Top Ten Books of 2018!

It’s difficult to narrow down 122 books into a top ten list, but I have managed it. It took me a couple of days to figure it out, but what you see here are the ten books that captured my heart and soul. There’s a little something of everything in this list, and I hope some of these books land on your 2019 TBR piles!

Starting from number 10…

10. Nevermoor 

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This is a middle grade novel, but one that seems to grab the imagination and make you want to jump into as much middle grade fantasy as possible. Sure it’s aimed for children, but who says adults can’t enjoy them as well?

You follow a young girl named Morrigan Crow. This little girl is cursed, and this curse means she will die at midnight of her 11th birthday. Then she gets rescued by Jupiter North who takes her to a magical place called Nevermoor. There she must compete in 4 trials to join the Wundrous Society.

This book gave me Harry Potter feels, and not because of any blatant copying like many other middle grade novels have tried in the past but because the author has created a magical world where kids (of all ages) can escape to.

9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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This was soul crushing on so many levels but I wish more people knew of Henrietta’s story. This is a true story about a black woman who died in 1951 of Cancer and how doctors and researchers have used her cells in Cancer research. You also get a glimpse into the poor family’s life situation, and how it profoundly impacted their misunderstandings of what was happening with Henrietta’s cells. The doctors were extremely irresponsible and while the HeLa cells have become important in the science community, the way they came to be is extremely hard to learn about, but also very important.

8. The Extinction Trials

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The reason this book caught my attention was the little sticker that said “The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park” I was instantly sold. I can’t sit here and say the book has the best writing, but you have to suspend your belief of the world for a bit and just dive into the story. Both this one and the second one in the series are extremely fun to read. It is exactly what they say in the sticker. You are thrown into a world where dinosaurs exist and teenagers are questioning the reasoning behind adults’ decisions. I enjoy this series and I am looking forward to reading the third book.

7. Only Human

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Only Human is the third and final book (I believe) in the Themis Files series. The series starts with Sleeping Giants. In Sleeping Giants you follow Rose. When she was a little girl riding her bike around her house she falls into a hole, when emergency personnel show up, they realize she’s laying on a giant metal hand. In the story you follow her into adulthood as she becomes one of the main researchers trying to figure out where the hand came from, and what more is there to this mysterious item. This series made me fall in love with science fiction, and I just can’t get enough of it. If you love sci-fi then please check it out.

6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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This was a crazy and wonderful ride of a book. I don’t want to give too much detail because I went into it completely blind and I think it helped make this book one of the best I’ve read all year. Basically you follow the character of Evelyn Hugo who was a well known and loved Hollywood actress as she tells her life story to a journalist that SHE chose. She would ONLY tell her life story to this girl, and what a story it is.

5. Notes on a Nervous Planet

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This is another non-fiction book that I really loved. It delves into how we can stay sane in a world that’s always online and screaming into the void. There are some really beautiful things that Matt Haig says, many of which were eye opening for me. Although I do think he should reflect a bit more because I actually had to stop following him on social media. He spends a lot of time on twitter just yelling about things and at people, and that is counter productive to what he talks about in his very own book.

4. The Last Magician

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The Last Magician was a book I finished recently. I really enjoyed the magic in it, and the elements of time travel. It’s like someone mashed together bits of Harry Potter and Doctor Who and this book came out. The characters were amazing, the plot was fun, and the ending completely took me by surprise. If you are looking for a fun magical YA, then this book should be on your list.

3. The Collapsing Empire

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I was never big on Science Fiction books, but the Themis files changed that, and so I started to pick up more and more Sci-fi. The Collapsing Empire tells a story about a new world called The interdependency. People use what is called the flow to move from place to place and travel faster than the speed of light, but it seems like the flow might be changing, and with it the entire way humans have built their lives. I loved the way John Scalzi didn’t try to make this an overly complicated story, and somehow it still gripped me from start to finish.

2. The Cruel Prince

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This was a surprising read for me. The only book I ever read from Holly Black was the one she wrote with Cassandra Clare (my absolute least favorite writer of all time) and that book was such a blatant rip off of Harry Potter, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from The Cruel Prince. But I ended up really enjoying the book. You follow Jude who’s parents were murdered right before her eyes when she was 7, and the killer took her and her sisters to his fairy world. Maybe you’re like me and you’re thinking, “Please no, not another fairy book” but this book was just fun to read. Some characters are complete dicks, others are complete morons, but I enjoyed following their mistakes and adventures.

1. Traitor’s Blade 

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The Traitor’s Blade is the first book in the Greatcoats series and while I typically take FOREVER to finish a series, I actually read every book in this one. One after the other! This is a fantasy novel just feels like a warm hug on a cold night. Which is strange to say because there is quite a lot of violence. The thing is, the main characters Falcio, Kest, and Brasti might be some of the best fantasy characters ever written. Their humor is amazing, and their friendship makes this series what it is. I kind of want to reread all four books again in 2019, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that one day we will get more books written in this world. If you’re tired of waiting for George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss to release their books then give the Greatcoats series a try!

 

So those are my top ten books of 2018 and I can’t wait to read more in 2019!! What are some of your favorite books of this year?

 

Unpopular Opinions Trend

 

The Unpopular Opinions Tag and Trend has been around in the online book community for some time now. I took part in it at the beginning like everyone else, but now I am getting bored of it–not just bored, but irritated by it. I wanted to open a discussion to see if I am alone with this, or if other people are also tired of this trend.

Negativity

My main issue with the Unpopular Opinion thing is that it keeps spreading weird amounts of negativity. There are so many things I could write full blog posts on how I dislike something someone loves, but why? Why alienate people? This past week on twitter my feed has been bombarded with these so-called “unpopular opinions”. We get it, Becky, you don’t like that book everyone seems to love. WHO ACTUALLY GIVES A SHIT? It’s just getting old. If you get your rocks off by shitting all over stuff, then maybe it’s time to do some self-reflection.

Opinions are Like Assholes

Here’s the thing, can we maybe just share what we love and ignore what we don’t?

(I am not talking about politics here, if there’s one jackass that shouldn’t be ignored it’s Trump, because blink once and he’s fucking something else up)

I mean it’s okay to dislike something, but do you really need to waste the energy of constantly talking about it? Instead, share things you love!! If someone makes a negative comment about it, then mute them, block them, do whatever you have to do to keep your sanity. It’s the internet and people can easily make shitty comments, but you don’t have to waste your time replying. They’re not entitled to your time and energy.

Spread Positivity

I am on a little life quest to become more positive. So that is probably why this trend bothers me so much. I would love to see more positivity brewing in the book community because sometimes it feels we really lack that. I am signing off from this rambling now.

Spread positivity and love!! There’s enough hate in the world at the moment!

The Dramedy of Book Twitter

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Man, I hope I write this in the best possible way. Intent  doesn’t mean shit if you trample over everything like a drunk giant. Get ready for a rant.

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because of LIFE. I already promised myself I wouldn’t apologize anymore for this. I started this for fun, and it will only continue to be that way as long as I don’t feel like I HAVE to update this place all the time. Sure I’d like to be more consistent with my blogging, but I am merely human and truthfully, I don’t give a shit what you think about my lack of updates.

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I have been active on Book Twitter and it’s kept me informed of all the book releases, conflicts, drama, and comedy. It’s also made me laugh, frown, and made me want to rip my hair out all in one go. That is the dramedy that is Book twitter. I follow some great people. They’re intelligent, they’re fierce, and they are also opinionated. I am here for all of it. I want to know what people think about different books. I want to see people point out when things bother them in a novel and I want to listen and learn.

Recently though something has made me want to throw books around. TWO things have crept up on book twitter like the plague. One of those is the super fangirls who attack like little trained minions whenever you comment on their favorite books or authors. You see it A LOT with Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare fans, but also with JK Rowling and others. People have yet to learn that you may love something dearly but that does not mean the entire world will feel the same. I have yet to finish the throne of glass series and her other series. You can love those books till you’re blue in the face but if you call me an idiot for the fact that I don’t find them as interesting as you do, you’re not doing Maas any favors. Stop bitching at people for their opinions. Also, this goes for you people on the other side of the coin too, whether you just didn’t enjoy the story or find it problematic don’t tell people they are morons for reading it. I am at fault for this too once or twice but I am learning how to just let people enjoy things.

The second thing that’s crept up on book twitter, is the conflicting and hypocritical talks about problematic content in books. To clarify, I absolutely stand with people reserving the right to call authors out on their problematic content. I think if something is bothersome to you, there is a way to reach out and speak politely and openly with an author about it. Being more critical of the books you are reading is a good thing. What has bothered me is that the same people who were out there with pitchforks, yelling for the book The Continent to be reedited because of its problematic content, are seemingly okay with Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth who’s book apparently has similar problematic content. Not only is the issue similar, the authors’ explanations and “apologies” are similar too and yet only one of them has their book on hold, and the other one was on the NYT best sellers list. I will let you guess which one.

I haven’t read either one, but I am commenting on the hypocritical bullshit that comes out of book twitter quite often these days. I think diversity is important, But I also think a lot of the white people yelling about diversity use the term loosely and only use it when it suits them. Many of them were ready to stand up for Roth when just a few months ago they were vowing to burn copies of The Continent. Diversity and respect for marginalized voices isn’t a bag of trail mix, you can’t just pick and choose the parts you like.

I like the book community and especially book twitter, but there are some aspects of it that have started to mold the way I read things and what I choose to read. I think I would have continued with the Throne of Glass series had the overly aggressive fans not annoyed the shit out of me. I had no interest in reading Carve the Mark or The Continent but now because people have been such hypocrites about these two books, I want to read them so I can compare and contrast and form my own educated opinion.

I think a lot of the Book Twitter drama could be minimized if we could all just stop calling each other names and respected one another. I think people need to start thinking before jumping on the mob mentality that takes over twitter sometimes, and I really do think we need to let people enjoy things. Truth is a person can find something problematic but still enjoy its entertainment value, and I don’t see an issue with that.

This of course is MY opinion, and you may not share the same view, but please comment down below and share it anyway.

The Worlds in my Head

photo-1450849608880-6f787542c88aI have loved reading books since a very young age. I remember it actually the first time I was learning how to read. The teacher had given us this yellow book, the story itself I cannot remember because I think I was about 5 or 6. The book was used and kind of old already at the time, it had a very distinct smell to it, as books often do. I remember a few years later having the most wonderful 5th grade teacher. Mrs.Taub was her name, and she might be truly responsible for my love of reading and beautiful stories. She would constantly read to us. She had us remember parts of Shakespeare, some of which I can still recite to you. I loved book fairs, I loved ordering books from those scholastic order forms(it is where I ordered my first Harry Potter Book, but not in 5th grade) My parents never said no when I asked for books. I had every single Goosebumps book. I loved Little House on the Prairie. I continued to read through my school years. I just really enjoyed it. Through that love, I also realized how much I loved to write.

Writing Teen Angst Poetry,Writing Fiction

Obviously I enjoy writing, or this blog most likely would not exist. The written word, for the most part, comes easy to me. Not saying that I am a five star writer, I can always improve. I have improved, especially in the last year. I realized the more books I read, the better my writing becomes, because now not only do I have these fictional worlds and stories building up in my head, I have found the right words to describe them. This is a great improvement to the humongous folder of poetry I wrote through out my teen years. Some of it isn’t awful, but a lot of it is just angsty rage or borderline depressing shit. I am at least a lot better then I was at that point in my life.

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But you see, I made a choice, and a promise to myself that I would continue to write. While last year (2015) was my most productive writing year with 40,000 words down for a contemporary story, I want to go further this year. I am nearly done with that story. I say nearly because it is entering the turning point, and its final hurrah. It is my absolute first full novel. The idea of that actually scared me for a while, and scared me to the point where I couldn’t really write. Still, I am not only proud of myself, I am looking forward to finishing this one. I want to dive into the other worlds and stories in my head. Currently I have 4 other major ideas, 2 of which I have started research on. More so for one, as it will be a historical fiction novel.

Why am I telling all of you about this? Well because I really hope to one day be able to share the worlds that are trapped in my head with you. I think there are some of you that would love them. I also feel like people don’t actually understand the deep seated love I have for writing and reading. Of course my job, my school work and my family will always come first, but writing? Writing is my heart and soul. It is my dream and my ultimate ambition. Sure it would be nice to get published. I would love to one day walk into a book store and see MY book on a shelf. That won’t come easy.

The Year of Writing

That is why this year, I am calling it the year of writing. This is NOT a resolution. I do not make resolutions. I started this last year, but I had many bad moments where I lost sight of what I was writing, and why. There were days where every word looked awful within my story. I think I will have those days again. It seems to be a part of the territory. This year though, I need to push myself through those moments where my confidence falters. I just need to write a little bit each day. If it’s a bad day, I need to put at least 200 words down on a page. I need to pull more late nights at some point. I need to finish this first book and spark up the next one. I have to do this for myself. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do on the other hand need to prove to myself that this is something I can do. This is something I feel happy doing. I may feel tired some mornings this year, but the outcome will be worth it.

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So as I type this, I am looking at a couple of books I am about to crack open for research purposes for my next story. I know the road ahead is paved with caffeine jitters and notes of all shapes and sizes, but I am looking forward to continuing this journey, and I hope that some of you will be there at the finish line.

MATG