How is it already the middle of June?! It was like winter just ended a couple of months ago- Oh, wait. It did just end in April after hanging around for an extra several weeks. And now it’s already the middle of 2018 and summer is about to officially begin.
Where does the time keep going?
Anywho. I saw this over at The Orangutan Librarian, and despite not being directly tagged, I decided to give it a try anyway.
Best Book You’ve Read Yet In 2018:
This is a tough one. I’ve read so many good books so far this year! But I think the one that’s stuck with me the most was Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold. It’s the tenth book in the Vorkosigan Saga, and marks a major turning point in the life and career of the series’ main character, Miles. I love how Bujold was confident in her own writing and free enough to allow her characters to engage in some beautiful, quiet scenes between the action, mystery, and political intrigue.
Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far In 2018
This was another tough one, but after weighing the two top options in my head for a while, I’m going to have to give this one to Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower. The first book in The Winternight Trilogy, The Bear in the Nightingale, was one of my top reads in 2017, and the follow-up was every bit as good. It continued Vasya’s character development and deepened various relationships that began in the first one. Many times, the second book of a trilogy suffers from a sophomore slump, but that was not the case for The Girl in the Tower.
New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To:
I thought Renee Ahdieh’s Smoke in the Sun was due out later this month, but it turned out that it was released last week! I read the first book of this duology at the beginning of the year and enjoyed it, so I am definitely looking forward to the finale.
Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year:
I’ve enjoyed the first two books in Kiersten White’s Conqueror’s Saga, and book three, Bright We Burn, is due out next month. I’m already on the wait list for it at the library. I’m looking forward to see how Radu handles the fall out from his actions in Now I Rise, as well as seeing how Lada handles her new role in Wallachia. Given the real history of the region at that point in history, I don’t foresee a happy ending for anyone involved.
That would definitely be Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1). I disliked all but two of the characters and there wasn’t enough about those two to balance out the rest. And Tessa’s passivity drove me nuts. Had the writing been better, I might have stuck around to see if she and Will grew to be less aggravating, but the prose’s low quality was distracting all by itself. I DNF-ed this one at 48%.
I’ve been a fan of Lois McMaster Bujold’s fantasy novels for some time, but I hadn’t given her science fiction books a shot until this year. I went into it expecting to like them, but was completely unprepared for how obsessed I would be when reading these 16 books for the first time! If you were reading this blog during February, March, and into April, you probably got a little tired of my constant gushing over the series, but I’m not sorry for it. Several volumes of this saga were nominated for or won Hugo and/or Nebula Awards, and Bujold won the very first Hugo Award for Best Series for The Vorkosigan Saga. If you haven’t read these books already, give them a try. I cannot recommend them enough.
Favorite New Author:
I’d though my favorite New-to-Me author this year would be a fantasy writer, but it turns out that she writes contemporary fiction. A Novel Bookstore was my first venture into French author Laurence Cosse’s work, and I doubt it will be my last. It had the benefit of being a book about books (which is always a genre I enjoy), so the initial hook was there, and the complexity of the characters and their interactions drew me in for good. I’m definitely going to look into reading more of her work.
Newest Fictional Crush:
Umm…. I suppose Falcio val Mond from Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series. I recently read the first book, Traitor’s Blade, and of the three Magisters the story is about, he’s my favorite. I don’t really do crushes, though, so….
Newest Favorite Character:
That’s an easy one: Miles Vorkosigan from the Vorkosigan Saga. Complicated, intelligent, witty, and flawed. He’s physically fragile in a society that values soldiers above all, and spends years trying to prove himself to everyone- particularly the grandfather he had a terribly ambiguous relationship with. He’s loyal to a fault, and often gets himself into dangerous situations because he was talking faster than his reasoning could keep up with. The Vorkosigan Saga follows Miles’s life from his premature birth on into his forties, and every stage of his growth feels real and well-thought out.
Book That Made You Cry:
If any of the books I’ve read this year have made me cry, I don’t remember. Books rarely make me cry.
Book That Made You Happy:
Yup, we’re back to the Vorkosigan Saga. The twelfth book in this series, A Civil Campaign, was a departure from the previous installments. Where the others were space adventures or involved action in a science fiction universe, A Civil Campaign was a romantic comedy of manners. Everyone is getting ready for an imperial wedding, and Miles Vorkosigan has fallen in love with a woman who has no interest in marriage. Cue all sorts of romantic plots, miscommunications, and political machinations that feel more like they’re out of Veep than Game of Thrones.
Favorite Book to Film Adaptation:
I haven’t read the book that the BBC series, Killing Eve, was based on, but given that it’s my favorite television show so far this year, I’m going to go with that. The show was based on Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings. I’ll have to look it up one of these days and give it a try.
Favorite Post You Have Done So Far This Year:
I think it’s a tossup between two discussion pieces that were a lot of fun to write:
Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year:
There are two books that top the list for most aesthetically pleasing: We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen and My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. The cover art is just so beautiful on both of these books that I wish I could easily display them facing out instead of just showing their spines.
What Books Do You Need To Read By The End Of The Year?
So many! Looking over at my TBR shelf, there’s The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, Samarkand by Amin Maalouf, Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende, Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman, and Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell. And those are just the ones I can see from here! There’s another full shelf in my bedroom that I’m hoping to at least get started on, and several on my Read the World shelf I’d like to get to before year’s end.
I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but if you want to participate, go for it!
What are your favorite books for 2018, and what are you looking forward to reading in the second half of the year? Or on the flipside, what’s your least favorite book been so far this year?