WWW Wednesdays #205 – January 16th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m trying to get rid of my backlog of pending NG ARCs so I can go back to my backlist titles, so I’m currently reading We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott. So far it’s proving to be a fast read… I’m also starting The Winter Sister by Megan Collins, a title I’ve been really excited about.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Treatment by C.L. Taylor (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/01
The Treatment started with a bang and sets the right mood of what the author calls is a story that is ‘Prison Break meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest but for teens‘. I can definitely understand that reference, especially during those chapters set inside the RRA. I’m not sure all aspects of the plot were completely credible, but it sure made for a very entertaining story! If you are looking for a fast-paced, intriguing and well written YA mystery with a mental health angle, The Treatment is an excellent choice.

2. Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/01
Let me say before I continue that the problem here is most definitely me, and not this story. Heart Berries is powerful, raw and simply devastating and the writing is lyrical and almost poetic at times. Why didn’t I enjoy this memoir better then? Well, this is mostly a case of me, while truly appreciating the wonderful prose, somehow being unable to connect to the words, story or the things that happened to her. This failed connection made it hard for me to keep myself invested and I didn’t enjoy my reading experience as much as I thought I would.

3. Finding Grace by K.L. Slater (5/5 stars) REVIEW 17/01
Finding Grace is definitely a great way to start the year with a bang. Well written, intriguing, suspenseful, complex and nailbitingly good: oh yes, say hello to my very first 5 star read of the year! I’m a big fan of her work in general and this one might just be my new favorite. What seems to be another kidnapping case at first glance turns out to be so much more… With a lot of extra layers, flashbacks and twists to form a properly complex and well executed plot. You will want to clear your schedule for this one, because it will be VERY hard to stop reading before reaching that final page.

4. The BFG by Roald Dahl (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
I had a wonderful time revisiting this story and its illustrations. I had forgotten most things about the Big Friendly Giant and just how funny his speech is (especially when read out loud to children). The story itself is simple, easy to follow and is actually quite scary if you think about it… But the BFG and his dreams give the story a whimsical twist. It’s a great story for young and old!

5. The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble (3/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
The story wasn’t told in a linear way, and the actual ‘mystery’ is pushed into the background only to be revealed and rushed to finish at the end of The Insect Farm. Instead, it’s more of a romance story of how Jonathan and Harriet first met and how their lives progressed afterwards. It even has a love triangle! *shudders* It wasn’t my cup of tea, but fans of slower character driven family dramas with a romantic focus and a hint of crime will probably have a better experience.

6. Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen (3/5 stars) REVIEW 22/01
I had high expectations for Here And Now And Then and this might just have been part of the problem. That and the fact that I was expecting a proper sci-fi story, and encountered myself with mostly a family drama with a lot of romance and only a hint of sci-fi instead… Definitely not what I had in mind when I started this time travel story. I wish the time travel aspect would have been more developed as well as more present in the story… It’s not a bad read and the writing is good, but the story read quite slow and as always with more character driven stories, not being able to connect to the characters puts a damper on things. I’m sure the right audience will love this debut though!

7. A Tragic Kind Of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/01
I have to say that this story was a slowburner for me. It took me a while to get into the story and get a proper feel for the plot and characters. The warming up was slow, but once I did my feelings soared. There is just something about Eric Lindstrom‘s writing and character development that will manage to win you over even if you think it won’t happen. I can really appreciate how bipolar disorder is put in the spotlight with the help of this story, and it was interesting to see how it was portrayed in both Mel’s character and those around her.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to make a dent in my February NG ARCs… End Of The Lie by Diana Rodriguez Wallach is up next and also conveniently the first series I will be able to finish this year. Then I’m going to go back to a few backlist titles, with Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White coming up next. I was going to finish the Fire And Thorns trilogy first, but I saw Bright We Burn mentioned a few days ago and I just couldn’t resist picking it up any longer. I need to know what happens to Lada, Radu and Mehmed! My newest TBR jar pick is still The Shattering by Karen Healey. This one is classified as a YA paranormal crime story, so I’m very curious as to how I will react to it.


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TOP 20 Best Books Of 2018

I know everybody including the neigbor’s cat already posted their list of 2018 favorites, but I thought: one more list isn’t going to hurt anyone, right? Plus I wanted to put my absolute favorite stories of 2018 in a proper spotlight. Somehow I managed to read a whopping 245! books last year, something I still can’t wrap my head around. And somehow, even with so many books, only 7 books managed to receive the full 5 star rating last year. This is extremely low even for me, and I think I’ve been way too critical with my ratings in 2018… On a brighter side, no less than 52 books received a 4,5 star rating, which means I still pretty much loved them anyway. And since there are lots of titles I feel deserve a spotlight, I’ve decided to make this a TOP 20 instead of naming only ten books. And to cheat even further, there are a few authors that I read and loved multiple books of last year, so I’m cheating and counting each author as just one. 😉

Curious about which titles made my list yet? I’m sure there is one title that won’t be surprise for you, since I’ve been raving about it ever since I finished it and deserves the extra love in the form of being named my absolute favorite read of 2018. And that title is…

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Stacking The Shelves #72 – January 12th

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I wasn’t going to request any new titles, but then I saw Amanda Lovelace’s newest poetry bundle in the Read Now section on NG and I couldn’t resist. I liked her first two bundles, so I’m having high hopes for this one!

Talking about couldn’t resist… Of course I had to hit that request button straight away when I saw KL Slater’s newest psychological thriller was on NG! I’ve already read and reviewed it, so technically it doesn’t count right?

And I fell in love with the cover of The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes as soon as I saw it and I’ve been meaning to try her work, so of course I had to click that Read Now button and add another one to my ARC pile. xD

# NETGALLEY ARC #

Click on the summaries below to go to the Goodreads page… 

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2018: The Numbers

Call me a nerd, but I do love my graphics posts! I first started properly keeping track of my reads in Excel back in 2016, making it possible to finally put together some graphics. I’ve done a bunch of ‘The Numbers’ posts over time, including my 2016 and 2017 posts and a review of the first 6 months of 2018, and it has been revealing interesting things about my reading habits. So why stop? 😉 This post will be all about my reading year of 2018. Let’s talk nerdy and see what my numbers were like, shall we?

First of all some quick facts. In 2018 I have read no less than 245 books with a total page count of 77.215 pages; an average of about 316 pages per book. I somehow managed to read A LOT more in the second half of 2018 than the first six months! The average rating is 3,55 stars, which is lower than before and probably partly due to the fact I had three more 0 star ratings (DNF). No less than 59 books had a 4,5 or 5 star rating and 81 books received a rating 3 stars or below… Which means I enjoyed reading about 67% of the books during the year. Not that bad at all, even though the number is lower than previous years. Another fun fact: 124 of the 245 books I’ve read so far were actually ARCs; about 51% of the total. I managed to bring down that ratio considerably in the second half of 2018 and I’m hoping to maintain this balance in 2019!

And now some graphics for those who like them as much as I do. 😉

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WWW Wednesdays #204 – January 9th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m trying to start my year in a diverse way with lots of different genres, and Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot sounded like a perfect fit. This memoir has been recommended to me last year and I’ll be looking forward to dive in properly later today. I’m also FINALLY starting my latest TBR jar pick: The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble. I’m not sure what to make of the blurb, but we’ll see how things go I guess.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
Dear The Kiss Quotient, it’s not you, it’s me. I should have known better than to pick you up even though contemporary romance isn’t really my thing. I should have investigated better and discovered you were filled to the brim with sexy scenes, because it would have avoided both of us a lot of pain. Oh yes, for someone allergic to adult content and sexy scenes, The Kiss Quotient is 200% the wrong book to go for. Kind of late for that now, isn’t it? Oh well… I guess I have only myself to blame for this. Even though this story was definitely not for me, I can definitely understand why there is so much love for it. Contemporary romance fans are probably in heaven with this book, because there is one thing I can’t deny: Helen Hoang knows how to write.

2. The Crown Of Embers by Rae Carson (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
I admit I had forgotten about a lot of details of the first book and it took a little time to adjust, but I was able to pick up the thread easily enough after a few chapters. The first thing that stands out in this series is the detailed and wonderful worldbuilding. The writing style is engaging and makes it easy to keep reading those pages until you reach the last page. I wasn’t sure about every character; some can get annoying, and I could have done without the romance cliches and love triangle, but overall the story does deliver.

3. Mala Vida by Marc Fernandez (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
If you like stories with an international setting that can offer a little something different and outside the box, you should definitely consider Mala Vida. Part legal thriller, part historical, part mystery and part crime fiction, this story is a mix of a lot of different elements and very well executed at that. I personally loved the Spanish setting, the diversity of the main characters and the story as a whole. The historical element is both well executed and shocking and will definitely leave a mark… A very interesting read and one I’m very glad I came across.

4. The Couple On Cedar Close by Anna-Lou Weatherley (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/01
If you enjoy detective thrillers and unreliable characters, you will definitely have a blast with this detective Dan Riley sequel The Couple On Cedar Close. There is a lot of mystery around both Robert and Laurie and their past, adding suspense to the plot and it will keep you entertained as you guess about the details. The flashbacks are interesting as well as you try to fit them into the rest of the story… I did have some issues regarding the credibility of some parts of the plot and wasn’t sure about some of the characters, but overall it was still an entertaining ride.

5. Artemis by Andy Weir (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/01
Part of me already knew this was going to happen, because people did warn me about Artemis before I started reading it… But even lowering my expectations didn’t prevent me from feeling very much disappointed by Artemis, especially since The Martian has a special place on my list of all time favorites.

6. Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (/5 stars) REVIEW 15/01
Beneath The Sugar Sky is already book number three and bumped straight to the top of this series favorites along with the first book. I think part of this has to do with the fact that we go back to the ‘real’ world temporarily and meet a lot of the characters mentioned in the first book again. This mixture of reality and a healthy dose of a glimpse of not one but multiple magical worlds made the story really stand out for me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to read more backlist titles this year (so far it’s going great), but I also need to work on those upcoming ARCs… Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen and End Of The Lie by Diana Rodriguez Wallach are up next. I also want to read The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson soon so I can cross off my very first series of the year… And I have a new TBR jar pick: The Shattering by Karen Healey. This one is classified as a YA paranormal crime story, so I’m very curious as to how I will react to it.


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Month In Review: December 2018

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s actually 2019, and that this is my final monthly review of 2018. Seriously, where did 2018 go?! December turned out to be quite a busy month, with a big pending DIY project during the first week of December that took away lots of reading time. It was worth it though, because I love the results! The Holiday season also ment I wasn’t able to read as much as the last few months, but thanks to a few short and fast reads I still managed to finish a more than decent amount.

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in December: 18
  • Total number of books read this year: 245
  • Total number of pages read in December: 6.004
  • Total number of pages read this year: 77.215

I somehow still managed to read a lot despite the DIY filled first week of December and the Holiday season, and most books turned out to be good reads as well. Not a bad way to end 2018!

DECEMBER READS

4.5 STARS: This one was almost perfect. Surely fantastic! 

Vengeful – by V.E. Schwab // A Boy Called Christmas – by Matt Haig // The Girl Who Saved Christmas – by Matt Haig // Bridge To Burn – by Rachel Amphlett // A Spark Of Light – by Jodi Picoult

4 STARS: Wow, this was really good. Close to amazing!

The Songbird Girls – by Richard Parker // My Life In A Cat House – by Gwen Cooper // The Couple Next Door – by Shari Lapena // I Have Lost My Way – by Gayle Forman // Down Among The Sticks And Bones – by Seanan McGuire // Big Little Lies – by Liane Moriarty // Outlander – by Diana Gabaldon // The Girl Without Skin – by Mads Peder Nordbo

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

Girl With A Pearl Earring – by Tracy Chevalier

3 STARS: It was a nice read, but not fantastic. 

The Deal Of A Lifetime – by Fredrik Backman // Sorry Not Sorry – by Sophie Ranald

2.5 STARS: I give this one the benefit of the doubt. Nothing too exciting.

Love Looks Pretty On You – by Lang Leav // Doll Bones – by Holly Black


I’m happy to say I was able to finish all challenges in time.. I had decided last year to keep things low key and don’t set my goals too high, and it seems like it worked like a charm. I will definitely be aiming for the same in 2019.

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… I managed to finish all of them except for my TBR one, which I already knew was hopeless. I’m definitely happy with this result!

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 (modern) classics (rereads don’t count) 3/3 DONE!! (Murder On The Orient Express // Slaughterhouse-Five, The Mysterious Affair At Styles)
  • Complete at least 5 series (rereads don’t count) 5/5 DONE!! (The Conspiracy Of Us // Bad Girls Don’t Die // Embassy Row // The 5th Wave // Legend)
  • Reread at least 2 books 2/2 DONE!! (Harry Potter Y La Camera Secreta // Harry Potter Y El Prisionero De Azkaban)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 300 books and keep it that way505/300
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 1/1 DONE (Outlander)
  • Read at least 1 book in Spanish 1/1 DONE!! (Harry Potter Y La Camera Secreta)
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 1/1 DONE!! (Het Jaar Dat De Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond by Clare Furniss)
  • Read more international authors/translations (at least 10) 10/10 DONE!! (Stage Four (The Netherlands)/ Born A Crime (South Africa)/ Halfway (India)/ A Castle In Romagna (Croatia)/ My Sweet Friend (Belgium)/ The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter (Germany)/ The Letter For The King (Indonesia)/ The Air Raid Killer (Germany)/ My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry (Sweden)/ The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden (Sweden)/ Radiance Of Tomorrow (Sierra Leone))
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 5/5 DONE!!
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% 94%

Happy January and Happy Reading! 


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Stacking The Shelves #71 – January 5th

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I was actually behaving and getting pretty good at not requesting new titles, but then I started thinking it had been a while since I last read a Bookouture title, went browsing and saw this sequel of a series I enjoyed the first book of, so of course I had to request a copy. xD Looking forward to read it though!

Also, after being blown away by The Weight Of Lies in 2017, I couldn’t NOT add Emily Carpenter’s newest read when I saw it was a Read Now on Netgalley. And how can I resist a new Amy Harmon as a Read Now on Netgalley?! I have loved everything I’ve read of her so far, so wanting to read her newest title is a no-brainer.

# NETGALLEY ARC #

Click on the summaries below to go to the Goodreads page… 

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