2018, Oh 2018 — A Year in Perspective

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It’s that time of the year again when us bookworms get the chance to look back on what kind of reading year it has been and rank our favorites! This 2018, I was lucky enough to read a total of 72 books—surpassing my initial goal of 70—and I’ve been blessed to work with and help promote so many books from various publishers. And unlike so many of my friends, I’m proud to say that I still haven’t outgrown reading and young adult literature, and I hope that the year ahead only intensifies this wholesome obsession. Anyway, I’ve written a long recap about how much I enjoyed 2018 in terms of reading, and so read on, my friends.

Here are my TOP TEN READS OF 2018!

#10 – Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

“Dry is a horrifyingly relevant and ultimately believable survival story that defined the thin line separating human normalcy and animalistic desperation. It’s modern setting and engaging storytelling allows for it to be truthful, believable and an undoubtedly great, unforgettable, and, hopefully, an eye-opening read. With this book, Neal and Jarrod Shusterman gripped my heart and soul with a story unlike any I’ve ever read. No doubt I’ll be reading more from them in the future.”

Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s collab novel isn’t my typical cup of tea, but it still managed to surprise and grip and allure me into hopefully reading more from them—I’ve already bought Scythe and Thunderhead both by Neal Shusterman—and I don’t know if I’ll ever encounter a book that’s as horrifyingly told as Dry.

#9 – The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista

“Incredibly sweet, cute, fast-paced, and filled with characters that remind me so much of Filipino culture and traditions, Kate Evangelista’s The Boyfriend Bracket is a young adult contemporary that I would no doubt recommend to my friends, especially for those who are on the lookout for short, light-hearted, but impactful reads. Kate undoubtedly took my breath away by telling a story that might seem a little too common to others, but was absolutely perfect to me. In less than a couple of pages, I’m sure it’ll grip your heart the same way it gripped mine.”

Kate Evangelista writes about the sweetest characters and Stella, the MC in The Boyfriend Bracket, is exactly that. She’s a Filipino-American teen who aspires for so much and she has an amazing story, one that’s filled with ambition, motivation, and love. I simply adored this book and it’s my favorite book by the author so far.

#8 – The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

“Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel, in it’s core, is a heartwarming contemporary novel that features amazingly relatable relationship dynamics, characters that are flawed but still very well developed, a plot that’s entirely captivating, and in under 300 pages, it somehow grips it’s readers and it serves them with so much love, food and culture. This book offers a unique reading experience that’s solely familiar but also quite fresh and still highly impressionable, and I would definitely recommend it to those who considers themselves a fan of the YA contemporary romance genre.” 

At the time I read Maurene Goo’s sophomore novel, I still haven’t read her debut—by the time this is posted, I’m pretty sure I still wouldn’t be able to read it, haha!—but I really, really adored this one. It’s a perfect blend of sweet and savory, if you get what I mean, and I highly recommend this book for those in the lookout for summer stories or simply for those who love the works of Morgan Matson, Jennifer E. Smith, and Jenny Han.

#7 – To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

“To Kill A Kingdom is an underrated gem of a book. It’s a dark reimagining of a timeless fairytale and it most definitely breathes life into leads that readers will no doubt root for from the start. It offers an action-packed adventure towards bringing peace with amazingly brave characters at the front and center of the story. With a plot that’s as seductive as a siren’s song, a writing style that’s just as beautiful and enthralling as any siren, and the theme of proving the lengths that one, whether they be human or not, would go to to survive, Alexandra Christo’s debut would no doubt be an easy fan favorite.”

The only thing I’m sad about this book is that I feel like it’s not getting enough love. I can’t reiterate enough just how much I’ve grown obsessed with this book and the author’s writing style and this book will forever be one of my most recommended titles.

#6 – Far From The Tree by Robin Benway

“We only get one chance to start the new year with a book that’s supposed to make a lasting impression that could hopefully set a reader’s standards, and I am very much delighted to have chosen Far From The Tree to be my first read of 2018. All throughout the book, I found myself extremely invested with Grace, Maya, and Joaquin’s story. All of them were easy to root for, and it definitely helped that all of them had distinct voices, and it’s also fast-paced. And that, partnered with a great writing style, and a plot line that will tug on everyone’s heartstrings, makes this a truly, one-of-a-kind novel. Definitely deserving of all the awards and recognition it has already received!”

This National Book Award-winning book is my first read for 2018 and it set a high standard for my TBR. And I’m happy to report that after having read 72 more books, this still remained to be one of my favorites for the year. I’ll never forget Joaquin, Maya, and Grace.

#5 – This Is Kind of An Epic Love Story by Kherryn Callender

“Kheryn Callender’s YA debut novel, This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story, is a novel about accepting oneself, appreciating the love that we are given, and facing and the risks that come with living a life worth living. It’s reminiscent of a classic, modern-day rom-com and for a hopeless romantic in search for good representation such as myself, this book most certainly meant a great deal. I hope to read more stories like this, and I likewise wish for other readers to be as lucky as to read this one of a kind novel.”

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story is a feel good contemporary that’s perfect for fans of romantic comedy movies (in general), and books by Nicola Yoon, Becky Albertalli, Emery Lord, and Sandhya Menon. It puts a spotlight on queer characters, and it tells a story that is equal parts sweet, relatable, and EPIC.

#4 – From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

“Sandhya Menon’s sophomore novel happens to be her best one yet (at least in my opinion). It features a colorful cast of amazingly well-developed characters, a gripping plot that’s a great mix of romance and substance, family and friendship dynamics that a lot of readers can easily relate to, and a writing style that’s impressive in all forms. Reading this was like riding an emotional roller coaster. One minute, you’re giggling at a romantic scene that will give you all the feels, and the next, you’re clenching your fist with anger because of the drama. Rest assured that From Twinkle, With Love will make you want to dream and aspire to become your best self, and I can only hope that you’ll let it.”

This book is a gift. And I’ve sent this to so many of my friends in hopes of them enjoying it the same way I did, if not more. Twinkle Mehra’s story is as relatable as it is enjoyable and she doesn’t just twinkle. She shines. And when partnered with hopeless romantic Sahill Roy? Give me all the swoon! I hope lots of other readers could connect to this sophomore novel from Sandhya Menon.

#3 – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

“Children of Blood and Bone, as promised by lots of early praises and reviews, is a heart-stopping debut that’s tremendously gripping and enjoyable to read. It’s got a lush world-building, a fast-paced plot, and a very impressive writing style which will all contribute to give readers a once-in-a-lifetime reading experience that they won’t be forgetting about anytime soon. From page one, Tomi Adeyemi had me undeniably obsessed with her debut, as I’m sure you will be too, and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on it’s sequel. As for those who haven’t read it yet, get ready for a life-changing, roller coaster ride. I can’t wait for you to meet Zélie Adebola.”

Tomi Adeyemi’s debut, if it isn’t obvious to you yet, took the world by storm. She didn’t just write an epic fantasy story. She breathed life into a genre that I personally thought I was falling out of love with. Children of Blood and Bone is intensely action-packed, and I’m sure that if you haven’t fallen in love with it yet, you will soon. At least I hope you will. And when the time comes, I hope you’ll let yourself welcome the feeling.

#2 – Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

“Check, Please!: #Hockey is an amazingly engaging graphic novel. It tells a heartwarming, coming of age story, about a wonderful cast of characters. It made me laugh, it made me swoon, and it most certainly melted my heart in ways I didn’t know possible. My only regret about reading this was that it took me so long to discover Eric Bittle and his Samwell Hockey Team. With this, Ngozi Ukazu just gained a new, obsessed fan.”

This graphic novel woken up my love for queer love stories at a time that I felt like I was starting to outgrow them. It made me realize just how ecstatic it is to love and be loved and this also made me feel that squealing kind of feels-y reading, and this will undoubtedly be a graphic novel that I’ll re-read time and time again.

Honorable Mentions:

#1 – What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

I mean, is this still a surprise to anyone at this point? I’ve been hyping up Becky and Adam’s love child for so many months now and I don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon. This is the book that I’ve dreamt of reading for years after having read both authors’ debuts and I see myself re-reading this, whether on audio or in physical format, for years and years to come. I even see myself recommending it to my co-workers! (Which is a big deal because my colleagues don’t like reading books…)

Now, here are EIGHT THINGS I LOVED ABOUT 2018!

#8 – Getting to watch tons of heartwarming book to movie films

2018 brought us so many book to movie adaptations—Love, Simon, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Hate U Give, The Darkest Minds, Crazy Rich Asians, and Dumplin’ to name a few. The books that these movies were based on meant a great deal to me because they resonated with me on such a personal level, and finally getting the chance to watch them in theaters—or thru Netflix—brought me so much joy. And I’m looking forward to watching a lot more this 2019! As of writing this post, the only adaptation that I’m looking forward to is The Sun Is Also A Star featuring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, and I can only dream of hearing about all the other films!

#7 – Winning tickets to an advanced screening of Love, Simon

Earlier this year, I entered an online writing competition that entailed winning 2 tickets to an advanced screening of Love, Simon. All I did was write about my “great love story” and append the #LoveSimonPH hashtag. Of course, I wrote about my train meet cute that happened over a conversation about Simon V.S. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, and I ended up being 1 of the 2 winners!

I went to the screening with my amazing friend, Hazel, and we watched and cried over it together. It was such an unforgettable night, one that I’m sure will stay with me forever. Honestly, getting the chance to watch Love, Simon with hundreds of enthusiastic viewers and fans of the book was such a surreal experience.

#6 – Being able to get through another year at work and being promoted to HR Specialist

By the time this is posted, I will have been working for AMRC Holdings Company, Inc. for 2 years, and 5 months. Earlier this year, my boss informed me that, after a tedious evaluation process, she was promoting me to HR Specialist! Other than a pay raise, this entails a new set of work loads, and I look forward to conquering each and every one of those until I… give up? *laughs*

Like I’ve said plenty of times online, I’m not completely head over heels in love with this day job but it pays the bills and it keeps my love for books (buying) alive, so… I’ll persevere! And I’ve dealt with more challenging stuff, so I know—and I pray to the gods that I am right—I can handle this.

#5 – Being able to share my knowledge through various talks and panels

This year, I was invited to share my insights regarding my bookish endeavors at the 2018 Philippine Readers and Writers Festival and at the Overseas Publishers’ Representatives Association of the Philippines—it’s quite a mouthful, yes—MIBF panel entitled From the Philippines to the World: Breaking Into International Publishing. Those who know me would know just how much I love getting the chance to talk about how this blog came to be and how I came to work with multiple brands in the publishing industry. And this isn’t a one-way thing. I, too, learned a lot from my co-panelists. 2019, I hope you’ll be as generous and open with me in terms of panel invites the same way 2018 was.

#4 – Hosting #BookwormsUnitePH for the fourth time with my squad

This year, we’ve opened up the idea of turning the annual #BookwormsUnitePH event into a full on community and even though all the core committee members are swamped with personal stuff at the moment, we’re still very much interested and hoping that we could enlist the help of other Filipino bookworms in terms of spreading the word and helping host events, whether they be online or in real life. And next year, this thing will be turning 5 and we can only hope that it’ll be bigger and better than previous BU meet-ups.

#3 – Finally saving enough money to buy a camera

For years, I’ve dreamt of buying one of those high-end cameras because I’ve had this interest in photography—with no focus on anything bookish, really—and this year, after having worked for almost three years and saving for six, I finally did it! I bought a Canon EOS M50 and I named him after one of my most favorite characters in YA, Rufus. He’s been with me for months and he’s a crowd favorite, if I may say so myself.

And this 2019, I hope to go on more adventures with him, whether it be at book events, or at personal life occasions.

#2 – Working with more brands and publishers

Before 2018 started, I promised myself that I will work extra hard to get the chance to work with other local and international brands just for the thrill and experience of it. This year, I was once again blessed to be given multiple chances to work with and be sponsored by publishers like Penguin Random House International and HarperCollins International. Add to that the partnerships I’ve had with Hachette Book Group, Disney Hyperion, Marvel Press, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, and Simon & Schuster. As for local content creators and sellers, I’ve worked with Marauders’ Dispatch and Pandam PH, and National Bookstore. 2018 has been wild and generous, and like I said, I can only hope that the year ahead will be just as kind and gentle with me.

#1 – (Finally) Getting to meet Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

I MEAN… HOW DO I EVEN BEGIN TO RECALL THIS EXPERIENCE? Becky and Adam. In the Philippines. And I got the chance to meet and eat breakfast with them. What the actual f███, right? I don’t know, after a month, I still don’t have the words that’ll suffice to fully express just how much I obsessed over this experience. (I feel like crying all over again, ahhh!) So if you want to know what went down on this awesome, love-filled day, check out my event recap of National Bookstore’s #BeckyandAdaminPH event.

2018 was a year full of so many bookish posts! Reviews, discussions, recaps, you name it! Check out some of them here:

Even though 2018 has been a challenging year, I still had a blast! I’ve had some of the best moments of my life this year, and I look forward to making a lot more memories with y’all in the next one! Here’s to more books, more 5-star reads, more bookish events, and more (new) bookish friends in the year to come! Thank you guys for sticking around and still taking the time to visit Book Freak Revelations! See y’all again next year! 😉

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What’s YOUR most favorite read and your most favorite part about 2018? Let me know down below!

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Until the next one!

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10 thoughts on “2018, Oh 2018 — A Year in Perspective

  1. OH JM thank you so, SO much for sharing my post and for sharing such sweet words about it and about me, this honestly means the world to me 😭 ❤
    I'm so happy to read this recap and so happy about everything you've been able to accomplish, both personally and bookish-ly with all of your incredible events, partnerships and meetings, too. You're doing incredible and you're such a force and inspiration to me always. Keep on doing amazing and I hope that 2019 will treat you even better than last year did. I'm sending you all the love ❤ ❤


  2. Both Check, Please and What If It’s Us are also on my top reads list for 2018 and we all know who thank for that. 💙 JM, thank you so much for being an awesome person in this community. I am more happy than not to have shared so many moments with you and those are also a highlight of my 2018. I couldn’t have asked for more. Here’s to more bonding moments in 2019 and I hope you’ll have an amazing year ahead.

    And thank you for sharing my favorite post for 2018! I honestly loved making it, and my heart swells whenever you call me a cover queen. 😭 Love you to bits! 💙


  3. Hallo, Hallo JM,

    I’ve just found you via Shealea’s s/o on Twitter about your lovely bookish blog – I love to seek out new book bloggers to follow at the close of the year as we’re about to embark on a new chapter – it gives me a chance to find new voices in the book blogosphere whilst as I’ve started to become a more frequent visitor again to those who are blogging their readerly lives, I want to find new bloggers to interact with in 2019.

    This is just a short note to let you know I’ll be back to leave a longer reply as this is a beautiful post! I really want to take my time with absorbing everything you’ve shared as it is a great way for a new follower to get to know you and what you love to read!!

    I loved your s/o of gratitude for the publishers – I am humbled and in awe of the opportunities I receive as well – which is why I’m spending 2019 erasing my #BacklogueOfReviews — if you visit me in return you’ll find some posts about being ill off/on or suffering through a bout of my chronic migraines – overall 2018 was a bad year for my health. Here’s to a New Year, new stories and new experiences as we all share our bookish lives!! Many blessings to you!


  4. aww, thank you so much for linking up my post! so glad you enjoyed me breaking down ARC requests and wow you’ve had such an awesome year!!! i’m really excited for a lot of books on your top 10–congrats on meeting Adam & Becky, btw! love the photos ❤


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