Best Books of 2018

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s the end of the year so it’s time to share all of my favourite books from the past 12 months. I have ten books that I want to share with you guys, although one is actually a series. I read over 80 books this year so it was a little tricky to narrow it down to just ten favourites but I got there in the end. Each of the books I’m going to mention are fantastic and I highly recommend checking them out. So in no particular order, let’s get started.


Favourite 2018 releases:

The Beast Player / Nahoko Uehashi / ★★★★★
Originally published in Japan in 2006, this fantastic book was translated into English by Cathy Hirano and published by Pushkin Press this year. I have to admit picking this up mainly for the cover but I am so glad I did because this is now one of my all time favourite books. It is fantastic. Check out my full review.


Wrath of Empire / Brian McClellan / ★★★★★
This is the second book in the Gods of Blood and Powder trilogy. Set in the same world as his Powder Mage trilogy, this was a fantastic sequel and it was so good to be back with these characters. The third book is set to be released late 2019. Check out my full review.


The Bitter Twins / Jen Williams / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Winnowing Flame trilogy. I loved the first book so I had high hopes for this sequel and it did not disappoint. The world is wonderfully written, the plot is compelling and there are so many great characters. I cannot wait for the third and final book to be released sometime next year. Check out my full review.


Circe  / Madeleine Miller  / ★★★★
Based on the sorceress from Greek mythology, this book was inspired by The Odyssey by Homer. I thought this was a fantastic book and very accessible if you know little to nothing about Greek mythology, but also really enjoyable if you do know about it. 


Blood of the Gods  / David Mealing  / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Ascension Cycle – the first is Soul of the World. Another fantastic epic fantasy book I’ve read this year. It’s a really underrated series with a wonderful cast of characters and interesting magic systems. I also love the covers to these books. Full review.


Tombland  / C. J. Sansom  / ★★★★.5
This is the seventh book in the Shardlake series. I’ve loved every book in this series and this instalment was no exception. If you love historical fiction mixed with mystery then you need to check these books out. I’m excited to see where this series goes next.


The Winter of the Witch  / Katherine Arden  / ★★★★★
Technially this is a 2019 release but I read it this year so I’m including it anyway. I loved this conclusion to this trilogy and I cannot recommend these books highly enough. If you’ve enjoyed the previous two books I think you’ll love this one too.


Favourite books that weren’t released this year:

Under Heaven  / Guy Gavriel Kay  / ★★★★★
Set in a fictionalised version of 8th Century China, this is a fantastic exmaple of historical fantasy. After finishing this book, it immediately went on my all time favourites list. This was my first book by the author and I can’t wait to slowly make my way through all his books. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Full review.


The Faithful and the Fallen series / John Gwynne  / ★★★★.5
Set in the fictional world of the Banished land, this is a multiple perspective epic fantasy series. The first book, Malice, was first published in 2012. Each book is just as good as the last and I enjoyed every second of reading this series. The plot is compelling, the world is well written and there is a fantastic cast of characters.


Revelation / C. J. Sansom / ★★★★★
Fourth book in the Shardlake series, this is my favourite instalment. I’ve loved every book in this series but something about this one put it slightly above the others. If you enjoy a mix of historical fiction and mystery then you need to check these books out. 


I read some fantastic books over the past 12 months and I love sharing them with you guys. I cannot recommend these books highly enough. I definitely read a lot of fantasy books, so I’m hoping to read from more genres next year along with more fantasy. Have you guys read any of these books? What are your favourite books from 2018? I’d love to know. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

Pippa

T5W: Books I Didn’t Read in 2018

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This week’s topic is books you didn’t get to in 2018. Basically, I’m going to be sharing five 2018 releases I wanted to read but for whatever reason I didn’t.

  • Iron Gold / book 4 of the Red Rising saga / Pierce Brown 
  • The Empire of Ashes / bookk 3 of the Draconis Memoria / Anthony Ryan
  • King of Ashes / book 1 of the Firemane series / Raymond E. Feist
  • Age of War / book 3 of the Legends of the First Empire / Michael J. Sullivan
  • Grey Sister / book 2 of the Book of the Ancestor / Mark Lawrence

Hopefully I’ll get to all of these soon, or at least some time next year. What books do you still need to read from 2018? I’d love to know if any are similar to mine. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

Pippa

TTT: Books I Hope To Find Under The Tree

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of book, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.This weeks topic is books you hope to find under the tree this Christmas. It’s Christmas day so Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it and happy Tuesday to those who don’t. I love this time of year and I’ve had a lovely time so far. This topic is pretty self explanatory so I’m just going to get straight into my picks. 


That’s it for today. I am always so happy when I get books as gifts and books are one of my go to gifts to give too. What books would you like to find under the tree? Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas, the books on your wish list. I’d also love to know if you’ve read any of the books I mentioned. I hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

Pippa

Bookish Academy Awards

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s the end of the year, which means it time for me to do the bookish academy awards tag. I’ve done this for the last couple of years and I think it’s a great way to round up the year of reading. There are 13 questions in this tag, all about the books you’ve read in the past 12 months. I apologise in advance for the repeat answers but I couldn’t help myself. Let’s get started.

Best Actor: (Best Male Protagonist)
I couldn’t pick just one, so the first is Shen Tai from Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, and the second is Corban from the Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne. Both of these characters are fantastic.


Best Actress: (Best Female Protagonist)

Sarine from the Ascension Cycle by David Mealing, Cywen from the Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne and Elin from The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi.


Best Cinematography: (Best Plot Twist)
There are so many possibilities for this one but I’m going with the Fitz and the Fool trilogy by Robin Hobb. There were so many twists within this trilogy and while reading you never know what is going to happen next. It was such a fantastic trilogy. 

Best Costume Design: (Best Book Cover)
There were so many fantastic covers this year, I couldn’t choose just one. Instead I have six of my favourites to share with you guys. 

Best Supporting Actress and Actor ( Best Male and Female Sidekick)
For best female sidekick I would have to say Wei Song from Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. She is such a fantastic character and I would love a book all about her. Sorry for using all the same books but for the male sidekick I’m going with Dath for the Faithful and the Fallen series – he’s just such a loyal friend, I had to include him.

Best Original Screenplay: (Most Unique Plot/World)
The first book that comes to mind is The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi. It is unlike anything I’ve read before and found it quite refreshing in that way. I absolutely adored this book and I loved the world. 

Best Adapted Screenplay: (Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation)
I haven’t actually seen a lot of book-to-movie adaptations this year – I think I’ve only seen a few. My favourite adaptation is Annihilation, based on the book of the same name by Jeff Vandermeer. It does diverge from the book a bit but it was fantastically shot and the acting was so good. I definitely recommend watching it. I also loved To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, but I haven’t read the book. 

Best Animated Feature: (A book that would work well in animated format)
The Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell would work really well in an animated format. Four books are currently out and each of them have been so enjoyable to read. These books would translate wonderfully into animation and they could do some really cool stuff with the magic system. I would definitely watch this show.

Best Director: (A writer you discovered for the first time)
Once again I couldn’t pick just one… so my favourite first time authors include Guy Gavriel Kay, Nahoko Uehashi, David Mealing and Sean Russell. 

Best Visual Effects: (Best Action in a Book)
Once again I’m sorry for the repeat answer but the first books that come to mind are the Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne. The battle scenes are so well done. Another book that does battle scenes really well is The Wolf by Leo Carew.

Best Short Film: (Best Novella or Short Book)
I haven’t actually read any novellas this year, so let’s move straight on to the next questions.

Best Picture: (Best Stand-Alone)
This one has to go to Circe by Madeleine Miller, which is about the sorceress from Greek mythology. I loved this book and I would highly recommend checking it out, especially if you love Greek mythology. Coming up with this answer actually showed me I don’t actually read a lot of standalones. Maybe I’ll try to read more next year.

Best Documentary: (Best Historical Fiction or Non-Fiction)
I continued reading the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom and I just love these books so much. The characters are so well written, the time period is interesting and the plot is always compelling. If you love historical fiction mixed with mystery then you need to check these books out – they are so good.

That’s it for today. I love doing this tag to round up the last year of reading, although I have to admit that looking back I haven’t read as widely as I wanted to. Ah well maybe next year :). What are your favourite books from 2018? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
Pippa

The Queens of Renthia / Sarah Beth Durst

Title / The Queen of Blood, The Reluctant Queen and The Queen of Sorrow
Author / Sarah Beth Durst
Publication Date / 2016, 2017 and 2018
Genre / Fantasy
Series or standalone / Trilogy
Page no. / 353, 360 and 419
Star Rating / ★★★★
 
Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.

This is a YA fantasy trilogy set in the fictional world of Aratay. This land is full of spirits that represent elements and these spirits want to rid the world of humans. However without the spirits, the world would die, so the humans must live together with them. The one defence against these inherently aggressive spirits is the Queen, who is the only one that can control them. Young women that show talent in controlling spirits are trained as heirs so one can replace the queen when she dies. When a queen dies another must be ready to assume control of all the spirits, otherwise the spirits will destroy everything. This is a brief description of the setting of this trilogy. The world is one of my favourite things about these books. It is so vividly written. Nature is very much entwined into this world and I loved that about the setting. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before. So if you’re looking for fantasy with a unique setting, then you need to check out these books. I cannot say enough good things about this world. 

There is also a fantastic cast of characters. All of the characters are wonderfully written. They are all flawed and complex with interesting back stories. I also loved the way the relationships were developed throughout the three books. The characters are definitely one of the main strengths of this trilogy. In the first book we mainly follow Daleina, but in the second and third book we have the added perspective of Naelin. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this initially because I loved Daleina as a character, but it does work well for the story and the change did grow on me.  One of my favourite things in the first book is that Daleina isn’t the most powerful heir. She has to work hard for what she wants and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to that. Another thing I love about this trilogy is the strong, interesting women that play such a big role in each book. Basically, there is a fantastic cast of characters in this trilogy and I would love to see more from them.

The plot is developed so well throughout these three books, although the third book felt a little rushed to me. The plot remains compelling in each book and there are some fantastic twists. Intrigue plays a big part in each book and Durst writes these elements so well. As I said I do think the third book felt a little rushed at times and I did get quite frustrated with Naelin, but I still really enjoyed this instalment and it was a great conclusion to the trilogy. 

Overall this is a fantastic trilogy that features one of my all time favourite worlds. If you enjoy fantasy, especially YA fantasy, then I highly recommend checking these books out. A companion book to this trilogy, The Deepest Blue, is set to be released Spring 2019. I definitely plan on checking it out. Have you read these books? I’d love to know what you thought. I hope you are having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

Pippa

TTT: Winter TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of book, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.This weeks topic is your Winter TBR. Basically the books you want to read this winter. I could just say all the books currently sitting unread on my bookshelf, but then that will definitely be more then 10. Anyway, lets get started.

 

 
That’s it for today. We’ll see if I actually stick to this TBR because I haven’t been that great at sticking to my TBR this year. I just read what I want at the time. Have you guys read any of these books? I’d love to know what books you think I should prioritise. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

Pippa

Beautiful Books of 2018

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. The year is coming to an end so I thought I’d share some of my favourite book covers from the past 12 months. There are so many fantastic book covers and I love sharing my favourites with you guys. Let’s get straight into it.

The Beast Player / Nahoko Uehashi / ★★★★★






The Hyena and the Hawk / book 3 of the Echoes of the Fall trilogy / Adrian Tchaikovsky / ★★★★

On my kindle:
A Veil of Spears / book 3 of the Shattered Sands series / Bradley Bealieu / ★★★★
The Wolf / book 1 of Under the Northern Sky series / Leo Carew / ★★★★
The Book of M / Peng Shepherd / ★★★
The Silence of the Girls / Pat Barker / ★★★.5

There are so many incredibly talented artists out there creating these beautiful book covers. I have to admit to being very much influenced by covers – if it’s a pretty cover I’m definitely more likely to pick it up, but hey who doesn’t love a good cover? Anyway that’s it for today. Have you guys read any of these books? I’d love to know your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

Pippa