T5W: Best Books I’ve Read This Year

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

July 4th: Best Books You’ve Read So Far in 2018

This one was easier than I expected, yay! In no particular order…




The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo– I read this one back in April and absolutely loved it. It’s a novel in verse, and an emotional read. (Reviewed here)

 

 


 

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff– Do I need to say anything about this one? ❤

 

 



The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee– I loved this book and tore through it in about a day and a half after I finally sat down and started reading it.

 

 



The Language of Thorns
by Leigh Bardugo– It’s Leigh Bardugo and fairy tale/folklore/myths-inspired stories, so of course I absolutely loved it. 

 

 


The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien– I finally finished this back in May and mostly loved it. (I think I actually rated it 4.5/5 stars, but only because I found the first half of Fellowship sooo slow to get started. After that, I got through it pretty fast.)

 

 


What are some of the best books you’ve read so far this year?

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Book Review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Genres/Descriptors: YA; sci-fi

Why I read it: I read and loved Illuminae (it’s one of my all-time-favorite books), so of course I wanted more from the Illuminae Files.

Who I’d recommend it to: People who loved Illuminae.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4.5/5 stars)

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million | Book Depository | IndieBound


Description (from goodreads):

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


Review:

This book. Took me. For-ev-er to get into. I ended up checking out the audio book and reading as I listened, which really helped. I think I’d read about 40 pages in 3 weeks on my own, but then finished 90% of the audio book (I listened at 2x speed, but that was still about 6 hours of listening) in one day. I’m not sure why it was so hard for me, because I absolutely loved Illuminae, but I feel like if I hadn’t gotten the audio book, I would have been trying to read this book all year.

First point, the freaking audio book. Oh my gosh, it is so good! So good! I struggle a lot with audio books, but because I was reading along, I guess that helped my issues (basically, when someone is talking to me, or I’m just listening to something, I “see” the words kinda floating around/scrolling/whatever which is super distracting and hard to follow, but I can usually kind of block it out during conversations if I focus hard enough). The cast is fantastic, and I wish my library had Obsidio so I could listen and read it, too. I was really nervous about listening to any of these books, because they’re so visual, but they made it work. I feel like I wouldn’t have lost out much by just listening, if that was my only option, but having the visual with the cast was freaking awesome and I highly recommend it.

I really, really ended up loving Hanna, Nik, and Ella. At first, I wasn’t sure about Hanna, but she grew on me pretty fast. She was awesome and so freaking strong. I thought Kady went through a lot in Illuminae, and of course she did, but Hanna’s experience was a whole new level of “WTF?!” I also really loved how she was a mix of “could totally kick your ass 100 different ways and you’d like it,” “daddy’s girl/rich girl/princess” and a a healthy dose of artsy. It was an interesting combination, and I don’t feel like I’ve read a thousand incarnations of female characters like her in the past, which was nice. (I also felt like Kady stood out, but I’m trying to limit my comparisons between the two because they’re different, from different books, and I love them both.)

Nik really cracked me up on and off throughout the book, and I liked him a lot. There were a few times I just wanted to hug him, though. I was cheering for him from the beginning because he struck me as the kind of guy who only kinda-sorta pretends to be a bad boy, but is mostly just a soft, caring guy.

His cousin, Ella, was also really fun, and I’m kinda sad there weren’t more parts with her. (Crossing my fingers for more in Obsidio.) She was smart, sneaky, and snarky. And a total badass, it turned out. I can see her and Kady either getting along great and being good friends, or hating each other. And I really want to know what happened to the fish.

I kinda saw the thing with Nik near the end coming earlier in the story, but I wasn’t sure if it would happen. By the time it finally did, I’d almost forgotten about my guess, so it was still almost a surprise, which was fun. Well, not exactly “fun” because the shit was hitting the fan, but it was entertaining, I guess. I also saw the thing with Jackson coming from a mile away, but I’m not going to talk about either of those things in any more depth because ~spoilers~ will definitely happen.

 Going in, I knew this was a companion kind of sequel, with a totally new cast, but it was really nice to get a little update on our friends from Illuminae. I am kind of afraid of how much I realized I’d missed AIDAN, though :/ (AI is honestly probably one of my biggest fears and I have no clue why, but AIDAN scared the crap out of me.) Its presence in this book was both frightening (not as much as in Illuminae, though) and entertaining. I think at one point I snorted chocolate almond milk because of something he said, but I can’t remember the exact line now.

I have to take a moment to completely agree with Ella: poor cow cows 😦 (I shall say no more, because ~spoilers.~)

The things…Whatchamacallits… The slimy space lizard-y, worm-y things that make the drug (“Dust”)… What the actual hell? I am very afraid of Amie & Jay’s brains right now, because those things were terrifying. Even the initial description of them freaked me out. It was interesting having such different enemies to face in this book, though. Humans and space creepy-crawlies. Fun combo, and I definitely read with the lights all on, and freaked the hell out when something slimy feeling slithered across my arm (it was my cat’s tail, most likely damp from dropping it in the water bowl like he does about 10 times a day) while reading one particularly tense scene -_-

And that ending, oh my gods. I cackled. (But honestly, that last line is probably the cheekiest one I’ve ever read, and I loved it.) 

Oookaaay, I need to wrap this up because it could just go on and on as I babble.

Basically, this was almost a 5 star book for me, but because it took me so long to get into it, and so long to become invested in the welfare of the characters, I knocked off a star :/ I’d still call it 4-4.5 stars, though, and I’m super excited about starting Obsidio (which I will have already started, hopefully, by the time this review goes up).

Book Blogger Hop: January 12th-18th


Book Blogger Hop

 

This weekly hop is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, featuring a question about books each week. The purpose is to bring bookish bloggers together, basically. To participate, write a post about the question for that week and add your link.

The question this week is: What upcoming titles are looking forward to reading in 2018?

I feel like I could make a really long list if I paid more attention or looked some up. But, one of my 2018 reading resolutions is to read more from my shelves, and not obsessively looking for upcoming releases I even might be interested in kinda goes along with that.

However, there are a few I’ve been anticipating since last year that will be released in the next few months:

 


The Defiant
by Lesley Livingston– I had an ARC of The Valiant last year, and I loved it so much I got the hardcover as soon as it came out. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this sequel, which comes out on January 23rd, ever since ❤

 

 


The Belles
by Dhonielle Clayton– This one, which hits shelves February 6th, has been on my radar for quite a while, and I’ve only heard good things so far, so I’m really excited.

 

 

 

The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace– The second book in the Women Are Some Kind of Magic poetry series (the first being The Princess Saves Herself in This One), comes out March 6th.

 

 

DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker– Debut poetry collection from Amanda’s husband, which is also released on March 6th!

 

 


Obsidio
by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff–
I still haven’t read Gemina (oops), but I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on the third Illuminae Files book, which comes out March 13th.

 

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon– Last year, I read When Dimple Met Rishi and really enjoyed it (I’m not usually a lover of contemporaries), so I’ll definitely be looking out for this one, which has an expected release date of May 22nd.

 

 


There are probably more that I’ve heard about and thought, “Oh, I want to read that!” but these are the ones that have stuck in my mind the most (and the ones that haven’t already been released this year, because I had 1-2 in mind that have come out this month so far).


What are some books you’re anticipating this year?

Are you looking forward to any of these?

Top 5 Wednesday: Skip the Synopsis, Just Read It

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

September 13th: Books to Read without the Synopsis 
–We all know that some synopsis writers spoil events that happen halfway through the book or have heard reviewers say “its best to go into this one blind.” Discuss those books. 

 

For once, my picks are actually in order 😮 

 


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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff–

This one comes in at number 5 because so much more happens in the book. But I had to include it because it seems a little spoiler-y to me.

 

 

 

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs–

While I like the synopsis for this one, I still think it’s better to go into these books not knowing anything about them.

 

 

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The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern–

I went into this one not knowing anything about it, and I am so glad! If I’d read the description, I probably wouldn’t have read it because it mentions romance.

 

 

 

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Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid– 

I even mentioned in my review the way the description is misleading for this one. After looking at more reviews, it would seem I’m not the only one.

 

 

the-miniaturist
The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton–

This book had to come in as my number one pick because I think having read the description and heard so much hype about this one, I had very high expectations, and preconceived notions about what would happen. In the end, that ruined my experience reading this one. (Reviewed here.)

 


What are some books you think people should go into without reading the synopsis?

Do you agree with any of my picks?

 

Top 5 Wednesday: SFF Books On My TBR

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

April 5th: Top SFF Books on Your TBR *Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic!*
–Talk about the science fiction and fantasy books you want to read ASAP!

 

This topic was so hard because I read so much fantasy, and I’m trying to get into more sci-fi. I basically just chose 5 books at random by scanning my shelves and thinking about which ones made me feel the most excitement.


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#5: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline– This one isn’t actually on my shelf yet, but I’ve wanted to read it for a very long time and I’m getting a copy ASAP.

 

 

 

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#4: Vicious by V.E. Schwab– I’ve only read the Shades of Magic series, but I actually bought Vicious before they came out…and I still haven’t read it 😮 I know, it’s awful! But I kept hoping for a sequel so I could binge read them!

 

 

 

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#3: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco– This book had me at the cover, and then sealed my interest when I read the word “necromancy” in the description. So excited!

 

 

 

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#2: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor– *cue inhuman screeching* I feel like I’ve been waiting a million years for this one.

 

 

 

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#1: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff– Yep, it’s on my shelf and I still haven’t read it. Why? Because I’m hoping the next book will be released this autumn and I want to have to wait the least amount of time possible between finishing Gemina and getting my hands on the next one.

 

 


What are some SFF books you’re dying to read ASAP?

 

Must Read Monday

must-read-mondays

 

23395680Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

 

When I read it: February 2016

Genres: sci-fi; YA

Recommended for: Sci-fi and/or YA fans, or someone interested in trying out sci-fi to see if maybe they’ll like it.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

 


What it’s about:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


Ok, I read this over a year ago and I still want to scream about it, because I loved it. In the interest of full-disclosure, I actually fell in love with this before it was released. First I saw it on YouTube, then I read a sample from Net Galley, and then, finally, I had the book in my hands. (I might have actually been misty eyed when I found it in a store and got to bring it home with me.)

First, this is such a nice book to look at. It’s weird and, I think, ergodic? (Is that what books like this are called?) If you haven’t seen pictures of the inside of this book, the text isn’t just left to right like English books are. It’s in shapes, it makes pictures, there are dossiers and IM-type messages, etc. It’s awesome and a super quick read for a book that’s right about 600 pages.

I’m not a huge lover of sci-fi (I like it, but I haven’t read much), but I think this would be a great choice for someone who’s unsure of whether or not they’ll enjoy the genre. Maybe I’m wrong about that, so please let me know if you disagree!

The characters and the plot and the format were all so well done, and I desperately wanted the next book as soon as I finished reading it. I came very close to immediately re-reading it, but trying to hit my reading goal stopped me.

Basically, I loved this book, I recommend it to everyone, and my husband might be on the verge of throwing it at me if I tell him he has to read it one more time because I haven’t shut up about it since before it came out 😛


Have you read Illuminae? What did you think of it?

T5W: Favorite Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

March 8th – Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
–In collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, talk about your favorite science fiction and fantasy books of all time!

This topic has been so hard because fantasy is probably my favorite genre, and I’m starting to really enjoy sci-fi as well. I think instead of my literal, all-time top five, I’m just going to go with five books I would (or do) recommend the most often. They’re still books I love, they’re definitely favorites, but I could never actually come up with my top five because my list would change at least hourly. (These are also in no particular order.)


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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (actually the entire series)– Of course I have to put these books on this list, because it’s Harry Potter. These books saved my life, and I will love them forever.

 

 

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
(the entire trilogy…in five parts)– If you’ve noticed, I mention this book series in almost every post. Why? Because it’s awesome and I love and I try to make everyone read it. It’s funny, it’s fast paced and easy to read, the characters are so great, and I will never shut up about it. This is also the book I usually recommend to people who want to try sci-fi for the first time/give it another shot/etc.

 

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Illuminae
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
 — This is another book I try to get everyone to read. You don’t like sci-fi? Try it anyway, because it’s fantastic and just…different. The format, writing style, and pace make it such a quick read for such a chunky book, and I think this (as well as HHGTTG) is a great intro book for someone who’s not sure if they could get into sci-fi.

 

 

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab — *screams eternally internally* I don’t even know what to say about this book because it was just so good. Like, life-changing level of good. I read the sample before the first book was released and literally started screaming, and then I finally got it and read it and the screaming hasn’t stopped since.

 

 

~Tie~

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You can’t make me choose between Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
Sorry, but I just can’t. I have precious fictional children in both, I instantly fell in love with both, and I may or may not have a shrine to Leigh in my house (I don’t, but I want one). So…I’m just going to count this as one author instead of one book, how’s that? Is that still cheating?


Are any of these your favorites, too? Tell me about your favorite sci-fi and fantasy books!