Yes, yes. I’m aware how very late to the party I am with this one. In my defence, I only had time to write one mid-year post and I lumped for The Top Ten Best Books Of The Year (So Far) instead.
You’ll survive, I’m sure.
But now, not only am I about to commence a week off, I’m at home alone and catching up on my blog. That’s partly because of the Tidy-a-thon currently being run by Book Dragons, but mostly because I feel unharried and unstressed for a change. And in that likely-to-be-brief reprieve, I feel like doing a tag.
This tag. So sue me.
1) Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2018
Well, you can click on a whole list of books that will answer this very question, but if I had to choose just one it would be The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. No question. That’s not because the rest of my reading was poor quality (quite the opposite, actually), but because it’s just that good a book.
It’s so different to anything I’ve ever read before and I really wish I could have the experience of reading it again for the first time. It has the feel of a 1930s Agatha Christie novel, but with added time travel, dimensions and a wonderful gothic vibe.
2) Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2018?
I don’t think I have too many to choose from this year, as far as sequels go. I haven’t progressed with that many series. Let’s have a look. Right, so it’s got to be Only Human (sequel to Sleeping Giants and Waking Gods), Thunderhead (sequel to Scythe) or The Voyage of the Basilisk (sequel to the Natural History of Dragons). Huh. Guess I’ve read more sequels than I though.
Whilst I did really like the latter (and Only Human was merely ‘alright’), it’s going to have to be Thunderhead. Admittedly a lot of this is riding on the ending, which was unbelievable and actually sort of ingenious. It wasn’t a perfect book as I’d have preferred more information around the actual gleanings, instead of pure over-arching plot, but I still loved it.
3) New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To
Ha. I’m writing this the day after an epic book shopping spree in Waterstones and literally twenty minutes after my Amazon order arrived. I have just over £90 of new released to choose from. I do feel slightly abashed every time I remember this but, hey, birthday money, right?
However, the first book I picked up was The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty and logic dictates that this is therefore the book I wanted to read most. A close contender was The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang so I might start that next. Did I mention I have a whole week off ahead of me!?
4) Most Anticipated Released For The Second Half of the Year
Uhh… I’m not very good at keeping up with upcoming releases. I tend to just see a book pop up on blogs or in Waterstones and go ‘oh hey, that’s out now!’ Let’s see…
The Corset by Laura Pursell; that’ll do. I loved her more recent novel, The Silent Companions, which was creepy and compelling and very memorable. The plot to this one looks very similar. I was originally a bit judgey about this, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
There will be other books I’m looking forward to in 2018, but I won’t know what they are until I see them…
5) Biggest Disappointment
I actually have a few contenders for this one. I was disappointed by Strange the Dreamer, Children of Blood and Bone, Warcross…
The apple goes to Into the Drowning Deep, however. I can’t even think about this book without getting all squinty and cross. I had such high expectations for it, based on how much I loved the author’s previous books. I liked the general concept of this one, but unfortunately this book was marred by a somewhat boring plot, predictability, snail-like pacing and lengthy out-of-place lectures on diversity.
6) Biggest Surprise
For me, the biggest surprise this year so far has to be If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. I’d borrowed it from the library based on a whim and one solitary review that I’d read, not expecting anything much.
It ended up being amazing, and in my staying up way past my bedtime to write a very gushing review of it. It’s somewhat like The Secret History, but only in that there’s a death within a group of academics. It’s otherwise not at all similar and comparing the two isn’t fair to either of them. It’s dark, gritty and the ending…. argh. You should definitely read this.
7) Favourite New Author
Whenever I have to answer this question, I only look at authors I have read two or more books from. Otherwise, how can you say they’re a favourite author if you’ve only experienced one example of their work?
The problem with that, is that it leaves me with only one answer for this question, which is Madeline Miller.
She is the only author I have read this year, whose work I really enjoyed and from whom I have read other books. I loved Song of Achilles and really liked Circe, so I’m not too disappointed with my answer really.
8) Newest Fictional Crush
And whenever I have to answer this question, I always feel compelled to point out that I’m an adult.
9) Newest Favourite Character
This definitely has to be Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I loved pretty much everything about this book, but I particularly liked Evelyn herself, who I pictured as a very chic Mary Berry. Possibly partly due to the fact that I was watching Bake-Off rereuns at the time.
I genuinely wish Evelyn was a real person so I could keep on reading more about her. Her life, fictional though it is, was fabulous and heart-breaking, with a few dashes of drama thrown in for good measure. I loved Evelyn like she was real.
10) Book That Made You Cry
I’m not sure if it made me cry, but the book that affected me the most emotionally was If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. Now I think about it, however, it’s very possible that I did cry at that ending…
11) Book That Made You Happy
This might be an odd choice for this category, but my answer is going to be Agatha Christie: An Autobiography.
Not only is this book written very well, in a chatty and slightly dry tone that is very different to the author’s mystery novels, but she comes across as a very likeable person. She’s honest and self-deprecating, and I could easily have read another 200 pages of the same.
I finished this just happy that I’d had the opportunity to read it, and that I’d gotten to know this fascinating woman a tiny bit better.
12) Favourite Book to Film Adaptation
I strongly suspect that I have only seen/read one book that has been adapted this year. Let me go check…
Yep. I watched Ready Player One and it was alright. I mean, they changed a lot. The overarching plot was the same, but the various challenges were different and the characters all met up a lot earlier. Plus it irritated me that Artemis’ birthmark was barely there – you could hardly see it in some lights. I was also disappointed at the lack of references, although I understand that that’s a licensing issue.
13) What Book Do You Need To Read By The End Of The Year?
Umm. I’m not sure there are any that I need to read. I’m very much a mood reader, so I just tend to pick up whatever I feel like at the time.
I do want to get round to reading The Poppy War, however. It doesn’t matter if I don’t get round to it, but I would like to see what everybody is talking about. It’s supposed to be brutal and there was some talk about whether it’s classed as Young Adult or not, so I’m looking forward to it.
Do you disagree with any of my picks? What would you choose instead?