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.



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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Week 10 ~ Bookish Update (Gemina, Red Sparrow, bujo & subscription boxes)

PSX_20180311_105306.jpgHello dear reader’s family! This week has been very tiring and I felt quite under the weather, didn’t get much done overall, watched some movies after work and that was about it. Until I picked GEMINA and life as we know it was suspended as I struggled to put this book down. It was extremely clever and teared up my soul. I finished reading it on Wednesday and I continue to keep thinking about it. For me, although a tad slow in the beginning, is a solid 5 🌟- if you wanna hear more of my thoughts on it, keep an eye out for the book review I’ll do soon.

After Gemina, I decided to pick RED SPARROW, a novel written by Jason Matthews, a former CIA operative. I stared reading this on Thursday and I only read 30 pages the first night as I was too tired to function and the technicality of the writing made my head spin, but chapter 3 introduces the POV of Dominika and it started to become very interesting. I like the way he introduces the background of the characters so far, and I feel invested to continue because the character are likeable.

I’ve been so much better with my Bullet Journaling as well and I am quite proud on how I made it look like, nothing fancy, but I think that the new layout will work better for me. I also managed to make myself a blogging schedule on a very cute notepad that I bought recently. Very happy with my new courage to do things! 😁😁😁

PSX_20180311_105127.jpg

Today, is Mother’s day, so I’ve surprised my mum with a card and flowers as in Eastern Europe we celebrate it on the 8th of March, but in UK on the 11th and she thought I forgot about it!

Screenshot_20180311-110312.jpgAlso, if you are interested, Enchanted Fandoms is running a very cool sale on her Instagram, link HERE. They have teamed up with other bookish sub boxes for a weekend full of discounts on boxes and you can grab any of those boxes for 10-15% off from each of them by using code SUPPORTABOX at checkout, so go check out her profile for more details! I think it is really cool and that different bookish boxes can support each other and I really dig this kind of friendliness!

 

That’s it for my weekend. I am going to continue today and read some more Red Sparrow before going out for dinner with the family! Hope you will have a fabulous Sunday and lots of love.

What do you guys think about this format of weekly updated? If you want to know more about what I am up to, check out my social media:

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xoxo

Jane