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!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.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.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:What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Now, here are EIGHT THINGS I LOVED ABOUT 2018!
#8 – Getting to watch tons of heartwarming book to movie films
#7 – Winning tickets to an advanced screening of Love, Simon
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
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 panels2018 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#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
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
#1 – (Finally) Getting to meet Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveramy 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:
- Kath @ Kath Reads’ special review of What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera — She was a doll to work with, and her aesthetic board greatly reminds me of Ben and Arthur’s love story.
- Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books’ discussion post highlighting international bloggers and ways on how to support and respect them — Marie is a gift to the entire bookish community and her post speaks a lot about her personality and just how much she, as an international book blogger, loves being one. I, personally, implore you to check her post out!
- Claire @ Clair-e-fy Blog’s discussion post on what it means to be seen and what it means for an Asian-American to get the chance to watch Searching, Crazy Rich Asians, and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before — What’s there left to say, really? Representation—whether it be on any platform—really does matter, especially for marginalized people / minorities. And the reason why I loved reading Claire’s post is that it exudes all the positive vibes.
- Somya @ Bookaholic Meets Finance Aficionado’s list of romance books with the British charm — I’ve been on a romance kick these past couple of months and so I’m very much looking forward to checking out all the books that Somya listed!
- Sam @ Read with Sam’s review for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton — I’ve been hearing tons of great stuff about this book—no, it’s not my main genre—and so Sam’s review really helped it convincing me to put it on my TBR.
- Bianca @ The Ultimate Fangirl’s discussion post on what it means to be a cover judger — My good friend Bianca is known for being the book cover queen whenever we host our #BookwormsUnitePH events. Her knowledge about book covers, whether they be for backlist titles or upcoming ones, is always on point. And her post justifies why she will forever be my book cover queen.
- Lauren @ Reading, Writing, and Me’s top reads of 2018 — What I love most about Lauren’s list is that she put most, if not all of her favorite reads into categories such as Best Mental Health Novel, Most Mind-blowing, Best College YA, Top Thrillers, etc. Be sure to check this out!
- Hazel @ Stay Bookish’s creative ” YA Books as Christmas Sweaters” — Hazel is a QUEEN whose content is just A+++ for me. I read almost every single post she’s ever published, and her designs are THE BOMB. She recreated some of YA’s finest into Christmas sweaters and tell me. WHERE DO I PAY AND GET ONE?
- Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads’ post on writing ARC requests and why it’s a dying art — Vicky broke down the ARC requesting process and as someone with a lot of experience in getting rejections, whether it be for physical and / or digital review copies, I can’t help but agree with everything that she said on that post. For those of you who want to work with brands / publishers, be sure to check this out before doing so!
- Kate @ The Backwards Bookshelf’s interview with Marie Miranda Cruz — Just last month, I joined Kate’s blog tour for Marie Miranda Cruz’ debut middle grade novel, Everlasting Nora, and she posted an interview with the author offering so many insights about the authors book and also about what it means to get published internationally.
- My post for Shealea’s #Augvocacy2018 listing down 10 reasons why Filipino bibliophiles rock the bookish community — As a Filipino reader, blogger, and/or reviewer, I can’t help but feel proud of this post. There are plenty of reasons why Filipinos are the best readers in the world, and I’m sure lots of other people won’t agree with me, but just check out my post to know some of the reasons why I, personally, believe it.
- Shealea @ That Bookshelf Bitch’s 10 spreadsheet hacks to step up your blogging game — This girl is the QUEEN of organization and spreadsheets. She came up with this inspiring and helpful post—offering free sheet samples—to help bloggers everywhere in terms of organizing posts and other bookish things. I mean… This girl just wins at life!
- Aki @ Aki Through Books’ blog tour review for Empress of All Seasons and Erica @ Living a Hundred Lives’ blog tour review for Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix — Both of these Filipino reviewers came up with such special reviews, and based on their words alone, it sounds like both books are the action-packed novels of my dreams! Better get to it, asap!
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! 😉
What’s YOUR most favorite read and your most favorite part about 2018? Let me know down below!
Until the next one!
Follow me around the internet!