Month In Review: January 2019

January has passed way too fast, although I’m glad it’s over because it means less days until the summer is over. I know some of you are freezing right now, but I’ll swap with the 35+°C humidity we have here if you want. (I never thought I would say this, but I prefer freezing over that torture.) January turned out to be an excellent reading month despite some DIY and a camping trip (just one of the trips we planned, we had to cancel the other due to excessive rainfall). I definitely didn’t expect to read this many books! But it turns out that most of my picks were either short or superfast reads in the first place.

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in January: 28
  • Total number of books read this year: 28
  • Total number of pages read in January: 8.800
  • Total number of pages read this year: 8.800

I started 2019 well with my first 5 star read already and a lot of other good reads… I did get eleven books with a 3 star rating or below, but overall I’m definitely satisfied with this month.

JANUARY READS

5 STARS: Absolutely and entirely mind blowing! I suggest you to pick up a copy now.

Finding Grace – by K.L. Slater

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

Beneath The Sugar Sky – by Seanan McGuire // Ghost Boys – by Jewell Parker Rhodes // Bright We Burn – by Kiersten White // Exquisite – by Sarah Stovell

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

The Crown Of Embers – by Rae Carson // Mala Vida – by Marc Fernandez // The Treatment – by C.L. Taylor // The BFG – by Roald Dahl // The Winter Sister – by Megan Collins // The Last Time I Lied – by Riley Sager // The Psychology Of Time Travel – by Kate Mascarenhas // When Dimple Met Rishi – by Sandhya Menon // Two Can Keep A Secret – by Karen M. McManus

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

The Couple On Cedar Close – by Anna-Lou Weatherley // A Tragic Kind Of Wonderful – by Eric Lindstrom // End Of The Lie – by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

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

The Kiss Quotient – by Helen Hoang // Heart Berries – by Terese Marie Mailhot // The Insect Farm – by Stuart Prebble // Here And Now And Then – by Mike Chen // The Painted Veil – by W. Somerset Maugham // The Familiars – by Stacey Halls // The Shattering – by Karen Healey 

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

Artemis – by Andy Weir // We Told Six Lies – by Victoria Scott // The Big Sleep – by Raymond Chandler

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

How To Experience Death For Beginners – by Jessica Branton


I joined more challenges than initially planned in 2019, but I feel all have doable goals that shouldn’t take too much work to finish. Things are going way better than planned so far! I’ll need to keep an eye on the Reading Through The Centuries one since it’s always tricky to get new years in (I read two classics but I already had those years listed). But it looks like the other challenges are well on track without even trying. Not bad at all. 😉

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… Again things are going way better than planned. I’ve already read two classics, did a reread and finished two series. I also managed to read three international authors/translations already as well as two TBR jar picks. My NG ratio is still going strong, although I do have about 18 pending titles on my shelves. xD I’m also very very happy that my ARC/backlist title ratio is that low! I’m definitely aiming to keep it that way and keep reading those poor backlist titles in the rest of 2019.

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 (modern) classics (rereads don’t count) 2/3 (The Painted Veil // The Big Sleep)
  • Complete at least 10 series (rereads don’t count) 2/10 (Anastasia Phoenix // The Conqueror’s Saga)
  • Reread at least 2 books 1/2 (The BFG)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 450 books and keep it that way528/450
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 0/1 (416 pages; The Crown Of Embers)
  • Keep ARC/backlist title ratio below 40% 35,7%
  • Read at least 2 books in Spanish 0/2 
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 0/1
  • Read at least 15 international authors and/or translations  3/15 (Mala Vida (France) // The Painted Veil (France) // When Dimple Met Rishi (India))
  • Read at least 10 TBR jar picks 2/10 (The Insect Farm // The Shattering)
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 5/5 DONE!!
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% 94%

Happy February and Happy Reading! 


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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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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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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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Goodreads Choice Awards: Alternative Winners

I always look forward to the yearly Goodreads Choice Awards in November, as it always gives me lots of new titles to read as well as a chance to celebrate those books I loved reading during the year. Sadly, I’ve also seen the tendency that popular authors tend to get the vote no matter how good the work of lesser known or popular authors was… So I’ve decided to put together my own little post and give the award to those books and authors I think should have won instead in certain categories.

Of course I haven’t read all books in each category, so my opinion might vary in the future and I don’t claim the other books are bad. I just feel other titles deserve to be in the spotlight as well. Ready? Here we go!

# BEST MYSTERY & THRILLER #

WINNER: The Outsider by Stephen King. I haven’t read this particular King title yet so I can’t judge properly, but I also feel he got a lot of votes based on his popularity and I think there were other titles more worthy to be getting the award. There is one book that stood out for me far far above the rest… And I’m still surprised it hasn’t gotten more votes. Who should have won the award for Best Mystery & Thriller? Drumroll…


The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton is my absolute top read this year so far, so I’m a bit disappointed it hasn’t gotten more votes… This book will always be the true winner to me. Find out more about why you should read this book if you haven’t already in my review.

An honorable mention goes to The Date by Louise Jensen, which was absolutely brilliant and deserves all the love. Need more reasons? Find out in my review.

# BEST ROMANCE #

WINNER: This Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I admit I haven’t read this particular title yet, but I do feel there is another title that should have been nominated and won instead… I’m surprised it hasn’t received more love. Which one?

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon! I love her books in general, and this title is no different. She makes me forget completely I’m normally not a fan of the genre, and I loved every single minute of it. Need more convincing? Here’s my review.

An honorable mention goes to All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover, a title I really enjoyed as well despite a few flaws. Find out more in my review.

# BEST HORROR #

WINNER: Elevation by Stephen King. I did read this title and only gave it a two star rating, so you can understand I was really disappointed it actually won the Best Horror category. Another case of getting the popular vote? In my review why I didn’t enjoy the title. So who should have won instead? My vote goes to one of my favorite horror/serial killer thriller series…

The Summer Children by Dot Hutchison! I absolutely loved this third book of the series and I honestly can’t understand why it hasn’t been receiving more love… I can really recommend all three books. Read more about my opinion here.

An honorable mention goes to Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage for having one of the most creepy main characters I’ve encountered this year, especially since Hanna is only a child. Not a perfect read, as I write in my review, but it definitely gave me the chills.

# BEST MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPY #

WINNER: Educated by Tara Westover. I did read this memoir since there has been a lot of hype around it, but sadly it turned out to be an underwhelming experience for me. Want to know more about the why? Feel free to read my rant here. Who would I have loved to see win then? There was one memoir that especially made an impact on me:

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton. A truly inspiring memoir about a, innocent man having to spend thirty years on death row. A true eye-opener and very powerful. Read more about why you should read this one here.

# BEST DEBUT AUTHOR #

WINNER: Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I did enjoy this story mostly, as you can read here, but I think there were other titles more worthy of the award. These include the following titles and authors:

The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor, Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young and The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. There are a lot of titles I still need to read though, so hopefully I’ll be adding more titles to this list in the future.

# BEST YOUNG ADULT FICTION #

WINNER: Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. I did enjoy reading this title, as you can see in my review, but there was another title I enjoyed even more. Which one?

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. Without doubt one of my favorite YA reads this year and without doubt worth reading. Find out more about the why here.

# MIDDLE GRADE & CHILDREN’S #

WINNER: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan. I admit I have never read his books, but I guess he does get the popularity vote here… There was a book I absolutely loved this year and would have loved to get the award instead; especially since she is one of my absolute favorite authors. Can you guess already? It’s…

City Of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab! I’m in love with this new MG series and I was over the mood when I saw the sequel being announced a few days ago… Even if you don’t tend to read a lot of MG, if you like YA you should still give it a try. It’s absolutely wonderful. More about the why here.

 


What did you think of the Goodreads Choice Awards winners? Any favorite among my alternative winners? Any other titles you would recommend?


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Month In Review: November 2018

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s almost 2019. Seriously, where did 2018 go?! I’ve been loving the Spring weather though, enjoying the sun and preparing our garden for the summer months. It’s one of my favorite things to do whenever I’m not reading. The good weather also ment it was time for a big pending DIY project during the first week of December, something that didn’t affect my November reading of course but does explain why this wrap up is coming later than normal. 😉

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in November: 29
  • Total number of books read this year: 227
  • Total number of pages read in November: 9.617
  • Total number of pages read this year: 71.193

I somehow managed to read a LOT last month; more than I ever read before in fact. Although I didn’t get a 5 star read, did have two DNF and quite a few lower ratings… All in all not the best reading month I had despite the high number of books and pages, although I did find a few new favorites.

NOVEMBER READS

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

The Cheerleaders – by Kara Thomas // The Liar’s Wife – by Samantha Hayes // Cold Dark Places – by Kylie Brant // The Great Alone – by Kristin Hannah

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

Corner To Corner Crochet – by Jess Coppom // The Chalk Man – by C.J. Tudor // Every Note Played – by Lisa Genova // Daughters Of The Lake – by Wendy Webb // All Your Perfects – by Colleen Hoover // Her Final Confession – by Lisa Regan // Last Lullaby – by Carol Wyer // PLUS+ – by Bethany Rutter // Blue Blood – by Sara Blaedel

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

The Cruel Prince – by Holly Black // Children Of Blood And Bone – by Tomi Adeyemi // Hunting Annabelle – by Wendy Heard // A Woman Of War – by Mandy Robotham

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

River Bodies – by Karen Katchur // The Cottingley Fairies – by Ana Sender // The Wife Between Us – by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen // Babel – by Gaston Dorren // Heresy – by Melissa Lenhardt

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

The Burning World – by Isaac Marion // Educated – by Tara Westover

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

Elevation – by Stephen King // The Living – by Isaac Marion

1 STAR: Boy, this one gave me a hard time. Not a book to touch again. 

Girl, Wash Your Face – by Rachel Hollis

0 STARS (DNF): I didn’t even bother to finish this one. Either horrible or definitely not for me!

An Officer And A Spy – by Robert Harris // Not A Clue – by Chloe Delaume


I haven’t joined a lot of challenges this year, mostly because I decided to focus more on ‘fun’ reading and less on goals I have to complete. I had decided to update my Goodreads Goal anyway, but I should have aimed higher because I’m done once again. This is officially the year I’ve been able to read the most ever… Although quite a few were shorter reads. I have managed to complete the When Are You Reading? challenge in the first days of December as well, so even though it technically doesn’t count as November achievements it at least means I don’t have any pending challenges open for the final days of this year. 😉

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… No progress whatsoever in the final two goals, and I’m pretty sure the TBR one is hopeless. I’ve finally started with Outlander so hopefully I’ll be able to finish that one before the end of the month.

# 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 way435/300
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 0/1 (maximum 528 pages)
  • 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% currently at 94%

Happy December and Happy Reading! 


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Best Of… October 2018 @aharmon_author @bookouture @johnmarrs1

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. So this is me giving those favorites their well deserved extra attention! I think most people will be able to guess what my favorite read of October was… Although there were a few other serious contenders. Without further delay, October 2018’s favorite is… *drumroll*

The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon!! Of course I just HAD to pick this story as my absolute favorite. Not only was it the only full five star rating of the month, it was also one of the top reads of the year and one I cannot recommend enough.

What I said in my review:

“This story has once again reconfirmed my love for her work. What an absolutely brilliant and moving story! ”

“Between the wonderful writing style, the excellent character development, an interesting plot and the paranormal angle The Smallest Part has everything and more needed to turn this into one of my top reads this year.”

Click here for my full review


There were five titles with a 4,5 star rating in October, but I’ve decided to only feature four of them. Three out of four actually belong to one of my favorite genres this time around. (I’m sure you can guess what genre.) All four of them are without doubt excellent reads and deserve all the praise! In the order I’ve read them:

What I said in my review:

Before She Falls is creepy, dark and disturbing with a lightning fast pace and a few heartstopping moments; any fan of the genre will be in for a treat with this series is general.”

“This story has everything I could want of a thriller: a creepy serial killer, a clever plot, suspense, plot twists, interesting characters, an original touch… All blended together into a perfect detective thriller smoothie”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“There is just something about the way she writes that makes me forget all about the fact that is not my favorite genre, and she is one of the few authors that can make me enjoy it.”

“It’s short, well written, well crafted and entertaining, and 200% worth your time.”

Click here for my full review 

What I said in my review:

“There is just something about the writing style that draws you right in, grabs you and won’t let you go until you reach the final page. This is one of those books you’ll have to clear up your schedule for, because you’ll want to read it in one sitting!”

The Perfect Family is another well crafted, suspenseful and deceiving psychological thriller that won’t let you go until you know it all… Perfect for fans of the genre.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“If you are looking for a well constructed, elaborate and intriguing detective thriller with an original twist, Her Last Move is a great choice.”

“I really like how Her Last Move isn’t just another detective thriller, and adds its original twist to it. The plot itself is quite complicated with three different POVs to consider as well as various background stories. But it all just worked for me, and both the suspense and plot twists are well handled. “

Click here for my full review


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in October?


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