My Favorite Read of January 2018

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)The Waste Lands by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reflecting back on 2018, I have decided to pick my favorite book I read per month to officially come up with my ‘best reads of the year list’. ((Inspired by an Instagram challenge – #bookstabest2018 – check it out if you are on Insta)). For January, it was an easy choice. This book blew my mind.

The incorporation of all the riddles and the story of Blaine the Mono. I mean, who comes up with this stuff?

The King, that’s who. Stephen. Freaking. King.

Original: Okay, well, I finished this over a week ago and I still don’t know how I can possibly review this adequately. What more can I say besides the fact that I freaking loved it?! As you know if you are reading this, this is the third book in King’s epic Dark Tower series. This book knocked The Drawing of Three out of the top spot for me – it was that good! Most compelling was the resurgence of my favorite character of this series and it just made me so, so happy!

There is really nothing else I can say about this that would be any more creative or insightful than what countless others have no doubt written in their reviews. For me, one thing I always think when reading a book from this series is how absolutely EPIC this story is. The detail, the atmosphere, the artfully drawn characters – it is truly astounding to me that all of this, ALL OF THIS, came out of one man’s brain!

I have already started the fourth book in the series and it is equally amazing, although the pace is a little different thus far. I look forward to seeing this series out to its conclusion.

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Top 5 Favorites – 2018, Quarter 1

Happy Friyay Geeks & Gals! Today I thought I would write-up a list of my top 5 books that I read in the first quarter of the year (January 1st to March 31st). I have watched a few booktube videos that inspired this idea for me. It was really hard to choose just 5 so I will definitely be including an ‘honorable mentions’ list at the bottom! So, without further ado, let’s get into it. In no particular order:

  1. The Shining by Stephen King – This was my second time reading this psychological horror classic. The first time I read it, I was in high school and not going to lie, it scared the shit out of me. The slow burn narrative style and descriptions of the happenings at The Overlook Hotel, leave you with a feeling of dread and suspense throughout the book. Certain aspects sent chills right down my spine! Without giving too much away, I will just say elevators, topiary gardens and playgrounds are spooky to me now. As an adult, I think I have an even greater appreciation for this book in regards to the more ‘adult’ themes of addiction, family life and career struggles and aspirations. I certainly picked up more details my second time through as well and I know I will end up reading this fabulous book again in the future. The Shining is hands down one of my favorite books of all time!
  2. The Troop by Nick Cutter – I finished this book back on March 18th and still haven’t written a review.  The reason for this is mostly I am nervous about being able to adequately express how much I enjoyed it. This is a horror novel that follows a group of boys who are taken by their Scoutmaster to a island off the coast of Eastern Canada for a weekend camping trip. When a very ill stranger stumbles into their cabin a horror is unleashed that is beyond all expectation. The characters were so well drawn and their relationships and inner thoughts and desires so well expressed that in spite of being a horror novel, this can be appreciated as a true character piece. In a way, it reminded me a lot of the Lord of the Flies – with this, I am thinking of how each character is sort of placed into a stereotypical societal role and then we see how those roles play off one another. Among the group of boys we have the tough guy, alpha male; the nerdy, know-it-all, mother of the group; the golden boy who excels at sports and gets along with everyone; a wiry, cagey little guy with the absent father and bad temper; and finally the sociopath who’s inner thoughts are a horror story unto themselves! I was so impressed with the quality of Cutter’s writing and have already purchased another book of his, The Deep, which I plan to read in May.
  3. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – This is a prequel to Hoffman’s novel, Practical Magic, which was made into a very successful movie starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. In this book we get to follow the early life of the Practical Magic Aunts, Jet & Franny (along with their brother Vincent, who I personally, didn’t even know existed – sorry Vincent!). At its core, this book is a beautiful coming-of-age tale/family drama sprinkled with magic. Hoffman’s writing style is so lyrical and flows in such a way, that as a reader, you can completely immerse yourself in the story, forgetting the world around you. In my opinion, no one does magical realism better. It can be a truly beautiful experience. I cried, I laughed out loud and as I closed that final page my soul wept with the fact that it was over. Yep, I loved this book.
  4. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas – This books sticks in my mind mostly due to its originality and boldness. The story is present day and follows the lives of four women as they experience different ‘women’s issues’ from their perspectives of age, familial status and place in society. The content was topical and didn’t shy away from very difficult topics related to sex, women’s health and motherhood. The writing style was riveting and kept me engaged from the very beginning until the final chapter. This is definitely a story that will make you think and as a woman, I felt that there were aspects to each character’s arc that I could relate too. I felt the author showed real courage in writing this book and appreciate her quality of work (this was her first published novel, y’all!). I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!
  5. A List of Cages by Robin Roe – This YA Contemporary novel is honestly one of the most moving stories I have ever read in my life.  Because of this, I think it would definitely take a spot in my favorite books of all time list. This one took me completely off guard. I had heard it mentioned over and over again on booktube and finally picked up a paperback copy for myself on the cheap from Amazon. I annotated it as I was reading and there are literally tabs galore on that baby! The story follows the perspective of two male high school students who have had completely different life experiences but come together in this most charming way. These characters are so well drawn. Julian, so sweet, innocent and trapped in his loss. Adam, fun, popular and extremely caring. I love the relationship of the two boys and how it evolves over the course of the book. This will be a hard one to forget. It was heartbreaking, I was shattered after reading it but also filled with love and hope. I ended up feeling a strong connection to these boys, just such good eggs, the both of them. There is a strong message of kindness and empathy here that should not be missed! I highly recommend this one.

So, those are my top 5 for the quarter, however, I have read a lot of good books so far this year, some honorable mentions would be: The Wastelands (Dark Tower III) and Wizard & Glass (Dark Tower IV) by Stephen King; NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, MacBeth by Jo Nesbo, The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills, Final Girls by Riley Sager and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. What have been your favorite books that you have read so far this year? I want to know! Leave a comment below or message me on Instagram or Twitter – contact links on the side menu bar. Thanks for reading!

Cheers~