My Top 10 Books For the First Half of 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl.

It’s been a decent year of reading for me so far with a lot of four star reads, but several three stars as well (thankfully nothing lower yet… errr, unless you count my two DNF’s…). As of the end of June I’ve consumed 37 books, including rereads, but I’m not accounting for rereads when compiling this list because it’s just honestly not fair to the new-to-me-books to be compared to my favorites.

Without further ado, my top 10 books of 2018 through June!

10. Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Bought e-book

Month Read: January

9. Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

Genre: Classic

Source: Gifted hardcover

Month Read: January

8. The Siren by Kiera Cass

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Library audiobook

Month Read: June

7. Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Bought hardcover

Month Read: June

6. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Library audiobook

Month Read: June

5. Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Genre: Middle Grade

Source: Library audiobook

Month Read: January

4. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Library e-book

Month Read: February

3. The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

 

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Bought paperback

Month Read: April-May

2. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Library e-book

Month Read: February

1. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Bought paperback

Month Read: March

What are your favorite reads of the year so far? Have you read any on my list?

What I Read in June + I Met Stephanie Garber!

June was another month that felt slow for physical reading, and I’m just resigning myself to the fact that this is the pace I am going to read at in my current life phase (which seems to be perpetually busy for unknown reasons). And that’s fine. Audiobooks are helping me read more overall, even if I feel like it doesn’t completely count, even though everyone assures me it does! And it guess I should acknowledge that it really does, considering some of my favorite books so far have been ones I listened to… stay tuned for my top 10 books I’ve read so far this year list next week!

Audiobook reads:

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalo

The Siren by Kiera Cass

Physical reads:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

I enjoyed all of these, with my top two faves being Stalking Jack the Ripper and Legendary, which is great because I got to meet both authors in June!

So Stephanie and I actually go back a little ways, when once upon a time we met through blogging! She hopped onto Heidi Lang and Kat Bartkowski’s blog when the two girls were Stephanie’s Pitch Wars mentees, and we got to know each other online. Flash forward to her selling Caraval (and Heidi and Kat are also published now with the delightful middle grade A Dash of Dragon and upcoming A Hint of Hydra), and it’s been so fun to watch her dream of becoming a published author turn into a reality! So when she announced her book tour for Legendary and I saw Nashville’s Parnassus Books on the list, I was ecstatic that I would have the chance to meet Stephanie in real life!

I have to say, I was really nervous! I think Stephanie knew I was coming, but I still wondered if I needed to be like, “Hey, it’s me, Amy!” or if she would recognize me on her own. Thankfully, it only took her a couple of seconds of looking at me to recognize me and was instantly like, “Can I give you a hug?” Of course! Stephanie is just the sweetest and everything about the evening was so fun. I had just listened to Jack the Ripper on audio the week before when I realized Kerri would be at the event too, and while I’m sad I didn’t have a book for her to sign, I told her I enjoyed it and she gave me an autographed bookmark for Escaping from Houdini, which I am excited for! 

I love how books and writing can bring people together!

Tell me what your favorite book you read in June was! 

My Top 5 Episodes of Enterprise Season Two

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way, so I decided to copy the same format as Charlene as she posted her journey with Star Trek.

OK, I knew Enterprise really hits its stride in season three, but I expected season two to be a little more interesting. There were a lot of decent episodes, but only a couple of stand-outs for me. Here’s how it came down for me for my top five…

5. Regeneration

Another Star Trek episode, another Borg episode. This one finds a way to connect itself with First Contact (aka my personal favorite Star Trek movie).

4. Dawn

This one has some strong shades of the TNG episode Darmok, but I thought it was a well-done depiction of two people who were trying to shoot at each other and who can’t communicate coming to eventually trust one another.

3. Singularity 

Because of some space anomaly or something, everyone on board Enterprise, save T’Pol (of course), becomes utterly obsessed with a single task they feel they must complete. T’Pol has to find the answer and save the day before everyone’s obsession gets even more carried away.

2. The Expanse

The season finale sets up for the upcoming Xindi arc for season three. They tried to pack a lot in this episode so it probably could have been done in two (or leave out the Klingons), but it was still a pretty good prelude for what’s to come.

1. Carbon Creek

At dinner one evening, T’Pol entertains Trip and Archer with a story about the first time Vulcans actually visited Earth, though Trip and Archer are skeptical of it. This episode does such a good job of getting us to connect with a Vulcan character we don’t even know and root for him when he decides that he wants to make a life for himself on Earth with people he has come to care for. Definitely the strongest of the season, in my opinion!

What are your favorite episodes of Enterprise season two?

What I Read in May

Audiobook reads:

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (reread)

Physical reads:

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (reread)

The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove

OK, I try to never be hard on myself about how much I read in a month, but how I went on a freaking beach vacation in May and still only managed to read three books this past month is beyond me. Especially considering that parts of all three of these books were read on my vacation. So that means that all the time before the trip with The Unexpected Everything and after with The Golden Specific I was apparently reading like a turtle. In some fairness to myself, I technically finished The Fates Divide early in the month, but I read most of it in April and included it in my recap for then, and I’ve started two other books since (which, in other shocking news, I am actually read two books at once which I never, ever do).

Anyhow, I hope I can pick up my pace a little in June. I think I’m going to try to mostly tear through my e-book TBR, both e-books that I own and that are coming from the library.

Also, this was my third time to read The Start of Me and You and I will love it for forever and always.

What did you read in May?

Some Thoughts on Solo + The Star Wars Anthology Films

Since The Force Awakens brought Star Wars back to us, I’ve enjoyed each theatrical viewing of the new Star Wars films, though to varying degrees.

Any time I’ve watched any of these films (or any others), there’s the initial reaction I had, and then there’s the one that comes later, after I’ve had some breathing space between me and my experience with the movie.

I like The Force Awakens. I don’t really dislike The Last Jedi, but I can’t say I really like it either because it didn’t really do much for the story or the franchise, so like Infinity War I’m just gonna have to see what comes next and how in the world everything gets followed up to really judge it.

But these standalone “A Star Wars Story” films have been different for me.

For reasons I will probably never fully understand as one who is definitely a sucker for the happily ever after, I am a big fan of Rogue One. And while I enjoyed it a lot while watching it the first time, the thing with that movie is that more than any other movie in the whole SW franchise, it sticks with me in ways the others don’t. I can’t even tell you what it is that’s sticking with me. Literally, I can be doing anything else and suddenly I’ll just be like, Man, Rogue One was such a powerful movie. I don’t even consider it my favorite of the franchise (yet – I’ll get back to you the next time I rewatch all the films). I think the pacing and structure of the beginning of the film is not great. Maybe it’s the themes – of found family, of faith, of hope, of sacrifice, of fighting for something bigger than yourself – that just get to me.

I had some trepidation about Solo because the trailers didn’t do much for me, but right before I went to see it I started hearing good things from other people who had seen it. So I went in with tempered expectations but cautiously optimistic.

I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The pacing was great. The characters were nuanced. And it was just fun.

I’ve sat with it for a little while now, and I feel a stronger urge to go watch it again than I certainly did with The Last Jedi (which I still haven’t watched again despite it coming out on Blu Ray). And while I don’t think Solo is a perfect movie by any means, it added so much more dimension to the universe than either of the new official trilogy installment films did. The writing was probably the best part of the film, helping Alden Ehrenreich’s Solo seem familiar without being copycat or a bad imitation. And don’t even get me started on Donald Glover as Lando. All I’ll say for the sake of time was he nailed it.

What is it about these anthology films that say so much more to me than the new episodes? Is it because there’s less pressure?

If you’ve seen the movie, I’d love to know your thoughts! How do you feel about the two anthology films that we’ve seen versus the new episodes? And what are hoping to see next in the Star Wars universe?