II. The "why I read each book" list of annotations on Tumblr.
III. The Quilt of Many Covers
(Full size available here. And yes it STILL annoys me that Rated PG does not have a jacket image anywhere on the internet, including the still-living author's website, where she appears to have disowned the title since it's not even listed among her work -- I guess because it doesn't fit her reinvented brand as a children's author, haha -- but I was not quite brave enough to use the "contact the author" form to ask if she could provide one. Anyone else wanna be bold?)
IV. The Annual Survey
(Before I start, can I just say how excited / sad I am to peruse these babies one last time in order to hand out awards? I feel like a proud teacher, or maybe principal of a small school, reviewing this year's graduating class one last time before I send them off into the world and make them part of the past.)
1. Best book of 2018
I feel like I've defaulted to The Lake House to answer this question, even though I originally only gave it 4 stars (because it hurt my heart so bad), just because it was so epic -- but I also want to say Like Mandarin. Or maybe The Black Spaniel Mystery. Or The Ghost at Kimball Hill.
2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more, but didn't
Things I'm Seeing Without You - Peter Bognanni. I was so convinced this was gonna be a great Revolution AU that I could barely comprehend how much I hated the main character and basically everything in it.
Honorable Mention: Has to be Love by Jolene Perry, which I didn't finish because the writing and setting were beautiful but I just could not find the stomach to risk a possible instance of physical cheating on such a sweet boyfriend with a guy who was not being painted as Worth The Sacrifice For True Love. I knew I was risking cheating going in, but I swung for the fences hoping to snag a win/win love triangle, and in the end I just got too uneasy to go any farther. Maybe one day.
3. Most surprising (in a good way) book:
The Etruscan Smile. I actually read it to see if I could get rid of it, and the answer was OH HE-HELL NO.
4. Book you read in 2018 that you recommended the most
The Lake House or The Hired Girl. Also The Mountain Between Us for anyone who wants some seriously detailed post-plane-crash injury-tending where you don't know if you're allowed to ship the people involved but you definitely do anyway.[spoiler alert: do you want to know for sure?](spoiler alert: you are)
5. Favorite new author discovered in 2018
There's actually gonna be a whole Top Ten Tuesday post about this soon! Like in a few hours. The list is not in order, though, so honestly the answer to number 1 is probably Kate Morton or Marjorie Reynolds.
6. Best book that was out of your comfort zone
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer, a fairly literary novel I probably would not have touched and definitely would not have enjoyed if I hadn't specifically picked it out in search of Walter O'Brien (Scorpion character version)-type figures.
7. Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2018
The Broken Girls - Simone St. James
8. Book read in 2018 that you are most likely to reread
If Wishes Were Horses, which was already a reread. Also I read it twice in the span of two day to really soak it into my brain. Other than that...IDK, Like Mandarin? Backwater was real cozy too.
9 Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018
The Fate of Mercy Alban or Runaway
10. Most memorable character of 2018
Mandarin or Grace Carpenter from Like Mandarin, or A Little on Love's take on Eponine
11. Most beautifully written book of 2018
3-way tie between Make Lemonade, one of the only successful books written in poems ever; Blue Voyage; Like Mandarin
12. Book that had the greatest impact on you
-Even When You Lie To Me is STILL astounding me months later with how well it delivered on the things I like about student/teacher attractions.
-Snow Bound really impressed upon me how much worse winter could be (I needed that this year. thinking about it kept me sane)
-A&L Do Summer was SO motivating to me that first week or two of July. It got me out of the house and enjoying life, the outdoors and the weather really well. (but then I had to give it back and my motivation wilted. rec me books like that one for 2019!)
13. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to read
Like Mandarin and A & L Do Summer; they had been on my to-read list for 5 or 6 years
Or The Dingle Ridge Fox, which I bought 2 or 3 years ago, although on second thought that is not long at all in "unread books RS owns" land.
14. Favorite passage/quote
There are probably better ones but this is the one I was able to locate, so:
Mia wiggled her sweatshirt over her head, tossed it on the floor, and then shifted under the covers until her back touched Homer's chest. Without saying a thing, she reached for his hands and wrapped his arms around her, and without saying a thing in return, Homer pulled her close enough to feel her hair drift across his face. Her shoulder blades pressed against his rib cage from the outside. His wildly happy heart pressed from within. Not long after, they both fell asleep.
--Be Good Be Real Be Crazy
15. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to someone about it
I can't decide on an answer to this and it's the last one I have left before posting (like a movie, I do this thing out of order), so even though I forgot I technically reread it this year and thus never added it to my 2018 reading list -- which would have saved me some panic and struggle on December 30/31 -- the book that actually made me reel was a reread of Fourmile. I was dying to talk about it so much that I actually did. Here is the post I made about it, saved as a draft and never actually made public until right this second.
Update: actually, two books that had me Yellin' so much I had to make constant Goodreads status updates while reading that I think are pretty amusing: The Memory Book and Something Happened (both somewhat spoilery)
16. Favorite relationship in a book read in 2018
Nick/Hannah from In Real Life
Noah/Penny from Girl Online
Dr. Sumner & Hatter from Hatter Fox
Daniel/Tamsyn from The English Boys (also Daniel & Hugh bein' bros)
Sammie/Stuart from The Memory Book
Aspen and Laurel's best-friendship from A & L Do Summer
Mailee & Cara's best-friendship from Girl In A Bad Place
17. Favorite book you read in 2018 from an author you read previously
Like Mandarin - Kristen Hubbard
Closely seconded by The Black Spaniel Mystery and If Wishes Were Horses
18. Best book you read in 2018 based on a recommendation
The Woman in Cabin 10 or Everything You Want Me to Be
19. Book that was the most fun to read
Marie Antoinette, SERIAL KILLER
Also, not in terms of plot but because the formatting itself was so entertaining, Everything Must Go
20. Book[s] that made you cry
Dark Horse Barnaby, The Wolf Wilder, The Lost Hours
21. Best series you discovered in 2018
The Starlight Animal Rescue quartet (see: Runaway). Which puts me at a dilemma because any other year, I probably wouldn't have bothered to count this as a book on the list, so I really don't want to add three more, but I wouldn't mind finishing it out, and it'll be unbalanced if I don't.
22. Best book you read that was published in 2018
The Broken Girls. Which would have been a contender anyway, but also wins by default.
23. Book you most anticipated in 2018
My hype meter was super high waiting for Shine Shine Shine to come in and see if I had pegged it correctly as a good casting outlet.
24. The most unique book you read in 2018
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, but that doesn't have enough text to count on my reading list. For books I ACTUALLY read, Everything Must Go
25. The book that shocked you the most
The Masked Truth made my jaw drop a couple of times; I had to eagerly narrate what happened to my mom.
26. Book that made you the most mad in 2018
The Girl Before - J.P. Delaney. WHY WAS THERE SO MUCH GROSSNESS. Who asked you to introduce both BDSM and "daddy" roleplay into my psychological thriller???
27. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year
To Take a Dare - Crescent Dragonwagon (and Paul Zindel somehow but honestly I would give
28. Worst book of 2018
Chasing Sunsets - Karen Kingsbury. Why didn't I stop reading! Why didn't I just skim for the content I needed and confine my suffering to one book! The writing was SO BAD.
29. Books you are most looking forward to reading in 2019
I just did a TTT post about this one too.
30. How does 2018 represent you in books?
It still represents me madly trying to cast all my favorite TV characters in books, which led to being heavier on adult titles for a while, until I started running out of time to hit 100 and the long books had to be pushed aside. It also represents how truly terrible I am at reading when I have to read my own books instead of the library's.
I could do a lot with the fact that I read exactly 100, and one day maybe I will!, but for now I am just gonna go w/ easy stats I have either already figured out or that Goodreads will give to me.
Oldest book: The Black Spaniel Mystery - Betty Cavanna (1945)
Newest book: The Broken Girls - Simone St. James (March 2018)
60% YA / children's || 38% adult fiction || 2% nonfiction
(Probably my lowest-ever amount of nonfiction in a year. I just had too many specific stories I wanted!)
BONUS: Go see how I did on my 2018 Bookish Resolutions, and take a peek at some half-baked ones for 2019!