So it’s more than halfway through 2018 and I have read 59 books so far. Woot, woot. I’ve already reached by goal of 52 books (*pats self on the back*), so I upped the challenged to 80 books. I think I’ll be able to handle that. I mean, if I wanted to be ambitious, I would have set my goal to 100 books, but the inner lazy reader in me was protesting.
Anywho, I wanted to quickly discuss some of my favourite books so far (and series, hehe. Yeah, it’s technically more than one book, but it’s my blog and I can do what I want to!).
Without further ado, here’s my favourites in descending order.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
By Leslye Walton
This beauty was the magical realism book I’ve been missing in my life. While I’ve never really delved much into this genre, I heard too many good things about this book that I couldn’t not read it.
This book is about Ava Lavender, a girl who was born with wings, and the strange circumstances and seemingly constant tragedies that plague her family. It’s a sort of historical account of her family, starting with her great-grandmother, then follows her grandmother, then her mother and finally leads to her story.
There was just something about this book I really liked. It was whimsical, nostalgic and atmospheric. It gave me Big Fish vibes. It had that same magical strangeness and quirkiness to it, a sort of tragic love, and vintage charm and nostalgia. I am 100 per cent down to re-read this again in the near future.
Rating: 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
By Mackenzi Lee
Oh, this book. I don’t even know where to start. Hmm, how about the absolutely loveable characters? The crazy, action-filled plot? How about the touching relationship between two characters? This book was so, so much fun and a lot better than I expected.
The story follows Monty, a super-rich guy who’s the son of an Earl (or maybe a Lord, I can’t remember, basically someone important), so naturally, he’s expected to take over the family estate and act like a proper gentleman (FYI, this takes place in the 18th century). However, Monty doesn’t act like the gentleman his father wants him to be. He likes to go out and get drunk, party and sleep around. He embarks on a journey across the continent with his sister Felicity and best friend Percy, and they get themselves into a whole bunch of shenanigans (waaay too many shenanigans, if you ask me).
But the biggest dilemma Monty faces is that he’s completely in love with Percy. Not only was this a big no-no back then, but it was completely unacceptable for a “gentleman.” We see him struggle with his feelings and it’s so heartbreaking at times.
Although there were some sad moments, the book was also very funny. I loved the humour and the characters. Even though Monty has all the traits I don’t like in a character (selfish, cocky and arrogant), I couldn’t help but love him. He grew so much by the end. The book was also surprisingly touching, and I felt myself tearing up in some parts of the book. I borrowed the audiobook from the library but loved it so much I went and bought a physical copy.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
We Are the Ants
By Shaun David Hutchinson
We Are the Ants is one of the best teen-angst book I’ve read so far, and it’s because the angst and anger is relatable to both teens and adults. In fact, I related so much to this book that I planned to write a blog post dissecting and discussing it. (Heh, in typical Jana fashion, the blog post was started in March and hasn’t been touched since. I swear, I’ll finish and post it sometime in the near future…)
I was immediately hooked by the first line: “Life is bullshit.”
Let’s talk about the plot. You’re following a high school kid named Henry who gets abducted by aliens. Then, during one of the abductions, the aliens inform him that the world will end in 144 days and he has the power to stop it if he presses a red button. That’s all I’m going to say about this because it’s better not to know too much. Honestly, when I first found out what this book was about, I had no interest in it. But I decided to give it a shot because it got so many rave reviews.
There hasn’t been a book that “got me” as much as this one. There were so many quotes I related to that almost every single page has tabs on it. It was such a great coming-of-age story, was so beautifully written and had so many beautiful messages. Highly, highly recommend.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
The Raven Cycle
By Maggie Stiefvater
“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.”
Another zinger of an opening line! I was immediately sold by the premise of the first book. A tragic love story where the main character will kill her true love if she kisses him. Oh, the drama!
But oh my, this book is so, so much more than the romance. In fact, in the first book, the romance is barely part of the plot. Instead it’s filled with magic and mythology, psychics and paranormal events. Even if you aren’t really interested in the plot and those types of things, you’ll fall in love with the characters and the writing.
The friendship between Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah makes you want to be part of their group and go on these crazy adventures trying to find evidence of magic in our mundane world.
Finally, the writing was so beautiful and atmospheric (not in a creepy way, but in a magical, dreamy way). If you’re into audiobooks, I recommend listening to the series because the voice actor does such a great job narrating the story. He captures the writing and mood of the entire series so well, and his interpretation of the characters’ voices completely matches with their personalities.
I liked this series so much I’m already re-reading it after having only finished it in April. That could also mean that I have no life, but let’s go with the former.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
I saved the best for last.
I can’t make a favourites list without mentioning The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This is one of my favourite books of all time. It has of the best love stories I have ever read (or even watched, actually), and I’m extremely picky with my romance, FYI.
This book is about a popular Old Hollywood film star (akin to Marilyn Monroe) recounting her life, career and seven husbands. Of course there’s way more to the story, but I’m not going to say anything. You’re just going to have to read it to find out more!
What I love about this book is the main character Evelyn Hugo. She’s flawed and does many morally questionable things, but she is extremely likeable. I was rooting for her the entire time. The book tackles issues such as sexuality (especially during the ’50s and ’60s), being true to yourself, and the extent to which you would protect your career and loved ones.
It was also one of the rare books to make me full-on ugly cry. I was crying my eyes out during one scene, and I never cry that much when I read books. Like ever. I cry more when I read manga. Or watch TV or movies. But never with books.
This book is precious and everyone should go and read it. What are you waiting for? Go now! Go!
Rating: 5/5 stars.