggers and such more often.

Most challenging thing about blogging or my reading life this year:

Finding time to do it.

Most popular post this year on my blog:

It’s weird, but my first Writing Myths post on why the sun rises and sets was the most popular. I guess people were trying to get to the list of writing prompts in it. I published that post back in 2015. Of posts published in 2018, the Old Books Tag received the most views.

Did I complete any reading challenges or goals that I had set for myself at the beginning of 2018?

Only my Goodreads reading challenge. I failed miserably at everything else. 😦


One book I didn’t get to in 2018 but will be my #1 priority in 2019:

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This is one of many I’ll try to make a priority because I didn’t get to it in 2018.

Book I’m most anticipating for 2019 (non-debut):

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Marlon James is one of my favorite authors and this will be his first fantasy novel. I’m on the lookout for it. It’ll drop on February 5.

2019 debut I’m most anticipating:

See above. It’s his fantasy debut.

Series ending/a sequel I’m most anticipating in 2019:

Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks

It wraps up the Night Angel trilogy, which I’m enjoying. I plan to move on to his Black Prism books afterward.

One thing I hope to accomplish or do in my reading/blogging life in 2019:

Get back to my semi-consistent blogging schedule while juggling all my responsibilities. **Fingers crossed, and toes too.**


Whew! That was long.
All done. 🙂
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16 thoughts on “2018 End of Year Book Survey

  1. Congratulations on the job in a bookstore! I hope it’s as much fun as it sounds, that’s really exciting news.

    I love that Kintu is one of your favourites for the year, I totally agree, it was my outstanding read of the year and should be much more widely read and valued. One thing though it’s sure to have longevity, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it being studied in universities, it’s great storytelling, but unique in its perspective, I wish more books like it were being published and I’m interested in where she’ll go next with her writing.

    And I’m with you on the Marlon James new one coming out, in fact I may have to read The Book of Night Women this year too, since I’ve had it on the shelf for a while, but I tend to reach for the women writers from the Caribbean over the men, but it’s one of my favorite regions for finding hidden gems, I like the novels with a touch of magic realism, for me life does have a touch of that!

    I sympathise with the writing of these posts, it took me three days and a lot of energy to create mine, but I’m so glad I did, to give those books another chance at being read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Working at a bookstore is my dream job so I’m glad it happened and that I like it.

      I agree about Kintu’s longevity and I’m also interested to see what Makumbi does next because she’s quite talented.

      Oh, I’d love to see what you think of the Book of Night Women. It’s one of my favorite novels. I need to give it a reread myself because I’ve forgotten much about it. I read it so long ago.
      Love that and I agree there is some magic realism in real life.

      Yea, these posts do take time, but another positive thing about them is that it gives us the chance to recall and refresh memories of what we loved about the books while sharing them with others.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. wedding earring?? Can you please spoiler me? 😀 I need to know how ‘Shadow’s Edge’ ended, but I don’t want to read it anymore hahaha

    I’ve put ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ on my list of most anticipated reads as well 🙂 I haven’t heard of the author before but the book called out to me 😀 I love the sound of it!

    Like

    • Lol! Totally understand. I’ll message you the spoilery goodness tomorrow.

      Awesome! Am hoping Black Leopard, Red Wolf will be good. I know the writing will be great because Marlon James is awesome at it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the link back! I’m SO glad to hear that you enjoyed The Diviners, I can definitely say it’s one of my all time favourite series and I really wish it would get more love. I hope you enjoy the sequel just as much!

    I’ve never actually done the end of year book survey because I’m too intimidated by its length. :’D I always enjoy reading other people’s ones though.

    Wishing you a 2019 full of adventures and great books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! And I hope you’ll have a great New Year too!!

      Yup, I plan to read Lair of Dreams too. I have so many questions about different characters; I want to see what happens next.

      Lol totally understand about this survey. I almost didn’t do it this time due to time constraints, but I enjoy it so I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fantastic post! I can’t believe you only came close to crying in The Tawny Man trilogy – it ripped my heart out! (Admittedly then healed it again but still!!) I think you’ve got another conversion for Kintu, that sounds like a fantastic read. I’ve always been meaning to give Angels and Demons a go but never got that far – going to have to now. This must have taken you ages but I love it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol! Totally understand. My emotions were up and down for the entire Tawney Man books and the finale just blew me away.
      Ahh!! Another person interested in Kintu!! 😀 That makes me so happy! I hope you like it. And yea, def check Angels & Demons.

      Liked by 1 person

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