Happy 2018, friends! I ended the year with one of my best reading months to date, finishing 11 books.
Slowing down to celebrate the holidays and taking time off from work to be with friends and family left me lots of time to get extra reading done. I spent a fair amount of time snuggled on my couch with a throw blanket, mug of coffee or tea and getting lost in some truly amazing books.
Some were so good, I stayed up until 3am to finish.
This is going be quite a long wrap up with so many books to cover, so I’ll jump right in and keep the descriptions brief.
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
I listened to most of this book on audio on my way to and from New York for my friend’s birthday. I picked up the book on a whim, mostly because of the cover. The story was actually an interesting premise (though the audio book wasn’t amazing). It follows teenage Aza who has had a mysterious lung disease all of her life. After seeing a ship floating in the sky, she assumes it’s a hallucination brought on my her meds but is soon swept into a land in the sky called Magonia. I liked the characters a lot and the comments on humans and pollution. I’ll definitely pick up the second book.
The Reader by Traci Chee
This is a book for book lovers. I really enjoyed reading this first book in a series and can’t wait to read the next (the second book, The Speaker is out now). We follow our main character Sefia who is on the run with a mysterious object, which is learns is called a book. She teaches herself to read, and mysteries and adventures unravel as she dives deeper and deeper into the book. She meets Archer along the way, and together they read and fight their way to their destinies. I definitely recommend checking this out! The book is also gorgeous with lots of little details in the pages.
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Hileig
I also listening to parts of this on audiobook, but read a physical copy for the most part. This book follows Nix who lives on her father’s ship where, using maps, he is able to navigate to almost any place in time. Her father is obsessed with finding one map that will allow him to navigate back to Hawaii to find the lost love of his life, Nix’s mom. Finding that map could risk Nix’s whole existence. I found this story really charming and well written with great characters. Even though it’s a young adult read, I love that it focused on Nix becoming herself and not just finding romance. I’ll definitely pick up the next book in the series.
Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah
I read this book in one day and it was the perfect quick read. It’s written in emails and texts exchanged between our two main characters, Madeline and Elliot, who have just started dating and their two best friends. We read their budding emails to each other and the forwarded messages they send to their friends for input. I related to this book so much because it’s such an accurate depiction of dating today. Forwarded messages and screenshotted texts are pretty standard when you’re dating someone new.
Hunger by Roxane Gay
I’ve been watching more and more interviews with Roxane Gay and finally decided to pick up some of her writing. I’m so glad I started with Hunger. It was such a real, raw and vulnerable book where Gay shares her relationship to her body. The writing was beautiful, even when the topics were utterly heartbreaking. I’ll definitely be reading more of her books and highly recommend this one.
Ruined by Amy Tintera
I’d been interested in this book in a while after hearing so much about it online and finally grabbed it from BookOutlet. I didn’t expect to love it. I was SO WRONG! It’s a young adult fantasy group set in a world where there are people called Ruined, who have magical powers and are being hunted. We follow Em, a member of the Runined royal family who was born without power. After her family is killed and her sister is kidnapped by the king of Lera, Em goes undercover in an attempt to save her sister and her people. This book was action packed, had a great story line and amazing character arcs. The cute romance was also a bonus!
Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors, so I knew I had to grab this short story collection when I saw it! It includes two short stories that take place close to New Years –hence the title. It was a great quick read and the stories where each adorable. I can’t wait to reread these near New Years next year!
I started reading the Wayward Children’s Series last month and it is only getting better! This book is technically a prequel to the first and follows Jack and Jill, twins whose door leads them into the world of the Moor. The writing was so eloquent and the McGuire’s storytelling is unmatched. This story was a lot darker than the first one, and kept me so engrossed. I definitely did not predict any part of it! I can’t wait to read the third book, which releases in a few days!
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
I started reading this one Christmas Eve and could not put it down. I wrapped it up on Christmas day, and it was the perfect Christmas read. It’s a modern day retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where Holly, our main character, is our Scrooge. When she is visited by the ghosts on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t change for the better and dies soon after. In her afterlife, she becomes the Ghost of Christmas Past, doomed to help save other Scrooge’s. This book was well written with a charming, though often unlikeable character. I gave it 5 well deserved stars.
My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
This book broke my heart and made me feel all of the feels. It was so touching and was one of my favorite reads of the year. Mark and his wife Guilia are the perfect couple and madly in love. Shortly into their marriage, Guilia starts to experience psychosis, and ends up having 3 psychotic breaks throughout the book which require hospitalization. You feel every ounce of fear, love and concern that Mark feels for his wife. It was so beautifully written and I have so much respect for Mark and Guilia for sharing their story so shamelessly.
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
My last read of the year was a good one. This book follows Alex, Peekay and Jack. Alex’s sister was brutally raped and murdered, which has left her isolated and violent in the aftermath. Peekay and Jack come into her life and show her what love and friendship really are. I think the less you know about this book going into it, the better. It was beautiful, powerful and so well written. The ending utterly destroyed me.