My favorite books of 2018 (only now, but rich in content like a Lungo)

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Now it’s already 2019. It took me long enough to write this post, after Christmas cookies, a lot of shopping for presents, and the family reunion when all those presents were exchanged and a harmonious meal was shared. January also went up quite quickly while I participated in a science fiction Readathon I’ll be soon wrapping up here, but now finally I’ll post my 2018 favorite books.

And I have a lot of books to chose from. I read 130 books, mainly Fantasy, Science-Fiction and a surprisingly great amount of Young Adult and Graphic Novels. I didn’t expect it, but many of my YA reads were 5 stars.

I had a lot of fun reading all the books by S.J. Kincaid I could find, marathoning through eight Deluxe Editions of Fables by Bill Willingham and thankfully discovering new authors, since the favorites I already follow and auto-buy don’t write new books as fast as I read them.

I also had a fair amount of unfinished book and books which hype didn’t hold as I read them. And a couple of series sequels that failed to impress me, with the result that I’ll be abandoning them. I wonder if I should write about about the last year’s let-downs or about series I won’t be following anymore? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

For now, I’ll talk about the five star books and a couple of honored four stars. Here they are:

 

5 Star Champion Series I already finished or that I’ll be continuing next year

1) The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

When it comes to this book the hype is deserved. I loved the world building and the ‘cruel prince’ is a very interesting character. I’m curious to be seen how this story will develop in the next books. I am, in any case, on board. Now in January I also started listening to The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) Audiobook and I’m loving it.

 

2) “The Bone Season” and “The Mime Order” (The Bone Season #1 and #2) by Samantha Shannon.

In both books the world building is quite extensive and that alone was already worth at least 4,5 to 5 stars. There is even a spin-off called “On the Merits of Unnaturalness” which further explains it’s rules, but, although I haven’t read it, I could follow the various ‘voyants’ classes that appear in the book.
I also liked Paige because, although she was likable, she wasn’t exactly a standard romantic heroine. She could be contradictory, seemed to be too cynical and suspicious sometimes and only at the end of the book, you could see all her layers. Perhaps she’s not everybody’s favorite type of main female character, but I found that really refreshing after so many perfect fictional girls out there. I also liked the flaws in all other characters, I think this contributed to give depth to the story.
I also read The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) and I loved the sequel development, the world building is still awesome and the characters so greatly multi-layered. This is a not hyped, but extremely interesting series. I can’t wait to read the next book.

 

3) The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

Awesome story world with Ifrits, Ghouls, Marids, Peri, Djinn and multi-layered characters. I’m following this series for sure.

 

4) “A Shadow Bright and Burning”, “A Poison Dark and Drowning” and “A Sorrow Fierce and Falling” (Kingdom on Fire #1, #2 and #3) by Jessica Cluess

This series isn’t nearly as much hyped as it should be. It is an awesome series, with unique and unforgettable multi-layered characters, and so many surprising plot twists.
Like the Bone Season series, it is also original and many levels above most fantasy YA series I’ve read. It has a rich fantasy and historical world and one of the best heroines I’ve found since ever. 😉
I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy with a strong female character and complex side characters as well.
I heard this whole series as Audiobooks and the performance from Fiona Hardingham was awesome too.

 

5) “The Diabolic” and “The Empress” (The Diabolic #1 and #2) by S.J. Kincaid

Awesome writing, characters and an original, page-turner plot. I could not stop hearing the Audiobook until the last sentence of this story. This was the best book I read (“heard”) in the first six months of 2018, and this is saying something about how perfectly written this story is.
This is my first book by this author but I’ll surely take a look at all her other books. and go on following this series.
The Empress was quite original and full of really unexpected plot twists. I wonder how the story is going to continue and can’t wait for the next book in this series. This book goes connects to the universe of the other trilogy of Kincaid, Insignia, so I would read that trilogy before reading this second book.

The reading performance of Candace Thaxton in both Audiobooks was quite awesome too.

 

6) “Insignia”, “Vortex” and “Catalyst” (Insignia #1, #2 and #3) by S.J. Kincaid

I picked the first book after reading Diabolic from the same author and liked it too, even if Diabolic is still my favorite. Tom goes through so much, you can’t help but sympathize and feel super worried for him. The themes of this series are quite important in the present light of things, this trilogy stands above the usual YA Dystopia. All the feels and themes in this series! If you have to choose only one Dystopian YA trilogy to read in your whole life choose this one.

 

7) “The Queen of the Tearling”, “The Invasion of the Tearling” and “The Fate of the Tearling” (The Queen of the Tearling #1, #2 and #3) by Erika Johansen

This trilogy is an awesome mix of fantasy, and dystopia, a real page-turner with great characters, story and oh, all the politics! It isn’t exactly YA as it contains strong scenes of domestic abuse that may be a trigger for some people, but in my opinion the portraying of all the injustice added to the value of the trilogy.
I recommend this trilogy if you like original books with unexpected plot twists, well-written POVs (you end up caring a lot for secondary characters like a jailer with a disability and a gate guard!), and multi-layered characters. Erika Johansen is an author I’ll keep in my radar for sure!

 

8) “Bitch Planet Vol. 1” and “Bitch Planet Vol. 2: President Bitch” (Bitch Planet (Collected Editions) #1 and #2) by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Taki Soma (Illustrator), Valentine De Landro (Artist), Robert Wilson IV (Artist)

This is an awesome graphic novel series. Everybody should read it, especially with how politics is going nowadays in the world. 😉

 

9) The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni #1) by Helene Wecker.

A jewel, I loved everything about this book; the writing style, the story, the theme, the characters, the setting and the ending. It’s a new classic and going towards literary fiction, but it has tension until the last page.
I also liked the Audiobook narrator: George Guidall. I’m waiting for The Iron Season by the same author.

 

10)Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

I won’t talk long about this book because it it hyped with great reason and everybody raves in detail about this. 😉 I liked more this sequel than the first book in the duology due to all the feels and the characters stories depth. I’m surely waiting for King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo to meet her characters and the Grishaverse again.

 

11) Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Really good, original Sci-fi! This book was so well written, the story world so rich and the characters so likable! I found a new favorite author. I’ll be waiting for Children of Ruin (Children of Time #2).

 

And a Standalone: 12) China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh

Nowadays standalones have turned to be rather the exception. This was very well written, a literary, slice-of-life, dystopia. At the beginning I considered Zhang aloof and could not relate to him, but as the story progressed I understood that it isn’t easy to survive in a world that condemns most things about you and could sympathize. I considered the chapters with the other characters really great too and loved the story set in Mars.
A beautiful book, to be read without hurry, as the awesome food-for-thought about human condition that it is.

 

Wow, this was a long post, I could still rave about my four star reads of last year, but then this would end up with two thousand words LOL.

Let me know if I should follow up with four stars, three and disappointing set asides and DNFs.

And at last, which were your favorite books from last year? Let me know in the comments.

My 5 favourite books of 2017

So, I’m a bit late, but I got a cold between Christmas and New Year, so I just had time to wrap up the last reading year now. So here are my conclusions:

  • I was reading a lot in 2017. — 153 books — although…

Half of these were comics or graphic novels that I usually read much faster than a normal book.

  • 60 were science fiction, fantasy, or a combination of young adult and other genres.

I rarely read outside my favourite genres, only one contemporary thriller and a couple of historical fictions. I know people advise you to do that, but “je ne regrette rien” 😉

  • My favourite books of 2017 are mostly quite well known.
  • 6 were non-fiction books, all about writing techniques. I started many books on writing but finished few of them, I take a long time to read non-fiction because I don’t only read them, but mostly study them.

In this year it often happened that a hyped book had the right reasons to be loved by all Booktubers, although there were also cases where they would fail to impress me in the same manner.

I discovered new favourite authors and a few “never-to-read-again” and “how-can-people-actually-like-this?” books. Let me know if you would like me to go all ranty here on the blog.

But overall it was a very nice reading year.

So, here are my (kind of) 5 favourites of 2017!

1) The Saga series (Single Issues #1 – #43)
I read all single issues of this amazing series, I just couldn’t stop. It was amazing! Brian K. Vaughan now appears as number one in my Goodreads list of most read authors due to all the Saga single issues I read. I consider him now an auto-buy and read asap author.

2) The Grisha Verse Trilogy
Leigh Bardugo is a queen! (as I heard on booktube). I really liked this trilogy, and can’t wait to read “The language of Thorns” by the same author, now one of my favourites too.

3) The Night Circus.
Magical, awesome, and special. I was looking for more books from Erin Morgenstern and couldn’t find it. I guess I have to break my rule of no-rereading while the TBR tsunami isn’t tamed and reread this book.

4) Artemis
Andy Weir’s books make you laugh (a lot), while you visit extremely well-built and possible, on-the-near-future corner of (thankfully) not-dystopian sci-fi worlds. I like dystopia, but I read this book on my cell phone while my Kindle was recharging. This is saying something about how great I found this book.

5) The Illuminae Files (#1 and #2)
I’m absolutely spoiled for boring sci-fi after this series. These books were page-turners, full of action, great characters (my favourite is AIDAN), and all the graphic elements, for this reason, I would recommend the books even if people liked the Audiobooks too. All the hype around these books is well deserved, I can totally understand why people freak about these books, lol.

My contradictory reader relationship with the YA genre.

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In my teens, the young adult genre wasn’t yet so clearly defined. I remember reading Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, books based on the Star Trek’s first generation universe, and Brave New World and thus discovering Science Fiction.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were starting points for Romance and Anne Rice books were my first Paranormal Fantasy. Then I had my favorite Gothic novel, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, although I must confess to reading Hugo’s discourse on books substituting architecture only once.

Later, as an adult, I heard of Harry Potter, more than a couple of years after its hype had started. I found the books interesting while at the same time thought that the characters acted way too mature even if they were children. YA was then leaving its Tolkien-like station and getting faster on its tracks, like the Hogwarts express.

Then, during my thirties, I had a bit of a reading slump. I had discovered computer games, life was bumpy, and I didn’t have Goodreads to hold me accountable on reading more books. Those crazy times. 😉 Even though, I still had my  favorite books and series.

And now that I’m slowly reading a higher number of books per year, I’m reading also more YA. Some books in the genre didn’t impress me much, but some were quite entertaining. I could also make a list of the YA books I didn’t like, but I won’t because it could happen easily that the same books would entertain other readers. Especially when it comes to books, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure.

My favorites YA book list isn’t yet as extensive as the ones from the happy booktubers out there. Still, see the books in it as entertaining enough for someone who doesn’t list YA as one of her favorite genres. Fantasy and Science Fiction still occupy the first and second place as my favorite genres, even if I must confess to lately reading more fantasy than sci-fi. I don’t like the dark cloud of dystopia that has taken over the sci-fi sky, even if the present reality events calls for concern and make everybody read 1984 from George Orwell. These worrisome times emphasize the need for reflection. But this is a topic for another blog post.

So, here are the YA books whose series I’ve read entirely and liked. I didn’t include the Harry Potter series here because everybody puts it on the top of their list, so it’s an assumed point that it should be read. The books here had all a really interesting story world, great characters, fast paced action and an interesting premise and plot, even if I didn’t always rate them five stars. I also posted the first books in every series in the order I read them since I’m still waiting for the final books in the last two series. (Watch this post for new additions in the not so distant future.)

YA Favorites:

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman.

The Magicians’ Guild (The Black Magician Trilogy #1) by Trudi Canavan

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

And you, what is your favorite YA book/series?