Books · Favorites

Favorite Books of 2018

As we approach the end of another year, it’s time to look back and reflect on all the amazing books that I discovered. As of November, I had already completed my¬†Goodreads Challenge. I’m currently finishing up book #45 for the year. I probably would’ve been able to squeeze a few more in, had I not being spending so much time on my own book, but c’est la vie. It seems like a good trade off.

Of all the books I’ve read this year, a handful of them really stood out enough to make my list of “favorites.” If you’re a regular reader of mine, I’m sure you can already guess which ones I’m going to pick. ūüėõ

 

Darker Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab (My reviews: here, here, and here)

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Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (Review here)

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My Life in France by Julia Child (Review here)

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City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (Review here)

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Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (Review here)

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (Review¬†here)

 

It’s hard to narrow it down to just a few, isn’t it? What were some of your favorites this year?

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

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My Rating: 10 out of 5 stars

Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

THIS BOOK IS BLOODY BRILLIANT. Everything about it, from the characters to the jokes to the subtle, yet deft music references is absolutely perfect. Bloody Rose definitely jumps onto the list of my favorite reads in 2018.

This story follows Tam Hashford, who leads a somewhat boring life compared to those who patronize the local bar she works at. Seeing the bands of mercenaries that come to town is the most excitement that Tam gets on most days. But everything changes when the band Fable comes to town. By a brush of luck and her own determination, Tam lands the gig as the new bard for Fable.

The adventurous journey that she embarks upon is even more exciting than the stories and songs she’s heard. The band tackles everything from monsters to love, loss, and facing death head on. This isn’t just a story about a bunch of bad ass mercenaries, it’s a story about following your passion and your heart, wherever it may lead you. It’s a story about family, loyalty, and doing whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.

This one gets two thumbs up from me. If I had more thumbs, I’d stick those up, too.

Books · Favorites

Top 5 Tuesday: Favorite Book Titles

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This week’s Top 5 Tuesday is a fun one: Favorite Book Titles. I’m eager to read everyone else’s answers for this one, because we all have such differing opinions in terms what makes a title good or bad.

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Shanah the Bionic Book Worm. (Click here to check out the list of topics for December.)

  • I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats
  • Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky
  • The View from the Cheap Seats
  • Pack of Dorks

I will now leave you to ponder why I chose these five titles. ūüėõ

 

Do you have a favorite book title?

Books · Favorites

Mini Halloween Book Tag

Alright, I have one more costume picture for you today. It’s not a whole costume, but I wore my cat ears to work. (Only 3 of us dressed up today. Why are the rest of my co-workers so lame?)

Ally posted the Mini Halloween Book Tag on her blog today and tagged everyone to take part. Since it’s Halloween, it only feels appropriate that I fill this out.

PUMPKIN: A feel-good bookGood Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman. This one made me chuckle so many times.

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TRICK: A book with an awesome plot twist – City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare. By the time I reached the end of this book I was literally about to throw the book and scream out loud because I was that shocked by the huge plot twist. Even thinking about it now I’m like, “Holy shit.”

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TREAT: A book/series you devoured – The Darker Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. I loved everything about this series.

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GHOST: A book that stayed with you long after you read it – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

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WITCH: Favourite book with wizards/witches – While I’ve read plenty of books with wizards/witches, the Harry Potter books will always hold a special place in my heart.

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VAMPIRE: A book that kept you up all nightThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

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TAG. You’re it! ūüôā

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Young Adult

Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

You guys, the next time I put off reading a series for a long time, please kick me in the ass and remind me of this post. I freaking love the¬†Mortal Instruments¬†and I don’t care who knows it. So there.

After being super impressed by the second book,¬†City of Ashes, I couldn’t wait to see where the series headed. Honestly, even though I had some guesses, I did not anticipate even half of the plot twists and events that transpired in¬†City of Glass. (Hence the reason for my post¬†earlier¬†this week.) Cassandra Clare sure knows how to take a story and turn it upside down on its head.

I loved the way each of the characters grew and developed over the course of the three books that I’ve read. Jace, in particular, matured quite a bit and it’s made his character way more likable. I had no idea what was going to become of Clary and Jace’s¬†“tricky” relationship, but I like the way it’s panning out. I’ll admit, I was really disappointed that Clary and Simon didn’t end up together in the last book, but now I see why it was for the best. Speaking of Simon, I freaking love vampire Simon. I just love his personality and how he’s becoming so much more confident in himself now that he’s one of the Night Children.

It was interesting to finally learn a little more about Clary’s mother and see how learning the truth about her past has affected their relationship. She wasn’t in much of the story, but from the glimpses we got of her, I’d say she seems pretty cool. I’m looking forward to learning more about her in the other books.

Enough of the positives, let’s talk about the negatives.

There weren’t any.

I must get my hands on the next book.

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Books · Favorites · Non-Fiction

Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child

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This book…I don’t even know how to begin explaining the love affair I’ve been having with this book the past few weeks.

As someone with formal culinary training and a background in pastry, obviously I have a passion for food. One of my early influences, back when I was first learning my way around the kitchen, was Julia Child. Most people my age had never even heard of Julia, but as soon as I discovered episodes of her old cooking shows, I fell in love with her knowledge and appreciate of le cuisine de France, and, of course, her fun personality. Reading this book was just like discovering her and my love of cooking all over again.

The book recounts Julia’s life during the years she lived in France and her journey from kitchen novice to television chef. She talks of her time spent training at Le Cordon Bleu, wandering the outdoor markets of Paris, and the hours she spent in her tiny apartment kitchen. She then recounts the years spent writing and testing recipes for her cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II. If there was ever any doubt, Julia was, indeed, a master in all things classical French.

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I looooved reading about Julia’s early years in France – the wonder and excitement of discovering a new city, new cuisine, and a new language. Her experiences are described so vividly that it’s easy to feel like you were right there with her. (I will admit, as someone who’s already been wanderlusting after France for years, this book only intensified it.)

I also loved reading about the people in Julia’s inner circle, from her friends and family back in America to all the influential culinarians (including James Beard!) who helped her along the way. Her wit and sense of humor are interjected throughout, along with stories of not only success, but her failures, as well. Part of her charm lies in the fact that not only was she an incredibly talented and dedicated woman, but she was humble, as well.

I’m glad this book exists so that Julia can continue to inspire, despite the fact that she’s no longer with us. Bon Appetit!

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sydney once had Serena‚ÄĒbeloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days‚ÄĒbeing buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done

This book. Oh, this book. If you thought the first book,¬†Vicious, was a sick, twisted little treat, just wait until you get your hands on¬†Vengeful. The game is vengeance (duh), but Victor and Eli are no longer the only players. In this book, we’re introduced to Marcella Riggins, a mob wife who wants to take her husband and the rest of the world down in a blaze of corruption and fame. We’re also introduced to June, an EO shape shifter who has her eyes on Sydney.

Of course, our old favorites were there, too. Victor, Mitch, and Sydney are still together, moving around as they track down more EOs. Victor’s characters undergoes some major changes that affect him and his powers. I was happy to see that Sydney is finally growing into her own and isn’t just a little girl anymore. Eli, stuck in a jail cell, has a very different role this time around, as well.¬†It was interesting to see how much everyone’s characters changed from the first book to the second!

The story occurs over the span of five years. Despite the way it jumps around throughout the timeline, it seamlessly picks up where the last book left off.¬†I loooved the new characters introduced. Marcella’s character was especially fun to follow because she was so over the top. She’s an excellent villain and the perfect match for both Victor and Eli.

The only thing that drove me nuts was June. Even by the end of the story, I still can’t figure out what her motives are or what her relationship to Sydney is.

Definitely add this one to your TBR list!