Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Books of 2018

In true bookdragon fashion, I enjoy tracking what I read and keeping tabs on what my friends read too, because bookdragons love company! If you're here at Adventure Awaits, I'm assuming you're my scaly, story-addicted kin. Welcome.
In the interests of satisfying curiosity--yours and mine--here are all the books I read in 2018, complete with the mini reviews and stats that were popular last year!


Raising Dragons // Bryan Davis
Boy breathes fire // Arthurian legend // dragonslayers // felt like returning to old friends // 5 stars

Siren's Fury // Mary Weber
Steampunk meets fantasy // dramatic redemption // airships // darkness // cliffhanger // 5 stars


The Scorch Trials // James Dashner
Improved over The Maze Runner // Newt and Minho are my favs // Teresa is annoying as all get-out // sorry, the movie was better // 4 stars

The Candlestone // Bryan Davis
All my babies are growing up // vivid analogies // "truth is my sword" // singing in the midst of darkness // 5 stars

Hostage Run // Andrew Klavan
Super fast read // video game affects reality // angry son actually works to forgive his father // Molly is great // 4 stars

Orphan's Song // Gillian Bronte Adams
Cozy fantasy // griffins and orphans and swords // music is magic // Amos, the cranky peddler, sounds exactly like Hector Barbossa in my head // 4 stars


Last Star Burning // Caitlin Sangster
Dystopian China = very cool // sleeping sickness // confusing action sequences // common sense could've prevented 90% of the problems // backstabby characters // 3 stars

Circles of Seven // Bryan Davis
So much symbolism // one of my favorites // Walter and Ashley snark // detestable villainess // Prof is the actual best // 5 stars


The Returning // Rachelle Dekker
Powerful themes about identity // new generation of characters // I missed the old ones // some loose threads left unresolved // 4 stars

Tears of a Dragon // Bryan Davis
Great character growth // rescuing dragon souls // fighting the Watchers // solid ending // 5 stars

The Story Peddler // Lindsay A. Franklin
Cozy and full of wonder // exceeded my expectations // storytelling powers // headstrong heroine // ragtag band of misfits // I fell in love with the pirate! // 5 stars


Eye of the Oracle // Bryan Davis
History of millennia woven into overarching plot // underground slaves // portal jumping // Makaidos is my favorite dragon ever // 5 stars

The Sea of Monsters // Rick Riordan
Hilarious // a taxi of death // man-eating sheep // Tyson is sweet // epic bad guys plans // would've liked a bit more introspection // 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone // J.K. Rowling
Utterly enchanting // lovable characters // my first foray into the Wizarding World // some unnecessary sneakery // I'm gonna go live at Hogwarts okay thanks // 5 stars

Gravestone // Travis Thrasher
Audiobook // dark and winding road // gloomy // creepy // a ray of light is coming // very lifelike emotions // 5 stars


Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff // Chip Gaines
Interesting anecdotes // family first // live fearlessly // felt a bit scattered // 4 stars

Steal Like an Artist // Austin Kleon
Inspiration for the creative process // celebrate imperfection // pithy and quotable // catapults your own thoughts // 5 stars

Enoch's Ghost // Bryan Davis
Sacrifice // Ashley is super relatable // creepy infinite staircase // so many awesome characters hurting so much, ow // 5 stars

Siren's Song // Mary Weber
Epic final battle // heart-wrenching ending // Nym has come so far // Myles gave me Loki vibes // thematically magnificent // 5 stars

Unblemished // Sara Ella
So fun and cute // fairy-tale-esque world connected to New York // twisty plot // love triangle // Team Ky all the way // 4.5 stars

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap // Akira Himekawa
Graphic novel // cute drawing style // the Pikori are adorable // good conclusion // 4 stars

Paper and Fire // Rachel Caine
Left me breathless // good ol' rescue plot // creepy automatons // squad goals // stacks of dusty, old books // gearing up for an epic rebellion // 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets // J.K. Rowling
The Weasely family is adorable // rollicking adventures // Mandrakes! // ugh, Lockhart // unexpected and satisfying ending // 5 stars

All the Crooked Saints // Maggie Stiefvater
Charming, lyrical writing // eclectic pilgrims // the desert is a character unto itself // Pete, my love // healing is found through opening up to others // 5 stars


Last of the Nephilim // Bryan Davis
War is coming // everyone's gathering in Second Eden (which is a really cool place) // lots of action // Elam! // 5 stars


Embers // Ronie Kendig
Love the premise // fire powers // a bit too many characters // set up for the beginnings of an epic "fellowship," though // 4 stars

The Bones of Makaidos // Bryan Davis
One of my favorite books // epic cast // climactic battles // best-ever satisfying ending // 5 stars

Fairest Son // H.S.J. Williams
Gender-bent Snow White // wild fey // unexpected twists // I fell in love with Prince Idris // beautiful story // 5 stars

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking // Susan Cain
Fascinating // made me more aware of my temperament's strengths // 4 stars

Hacker // Ted Dekker
Took a surprising look at the unseen world // hacking the human consciousness // felt like an allegory // 4 stars


The Magician's Nephew // C.S. Lewis
Focus on the Family audio // brought back memories // dawn of Narnia brings me to tears // 5 stars

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe // C.S. Lewis
Focus on the Family audio // classic // great voice cast // except Aslan's voice doesn't beat Liam Neeson in the movies // 5 stars

The Story of With // Allen Arnold
Life-changing // awakens the heart // fiction and nonfiction fused together // 5 stars

The Horse and His Boy // C.S. Lewis
Focus on the Family audio // I loved this one more than the first few times I read it // Bree is my fav // 5 stars

Prince Caspian // C.S. Lewis
Focus on the Family audio // really fun // Trumpkin's voice is amusing // the Pevensies are back // 5 stars

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader // C.S. Lewis
Focus on the Family audio // so many adventures // one of my favorite Narnia books // 5 stars

The Silver Chair // C.S. Lewis
Focus on the Family audio // darker than I remembered // Puddleglum's the best // 5 stars

The Last Battle // C.S. Lewis
Focus on the Family audio // I want to throttle that ape // Susan, why? // happy reunions // further up and further in // 5 stars

Song of the Ovulum // Bryan Davis
Tale of mercy // new generation of characters // also a throwback to the Biblical Flood // 5 stars


Crazy Love // Francis Chan
Audiobook // some good parts about the bigness of God // bit of a guilt trip in other parts // 4 stars

From the Mouth of Elijah // Bryan Davis
Fiery volcanoes // madcap portal dashes // sacrificial love // Lauren's journey is particularly poignant // 5 stars

If We Survive // Andrew Klavan
Audiobook // so intense // Will is such a good kid // I love all the characters, though // everything goes wrong, ack // 5 stars

Fawkes // Nadine Brandes
Lived up to the hype // historical fantasy with color magic // Thomas! Emma! // twisty plot // 5 stars

Haven // Mary Lindsey
Paranormal romance // clichéd plot, decently cool backstory // alpha male protagonist, overly aggressive // the romance was blegh, blegh, blegh // I got rid of the book // 1 star


The Seventh Door // Bryan Davis
Awesome parallels to Circles of Seven // Tamiel is one crafty villain // deeply sad scenes // Matt grows a lot // 5 stars


The Scorpio Races // Maggie Stiefvater
So good that it hurts // atmospheric // the capall uisce horses are SCARY // slow burn romance // Puck and I understand each other // love Sean Kendrick // 5 stars

Omega Dragon // Bryan Davis
Apocalyptic conclusion // so many brave heroes // tied up the twelve books in a smashing finale // 5 stars
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban // J.K. Rowling
My favorite HP book yet // Lupin is the best // Harry is growing up // all the plot twists // I want to visit Hogwarts // 5 stars
Horseman // Kyle Robert Schultz
The Wild West of Neverica // magic and mayhem // spot-on humor // Julio the dragon is hilarious // 4 stars
The Sacred Enneagram // Christopher L. Heuertz
Enlightening // resonated with my inner journey // lots to chew on // Christian perspective on how to use the Enneagram for personal and spiritual growth // 5 stars

Reading Stats

Total Books Read: 50 (10 more than 2017!)
Pages Read: 17,656 (which is over 4,000 more pages than 2017!)
Also, let us take a moment to cast an appreciative glance at a two-foot stack made of eleven college textbooks read during the year. I'm not sure how many hundreds of pages that pile would add . . . and I'm not sure I want to think about it.

Genres of 2018

This was the year of fantasy! But . . . I mean . . . that's not new. I did average a nonfiction book every other month, which is up from last year.
Some other stats of interest . . .

I "read" a lot more audiobooks than normal (since normal used to be zero). And, as you'll see below, this was also the Year of Rereads!

Star Ratings

Pretty typical! I read a lot of books I enjoyed and very, very few that I didn't.

Most Read Authors

  • Bryan Davis (12)
  • C.S. Lewis (7)
  • J.K. Rowling (3)
  • Mary Weber (2)
  • Andrew Klavan (2)
  • Maggie Steifvater (2)

Favorite Authors Discovered in 2018

Without a doubt, my favorite new-to-me authors this year were:
  • Lindsay A. Franklin (because The Story Peddler was awesome, Lindsay is awesome, and I can't wait for her next book releasing April 2019!)
  • J.K. Rowling (because I finally joined the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I'm rather delighted to be here)
  • H.S.J. Williams (because her Snow White novella was just so beautiful)

Least Favorite Book

Haven by Mary Lindsey. I've already complained about it, so if you're curious about the details behind why I so disliked this novel, I'll just drop a link to my Goodreads review HERE.

Favorite Books

IT'S SO HARD TO PICK. Because almost half of this year's books were rereads, I'm going to cheat and give you two lists--one of my favorite new books and one of my favorite rereads.

Favorite New Books
  • The Story Peddler
  • Paper and Fire
  • All the Crooked Saints
  • Fairest Son
  • Fawkes
  • The Scorpio Races
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Favorite Rereads
  • Circles of Seven
  • Eye of the Oracle
  • The Bones of Makaidos
  • The Horse and His Boy
  • If We Survive

Happy Reading, Bookdragons!

I'm pleasantly surprised to see what a great reading year this was! It was pretty different than my usual, what with rereads (which used to be rare), more nonfiction, and more audiobooks (which saved my Goodreads reading challenge while in college).
Looking forward to another great set of books in 2019! My TBR pile is as staggering as ever, threatening to hold me hostage; and new releases like To Best the Boys by Mary Weber, The Story Raider by Lindsay Franklin, Romanov by Nadine Brandes, and probably a lot more are just going to add height to the TBR . . . but that's a fun problem to have.

Whew, you made it to the end! Now tell me: what were some of your top reads of 2018? And what's an upcoming release you can't wait to add to your dragon hoard?



  2. YOU READ SO MANY GOOD BOOKS THIS YEAR. (Er...last year. XD) All those Bryan Davis books and jumping into the Wizarding World (so much yes to The Prisoner of Azkaban and Lupin <3) and Percy Jackson and the Storm Siren trilogy and Fawkes and Narnia. JUST ALL THE PRECIOUSES. And oooh, you read Horseman this month! :D Such a fun concept of a story! I also love how you allowed yourself so many rereads. I have like...400 books on my TBR (I wish I was kidding...), but I'm considering doing a few rereads this year. It's been way too long since I've visited my favorite. We'll see!

    Anyways, I'm so happy you had such a good reading year! Most of the books I read in 2018 (but seriously, how are we using 2018 as past tense now??? where did time GO?) we're 4 or 5 stars as well!

    Here's to a hopefully 'nuther good year of reading! *raises...er, a book*


    1. I'M SO HAPPY ABOUT IT. :D Eeep, just rereading the titles you mentioned makes me glad all over again. Yes, Horseman was so fun! I don't know if I've ever read a magical Wild West story before. But ugh, my Goodreads TBR is somewhere between 400-500 too, and I KNOW that doesn't cover everything. :P

      So glad you read lots of 4 and 5 star reads last year too! *clinks books together* (except books don't clink...)


  3. So many books here I need to read . . . I read (listened) to all the Maze Runner books this year. Teresa was super annoying. And so was Thomas half the time. But yes, I loved Newt and Minho. I both love and hate those books.

    I'm currently writing a serial for my blog and it's the eight book to Narnia. About Susan. It should start posting February or March. I just started the second draft today. And it's writing up so quickly! I'm really excited for this book (because as you say, "Why Susan?") but I'm also nervous, because how could I dare to write something and sit it next to C.S.Lewis' work?

    Fun stats! I tend to LOVE everything I read these days, too. Maybe I pick wisely? Or maybe I'm not picky? Or a lucky but balanced combination of both?


    1. I need to read The Death Cure yet, even if I already know it won't be as good as the movie was! XD Teresa was a real pain. I didn't feel much about Thomas either way. Glad you enjoyed Newt and Minho, though! The concept of the books is super cool; it's a pity the writing didn't hold up.

      Oh, how fun! I'm happy to hear someone's exploring Susan's story like that.

      Let's go with the lucky/balanced combo. I think I'm that way too, at least I have been lately. XD

  4. Love this post! <3 aww, Harry Potter! Those books are so good *heart eyes*. I reread them this year, and they're even better than I remembered. ;)

    I'll have to check out the Bryan Davis books--they look really good! ;) and The Scorpio Races! <3 <3

    And oh my word, I LOVE the Focus on the Family audio dramas of Narnia. They are absolutely amazing (I actually like the audio drama of "Horse and His Boy" better than the actual book ;). I need to reread Narnia--hopefully this year.

    happy new year! <3

    1. Rereading Harry Potter must be so fun! I'm sure I'll come back to them several times in the future. <3

      YES, do that!!! He's been one of my favorite authors for years! And The Scorpio Races is beautiful.

      It was my first time listening to all of them like that! So much fun. Focus on the Family certainly brought the stories to life. Ah, Narnia rereads are becoming an almost-annual thing for me! <3

      Happy (belated) New Year, Allison!

  5. Love this post! <3 aww, Harry Potter! Those books are so good *heart eyes*. I reread them this year, and they're even better than I remembered. ;)

    I'll have to check out the Bryan Davis books--they look really good! ;) and The Scorpio Races! <3 <3

    And oh my word, I LOVE the Focus on the Family audio dramas of Narnia. They are absolutely amazing (I actually like the audio drama of "Horse and His Boy" better than the actual book ;). I need to reread Narnia--hopefully this year.

    happy new year! <3

  6. Wow, so many books!!

    I really want to read Scorpio Races at some point. I just need to get my hands on it.

    I'm also hoping to get Story Peddler at some point. It sounds really good.

    1. The Scorpio Races was so good! Very atmospheric and emotional. <3

      Oooh, yes! I can't wait for you to read The Story Peddler! Such a cozy, fun fantasy with great characters. Mor is my FAVORITE, but I've already fangirled about him a lot around here. XD

  7. I love All the Crooked Saints! I'm so glad you liked it! It is one of my favorite books now. My favorite part is how the author describes the desert. *dies from happiness*
    I haven't read the Scorpio Races yet, but I think I will be getting that one from the library.
    Your list was fun!

    1. Oh my heart, I loved how the desert became almost a character of its own! I've never been to any desert, but those descriptions made me fall in love right along with Pete. ^_^

      Oh yes! If you loved All the Crooked Saints, I think you'll like The Scorpio Races too. <3

      Thank you!

  8. I read The Scorpio Races and All the Crooked Saints in 2018 too and LOVED them!! They are epic books. <3 (The romance in Scorpio Races is TOO BEAUTIFUL FOR WORDS.)

    I'm DYING to read Fawkes, meep.

    Great post!!

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

    1. YAY! Those two books just make me so happy. (Sean and Puck forever!!!)

      FAWKES. YES. SO GOOD. MUST READ. I hope you enjoy it!

      Thanks, girl!

  9. I need to read so many of these. Happy to see one of the Solitary Tales made the list. :D

    1. Oh, the fate of our TBRs! XD I'm going to try to do an inter-library loan on the next two Solitary Tales audiobooks... My library only has the first two, and I really want to finish my reread in audio format! :D

  10. Why did your description of The Scorch Trials make me laugh? (I agree though, Minho is probably my favorite character on the books except Newt and I hate Teresa in the books except in the first one) and of course all Bryan Davis books are just the best XD

    1. I don't know, but I'm glad it did! XDDD (MINHO! NEWT! <3 Ugh, Teresa. *glares at her*) I totally agree with you about Bryan Davis books. ;)

  11. I've only read the Rowling, most of the C. S. Lewis, and the Kleon (if that's really a book that you "read"). It all looks fun though. Maybe I'll read Davis some day.

    1. Those are excellent! (The Kleon book is a very fast read. More of a skim, really.) You know how I feel about Bryan Davis books. Hope you enjoy whichever one you pick up!

  12. Focus on the Family did such a good job with the Narnia audio dramas! It's been a while since I last listened to them, though.
    I must admit that most of these books I haven't read. But I'd like to read Fairest Son. I remember Williams' incredible early work from her old blog.

    1. They certainly did! The audio dramas made excellent traveling companions for a few weeks of college commuting. :)

      I think you'd enjoy Fairest Son! Such a beautiful twist on Snow White.

  13. You have a great bunch of reads here! I’m glad you’ve joined the Wizarding world clan! I’m a new member too and I’m also very pleased to be here! Haha! What house are you?

    1. High five to a fellow wizard-who's-never-late-but-arrives-precisely-when-she-intends-to! Oh wait, I'm mixing fandoms, haha. ;)

      GOOD QUESTION. I thought for the longest time that I was Gryffindor, but lately I've been getting mixed results between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. So... Gryffinclaw, maybe? What about you?

  14. Aaahh I loved seeing all your books like this!! :D (I keep forgetting Mary Weber's books have airships. LIKE. I NEED.) And Orphan's Song, Story Peddler, Horseman, and HP3! :D So gooood! I totally need to read Scorpio Races SOON, Narnia is long overdue for a re-read, and I think that's so fun you read all the Bryan Davis books! I should continue the series if I can get hold of the next one sometime . . . Also AWK your stats and pie-charts MAKE ME SO HAPPY. Thanks for sharing all the bookishness! <3

    My fave books would be The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder, Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, Lady Moon by Rachel Starr Thomson, Masque by W.R. Gingell and . . . after that you'd have to consult my top-15-books post because I can't pick my next-favorite after these top 4! <3

    1. (I'm so late in replying to you, sorry friend!) Isn't it fun to lay out a whole year's worth of books? Maybe it's a nerdy bookdragon thing, but I love it. XD (Yes, they DO have airships--at least 2 and 3 do, can't remember if 1 does. YOU NEED.) So many good books! *frolics* Okay, remind me--how far did you get in DIOM etc.? LOL, I love how the pie charts make you happy. <3

      I WANT TO READ PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THOSE. Especially The Electrical Menagerie, which I missed out on buying at Realm Makers because they all sold out. D: And from everything you've said about Echo North (which has a gorgeous title, by the by), I need to read that one pronto. And I also need to check out your top-15-books post! *is behind*

    2. I read the first 4 Dragons in Our Midst books--the first series, I guess. So yes. I think Oracles of Fire is the next one so... it's vaguely on my radar to find it someday. XD

    3. Yes, that's the first series! And Oracles of Fire is the next series of four, followed by the four Children of the Bard books. "Vaguely on your radar," haha. ;)

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