My Year in Books: 2018 Edition

I read so many awesome books this year. Here are some of my favorites!

This year was a good reading year for me. As of the writing of this post, I completed 77 books, comics, and short stories (and yes, I include comics in this count. That’s a post for another day.). And I think that’s pretty good!

So today, for the final post of 2018, I thought it would be a good idea to hold my own bookish awards party. Here are my favorite books for a few different categories. ūüėČ (All books I read in 2018, though they were not necessarily published this year.)

Non-Fiction

First place: Educated, by Tara Westover. This is an amazing memoir about the childhood and education of a girl who grew up outside of the school system in a family that told her the world was out to get her. It’s thoughtful, insightful, heartbreaking, and empowering, all in one book!

Honorable mentions:

The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. This book is all about a serial killer who was active during the Chicago World’s Fair. Very creepy and well-written!

On My Own, by Savannah Jezowski. This is a great little companion for indie authors, teaching them how to use Word to format manuscripts for print and ebook publication… not only is it good for saving some money, but Savannah’s voice is easy to read and friendly.

Contemporary Fiction

First place: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. Every human should read this book. It’s empowering and devastating and really explains the world that either readers are all too familiar with or not familiar enough with. Everyone needs to read it.

Honorable mentions:

When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon. This is an excellent coming-of-age story set in the American Indian culture… with a pretty fantastic set of characters!

Hushed, by Joanne MacGregor. This is a unique Little Mermaid retelling about a girl determined to save the world and the movie star she loves. It’s an adorable story!

American Panda, by Gloria Chao. This is another coming-of-age story about a girl who must come to terms with what she wants versus what her family wants for her… and all the consequences that come with it.

Save the Date, by Morgan Matson. This is a cute, funny, and simultaneously heavy story about what it means to grow up and become your own person… all set against the backdrop of a wedding gone horribly wrong! As I had my wedding this year, it was a fun addition to my TBR.

Science Fiction

First place: The Fireman, by Joe Hill. This is such an imaginative story about a fungal infection that ravages the Earth. Once infected, people have only a little time before they spontaneously combust… or do they?

Honorable mentions:

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein. This is a great classic tale of revolution with an amazing narrator.

Fantasy

My biggest category.

First Place: Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi AdeyemiThis story is about a girl with magic in a world that hates people like her. And her quest to restore magic to the world for good.

Honorable mentions:

Etched in Bone, by Anne Bishop. This is last year’s installment in The Others series, one of my favorite urban fantasies. The political tension is heating up, and the characters are as lovable as ever!

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a very unique standalone based on kelpie mythology. If you ever wondered about racing kelpies, this book is for you. Such fantastic lore and worldbuilding here!

Salt & Stone, by A. L. Knorr. This is an extension of The Elemental Origins series, so you’d do best to read that first. But this is such a deep and emotional story of magic, self-sacrifice, and mystery… with mermaids!

How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather. This is set in modern day Salem, following the descendant of Cotton Mather. It was a delightfully creepy tale of teen angst, generational grudges, ghosts, and witches. Good for an October read!

Short Stories

First Place: Tears of the Sea, by Savannah Jezowski. Very rarely have I read anything that can do so much worldbuilding with so few pages! And her writing is so lyrical and beautiful… I truly read nothing else like it this year!

Honorable Mentions:

Blood in the Snow, by Sarah Pennington. This is an Asian-inspired Snow White retelling that I’ve talked about before. It’s a beautiful story of love and magic!

Final Thoughts for 2018

It was a good reading year. I also read plenty of graphic novels and comics, and while I didn’t lay out my favorites here, or list all the books that deserve attention, I enjoyed so many of the stories I read for a variety of reasons. You can drop on over to my Goodreads page to see them all!

But now I want to hear about your year in books. What were your absolute favorites? Were there any that you’d recommend? What about books you didn’t much care for? Let’s talk in the comments!

2018 Writing Goals

Hey there, friends! It’s the end of the year, so that means it’s a good time to reflect on the last year, both good and bad, and look forward to the year ahead. Today I’m going to share some of my personal and writing-focused experiences and goals for 2017 and 2018.

First, a look back on 2017. 2017 was a rough year, but it also had a lot of good in it. Here are the things I’m more than happy to say goodbye to:

  • I lost two of my grandparents.
  • I lost my cat, who I had for not long enough, due to genetic kidney disease.
  • There was way more than normal stress with different people in my life for different reasons.

And the good of 2017:

  • I got engaged!
  • I moved past my depression enough to say goodbye to medication (at least for now and hopefully forever).
  • My brother got married right before Christmas.

And the 2017 writing goals:

  • Regain my writing schedule. Status: IN PROGRESS. I don’t have a regular schedule, but I did get back enough to complete a draft of a novel and start a new one. I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July (and completed it) and NaNoWriMo in November (I did not finish, but did surpass 30k words on a new fantasy novel).
  • Publish or get an agent for¬†This Cursed Flame. Status: ALTERED. I made a lot of changes to the book over the summer, and, after a number of things not working out and re-evaluating my own goals for the book, I decided to publish it on Wattpad. You can read it here as I release chapters.
  • Finish¬†Foxfire. Status: COMPLETE! I did manage to finish the draft of Foxfire, the first of hopefully many in an adult contemporary/urban fantasy series. I’m currently going through edits and revisions.

So what’s coming up in 2018? My wedding, in just under four months! I’m very excited to move on to this part of my life, and I’ve been very blessed to find a great guy who loves me, supports me, and pushes me to reach all my dreams and goals.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. My 2018 writing goals:

  • Write a little every day, no matter how much.
  • Complete¬†Foxfire¬†and get it to the query stage!
  • Complete my high fantasy in progress and begin edits.
  • Pick up an old story I had started, a YA fantasy thriller I’m currently calling¬†Canary in the Coal Mine. (Yes, I mentioned this one before… so excited to get this one back out of the pile of dead ideas!)
  • And, finally, complete posting¬†This Cursed Flame.

So what about you? What are your writing goals for this year? Share in the comments, and feel free to give some advice or ideas for how you plan to accomplish those goals!

Have a great new year, guys, and I hope it’s filled with success, love, and every good thing.

‚̧ Selina