End of the year: Favourite books of 2018

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” 

― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
IG: @ jane_kelsey

It’s that time of the year again, which means another yearly wrap-up. I really like doing these as it gives me the chance to look back on my reading year and reflect on what I’ve read.

This year I was really surprised that half of these books are actually adult rather than YA novels.

I am not going to go very deep into each of these as we will be here all day so I will do a quick summary of why I loved it and why I think you should read it!

So without further ado, the list… top 10 from 150!

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer – this was probably the weirdest book I have ever read in my life! I picked this up after watching (and actually enjoying the movie) Annihilation, although books vs movie = different things. In this book, we follow an all-female expedition team into Area X and the weird things that happen once they cross the border. It was beautifully written (it completely enthralled me), I loved the character development, the world building, and the concept. Solid book. [I also loved the sequel, recommended although very slow paced to start]

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence – OMG, where do I even start? Everything you want in a fantasy novel, this novel (and series as a whole) has it! Thank you Netgalley for that Grey sister ARC as it “forced” me to pick the first book up and now Mark Lawrence is by far one of my favorite authors. The sequel, Grey Sister, is even better so grab your card and order yourself some copies! Hell, get your friends on it as well! Beware of blood, gore and killer nuns! Also, he just published a short story in this world called Bound.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Ok, so I didn’t understand all of the references, but I still loved this book. It was fun, nostalgic and hard to put down. I am a gamer at heart and this hit all the right notes with me.

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews – I picked this one up from the supermarket because the movie was coming out and it looked cool. Did not have any expectations and it was quite slow paced to start, but OMG, this book is so worth it! I almost… ALMOST shed a tear (and I don’t cry because I’m a hard b*tch). Classic espionaje novel.

Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amy Kaufman – I do not think I can express in words the level of awesomeness of this book. IT BLEW MY MIND! It was a pure unadulterated pleasure to read this. Best book of the series for me.

A court of Mist and Fury & A court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – I’ve chosen both of these although these are part of a series, because of their awesomeness. I cannot believe that I only got to read them this year, but I am glad I had. If you haven’t, please do read these. ACOTAR, the first one, is the weaker of the two, but there’s a reason why.

Warcross by Marie Lu – I loved the premise of this novel, but when the romance started to bloom, I fell truly in love. I have not read a novel to carry me through the anxiety of a new love in a very long time and I absolutely devoured this book. That ending literally destroyed it and needless to say, I read the sequel as soon as it came out – it was good, but not as good as the first one.

The Poppy War by R.F.Kuang – Where do I even start?! This book blew me apart from the first sentence to that last. You know when you read a book and you know that every word, every character, every breath was meant to be on that page for your joy and it has a meaning?! Well, this is one of those books that for me it reached PERFECTION. The Dragon Republic comes out in 2019 and it’s £20 and I just don’t care, I need it. Like NOW.

The seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – Thank you Jot Davies for beautifully narrating this novel because otherwise, hell knows when I would have discovered the beautiful craftsmanship of this world. Stuart Turton, who has gone offline to write another book for 2019, gave the world an amazing book, with great characters and an interesting plot line. What I also like about Stuart’s approach is that he is not afraid to try something new, to surprise the reader, to play with you. Who cares about the destination when the journey is written by Stu and narrated by Jot Davies?

These are my top 10 favorite novels I’ve read in 2018. What are your favorites? Have you read any of these? Any recommendations? Please leave your comments down below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.



August #Wrapup: Lifel1ke, Dark Matter, Cloaked in shadow, Twilight, and 7 more…

Good afternoon my dears! Another month seems to have gone, so it is time to do another wrap-up. Seems that each month I am holding a steady number of over 10 books which is not bad at all since I have so many unread books on my TBR!

I’ve managed at the end of August to hit my target on Goodreads to read 100 books in the year! I am hoping that by the end of the year I will slay another 50!

So what did I read in August…

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》Books read:
Total number of books: 12📚
Total number of pages: 4042📖
Average rating: 3.6 🌟

》Favourite books of the month:
♡Dark Matter – Blake Crouch 4.5 🌟
♡Twilight – Stephenie Meyer 4 🌟
♡Cloaked in Shadow -Benjamin Alderson – 4 🌟
♡New world rising – J.K. Wilson 4 🌟

》Have you read any of these?🤔

 

All the books I’ve read:

27268998New World: Rising (New World, #1) – Wilson, Jennifer 

It was very enjoyable and quick to read. Towards the end, I got somewhat annoyed with her internal monologue regarding Triven and how she isn’t good enough and too damaged… But other than that, I really enjoyed it and I need the next one. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

22543838Heiress’s Defiance (The Chatsfield, #8) – Harris, Lynn Raye 

Enjoyed it, but it lacked that special something. Also, the circumstances in which the characters were “locked in” felt a bit too far fetched. There are also no side characters that actually talk, it’s just the main characters telling us that’s why everything is so bad, but don’t really experience anything else. I did enjoy their interactions and it was a fun, quick read. 2.5 ⭐⭐

35425574Genesis (Project Nemesis, #2) – Reichs, Brendan 

I really enjoyed the first half of this story, exploring the characters even though the premise sounded a little bit too out there for me, but hey, it could happen! However, as the story progressed and didn’t seem to advance too much plotwise, I started to lose interest. Kids killing each other in the name of survival gets very boring very fast if there isn’t anything else going on. Unfortunately, it didn’t hit the spot for me, so I skipped towards the end and it happened what I had predicted so didn’t lose much on that one because it 1035885still made sense to me, so I’m glad I skipped that. 1.5⭐

Twilight (Twilight, #1) – Meyer, Stephenie

I really enjoyed Twilight on this 3rd re-read. Not sure why, but this time around I saw a lot more to Bella than before, understood more of her life as an adolescent. Will do a proper review soon as a lot of you lovelies wanted to know more of my thoughts on this! I even took notes and tabbed the book!! 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

33978711Cloaked in Shadow (The Dragori, #1) – Alderson, Ben

This novel has been such a fun ride! Really enjoyed it, Ben has a nice writing style. The characters were fun, the plot was good and the world building well done; for me, this was a solid debut! Cannot wait to pick up book two! 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

40232366The Nurse’s Pregnancy Miracle – McIntosh, Ann

I did enjoy this story although there some things did not work that well for me, or things bothered me. I found the story cute and quite refreshing in the approach towards its characters who treated each other with respect and maturity. 3.5 ⭐⭐⭐ [full review here]

27833670Dark Matter – Crouch, Blake

I loved this book. The pace was thrilling, the characters, plot and execution were very well done. I loved the concept and the philosophy behind it. 4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

34859192Heart of Malice (Alice Worth, #1) – Edmonds, Lisa

I haven’t read urban fantasy for a long time and I have really enjoyed reading this one, getting to know the characters and this world full of magic. The cast of characters is interesting and the plot well executed, although a bit predictable in places. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

36502054Sea Witch – Henning, Sarah

The story dragged a lot in places whilst in others was a whirlwind. I am not a huge fan of slow-paced books so this really wasn’t for me, but the story was cute and well written. The ending was really good as well, although I would’ve liked it even darker. I thought it was a good retelling but I had myself committed to an arc otherwise I would’ve probably put it aside because of the slow pace. 3 ⭐⭐⭐

39681889Royal Mess – Sutton, Jenna 

I didn’t expect to enjoy Jenna Sutton’s writing so much when I picked this one up. The characters were very well written and refreshing, they felt very real and I appreciate that I lot when it comes to this type of story. I was very invested in what was happening to them and really liked being into their “skin”. However, what I didn’t enjoy quite as much was the lust-love confusion and intense focus on sex. I would’ve liked more angst from the plot, I would’ve liked the characters to spend more time together without humping and I am no prude. Otherwise, I really enjoyed it mainly due to the characters. 3⭐⭐⭐

38660363Lifel1k3 (Lifelike, #1) – Kristoff, Jay 

It was ok but struggled to connect with the characters and the plot was predictable. Full review to follow. 3 ⭐⭐⭐

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Plague World (Ashley Parker, #3) – Fredsti, Dana 

I love the pop culture references and the zombs, but this instalment wasn’t as great and the ending was disappointing for many reasons. It also played so much on the usual tropes it became very predictable. The romance between the main characters I felt was not as well handled as it could’ve been. 3⭐⭐⭐⭐

Xoxo

Jane

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Another late WRAP-UP ~ July 2018 edition

I know it’s almost mid-August but my excuse is that I’ve been at YALC end of July (I’ll be posting about it soon) and then went on holiday abroad and then back to work; no rest for the wicked, right?

So, how did July look for me…

Books read:
>>9 physical books
>>1 audiobook [A stranger in the house]
>>1 e-book [Shy girls write it better]

Total number of pages: 3569
Average pages a day: 115

Average rating: 3.5 stars
Favourite book of the month: Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence ~ 5 stars
Least favourite book: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs ~ 2 stars
DNFed: Ace of Shades [46 %] ~ unpopular opinion, I know!

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Have you read any of these? What did you think? I can convince you to read Grey sister because has an amazing plot, world building, characters and fabulous writing?! If you want to read a review of it, click here.

Have you read any of these books? Any favourites of yours in there?

Xoxo
Jane

Read 16 books in 30 days… A very late April wrap-up

Hello, fellow bookworms! Since the sun has been shining in good old England, I kept myself busy reading and writing on projects, so I’ve been neglecting you here for a little. I guess I also dreaded to do this wrap-up due to the sheer amount of books I’ve read in April. This also means that there’s a huge list of reviews that I need to write… *sigh*

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So without more faffing, the list of 16 books I read in April:

– I read a total of 16 books… including 2 audiobooks, 6 ebooks, and 8 physical copies.
– I read a total of 4909 pages.
– Average month rating: 4 🌟

5 Star books:

4-5 stars books:

3-4 stars books:

2-3 stars books:

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? Also, do you like to my wrap-ups like this, or would you like some brief thoughts on the books I’ve read as well?
xoxo
Jane
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March #Wrap-up: The Cruel Prince, Gemina, Artemis, and more…

Happy Sunday fellow bookworms! I am always so busy that it is not even useful to mention, but I had done a lot of reading as well, which is brilliant. I started and finished a lot of books and managed to get my Currently Reading list to a manageable amount. As you all know, I love reading more than one book at a time, usually between 5-9 (no joking); I am weird that way!

So without further ado, lets see how I did in March:
– I read a total of 9 books including 2 audiobooks and 2 ebooks.
– I read a total of 3523 pages.
– Average month rating: 3.6 🌟

So what did I read?
IMG_20180210_181817_446.jpgThe Cruel Prince by holly Black 3.5🌟

The premise was intriguing and the book was definitely exciting somewhere past the 80% mark, however between here and there the main character was increasingly annoying and generally useless, we do not see a lot of the cruel prince and the plot doesn’t start really until late. Although I saw the ending a mile away, I found it unpudownable towards the end, hence the 3.5 stars rating ~ I will be posting soon a full review for this.

IMG_20180318_163401_424.jpgGemina by @misterkristoff & @amiekaufmanauthor a solid 5🌟

Do I even need to say why? I loved the characters, the writing, the format, and most of all, I loved the plot! That’s how you write a solid plot, like Gemina! I could not foresee that how the story would progress for the life of me, but I was at the edge of my seat all the way until the end. Loved it!

IMG_20180313_164340_369.jpgRed sparrow by Jason Matthews 4 .5🌟

I rarely read spy thrillers, but this was was realistic, the writing really good, the characters compelling. The plot twists were a surprise even when you knew certain events would unfold and almost, almost cried at the end. I dropped half a star because I found it difficult to get in or to absorb some terms, or because it was getting too technical for me in places, although that’s more on me than the book!

IMG_20180206_083608_593.jpgArtemis by Andy Weir 3.5🌟

I really wanted to like this book a lot more, but Jazz has a very annoying personality and did not like her that much, and it was hard to connect with the rest of the characters or the plot. The plot itself was a bit clunky, just like the writing, but midway I actually had a hard time being able to put it down. At least the ending was quite satisfying and clever!
20180225_151916.jpgShadow of the Savernake by Jaynie Hackett 3.75-4🌟

I really enjoyed this story and I found it fascinating the blend of history with modern notions. For the most part I liked the characters, although I did not agree with some decisions that the leading lady took at certain point, but I suppose that was part of her learning curve as a character. The descriptions were rich, sometimes a little too much, but I enjoyed finding out more about the Sherwood area as I do live nearby to it. I liked Nate a lot, he was a solid character, with good morals and instincts.

37483453In the line of fire by Joss Wood ~ 2🌟

Forced romance, characters that felt like made out of cardboard and stilted “hot” conversation. And the plot… don’t even get me there! Also, what was that about the dude taking the girl who he was protecting and wanting to have sex with, to his ex-fiancees house and crash there when she wasn’t even there?! Like WTF?! I felt so satisfied when she appeared soon after and slapped him, hard! So no, take this away from me!

30849736The passenger (mystery/thriller) by Lisa Lutz 4🌟

I totally loved this thriller/mystery. I listened to it as audiobook and was narrated by Edwina Wrenass and I totally recommend to listen to it as the voice was perfect and enhanced my experience.

PSX_20180408_200219.jpgPlague Land by Alex Scarrow 3.75-4 🌟

Really enjoyed it, I haven’t read anything like this before really. I liked the concept of the virus and the things that it could do, it was a nice twist on the post-apocalyptic virus setting. Really liked the characters ad the plot held my attention all the way until the end.

 
38927824Stormbreaker by Alex Horrowitz (audiobook) 2🌟

I know it’s a YA for boys kinda story, however it was so bad! Like so bad! I listened to it on audiobook when driving and I gave it 2 stars because it was actually entertaining and easy to listen to, but the plot had more holes than Swiss cheese and the characters were bland, cardboard-like with no real motivations for their actions. The villain was laughable which reminded me of the little bald dude from Austin Powers for some reason (I never really watched it, but bu hubs was “kind enough” to show me clips from it, thinking it will make me laugh and want to watch it – NO!)

So that’s it for my March reading feast! What did you read in March? Anything interesting?

Xoxo

Jane

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#BookishUpdate & #MostLikelyTo Character Book Tag

Hello book nerds! I am going to combine a weekly update with a fun book tag from Victoria  (<< check out her blog, it’s awesome!!). I missed posting last Sunday because adulting most of the time gets in the way of writing, but gonna quickly mention what I’ve been up to. Not a lot has happened, but I did finish some books. In these two weeks, I finished reading 5 books: In the line of fire by Joss Wood (for a full review click here)Artemis by Andy Weir, The passenger by Lisa Lutz (audiobook narrated by Edwina Wren)Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews and Shadow of the Savernake (Taxane Chronicles) by Jayne Hackett. I had a very busy time.

Now I am in the middle of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, but I am not quite sure how I feel about it. I often want to punch the twins, so maybe not that well? I think I am going to stop reading for now The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard as I can’t see myself picking it up and I do not want to waste my time trying to read something that I don’t want, so goes back on the shelf until better times! What did you recently start reading, but gave up trying to get into?

__________________________________________BOOK TAG_______________________________________

Again, thanks Victoria for tagging me to do the#MostLikelyTo Character Book Tag. If you want to pick up and do this tag, just go for it. If you’d let me know that you did, I’d love to check your answers! 

So here it goes:

#1: Be Overprotective ~ Not sure who I can pick for this… maybe Molly Weasley! She does seem the overprotective type and she would take good care of me if in danger! Hopefully….

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#2: Good With Kids ~ Hahahhaa, can I just be cheeky and say Jacob from Twilight!!! That imprinting business… yeah!

#3: Picks Flowers For You ~ really hard to decide. I would probably say Bella Swan because I can totally see her in a meadow picking flowers! Lol. Honestly, can’t think of anyone else…

#4: Lends You Their Clothes ~ Not a lot of fashion sense in the books that I am reading, however Izzy Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments had always an impeccable, sexy style, so I would raid her closet at any given time!

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#5: Talks With You For Hours ~ Natalie from the Vampire Academy would talk with me for days, although probably for all the wrong reasons! She is not quite what she seems to be!

#6: Takes Time Looking At Your Eyes ~ Adrian from the Vampire Academy is the kind that would be starring, taking his time to look into my eyes and read me. He is the kind that would stare down into your soul to gain as much information as possible. He is one cunning, sexy bastard! Hahahah!

images#7: Says You’re Beautiful ~ Dimka (Dimitri Belikov from the Vampire Academy) is the only one that I want to hear say that I am beautiful. He is my first, and so far my only, book husband. I completely and utterly adore him, so yeah!

#8: Take Over The World ~ Rose from the Vampire Academy has the ability to take over the world for sure! If there is anyone, that’s her! She is brave, strong and has kick-ass abilities. Who wouldn’t want her on their side?!

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#9: Survive the Zombie Apocalypse ~ I am going with Georgia Mason from Feed by Mira Grant is the kind of character that will fight with all o their might against the zombies hoards. She did it beautifully and she is one of my favourite zombie kick-ass heroines!

#10: Break a World Record ~ I could pick Hermione Granger and do something clever together! That’d be fun!

#11: Stay with OTP (One True Pairing) after book is over ~ Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy. They are the one true pair, regardless of any other ships. They are amazing together and worked really hard to survive in their crazy world and fight for everything they believed in!

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#12: Leave OTP after book is over ~ Never really cared about what happened with Celina and her relationships in TOG. Cared a little bit in Crown of Midnight, but not as much so…

#13: Be a Drama Queen ~ Nobody does drama queen better than  Celina! Her dramatics have annoyed the life out of me through the two books that I read, but also annoyed me. I hope to heavens that she is going to improve.

#14: Always Happy ~ Really difficult to think of that because all of the characters that I am reading, go through pain at any other time, however I could say that Kady from Illuminae was always quite cheery and never gave up!

#15: Get Into A Fight ~ Shaun Mason from Feed by Mira Grant loved getting himself into fights with zombies and not only. He was reckless and stupid sometimes, but I loved him to bits. He is one hell of a character! Could also add Rose Hathaway on this list too…

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So what do you think about my choices? What would you choose? If you want to pick up this tag, feel free!!! I am going to tag to do pick up this tag: Rimpsyreads, RemarkablyLisa, and Goingthroughbooks.

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PS: Please do not be offended by my choices, these are my personal opinions and it’s ok if you think differently!

Romantic February~ A Wrap-Up

Hello booknerds! Hope you good! I had an insane February month! I’ve been a bit AWOL as I have been very busy with personal matters, but now I have a lot more time, so good to be back. Although I have been busy in February, I still managed to find plenty of time to read. Most of my reads have been pure romance reads because 1. I was in the mood, 2. it was the perfect de-stresser to a very stressful month!

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So without further ado, let’s see what I read:

~ read 10 books: 3 paperbacks, 7 e-books
~ average rating 3.5🌟
~ 3426 pages read~ Highest rated books: 5🌟 The Witch’s Tear & The Witch’s blood by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. I love this series! (Don’t forget to check out my giveaway for The Witch’s Kiss).

First book I finished reading was Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas and I gave this 3.5 🌟. The beginning was so slow, I wanted to punch this book through a wall, however midway things started happening and I struggled to put it down. Again the lack of communication and implied baddasery was hilarious (not in a good way), but the book, especially after 50% was better! A lot better!

Then I read a lot of romance; thank you Mills and Boons for existing! I’m shameless in admitting that I love reading these kinds of books. They relax me and the angst is my favourite part, so yeah! Some were better than others, so my ratings are as follows: ~Eligible greeks 3.5 🌟 ~ Redeeming the playboy 2.5 🌟 ~ Valtez’s bartered bride 3 🌟 ~ The secret child & the CEO 2 🌟

33259027The Dutchess deal by (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare was a really fun, enjoyable romance read. The main characters were funny, witty and charming and I enjoyed their interaction. The plot was quite simple, but somewhat believable as Emma was not the kind of girl to just roll with it, she was clever and knew what was in her best interest, and marrying the duke was. There were some scenes that were a tad ridiculous like the scene with the cat when it attacked the duke. He also seemed to have overplayed the emotionally scarred dude role up to some point when this got better. Overall, this was a great fun, enjoyable read and I have this  4 🌟 as it was one of my favourite purely romantic books in a very long time! Also…. this cover!!!!

What have you read in February? Did you feel the romance? Any good recommendations?

BTW, I am totally obsessed with this glass from Enchanted Fandoms (link Here). I am absolutely obsessed since she made it for me for my birthday.

Xoxo

Jane