Goodreads 2018 Challenge: Did I do the thing?

Let’s ignore the fact that my first post of the year is almost a month late and instead talk about books!

For the past few years, I’ve been using the Goodreads reading challenge to encourage myself to read more. I shared what I’d read so far in 2018 back in July and now it’s time to catch up with what I read for the rest of the year… And see if I met my challenge for 2018:

25. Before the Storm by Christie Golden

This book by Golden takes place after the Shadows of Argus in the World of Warcraft universe. It’s definitely a book for those familiar with the Warcraft franchise. It would be confusing as a stand alone book. That being said, I quite enjoyed this book. I’ve read other Warcraft titles by other authors before, but this one was the best I’ve read by far. I gave it a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

26. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The third and final book of the Illuminae Files series finds our surviving heroes with no other choice but to return to Kerenza seven months after the invasion, not quite sure what they’re going to find. While at the same time, Kady’s cousin, Asha has survived the original invasion and has joined the resistance, working to uncover proof of the atrocities committed by BeiTech in order to bring the corporation to justice. I loved this book, it was the perfect ending to this trilogy. I rated this book 5 stars.

27. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The night before his ex’s wedding weekend kicks off, Drew gets stuck in an elevator with Alexa. In their time spent trapped together, Drew manages to convince Alexa to join him at the wedding posing as his girlfriend. Because you can’t show up at your ex’s wedding without a date, amirite? Anyway, the pair have a great time together and then go their separate ways. Soon, they find they can’t stop thinking about each other and you can probably guess the rest of the story. I was really concerned about the clichéd setup for this novel, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was a fun read. I gave it a 4 star rating.

28. First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

The latest novel by Emily Giffin tells the story of two sisters and how their relationship is impacted by a family tragedy. Meredith looks like she has the picture perfect life. The husband, the fancy, important job, the perfect kid and perfect house. But she’s miserable and kind of awful. Josie is single, sick of dating, but desperate to be a mother. She’s just about decided she’s going to have a baby on her own with a sperm donor, when she goes on a date with someone who turns out to be not your average guy. I’ve always picked Giffin’s novels because they’ve been my guilty pleasure reading, but these characters were incredibly unlikeable. Plus, at one point in the book, a little girl is told the little boy harassing her is doing so because he liiiiiikes her. And I’m not here for that bullshit, even in a book. This is a 2 star book.

29. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

This novel follows the story of Suzette, returning home for the summer after spending a year at boarding school. She doesn’t think she’ll be returning to her boarding school after the summer’s over. She wants to be home with her family and to be there for her brother who was recently was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Plus, she doesn’t think she can face the girl she left behind at school and she has a solid friends group at home in LA. I enjoyed a lot of this book. It featured very diverse characters and it was so awesome to see the different representations. I think it did a decent job of handling mental health issues in a realistic way that didn’t feel exploitative or icky. I rated this book 4 stars.

30. Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favourite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman

A behind the scenes look at America’s favourite reality show. This book is exactly what you’d expect from an in-depth look into what was once a guilty-pleasure, fun thing to watch that has basically devolved into trash. I rated it 2.5 stars.

31. Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

Charlotte Walsh is someone used to the high-pressure of being a big boss in Silicon Valley, has moved her family back to her hometown in Pennsylvania to run for Senate. She’s a strong, successful woman who wants it all and man, did this feel way too real after the last US Presidential election. Juggling her husband, her three young kids, the campaign and an opponent who is down to fight dirty, Charlotte isn’t sure all this upheaval will be worth it. This really felt too really given our political climate, but it was a good read. I rated it 4 stars.

32. Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer

This book claims to be an insightful look at the female friendship and its evolution into what female friendships look like today. This book really irritated the crap out of me. The author shared a lot of personal experience about how she’d never been interested in friendships with other women because ew, girls are so shallow and mean and are all about pink and shopping and gossiping about boys, and she’d always been a man’s girl. Then she one day meets a woman who is into ‘man stuff’ like she is and she realizes that there are women out there that are worthy of being friends with her after all. It’s so patronizing and gross and I can’t think about this book without getting angry. I rated this book 1 star, because GoodReads won’t let me give a negative star rating.

33. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

This book claims to be the self-help tome of the generation, where superstar blogger (who I’ve never heard of until now) shares the secret to being happier by just choosing to stop giving a fuck. Man, this was NOT MY YEAR for reading self-help books. I found his condescending tone a little hard to take and his philosophy broke down to simply ‘life is shitty, walk it off and stop caring so much’ felt like a really bad take in a world where empathy seems to be a dying trait? I’m also not impressed by the shock value of using swears. And I really could have done without his anecdote about how rape victims’ trauma-induced false memories impact poor, innocent men. 2018 was not the year to read this book. I rated it 1 star.

34. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean has always kept her crushes to herself. She writes them a love letter, addresses and then hiding them away in a box, never intending for her crushes to actually read any of them. Then her letters are mysteriously sent out, and Lara Jean has to face some of those crushes, past and present. I read this book after I watched the Netflix movie adaptation, which may have impacted my enjoyment of the book. It was cute and had great family relationships between Lara Jean and her sisters, but I had conflicted feelings about other plot points in the book. I rated this 3 stars.

35. This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab

This story is sort of a dystopian futuristic Romeo and Juliet. Kate Harker wants prove herself to be just as ruthless as her monster-killing father. August Flynn is a monster who desperately wants to be human. Kate and August stand on opposite ends of collapsing truce, in a city where monsters are born of crime and act of violence. The two meet and things may never be the same again. I read this book after seeing a few friends suggest it. I really enjoyed it. I rated it 4.5 stars.

36. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek is about three very different friends attending their first fan conference. This is a fun read featuring really amazing and diverse characters. My one issue with the book is that the conference they’re attending is called SupaCon and I see where the Australian author was going with that, but it seemed weird for an American conference to be named ‘Supa’ when that’s not how the American accent works. Gah! But you may be a normal human being and this may not bother you at all. I gave this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

37. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

When Rachel Chu is invited to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend Nick, she is expecting a summer of meeting the family and spending time seeing where her boyfriend spent his childhood. She is not expecting to spend the summer traveling by private planes, staying at palatial estates and attending all the high society parties and events. She also isn’t expecting to be under a microscope, scrutinized by family, friends and strangers alike because Nick has failed to mention his family’s wealth and that he’s considered to be one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia. I read this book because of the hype surrounding it being turned into a major motion picture. It was a good read and really funny at points. I wish there had been a bit more character development. I feel like I never got the opportunity to really get to know the main characters and the pacing was a bit off for me at times. I gave this 3.5 stars out of 5.

38. Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti

This book is about an ensemble of characters who form relationships because their spouses and partners are running for election or working on election campaigns. I have no idea how this got on my TBR list, or how I ended up putting it on hold, and for the longest time I thought this book was called Campaign Windows? I don’t know, you guys. 2018 was a rough year. Anyway. This was a fun enough read. At points I just skimmed because I wasn’t really invested in any of the characters. I found it took a long time to get into this book. It was fine. I rated it 3 stars out of 5.

39. Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin: A Memoir by Nicole Hardy

This memoir explores the balancing act of the expectations of love, relationships, sex and marriage she had developed due to her religious upbringing within the Mormon church and the realities of being a young, single. modern woman navigating dating, sex and life. I picked this up because a few friends had read it, but I struggled to relate to the author and that made it hard to care about some of these really dated-sound stories. Does that make me a horrible person? Probably. I rated this book 1.5 stars out of five.

40. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I wanted to finish the year on a good note (and also couldn’t handle having read an odd number of books, because that’s who I am), so I picked up this favourite for a re-read. This book follows Natasha, Daniel and the Universe as it brings the two of them together for a timely and relevant story about being a person of colour in today’s world, immigration, deportation and how life can take you in unexpected directions. I’m really not doing this book justice. I absolutely loved it again on re-read and my rating for this book remains a perfect rating of 5 stars.

My goal for 2018 was to read 12 books, so with 40, I did the thing! I decided to make a higher reading goal for 2019, since this year went so well, so my goal for 2019 is to read 24 books.

Do you set reading goals for the year? Do you use Goodreads? (If you do, let’s be friends over there.) Tell me all about your reading plans for the new year!