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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Library of Souls: A Review

This is actually the third book in the series, as I mention at the beginning of the review.  I don’t have an actual review of the entire series, but if I were to give this series a rating, it would be 4 out of 5 stars.  I didn’t enjoy the second book as much as the first and third.

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #3)Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know why I waited so long to complete this trilogy. I had read the other two books when they came out, but for some reason, I didn’t pick this one up until this year. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the end of this trilogy.
The author, Ransom Riggs, wrote this story based on old photographs that he had collected over the years. It’s a story about a group of people named Peculiars, each having a special power like super strength, or the ability to create fire from their hands or be invisible. Within the story, these peculiars tend to hide from the public (or normals) in these time loops created by ymbrynes, women who can turn into birds and are the caretakers for peculiars. The trilogy follows the main character, Jacob, as he discovers this world, discovers his place in it, and ends up going on an adventure to save not only peculiars but the world in general.
The writing is well done as the stories incorporate various photographs sprinkled throughout the book. Although, by this third book, I was less interested in the pictures as I was the story. Compared to the other two books, I felt that this final book was very plot driven, very action driven. The story moved very quickly, which I think was easily done since the other books were more descriptive and world building.
The character development was very transparent in the final book. Jacob even starts to refer to himself as two different Jacobs, the old one that was unsure and indecisive, versus the new Jacob who was more confident and brave. The relationship between him and Emma also evolves throughout this last book, and I really liked the way it ended for them as well.

I don’t remember there being any significant use of profanity. Also, the sexual content was very mild – there were a few kisses and a moment when two characters fell asleep together (but all they did was sleep). I think the time period that the peculiars came from affected their behavior in that department.
There was a lot of violence, as this was the final showdown between the good and bad guys. There were some details on experiments done of peculiars, drug addiction (although it was a drug called ambrosia), and lots of blood, broken bones, and cuts. But even so, it was handled pretty well and was pretty mild.

I definitely recommend the series. It was a fun read. I know that the first book was made into a movie, but it is not very much like the movie at all. The relationships are all different in the book and movie. And I don’t see how they could have continued making those into film especially with this last book. But this is a definitely a favorite series of mine!