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.



#BookReview: Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

35530652Hi guys, a bit of a stranger one!

I’m going to write up my review for Grey Sister when I haven’t yet reviewed Red Sister, the first book in the series! Oups! I recently finished reading Grey Sister and I just need to get all of these awesome feelings off my chest.

Red Sister synopsis:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

Genre:  Fiction
Year Of Publication: April 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Pages: 400
My rating:  5 stars

I loved the Red sister, but Grey Sister is out of this world amazing! Mark managed to PSX_20180731_191655.jpgcapture the dark atmosphere and bring it up to a whole new level. There is literally not a single bad word that I can say about this sequel. Definitely not suffering from middle book syndrome (why do I believe this is a trilogy? don’t know…).

All of the awesome characters from Red Sister take centre stage in this sequel and truly come alive. I remember being 100 pages in and struggling to put the book down because it was THAT GOOD! I also love Mark’s writing style, he has a unique voice and the ability to summon characters and settings to life, to make you care. I was also impressed by his ability to not only write about girls but also understand them. The world building and magic system are so well done it makes logical sense and drags you into the story and doesn’t let you leave.

As I’ve already said, there isn’t a thing that I can fault this book which is probably my favourite fantasy book of 2018 and of all time. There is no denying that Mark Lawrence is a god!

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Have you read Red sister and/or Grey Sister? What did you think? A few of my friends loved it, some of my friends didn’t, so feel free to share your comments. Reading is subjective and we’re all entitles to our opinions as long as they’re respectful!

Lots of love,

Jane

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The Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag – 2018 edition

This is the first time I’ve done this tag and I am super excited to see what the first half of 2018. I know it’s not June anymore, but let’s just pretend for a second, ok? So far I’ve read just over 90 books and I am very close to my goal of 100 books for the year, a challenge that I need to elevate as soon as I’ll hit it.

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018

These books were fantastic and I continue to think about them. I gave them a solid 5 stars and recommend to everyone to read them because they’re that good!

Obviously reading is subjective and you might not love them as much as I do if at all…

Your favourite sequel of the year

A Court of Mist and Fury was such an incredible sequel, it has to be on this list! The story was so good, I cannot even begin to describe… have you read it? What did you think?

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Another one for this list is Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence. I loved Red Sister, but the sequel was INSANEEEE!!

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A new release that you haven’t read but really want to

I haven’t been very excited about a lot of books as of late it seems, but one of those is…

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I had to have Jay Kristoff on my list! Duh! The book is arriving tomorrow actually.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

It has to be Wildcard by Marie Lu. I have been dying for this book from the minute I put Warcross down and I will read it the day it comes out because I need it in my life… preferably now!

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Your biggest disappointment

I was so excited to read Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody, but it just did not work for me. I DNF-ed it halfway because I just couldn’t care about the characters and the plot wasn’t that exciting for me. I only kept turning the page because I was curious about minor plot points until I realised that I didn’t want to continue to waste my time. #unpopularopinion

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Biggest surprise of the year

My biggest surprise for a debut author goes to Samantha Heuwagen! I loved Dawn among the stars and to be honest I didn’t expect to fall in love with her book so much. I am dying to read an ARC of book 2 (hint, hint!)

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I was also very impressed with Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart; I didn’t know what to expect from it and during first 2 chapters I felt pretty meh about the story, but starting chapter 3 I was hooked and read it in two days! So, so good!

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Favourite new to you or debut author

My newest favourite authors are Mark Lawrence and Stuart Turton! I would honestly read their groceries list.

Favourite debut authors: Liz and Katharine Corr, Alexandra Cristo and Samantha Heuwagen; these ladies have some mad writing skills!

Your new fictional crush

Rhys from ACOTAR series!! He is there with Dimitri Belikov now.

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New favourite character

Nona Grey from Book of the Ancestor series by Mark Lawrence, especially in Grey Sister!

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A book that made you cry

I don’t really cry when reading books… closest I’ve been probably with ACOTAR?!

A book that made you happy

I don’t read a lot of happy books it seems… but I could go with Unfed by Kirsty McKay. That book made me laugh and I am gutted there isn’t a third book coming!

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Your favourite book to movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year

Uhm… Don’t really watch a lot of movies, but I did saw Red Sparrow, the movie adaptation of the novel of the same name by Jason Matthews. Have you seen it? I liked it although quite different than the novel.

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Favourite book post you’ve done this year

Uhm… #T5W: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult written in March, and the reason why this is my favourite is that it made me think of books long forgotten and I love it for that.

The most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year

Where do I even start…

These are a few of the most gorgeous books that I have bought this year…

What are some books you need to read by the end of the year

So, so many… my TBR is going to kill me one day, I swear! There are quite a few books that I would love to read by the end of the year…

Have you read any of these? Would you agree with what’s on my list?

I am not going to tag anyone, because I am assuming a lot of you already have done this tag, so instead leave your links to this tag down below so I can read your answers!

Xoxo

Jane