2018 End of Year Book Survey

Created & Hosted by Jamie from Perpetual Page-Turner
If you're looking at the title of this post and graphic closely and thinking, "2018? Is that typo?" The answer is... nope, you're reading that correctly. Jamie recently posted the 2019 version, which is when I realized that I'd never finished or posted last year's survey. I really do like having these as a record of my reading year, so I decided not to just skip it. I won't be sharing my 2019 answers until January, but I wanted to sneak this in before I share my 2019 recaps in a few days. I hope you enjoy this look back at 2018, even though it feels like forever ago.

1. Number of Books You Read: 222 books (highest since I started tracking in 2011!)
2. Number of Re-Reads: 45 re-reads
3. Genre You Read the Most From: Contemporary 

1. Best book you read in 2018?
Per usual, I refuse to choose just ONE. So, I've chosen one per genre:

CONTEMPORARY | Beartown by Fredrik Backman

FANTASY | Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

HISTORICAL | Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

MYSTERY | Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

NON-FICTION | The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

ROMANCE | The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

As always, there are so many that I could have mentioned. Here's my top twenty of the year.

A NOTE: I challenged myself not to repeat any books in the answers below so that I could highlight a greater variety of books. It was difficult, but it helped me avoid using my twenty favorite books for every question!

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
I was really excited for Sophie Kinsella's Surprise Me after loving her 2017 release. Sadly, this book felt like two very different stories (unsuccessfully) combined in to one. Plus, I was so frustrated by the premise. So disappointing!

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book of 2018?

IN A GOOD WAY | I had no plans to read Still Me by Jojo Moyes until Kelly talked me into it, and I'm so glad she did. It redeemed that disaster of a second book (for me) and brought Lou's story full circle. I couldn't believe it!

IN A BAD WAY | After my successful Bestie Beatriz Binge in 2017, I was shocked by how much I disliked The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams. It surprised me because I know that she's capable of so much more.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read in 2018?
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I've gotten Kelly, my grandma, my mom,  and my sister to read it (and my cousin will eventually get to it). And I hope I've gotten some blog/bookstagram followers to read it, too!

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best sequel of 2018? Best series ender of 2018? Best series overall in 2018?

STARTED | As always, I had so many wonderful series starters to choose from. But Act Like It by Lucy Parker was the obvious winner! I adored Lanie and Richard, and the next two books were excellent, too.

SEQUEL | After thinking the second book was just okay, I was so pleased that A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn was such a fun addition to the series. It made me even more excited for what's to come.

ENDER | Is there any answer here besides Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas? The series finale that was years in the making delivered on ALL THE FEELS. I honestly still can't believe it's over, but what a memorable journey.

OVERALL | I'm cheating here, but my favorite series overall was The Rose Trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly. I'd read the first two long before blogging, but re-reading felt like the first time. The overall experience was magical!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?
There were some strong contenders for this answer, but I've got to hand it to Mary Balogh! I read three of her books at the very end of 2017, and then went on to read 15 more in 2018. Talk about a  Balogh backlist binge!

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read?
I rarely read essay collections, if that counts a genre, but loved I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel. I've enjoyed following Bogel's blog over the years, so it's no surprise that this book about books was a win for me.

8. Most action-packed, thrilling, unputdownable book in 2018?
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith is the first thing that came to mind here. It's my favorite in the series, so far, and managed to capture my attention while moving and unpacking. I didn't want to put it down!

9. Book you read in 2018 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
I don't know how I would have answered this at the end of 2018, but I obviously know what I did/didn't re-read in 2019. So, I've got to say His Captive Lady by Anne Gracie since that's what I did end up re-reading.

10. Most memorable character in 2018?
The quirky, endearing heroine of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, without a doubt. She's unlike any other character I've ever read, and she remains so vivid in my mind to this day.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?
Here are four of my favorites: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin, One Day in December by Josie Silver, and The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan. 

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?
In the spirit of not featuring the same book twice, I'm going to go with an unexpected choice: Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce. It isn't technically the best writing I read all year, but the voice is what made me LOVE this book so much.

13. Most thought-provoking book in 2018?
When I was looking through what I'd read in 2018, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah definitely stood out as the most thought provoking. He's a gifted storyteller and writes about heavy subjects with so much insight, wit, and honesty.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?
Years ago, I read and loved The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. Why didn't I ever finish the trilogy?! I rectified that oversight in 2018 by re-reading the first two and then falling in love with The Wild Rose.

15. Book that shocked you the most?
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh wasn't an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but the story went in a direction that I didn't expect based on how it began. I thought that took it from a mostly forgettable read to something surprising.

16. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2018?
Since all of my monthly recaps feature favorite quotes, I have too many options! But here are three standouts:

“The seasons teach us how to do life well, revealing a life-giving rhythm: we flourish through intentional periods of stillness, growth, hard work, and rest.” – Cultivate by Lara Casey 

“I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

“Learn to say no. And when you do, don’t complain and don’t explain. Every excuse you make is like an invitation to ask you again in a different way.” – Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

17. Shortest & longest book you read in 2018?
Biographic Austen by Sophie Collins was the shortest at 96 pages. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas was the longest at 980 pages, and The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon was a close second at 979 pages. 

18. OTP of the year?
With so many options, this is always one of the toughest categories for me to narrow it down! But Calla and Jonah in The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker had a hate-to-love dynamic that made them my favorite romance of the year. 

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?

CO-WORKERS | I hate the residents of Three Pines, but I love the dynamic between Inspector Gamache and his fellow detectives in Still Life by Louise Penny. It's been the highlight of the four books I've read so far.

FRIENDSHIP | I really loved the friendship that developed between the three main characters of When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger. I loved how they empowered one another! 

FAMILY | The Hathaways series by Lisa Kleypas definitely featured one of my favorite families of the year. This was a fun series to binge, and I loved how the siblings all interacted with one another over the course of all five books.

20. Favorite book you read in 2018 from an author you've read previously?
The only book I'd tried previously from Sarah McCoy was one I'd decided not to finish, but I thoroughly enjoyed her 2018 release, Marilla of Green Gables. It was a great backstory for this beloved character.

21. Best book you read in 2018 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton was a surprise 2018 favorite that I only read because Estelle recommended it. The summary didn't appeal to me initially, but the story inside was something that I would have hated to miss.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?
Some of my top fictional crushes belong in books that I've already mentioned in this post, so I'll go with Percival Hayes (what an awful name!) from Only a Kiss by Mary Balogh. I just loved his growth throughout the book.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?
In my 2017 survey, I mentioned that My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan was one of my most-anticipated 2018 debuts. Thankfully, it lived up to my expectations! I loved this one so much that I ended up re-reading it in 2019, too.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2018?
I waited to read Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer until I could follow it with Muse of Nightmares, and that was the best decision. I loved binging these two! The vivid setting was one of the most memorable aspects of the books.

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2018?
This a tie between two books! Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm was an unexpected delight, and Roomies by Christina Lauren was one of my favorite contemporary romances of the year. Both made me so happy!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2018?
It takes a lot to make me cry in a book, so there weren't many contenders for this crown. This year it's going to The Virgin's War by Laura Andersen. I still remember texting Kelly a photo of my tear-streaked face.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
To find a hidden gem, I start by looking at the number of ratings on Goodreads. With that in mind, A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh was an under-the-radar favorite. And I'm hard to please with Christmas books!

28. Book that crushed your soul?
I don't know if anything truly crushed my soul, but Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman certainly came close – though both have uplifting moments, too. Both were moving reads and written so sensitively. 

29. Most unique book you read in 2018?
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was unlike anything else I read this year. The format shouldn't work... and yet, it feels so right and is done so brilliantly. I love how it was adapted for audiobook, too!

30. Book that made you the maddest?
There were a surprising number of books that made me mad in 2018, but my resentment towards The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah has probably lingered the longest. It was like a Lifetime movie and was way too hyped.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2018?
I don't remember if I discovered any new book blogs in 2018, but I do know that it's the year I started to get more involved on bookstagram. One of my very favorite discoveries was Kayla from @idlewildreads – and she blogs, too.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2018?
I wrote a few series reviews that I was proud of – one for Mary Balogh's Survivors' Club series and one for Laura Andersen's Tudor trilogy. And I loved my review for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
If I'm defining "best" as personal favorite, I have two from 2018: my reflections on motherhood and my thyroid cancer story. Both were outside the norm for me since they were more personal rather than bookish.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I didn't participate in any real-life bookish events, but I did a few blogging collaborations that I loved. My favorite was Light Up the Darkness – a Throne of Glass series celebration with Kelly, Rachel, and Alexa. 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?
It isn't anything major, but I was very excited to reach a fun milestone in 2018: I published my 1,000th post! It was nice to reflect on the past, share some of my favorite things I've ever written, and celebrate sticking with this hobby.

6. Most challenging thing about your blogging or reading life this year?
Often, it's deciding whether my time spent blogging is worth it when the stats make it look/feel like it's not. I love this space and wish my audience would magically grow without doing anything to make that happen. Ha!

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
There were three posts that were all close in popularity! The first was What Throne of Glass Means to Me. And the other two were about a few of my Happy Planners: my book/blogging one and my reading log

8. Post you wished got a little more love?
Is it a cop out to say reviews? Because honestly, that could always be the answer. Otherwise, I spend more time on my annual summer books + bags post than I probably should based on how many views it actually gets.

9. Best bookish discovery?
I loved finding A Color Story app for editing and planning bookstagram photos, treating myself to a new Kindle, updating my blog design, and finding my perfect library tote. All four became new obsessions! 

10. Did you complete any reading challenge or goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I completed three! I met my Goodreads goal for the year, read something for every category of Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2018 Reading Challenge, and checked off another year of the Picky Pledge Challenge with Alexa.

1. One book you didn't get to in 2018 but will be your number one priority in 2019?
I have no idea what I would have said in 2018 – but probably Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak? His first book in like ten years, purchased when it released in October, but still hadn't gotten to it by the end of the year.

2. Non-debut book you are most anticipating for 2019?
As if I could stick to one! Here were three early 2019 releases that I was most excited about: Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane, Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers, and The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker.

3. 2019 debut you are most anticipating?
There were several that I remember being really excited to add on Goodreads, but my most-anticipated adult debut was The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary and young adult was Enchantée by Gita Trelease.

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2019?
It didn't seem like many series were ending in 2019, but I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta. It's not exactly a series (and I'd love more with this friend group), but I'm counting it.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2019?
What would 2018 me have said here? Probably grow my bookstagram account. I started trying to post there more often in the later half of that year, and I was curious whether I'd want to transition to that instead of blogging.

6. A 2019 release you've already read and recommend to everyone?
At the end of the year, I'd only read one 2019 release – and it's a stretch to say that I'd recommend it to everyone. But that book was The Gown by Jennifer Robson, which I did enjoy! The cover is what first caught my eye.

Yay! 2018 is old news now, but I'm glad I got this posted.
Time for me to start working on 2019 though...

1 comment

  1. I did think for a second that you'd made a typo, lol! But it was fun to get a snapshot of sorts of your 2018 reading (and blogging) year. Our Light Up the Darkness event was one of my favorite collaborations too!


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