2018 Reading Challenge

Hi Pals,
Every year I try and read 20 books. This year, technically I cheated but that’s if you count the start and the end date (you do.) I didn’t count the finishing date for my last book. We can’t all be perfect in the GoodReads Reading Challenge!

Want to know more about all the books I read this year? Click ‘read more.’ All links simply go to Goodreads.com (non-affiliate.)

I don’t have any strict rules in my reading challenge but I try to keep to
✓ one series
one non-fiction
✓ one translated book
✓ one by Australian.
one classic.
✓ female, poc, lgbti authors

If you don’t want to read the summaries but are needing some new books – I highly recommend: Before the Fall, The Percy Jackson Series, Crazy Rich Asians and The Princess Bride.

BOOK ONE: Before The Fall

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley
Dates: 14 Dec – 06 Jan
Stars: ☆☆☆☆☆
This book was fantastic. It made it on my favourites, and it’s the best one I’ve read in 2018. It’s what all thrillers should be, fast-paced, development of characters which are critical to the plot and heightened emotions. It took into comparisons of what is displayed to the world and what goes on inside. There is no doubt in my mind that Hawley will slowly become a favourite Author of mine.
Goodreads: “On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

BOOK 2: The Wrong Girl

The Wrong Girl by Zoë Foster Blake
Dates: January 8 – January 23
(Australian)
Stars: ☆
Turned into a series in 2016, it focuses on main character Lily who makes poor decisions and even poorer choices when it comes to her action’s consequences. I wouldn’t really even recommend this as a trashy travel read.
Goodreads: “Lily has to make some difficult decisions about work and home, and realises that if she doesn’t take life by the scruff of the neck, she is the one who’ll be picked up, shaken and dumped. “

BOOK 3: Friend Request

Friend Request by Laura Marshall
Dates: January 27 – February 01 
Stars: ☆☆
I don’t have much time and patience for bullying books and the way girls are perceived as just doing anything to stay “cool.” In its credit, the ending wasn’t something I saw coming for a while.
Goodreads: “To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her.”

BOOK 4-8: The Percy Jackson Series

The Percy Jackson Series by
Rick Riordan
Series: The Lightning ThiefThe Sea of MonstersThe Titan’s CurseThe Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian
Dates: February 6 – March 20
Stars: ☆☆☆☆☆
The PJ series took me back to the mood and the investment that the HP series gave. Based on friendship, the books change each with different missions, characters and settings.
Goodreads: “Percy is off to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods, where he learns that his father is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon mysteries unfold and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – They set out on a quest “

BOOK 9: The Girl Before

The Girl Before by J.P Delaney
Dates: May 01 – May 06
Stars: ☆
Look, it did catch my attention with the premise and I enjoyed the separate chapters flicking between the two tenants. Overall it continued to lose stars the more I read. The egotistical male, the one-dimensional characters, the weak women, it was a pass.
Goodreads: “Enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune and another woman’s mysterious fate through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception. “

BOOK 10: Lock and Key

Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen
Dates: May 06 – May 17
Stars: ☆☆☆
I actually thought this was going to be a thriller before I read it. It turns out to be a coming of age story based upon a misguided teen who moves into a different life and how she hopes with these new environments.
Goodreads: “Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years.”

BOOK 11: Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Dates: May 19 – July 07
Stars: ☆☆☆
When I first started, I thought this was going to be 5 stars and make it into my favourites. The flow of the book is incredible, characters and themes, brilliant. I appreciated this book. The submissiveness of the females, however, is what really did it for me. The note that Murakami himself advised it isn’t his favourite.
Goodreads: “Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.”

BOOK 12: Veronika Decides to Die

Veronica Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho
Dates: July 07 – July 24
Stars: ☆☆☆
For some reason, I picked this book instead of Coelho’s international best-seller ‘The Alchemist, which I have on my bookshelf. I give this book a lot of credit as it focuses on mental health and how important it is in life to risk, take an adventure and open yourself up. It was a pleasant read.
Goodreads: “Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, plenty of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.”

BOOK 13: The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window by A.J Finn
Dates: July 29 – August 03
Stars: ☆☆
What is with the constant “woman” “girl” titles and also the fact that that they’re always seemingly alcoholics. It had a lot of 4-5 star reviews, and I probably could have given it a 3 as it was a page turner but it also just kept… going.
Goodreads:
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbours. Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

BOOK 14: Starstruck

Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt
Dates: August 04 – August 19
Stars: ☆
It’s not like I’m not a fan of Young Adult fiction – I find that they can have just as much depth as any other genre but this, this was uh, cliched beyond words.
Goodreads: “M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her.”

BOOK 15: Flight

Flight by Isabel Ashdown
Dates: August 07 – August 18
Stars: ☆☆
I really enjoyed reading this book, I liked the concept: three best friends, two of them in a relationship. What I didn’t like was the constant suspense of this so-called ‘secret’ which dragged on and ultimately didn’t have enough merit. I felt that although I could understand their feelings due to mental health, there wasn’t enough discussion regarding it. There was not enough consequence for the ending, there was a lack of feeling and it felt unfinished.
Goodreads: “When Wren Irving’s numbers come up in the first ever national lottery draw, she doesn’t tell her husband, Rob. Instead, she quietly packs her bags, kisses her six-month-old daughter Phoebe goodbye, and leaves.”

BOOK 16: Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Dates: August 09 – September 01
Stars: ☆☆☆☆
At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue reading it because of the movie – I felt I wanted no spoilers. I loved the concept of this book, I loved the main characters; Rachael and Nick. It was opening up to see another culture and how important the status quo is. It’s an easy read, especially if you’re on your way to Singapore as you’ll read sites you may be visiting.
Goodreads:
“Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.” 

BOOK 17: After You

After You by Jojo Moyes
Dates: September 25 – September 29
Stars: ☆☆
This sequel wasn’t needed. It didn’t offer any real development. Of course, revisiting the characters was nice which is the only real reason it got 2 stars.
Goodreads: “Revisiting Lou and her family, and the Traynors, and confronting them with a whole new set of issues.”

BOOK 18: Blue Blood

Blue Blood by Sara Blaedel
Dates: September 01 – October 29
Stars: ☆
I believe that the translation from Danish to English might not have conveyed the personality of the main character properly. For me, I found her unlikable in a majority of ways. I also found too many characters introduced without any development.
Goodreads: In an idyllic neighbourhood of Copenhagen, a young woman, Susanne Hansson, is discovered in her apartment bound and gagged, the victim of an extraordinarily brutal attack. 

BOOK 19: The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Dates: October 29 – November 06
Stars: ☆☆☆☆
This is one of the few books where the movie is better, which is helped by Goldman producing the screenplay as well. I would actually recommend watching the movie first. This is an abridged book of “S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure” which includes Goldman’s inner dialogue.
Goodreads: “What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.”

BOOK 20: Salamander

Salamander by Thomas Wharton
Dates: Nov 07 – December 31
Stars: ☆☆
I wanted to love this book, I wanted to come away having it as a favourite. Ultimately, I was let down, but, I think that’s on me more than Wharton. Salamander is full of deep characters and plot lines that let your imagination travel. Filled with characters and regions of the past, the unknown it takes you on a journey. The rating is a reflection on me. I will re-read this again.
Goodreads: When his work captures the attention of an eccentric Slovakian count, Flood is summoned to a faraway castle — a moving labyrinth that embodies the count’s obsession with puzzles — where he is commissioned to create the infinite book.”


What books did you read in 2018? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know below!

As always, stay cool.
– Sarah

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Written by CerealSarah

A 28-year-old whose only direction in life seems to be going around the world. Find me on Instagram @ CerealSarah Find me on Facebook @ CerealSarah

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