2018 – My Year In Books

YiB Hi everyone! Today I’m looking back at 2018 a little bit. I hope that your year was as good as mine was. I know its cliche to say, but its so true–it went by so fast. Last year, my little brother (not so little anymore) got married, I lost a job, I found a really great new job, I started my own small business, and I got married. Holy cow! On top of that, I read some amazing books across a variety of genres.

So below is my year in books. Considering all the “busy” and “hectic” in my life, I am darn proud of how much I did get read.

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I rated 18 books 5-star reads, 28 books as 4-star reads, 21 books as 2-star reads, and 6 as 1-star reads, making my average rating about 3.65. My overall goal was to read 75 books and I almost made it. Technically I made it by intentionally reading a few shorter books for a readathon at some point, but I mean really short books, like, picture books. But they were books! I don’t like to count children’s books though. So, like I said, I’m happy with what I did. I read for pleasure not for competition with myself or anyone else. I’d never beat myself up about not hitting a certain amount.

So how about you: Did you reach any reading goals in 2018? Read any great books worth recommending? I’d love to hear about them!

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First Line Friday: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

First line: “It was late winter in northern Rus’, the air sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow.”

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At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

40004709After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales. [from Goodreads]

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The Bear and the Nightengale by Katherine Arden is my current read and I have heard many good things about this one. I am about 25% into it and so far its a little slow, but I do like the wintery vibes, and there’s always something about Russian folklore that is so mystical and special to me. I have always enjoyed Russian music, history, and poetry, so I am eager to see if the book lives up to the hype around it.

How about you – have you read this book? What did you think? What other books do you feel have a strong winter vibe?

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Blogmas 21: First Line Friday – Mr. Dickens & His Carol

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First line(s): “On that unseasonably warm November day at One Devonshire Terrace, Christmas was not in his head at all.”

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34275234For Charles Dickens, each Christmas has been better than the last. His novels are literary blockbusters, and he is famous on the streets of London, where avid fans sneak up on him to snip off pieces of his hair. He and his wife have five happy children, a sixth on the way, and a home filled with every comfort they could imagine. But when Dickens’ newest book is a flop, the glorious life he has built for himself threatens to collapse around him. His publishers offer an ultimatum: either he writes a Christmas book in a month, or they will call in his debts, and he could lose everything. Grudgingly, he accepts, but with relatives hounding him for loans, his wife and children planning an excessively lavish holiday party, and jealous critics going in for the kill, he is hardly feeling the Christmas spirit.

Increasingly frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace and inspiration in London itself, his great palace of thinking. And on one of his long walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets a young woman in a purple cloak, who might be just the muse he needs. Eleanor Lovejoy and her young son, Timothy, propel Dickens on a Scrooge-like journey through his Christmases past and present—but with time running out, will he find the perfect new story to save him?

In prose laced with humor, sumptuous Victorian detail, and charming winks to A Christmas Carol, Samantha Silva breathes new life into an adored classic. Perfect for fans of Dickens, for readers of immersive historical fiction, and for anyone looking for a dose of Christmas cheer, Mr. Dickens and His Carol is destined to become a perennial holiday favorite. (from Goodreads)

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I am currently almost halfway through this book and so far it is a pretty charming read. It is certainly not action-packed, but I’m just curious about how things will play out and captivated by the setting and by Dickens himself. I am glad I chose this for my holiday read this year and I can’t wait to see how A Christmas Carol forms in Dickens’ mind!

Have you read this book? Do you know much about the real Dickens? Please share!

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February Wrap-up…March TBR

amy-reed-408611-unsplashWho can believe that we are already going into the third month of 2018? Seems like I was just doing my 25 days of December and now we’re talking March! Crazy!

 

So considering that February was a short month, I’d say that I did okay reading-wise. In January I finished 4 books but in February I bumped that up to 5–woo! Subsequently page count went up as well. I don’t have that number in front of me, but I promise, I crunched that number earlier and its the Gods-honest truth. So here’s my little overview:

Fangirl & The Kiss of Deception were audiobooks, Caraval & Siege and Storm both I flipped between digital and physical copies of. All of these reviews are up on the blog except for Caraval… that one is still a bit under construction. It should be done in another day or two. My favorite book of the month was definitely Fangirl. I am still swooning over Levi!! I am so glad I read that around Valentine’s Day!!

tbrmarchSegue to: I also was also glad to have finished Siege and Storm because now I am so ready to move on to Ruin and Rising and finish the trilogy this month!! Not that I want it to be over but I am so eager to see what happens!! That AND I want to move on to Six of Crows. Also on my TBR for this month are a couple I picked up from the library. Stillhouse Lake is a thriller that I picked up thinking I would read during #thrillerthon. Well, I missed that. Bummer. But I like thrillers anyway and this one has a wicked cool synopsis (dead bodies in the lake!) and a pretty high Goodreads rating. Plus its a book of the month for a group I’m in so I’m going to do my best to get to it. The other two I picked up–Invictus and Unearthed–are a little (a lot) more sci-fi-ey than I usually read but I couldn’t help myself. For whatever reason, I was just in the mood for time travel and aliens. So boom! I chose them also. So we’ll see where I’m at by the end of the month.

What are you planning to read this month? How much did you read in February?

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