Friday, December 28, 2018

End-of-Year Book Freakout 2018!

Aaaaand it's back! The End-of-Year Book Freakout! I'm not calling it a tag anymore because I havne't been tagged and I'm not tagging anyone, haha. I think I've had a reasonably good reading year — my average rating was 4.1, which isn't bad. Though, let's be real, it's been a really long year, and I can barely remember what I read in July. Thank God for Goodreads. (In my defense, I read 107 books this year, and about 45 of those were since July.) And technically 2018 isn't quite over, so I'll probably get another book or two in by the first of January . . . but I wanted to get this up now.

1. Best book you've read in the second half of 2018:
Ok, full disclosure: a lot of my favorite books that I've read this half of the year have been rereads. So that's kind of sad. That said, one of those rereads does count:

 The Worth of a King by Kendra E. Ardnek
Just read my review for all my fangirling, but this is tied with LDTD for my favorite of Kendra's books. Delaney and pre-scale Amberite are the best parts, but political intrigue, masked assassins, and the adorable romance that is Delsida all make the book doubly awesome.

A few other pretty awesome reads:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Heistyness and sharp-edged friendships and diversity make this super fun. (Plus, the story starts in a Netherlands-esque city, which is really cool.)

Not an easy book to read at all times, but an exciting and thought-provoking one. More contemporary than fantasy, but it's so Hank-ish that I'm ok with that.

2. Best sequel you've read in the second half of 2018:

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman
I fully expected this to rip out my heart and crush it into small pieces — that seems to be the trend with series finales — and, I mean, it did. But it also had some moments of pure triumph and relief and happiness that I loved. The gang's all together, plus we've got the con-artist newbies, and Kady's dad is just fathering everyone and I don't know. It made me happy at the same time as it killed me with plot twists.
And the runners-up:

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Except for one twist that I'm INTENSELY MAD about and the fact that this one is slightly gayer than the first one, I loved Crooked Kingdom just as much as Six of Crows.

The Plastic Magician by Charlie Holmberg
Getting to see another magic type in action was super fun! And it was nice to have a plot that was centered on something a little less high-stakes than black-magic murderers on the loose.

3. New release you haven't read yet but want to: 
The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman
This was one of my Christmas gifts this year, and I can't wait to get back to the worlds of the Invisible Library! Now the question is: do I reread the whole series before I read this one? Or just the last book?

Bitter Winter by Jaye L. Knight
Not going to lie, I kinda forgot that this book was coming out until I got the email about the blog tour. And it's anyone's guess if I'll actually read this soon or if I'll wait until it's been out for six months. Based on the past, the latter is more likely.
4. Most anticipated release for next year: 

Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Eugenides is baaaaaack! And it's the end of the series, which is tragic, but it is what it is. I'm just glad we get one more installment, and I'm super excited to see how it goes.
5. Biggest disappointment:

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
I wanted magical heistyness and snarky friendships and time-manipulation magic in an urban historical fantasy setting. And, ok, I got three of those four, but the most important of the four was replaced by angst and suspicion of everyone except the right person and it was just a mess. Why did I read this book.
One runner-up in this category, sadly:
 Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink
To be fair, this wasn't a bad book as far as characters and plot go — Alexander annoyed me immensely, but otherwise, both those categories were fine. But the worldbuilding drove me crazy in that I couldn't make it make sense in my head.  
6. Biggest surprise:
I did not expect this to be as much contemporary as it was. I also didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, given that it is more contemporary and, between the two Green brothers, I prefer John. But I actually really liked the book, even if I did have to put it down for extended periods once or twice because I could see the train wrecks coming.
Another surprise: the fact that Skyward wasn't another instant favorite as Sanderson books usually are. It was a good book, but a bit . . . I don't know. It lacked the Sanderson spark. Still, it's far better than the Alcatraz books, so I plan to stick with the series. 

7. Favorite new-to-you author:

8. Newest fictional crush/ship:
Sadly, authors continue to pair off all the crush-worthy male characters. On the upside, I have a few new ships to fangirl over!
    9. Newest favorite character(s):
    • Delaney from The Worth of a King.
    • The whole crew from Six of Crows.
    • Alvie from The Plastic Magician.
    • Gwen from The Seven Drawers.
    • Daemyn Rand from Dagger's Sleep.
    10. A book that made you cry:
    No actual tears, true, but definitely pain. Beck needs to be hugged and kidnapped from both his mother and his author.

    Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
    I should not have read the end of this book in a public place, especially since I was already upset and stressed from other causes. That's all I'm saying.

    11. A book that made you happy:
    The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reader
    This is a delightfully steampunky mystery, and while it does have its share of angst, it also has quite a bit of heart and humor. The main character duo is fabulous, the plot is exciting, and it's just generally a good read all 'round.
    12. Favorite book to film adaptation you've seen this half of the year:
     Uhhhhh I rewatched Mary Poppins back in August. Does that count?

    13. Favorite post(s) you've done this half of the year:
    Oooh! I do have a few fun ones to share here.
    14. Most beautiful book you've bought/received this half of the year:
    Can I count Blood in the Snow? I know it's my book, but I am absolutely in love with the cover, and technically I did buy copies of it.

    Other than my own book, my aunt bought me Illuminae for my birthday, and it both has an awesome cover and an awesome interior.

    And though I haven't read The Enchanted Sonata yet, I love its cover and interior as well.

    15. Any other books you want to babble about for any other reason?
    Normally, I use this space to talk about the books I still need to read that I've been meaning to read for ages. But this time, I'm going to talk about all the awesome books I've reread lately.

    The DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul
    Over Christmas break, I've reread all but one of Donita K. Paul's Amara and Chiril books. I wanted to see how they held up, since I loved them and drew so much inspiration from them when I was younger. Thankfully, most of them have been just as good or better than I remembered.
    The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvate
    Some people's stress-fueled college decisions involve alcohol, excessive sleep, and worse. Mine involve rereading books about rich boys and psychic girls and dead Welsh kings. I regret nothing.
    Scholar's Plot by Hilari Bell
    And speaking of college decisions . . . I don't even remember why I reread this book, but I'm glad I did — it was just as good on the reread as the first time around. Also, I miss Michael and Fisk.

    What were your favorite 2018 reads? Any favorite rereads? Or major disappointments? Please tell me in the comments!
    Thanks for reading!
    -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)   


    1. Hey! You read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom!

      I really liked those books, and then they disappointed me in the same ways they did you. Just some blech that didn't need to be in there... :( But I loved the setting, and I loved Kaz and Inej, and Nina and Matthias. ^_^

      I enjoyed the series that preceded these books too-- the Grisha Trilogy. There was a lot I loved about it... and also a lot I didn't like, unfortunately. But they're definitely interesting reads. :)

      1. Yep, I did! And I very much enjoyed them, as you see. I'm hoping to pick up the Grisha Trilogy at some point, just because I did enjoy the setting so much, but it's not at the top of my priority list right now.
        Thanks for stopping by!

    2. The Crooked Kingdom twist hurt so much. But Nina is supposed to show up in King of Scars, so I'm excited to see where that takes her.

      Also, The Last Magician was a huge disappointment, oh my word.

      1. I KNOW. About the twist, that is. I didn't know that she was going to show up in King of Scars, so that's something.

        Ugh, yes. It had so much potential and then it just fell flatter than my attempts at peanut butter cookies this past Christmas. :P Which is pretty storming flat, let me tell you.

    3. The Raven Boys, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. Are some of my favorites too!

    4. Oh, I love Kendra's new book! So good. And A Thousand Perfect Notes was sad but also made me laugh so many times. The humor in that book was legit and perfect for such a sad book. Your book is gorgeous! I still need to read it though.

      1. I know! And yeah, ATPN did have some nice bits of humor. I hope you enjoy Blood in the Snow when you get a chance to read it!
        Thanks for stopping by!

    5. Okay, I love this post and I'm going to have to steal this tag. :D (Hopefully you won't mind. ;))

      Loved reading about all the bookish thiiiings! And ACK The Electrical Menagerie! And Blood in the Snow is totally one of the prettiest books I've gotten this year, so you're not biased. XD

      "Mine involve rereading books about rich boys and psychic girls and dead Welsh kings. I regret nothing." I laughed so hard. XD I have The Raven Boys, just have to get around to reading it... I've kind of stockpiled half a dozen Stiefvater books but still haven't READ one yet, so I need to do that. :P

      1. I stole the tag from someone else, so, no, I don't mind one bit. xD

        Aw, thank you! <3

        I recommend starting with The Scorpio Races, personally. But I'm biased because that's where *I* started. I hope you enjoy them when you get a chance to read them!

      2. I'm totally planning on starting with The Scorpio Races, since I just picked up a gorgeous UK paperback edition at Half Price Books! :D

      3. Ooooh, nice! Let me know what you think!


    I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.