Kelsey's Bookshelf // Recent Books I Have Read in 2018
Recent Reads of 2018
Above Image by Hey-Tay.com
The regularly scheduled programming of weddings and engagements are being paused to share with you my absolute love for books
I currently have been editing weddings out the wahzoo the past few weeks, and as I wait for a gallery to upload, I have been wanting to add more personable blog posts. I have always been a bookworm, and my reading has gone in stages, but I have made a great effort to try to make time for reading this year because it's something that really makes me happy. Barnes and Noble is one of my favorite places, and I absolutely love buying books. My bookshelf is a bit full at this point! And, I am fully aware of the abundance of nerdy merchandise I own. :D
Just to give you an idea on the kind of reader I am, my favorite genre is fantasy, but I have been exploring new genres this year. I love Young Adult literature and read it regularly. It can take quite a bit to impress me, however, I can be a huge sucker for angst, especially teen angst (thanks Harry Potter for gifting my love for teen angst). When I wake up in the morning, I take about an hour to sip coffee and to read a book. I have read 22 books this year so far and I thought I'd share some of my favorites and some of the worst ones I've read. I'll take care to try and explain the books in a way that doesn't spoil them but would intrigue you based on its genre and synopsis. Feel free to give me a follow on Goodreads if you'd like to follow my reading progress!
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine took me by surprise. It's about a woman named Eleanore, who works a 9-5 during the week, drinks heavily on the weekends, and talks to the only person she associates with, her mother, on the phone once a week. She keeps to herself and is PAINFULLY awkward. One day, a co-worker of IT at her office walks home together (Eleanor hates this idea he presented and thinks he's quite smelly) when they see an old man fall on the sidewalk. They help this man, and it takes off from there.
This book is actually quite hilarious. The public situations Eleanor puts herself really shows how socially inept she is, but also reveals a deeper meaning behind her actions. I laughed but it was also sad as more of Eleanor is revealed. I'm a HUGE fan of character development stories, and that's what this book is. It has a happy but genius ending. P.S. This is my "Book of the Month" shelf which is a monthly subscription service that I adore! So check it out!
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Guys. This book. Ok, just picture this: 1800s, a boy, named Monty, who is entitled to his father's estate but would MUCH rather spend his time with girls AND boys, drinking, flirting, and having a party than to focus on his studies. His best friend, Percy, a dark-skinned boy suffering from epilepsy that Monty's family took in at a young age, he's in love with, but is pretty positive Percy has no idea. His father decides to send him, his sister, and Percy on this "Grand Tour of Europe" which is what every young boy goes on after they graduate. His father hopes this will snap him out of his rambunctious behavior, including his bisexuality. But, he's very wrong.
When I picked up this book, I was in a really sad place in my reading. I had been reading really harsh and serious books that just overall put me in a bad mood, then I found this book. This story is just plain FUN. It's a page-turner, it's insane, and it's hilarious. However, this book also deals with racism, homophobia, abusive relationships, and how illnesses such as epilepsy were dealt with in that time period. This premise was almost so ridiculous that there was no way it couldn't be set in the 1800s, because I'm not sure if I would have believed it. Pirates show up at one point. It's just an overall great read, and Mackenzi Lee will be releasing a new book this year!
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Adult Contemporary with Magical Realism
I read this book on Valentine's Day in one setting. This book follows a man named Tom trying to get his wife, the Perfectionist, to see him before she moves to Vancouver. You see, Tom is invisible but only to his wife, because Tom's arch rival, Hypno, has made it so she cannot see him. Oh, and all of Tom's friends are superheroes.
This book is just a gem and has some of my favorite prose ever in a book.
"Tom walked into the room and stood between the two boxes. He looked at the one marked 'LOVER' and he looked at the one marked 'FRIEND'. He made his decision quickly. With sharp steps, he moved in front of the box marked 'FRIEND'. Picking it up he lifted it over his head and put it inside the box marked 'LOVER'. Then he turned around, picked up the Perfectionist, and lifted her inside the boxes. He climbed in with her. In the morning there wasn't much of either box."
Read this book if there is any book you can read. It's just an utter delight and gorgeous.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Now I'm sure you have heard of this one. A movie called Love, Simon came out earlier this spring was inspired by this book. It follows Simon, who is gay, but none of his friends and family know. He's also been having a back and forth conversation through emails with another boy at his school, and neither one of them knows who the other is. Pretty standard premise. However, what I absolutely adore about this book is that Simon is not ashamed of his homosexuality. He's one of the lucky few that knows that his family or friends would not shun him after he tells them, but the task is still daunting.
Simon's voice in this book is just stellar. It's humorous, light-hearted, and a feel-good book that I flew through. It's a great book for any age, and will for sure get you to smile. Also, go watch the movie! It's a stellar adaptation! Oh, you should definitely check out Becky Albertalli's new book, Leah on the Offbeat, which is a companion novel to this one! :)
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
If you love Riverdale, please pick up this series
I want to make something very clear, THIS DOES NOT FOLLOW THE RIVERDALE TV SHOW AT ALL. It's a brand new Archie comic, set in a more contemporary world, and I LOVE it. If you love the Archie characters, then I greatly encourage you to read this! If you are new to graphic novels, this isn't a bad place to start! It's fun and light-hearted, with gorgeous art by one of my favorite artists, Fiona Staples (who draws the Saga series). I thought I'd throw this in here just to see if it would hook anyone! I should probably say that this isn't the kind of book to share with your children though. Not that it's bad, but it has some subtle adult themes.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Young Adult Thriller/Mystery
This author wrote, Behind Her Eyes, which is an adult thriller that is known for it's ridiculous but disturbing ending, and this is her young adult novel. It follows a girl, Natasha, that doesn't remember how she ended up almost dead in the middle of her town's frozen river, but now her two best friends are acting very strange and she feels like they aren't telling the whole truth. So she goes back to her elementary school best friend to try to solve the mystery of her almost death.
WARNING. This is a young adult novel, but I would say that they need to be at LEAST 16-17 years of age to read this. There is strong uses of drugs and explicit sex in this book. There were times that utterly surprised me that this was put in the young adult section. What I loved about this book though was that it kept me guessing. I loved how it jumped through multiple perspectives, in a way that was unique to each character. So for example, for Natasha's best friends, they were only through text conversations, and for Natasha's point of view it was in the first person because you were reading her diary. It was just done very well, and it ended great.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Can we all just agree that all fantasy adult novels have the WORST covers of all? God, they are so bad. This book is a bit complicated to explain so I encourage you to read the synopsis but I'll do my best. This book takes place in a fantasy world where magic is controlled by what is called, Breath, which is essentially a person's soul. Breath can animate anything inanimate but at a price of taking away a bit out of their Breath supply, however, they can gain it back from the inanimate object, but if they cannot, they lose that piece of their soul. People can gain more Breath by threatening or killing others, or finding people willing to give it away as a sacrifice. Some people, who die in glory, can return back as gods, who the Hallandren people worship. The book follows two princesses from a country that the Hallandren hate and want to take over, one princess is betrothed to the Hallandren king who cannot speak and has said to have the most Breath of anyone, and the other is on a mission to save her sister from him. Along with these two sisters, the book also follows one of the gods, and an assassin plotting to alter the two countries with a sword that can kill with one touch (and can talk).
It's a bit complicated I know. However, the book does a fantastic job of explaining the magic and political system to you in a way that doesn't take a lot of effort. I'm not really one who really love fantastical political books, but this one entranced me with its beautiful writing, its compelling characters and its dynamic of relationships. They all collide in the end, and it was a solid wrapped up stand-alone fantasy novel that I'd recommend to any fantasy lover.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Thriller with a touch of fantasy
I loved Marisha Pessl's book, Night Film, and this is her first young adult novel. It follows a group of friends who just finished their freshman year of college. The year prior, Beatrice's boyfriend, Jim, dies of unknown circumstances, the friends have a falling out and reconnect after a year. Beatrice doesn't think her friends are telling the entire truth, but after a night of partying and avoiding the topic of Jim's death as well as a semi truck on their way home, they find themselves stuck in a world where time never moves forward, and the only way out is to vote for one person to move forward, while the others stay. They then go insane.
I loved this book. It was just something strange, weird, and wonderful all at the same time. It was a bit disturbing but also holds a fantastic message at the end. The writing style is beautiful and compelling. If you just want something totally out of left field, pick this book up.
Rating: 2 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I am still baffled at the high ratings this book has. I will try not to spoil this, but MY LORD this book is bad. It follows Lucy, who falls in love with a boy named Gabe in college shortly after the 9/11 catastrophe (they kiss on the rooftop of a NY building while the twin towers collapses behind them, romantic right........?) And after they both get successful careers (very easily and unlikely jobs), Gabe decides to go to the Middle East to photograph the war, so they break up. Ok, great. Then Lucy meets Darren, who she then marries, 13 years later. Guess what? Gabe is still on her mind. After. Thirteen. Years.
All of these characters are awful, painful, and horrible. Lucy's actions are of a woman who has no spine to make decisions for herself. She lives for both of these men, and makes her life revolve around them. She has no self confidence and is so insecure with herself that she doesn't make an effort to think things through logically. She never makes any effort to communicate her feelings and bottles them up instead. Literally, it's the worst kind of character to read about. The absolute worst. I was furious with her and her actions. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and SHAKE HER. Darren and Gabe are both manipulative, who makes decisions for Lucy without consulting her. THIS BOOK IS JUST THE WORST. The writing is actually ok though.....
Rating: 2 stars
Genre: Young Adult Romance (???) but it's Fantasy (???)
This goes for the ENTIRE Raven cycle. It's four books of pure madness with no actual direction. I read four of these books. I went through them all. The first three books kept me hooked enough to continue, but just barely. The original plot, is about a girl, Blue, who lives with her mother and aunts who are all psychic. They tell her that she will kill her true love with a kiss. Oh, but there's also this really entitled private school with four boys that Blue befriends, and one of them, Gansey, is obsessed with finding this dead Walsh king to retrieve a wish???? I know, if you are confused, so am I, because I feel like the book took a 180 turn. The author just tries SO HARD to be symbolic, and fanciful in her writing that I ended up lost, confused, and tried to find meaning in pointless tasks.
What infuriates me, besides wasting my time with four of these books, is that there are so many loose ends in this series that she just brings up to make the story interesting, but then never comes back to them later. Also, this book is the romance section at Barnes and Noble. It's NOT a romance. Repeat. It's not. The first kiss scene is in book two, that lasts two pages, and the second one is in book three. So if you are wanting a romance, that's not what this is. The writing is an actual chore to get through and leads nowhere. Does anyone want my copies of this series?
Now I will say, that just maybe this series was just not my cup of tea. I had never read a book with psychics and tarot card readings. Some people are into that. Maybe I just didn't get it. So if this series is one of your favorites, I'm sorry. It just wasn't for me.
And so that ends my rant of books I've read in the past six months
I hope you enjoyed this blog and let me know if you want to see more! I don't plan to do these very often but hopefully I have helped you to find your next good read!