2018 End of the Year Survey

Long Post Ahead!
This End of the Year Survey hosted by The Perpetual Page-Turner has remained a favorite of mine to look forward to every year. This covers reading experiences for the year, not books that are published recently - as long as it's been read in 2018, it counts. 

I was actually months late with this one - shame on me! I haven't been as active as normal on the site due to things and life and all that jazz, but it's still active and will against get a bounce of posts from yours truly when time and energy permits.

2018 was a GREAT reading year, and I read more in that year since I've started tracking than any other - broke the 300 mold. 333 to be exact.

If you're curious on my answers from previous months, check out 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Overall 2018 Thoughts 

My friends and I started a book club (offline) in 2018, The Grim Readers. It's awesome. We meet January to November and focus on Mystery/Thriller/Horror/True Crime. We've now by 2019 grown to 9 members and are at our comfortable limit. Lots of fun books discovered, lots of bummers endured. That's my newest, favorite reading change for 2018.

Other changes - I got rid of most individual reading challenges that aren't team related in Goodreads Groups. I also didn't do a reading themed list on the website due to lack of interest/focus.  I started tracking books read as a back-up and for more charts/graphs on Google Sheets called Erin's Book Spreadsheet of Doom. Moving over all those books is still a major work in process and not completely done, but it's fun to keep track of in my spare time.

This year I ended discovering and reading a lot of Reverse Harem Romance novels, especially in the paranormal vein. I don't actually enjoy Erotica novels, so I'm pickier, but I've found some favorites. I became a member of Kindle Unlimited, upgraded to the new Paperwhite because of my favorite reading spot (bathtub) and the waterproofing feature. 

2018 Yearly At A Glance: Goodreads Snapshot

     2018 READING STATS     





Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't

I always answer this with a book that I had high hopes for over a period of time, not just low rated books I randomly read.  Thankfully in 2018 I didn't have any major disappointments, and it took some searching to find an answer to this one.  Finally I'm settling on Danse Macabre by Stephen King because I had been curious about it for years, saw it was generally highly rated, I love non-fiction books about movies and love of reading, I enjoyed his On Writing, and consider the author an expert in his field.

   Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read

The book sounded good, so I wasn't surprised I enjoyed it. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it - I couldn't put it down - then ended up reading the next two to finish the trilogy. It was intelligent, grim, dark, brutal, surprising, twisted in the mystery layers. Highly recommended, especially considering it's a young adult book.

Runner-Up: Dweller by Jeff Strand for being surprisingly layered and emotional for a horror novel that I thought would end up being only a cheesy *but fun* creature-feature.  On the bad surprise, Pretty Little Liars was so awful I'm surprised it's published or liked.

 Book you "pushed" the most people to read

I had a few Reverse Harem fans try this series because I enjoyed it so much. The results were mixed, but we all have different likes in this genre so it's not surprising.  I ended up re-reading the series in 2019 already, and am waiting for the last two books of the series. The author dishes these out with only one to three months in between.

Goodreads link for the first book: Moonlight Desire

   Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Favorite New Series Discovered:

Jane Yellowrock - Amazing. Read the series in one month, and the new release in 2017. A big favorite, but now I have the end of the series nerves that the author will keep it as enjoyable. First book is Skinwalker. Genre: Urban Fantasy

The Witch and the Wolf Pack - Favorite Reverse Harem Romance Series. All available on Kindle Unlimited as well. Loving this series, currently 9 out. First book of the Series: Moonlight Desire. Genre: RH Romance Paranormal

I Hunt Killers Thriller series - what a ride! Every book has several twists. A brutal finale to a fascinating series. First book: I Hunt Killers.  Genre: Mystery (YA)

Best Sequels to a series already started in previous years:

Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews, mainly because it's part of the Hidden Legacy and I cannot wait for Cat's full-length.

Best Series Ender:

Not fully perfect, but still of course great - Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews gives a proper send-off to the long-running and much-loved Kate Daniels series.

   Favorite New Author discovered in 2017

Of course there are several.  Faith Hunter, Kara Thomas, Cece Rose, K.R. Alexander, Barry Lyga

   Best book from a genre you don't normally read or outside your comfort zone

I broke a rule of mine and watched the HBO show first. That channel has a knack for creating some of the best shows, and they didn't disappoint with this one - now most of my friends have jumped on the fangirl bandwagon. Excellent show, so of course I had to check out the book. While not quite as good as the show due to the differences, it was still well-written and fascinating. I'm not usually as much of a fan with this type of book, but this turned out to be a favorite of 2018.

 Most action-packed, thrilling, unputdownable book you read this year?

I can't - or don't want to - pick just one. There's going to be a few here.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus - wow, if you haven't read this one, change that. This YA actually deserves its reputation. 

It's sort of like a cross between The Breakfast Club, And Then There Were None, and a YA rebel romance thrown in there. The end wasn't something I would have guessed, and digging in to secrets and intricacies of the four lives of the teens eventually became fascinating.

The Cheerleaders by the same author is another recommended book, although One of Us is Lying is my favorite. There's a sequel soon.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is the first full-length novel of a water-horror series. Mermaids....in their true monstrous form. The short prequel is a good introduction to this - if you like atmospheric horror and are interested in the dark world of mermaids, maritime doomed voyages, then check this one out. I went four stars instead of five, but it's still one of the best I've read action-packed, thriller style in 2017.This is horror that takes itself seriously and isn’t cheesy considering it’s about killer mermaid creatures out on the great white blue, but like a cheesy horror book or movie with throw-away red shirt characters and people who have no common sense, this book had to throw in a few for good measure too.
Seriously - this book was amazeballs. Very, very good. Thrilling, well-written, exciting, psychologically twisted, with some shockers thrown in just for kicks. A five star rating - I'm so behind in reviewing, but it will come up eventually (I hope!)

There's twists, surprises, a full mystery, excellent plotting, relatable characters. Worth a read!

Let's just say wow? This one had so many twists and turns it was half book, half maze. There were so many twists it was impossible to for someone to guess everything - really, mystery buffs, you won't be able to. There are questions - is the husband a victim, a womanizer, a bad guy, a thief...then when you make up your mind on one of them, it the questions start up again. The main character was a bit surreal in the head thanks to her history, but I liked her - on the other hand, her 3 year old drove me batty half the time - what a brat! It was an intriguing twist on the specifics of her "imaginary friend" later on. The book was hard to put down and leaves off with a full-applause finale. 

Fascinating book that explores the stresses of motherhood, newborns, a horrible crime, and how destructive and misleading the media circus is. Whatever happened to baby Midas? It explores the lives and minds of different women involved in a local, supportive "Mommy group." Their situations and differences are downright intriguing and would make a good drama on its own without even having the mystery involving the missing child. There is a twist I didn't see coming at the end - well, two of them - but it's not really a shocking or mindplay book; however, it's still excellent and well-written. Recommended for different perspectives and insights into actual reality.

   Book read in 2018 you are most likely to re-read next year

I loved this series that I discovered in 2017.  This is the third in the series, and I rated it five stars (of course). I'm on the author's facebook group, and hope that the next book - told for Isaac and Baptiste's story - comes out by 2020. It is currently halfway finished, so there is HOPE for a 2019 release, but time will tell. I'll make sure to re-read this before the next book is released.

   Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018

This is always a stumper. Here are a few favorites, because I can't choose just one.

   Most beautifully written book you read in 2018

My answers for 2018 will be a bit unconventional in comparison to the previous year with this one.

I'm going to nominate several again.

THIS book should be read by all. Touted as a horror, werewolf novel - it is not. It's a family drama told through the point of a view of a dog. Seriously, it's not cheesy AT ALL. It's heartwarming, it's intense, it's sweet, it's wonderful. In my top 5 reads of the year. Beautifully written and charming, it's a book I think everyone would enjoy. Thor is an older novel, but it can be read for free on Unlimited, or is only 2.99 to purchase. Get it and read.

Sharp Objects is a strange one. I keep meaning to check out the HBO version. It was a book club selection. Beautifully written, haunting themes, touching on seldomly approached themes. The main character is a major mess and much of the book is unsettling, but the dreamy writing style fits it perfect and keeps the pacing harmonious. 

   Thought-provoking or life changing book read in 2018

A unique book. I was stuck between 3.5 and 4 star rating. The writing is sneaky. You think it's about murder trial but you slowly figure out that's its not - it's about different parents reaction to their child being accused. I completely understand the father's point of view more, I think, due to personality maybe. Some reviewers have said the last 30 pages weren't needed - I agree and disagree. I liked it put in even more doubt, but the last few pages felt incredibly abrupt.

It's not perfect, but it's excellent, thought-provoking, and not something you forget. It really makes you think - what you would do or not do for your children.

   Book you can't believe you waited until 2018 to FINALLY read

These two thriller classics. Both very enjoyable.

Also: We have always lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

   Book that shocked you the most

I was disheartened by the lead's stupidity in matters of the heart and his finances. This classic wrenched my heart through the blades, but the ending was a nifty enough twist to soothe it somewhat. It's interesting to compare different reviewers thoughts on it.

 OTP of the Year (You will go down with this ship)

Anna Dressed in Blood was an interesting and cant-put-it-down YA about a ghost hunter meeting a ghost who changes his world.

Exhale is a very dark MM Romance that grew on me eventually after it kept pissing me off. The ending is sweet surprisingly.

Storm and Silence is truly long, historical, and fun - not everything is resolved but it's impossible to take your eyes off this couple.

   Favorite Non-Romantic Character of the year

There's mixed romance in the series - fun book and series. The bond between the three mages, and then accepting the human into their fold and the bar, is sweet and heart-warming stuff. The friendship keeps evolving and growing throughout the books, so be sure to read them all.

Dweller by Jeff Strand shows a very dysfunctional relationship that you can't look away from.

Dragon's Lair introduces us to a psychological who falls for an manipulative, asexual prisoner inmate in a very unconventional romance.

   Best book you read in 2018 SOLELY on a recommendation from someone else

While I didn't enjoy the sequel quite as much, and this one was a four star over a five star, I highly recommend mystery fans check this one out. Sometimes the main character got on my nerves, but the book was mainly fascinating and hard to put down. I had suspicions about a few of the characters but most of it wasn't easy to guess.

It goes through a lot of the dangers of the media and social media for the innocent who are caught in the crossfire.

   Newest fictional crush from 2018

The fun were group from The Witch and her Wolf Pack.

   Best World-Building/Most Vivid setting

Jane Yellowrock! Fell in love with her and Beast, their backstory, the way the vamps, shifters, and witch world were so different compared to other series. A new favorite.

   Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?

Ugh, the animal treatment in Water for Elephants was brutal.

   Most unique book read in 2018

These were definitely unique - couldn't pick just one!

   Best discussion/non-review post in 2018 you had on your blog

I didn't do many Bookish features other than monthly updates. Two I had fun with were Ten Dewey Read-a-thon Tips and Most Anticipated New Releases.

   Best bookish event you participated in

All the Read-a-thons! Had fun with them last year.

   Best moment of bookish or blogging life in 2018

Blog-wise I was kind of lax in 2018. I read more than ever and participated in a lot of challenges off-site, but am behind on reviewing, blogging and updating. Moods go through phases :/

   Most challenging thing in your reading or blogging life in 2018

Not reviewing like I should - I've had to take a break and got behind. Review burn-out?

   Post you wish got a little more love

   Did you complete any reading challenges or goals from the beginning of the year

Yes, passed my Goodreads goal and random challenges.