Lists & Recommendations

Lists | Best Books of 2018

Lists

Early in the week I talked about the worst books I read in 2018, while that is not the most positive approach to talking about reading, I think it is important to share all aspects of the reading year and have some great discussions. But, I will admit I am must more happy to share the following books because these are ones that have stuck with me and I know will continue to do so. One I even finished on the first day of the year and I still recommend it all the time to everyone. I never thought that it would happen, but it did! Also, all of the books on this list I really do recommend you looking into, I loved every single one of them and if they are in a genre that you enjoy I don’t anticipate you being disappointed. Without anymore rambling and gushing, here are the books!

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Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Strange Weather

There has never been a short story collection where I have loved every single story, but somehow Joe Hill has managed to do that with Stange Weather. Each story was very unique and I can see myself rereading this again and again. I am actually kind of tempted to reread them as the weather conditions show themselves. I read this book in a single day, and when I first reviewed this on good reads I said “Have you ever liked something so much you couldn’t really express how why you like it so much all you can say is, “READ THIS, IT IS GREAT! JUST READ IT!”? Yeah well, that is me with this.” I am happy to say that this feeling has held up.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House

I picked up this book mainly because Joe Hill and Stephen King both have raved about it. Well, because of them I found a new favorite author. Even though this is a short novel, it really is scary. I never had nightmares from watching to reading horror, but with this book I did. It was not really a full on nightmare, but I had a dream I was in Hill House. Even while I was in it I knew it was a dream and I started to laugh. The writing was magnificent, the characters were so distinct and interesting. and the style in which she writes is very effective.

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Unraveling Oliver

Of the multiple Liz Nugent novels I read this year, I would say that Unraveling Oliver is my favorite for a few reasons. The first being it was the first book of hers I read and she has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her writing is just enchanting. While I read this novel I was shocked, heart broken, irate, and heart warmed. It show cases how horrible and also how good people can truly be. This is really an amazing thriller even though you go into the book knowing what happens. In my eyes, only a really gifted author can pull that off.

The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider

I adored this novel. It had the perfect balance of the real world and monsters and paranormal features I look for in King’s novels. The monster he created was so interesting and I really liked how he pulled from myths and legends to do this. I also liked the fact that the characters felt real, also there was a nice bonus of seeing a character I never thought I would see again.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I ended up liking this book so much more than I thought I would. I normally rarely read about celebrities or actors I like in real life, so I always thought, “Why would I care about one that didn’t even exist?”. Well, I have to say that this book proved that point wrong. Within the first chapter I was already hooked. They methods used by the author to tell Evelyn Hugo’s story were wonderful and made it feel so tangible. Not only did the author tell an addicting story of this woman, but she told a story of so much more than that. That is the part of the story I did not expect and loved. The author did some great things with this book and I highly recommend. *copied from my original review*

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

The Witches: Salem, 1692

When it comes to those who are just getting into nonfiction, this is the first book I recommend them. The first reason being it is a well researched and presented work. The second being it written in a manner that reads like a story instead of a textbook, which is always hard to do when it comes to properly researched nonfiction reads. You can easily tell the effort that went into collecting all the articles and penning this work. Additionally, this book talks about the Salem Witch Trials in a way that respects those who were affected by it, but does not interject feeling or emotion into it. This truly is the best nonfiction I have read all year and continues to be one of my top ones of all time.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic

One thing I have to say about this book is the fact I did not expect for it to be rated so highly. I just thought I would enjoy it because I watched the movie adaptation long before I even knew there was a book. When I did read it, I learned that the book was very different, but I fell in love with it anyway. I loved how the sisters were more involved and the way the plot turned and twisted. It was beautifully written and really hypnotized me. When I picked up this book it was really hard to put down. I also saw some characters in new light. This look truly is a wonderful story of family, magic, curses, and secrets. In fact, I picked up and read the prequel The Rules of Magic, which I loved as well, but it made me treasure this story even more.

DividerWhile this was a really difficult list to make, because I was so fortunate to read so many great ones, I really enjoyed making it. I love talking about book and I love sharing the ones I really enjoyed hoping that you all will enjoy them just as much.

What books did you adore this year?

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Reviews

REVIEW | Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

BookReview12:17

Herding Cats (Sarah's Scribbles, #3)

* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

Sarah’s Scribbles,  Goodreads Choice Award for 2016:  Best Graphic Novels & Comics

“. . . author Sarah Andersen uses hilarious (and adorable) comics to illustrate the very specific growing pains that occur on your way to becoming a mature, put-together grownup. Andersen’s spot-on illustrations also show how to navigate this newfound adulthood once you arrive, since maturity is equally as hard to maintain as it is to find … “
The Huffington Post

Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing. 

goodreads.com

What I Liked

Sarah Andersen is one of the most funny human beings. Each comic I read in this book I laughed, smiles, and chuckled. This collection of comics lives up the hype of her previous two. Andersen has the ability to create simple comics that are highly relatable. By doing this she allows us to see the funny side of knowing we tell ourselves we are going to wake up and not hit snooze, but in truth we know we are going to hit to 1000 times. It also gives me and I would think others the comfort of knowing they are not alone in doing those types of thing.

One thing I really like about this collection is that each page is its separate comic. You can literally put it down on any page….if you end up putting it down. One thing that truly annoys me about some books is the lack of a natural stopping point while I am reading.

Lastly, I really enjoyed her style of drawing. It is simple, but has everything you need. It is adorable and creative. There is no fluff, apart for the kitties. Sometimes artists add to much and it can be distracting, Andersen has found a great balance.

At the end of the book the final sections are a message from the author that is geared for young artists. While I myself am not an artist her message is still relevant. Try, put yourself out there and keep at it.

What I Didn’t Like

Nothing, I loved everything. All bow down to Sarah Andersen! Eh hem… I mean go and get the book.

Overall Thoughts

If you couldn’t tell already, I loved this book. It is very relatable, humorous, and allows us to poke fun at ourselves. I have already texted and messaged a few of my friends they need to check out this collection. I know in the future if someone comes to me wanting a recommendation for something funny there is a very high chance that I will be recommending this. I ended up giving this 5 stars.

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Book Information

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publication Date: March 27th, 2018

List Price: $14.99

ISBN: 9781449489786

Pages: 112 pages


Author’s Pages

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahcandersen?lang=en

Website: http://sarahcandersen.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahandersencomics/?hl=en

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I want to note that I received this book from Netgalley for this review. My review is honest and all thoughts are my own.

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Wrap Up

March & April 2017 | WRAP UP

While the last two months I have not read a great deal, but a majority of the books I did manage to finish were very enjoyable. Although, I will say I DNF’ed two books. But, I still read some great books I am excited about!


Five Stars

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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In March I finally got to another Jennifer Niven book. I read Holding Up The Universe, which did not let me down. I surprisingly wrote up a review for this, I say surprisingly because I rarely write reviews. I only write them if I get a review copy or if I feel like I need to share something with the world. P.S. This was not a review copy!

Review: Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

 

 

 


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

30555488This was one of the books I was most looking forward to reading this year. I was a bit worried when I saw some reviews saying the language/writing was difficult to get through so I put it off a little. But, I finally picked it up. I just have to say Colson Whitehead did a great job with this historical fiction novel. He took what every kid things of when they first here the term “The Underground Railroad” and mixes in the true horrors that many people faced. I found it interesting that he would take such a “childish” way of thinking of the underground railroad and telling such a serious and heart wrenching story. I personally did not find any fault with the writing style and I actually read this rather quickly.


The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkle 

30687200I loved this non-fiction account of the “Last True Hermit”. I loved how Finkel approached this story both interviewing Christopher Knight as well as research. I don’t really want to say much because this is such a short book, I don’t want spoil anything. Even though this book was so short it was very interesting. I was absorbed in the story within pages. I do talk a bit more about this book in my post entitled The Cake Book Tag. Take a look if you want to hear a little more of my thoughts.

 

 

 


Four Stars

The Radium Girls by Kate Moor

31409135This is a nonfiction book that I received from Netgalley for an honest review. I will link the full review below,  but I will say I did enjoy this story. Kate Moore did an excellent job talking about how Radium was used, how these women were exposed to it, and the aftermath. She made something that seems so distant come to life from the pages.

 

 

REVIEW: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

 

 


A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

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A wonderful classic, I really don’t know why it took me so long to start reading these stories. While these are classics they are very easy to read and didn’t seem to be work. I know for me some classics can feel like work when I read them so I was very happy.

 

 

 

 

 


The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

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All I can say is I am already waiting for the next book! This is the third installment in the
Bone Season series. I find it very enjoyable, fast face filled with interesting abilities, political chaos at times…it keeps me on my toes when I read. I feel like anything is possible.

 

 

 


Euphoria by Lily King

18467802I found this gem in my local used bookstore and read the description on the back and was intrigued. When I finally got around to reading it I soared through it. It is BASED upon the lives for three anthropologists who form a bit of a love triangle while out in the field. While I don’t usually love, love triangle (you see what I did there?) I enjoyed this book anyway. Now as I said earlier it is based upon a true story, but it is not a historical account. Which, for me only intrigues me more, what really happened? I talked about this book a bit in my The Cake Book Tag, if you are interested check it out.

The Cake Book Tag


Three Stars

none.


Two Stars

none.


One Star

none.


What was your favorite read in the last two months? What are your thoughts on the books I have read?

 

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Reviews

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

the-unexpected-everything-morgan-matson

 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson as of recently has a lot of hype surrounding it. So going into the book I had high hopes, so I was slimly worried it was over hyped. But I am very happy to say that I was not disappointed at all by this book.

The two major things I liked the book were the relationships Matson builds between her characters. I love the interactions between Andie and her father, friends, and Clark. Side note: I love Clark he is a book nerd, whovian, into Starwars, and is a total sweetheart! I was very vested in these characters. The friendships seemed real; they seemed to actually care about one another. The issues that they face all seemed realistic and tears formed a few times while reading this. The second thing I liked was the idea of no matter how much you plan unexpected things could happen. Things can be bad, seem like your life is falling apart, but it shows that good opportunities can pop up that would never have been available to you before. This is not just something that happens in a book, but can happen in the real world as well. I think it is wonderful that Matson is talking about this.

I would highly recommend this book, it is an adorable young adult contemporary read that I flew through. I have given it a 5 out of 5 stars. I say if you are only slightly interested in the summary of this book to give it a shot. I am happy that I listened to the hype that it deserves to have and I plan on picking up some of her other books in the future.