Snow In Love Book Review

book review

Snow in Love

Snow in Love is a Christmas/holiday short story collection featuring short stories by Melissa de la Cruz, Nic Stone, Aimee Friedman, and Kasie West. I was initially excited to read this collection since it featured, Kasie West, one of my favorite YA contemporary authors. Overall, this is a cute short story collection for the winter. However, like other YA short story collection, there are some stories that fare better than others. Here are my opinions on each short story in the collection:

Snow and Mistletoe by Kasie West

Snow and Mistletoe follows Amalie, who is returning home after leaving her semester abroad early. Once her flight is canceled, it appears she has no way home for Christmas. However, Amalie runs into Sawyer, a classmate from high school, who offers her a ride home with his sister and friends.

This is a classic Kasie West story and I would not have minded in Kasie West expanded this story into a full book. This story is cute, albeit predictable, and will make you smile. This is the largest book in the collection (I believe) and it was definitely my favorite out of the bunch. This story was paced well and had a satisfying ending compared to some other stories in this collection. I give this story four out of five stars.

Working in a Winter Wonderland by Aimee Friedman

Working in a Winter Wonderland follows Maxine, a Jewish girl who decides to take the rolf of an elf in a department store to get closer to her crush and earn enough money for a beautiful dress for New Year’s Eve.

This was definitely my least favorite story out of the collection. There seemed to be a lot of unnecessary descriptions that I found myself skimming over. Also, the pacing was off which made the ending feel rushed. I also didn’t buy the romance in this one since the love interest switches before the story ends. I think this story tried to do too much in a short amount of time. I give this story two stars out of five stars.

The Magi’s Gifts by Melissa de la Cruz

In the Magi’s Gifts, a high school couple prepares to attend a swanky holiday party. Additionally, they struggle to find the perfect gifts for each other with a limited budget. This story closely follows the original story it is based on, so you can probably guess the rest from there.

After reading a lot of reviews for this story, it seems like most people consider in their least favorite in the collection. For me, I actually enjoyed it although it doesn’t particularly stand out to me. Compared to another holiday story I read by this author, I enjoyed this one far more. I think this story is cute, even though I questioned how much the main character actually liked the love interest for who he was. I give this three out of five stars.

Grounded by Nic Stone

Grounded follows Leigh, who is stuck in an airport in Atlanta after a snowstorm delays her flight. Her mother suggests she meets up with Harper, another girl stuck in the airport. From there, Leigh creates a scavenger hunt for the other girl to complete before they finally meet up.

Like with The Magi’s Gifts, this was another average read in the collection for me. I liked the idea of the scavenger hunt and I thought it paced the story well. However, compared to some of the other stories in the collection, it lacked the holiday feel. Like with The Magi’s Gifts, it was also a quick and easy read. I give this story three out of five stars.

 

When I look at Snow in Love compared to other holiday collections, I overall enjoyed more of the stories in this collection than others (for example My True Love Gave to Me). I appreciated that this only featured four stories compared to other lengthy collection because it was easy to get through, especially when I encountered a story that wasn’t my favorite. Overall, I give Snow in Love three out of five stars.

 

Which was your favorite story in this collection?

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors in 2018

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is New-To-Me Authors in 2018. In 2018, I read 39 new authors! There were so many authors that I discovered that I plan to read more from in the future. Here are ten of my new-to-me authors:

  • Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)

I picked up The Cruel Prince after hearing several positive reviews and wanting another book involving faeries after finishing up A Court of Wings and Ruin. I found that I really enjoyed Holly Black’s writing style, even though the story itself was only okay for me. I actually have picked up another book by Holly Black in this new year, The Wicked King which is the sequel to The Cruel Prince, and equally enjoyed the writing style and plot of the second book more than the first.

  • Jasmine Guillory

The Proposal

I picked up The Proposal as an e-book from my library at the tail end of 2018 and breezed through it. I liked how “real” the relationship is written in this book and appreciated a healthy relationship between the two main characters. I can definitely see myself picking up more from this author in 2019.

  • Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed My New Crush Gave to Me by another new-to-me author in 2018. I wanted a cute Christmas book and this delivered more than I thought it would. If Shani Petroff has more cute, Netflix-like romantic comedy books, then I will definitely read more from this author in 2019.

  • Christina Lauren

Dating You / Hating You

I bought two e-books by Christina Lauren, the one pictured about and Roomies, after hearing countless recommendations to pick up her books if you are trying to branch out from YA into new adult. I definitely liked Dating You/Hating You more than Roomies, but I think it was because I found myself more interested in the plot of Dating You/Hating You after reading The Hating Game. Moving forward, I can see myself reading more by this author, but only ones that sound more interesting to me.

  • Sally Thorne

The Hating Game

I decided to read The Hating Game after seeing glowing recommendations online. I really enjoyed this book by Sally Thorne and it kicked off me reading several other new adult and adult books. I’m already planning to buy her book releasing this year, 99 Percent Mine!

  • Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game, #1)

I quickly added Ace of Shades to my TBR after I saw the plot. I liked this book just as much as I expected! I already have Amanda Foody’s second book in this series, King of Fools, on my TBR for the year.

  • Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi

I’ve been wanting to read When Dimple Met Rishi for awhile, but was hesitant after I saw some negative reviews. I’m glad that I picked this book by Sandhya Menon up because even though it isn’t an all-time favorite YA contemporary for me, I still enjoyed it. I didn’t have as much success with From Twinkle, With Love which she released last year. However, I still plan to read Sandhya Menon’s release for this year, There’s Something About Sweetie.

  • Karole Cozzo

How to Say I Love You Out Loud

I discovered Karole Cozzo’s books through Kindle Monthly Deals. I was hesitant to read her books because I knew they included characters with disabilities and I was unsure about how they would be represented. Out of the books I read, How to Say I Love You Out Loud was definitely my favorite. This story featured a character with autism. As a school psychologist, Karole Cozzo has a lot of background on autism and special education, which was very apparent in this work.

  • Katie Cotguno

99 Days

I heard mixed reviews about Katie Cotugno’s books, but decided to read a couple when they appeared as Kindle Daily Deals. I ended up enjoying her books more than I thought I would and have a couple others already lined up on my TBR for the summer.

  • Taherah Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

I feel like the last person to read a Taherah Mafi book! This year, I started the Shatter Me series. I read the first two books, but I’m unsure if I will continue. However, I still really wanted to read Furthermore, a middle-grade novel, by Taherah Mafi in 2019.

What authors were new-to-you in 2018?

Goodreads Year in Review 2018

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One of my favorite end of the year wrap-ups is looking over My Year in books provided by Goodreads. All images are taken from Goodreads. It’s nice to have a summary of my reading from the year and too easily see some facts about my reading without doing the math myself. Here’s My Year in Books according to Goodreads (all images are from goodreads.com):

yib 2018 1

This year I read quite a few books less than 2017. In 2017, I read 107 books. This year, I finished at 69. Honestly, I was worried that I wouldn’t beat my 2018 reading goal (50 books) at the beginning of this year, especially after I didn’t read as many books as I usually do during the summer when I have most of my free time. Overall, I’m happy with the number of books that I read. Also, it’s crazy to see how many pages I read in total!

yib 2018 2

Looking at this, I’m slightly surprised by my shortest book. I would think Ferdinand would be my shortest book, however, it must be listed as more pages on Goodreads than Buddy: The First Seeing Eye Dog. This book brings back great memories because Buddy was a book that I read with several of my students for a book report project. Looking at the book with the highest number of pages, I’m also surprised. I read Crazy Rich Asians on my Kindle, so I never realized how big it would be in physical book form.

yib 2018 3

This is one of my favorite stats to look at! I knew that it seemed like everyone but me read Eleanor and Park already, but this confirms my suspicions. As the most read book on my list according to Goodreads, a lot of people picked up this book before me. I’m not surprised to see Buddy as the least rated book from my list. I’ve found that if I rate books from the younger end of the children’s category, there aren’t as many people actively going in and rating them.

yib 2018 4

Looking at this number, I’m happy because I consider three stars an average read for me. Since this is slightly higher, I think I can say that I generally enjoyed most of the books that I read. I didn’t have as many books to choose from for my least favorite books of the year, which hasn’t always happened in past years.

yib 2018 5

I’m not too surprised about this either. Ferdinand is extremely popular, especially since it recently became a movie. It is a well-loved children’s story and since not many people rate children’s stories on Goodreads anyway, I can only see people who really loved it going and rating it.

 

What are some interesting facts from your reading year?

ARC Review: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

book review

Famous in a Small Town

Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills follows Sophie, a girl who tries to raise money for her high school band by inviting a famous country musician to her hometown for a music competition. Unlike her sister, friends, and country singer THIS NAME, who seem to want our of Acadia as soon as possible, Sophie loves her hometown. Then, August, a new boy next door moves to town and shakes up Sophie’s world.

I’ve heard positive reviews about books by Emma Mills, so when I saw this title appear on NetGalley, I immediately requested it. When I started reading Famous in a Small Town, I questioned the hype. The story started slow and I couldn’t connect with the characters. However, the second half of the book really improved the story for me and I ended up enjoying the book as a whole.

Like I mentioned earlier, this book started off extremely slow for me. Sophie is from a small town where nothing really happens and it seems like nothing really happens until about 35%-40% of the book, which is where I really found myself invested in the story according to my Kindle. At first, a lot of the character appeared really one dimensional. Her “good girl” friend Flora, her “bad girl” friend Brit, and the mysterious August all fell a little flat for me. Also, the synopsis led me to believe that inviting the famous musician back to town would be a bigger part in the story than it actually was, which made me confused why it took so long to get the ground running.

However, the story really picked up for and I understand why everything looked so cut and dry in the beginning of the story. The main character, Sophie, sees everything as black and white. She has an idyllic view of her town and other people. This point of view at the beginning of the story really spoke to her as a character. As the story goes along, a lot of town mysteries are revealed. Each character has a story that impacts them deeper than what they show on the surface, including Sophie herself, which led to a surprising twist near the end of the book.

Throughout the story, I found myself growing closer to Sophie and her friends. Their friendship is very authentic for high school students and I appreciated each character individually by the end of the novel. I liked finding out little details about each character to understand their motivations which carried the story along.

I also found that I really enjoyed the overall message of this story. This is definitely a coming of age story where the main character is forced to realize the people and town she has known her entire life are not really what she knows them to be. Even though the books are fairly different this message reminded me of Save the Date by Morgan Matson, which I also enjoyed for this same reason.

While this book started slowly for me, it was really worth it to see how everything came together at the end, even if it didn’t turn out as I expected. I can definitely see myself picking up another book by this author. I give this book 3.5 out of five stars.

 

What are some books by Emma Mills that you have read? What did you think of them?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Most Anticipated Releases for the first half of 2019. This year, I decided I wanted to look through lists on Goodreads to see what books would be published this year. I organized the list on my phone in order of their release. Usually, I’m someone who waits for a release to appear in my library to read it before I purchase it myself to see whether or not I like it and I only have a few auto-buy authors. However, over the past few years, I’ve been trying to buy and read more new releases every year because I feel like I sometimes miss out on the excitement of a new release. Here are the top ten books I’m most excited for in the first half of this year:

  • The Wicked King by Holly Black (January 9)

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

Even though I had mixed feelings towards the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince, it intrigued be enough to continue the series. Even though I know it isn’t true, it seems like everyone in the bookish community has somehow read this book. That being said, I haven’t seen or heard much about the story itself. As a result, I’m excited to see if this series goes in a more interesting direction for me since I want to read more books about worlds with fae other than The Court of Thorns and Roses series. Let me know if you have any suggestions in the comments!

  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (January 29)

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

I’ve read two books by Brigid Kemmerer, Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell, which I really enjoyed. As a result, I’m excited to read a book by this author that goes in a slightly different direction than those books.

  • 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (January 29)

99 Percent Mine

I read The Hating Game this past year and overall enjoyed it, so I’m interested in picking up another book by Sally Thorne. While the premise of 99 Percent Mine doesn’t interest me as much as The Hating Game, I hope this book has the same fun writing as the first book because I could see myself really enjoying it as a quick and easy read.

  • Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West (January 29)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

Kasie West is an auto-buy contemporary author for me. I really enjoyed Love, Life, and the List which was the first book in what I believe is a companion series. This book follows a character from that book who I liked, so I’m excited to see more of her story. I don’t typically enjoy books with famous people or in the entertainment business. Hopefully, this story can change my mind!

  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (February 5)

On the Come Up

The Hate U Give was such a landmark book in the young adult community and I really enjoy Angie Thomas as an author. After reading the premise and watching interviews of the author, I’m excited to read this story since Angie Thomas also was an aspiring rapper when she was younger.

  • King of Fools by Amanda Foody (April 30) 

King of Fools (The Shadow Game, #2)

I enjoyed Ace of Shades at the beginning of last year, so I’m excited to continue on in the series and find out what happens to characters that I really liked from the first book. I’m not sure where the series is headed, but I can’t wait to find out!

  • Again, but Better by Christine Riccio (May 7) 

Again, But Better

I love checking out books by Youtubers, so I am excited to pick this one up by Christine Riccio since she is an extremely popular Booktuber. That being said, the plot sounds like something I would be motivated to pick up even if it wasn’t by someone on Youtube, so I’m definitely excited to check this one out.

  • There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (May 14)

There's Something About Sweetie

I read Sandhya Menon’s first two novels last year. When Dimple Met Rishi was an okay read for me, but I really didn’t like From Twinkle, With Love. However, There’s Something about Sweetie sounds really cute and interesting, so I will definitely be picking this up during 2019.

  • Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer (June 2) 

Call It What You Want

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a huge fan of Brigid Kemmerer. As a result, I will also be reading her contemporary release from this year. The plot of this one doesn’t sound as interesting to me as the other two contemporaries that I’ve read by her, but I love what she does with characters so I’m hoping that I will love this one as much as her other books.

  • The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (June 4)

Sarah Dessen is another auto-buy contemporary author for me. Her last few books have been hit-or-miss for me. However, the premise of this book sounds classic Sarah Dessen which makes me really excited. I think this will be the perfect read to kick off summer!

 

What books are you most excited for in the first half of 2019?

January TBR

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I had a great December reading month (check out my monthly wrap-up here), so I’m hoping to continue this in January. I know January will be a busy month for me, so I will only choose three books this month to place on my TBR. Here are my choices:

  • Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Famous in a Small Town

I received an eARC of Famous in a Small Town via NetGalley. I have heard positive things about books by Emma Mills, so I am hoping she can become another go-to YA contemporary author for me. I’m always hesitant to read books that involve “famous” characters because they don’t seem to work out for me, but hopefully this will be an exception!

  • Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

Archenemies (Renegades, #2)

I received the second book in the Renegades series as a Christmas present. I haven’t heard anything about this book, so I have no idea where it’s going to go in the story. I did enjoy the first book in this series despite mixed reviews, so I hope I enjoy this one just as much.

  • A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Bernard

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

I received this book as a birthday present way back in September and still haven’t read it. I want to change that in January! This book seems right up my alley since it features characters with disabilities which I enjoy reading about, so I can’t wait to finally read this one.

 

What books do you hope to read in January?

December Wrap-Up

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I definitely upped my reading game in December. During the second half of 2018, I fell into a bit of a reading slump. Sometimes, I would read 3-5 books back to back. Other times, I would read one book and not pick up another for a few weeks. In December, I had some days off from work which really motivated me to pick up some books I’ve been meaning to read. Here’s what I read:

  • Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren (★ ★ ★)

Cold Day in the Sun

I received Cold Day in the Sun as an ARC via NetGalley. I was immediately interested in this book since it revolved around hockey, specifically when a girl plays on the boys’ team. I think this book brought up a lot of great conversations surrounding how female athletes are treated and the romance was cute. However, this book was missing something that would make me completely love it. For me, I needed both the commentary on female athletes and the relationship to be fleshed out a little bit more to make this book really stand out among other YA contemporaries.

  • The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand (★ ★ ★)

The Afterlife of Holly Chase

I had really high expectations for this book after reading the synopsis. I haven’t read A Christmas Carol retelling before and it sounded like the perfect book to read before the holidays. While there were many aspects of this book I enjoyed (such as the main character’s growth throughout the novel), it did get slightly repetitive in the middle which made the story drag on a little longer than needed.

  • Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz (★ ★)

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

I didn’t see many great reviews when I picked this up as a Kindle Deal, however, it was a short book that I thought could be fun to read before Christmas. I did enjoy how Melissa de la Cruz shed light on some of the scrutiny women in the business world face, however, the majority of this novel fell flat for me. The plot and pacing were all over the place and could only be held together by slight references to the original story. These references didn’t really offer anything unique or modern to the original story either.

  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi (★ ★)

Pride

I was so excited for this book, especially after being so disappointed by Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe. This book definitely stands out among other Pride and Prejudice retellings that I’ve read. The author does a great job creating a main character who is proud of her community and showing all the great aspects of her community throughout the novel. That being said, the plot itself didn’t do anything new or different than the original story. Even though I liked the setting of the book, the key events of the story didn’t have any twists. I found myself a little bored throughout sections of this book, which made the story drag a little. However, even though both this book and Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe both have “two stars”, I would give Pride 2.5 stars because I did enjoy it more than the other two star read on this list.

  • The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

The Proposal

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book since I’ve heard mixed reviews for the first book in this companion-type series by the author. I’ve never read The Wedding Date, but decided to download this book from my library’s e-books because it looked cute and fun. I actually really enjoyed this book. It is long and the relationship is very normal and realistic compared to other contemporaries I’ve read, like I could actually picture this happening in real life. This may bore some readers, however, this made the story even sweeter for me. Overall, I had a lot of fun with this book and I plan on checking out more from this author in 2019.

  • Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons Series Book 3)

I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I’m not a huge superhero person and books by Sarah J. Maas can be hit or miss for me. However, I saw this as a Kindle Deal and since I already own the two other books currently in the D.C. Icons collection (but have not read them), I downloaded this one. I literally could not put this book down! I think what I loved most about this book were the characters, especially Selina Kyle. Some may find the ending a little bit of a cop-out, but I still overall enjoyed this read.

 

What was the best book that you read in December? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books that I Read in 2018

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is best books that I read in 2018. Every year, I host The Brittany Awards on my blog where I rank my favorite books from the year in several categories. Check out my posts below to see some of my favorites!

 

What were some of your favorite books of the year in 2018?

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Book Tag

Happy New Year’s Eve! To ring in the New Year, I decided to complete the Ringing in the New Year Tag created by Bookmark Chronicles. Here are my answers (book reviews will be linked to book titles):

  • Best Book/Series You Read in 2018

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3)

Every year I host The Brittany Awards where I list my favorite books of the year for a variety of categories. To see my top favorites of the year, see my list here. If I did have to pick one for this book tag, however, I would like to mention two that I read after I published my top lists. In the past few days, I finished Catwoman: Soul Stealer by Sarah J. Maas and The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory which I rated both as five star reads. I was immediately hooked into both of these stories because I absolutely loved the characters and found myself flipping the pages to find out the end of their stories. Both these are a little out of my comfort zone, I don’t typically read superhero books and I’ve just started to branch out into adult books, but I found myself really enjoying them.

  • Author that You Recently Found and Would Like to Read More of in the New Year

How to Say I Love You Out Loud

A new author that I read in 2018 is Karole Cozzo. I read two books by her: How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud. Karole Cozzo is a school psychologist in addition to an author, so she frequently interacts with students with disabilities and their families. As a result, her books (both of which contain characters with disabilities) are thoughtful and realistic. I particularly enjoyed How to Say I Love You Out Loud, which included a character with autism, for its realistic portrayal of a person with a disability and the special education process.

  • Most Anticipated Book Turned Movie

I absolutely loved the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie and I am extremely excited that they announced there will be a sequel! I’m not sure when the sequel will be released, but I’m still excited to see more of Lara Jean’s story on screen.

  • Name a Character that You Wouldn’t Mind Sharing a Kiss with at Midnight

The Proposal

Recently, I read The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory and I absolutely loved the love interest, Carlos Ibarra. Carlos is a pediatrician who loves his family and respects the main character, Nik. Their relationship is so realistic that I felt like I could find my own Carlos Ibarra in real life!

  • What’s on your TBR for 2019?

Maybe This Time

Right now, I have scoured Goodreads list to find some 2019 releases for my TBR. Right now, my list is at 33 books! Here are some of my top TBR choices: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen; Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West; Maybe This Time by Kasie West, A Curse So Dark and Lovely by Brigid Kemmerer, and Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer. Each year, I try to read more and more new year releases. Sometimes, I feel like I miss out on the excitement of new books because I put them off until years later. As a result, I want to read more new releases that I’m really excited for during the year of their release.

  • How many books do you hope to read in 2019?

Like last year, I hope to read at least 50 books. Being so busy, I sometimes go a month without reading, then devour five books over one weekend. This is a pretty realistic goal for me if my reading year next year is similar to 2018.

  • Will you participate in the Goodreads Challenge or any others?

Every year, I participate in the Goodreads Challenge. It is an easy way to keep track of the books that I’ve read, the books I want to read, and the progress that I’ve made. I may try to check out some new challenges this year, so if you have any recommendations, please leave them down below!

  • Any New Year’s resolutions (bookish or otherwise)?

If you want to see all of my bookish resolutions for 2018, you can see them in this post. To pick one, I would say trying to branch out and read more genres or books intended for different age ranges. Every year, I find myself branching out into a new genre or new age range of books. For example, I have really started to pick up more new adult and adult books within this year. In 2017, I read many books in a different format than I usually read (graphic novels). I can’t wait to see what new type of books 2019 brings! Right now, I’m suspecting some suspense/thriller books because I have added quite a few too my TBR.

Have a great New Year! What are your top bookish goals for 2019?

Books I Read in 2018

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Whew! After reading a ton of books during Christmas time, I finished reading almost 70 books this year. I set my goal at 50 books, which I wasn’t sure I would complete due to my hectic schedule. However, I completed my goal I believe sometime in the fall and managed to squeeze in some more books as well. Here’s to some more great reading in the new year!

Below I’ve listed all the books that I read in 2018, in the order in which I read them. Any book with a review currently posted will have a link on the book’s title. Titles marked with a * appeared on one of my favorite lists (The Brittany Awards) in 2018 or, if it is a re-read, appeared in a favorites list of a previous year. Any title marked with a ^ means it was featured as one of my least favorite books of the year.