How Do You Measure of a Year? In Books, Of Course!

The last few days while everyone else was sharing their reflections on their year in reading, I was scrambling to complete my Goodreads goal and editing podcast episodes (*cue confetti* *have a nap waiting in the wings*). I don’t like to review a year until I’m in the new year, anyway.

As you’ll see in my stats, my reading for the challenge was heavily weighted one way. While I enjoyed the books I read and look forward to reading more of the same in 2019, I want to make sure I read more of other genres I love this year. I’ll share my new reading goals in a separate post. On the positive side, I upped the number of books I wanted to read in 2018 by 15 books, and I met my goal! Without further ado, here’s my year in books *:

Books read: 65

Library books finished: 3

Read What You Own Books (that I know I owned before 2018): 6

Review/Launch Team Books: 7

Fiction: 58

Non-Fiction: 7

Romance: 54

-Romantic Suspense: 14

-Contemporary Romance: 38

-Historical Romance: 2

Non-Romantic Fiction: 4

Memoir/Autobiography: 6

These stats provide a good snapshot of my year, but for a more accurate picture, I wanted to spotlight some notable books.My affiliate links are included.

First book finished*: The Trophy Husband by Lynne Graham
This was a quick, fun read that reeked of 90’s romance tropes. If you can appreciate it for what it is–trope soup, limited POV, and 90s level of understanding of masculinity/femininity/happily ever after–it’s a fast and funny book.

Last book read: Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

I really ended the year on a high note. I LOVED this book! This book combines many elements of my favorite reads: Zora Neale Hurston; Anthropological/Ethnographical study; a personal story told in the subject’s voice; a snapshot of an interesting time in history, etc. This story is an important one, and I’m thankful it has finally been published and disseminated.

Better Than Expected: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

This book had some pretty harsh reviews, but I like Anne Tyler and retellings of classics are some of my favorite stories, so I decided to give this one a try. If you’re a fan of Taming of the Shrew or Ten Things I Hate About You, you might like this retelling set between academia and daycare.

FOMO Reads of 2018: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

I heard these two books recommended several times on What Should I Read Next. I caved to FOMO and read both, and I’m glad I did! Both of these books lived up to the hype. Eleanor is funny and endearing, and Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir is gripping and reflective in an engaging way. I highly recommend both.

Best Book for Book Lovers: I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel

If you love all things books and reading, you must read this book! Anne beautifully portrays many of the joys and dilemmas of the reading life. This book is a beautiful celebration of all the things I love about literature.

Series I enjoyed this year:

The Precinct Series by Julie Miller

I read many books in this series in 2016, but I read the backlist and became current on this series in 2018. If you love romantic suspense, seeing your favorite characters in several different books, mini-series within a larger series, and heroes/heroines with real world conflicts and complications, then I highly recommend this series.

Mirror Lake Series by Kathryn Springer
This inspirational romance series was wonderful. The characters were realistic and made me root for them. Springer made the town and its inhabitants come alive, and the conflicts were just as realistic. If you’re a fan of inspirational romances set in a small close knit town involving a core group of characters, then give this six book series a try.
Get in My Kindle picks I’ve Read: Butterface by Avery Flynn and I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel (I also listened to the audiobook of Remember God by Annie F. Downs, but I’m not counting this as I plan to read the physical copy)


I’ve read a few of Avery Flynn’s other books, and Butterface had the humor and heart I’ve come to expect from her. If you like hot romantic comedies (and the heat level is pretty high on this one), you might like this first book in The Hartigans series. Book two, Muffin Top, is also out now, and book three, Tomboy, will release February 18, 2019.

The books I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2019:

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
You can read my post on this book here.
The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman
Read my reasons for looking forward to this The Next Right Thing here.

MY BOOK!!!!!
121418_SS Front CoverI’ve been holding this news in for months! If you’re an email subscriber, you might have heard about this book already, but I wanted to officially announce it to my By Her Shelf readers. The Speaking Season: Poems and Pieces, my first poetry collection, will be releasing this month! If you’re a fan of poetry, this book is a must have for your collection. More details to come soon!

*Note: I don’t track my progress/read status for every book I read through Goodreads. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I don’t want to share what I’m reading. This post was created using my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge statistics. It’s by no means definitive, but it’s mostly accurate.

Alex’s FOMO Book List

TGIF, fellow book lovers! Erica here to introduce a fun post from Alex of CatFairy Books all about FOMO books. As you know from my previous post, a FOMO book is a buzzed about book that you haven’t read and aren’t sure if you’re missing out or not missing a thing. You, the readers, get to tell us which books we should absolutely read and which ones we can totally pass on. Which books on this list should Alex read? Let her know in the comments!

My Fomo Books…
Guys if you know me I am always experiencing the feeling of FOMO! (FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out.) Now I am a huge YA fan but I personally feel like I hopped on the YA train a bit too late! I started to really delve and obsess over the world of YA about two years ago. What I discovered is that there are so many books that were published about two or three years before I discovered YA that still have so much hype and unfortunately I haven’t read any of these books! And then there were books that were published back when I was in the late teens that I should have read and finished a very long time ago! This is when the FOMO feeling breaks in…

Here is my list of FOMO Books! (Prepare yourselves, don’t yell at me!)

The Harry Potter Series…

harry-potter-series

I know gasp! What is wrong with me?! I started to read the Harry Potter series back when I was 19 and stopped when I got to the third book!

https://giphy.com/embed/JSueytO5O29yM

via GIPHY

I am known to be absolutely terrible when it comes to finishing a book series! Fortunately, I am now officially catching up to the Harry Potter series! I just finished the audible version of Order of the Phoenix and I only have two more books left to go! Audible has been a lifesaver for me when it comes to catching up on books!

ACOTAR Series

The_ACOTAR_series

When I first got into YA all I would hear about on BookTube was Sarah J. Mass and the ACOTAR series! I was so intrigued to read it because they described The Court of Thorns and Roses to have a Beauty and the Beast vibe! Beauty and the Beast retellings are my jam and I will read any well-written Beauty and the Beast story! Unfortunately, I just never got a chance to read it because I kept getting distracted by other books that were recently released already! (Recently released books are evil!) Now I am actually FINALLY picking up the ACOTAR series! I just started reading the first 50 pages of The Court of Thrones and Roses and so far the story is very intriguing!

Fangirl

fangirl

Honestly, it doesn’t many any sense that I haven’t read this book yet because I am a complete SUCKER for YA contemporary books! I gobble them up like I gobble up my pastelitos de guayaba!

me-eating-pastelitos

Fangirl is about a blogger who writes Harry Potter like fanfiction! I mean really…I need to read this because this book has me written all over it! Although I did read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell thinking it was a good start to introduce myself to the world of Rainbow Rowell but now I want to kick myself! Eleanor and Park wasn’t a favorite for me to say the least and I wish I started with Fangirl! TBR goals!

The Sun is Also a Star

the-sun-is-also-a-star

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long! I read Everything, Everything last summer and I completely fell in love with it! I couldn’t stop reading it and even though I wasn’t thrilled with the ending I am in love with Nicola Yoon’s writing! See my book review about it here.

The Sun is Also a Star got amazing reviews and it looks like the perfect contemporary read to get you out of those dreaded book funks! The book is essentially a romance of two strangers meeting in the bustling city of New York and falling in love but it’s not only about romance. One of the main characters finds that her family is going to get deported to Jamaica and this is when the conflict ensues… Nicola Yoon is a gifted writer and I can’t wait to finally read this!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Are these books worth a read?! Have you experienced FOMO when it comes to books?! What books are they? I would love to hear your opinions!

FOMO: Educated: A Memoir

FOMO posts are blog posts about the books that have been buzzed about, made the bestseller lists, won all the awards, are constantly cited as life-changing or industry shaping…and I haven’t read a word of them. These posts are my chance to explain why I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, and your chance to tell me if I should. The book I’ve chosen for this inaugural post is one of the Top 20 Picks for Best Book of the Year so Far for 2018, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and one that’s been mentioned everywhere since before its release in February. So why haven’t I picked it up?

I’m not one to jump on a lot of bandwagons. They’re usually full, and crowds make me nervous. A recent galivant through the land of the Enneagram personality test revealed that I am what’s known as The Loyalist, so apparently NOT jumping ship for the next hot thing is an important part of who I am.

There’s something in me that, when I see a bunch of readers heading for the cliff, makes me want to go in the opposite direction. I may find myself at the same stream eventually, but I like to take my own path sometimes.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover seems like a book that would be right up my alley. I love memoirs. I’m a fan of higher education. It’s a coming of age story about self-reinvention and family loyalty, which are themes right in my wheelhouse. Anyone who knows my criteria for a good memoir knows one of the top requirements is that the story is unique enough to be interesting, yet rendered universally enough for me to identify with the individual, and according to critics and lay readers, Westover has done just that. I should have been the first person in line to read this, especially since one of my favorite book recommenders, Anne Bogel, talked about it before its release on her show. So why wasn’t I?

First of all, February was busy. My book release had been pushed back and I was working like crazy to meet my new deadline. All that stress pushed me to binge on $.99 kindle romances in the evenings in between episodes of America’s Dumbest Criminals on Amazon Prime to rest my brain. I wasn’t interested in a “demanding” read.

Second, the book was a little too buzzed about. Many times when a book is so lauded early on, I’m skeptical. Was it really good advance marketing and a quirky spin on her story that garnered all this attention, or is the book actually good?

Third, I’m finicky when it comes to memoir or books that have an autobiographical component. I can read almost any romance as long as you can guarantee a man and a woman fall in love and have AT LEAST a happy for now ending that looks really promising, but when it comes to memoir, I need more than a good story. I have to connect with the person, their story, or their voice–and hopefully all three. I take less chances in this genre. I usually read memoirs of stories I heard about or people I’ve met online or in real life who I like. I know nothing about this Tara Westover, and while her story seems interesting enough, all I know of it is what’s been said about the book. As for her voice, I have no clue.

Four, and more or less important depending on how far I am from payday, is the price. The paperback price is listed at around $25, and the kindle is still $12.99 (the link above is to the hardcover and is $16.80). I’m not a world famous reviewer who gets Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) from major publishers regularly (yet!), so I have to at least pretend as if I’m minding my book budget. True, I could just check this one out of the library, but I imagine the hold requests on this are pretty up there (not that I’ve bothered to look–I’ll add this to future posts).

Instead of going round and round in my head, I’m putting it to a poll here on my blog. Do you think I should read Educated? Why or why not? I’m especially interested in the opinions of those who have read the book or heard the author speak. Once I get some feedback and make a decision, I’ll add it to the bottom of the post so you know what I decided (because I hate when I vote and I never find out the decision).

XOXO,

Erica

P.S. Eventually when I get more tech savvy, I’ll have an actual poll on these posts.