Roundup / Recap

My Top Ten Reads of 2018

I know we still have a little bit left to go of 2018 but my current read will almost certainly take me to the end of the year and unless something spectacular is pulled out in the last third (and maybe not even then), this last book is definitely not going to be making the cut so I feel I can pretty safely say at this point in time, in pretty much no particular order¬† that the following books are the top ones for me, that I’ve read this year. This was a super hard list to make because I’ve read some absolutely brilliant books this year but I thought long and hard about not only the ones that I liked or thought were good but the ones that left an impression on me and/or stayed with me.

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman
Obviously, I mean the whole trilogy here, I refuse to split them because I can’t choose and favorite. This series utterly captivated me and reminded me of just how much I can truly fall in love with sci-fi, even when it’s full or tropes or storylines that would usually be considered overdone in the genre. The Illuminae Files books just breath back life and emotion into these and give them a brilliant and unique flair and quality that I am yet to find anywhere else. Most of the others have no particular order but these have unquestionably become my all time favorite books in general, not even just this year although it took me this long to read them, thank you, Jessica, for making sure I finally did!
Illuminae Review
Gemina Review
Obsidio Review

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
I’ve read quite a few contemporary books this year that I wouldn’t have normally even looked at but this is one of the ones I’m glad I was persuaded to read because it really spoke to me on a personal level and highlighted a lot of problems with society and how we treat young girls and their bodies. It also felt like it lit a spark in me that had only been embers before and really helped to change me and the way I view my own actions and those of the people around me.
Review available here.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This book was an incredibly important read for me and a lot of others this year. Akemi’s incredible writing feels like it plucks out those hurting parts of your soul that you maybe don’t understand and helps you to look at them and maybe find some kind of comfort or understanding there. The story itself is one of both sadness and fullfilment, a fantastic read and certainly one I recommend to anyone who suffers from anxiety.
Review available here.

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The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
A book I had been meaning to read for a while and finally gotten around to then loved the heck out of it! Asha has become one of my favourite bookish main characters and although I didn’t enjoy the sequel quite as much The Last Namsara easily found its way into my top spot of books I’ve read this year.
Review available here.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
This book was a total surprise to me! I read it on an utter whim and it was such a great, funny and twisty book! Certainly one I’ll remember and continue to recommend to others. I love the witchy vibe to it and my girl Mila is brilliant.
Review available here

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
I was drawn to this by the pretty cover and was again a great find on NetGalley that I immediately brought when it came out. Put quite simply The Smoke Theives very much feels like a YA Game of Thrones. The various POV’s are interesting and interweaving as the story continues and it envokes that now almost trademark genre of court politics with a dash of magic that I do so love and this book was no exception, I eagerly await the sequel.
Review available here.

Skyward by Brendon Sanderson
I absolutely devoured this book in a day or two. I was lucky enough to read it a little early for a blog tour and I’ve barely been able to stop talking about it since. Skyward has a bit of everything and contains a great mix of wit, humor and sass with serious moments, worry and loss. Not to mention M-Bot is pretty much the best thing in a book this year – other than AIDAN maybe and he doesn’t count because the first Illuminae book didn’t come out this year.
Review available here.

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Adrift by Rob Boffard
A twisty interesting SciFi read I discovered on NetGalley this year and I’m so glad I decided to try it out. Another great read with various points of view that reach far and yet twine back together at important points, a great character study which reminds me of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe with some big differences but there’s certainly the same vibe there.
Review Available here.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
Absolutely not one of my usual favorite picks I found myself completely immersed in Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry and have decided next year to read the others in the Beach Hut series. A beautifully heartbreaking and heartwarming tale that completely touched me and found it’s way easily into my heart and my top ten favorite books this year.
Review available here.

Vengeful by V.E Schwab
Reading Vengeful felt like reading an absolute work of art. V.E Schwab spent a long time working on this book to get it a level she was happy to publish it at and you can absolutely tell. This is a beautiful gem of a book that I am unable to fault in almost any way. The characters are interesting and you find yourself rooting for everyone and no one at times. This book is definitely the best-written book I’ve read this year.
Review available here.

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Roundup / Recap, spoiler free

Top Ten Thursday – AuidoBook Edtion

This week I have been a member of Audible.co.uk for five years, I’ve listened to over two weeks worth of audiobooks over the years (384 hours and 57 minutes to be exact) so to commemorate I thought I would share with you my top ten favourite audiobooks from over the years.

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor, narrated by Steve West
I’ve loved a lot of audiobooks but I think this may be one of my absolute favourites, Steve West is an amazing narrator and his voice work is just fantastic. I completely fell head over heels in love with his take on Lazlo Strange. When I’m asked to recommend an audiobook I almost always pick this one.

Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff, narrated by Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Jonathan McClain
This is an audiobook I quite often put on when I need a go-to book, one of my all-time favourite books and although in reading the physical book you get the extra illustrations and other levels of narration via the unique format but as an audiobook it’s practically a full audio drama with a number of different narrators. It’s an absolute feast for the ears I cannot recommend this enough and I love listening to it while doing housework.

Gemina by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff, narrated by Carla Corvo, Steve West, P. J. Ochlan and a full cast
Basically the same as above but it needed to be mentioned again because of the different cast which also includes Steve West (see Strange the Dreamer) so I, of course, lost my mind when I listened to this one.

Pocketful of Crows by Joanne Harris, also narrated by Joanne Harris
I’ve always felt there is something special hearing an author read their book aloud and a Pocketful of Crows is no exception, Harris does a brilliant job telling her tale in a way that I found akin to poetry. A great relaxing listen.

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccareli, narrated by Pearl Mackie
Mackie has a brilliant, unique voice that felt perfectly matched with main character Asha. I had seen her act in Doctor Who which I enjoyed and she absolutely brought that same level of skill over to her reading of The Last Namsara, this is another one of my favourite books and I think the audiobook version has definitely played a part in that.

The Warriors books by Erin Hunter, narrated by MacLeod Andrews
I hadn’t been sure on this narrator at first but once you meet other characters in the story you really here him begin to shine, each one has a different voice and characteristic brought to life by this one guy and I genuinely think I would have trouble reading physical copies of these books because I’m so used to knowing the characters by their voices. Andrews had completely brought these books to life.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy  by Laini Taylor, narrated by Kristin Hvam
I had originally only chosen the audiobooks versions of these books as I was working a lot and unable to get much reading done but I could work with my headphones in so decided to listen while I worked and it was such a great choice. Hvam is another brilliant narrator and she is pretty much Zuzana in my head, I refuse to read the novella “A night of cake and puppets” until I get the audiobook version in fact.

Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson, narrated by January LaVoy
LaVoy’s talent mixed with some brilliant music and sound effects from the Star Wars films themselves make this a fantastic audiobook to listen to and one I’ve listened to on more than one occasion. Even with just one narrator, it feels like an entire production, my favourite of the Star Wars audiobooks.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Nexus Uprising by K.C Alexander and Jason M Hough, narrated by Fryda Wolff
I instantly brought this once I realised the narrator was the voice actor who plays Sara Ryder herself in the Mass Effect Andromeda game, even discarding the fact that this is the brilliant voice I’ve listened to for almost eighty hours in game Wolff has a fantastic range and I particularly loved her take on Sloane with her distinct accent. Another book totally brought to life by a great narrator.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Christopher Lee, James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch
This is kind of cheating as this is technically classed as an audio drama rather than an audiobook but I couldn’t not mention it because it is absolutely brilliant. It’s done with a full cast, with sound effects and the occasional piece of music and I would happily listen to any book that way I think but Neverwhere is such a fun strange story that this audio version really helped to immerse you in. I first listened to this when I worked a cleaning job and must have listened to it four or five times at least.