Top Books of 2018

Goodreads Challenge: 50
Books Finished: 51
Books DNF: 19

Last year I was ambitious and wrote out all the books I read.  This year I’m just going to talk about my top picks and biggest disappointments.


Top 10 Books/Series

10. Blister by Jeff Strand

Blister coverSurprisingly much more insightful than what it’s billed to be.

9. Two Hearts by Peter S. Beagle

Two Hearts coverYou can read this for free through the link.  It’s honestly the best I could hope for from a sequel to such an epic work.  It continues the themes without being trite and the resolution is beautiful if bittersweet.

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The State of the Reader: 12/19/18

<–The State of the Reader: 12/5/18          The State of the Reader: 1/2/19–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 1


Books Finished: 2

Title: Muse of Nightmares
Series Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Added: December 20, 2017
Date Started: October 6, 2018
Date Finished: December 5, 2018

Muse of NightmaresMedia: Hardback

There was one point where I thought the plot was a little slow, but the ending more than made up for it, and it wasn’t so much slow as establishing.  It’s just as amazing as the first book and one of the few duologies I’ve read, though there might be (and god I hope there is) more.

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The State of the Reader: 12/5/18

<–The State of the Reader: 10/24/18          The State of the Reader: 12/19/18–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 9


Books DNF: 2

  • A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton (Meredith Gentry) – Somehow or another LKH made silver hair boring.  I didn’t think that was possible, but she did it.  “But his hair was uniquely his own, silver, like metal beaten into hair.”  Are you…fucking…kidding me?  I didn’t even finish the first chapter and I took the rest of her books of my TBR list.  I love her earlier work, but you can tell she now only cares about collecting a check.
  • The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton (Flipped Fairy Tales) – Fuck abusive parents and fuck kindness when you’re being abused.  I know I have a huge issue with blaming the victim in stories like this.  I want to shake them and tell them to not put up with it, even though I know intellectually that that’s not fair.  It’s not the victim’s fault their abusers are trash.  I’m much more cognizant of it in real life, but in stories I hate a particular type of naivete in protagonists.  I think I hate when naivete is unrealistic even for fairy tales.  The MC is actually shocked her drunken, abusive father is willing to sell her to a whorehouse in order to pay his debts and continue to get his fix.  It just bugged me that she wouldn’t expect this from a man who’s done nothing but beat and belittle her since her mother left.  This is a Jack and the Beanstalk retelling, which isn’t one of my favorite stories in the first place, and I’m not invested enough in the character.  The ironic thing is this story is what got me interested in the Flipped Fairy Tale series in the first place.  I added it then realized it was the “second” in the compendium so I read Shadows on Snow first,which was okay.  It’s not like they’re in any order; I think it’s just the order Huchton wrote them.

Books Finished: 5

Title: Alex + Ada: The Complete Collection
Series Title: Alex + Ada
Author: Jonathan Luna
Artist: Sarah Vaugn
Date Added: October 28, 2016
Date Started: June 17, 2018
Date Finished: October 28, 2018
Reading Duration: 133 days

Alex + AdaIt didn’t take me this long to read this entire collection; I just split it up to pad my reading total.  The Complete Collection is made up of three books, but I read the one pictured above.  People rated the second and third higher than the first, and I’m not really sure why.  It’s an excellent series, and even though it doesn’t do anything new, it refines many previously touched on points in fiction involving AI sentience.

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The State of the Reader: 10/10/18

<–The State of the Reader: 9/26/18          The State of the Reader: 10/24/18–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 6


Books DNF: 1

Title: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
Series Title: Road to Nowhere
Author: Meg Elison
Date Added: September 22, 2018
Date Started: September 28, 2018
Date DNF: October 3, 2018

The Book of the Unnamed MidwifeI did not DNF this book because it’s poorly written.  I DNFed it because it is too fucking real and I couldn’t handle it.  Meg Elison (whom I didn’t realize I followed on Twitter until I started reading this) has written the most realistic depiction of the world after an apocalyptic pandemic where 98% of the population dies and the ration of men to women is 10:1.  It’s fucking nightmarish if you’re a woman, and yet nothing in either history or current events makes it ring untrue.  It is exactly what would happen and the main character, our unnamed midwife, does everything she can to avoid the horrific fate of other uterus bearers by pretending to be a man, stocking up on weapons, and hiding.  She carries thousands of birth control shots with her to administer to those who can’t escape assault, and it was after a recounting of a horrific childbirth that I knew I had to call it quits.  It was too triggering for me.  So if you’re set off or bothered by that, rape/sexual assault, genital mutilation, suicide, disease, and just general grimdark, this is not the book for you.  It’s an important book that needs to be in the zeitgeist, but no one should potentially harm themselves by reading something potentially damaging.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer #1)

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Started: August 26, 2017
Date Finished: December 20, 2017
Reading Duration: 116 days
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult (YA)

Strange the Dreamer coverPages: 528
Publication Date: May 28, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Media: Hardback


The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?


When we become waterlogged, and the cage disintegrates, we will intermingle.  When this paper aeroplane leaves the cliff edge, and carves parallel vapour trails in the dark, we will come together.

-Dear Esther

The dream is strange and strange is the dreamer.  Lazlo, the only other name he has.  A war orphan raised by monks, he very early on falls in love with story even as he’s near broken by abuse, and the one tale he can never forget is of the forgotten city of Weep.  Lazlo’s passion for this lost land is equivalent to mine for Final Fantasy VII, which no one can ever quite share.

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20 Questions Book Tag

Another one from the indomitable Writer Michelle Payne.  I think I can answer 20 book questions 🙂

1. How many books is too many books in a series?

Hm, that’s one of those “it depends” questions.  If the series remains fresh and relevant, keep going, but if the plot lines are going stale and the characters are stalling, I think it’s time to retire it.  I’d say 20+ books is too much with the same characters and setting.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

They’re evil and I love them. Re: Strange the Dreamer.

Strange the Dreamer cover

3. Hard copy or paperback?

I prefer paperback.  They’re easier to carry around and to read.  Hardback usually has an annoying cover that, while aesthetically pleasing, tends to flap around and get in the way.

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My Name in TBR Books Tag

Here we have another awesome tag I saved a long time ago from Ignited Moth.  Using Goodreads (or whatever TBR list you have), you pick a book based on the letters in you name.  Like the lovely blogger I from which I borrowed this, I’m going to use my blogging name as well, but you can do whatever you choose if you choose to participate 🙂


T – Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Tigana coverI’m pretty sure I went out and bought this right after I read the sample.  It has that eloquent language I love, and within just a few pages, it presented characters you couldn’t help but care about.  Definitely a book I can’t wait to read.

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Top 20 Books of 2017

I set my Goodreads challenge to complete 15 books, and I read 73.  There’s something to be said for underestimation.  I low-balled it because last year, I put 20 on my challenge, but only finished 19; however, I discovered that by putting books on my schedule/to-do list, I could complete them like a fiend.  At some points I was reading eight at a time, but I mostly stuck with my favorite number: seven.  That…was too much though, and while I love to read, I also want to have enough time to do other things.  So I cut down to four, which might still sound like a lot, but one is a Kindle that I read on my lunch break; one is a fiction/fantasy; one varies between a classic or a non-fiction/reference (before I was reading one of each); and the last is a graphic novel/manga, which are easy to breeze through.  Compare this to two Kindles, one fiction/fantasy, one classic, one non-fiction/reference, one graphic novel/manga, and one library book. I’m currently borrowing Death Note from the library for my manga, and I’ll borrow fictions/fantasies from there, too.


Total Books Read: 73

  1. Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin
  2. In the House of the Wyrm by George R. R. Martin
  3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Rest in Piece by B. W. Ginsburg
  6. The Missing Orchid by Fia Black
  7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh
  9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  11. Descendants by Rae Else
  12. The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton
  13. Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob
  14. The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh
  15. Radiance by Grace Draven
  16. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K, Vaughn
  17. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Eidolon by Grace Draven
  19. A Father’s Protection by K. J. Hawkins
  20. Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  21. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (edited) by Patrick Thorpe
  22. Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn
  23. Silent Child by Sarah K. Denzil
  24.  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  25. Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K, Vaughn
  26. Saga: Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn
  27. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
  28. Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn
  29. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  30. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  31. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn
  32. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  33. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  34. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  35. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
  36. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Volume 1 by Katie Cook
  37. Poetic Edda: The Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Anonymous
  38. Never Never: Part One by Colleen Hoover
  39. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  40. Never Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover
  41. Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover
  42. The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  43. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson
  44. Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
  45. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss
  46. Monstress #1: Awakening
  47. An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
  48. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  49. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  50. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  51. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  52. Abstract Clarity by B. W. Ginsburg
  53. Chobits, Vol. 1 by CLAMP
  54. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
  55. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  56. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba
  57. Master of Crows by Grace Draven
  58. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
  59. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson
  60. Promethea, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  61. Blink Once by Cylin Busby
  62. Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba
  63. The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
  64. The Daemoniac by Kat Ross
  65. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
  66. Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run by Tsugumi Ohba
  67. Death Note, Vol 4: Love by Tsugumi Ohba
  68. Gyo by Junji Ito
  69. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  70. Parallel by Anthony Vicino
  71. Death Note, Vol. 5: Whiteout
  72. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  73. Death Note, Vol 7: Give-and-Take by Tsugumi Ohba
Total Fiction/Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 46 (63%)
Total Classic: 3 (4%)
Total Non-Fiction/Reference: 4 (5%)
Total Graphic Novels/Manga: 20 (27%)

I was going to do this whole shebang with “Most Read Author,” “Favorite New Author,” “Favorite Series,” and all this other stuff, but I decided on just doing a Top 20 with that number as an increase from the original 10.  I marked around 14 books as potential Tops and figured I could find six more.

20. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

The cover of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David EaglemanOne of the best parts of reading this book was the perfect timing when I read it: in the midst of watching a Let’s Play of SOMA, which I’ve spoken of at great length (even though the review/essay is still to come).  Incognito explores the intricacies of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious processes and how the latter two form the foundation of the first.  It’s written in such a way that psychological novices can still follow with relatable analogies and examples, but the volume is not without some major issues, which I started noticing around Chapter 4 with Eagleman’s views on beauty/attractiveness that spiraled unfortunately towards racism (yes…really).  He also didn’t fully explore the reasons behind why we have unconscious biases, which never just come out of a vacuum.  While the author has a flair for piquing interest in subjects that could easily come off as tedious, his essentialism and (seemingly) unwillingness to take environmental influences into account raises my brows (and hackles) a bit (e.g. his insistence that having a Y chromosome essentially makes one more violent without considering this propensity could be due to how those perceived as having a Y chromosome are treated from [often before] birth is only one of many).  While I enjoyed the book for what information it imparted, especially for those unfamiliar with psychology, the fore mentioned (and other) issues prompt me to insist it be read with a discerning eye and copious grains of salt.

19. Dweller by Jeff Strand

The cover of Dweller by Jeff StrandThis novel was like a more fucked up version of Harry and the Hendersons, if the Hendersons were a once brutally bullied loner and Harry was a man eating abomination.  I really wanted to know where the monster came from.  Was he some government experiment gone wrong?  A throwback from an early time?  A creature from an alien dimension?  Everything about him just breeds more questions, but his relationship with Toby is both poignant and disturbing.  A lot of fucked up things happen in this book.  I was initially unsure about Strand’s writing style, but it grew on me as did Toby’s character.  It made sense why the author wrote it in this way: it perfectly reflected the MC’s mental state.  This is one of those books that has the perfect ending, as in there’s no other way it could’ve ended for these characters that would’ve been as satisfactory.

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The State of the Reader: 1/3/18

<–The State of the Reader: 12/20/17          The Final State of the Reader–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 0


Books DNF: 1

Title: The Prophet of Yonwood
Series Title: Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau

Media: Paperback
Percentage Finished: 21%

Not nearly as engaging as the other books.  This prequel wasn’t compelling in the least, and it’s disappointing since the lead up to what caused the existence of Ember could’ve been a rousing tale.  We could’ve found out if there were other underground cities and/or how the rest of humanity survived, but the author choose to focus on prophecy and proselytizing instead of that.  I still have the final Book of Ember to read, which I’m looking forward to, as it involves Lina and Doon’s return.

Books Finished: 3

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Started: August 26, 2017

Media: Physical/Hardback

Oh my god this book was so good.  I don’t know how I’m going to review it, since I can’t say much without spoiling, but it took so many familiar tropes, cliches even, and yet they didn’t come off as trite.  While I figured it out about a chapter or two before the reveal, I still covered my face with my hands.  All the pieces just fell together beautifully, and I think it worked because it’s not like the author doesn’t give away an integral part in the very prologue.  I kept going back and forth from there to my current place just to make sure all of the ends matched up.  They did…to tragic effect.  I hope the sequel comes out sooner rather than later sometime this year.

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The State of the Writer: 12/31/17

<–The State of the Writer: 12/17/17          The State of the Writer: 1/14/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 4

Project: Recipe
Title: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think this was the first time I ever posted a recipe on this site, and it seemed to go over quite well.  I’m actually in the process of making these right now (well…I made the dough; my husband is going to bake them.  I didn’t get enough sleep, so the fatigue is bad today, which is unfortunate since I have NYE plans).  I, er, ate the ones I was supposed to give to my brother, and when TSN makes cookie promises, she keeps them!  I’m making the last cookies of the season before I head out to a NYE party, though I’m not sure if I’m even going to make it to midnight *yawn*

Project: Blogger Tags
Name: The Christmas Tag

I managed to make some progress in my saved Blogger Tags (I still have a bunch more though) thanks to Ignited Moth’s festive post!  Though…well, I didn’t have it before, so really I added another tag even as I completed it, so, it’s a zero sum equation?  Like how a Christmas tree affects the environment o.O  Oh well, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little more merriness.

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