2018 Reading Challenge Review/Wrap-Up

2018 was the first year I spent involved in the online bookish community. I started on Bookstagram then soon after migrated to Goodreads, then here on WordPress. I’ve since joined Tumblr and Twitter as well. (You can find me on all platforms at @foxingfae of course!)

Prior to this though I’ve kept track of my reading via the super sophisticated method of writing the titles down on a piece of paper taped to my bookshelf. In 2017 I read 28 books and so going into this past year I set my goal to 30, to try and push myself. I never imagined how motivating it would be to post about books on these communities though! I reached my goal of 30 books sometime during the summer. I thought about resetting it to something higher but I left it because I wanted a baseline for how many books I could read without any added pressure.

I ended up reading a little over 60 books with relative ease and so I think I’m gonna try turning up the heat in 2019 by setting my reading goal to 110 books. I’ll be making another post about my 2019 reading resolutions in the next couple days.

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Now I’m going to try an exercise I saw done by Elizabeth from literarylizard and that is writing one-word reviews for every book I read this year! Thank you very much Elizabeth for allowing me to use your idea! If you don’t follow her blog, I highly recommend you do so!

But without further ado, let’s get started!

1. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

5 stars

A super fun adventure in a world with the perfect amount of magic and mystery.

2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

4 stars (originally 5)

An interesting take on popular YA tropes and character types that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I did.

3. Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

2 stars (originally 3)

A very cool premise with seriously disappointing execution.

4. Eragon by Christopher Paolini

3 stars

A fantasy story that was very obviously written by a child but was enjoyable nonetheless.

5. Firestarter by Stephen King

3 stars

The origin story of the original Eleven from Stranger Things.

6. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

5 stars

One of the best sequels I’ve ever read that put me on a roller coaster of emotions.

7. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

4 stars (originally 5)

A really cool world with an original magic system and a main character who makes horrible decisions romantically.

8. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

3 stars

The book that had middle school me endlessly pining and fangirling and that adult me enjoyed more than I thought I would the second time around.

9. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

3 stars

I hopped on the “hate Twilight” train about a year after I renounced being a Twihard and after having reread it with a more level head I think it’s safe to say that it doesn’t rightfully deserve all the hate it gets but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it God’s gift to the world.

10. An Enchantment of Ravens

2 stars

If only pretty writing and vivid descriptions could make up for cardboard characters, instalove, and zero plot whatsoever.

11. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

4 stars

This didn’t end up being as memorable as I thought it would be at the time but I’d still consider it one of the best faerie YA books I’ve read to date.

12. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

3 stars

All the books in this series feel the same to me, which is to say that there’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about them but I feel very lukewarm after finishing them.

13. The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs

4 stars

A really solid classic short story with timeless morals.

14. The Gunslinger by Stephen King

4 stars

Not sure why I DNFed this the first time I tried to read it but I loved it the second time.

15. The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

5 stars

2018 was the year of bomb sequels!

16. The Waste Lands by Stephen King

4 stars

This one dragged at some points but overall remains a really great addition to the series.

17. Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

4 stars

Easily the best book in the Wicked Lovely series as characters gain a lot of development and the stakes are raised significantly.

18. Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

4 stars

An amazing (though overlong) flashback that I loved but did give me really bad burnout for the Dark Tower series.

19. The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

4 stars (originally 5)

I gave this book 5 stars originally because it’s sweet and wholesome but didn’t end up being as memorable for me as time went on.

20. Chi’s Sweet Home Part I by Kanata Konami

4 stars (originally 5)

I feel the same way about this book as I did about Tea Dragon Society.

21. Poppy by Avi

4 stars

One of my all time favorite books as a kid that I really enjoyed revisiting as an adult.

22. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

5 stars

The absolutely banging intro to one my new favorite book series.

23. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

3 stars

Another case of nice descriptions not making up for weak plot and character development, but I am much more interested in the sequel to this one which has to count for something.

24. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

4 stars

Not as good as the first book since it’s kind of an intermediary installation that aims to set up later plot points but still highly enjoyable.

25. Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

3 stars

The books in this series all blur together for me at this point but I still enjoy them enough to give them 3 stars.

26. The Ritual by Adam Nevill

4 stars

So very close to being a 5 star horror for me but there’s a super janky section about 75% of the way in that I wish was cut out altogether.

27. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

4 stars (oringally 5)

A very solid sequel that includes a ton of action and character development but I still can’t get on board with the romantic pairings in this series.

28. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

4 stars

On par with Fragile Eternity, this one is a standout for this series that has an incredibly satisfying ending.

29. Higurashi When They Cry, Abducted by Demons Arc, Vol. 1 by Ryukishi07

4 stars

At once an adorable story about friendship and a horrifying mystery involving curses and murder.

30. Higurashi When They Cry, Abducted by Demons Arc, Vol. 2 by Ryukishi07

4 stars

Nothing different from the first addition here, manga like this is hard to rate a lot of the time since it’s an immediate continuation of the volume that came before.

31. Hatsune Miku: Acute by Shiori Asahina

3 stars

Amazing artwork in a standalone volume with characters I’m super fond of, I just wish it had ended a little differently.

32. Circe by Madeline Miller

5 stars

An all time favorite of 2018, Miller kills it when bringing mythology to life through engaging and emotional characters.

33. Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake

4 stars

Satisfying prequel novellas that further explore the fascinating mythology of Fennbirn and acts as a nod towards characters we’ve heard about in passing before.

34. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

3 stars

Honestly, one of the worst finale books I’ve read in a while but Bardugo’s writing is still phenomenal and I was more or less pleased with how things wrapped up.

35. Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

4 stars

The perfect book to read at the beach on vacation for those like me who are fascinated by the creatures who lurk in the depths of the ocean.

36. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

5 stars

*incoherent screaming and crying*

37. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

3 stars

Mostly memorable because of all the insane hype around this series, I feel pretty neutral about everything in this first novel.

38. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

4 stars

Taylor demonstrates her ability to write stories like notes on sheet music with this lyrical novel about love and wonder.

39. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

5 stars

I enjoyed rereading this book immensely, Riordan is so popular for a reason!

40. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

5 stars

ANOTHER amazing sequel that had a lot of much needed character development and some more world building.

41. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

3 stars

I didn’t like this one the second time around as much as I expected to but it still had plenty of redeeming qualities, Annabeth’s siren experience being a big one.

42. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

4 stars

I’m very happy with how things wrapped up in this immense novel and I can finally understand and relate to all the ACOTAR memes swirling around online.

43. The Wicked Deep by Shae Ernshaw

5 stars

Another all star title of 2018, I made this a staff pick at the bookstore where I work almost immediately.

44. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

5 stars

This book/play remains an all time favorite forever and ever; I try to make an effort to read it at least once a year.

45. Connecticut Witch Trials by Cynthia Wolfe Boynton

4 stars

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction but I really enjoyed this overview of a fascinating time in history that took place where I live.

46. Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

4 stars

A very quick read punctuated by amazing artwork; this is an easy recommendation to any and all King fans!

47. Days of Blood and Starlight

5 stars

This whole series is amazing, please read it.

48. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

4 stars

A powerful and important novel that reflects our political climate and the dangers our youth has to face unfairly.

49. Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

4 stars

This book could maybe convert me into a sci-fi reader, something I did not expect on any level.

50. A Writer’s Notebook by Ralph Fletcher

3 stars

A cute little read that may help motivate you to write more, not much more to it than that.

51. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

3 stars

A really enjoyable YA werewolf story that may have benefited from being longer, something that is usually the other way around these days.

52. Dreams of Gods and Monsters

5 stars

This book came to my house and RKO’d me and I want to press charges in a good way. (What I mean is, it’s amazing.)

53. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

4 stars

I was reading reviews of this book after I finished it and damn, some of you are harsh as hell; I’m convinced I’m one of the only people who didn’t hate it???

54. The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

4 stars

This was originally my least favorite book in the series but I’ve since bumped it up one, and put Sea of Monsters in its place.

55. Claymore, Vol. 5 by Norihiro Yagi

5 stars

Again, manga is kinda hard to rate because each volume is a small section of a much larger story but this is one of my all time favorite stories and this particular volume did nothing to change my mind about that.

56. The Amber Spyglass

4 stars

The worst book in the His Dark Materials which means it’s great but not AS great as the first two phenomenal books.

57. Rick and Morty Book I by Zac Gorman

5 stars

This book has a lot to offer- 10 beautifully rendered issues of the comic book as well as a ton of extra artwork in the back which makes it a really cool collector’s item for R&M fans!

58. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

2 stars

This would be a 1 star book if my stupid gamer brain didn’t enjoy some of the sequences about the joys of finding easter eggs and leveling up and all that stuff; the author himself still strikes me as a slimy incel type guy.

59. Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

5 stars

This remains my favorite book in the series, I have nothing but good things to say about it.

60. Fox 8 by George Saunders

5 stars

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, this is one of the most unique and original short stories I’ve read in a very long time.

61. Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

4 stars

Probably my least favorite installment of the series so far but I still found it highly enjoyable and I’m so incredibly excited for the next one!

62. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

5 stars

I think I actually liked this more the second time around and this will forever be a favorite series of mine full of some of my favorite fictional characters.

63. In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

3 stars

A really interesting albeit perplexing story with elements of mystery and horror.

64. The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

5 stars

A fantastic fantasy story set in a vivid world with a lovable cast of badass female characters.

65. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

4 stars

A heartbreaking tale of love that just can’t be realized between two men who clearly have an undeniable connection to each other.

reading

Whew! All done! What did you think? Did you see any titles that you’ve read? How do our scores compare? Thank you so much for reading and I’m wishing you all a lovely and relaxing holiday season.

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