Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2018: A Year in Review

I enjoyed answering Jamie's (The Perpetual Page Turner) End of the Year Survey in past years and decided to join in again this year.  I did alter some of the questions and subtracted a few to make it my own.


Some Fun Meaningless 2018 Reading Statistics:

Number Of Books Read: 60 (not including children's books I read with my daughter)

Genre Read The Most From:
(Some of what I read falls under more than one genre. Here, I count them under the genre I most identified with the book, Also of note, my categorization of each book by sub-genre using broad definitions).

Crime Fiction - 18
  • 10 Cozies (6 paranormal, 2 comtemptorary, 2 historical)
  • 7 Thrillers
  • 1 Romance
Fantasy/Science Fiction - 18
  • 6 Science Fiction/Fantasy Cross-Genre (1 children's)
  • 4 Urban Fantasy
  • 3 Fantasy Romance/YA
  • 2 Children's
  • 2 Romance
  • 1 Dark Fantasy
Fiction - 10
  • 6 Historical Fiction
  • 2 Contemporary Fiction (Literary, Women's, General)
  • 2 Classics
    Romance - 8
    • 5 Fantasy Romance
    • 2 Historical
    • 1 Contemporary
    Nonfiction - 3
    • 1 Science
    • 1 Graphic Memoir (YA)
    • 1 Memoir
    Poetry - 2

    Horror - 1

    Of the book I read, 3 were audio books, 7 were print copies (hardcover or paperback), and 49 were e-books.

    8 of the 60 books I read in 2018 were written by men.
    48 of the 60 books I read were written by women.
    4 of  the 60 were written by both male and female writers.

    26 of the books I read in 2018 were written in 3rd person point of view.
    33 of the books I read were written in 1st person.
    1 of the books I read was a mixture of both 1st and 3rd person.

    Months I Finished the Most Books: January & July (8 each)

    Best In Books

    1. Favorite Reads in 2018?

    I did not give out many 5 paw ratings in 2018, although several books came close. I ended up with two in particular that did earn my highest rating. This means a book has a combination of good writing, well-developed characters, a memorable setting or world-building, an entertaining or thought provoking story, and one that brings out an array of my emotions.

    Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

    Close Runner Up:

    The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang

    2. Second Chance Books Or Authors That Did Well In a Later Attempt?

    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ~ I ended up enjoying quite a bit despite numerous attempts to start it before.

    3. Best series I started in 2018? 

    Ilona Andrews' Innkeeper Chronicles won me over with the first book, Clean Sweep, and I read the next two books in the series, Sweep in Peace and One Fell Sweep, right on its heels. It has become one of my favorites.

    I cannot help but mention Seanan McGuire's Ghost Roads series, which also became a fast favorite. I read both Sparrow Hill Road and The Girl in the Green Silk Gown  in 2018 and enjoyed them immensely!

    4. Best Sequel of 2018?

    This is really the second in the series, but I cannot help but give mention to it given how much I loved it: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley. I adore Kat Holloway and cannot get enough of her.

    5. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else: 

    Thanks to my Postal Mail Group (which is sadly no more), I got the chance to read The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, which, although written a couple years ago, remains timely still.

    6. Favorite Authors I Discovered in 2018?

    I read a number of new-to-me authors whose books I enjoyed, but these in particular stood out this past year for me.  

    Lyndsay Faye
    Beatriz Williams
    Sabrina Jeffries
    Lynn Messina
    Lydia Kang
    Seanan McGuire
    Jennifer David Hesse
    Grace Draven
    Amanda Lovelace
    Carol J. Perry

    7. "Old" Favorite Authors Whose Books I Thoroughly Enjoyed in 2018: 

    Ilona Andrews
    Anne Bishop
    Genevieve Cogman
    Jennifer Ashley
    Jill Shalvis
    Susan Elia MacNeal
    Karen E. Olson
    Juliette Cross
    Victoria Gilbert
    Hazel Gaynor

    8. Most Memorable Character?

    This is a tough one to answer this year. Jane Steele immediately comes to mind. The tie  to Jane Eyre may help some, but she really is a character that stands on her own. As much as her life may mirror that of dear Jane Eyre, Jane Steele is very much her own character.

    Rose Marshall of Sparrow Hill Road and The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire is not a character I will soon forget. A ghost who travels the roads of America, her reputation, however, distorted, proceeds her.

    9. Author or Series I Binged On This Year?

    A couple actually. I binged read Ilona Andrews' Innkeeper Chronicles as well as Jennifer David Hesse's Wiccan Wheel Mystery Series

    10. Top Five Favorite Covers of Books I Read in 2018?

    A Brazen Curiosity by Lynn Messina

    The Diving Pool  by Yōko Ogawa

    The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

    The Storm King by Brendan Duffy

    Pressed to Death  (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #2) by Kirsten Weiss

    11. Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2018 to Finally Read?

    The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal. I have liked past books in the series, but let it get away from me. Spending time with Maggie Hope again was such a pleasure. I still have some catching up to do, and look forward to doing so. 

    I finally read Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop. It probably comes as a big surprise to those who know me that I am not caught up with the Others books. This is one of my all-time favorite series, and yet I keep putting off reading the more recent books. What is wrong with me?!

    12. Shortest Book I Read in 2018? 

    Tales of the Fae by L.J. Hamlin came in at 35 pages, the book being made up of three short stories.

    13.  Longest Book I Read In 2018?

    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1433 pages) beat out Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (1298 pages), which I also read this year. 

    14. Book That Put A Smile On My Face/Was The Most FUN To Read/Listen To?

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum was such a delight to listen to. I actually listened to it twice this year, the first time on my own, and the second on the drive to my in-laws with my family Thanksgiving Day.

    15. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

    A Brazen Curiosity by Lynn Messina is a short novel, but fully realized. It is the start of a series I am looking forward to following up on. Set in Regency England, bookish and mousy Bea is the last person you would expect to solve a murder, but she manages just that.

    16. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

    I am a known crier. I often take the books I read to heart, growing attached to the characters and feeling their pain and joys all too well. The book that shook me the most this year and had me crying that ugly cry was Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. And even though I knew the story so well before reading the book in its entirety. 

    I would love to know what your favorite reads of 2018 were! Please share a link to your favorite's list below if you posted one--or just tell me in the comments. Did we read any of the same books? If so, what did you think?

    My Blogging Bookish Life

    I published 170 blog posts. January was my most prolific month with 25 posts, and July was my slowest with only 7 posts.

    In 2018, I continued to take part in Michelle's My TBR List Meme at Because Reading, enlisting your help in choosing one book each month to read. I really enjoyed having you take an active part in selecting what I would read. It can be difficult to choose on my own with so many choices. You wouldn't believe the amount of time I can waste in deciding. Or maybe you can . . . I am grateful to Michelle for coming up with the idea. I plan to continue to participate in the meme in 2019, and hope you will join me! 

    Books Read Because Of You (My TBR List Poll Winners of 2018):

    My Reading Goals for 2018 Were:

    1. Read more Classics ~ I read three classics this year. Not much in the way of progress, I am afraid.

    2. Read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo ~ I did it! One of my favorite books of 2018.

    3. Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ~ I gave myself a big pat on the back the day I finished this one.

    4. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading ~ SI don’t want to talk about it.

    5. Read more of my older TBR books ~ This will forever be a goal, I think.

    6. Catch up on at least two favorite series ~ I did not manage this one, but I did start and got caught up in a new one or two this past year.

    7. Increase the number of audio books I listen to ~ I ended up going in the opposite direction and only listened to two. I also canceled my Audible subscription. I have quite a few in my "library" that I should focus on, I think. And there's always the library.

    8. Read more chapter books with my daughter ~ We did do this, although I was not the best at keeping track. My daughter still prefers picture books, but she’s also really likes the idea of tackling those chapter books.

    9. Read more poetry ~ Toward the end of the year, I did make time to feature a couple of poetry books in my new feature Poetry Corner. I hope to continue this in the New Year.

    10. Reading Challenges ~ I want to complete the reading challenges I signed up for to my satisfaction.

    What a year two thousand eighteen was! It may not have been my most stellar reading year in terms of numbers (60 books total; 90 if you go by Goodreads in which I added in a few of the books my daughter and I read together—when I remembered). I had a lot of big reading and blogging plans going into this past year. I started a bullet journal, which fizzled out after about 4 months. I gave up on most of my reading challenges, deciding they were too constricting at this time in my life. And yet I stuck with my two year-long read-alongs, finishing both Les Misérables and War and Peace.

    On the personal front, I threw myself into the life of a dance/theater mom (I’m a work in progress) and work was, well work. I do like my job, but it takes a lot out of me most days. There was also Girl Scouts. I gave up my co-leadership role when our original troop broke up last spring, but Mouse and I still remain active in our new troop. There were health issues, both our own and within our extended families. My house needs a good dusting, but my cats are happy and well fed. My daughter seems to be too.

    The country, and even the world, is still a mess. Thank goodness for books. Whether to help us maneuver through each day, guiding and teaching us, helping us understand, or giving us the tools and resources we need to make change. Or even if to help us completely escape into another person’s life or world for just a little while.

    Given this past year’s reading challenge progress (or lack thereof), I am forgoing any reading challenges this year. Who knows though. Maybe down the road one will pique my interest.

    2019 Reading Goals (many of which are the same as this past year):

    1. Read more Classics.

    2. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading.

    3. Read more of my older TBR books.

    4. Be better about recording in Goodreads the Children’s books I read with my daughter.

    5. Read more poetry (and feature more on my blog)

    6. Make more time for reading in general.

    How did your past year shape up? Did you accomplish your reading and blogging goals? Have you set any for the new year?

    Thank you to all of you for your visits and comments this past year. It means so much to me. As my blog turns 13 this coming year, I cannot be more proud to be a part of this wonderful community of book bloggers. I have enjoyed visiting with you and look forward to seeing what this year will bring us, both in books and in life. I hope you all have a very Happy New Year

    First book of 2019: This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

    © 2019, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


    1. Happy New Year!!

      Love the roundup - I'm always glad to see you mention Jane Steele because I had so much fun reading it! I'm always a bit afraid to go onto NetGalley because I'll see something I want to read and then.... :p

      1. Eustacia - Jane Steele was a lot of fun. :-) NetGalley is dangerous,I tell you. Dangerous.

        Thank you for visiting!

    2. How many people can say they read W&P and Les Mis in the same year? No one else, I bet!

      Congratulations on a great reading year.

      Happy New Year!

      1. Deb - It probably was a bit much for me to take on both at the same time, but we'll worth it. Thank you for stopping by!

    3. Love, love this post, Wendy! I've followed, sometimes lurked, here on your blog to see all the details listed above take place. Too much for me to address all at one time. I'll try to be brief, lol. Me+Brief, not happening :)

      Thank you for the push to get Jane Steele. I have it now on my Kindle to read-- maybe this month. I also love The Others series and have read them all (and believe me, this is high praise since it's a genre I don't read often). I agree about Anna Lee Huber. I've read all the Lady Darby titles-- have the newest ready to go-- but for some reason I'm hesitant to move on to her other series.

      I'll probably never read Les Mis, but enjoyed you talking about your progress in it. Because of your overwhelming raves, I might just download A Brazen Curiosity with extra holiday GC too.

      I remember your family went through some sad issues this year and the loss of Parker end of last year, and the addition of a new kitty. We added one too, from my daughter's friend who couldn't keep him. While he isn't the biggest lovey-cuddle, my other two older cats love him and he keeps them entertained and he cuddles with them... so it's fine.

      I hope 2019 treats your family well. May our readings block out the negativity on the news, and may we find a peaceful spot to just "be".

      1. Rita - I hope you will enjoy Jane Steele when you get to it. This Side of Murder was my first by Huber. It was really good. I will have to check out her Darby series. I don't know why I am dragging my feet on these last Others books. I have no good excuse.

        I am glad your new kitten is working out. My older cat tolerates the younger one, but they mostly ignore each other unless they are fighting or playing. Our kitty is not a cuddle. I wish she was. Maybe when she's older ...

        I hope you have a Happy New Year as well!

    4. Congratulations on finishing Les Mis and War and Peace. I haven’t been brave enough to attempt those books yet. Happy 2019! Good luck with your goals.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

    5. Hi Wendy, Happy New Year to you and your family!

      Looks like you had a great reading year for 2018, I love the first book pic.
      I've heard good things about the Jennifer Ashley series, I need to read those. I need to read Les Misérables also.
      Enjoy your week!

      1. Naida - Happy New Year to you and your family as well! I just love Jennifer Ashley's mystery series. I want to try her other work too. Thanks for visiting!

    6. I love stats like this and wish I was patient enough to keep better records. I'm impressed with the number of e-books you read. I'm not sure why, but I struggle with them. I haven't read any of your favorites but would like to read a few of them. Happy New Year to you and your precious family!

      1. Kathy - It is fun to put the numbers together at the end of the year and see if a pattern emerges. I find ebooks so convenient and easier on my eyes (bigger font), and so I tend to gravitate more towards them. I still live my paper books though.

        I hope you have a Happy New Year too!

    7. Like bermudaonion, I wish I kept better stats. You've had a good year and I'm looking forward to your 2019 reviews!

      1. Jenclair - I try to keep my spreadsheet up to date as I read, which helps. Goodreads helps too. :-) Thanks for visiting!

    8. I enjoyed your end of year post Wendy and hope 2019 is a healthier and happier year for you and your families. The political climate has been a stressor for many of us - May 2019 be better there as well.

      1. Diane - Thank you! I hope the same for you and yours. 😊

    9. Happy New Year to you and your sweet family, Wendy! Your blog is always a highlight for me and I'm delighted that we still get to share 'what's going on at Wendy's house'. Hoping that 2019 is a fabulous year! Your love for Mouse and your hubby just shines out. Take care. Read what you want when you want. Enjoy your family. Time passes quickly with kiddos. Big hugs and let's have a great new year!

      1. Kay - Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful New Year as well, Kay!

    10. So fun to read your stats! I have to say I think you should add some numbers to the total just based on having finished those two chunksters! haha... Wishing you a wonderful year ahead and lots of great reads!

      1. Iliana - Haha! My husband said that too about the giant books. 😊 Have a Happy New Year.

    11. That's an awesome reading year! But here's hoping 2019 is even better. I want to read more classics next year and more books off my own TBR shelf, too. Good luck with all your new year's goals! :D

      1. Lark - I wish I had gotten more books in, but I think I am happy with what I did read. Thank you for stopping by!

    12. I've gotten more stingy with five-star reviews, too- I only had one this time! Sounds like you had a great year- especially those heavy classics wow.

      1. Jeane - Maybe are tastes are becoming more discerning as we get older. 😊 Thanks for visiting!

    13. Looks like you'd a great reading year, Wendy. For me I'd like to have a more balanced read - meaning, not to stick to a genre and also to read more older titles. I hope I can do it; after all I can't resist those shiny new books! ;)

      1. Melody - Thank you. I think striking a balance in what you read and between the old and new is a great idea. I need to do more of that as well. Thank you for visiting!

    14. Fantastic reading year! I really want to read Jane Steele, War and Peace and Les Miserables as well! Glad to know that you enjoyed them! I will also check out Seanan McGuire's Ghost Roads series, as I haven't heard about them before!

      Good luck with your goals and have a wonderful week!

      1. Lynn - I hope you do read Jane Steele some day! I hope you like War and Peace and Les Misérables when you get to them as well. Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have a great week too.

    15. Wendy, I'll say I got a few things accomplished this year, but not in respect to reading. This year was pretty pathetic that way as far as novels. I read tons of picture books sporadically, and lots of nonfiction (mostly health-related), but my attempts at novels didn't work out this year :( The one book I'll rave about though, and am about 1/3 through (I only read it when I'm in waiting rooms (and I was in those a LOT this year!) is MISTER ROGERS TALKS WITH PARENTS. I even did a little blog post about it: https://writersideup.com/2018/12/14/up-encore-for-mister-rogers-talks-with-parents/

      As always, what you accomplish throughout the year --- hell, on any given day lol --- amazes me! Happy Reading, Wendy, and thanks for your truly enjoyable blog posts :D Big hugs!

      1. Donna Marie - You were dealing with a lot this year on top of everything you got accomplished. So, I say you should count it as a success. Thank you so much for your comments and visits! Big hugs to you too.

    16. Great wrap up! I only have one year to finish the Classics Club and I'm only halfway through :) I just added The Wizard of Oz. I've always meant to read it. And I love the cover A Brazen Curiosity. I think I need it on my shelf!

      1. Stacy - Thank you! I think I have two years to go and I'm not even close to 50. Oh well. We can only do what we can do. I hope you enjoy A Wizard of Oz. It's a fun one. Thanks for visiting!

    17. Nice to see your breakdown! I see a few authors on your list that I've either enjoyed or hope to try soon. And I love those covers for The Diving Pool and Girl from the savoy!

      This Side of Murder looks awesome.

      1. Greg - I hope you give This Side of Murder a try! I think you'd like it. Thanks for stopping by, Greg!

    18. I always enjoy these end of year posts. Looks like you had a very successful year overall.

      1. Suzanne - Yes, I might have read as much as I would have liked, but overall it was a good reading year. Thanks for visiting!

    19. Wow, thirteen years blogging! 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌 #JazzHands

      I was about eight books shy of my fifty for the Beat the Backlist challenge, but I was still happy because my normal backlist reading would have been less than ten, and I read twelve backlist ARCs. I was especially happy about that.

      Being a dance/theater mom will get addicting. I really miss it. 🎭

      Have a wonderful 2019! 🎉

      1. La La - It doesn't feel like it's been that long, but, yeah. 13 years. Crazy. You did really well with the Backlist Challenge! Definitely count that as a success. I hope you have a great New Year too!

    20. Wow! You had a fantastic reading year in 2018! I think that you deserve all the gold stars for finishing your two year long reads. You had so much going on as well. Good luck with all of your 2019 goals!

      1. Carole - Thank you! I do feel a sense of accomplishment for making it through both of those. :-) I hope you have a great 2019!


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