My Top 12 of 2018

My 12 Top Books of 2018!

I have been dithering over this post for SO long. I head over 100 books this year and trying to decide which ones came out on top was really hard. 

It is because of that there have been many drafts of this post, at one point it had over 30 books in it…yep. I’ve managed to whittle it down to 12, I mean there are 12 months in the year… 

A Court Of Thorns And Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas 

In 2018 I found one of my favourite new series’s. I’d heard all about this online and I fell in love and devoured the series as well as getting 2 of my closest friends hooked. 

This was initially a Beauty and the Beat retelling but becomes so much more. I couldn’t put these down and I can’t wait for the next in the series. My review for the first book is here

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven
The Exact Opposite Of Okay – Laura Steven

Laura Steven’s debut was incredible. The protagonist, Izzy, is an aspiring comic and screenwriter whose life is turned upside down after a picture of her with a politicians son goes viral. 

This was not only a really funny read, but it also had a heart to it. What was unique to this novel is that the protagonist takes hold of what those are saying about her and keeps herself going with a ‘screw you’ attitude – without being robotic. Oh, and it has a kick-ass Feminist vibe. I wrote all about my love for this book here

Vox
Vox – Christina Dalcher 

I made it my mission to a get copy of this at YALC this year. A dystopian future America where women are limited to 100 words a day and confined to their homes. Until one of them is needed.

This was pretty dark and incredibly relevant to what’s happening to women’s voices and something we cannot ignore. I wrote a review after I stayed up way too late finishing it. 

This Is Going To Hurt
This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay 

A non-fiction book I think that everyone should read, in particular those making decisions about the NHS. Adam Kay was a Doctor in Gynaecology, taking us through the highs and the many lows this was a huge eye opener. 

I laughed while reading this, but I was also in tears at other moments. All I wanted to do when I finished was thank each and every one of my doctors. An incredible book that deserves all the praise it is getting. Review here

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter – Gary D. Schmidt 

When I bought this at YALC I had no idea I would be so emotionally invested in the story. A family take in a teenager who has been in a juvenile facility and is a teenage father, told through the perspective of a young boy who becomes his foster brother. 

The ending truly shocked me and it was incredibly well written as well as being quite short. You’ll love it, I want to read it again but I don’t think I’m ready for the emotions. Here’s my review.

Notes on a Nervous Planet - Matt Haig
Notes On A Nervous Planet – Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s first book was brilliant, and then he released the follow-up. Matt has a way of speaking to you through whatever is going on in your life.

Feeling anxious? Ill at ease with the state of the world or what’s going on around you? This is the book for you. More info here.  

New Erotica For Feminists
New Erotica For Feminists 

Three words. Satire. Feminism. Humour. 

That’s all you need to know to fall in love with this collection. I laughed so hard but also felt really empowered after reading – all my thoughts are here.

Feminists Don't Wear Pink
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies

This is an amazing collection from women across all backgrounds about not just Feminism, but also what it means to be a woman. 

Not only was this a joy, it was also easy to read and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. You can read my review over here

Girl Made of Stars
Girl Made Of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake 

Something within this book spoke to my heart. Following the unimaginable pain of being caught between a best friend and brother – she has accused him of rape. She wouldn’t lie, but how could he do that? 

It took a true talent to write this book. Also, plus points for a bisexual protagonist where their sexuality isn’t the plot. My full review is here

Only Child - Rhiannon Navin
Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

I could not stop thinking about this novel after I read it. Set during and after a school shooting we see the world through the eyes of six-year-old Zach after he survives, but his older brother doesn’t. 

This will break your heart but it’s such an important read. I couldn’t believe this was a debut novel it is so well written and I think Rhiannon Navin is one to watch. I was also part of the book tour.  

Love, Hate And Other Filters
Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed

The first book I finished in 2018 made it to my top 12. This was an incredible debut that spoke out in defiance of hate and Islamophobia. 

I also fell in love with the protagonist Maya and her coming to terms with her own identity. This is also an own voices novel. I wrote a review about why I love it so much here

Moonrise
Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

Well, did this break my heart? Yes it did. I’d read one of Sarah Crossan’s novels before and couldn’t get on with it but the premise of this was too incredible not to try. I’m so glad I did. 

Written in poetry and telling the story of a family facing the execution of a loved one, it not only made me tear up but also want to give it to everyone I know.

There we have it, my top 12 of the year! Did any of your favourites make the list? Let me know in the comments below! 

Book Review Vox

Book Review: Vox – Christina Dalcher

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Set in the future United States, a new backwards world. As a college student, Jean wasn’t interested in politics. Fast forward to her life as a Dr and mother and she lives in a world that she doesn’t recognise. First, they came for their passports, then their jobs and finally their voices. They can only speak 100 words a day, or they pay the prices.

This novel is deliciously dark. As soon as I’d heard about it, I knew I wanted to read it and so when I heard there were advance copies at YALC I rushed to the stand to grab one. If you’re looking for a novel that will really make you think, this is the one for you. I don’t think it’s for the faint hearted either, things feel a little too real at times.

The novel centres around Dr Jean McClellan, one of the worlds best scientists in her field. Or at least she was. With a tracker on her wrist, books and writing utensils taken and no way of escape – until they need something for her. While Jean has no interest in helping the monsters that have trapped her and are warping the mind of her firstborn son there is something bigger than them – her daughter who has never known more than 100 words a day.

Now, I’ll be honest as of writing this review I haven’t read The Handmaids Tale (nor have I watched the TV show and won’t until I’ve read the book!) but I know the premise. This is another novel with a dystopian future with the treatment of women at the centre. These novels are picking up speed, and this was an excellent debut.

I think what Dalcher has done here is tap into what we are already seeing in terms of restrictions on reproductive rights in the US as the beginning of a bigger problem. While there may be points that seem far-fetched, there are episodes in history where these kinds of limitations have happened to people. This could be real.

There are times when I thought the novel was going a little slow and there were some plot points that could have been a little tighter but overall I thought it was brilliant. I read this so quickly and stayed up until the early hours of the morning and then couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about it constantly.

This novel got a rating of  4 stars and I really enjoyed it and for a debut, it was very impressive. I have been recommending it to everyone because it needs to be read an appreciated. The only reason it’s not a 5 star is that it felt a little slow in the beginning and, actually, I would have loved the first quarter be longer – that was my favourite part! I really recommend this, an excellent read that you won’t forget in a hurry.

YALC 2018 Part Two – The Book Haul!

Well, I promised you a book haul, I just didn’t think it would be this big. I managed to pick up 20 books at YALC. Yep, Two-Zero. I’d saved some money so that I could go and not feel any guilt about buying a stack of books and I sure as hell did. I mean almost all of the books were discounted, so why wouldn’t I make the most of it!

As many of my regular readers know I loved Sarah J Maas’s ACOTAR series, so I decided to pick up the start of another of her series’ Throne of Glass, there are assassins and I’m told it’s loosely based on Cinderella. Sounds good to me. Next up was a hardcover copy of This Is Where It Ends, a novel about a school shooting by Marieke Nijkamp which I’ve wanted to read forever. Next is Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt which I’m currently reading and it’s already breaking my heart.

 

Who Runs the World by Virginia Bergin is about a distant future where a virus almost completely wiped out men. I’m not 100% sure but I’m going to give this a go. I then picked up Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G Thompson two girls are kidnapped, one returns. Sounds chilling. I finally got hold of Trans Mission by Alex Bertie which I’ve heard really great things about, this is Alex looking back at his F to M transition. Suicide Club by Rachel Heng has been all over booktube recently. Set when humans have the secret to becoming immortal, but only if you deserve it, what could go wrong? I also picked up the A Court of Thorns and Roses colouring book, because I have no chill.

I picked up Royals by Rachel Hawkins as it just seems fun, a girl thrust into the spotlight because her sister is getting married to a Prince? Not my normal read but why not give it a chance! What Happened That Night by Sandra Block is a novel I was given for free. It’s about a woman who was assaulted at a party, years later a video of her assualt surfaces, but what will she do? Only one word needed to be said to be aboue The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton was witches. I also picked up the latest novel by Holly Bourne Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? This is the only novel I bought full price, but it is Holly Bourne.

The first stand I went to was to HarperCollins to get a copy of Vox by Christina Dalcher. This has some The Handmaids Tale vibes, where women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. I’m both terrified and excited. Leila Sales’s novel If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say is a tale of saying the wrong thing on the internet and the consequences it can have. It helps that the cover is gorgeous. I found Night of The Party by Tracey Mathias and this one is a little too close to home, I have high expectations. It’s political and it looks like it might be pretty dark. Get excited. I don’t even know how to explain Never World Wake by Merisha Pessl. There’s a shocking death, past friends and a mysterious man. I’m hoping it’s good.

Now, Look Closer by Stewart Lewis doesn’t come out until February 2019. Yep, and I got this beauty for FREE. I think this one is going to make me cry as Tegan comes to terms with her father’s death and tries to help others. Next up, My (Secret) YouTube Life. This novel looks really interesting, the first like on the blurb is ‘What if your favourite Youtuber’s life was a lie?’ So here for it. I know, I know how could I have not read THUG yet? This is my change with a beautiful new cover to get into what people are calling Angie Thomas’ masterpiece. And FINALLY, congrats if you made it this far, Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. A novel written in verse about a family dealing with the impending execution of a man who claims he is innocent. I’ve already read it and it was incredible.

So, what do you like the look of, what should I read next? Let me know in the comments below!