Favorite Books of 2018

Reading has slowed down significantly as the holiday season arrived.  Plus, I’ve been spending a good portion of my time in November putting together furniture.  Still, I thought it would be fun to look back over the books that received five stars.  I definitely saw some trends that I thought I would share with you.  All of the links will send you to my reviews of each book.

Favorite New Author:  This year, I started following Victoria “V.E” Schwab on social media.  I had heard of her books, and that people really loved them.  So, I started with The Archived series, which I checked out of the library.  I absolutely loved both The Archived and The Unbound.  Which led me to pre-order her new middle-grade book, City of Ghosts, which I again, of course, loved.

Favorite YA Books: In addition to the above books, I also really loved a few newer authors, as well as a couple of authors I was already familiar with their writing.  Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi introduced me to a new African mythology, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a poignant and beautiful contemporary novel about grief and racism.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Thunderhead (the second book in the Scythe series) by Neal Shusterman and Library of Souls (the third book in Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series) by Ransom Riggs.  I’ve read Unwind by Shusterman many years ago, which I liked.  I’ve also been reading Riggs’ series for a couple of years now and plan to read this next book (which I already own) Map of Days that continues the story of his Peculiar series.

Favorite Adult Books: All of the adult authors I enjoyed this year were new to me.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was an impulse buy that I really enjoyed and probably prompted more impulse buying this year than I have in a long time.  How to Stop Time by Matt Haig made me tear up at the end.  It actually answers the question of how to stop time through this fictional, magical story.  And What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty was a surprise because it wasn’t the main story that made me love it so much, but the subplot of her sister and infertility that kept me turning the pages (and I think I cried at the end of this one, too).

Favorite Non-fiction/Memoir: Kathy Khang’s book Raise Your Voice is a perfect narrative of this moment in history.  It challenged the reader to face the excuses used to stay quiet when we need to speak up.  And on a completely different level, Anne Bogel’s book, I’d Rather Be Reading, was a perfect collection of essays for any reader to relate to.

All of these authors have inspired me in so many different ways and prompted me to see life from new perspectives.  I think they have all taken a part in shaping me this year, and I look forward to seeing what new favorites will come into my life next year!

What are some of your favorites? 

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The Night Circus: A Review

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel like I was late to this party, but I’m so glad I read this book!
If by some craziness you haven’t read this book, I highly, highly, recommend. It has definitely become one of my favorite fantasy books to date.
The story surrounds this circus that only comes out at night (hence, the title). It’s a cover for this competition between two magicians (not in the sense that we know magicians, but actual people who can use magic). But the story is bigger than this competition. It’s about every person who is a part of this circus. It includes the performers and the patrons and how they are all connected by choices.
I liked the theme of choice in the story. Some of the choices are brought onto the characters through no control of their own, but the choices they do get to make are what really define them as people.
It’s a beautiful story. The writing, itself, is beautiful and descriptive without being overbearing. The story is not necessarily told in chronological order or from the same perspective. They build on each other, though, which I really liked. I could tell pretty quickly that no character was inconsequential. Every performer, every visitor played a part in the machine of the story.
As far as profanity, sex, and violence. There is one curse word at the beginning of the book, maybe in the first or second chapter. I thought it was foreshadowing more, but I didn’t come across any more in the future chapters. There is one love scene, and there are a few death/violent scenes, but none of them were detailed or graphic. Would recommend to older teen and up (I think it is actually categorized as adult fiction).

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!