For What It's Worth

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Favorite Books of 2018

I hope you all are having a nice holiday season. TBH – I’m not really a fan of this time of year. It just seems like a mad rush to shop, shop, shop as we run through the holidays (starting in OCTOBER NOW) through January 1st. My store already has the Valentine’s stuff going up and I even saw a picture of an Easter egg candy display at a store on IG.

I’m still not really reading - no urge (going on week #4 & I've only read 1 book) and my arm is getting better but still hurts when I type so comments have been slow going and posting non existent.

I did want to get a Best Of 2019 list up though so here we go!

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITES 

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I adore sweet, funny romances and Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and Starry Eyes hit the mark big time and left me smiling for weeks. (Starry Eyes review, Josh & Hazel review)

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I didn’t love The Cruel Prince but I liked it enough to see where book #2 in the series would go and OMG – SO glad I gave it a shot because this one was filled with WTF just happened???? goodness. (the Friday 5 treatment)

LOVED


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These three books were all diverse, emotional and brilliantly written.

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was a beautiful LGBQT, MG novel about self discovery, first crushes and family. (my review)

Pride is a Pride and Prejudice re-telling and clever update that tackles gentrification, class and so many other relevant topics with a dash or romance. (my review)

Finding Yvonne was an amazing YA read that was unique – it was not a romance – but had a very authentic voice for teens today, trying to find their path, coming of age, testing out relationships with an honest portrayal of teen sexuality. (my review)

All of the above books also had rich family dynamics.

ALL THE ANGST BUT WORTH IT

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I’m not a fan of overly emotional or angsty reads but these three were worth stepping out of my comfort zone.

Heels Over Head and Autoboyography are both M/M, NA romances that were fairly intense but you get a nice payoff in the end.

Sadie is INTENSE x’s100 and there’s no cute little ending tied up in a bow - but if you can handle it - I recommend this story about a girl on a journey to avenge the death of her sister. (my review)

BIGGEST SURPRISE

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The Lying Woods was my biggest reading surprise. I’m not a fan of thrillers (& I’m not sure this even counts as one – more the unraveling of a family mystery of sorts) but I loved it so much! (my review)

GREAT SERIES ENDERS

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I’m not reading many series these days but there were two trilogies that I’ve stuck with. They need to be read in order but have solid series endings.

The Burning Magus was the conclusion to the Blue Unicorn trilogy and I’m not sure who to even rec this to lol It’s a wild, sexually charged, M/M, urban fantasy, cyber punk series that goes balls to the wall but feels fresh, fun and original. (my review)

Rough Trade is the conclusion to the Woodbury Boys M/M trilogy. There is a different couple for each book but an over-arching story with a crime family with a great payoff and HEA for the most interesting character – Ghost - in book #3. It’s SUPER intense though. (child abuse – sexual and physical)

HONORABLE MENTIONS

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Talia Hibbert was a new to me author this year. I’m not usually a fan of dirty talking heroes but I LOVE Hibbert’s books. They’re super dirty but hilarious and the heroines are sooooo real – with cellulite, periods and normal girl issues. And the heroes are swoon worthy. (my review)

Stacey Kade has been a favorite author of mine for years, starting with her YA Ghost & the Goth series, but she’s been branching out into NA and Finding Felicity was a really wonderful surprise. A quieter story with just a touch of romance – this was a true to life college set about becoming an adult. Very underrated IMHO.

MY TWO BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

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This section is super depressing for me because, as you can see, my two biggest disappointments are by the same authors of my two absolute favorites.

Josh & Hazel left me so damn happy and I was hoping for that same feeling from My Favorite Half-Night Stand but I really disliked the romance and lying in this one. (my review)

Serious Moonlight doesn’t come out until next year but I was lucky enough to borrow an arc from a friend. I LOVE , LOVE, LOVE Bennett’s books. Her YA, her adult – everything! So it pains me to say that this book was fine. Just fine. Nothing about it captivated me, the romance didn’t feel swoony, the plot didn’t grab me. *cries*

Oh & here’s my Goodreads challenge for the year – I doubt I will read more because I just made me hand/wrist worse by typing this post lol

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Karen has completed her goal of reading 150 books in 2018!
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Thank you all for visiting this blog and commenting all year! I'm sorry if I'm a little slower than usual visiting back lately but I'm trying to keep up - a few blogs per day.

Let me know if you agree/disagree with any of my choices - what your favorite (or biggest disappointment) reads were and leave a link for me to visit if you did a best of list!

So my 2018 reading is a wrap! Happy New Years everyone!

69 comments:

  1. Happy New Year! I'm sorry your wrist is still hurting, and that you haven't been reading much. Hopefully the start of 2019 will be a bit better. I still need to read Josh and Hazel, but you know I LOVED Ivy Aberdeen. Thank you so much for letting me read your copy. I also really liked Heels Over Head, but I still need to read Autoboyography (I own it, so soon!) and Sadie too. I thought Rough Trade was really good too. Loved finally getting Ghost's story.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I'm fine with the not reading - sometimes a break brings you back refreshed - but I'm not thrilled with the wrist thing lol

      I think the wait was worth it for Ghost's story. It was well done and a nice wrap up to the series.

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  2. I need to get busy with my Christina Lauren reading. I need to read Josh & Hazel, and Half-Night Stand, and Roomies. I've fallen behind! I pre-ordered The Wicked King from Book Depository so I am ready and waiting. Autoboyography is one I read back in Jan/Feb and it made such a lasting impression on me. It became an instant favorite and I still find myself thinking about it. Hopefully you'll feel like picking up something to read soon. And I hope your arm continues to improve!

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    1. Their books are always 50/50 for me. I either LOVE or HATE lol

      TWK was so surprising, in the best way. I'm rarely shocked or at a loss of what I will think will happen but this one has me baffled.

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  3. I want to read too like Autoboyography and Sadie so badly! Starry Eyes is on my TBR because of your review! Great list Karen!

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  4. Valentine's day AND Easter stuff???!!!??? And here I thought that scheduling posts 3 months in advance was crazy šŸ˜‚.

    Well...it sounds like you had a nice reading year, all in all. Among 157 books there can't not be a few black sheep at the very least LOL.

    You know I'm not a fan of the Christmas holidays either...but I love New Year's Eve. It's not like I have the stamina for staying up all night at my ripe age...but I do my best to celebrate if the hubs is at home. This year he is, so we're heading to a couple of friends' and playing board/card games until we drop. Wild, I know šŸ¤£.

    I hope your wrist will get better soon! Thank you for being around for another blogging year, for commenting, for retweeting, and for being my friend. Of course we'll talk again before the 1st, but in the meantime, have a great 2019!

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    1. I had a great reading year overall. For the past several years I struggled to have anything stand out so having an actual list of faves that I remember is fantastic!

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  5. Ooh so many here I want to read! Starry Eyes, Serious Moonlight, The Wicked King (even if I haven't read The Cruel Prince yet lol)... and maybe The Lying Woods too?

    I know what you mean about the craziness- Valentine's already?? That's just... wrong haha! Hope your arm feels better soon! Don't feel bad, other than a few graphic novels (cause they're quick) I'm hardly reading anything either...

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    1. I think you might like TCP/TWK series Greg.

      The Lying Woods is fantastic - just not the creepy thriller I was expecting.

      I usually slow down and just read novellas in December but I'm not even managing that.

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  6. I really need to read Josh and Hazel... And The Cruel Prince! I bought it and then ignored it. On the plus side, book two will be ready for me when I finally get to it!

    Hope you get plenty of time to rest the wrist and it starts feeling better soon!

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    1. There are some major cliffhangers so maybe it's better to wait lol

      The wrist thing is getting better. At one point I couldn't even move my neck because the pain shot up my whole arm but I think I still need another week or two.

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  7. What are you doing with all of this not-reading time? I went to Michaels yesterday and it seemed like they skipped Valentines Day and are getting ready for spring. Lots of green and pastel colors.

    Great list, I'm sure The Wicked King will make my list as well!

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    1. Watching cheesy Christmas movies lol

      I got an email from Michael's and it was all spring stuff!

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  8. You "absolute favorites" are also near the top of my list. I LOVED THEM SO MUCH!!!! Ivy Aberdeen was so, so good. I am glad I finally read it. Autoboyography made my favorites shelf last year. I just loved everything about it (except that one Autumn part - not necessary at all).

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    1. Ivy Aberdeen was so, so, so sweet. I fell for the cover but I'm glad I took a chance on a MG novel. I think it's a book for all ages.

      Autoboyography was SO angsty and yeah - some of it went on for too long but I still loved it in the end.

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  9. Yay faves! Glad to hear The Wicked King is so good! I'll remember that if I feel kinda meh about Cruel Prince, I'll know to give the second book a go. Lol yeah The Burning Magus series is not one that's going to be for everyone, but at least we liked it!

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    1. I feel like I would say read this! And the poor reader gets to some of those sex scenes and they will come back and yell at me lol But it's an awesome series (except for the middle book which was meh)

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  10. I've been hearing great things about The Lying Woods and Sadie! I haven't been reading much YA lately but I guess I'll have to pick those two up!

    The end of the year is really the craziest time! I hope your arm feels better soon, Karen!

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    1. Both of those would be great for reluctant YA readers. Let me know if you give them a chance!

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  11. YES to Josh and Hazel!!! I can't wait to get to Lying Woods (thanks!). I know I am going to love it. Stinks to hear about Serious Moonlight. Happy New Year!

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    1. I think I might even need to read J&H again. It made me so happy lol

      Happy New Year Grace!

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  12. Congrats on meeting your Goodreads goal. We read so many of the same books. I am excited for Wicked King but I feel like I want to wait until the series is finished before diving in because I always forget what happens.

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    1. That's the one bad side to reading books so early. I think I read TWK back in June??? So now I have to wait over a year and hopefully remember all the little details. And there's a MAJOR cliffhanger!

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  13. I just finished reading Sadie and I loved it. I agree, it's intense. I was a little disappointed in the ending at first, but now that I've thought about it a while I think I like the way it ended.

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    1. I had a heads up about the ending so I was ready. IT bummed me out too but also seemed fitting in a way. I'm so glad you liked it too Amy.

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  14. I started the Blue Unicorn series and got sidetracked. I need to finish. I want to read Sadie when I get up enough gumption. Yeah, that's crazy funny in a way that your favorites and you disappointeds are the same authors.
    Hope your hand feels better soon, Karen, and no pressure to drop by with comments- just get better. :)

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    1. Yeah - you need to be ready for Sadie. I had the arc but put it off for a long time. And the audio is fantastic for that one!

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  15. You had me at Starry Eyes Karen. You had me at Starry Eyes. I absolutely love Jenn Bennett and I'm so disappointed that you couldn't enjoy Serious Moonlight, I know how much you love her work and it must have been such a let down. Finding Felicity! A few months ago I was talking to another blogger about that one and then forgot to put it on my wishlist. I used to love the TV show and really want to see how it entwines with this lovely and quiet contemporary. I hope you're starting to feel better soon Karen, it's that time of year where no one knows what day it is and we're all just recovering from Christmas. Bugger the comments, you put your feet up and relax milady ♥♥

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    1. I do love her and it made me so sad that I didn't like SM more.

      Finding Felicity doesn't have too much in common with the show so I wouldn't really read it for that but it's a nice story about growing up and branching out on your own.

      Happy New Year Kelly! {hugs}

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  16. I'm glad Christmas is over. I'm not super into it anymore. My tree came down the day after!
    I loved Josh and Hazel!!
    Happy New Year!

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    1. It's just so busy and chaotic starting from October through New Years. There's no appreciation for the actual holiday anymore.

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  17. My reading year wasn't brilliant in number of books but I seemed to pick mostly the right books as I read a lot of good ones!

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    1. That's more important IMO! I'm happy that I read a lot of good books this year too. I was way more selective.

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  18. Great choices and so agree with you on them :) Merry Christmas an happy new year.

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  19. Oh no, I have to start thinking of this! I have no ideas.

    As for yours I have only read Starry! But yes that one was so good :D

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    1. You've really come around on YA since you started listening instead. I'm finding that I can read fantasy on audio whereas I hate it with physical books.

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  20. Finding Yvonne was one my favorites too !

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  21. Oh NO such sadness about Serious Moonlight! Sorry you haven't had much of an urge to read, either. Also, you are like, the 4th person who told me that they didn't love Cruel Prince but Wicked King was awesome so... guess I have to read it, huh? Totally agree with Starry Eyes, too- such a win! Autoboyography and Sadie were both really good too. And I got The Lying Woods for Christmas so THAT is happening soon haha. Hope that your arm continues to get better, and that you feel like reading again at some point! Also- I feel you SO much about this time of year. The holidays I don't mind *as* much but like, this time where the random spring crap is coming out yet it's all depressing winter? UGH hard pass!

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    1. The Lying Woods wasn't at all what I was expecting but was a nice surprise anyway.

      I'm kind of the opposite with the spring stuff. i love it because it never really feels like winter here and this is my gardening/get outside time of year because it's cooler.

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  22. Almost everything I read this year was thriller related, along with nonfiction and cookbooks. I'm glad you found so many that you really enjoyed! Hugs...RO

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    1. I have a hard time with thrillers but I hope to find what kind work for me this year.

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  23. I want to read the Ivy Aberdeen book, and Sadie. Thanks for sharing your favoeites. šŸ‘✨

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    1. Ivy is SOOOO adorable! Said is intense but worth it.

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  24. All of the books on your list are new to me. Always love hearing what people's favorites were. How awesome that you liked The Wicked King even more than the first book in the series. :) Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!
    ~Jess

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    1. I'm happy I continued with the series because, like I said,t he first book was meh - and I don't even really like fae books - but TWK was WOW

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  25. I haven't read any of these. Maybe one day.

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  26. Oh no!! I'm still waiting to see if I'll be approved for Serious Moonlight, and now I'm worried. You know I love Bennett books, and I was really looking forward to this one. *cries with you*

    Started The Wicked King last night! I'm only a few pages in, but ahhhh! Josh and Hazel and Starry Eyes were two of my favorites this year, too. I actually have the audio for Ivy Aberdeen, but haven't started it yet. <3

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? šŸ’¬

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    1. I hope you like it. It was just kind of...boring?? It was missing that swoon factor her books usually have and I didn't really fall in love with either MC.

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  27. Awesome best books post Karen :D Loved reading about your favorites. <3 I have only read one of these books, ack. Sadie. But gosh. Sigh. It was so good. And will be on my list too, haha :D I'm so excited about The Wicked King; hope I will love it too :) Glad you loved so many books this year. <3 Happy reading for next year too :D

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    1. It was a good reading year Carina! I hope you love TWK too.

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  28. I have read zero of these books lol. They all look good though and I'm branching out for sure on what I'm reading so I'm going to add a few of them and hopefully get some "Just for Me" reading done. I started the Harry Potter series a week ago and I'm having a blast. Though I just finished the third book and am suffering from a serious book hangover.

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    1. There are so many books to read!! I always feel that way looking at other people's lists.

      I read for fun this year and I believe that's why I had so many favorites. Stress free reading!

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  29. Bennett has such lovely covers. That's too bad one of hers ended up on the last list :(

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    1. It's the first book by her that I haven't loved. Sad panda :-(

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  30. I know what you mean, this time of year does always feel like you're rushing from place to place and there is so much shopping. I do like looking back on my year and looking forward to a new one, though. And year comments on Wicked King are enough to make me want the book now because seriously, that makes the book sound so good! And Finding Felicity got an honourable mention? Think I should get around to reading that copy I own then.

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    1. Have you read The Cruel Prince yet? I can't remember. Hope you enjoy the series if you give TWK a go.

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  31. I was in the same boat as you with Christina Lauren last year. Josh & Hazel was amazing, but Half-night Stand was such a buzzkill. I couldn't handle the lying or even the MC to be honest. It was probably my biggest let down of the year.

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    1. I sort of got where Millie was coming from at first but when it kept going on and on...and then Reid upset me even more really.

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  32. Ooh, looks like you had a great reading year!! Definitely going to read Starry Eyes!

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  33. I love a book with a lot of twists and unexpected plot changes, so I'm going to have to add The Lying Woods to my TBR list this year. Thanks for sharing here... Also I remember your review of Finding Yvonne (my best friends name!) and will have to add this one as well. There are so many good books on your list. Bummer about My Favorite Half Night Stand. I totally judge books by their covers, and thought "ooh, that looks like a fun one!" when I saw it here. Whomp whomp. Here's to a great 2019 with awesome late-night reads!

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    1. The Lying Woods was such a fun surprise. it wasn't what they were selling it as (a thriller) but still very good!

      you might like Half-Night Stand Charlotte. Several of my friends did. I think it all depends on your feelings about catfishing and if you're willing to let some of it go for the eventual HEA.

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  34. I need to read more funny and sweet romances so gotta try out Christina Lauren's books this year. I do love Talia Hibbert and did you hear she got picked up by AVON....so happy for her!!

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  35. Oh no but you are making those of us who didn't get ARCs of Serious Moonlight feel a lot better. I have really liked two of her books (Anatomical Shape and Starry NIght) and wasn't a big fan of Alex Approx. So quite possible I will agree. We will see!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

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  36. 150 books is so many!! Congratulations on reading so much :D I totally need to read Starry Eyes and Sadie soon. They are both on my wishlist and I cannot wait to read them as well ^.^ I also just won Pride in a giveaway and I cannot wait to read them x

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