Provo Library’s Best Books of 2018 | YA Non-Fiction, Fiction, & Graphic Novels

Every year my local library puts on a “Best Books of…” event and I love it! A lot of the books I’ve already heard of, but I always come away with new books on my TBR! Even though I do work here, I wasn’t part of putting on the event or choosing the books–I was able to just attend as a patron, so that was super fun as well. I made my book club come with me too, so hopefully some of these books will make it into our discussions! Here’s a link for anyone who missed my post on the Adult non-fiction and fiction list.

Provo Library Best Books YA

Bolded books are ones that are on my TBR. Italics are ones I’ve read.

Non-Fiction
Fiction
Comics & Graphic Novels
Have you read any of these? What young adult books would you add to the list?

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Provo Library Best Books YA

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Provo Library’s Best Books of 2018 | Adult Non-Fiction & Fiction

Every year my local library puts on a “Best Books of…” event and I love it! A lot of the books I’ve already heard of, but I always come away with new books on my TBR! Even though I do work here, I wasn’t part of putting on the event or choosing the books–I was able to just attend as a patron, so that was super fun as well. I made my book club come with me too, so hopefully some of these books will make it into our discussions! Keep an eye out for the Young Adult list–I’ll be posting that in a few days as well.

Provo Library Best Books Adult

Bolded books are ones that are on my TBR. Italics are ones I’ve read.

Have you read any of these? What adult books would you add to the list?

Pin this!

Provo Library Best Books Adult.PNG

 

Let’s just say it’s been a while since I’ve read some of these books [Mini-Reviews]

There are so many books that I read last year that I still haven’t gotten around to reviewing. Hopefully, this post can make a (small) dent in that list.

mini-reviews

The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates by Maggie Hall

map of fates

conspiracy of us

I really thought I was going to like these books because it seemed like it was going to be one massive treasure hunt. Instead, we’re gifted with insta-love and a completely unnecessary love triangle. I also don’t really understand why there’s this slight magical element? I mean, one of the characters is literally fireproof and I don’t know how that can be explained without magic. The main character is so naive and very annoying. I never understand why protagonists have such a hard time being left behind on “missions” when they have no training and would clearly only get in the way. I, personally, would be happy to sit on my behind in the hotel room and let people with ACTUAL TRAINING take care of the dangerous stuff. I honestly don’t know why I even bothered with the second book, but I am definitely NOT going to be reading the third one. 3/5

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Orphan Monster SpyI wasn’t super impressed by this book. I thought it actually started off pretty strong, but it didn’t maintain that excitement through to the end. While I felt like it had a different tone from most books, that didn’t really make things any more interesting. The plot was fine, but not super engaging and I had a hard time figuring out what the end goal was supposed to be. Our main character is going through a bunch of stuff, but for what? I also didn’t find myself connecting to any of the characters. The main character was…fine. Kind of bland–you really don’t get to know her that well. The author also chose to include some pretty messed up characters, but I didn’t really feel like they added to the story. 3/5

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The ArchivedThis book had been on my TBR forever because I really liked the Monsters of Verity duology. Also, I love any kind of twist on the “library” so if you know any good alternate library books, let me know in the comments! To get into my review, I felt like the world was pretty complex and didn’t really get explained very well at the beginning, which just left me feeling confused. I was also very confused for the first three chapters because I didn’t realize that Da and Dad were not both Mackenzie’s father. I liked Mackenzie as a main character, but she made some really questionable decisions. I never really understood her resistance for sharing information with the librarians, but especially Roland. He seemed to obviously be on her side and some things could have been prevented if she had been more transparent. I thought Wesley was a bit much as a character, but I did like watching his relationship with Mackenzie develop. Owen, on the other hand…that relationship seemed to come out of nowhere. In the end, there was a twist that I did NOT see coming and I’m just left with so many questions. Like, what is up with Ms. Angelli? Such a mystery. 4/5

ebook | Paperback

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

The ChristmasaurusThis is such a fun middle grade Christmas book. The language was pretty silly throughout, so I would definitely recommend for younger middle grade readers, but I think that age will find the silly language really enjoyable. This book has wheelchair representation which I don’t think I’ve seen in any other books–let alone middle grade. I’m no expert, but it felt like it was portrayed accurately and definitely felt super respectful. I also thought that the characters developed in a realistic way. Even though Brenda is horrible, I felt like I understood her and that’s not always the case with antagonists. I loved all of the illustrations throughout and the Christmas feels were SO STRONG. There’s a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming (am I just oblivious???) which was such a fun surprise. I recommend getting the version of the book that comes with the soundtrack–not necessary, but a really fun and festive bonus. 4/5

ebook | Hardcover | Musical Edition

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

Two Dark ReignsOkay, I’m hoping to get through this review without any spoilers, but it’s book three in the series, so I’m really sorry if I reveal anything from the first two books–unintentional. After the second book I wasn’t sure how invested I would be in the rest of the story–I didn’t really see where Blake could take it from there. However, the third book got me reinvested real quick. I found myself liking this book much more than the second one and the different POVs continued to be a nice change of pace. I enjoyed each POV equally. There continue to be many, many questions and I need the next book asap. The ending took me by surprise and I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on or what’s going to happen. There’s some interesting things going on on the island and I guess we’ll just have to see what happens next. 4/5

ebook | Hardcover

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton

my plain janeI love this series! The tone is fun and light and easy to enjoy. Once again, I thought the rotating perspective worked well, but Jane’s sections were probably my least favorite. I do wish that I’d read Jane Eyre first, though, because there are certain plot points that were so strange and I don’t know if they were extra or if they’re part of the original text. This is partly why one of my 2019 reading goals is to read Jane Eyre. I also liked that this is somewhat of a “Jane Eyre origin story”. The plot itself was good, but not completely thought out or explained. Why do the talismans work on ghosts? What really determines if a ghost moves on or not? Is a special “moving on” room really necessary? I also felt like red rooms were mentioned several times and I don’t really know why. Despite all that, the tone of the book is so enjoyable that I happily overlooked the times when things weren’t fully explained and I’m excited to continue on with this series. 4/5

ebook | Hardcover


Recommended from this post:

My Top 6 Reads from 2018

I was looking back through my Goodreads for this post and I was so surprised to see the books that I’d read at the beginning of 2018–it’s just felt like so long since I read those books. Does that happen to anyone else? By December, I’ve completely forgotten what I’d read in January. But anyway, here are my six favorite reads from 2018.

Favorite Reads 2018

I Am the MessengerI Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Reread: 1/20

I love this book. It delivers such a powerful message in a really understated way. It makes me think about all the choices we make every day and the people that we pass on the street. We never know someone else’s story or how a small kindness from us may impact their lives. In the end, this book just makes me want to be a better person.

My Review | Hardcover | ebook

Alex, ApproximatelyAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Read: 2/5

This was such a cute contemporary romance! Was the plot predictable? Extremely. And yet…that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of it. I loved the summery, beachiness vibe that was coming off it. Even though it wasn’t summer when I read it, I almost felt like I was at the beach on a nice summer day. If her other books are as good as this one, she’ll definitely be a new auto-buy author for me.

My Review | Hardcover | ebook

Bone GapBone Gap by Laura Ruby
Read: 3/3

I haven’t read a TON of magical realism, but this book makes me want to read more. The magic in it was so subtle and it was so beautifully written. The characters are sympathetic and the “twist” towards the end really took me by surprise. It’s an interesting story with interesting characters. I would definitely recommend this book.

My Review | Hardcover | ebook

Now, I know what you might be thinking, “What? No good reads between March and October? That’s seven whole months!” Well, what happened was…I had a baby. I had a baby at the beginning of April and then I wasn’t really reading very much (I was bingeing Parks and Rec and playing Zelda instead). But then I did start reading again and this is where the rest of this post picks up.

Muse of NightmaresMuse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Read:  10/18

Muse of Nightmares was almost everything that I hoped it would be. Still wildly imaginative with amazing writing. It also brought in another element that created another dimension to the story. Without giving away any spoilers, this was a good follow-up to Strange the Dreamer, even if there were some choices that I didn’t quite agree with. I also liked how Taylor subtly tied this book in with her other series. (And the hardcover is only $10 right now which is cheaper than both the paperback AND the ebook! Click link below.)

Hardcover | ebook

NeverwhereNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Read: 11/20

So, apparently, I’ve been sleeping on Neil Gaiman this whole time. Like, I’d read a couple of his books, but after reading this now I need to read EVERYTHING. My friend picked this for book club and I wasn’t really expecting much, but WOW. Easily my favorite read of 2018. Gaiman is funny and insightful and obviously a very, very talented writer. Please. Just read this book.

My Review | Hardcover | ebook

The Feather ThiefThe Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
Read: 12/19

I legitimately never thought that I would like a non-fiction book like I like this one. It’s FASCINATING. I obviously love all things heist and the fact that this is an actual heist makes it that much more exciting. Johnson does such a good job of making every aspect of this book interesting–not just the crime part. The history of Wallace as well as all the information on Victorian salmon fly-tying is so easy to read and digest. Do yourself a favor and pick this up.

My Review | Hardcover | ebook

12 Best Book Deals for 1/4/19: Bird Box, Bridge of Clay, My Plain Jane, and more

I get emails all the time listing book deals and I finally realized that I should be sharing these! Here’s a list of some crazy deals that I found today (they’re all Kindle downloads from Amazon). Now, I’m not sure how long these books will be at this price, but hopefully they’ll be this way for a few days!

$1.99

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak – My husband bought this book the day it came out because he was so excited (and he doesn’t get very excited about books). We love Markus Zusak who is also the author of The Book Thief.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – I just finished reading this one a couple of weeks ago and I loved it! It’s in the same vein as the first book (My Lady Jane) and I thought it was SO FUN. Granted, I haven’t actually read Jane Eyre, but from that perspective it was still really fun!

The Jewel (Jewel Series Book 1) by Amy Ewing – I read this one a while ago and it’s your basic dystopian series, but I think I remember finding it pretty enjoyable.

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson – I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s got great reviews on Goodreads.

Jackaby by William Ritter – I really like this series! It’s kind of Doctor Who-ish meets Sherlock Holmes. Here’s a link to my review from a couple of years ago.

Firefight (The Reckoners Book 2) and Calamity (The Reckoners Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson – This is a series that I need to finish! I really enjoyed the first two books and the third has been sitting on my shelf for ages. Here’s a link to my review of Firefight.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – I haven’t read this one yet either, but I’ve heard really good things.

Sabriel (Old Kingdom Book 1) by Garth Nix – This is a series that I know I need to start–it’s been on my list forever. Maybe this will be the year!

$2.99

Bird Box: A Novel by Josh Malerman – I read this book during library school for a horror assignment and now it’s a Netflix movie with Sandra Bullock! I’m not usually a big horror person, but I was still able to read this book. I personally think that this story is better told as a book than a movie. In the book, when the characters can’t see anything, neither can the reader and that really helps build suspense–I’m not sure how well that translates to the screen. Here’s a link to my annotation for school.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – Classic, just so classic. Def worth having in your collection imo.

The Diviners by Libba Bray – First, I’m just going to say that this book is a commitment. It’s LONG and it’s a series where you really should read more than just the first book. That being said, it’s super atmospheric and the time period oozes off the page. Here’s a link to my review.

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel Book 1) by Genevieve Cogman – I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book for review before it was published in the US and I was blown away! I didn’t really know what to expect when I got it, but it’s SO GOOD and there are like five books in the series, so if you like it, you can BINGE. Here’s a link to my review.

So there you go, enjoy! Let me know if you decide to get any of these/what you’ve already read/which ones of these you’ve enjoyed!

Top Ten Tuesday: Mood Reading

top-ten-tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Ten Books To Read If You Are In The Mood For X

I think the point of this is to give ten books for one mood, but I’m going to give one book rec for ten different moods.

If you are in the mood for

A Summer Road Trip then you should read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Cupcakes then you should read Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

A Fairy Tale then you should read Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Ghosts then you should read In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

A Reality Show then you should read Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Baseball then you should read The Comeback Season by Jennifer E Smith

A Trip to Italy then you should read Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Reminiscing About Your Freshman Year of College then you should read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Video Games then you should read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

A Magic Show then you should read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

HW Assignment: Secret Shopper

This week’s assignment was to visit a library where the librarians do not know us and “test” them on their Reader’s Advisory skills. Here’s a summary of my report:

I went to the library hoping to get a good recommendation for an Adult fiction book that read similar to a YA book. The librarian on duty asked me what authors I enjoyed reading and I told her that I liked Sarah Dessen and, more recently, Morgan Matson. She said, “Okay, let’s see what we can find” and proceeded to start typing on her computer. After a couple of minutes of that, she turned to the other librarian at the desk and asked what she thought some good authors would be that were similar to Sarah Dessen in Adult fiction. The other librarian came up with a few authors and explained about their style while the librarian that I had first approached jotted down the names for me.

I liked that the first librarian I approached was very welcoming and helped made me feel comfortable in asking for a book recommendation. I also liked that she referred me to a librarian who seemed to know a little more about the genre I was interested in. It made me feel more confident that I would get a good recommendation.

The second librarian made an assumption about what I liked about Sarah Dessen’s books. And while I did like the aspect that the librarian referenced and based her recommendations off of, there are more elements of Dessen’s books and writing that I enjoy beyond that. I would have piped up and said something, but the librarian really didn’t give me an opportunity to. She gave a few author suggestions, but didn’t check to see if I’d already read anything by them.

In the end, it was recommended that I look into Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah (specifically “Firefly Lane”), Alan Bradley, and Anna Quindlen. Honestly, none of the Picoult or Quindlen books stood out to me as interesting—they all seemed to deal with women who were significantly older than me and in a completely different stage of life. I don’t really find reading about middle-aged women with teenaged children that appealing. I did like the sound of both “Firefly Lane” and Alan Bradley’s mystery series however.

I think I was expecting to be asked more questions about my reading preferences than I actually was. If I were in need of another book recommendation, I would probably give them another shot. It seemed like both librarians had at least some training and knowledge of Reader’s Advisory Services.

Overall, the experience was pretty good. I am legitimately excited to read both “Firefly Lane” and the Alan Bradley mystery book (I actually plan to use it for this class) but I’ll probably end up returning the Picoult and Quindlen unread.