This is the fifth year I’m participating in Jamie’s (@ The Perpetual Page-Turner) End of Year Book Survey. In 2015 I shared my bookish life in Hermione gifs, 2016 in Pevensie gifs, 2017 in Gilmore Girls gifs, and this year I’ll share it in Nadiya from Great British Bake Off gifs! I’m looking forward to reading your 2018 book survey too.
Note: This includes all books read in 2018 – they do not have to be published in 2018.
Number of Books You Read: 47
Number of Re-reads: 0
Genre You Read the Most From: historical & fantasy
1. Best Book You Read in 2018
I actually answer this question last after filling out the survey, and I think based on what has stuck with me all these months and what has filled up the most categories, I have to say City of Brass (with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine a very close second)!
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
From Twinkle With Love, which admittedly was mostly disappointing because I may have expected something else from it. I set the bar super high, and I really was most excited for this book last year. Ah well. I’m still looking forward to There’s Something About Sweetie!
3. Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) Book You Read in 2018?
Spinning Silver — again, I was expecting something more along the lines of Uprooted. I’m quite glad it wasn’t, though! The book went a totally different direction than I expected, with narrators I wasn’t prepared for, and this surprise was definitely a good one!
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (and they did) in 2018?
Uh, well, I push my clients’ work more than anything, so Empire of Sand takes the ticket! I pushed this book hardcore on Twitter and Facebook, to my friends on coffee dates and catching up sessions — everywhere. Seriously, get this book. It’s a gorgeous Mughal-Indian fantasy and it has received four starred reviews (out of four trade reviews!! Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal all love it!).
5. Best Series You Started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?
Series: Kings of the Wyld — Can’t wait to start Bloody Rose!
Sequel: China Rich Girlfriend — Looking forward to reading the final book!
Ender: none! Lots of first and seconds of series read this year.
6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2018?
I’ve read two Kevin Kwan novels this year, and definitely plan on picking up the third book early in 2019 to round out the trilogy. His writing is fun, witty, and over-the-top, and I devoured every word!
7. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
I really don’t enjoy reading nonfiction, but I was fascinated with A Long Way Home. Memory is both a strength and a weakness — how much of this journey does Saroo actually remember versus what he was told or imagined as a child? — but whatever the circumstances, I still found it incredibly moving he survived Calcutta and managed to find his little village via Google Earth.
8. Most Action-packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?
The City of Brass was definitely the most thrilling and action-packed novel I read this year, hands down! When I had to set the book aside (for work, errands, adulthood responsibilities) it was all I could think about. I finished it in January and I’m still thinking about it. It was one of the most complex novels I’ve read in a long time, and I’m very much looking forward to Kingdom of Copper.
9. Book You Read in 2018 That You are Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?
Honestly, re-reads don’t happen for me much anymore. But if I could re-read a book in 2019 that I read in 2018, it would be The Clockmaker’s Daughter or Once Upon a River. They’re my favorite authors, and there was so much packed in the narrative — interweaving story lines, little details that appear later. Exquisite.
10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2018?
The Girl in the Tower is so pretty and wintry. It utilizes the reds and purples in a cool way, rather than a warm one. I could burrow in those colors. The covers for all three of the books in the Winternight Trilogy are great — they look like a sunrise!
11. Most Memorable Character of 2018?
A tie between Nahri and Dara, both in City of Brass. Oh, my heart.
12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2018?
The Bird and the Blade is just…wow. WOW. It was such an affecting read, even more so that I know the music score to the opera it was inspired by. Like the music, it swelled and soared and ugh what a beautiful ride.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2018?
Since this book made me go down a research rabbit hole, The Romanov Empress takes the cake for most thought-provoking! I was fascinated with the family, the web across Europe, and overall history of Russia as it unfolded, year by year, through Maria’s eyes. There are dozens of parallels from the Romanov dynasty and the country it is today; it’s unsettling as well as heartbreaking.
14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited UNTIL 2018 to Finally Read?
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Massive thank you to Hannah for saying just the right words to capture my attention and make me read this book. It was nothing like I expected and yet everything I could ever want it to be, and I just want to hug Eleanor and set her next to all of my Jane Eyre copies. Jane, Eleanor, and I are besties now.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From a Book You Read in 2018?
This is what I have always done, how I have always found myself when I’ve been lost. When I first went to music college, eighteen years old and paralyzingly shy, when ringing my parents from the pay phone in the corridor just made me miss them even more, I would feel the strength in the neck of my cello, flatten the prints of my fingers into the strings, and forget.
I play and play; through thirst, past hunger, making tiredness just a dent in my soul. […] I play on until the world is flat again and the spaces between my heartbeats are as even as the rhythm on the stave in front of me.
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2018?
According to Goodreads, the shortest book I read this year was Jan Brett’s newest picture book, The Snowy Nap, and the longest was The Queens of Innis Lear (not surprised!!).
17. Book That Shocked You the Most
The Glass Castle. I just can’t. Those parents. Jeannette herself. I just can’t.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Royals is probably the only one I can place in this category, as most of the romance story-lines I read this year were tragic or hanging *side-eyes Chakraborty*. So. GO DAISY AND MILES!
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year
Clay and Gabe in Kings of the Wyld. I mean, come on. Only a bromance would survive all the crap they went through in the Wyld! Their deep friendship and understanding — with each other and with the rest of their band — was awesome to read and experience.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 from an Author You’ve Read Previously
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is now my favorite Kate Morton novel. Kate Morton is on my auto-buy list, and she just keeps getting better and better with her already great books.
21. Best Book You Read in 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure
Goodbye, Paris for sure. I had never heard of this book, and I didn’t see any of my friends reading it either, but a librarian recommended it to me “because [you] loved Eleanor Oliphant” and she nailed it.
22. Newest Fictional Crush from a Book You Read in 2018?
Dara in City of Brass, goddammit Chakraborty. *sobs*
23. Best 2018 Debut You Read?
Dear Mrs. Bird to add some variety here — I read a lot of great 2018 debuts! Dear Mrs. Bird fits right into my wheelhouse, with its historical WWII fiction, slice-of-life story line, empathetic-to-the-point-of-destruction protagonist. I was so engrossed in the audiobook (seriously, listen to the audio if you can!!) that I missed streets and exits when driving because it was so well-read and well-written!
24. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
City of Brass takes the prize again! Cairo and Daevabad were both brilliantly described. I felt I was actually there among Nahri and the people and djinn, could see and smell and taste and touch everything. And not once did it feel like I was being bogged down with descriptions too much
25. Book that Put a Smile on Your Face/was the Most FUN to Read?
It’s a tie! Kings of the Wyld and Royals both put ridiculously huge smiles on my face while I read, and I enjoyed every second of them!!
26. Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2018?
Dear Mrs. Bird — the scenes with London bombings, the fights with best friends, all of it was so gut-wrenching and drawn out and agonizing.
27. Hidden Gem of The Year?
Goodbye, Paris was unexpectedly wonderful and perfect. I wish more people knew about it. It’s basically Eleanor Oliphant but with music, which speaks to me on such a deep level.
28. Book that Crushed Your Soul?
Sweetbitter, and not in a good way. I wish I could scrub that book from my memory.
29. Most Unique Book You Read in 2018?
Saga, mostly because I don’t read graphic novels. The librarians have their own internal book club (Genre Study, to help with readers’ advisory-related questions and suggestions from/for patrons) and one particular month’s book was to read Saga plus another graphic novel. I can definitely see the appeal of graphic novels, and they’re good for visual readers, reluctant readers, and readers who want vivid storytelling in a new form. Not for me, but it was definitely a unique experience!
30. Book that Made You the Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Small Great Things, but I wasn’t mad at the book. I was mad at myself. I berated myself for the whole review, really.
1. New Favorite Book Blog You Discovered in 2018?
I stumbled across more IG bookstagrams than I did blogs. Lately I’ve loved bookcooklook, somekindofalibrary, and idlewildreads. All three of them have, in my eyes, aesthetically pleasing accounts. No extra fuss for props and flashy objects — just books and tea and bakes! (I’m a huge fan of that sort of simplicity, and genuinely don’t understand the appeal of crowded shelves full of POPs, candles, and clingy bookmarks.) Plus they have great snippet reviews on their posts mixed with a bit of behind-the-reader glimpses and discussions, which I enjoy.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2018?
The Bird and the Blade is probably my favorite, if anything because I enjoyed the book so much.
3. Best Discussion/Non-review Post You had on Your Blog?
I didn’t write on the blog as often as I used to outside of book reviews and seasonal wrap ups, but I did post about my reading list prior to leaving for Greece! Sometimes it’s difficult to pick out your vacation reading…
4. Best Event that You Participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I was lame (but mostly poor) this year and didn’t participate or attend any bookish events. I was, however, FaceTimed into Tasha Suri’s book launch in London for a few minutes! Does that count?
5. Best Moment of Bookish/Blogging Life in 2018?
*incoherent screaming about a client’s book and exciting news that isn’t public yet*
7. Most Popular Post This Year on Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
MSWL 2018, no surprise there. I’m glad it’s proven helpful to writers, and it has certainly made my inbox full of great stuff, so I’ve made an update post for 2019 already!
8. Post You Wished Got a Little More Love?
Weirdly, selfishly, my seasonal rewind post that included my engagement *ducks and hides*
9. Best Bookish Discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Once more, I was over my head in work-related industry stuff and didn’t get to discover a whole lot. However, I’ve really enjoyed browsing IG bookish posts that don’t require a whole lot of props or coffee––simple slice of life posts that happen to have books are totally my aesthetic!
10. Did You Complete Any Reading Challenges or Goals that You had Set for Yourself at the Beginning of This Year?
Oh, I’m sorry — right, okay, the question…
Well, I read more library books for fun than intended, but not enough off my own TBR shelves in my home library. I had to lower my goal of 50 books to 45 in order to be anywhere near finishing the challenge. And I read more historical and fantasy this year, but none for my Gabaldon / Marillier self-appointed challenge.
You know what, though? I won’t feel guilty about that. I surpassed my agent goals in 2018, and that’s what really counted for me personally in the end. This career is about all those baby steps and I walked so many of them.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To in 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?
OH GOD SO MANY. The one that’s probably staring at me the most is The Poppy War, but I’m also terrified. The rest of the Queens of Renthia series. Basically all my WWII historical fiction books. Yeah…Poppy War may be one of the first…
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating for 2019 (non-debut)?
The Downstairs Girl, Her Royal Highness, The Huntress, The Witch’s Kind, I Owe You One, the list goes on and on… They’re all by authors I adore, all covering topics and themes I’m super excited to dive into. What’s not to love?
3. 2019 Debut You are Most Anticipating?
The Ruin of Kings sounds amazing, Spin the Dawn because duh, and this interesting novel I read about ages ago, The Western Wind, in an interview on Publishers Weekly simply because of the strange historical details the author had to twist in order to incorporate into the plot of the novel. So…why not?
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You are Most Anticipating in 2019?
Kingdom of Copper, it’s a given. I have the galley sitting right next to me!
5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2019?
ONE thing?! Oh jeez. Attend Book Expo, writers conferences, online contests…I’m also already scheduled for three writers conferences, Pitch Wars, and WisRWA’s Fab Five contest. But that’s work-related. Bookworm self, I would like to really and truly read the rest of my Marillier and Gabaldon collections, and not feel burdened by blogging a review for them (or any book, really). Blogging shouldn’t feel like a chore!
I have all these high expectations, plus a wedding to plan and experience, for 2019 sooooooo cross fingers and wish me luck!
6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone
What’s on your year-end review? Do we have any similar titles? Which books are you going to read, too? Good luck and have a great 2019 reading year!