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[Short Reviews] Top Ten 2018 Reads… So Far

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, we’re sharing our Top Ten Reads from 2018… or at least so far. It’s been a busy year so far, but I’ve still managed to read some great books!

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Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lange: The curious tale of an orphan raised by wolves, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is cited as one of the best books from 2017, and it most certainly deserves it! (4 Stars)

The Wild Book by Juan Villoro: While his parents settle their divorce, young Juan is sent to spend the summer with his uncle, but little does he know, it’s the beginning of his greatest adventure. An unforgettable story about the power of books, The Wild Book is as inspirational as it is entertaining. (5 Stars)

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: Bringing the glimmer of the 1920s to a desperate and lonesome homestead in the Alaskan countryside, new arrivals Jack and Mabel find themselves amidst a real-life fairy tale as their child-sized snowman magically transforms into the blond-haired and very real, Faina. As Ivey brings the Alaskan wilderness to life, the couple find themselves magically transfixed by the world around them, as was I! (5 Stars)

The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer: A heartbreaking story of faith and family through the annals of time, The Outcasts of Time is the perfect read for fans of historical or literary fiction as the bond of brotherhood is tested. (5 Stars)

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The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch: Torn between the comforts of home and a life of creative freedom, Marina Makarova’s life is forever changed by the onset of war as the Russian Revolution ignites. Full of complex characters and impossible choices, Marina’s story captures the plight of many who suffered through the multi-party war. (4 Stars)

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu: An account of his time working as a border patrol agent, Cantu’s memoir is more relevant today than ever. Real lives are at stake, real families, and a wall is not going to change that. (4 Stars)

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: My favorite type of book to read is one that takes the world around you and turns it upside down, making the impossible possible, and leaving you with more questions than answers… perhaps the perfect description for 1Q84, an unforgettable adventure that will certainly leave you asking…. Did I just read that? (4 stars)

Genesis (Project Nemesis, #2) by Brendan Reichs: A cross between Orphan Black and a modern-day Lord of the Flies, Genesis creates a scenario in which the last group of surviving humans (i.e. high school students) are planted into a video game with an endless supply of lives… but as we all know after reading Nemesis, there’s so much more to it than that. (5 Stars)

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What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine: A magical coming of age story centered around a young girl with a mysterious power over life and death. What Should Be Wild takes the family drama to new heights as it explores the depths of womanhood and its duplicitous entrapment. (4 Stars)

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien: Even though I haven’t finished LOTR (yet), I’ve re-read The Fellowship more time than I can count. From good ol’ Tom Bombadil to the depths of Moria, every re-read is like visiting an old friend. (5 Stars)

What books made your list?

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[Favorites] Books I Could Re-Read FOREVER!

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, we’re sharing books we could re-read forever, otherwise known as the books I ALWAYS recommend to friends.  I just can’t help myself. I LOVE THESE BOOKS! And I want everyone else to too!

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Childhood Favorites: I’ve read these so many times, the characters are practically family members.

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Beloved Classics: Of course, the real question here is: Jane Austen or Jane Eyre?

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Unforgettable Stories: Some characters you can never forget, but a story you never want to end is even better!

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Sci-Fi Essentials: Science Fiction will always be my favorite genre. Beyond the thrill of walking into the unknown or breaking down barriers, these books strive to question the world around us, and each re-read offers something new.

What could you re-read forever?

 

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[Short Reviews] December Favorites

December was a great reading month for me – I finished a few last-minute reading challenges and found a new favorite series. I’m so excited to kick off a new year of reading, and this month’s favorites were a great head start!

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A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock #2) by Sherry Thomas: Now a raving success, Charlotte hardly has the time to celebrate when trouble strikes close to home. Balancing work, love, and cookies, Charlotte is more than a speculative Mr. Holmes in this not-to-be-missed sequel. (5 Stars)

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance: A revealing account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, Vance offers a broader look at the struggles of the working class while sharing his own pursuit of the American Dream. (5 Stars)

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A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn: If I were to recommend just one of my December favorites – this would be it!!! Except it’s really a recommendation for three books. Known for her lack of propriety and quick-witted tongue, Ms. Speedwell is a rare breed amongst her Victorian counterparts, but after a near kidnapping, she’ll find herself in the arms of a handsome stranger and joining the circus, all to elude her mysterious captors. A curious beginning indeed to a must-read series! (5 Stars)

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The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson: If the Maze Runner and Hunger Games had a baby in the snow-covered Yukon, you’d probably get something along the lines of The Wolves of Winter. I sincerely hope this makes it to the big screen! (5 Stars)

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood: A classic example of metafiction, I chose The Blind Assassin to fulfill a reading challenge at the last minute, and I’m so glad I did! Clocking in at 600+ pages, it’s not an easy read, but the end is well worth the effort, for only after the story within the story concludes do we truly realize the narrator’s motives for a life spent sequestered by wasteful wishes and regret. (4 Stars)

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The English Wife by Lauren Willig: Set amongst the glitz and glamour of the New York Gilded Age, an old-money heir brings home an unexpected souvenir from his trip abroad, stirring up gossip and intrigue alike. Still a connoisseur of romance, Willig’s latest novel is far darker than her Pink Carnation Series with a surprise ending you’ll never guess (I sure didn’t!). (4 Stars)

Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King #1) by Tricia Levenseller: Pirates, hidden treasure, and an ancient legend – what’s not love!? I can’t wait for the sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen, to come out this February! (4 Stars)

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas: For years, the legacy of the Finch House has pervaded the Kansas countryside as the abandoned house lies in wait of its next victim, until a chilling expose threatens to wake the long-forgotten beast. A celebration of the horror genre, Kill Creek brings the classic haunted house to life as four authors delve past the pages to unlock the mysteries left behind. (4 Stars)

What did you read in December?


This month I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit. For more short reviews, click here!

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[TBR List] 2017 Leftovers

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing the books we meant to read in 2017. I really wanted to read these books, but there’s only so much time in a day, and library due dates really know how to sneak up on me. Not to mention, most of my 2017 leftovers are pretty darn long! What books did you miss in 2017?

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The Nix by Nathan Hill: Oops, this is from last year’s list! Delving into his mother’s past for a story, Samuel’s search might just be the thing to kick-start his own life.

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster: In 4 3 2 1, Auster explores the life of young Archibald Isaac Ferguson from all angles as four identical versions lead very different lives.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien: A beautifully written tale I can’t wait to finish! The novel follows an extended family from Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China to present-day Vancouver as their descendants uncover long-held family secrets.

The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch: Set in St. Petersburg in 1916, Marina Makarova’s life of privilege is forever changed by the onset of war and hardship.

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The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer: An in-depth race through history following a pair of brothers travel through time.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: Set against World War II, two women are brought together in this story of courage and redemption, one a spy of the real-life Alice Network in France and the other an American socialite in search of a lost sister.

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter: A dark, brooding spirit haunting his surviving siblings… I’m hoping to read this to satisfy #18 on my 2018 Reading Challenge.

The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge: Marina’s husband is a little obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft. So much so, he’s willing to lose it all to uncover Lovecraft’s greatest secret.

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Salt Houses by Hala Alyan: Scattered by war, Salt Houses shares a family journey from Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait to their assimilation to American culture.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti: After spending years on the run, Sam’s finally settled home with his daughter – but will he be able to keep his past hidden?

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2018 Reading Challenge

Following tradition, the New Year’s not complete without a few resolutions, or for us readers, a new reading challenge!  A challenge to me isn’t to read MORE books, but to be more conscious of my reading. It’s a chance to explore new genre’s or cultures, or a push to read that 500-page book you’ve been meaning to read for the last few years… And while my 2017 challenge was a success with 18/20 challenges completed, I had 16 repeats. 16! So, this year, I’m giving myself 3 repeats to use however I choose, but ONLY 3. My main goal this year is to increase my average length from 308 pages per book to 400, while hopefully checking off a few titles from my backlist TBR. Wish me luck!

2018 Reading Challenge

And for everyone curious to know, here’s a short recap of my 2017 reading challenge.  Quite a few of these were finished in December, but better late than never! For more, check out my 2017 Recap here.

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What do you want to read in 2018?

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[A Year in Review] 2017 Recap

It’s been a long year, but we’ve finally made it to 2018! I met a lot of my goals this year (reading and otherwise) but I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store. And to think, by this time next year I’ll be married!!

This year I read 255 books and a total of 78,756 pages. While I read 5 more books than last year, my page count decreased by almost 2,000 pages, taking my average length to 308 pages per book. This year, I’m hoping to focus more on my backlist TBR and increase my average length, and if that means fewer books read, then that’s okay. So long as I enjoy what I’m reading, the numbers don’t matter!

Books vs Pages

My top goal for 2017 was to even out my reading map, and just look at it now!! I still read a lot of American YA and European Historical Fiction, but I’m really proud of my work. Though if anyone has suggestions for books set in South America or Greenland (or any empty space you see), I’d gladly take them!

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 Of course my favorite statistic to track is my Library Savings! This year I saved a whopping $4,000!!!! That’s insane!! I’m so thankful to have an amazing library system to support my favorite hobby. I’d never have the opportunity to read like this otherwise!

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I also made it my goal to attend more readings about town. Living in Houston, TX, I’m spoiled by 3 independent bookstores, each hosting a multitude of authors every month. In 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting Zadie Smith, Amor Towles, and Lindy West!! I also plan to make blogging more of a priority – it’s a fun outlet, and I miss it!

How was your year in reading?

 

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[TBR List] 2018 Releases

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing our most anticipated reads for 2018. My TBR list is definitely going to take a hit this week – I just hope I can catch up! What will you be reading next year??

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Thunderhead (Arc of the Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman: With the Scythedom corrupted, Citra seeks the ancient Thunderhead, the only being left able to solve the world’s problems – but will they reach him in time? January 9th

A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn: I can’t wait to see what trouble Ms. Speedwells finds herself in this time! A perfect series for fans of Lady Sherlock. January 16th

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar: A young merchant sells his ship for mermaid, but new dangers are met as he exploits the mysterious creature. January 25th

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: I’ve listed it before, and I’ll list it again (and again). I can’t wait to read this!! January 30th

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The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale: An enchanting tale of a young runaway who finds refuge at The Emporium, a magical toy shop full of wonders. February 8th

Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King #2) by Tricia Levenseller: Alosa’s mission takes a dramatic turn as secrets of the sea are revealed. February 27th

The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen: A curious collection of short stories, Andreasen explores the charms of speculative fiction with expertly drawn prose. February 27th

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon: A YA retelling of a beloved classic. March 6th

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The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge: Set just before the Great War, two lovers seek the comforts of a small English village as an eerie legend shatters their repose. June 5th

The Winter Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden: Both The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower were among my 2017 favorites! August 14th

What are you looking forward to in 2018?