January 6, 2019

2018 Challenge Check-In

I joined 3 challenges last year (4 if you count the Goodreads challenge), so let's see how I did with them...

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge: got about halfway there

This challenge encouraged participants to read books from a variety of categories, so it was a very eclectic challenge. I fulfilled some but certainly not all of the categories:

- A classic you've been meaning to read: check! I read Alias Grace.

- A book recommended by someone with great taste: check! I mean, I could pick any number of books for this one. But I'll go with Eleanor & Park, as a friend IRL recommended this one (and lent me her copy of it!)

- A book in translation: fail. 

- A book nominated for an award in 2018: fail. (I read some books nominated for awards in other years, but it doesn't look like I read any with 2018 nominations.)

- A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection: fail. 

- A book you can read in a day: check! I think there were a number of books this year I finished in the same day, but I'll go with Glass Houses. 

- A book that's more than 500 pages: check! I read The Tea Rose, which is 675 pages long.

- A book by a favourite author: check! I re-read Emma by Jane Austen, who is one of my favourite authors of all time.

- A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller: fail. 

- A banned book: fail. (This kinda surprises me, because I thought surely one of the books I read in 2018 would be banned somewhere! But not that I can find...)

- A memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction: fail.

- A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own: check! I read The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick.

2018 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge: complete and utter failure. I did not get ANY series finished in 2018. Instead, I read a lot of standalones (and the first books of a few new series)! I did start Sever by Lauren DeStefano, but decided to DNF, so that is one series I won't be finishing. But there are so many more that I need to either finish or give up on!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge: success! This challenge was to read 12 books (I picked the lowest level, "Pike's Peak") already owned prior to 2018. I not only met this objective, I exceeded it! I read 25 books already on my TBR shelves, which means I got to the next level of the challenge, Mount Blanc.

Goodreads Challenge: success! I surpassed my goal of 40 books (which I intentionally set at a fairly realistic number, as it seems to work better for me that way).

How did everyone else do with their 2018 challenges?

January 1, 2019

2018 End of Year Reading Survey

Happy New Year! It's once again time to catalogue our reading from 2018 and look ahead to 2019. My 2018 reading year was actually pretty good! I exceeded my Goodreads challenge, and although I didn't have many blow-me-away "wow" sorts of reads, I had a lot of 3.5/4-star ones. Plus, I managed to read a LOT of books from my own shelves, which is fantastic.

This fabulous survey is hosted by Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner. If you want to participate, link up your blog post here.

Number Of Books You Read: 48 (this does not include all re-reads, though)

Number of Re-Reads: maybe 4 or so?

Genre You Read The Most From: I think contemporary may just barely edge out fantasy this year, with historical coming in a close third.

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?


Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine -- I'm excited to have a new series that I really enjoy! This gave me a bit of a Harry Potter vibe.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson -- I'd liked both Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, so I thought I'd probably feel similarly about The Unexpected Everything. But... it lacked the emotional draw that those other two books had, and it was also waaaaaay too long. Like, seriously, it did not need to be dragged out that much.

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge -- again, my expectations were based on the fact that I'd really enjoyed Cruel Beauty, and this was supposed to be another fairy tale retelling in the same sort of style. Only, it was a very loose retelling, and it was just too weird for my taste.


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell -- I knew that this one was supposed to be sad and that some readers didn't like the ending, so going into it I wasn't sure how I'd react. But the other two books I'd read by Rainbow Rowell I'd really enjoyed, so I thought that might be the case here too. Unfortunately, this just ended up being too bleak and depressing for my tastes.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult -- This was not a case of a badly written book, but just that I absolutely could not stand being in the headspace of someone whose thoughts were so toxic and disgusting. It was abhorrent to me to constantly be subjected to these horrifically racist thoughts; I'm sure this was the point, but in the end I was mostly just relieved to be done with it.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  


Ink & Bone -- while I was expecting to like it, I wasn't expecting to be as absorbed in it as I ended up being!

Her by Harriet Lane -- I got this book on clearance at Chapters and the average Goodreads rating is the lowest of all the books I own (that I've catalogued on GR, anyway). So actually, it was a bit of a surprise that I ended up liking it!


Also, in a way, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood -- I was surprised that it wasn't more bizarre and "out there", as some of her other books (that I have DNFed) have been. Alias Grace was quite realistic and grounded.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?


Anything by Kate Morton -- she's one of my go-to authors for recommendations.

Also, one book I know for sure I got someone to read was Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman!

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?


Best series started: Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine

Best sequel: Tarnished City by Vic James

Best series ender: I didn't read any series enders this year, amazingly enough. (I did try Sever at one point, but I DNF-ed it.)

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?


Rachel Caine -- I read three books all set in different worlds by her this year, and I enjoyed all of them!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?


I didn't read much outside my comfort zone this year. Maybe Glass Houses by Rachel Caine? I don't go for paranormal (especially vampires) that much, but this turned out to be an entertaining read.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?


Ink & Bone by Rachel Caine and Hunted by Meagan Spooner

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?


Impostors (to refresh my memory before reading the next in the series)

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

Crimson Bound, Strange Sweet Song, Hunted, The Tea Rose


11. Most memorable character of 2018?


Grace Marks from Alias Grace -- she was a very intriguing and distinctive character

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?


Hunted by Meagan Spooner

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018


Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (not life-changing, but definitely thought-provoking)

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell -- this one has been out for years now and got a lot of buzz.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?


I didn't come across many quotes this year that really stuck with me, but there were a few in Hunted that I quite liked.

"I would give up a thousand happy endings just to go back with you to your valley, and live as we did. I'd give up every fairy tale I've ever known just to hear you say my name again."

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?


Shortest: Proposal by Meg Cabot (a novella)

Longest: The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most


Bride of Pendorric, Tarnished City, The Alice Network

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)


I didn't really have any OTPs this year in my reading! I did really like the Wolfe/Captain Santi ship in Ink & Bone, and I also rooted for Nathan/Sing in Strange Sweet Song and Beauty/Beast in Hunted.

(And of course, I am a fan of Emma/Mr. Knightley in Emma, but that's a given.)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year


The relationship between Wolfe and all of his students in Ink & Bone.

And the friendships between the roommates in Glass Houses. I've only just gotten started with this series, but I already like the dynamic there.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously


Alias Grace. (I actually read a lot of books this year by authors who are new to me, which is awesome!)

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:


Based solely on a recommendation?? Hmm, I dunno. Perhaps Why I Loathe Sterling Lane, as I might have passed it by ordinarily, but I noticed that Nomes gave it an awesome review, so when I saw it on Book Outlet I snatched it up!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?


Wolfe from Ink & Bone. (I love the whole grumpy-magician-with-a-soft-heart trope!)

23. Best 2018 debut you read?


Unbelievably, I didn't read any debuts from 2018 this year. A couple debut novels from previous years that I read (and enjoyed) in 2018 were The Only Thing Worse than Me is You by Lily Anderson and Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?


Best worldbuilding: Ink & Bone


Most vivid setting: The Tea Rose, Ember Island

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?


The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?


Hunted by Meagan Spooner -- it didn't make me cry, but it did make me feel sad in places

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?


The Tea Rose -- This really felt like I was reading someone's life story

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I tried to steer clear of really soul-crushing books this year, so I don't think I have anything that fits this category!

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

The Queen of Blood  (The Queens of Renthia, #1)21570318

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (all of the buildings are in the treetops?) and Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (this one was really weird)

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?


Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham -- I didn't like the two main characters in this book

Eleanor & Park -- Eleanor's situation at home was horrible and it made me angry on her behalf

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?


The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton and Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

My answer this year is the same as last year: the next (as of yet untitled) book in the Bone Season series. (PLEEEEEASE LET IT BE SOON!)

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?


Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith -- a retelling of The Goose Girl? I'm in. (I loved The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, but I think that's the only retelling I've read.)

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

The next in the Bone Season series, of course.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Read more glued-to-the-pages wow-factor books! (And maybe venture out of my comfort zone a bit more, too.)

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