Unfortunately, this led to me reading less than 5 books a year. THE HORROR! So, after finishing my undergraduate, I vowed to start reading again. 2018 was the year of falling back in love with reading and the books that played a key role in morphing me into the young woman (ew, adulting) that I am today.

Here’s a recap of my 2018 reads (minus the re-readings of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series):

Creepy Hollow (Series) by Rachel Morgan

Goodreads

Let it be known that 2018 was the year I fell in love with Rachel Morgan’s work.

This series had all of the good trappings of a successful fantasy series: Magic, complex characters and relationships, romance, imagery, mystery, action, I really could go on.

I came across this series while scrolling through Google Play Books for free reads (naturally, as one does). Once I started the down the path of Violet’s life: I was HOOKED.

Brief synopsis: The story follows the life of a teenage faerie named Violet. She’s in training to be a Guardian – a silent protector of both the human and fae world from magical creatures. But her whole life changes when she’s sent to protect a [seemingly] human from a creature. PLOT TWIST – for some reason this human can see her through her magical glamour and this tale goes down the winding path of this human boy eventually becoming a strong evil faerie bent on exposing the hidden world of magic and other dark things that I won’t spoil for you.

What I loved about this series is that you are able to read the story from the perspective of all of the major players throughout the series. As the characters grow, you learn more about them, the fae world, and how each character’s personal journey can play into the ultimate destruction or saving of the fae world.

Another major key of my enjoyment was that there were so many female characters at the forefront of the all around badassery (yes, that is, in fact, a word).

Check out the author’s website to learn how you can start reading this series for FREE.

Rating 4.25/5

 

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

Goodreads

As a self-proclaimed honorary Gilmore Girl (yes, I watch it every night before bed and, yes, my first-born daughter may be named Lorelai, I was interested to read Lauren Graham’s latest book. I rather enjoyed her debut novel Someday, Someday, Maybe so I figured it was worth the shot. After all, it’s like 50 pages long.

As I was reading it, I happened to be finishing up my master’s degree, so it was a timely read for me and I would recommend it to anyone else going through the commencement process of life, regardless at what level. Which is one of the things I liked about it. Her ability to extend useful advice to graduates at any level makes the book both ageless and timeless. Her perspective is somewhat unconventional, meaning it isn’t quite the watered down, cookie cutter speech you hear at every commencement and can basically regurgitate in any instance regardless of the speaker.

There are many things that I related to in this book. Among them: Being given a responsibility or honor that you are well qualified and suited for and feeling inadequate (helloooo imposter syndrome!); or being given not-so-great advice from family and friends that often made things worse, rather than better; or simply just the amount of unuseful worry that always seems to precede each milestone you hit. Lauren walks us through the mundane, idiotic inner dialogue that we all have within ourselves and challenges us to quit worrying about the little things and to always push forward.

This passage hit me square in the chest because I had pushed my passions to the side and instead I held on to worry and fear. Lately, time has been moving slowly for me. And then I’ll give myself permission to focus on myself and my passions and time flies.

If you’re struggling with finding your “Best” or needing to know that you’re not the only one that isn’t hitting the “mark” at the age they thought they would, this read is for you. It is humble, honest, and speaks so many truths that we don’t hear enough.

Rating: 3/5

We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

Goodreads

We’re Going to Need More Wine gave me my first foray into memoirs. I’ve always thought of nonfiction as the even-more-boring extension of history class. HOWEVER, I’m more apt to read nonfiction now that I know it isn’t a complete snooze fest.

Let it be known: If I ever become interesting enough to necessitate an memoir, mythical creatures will somehow be involved. 

Moving on.

I was pleasantly surprised by Gabrielle’s story. I was not aware of her background, her struggles with fertility, nor her overall relatability.

Maybe this is why people write memoirs! Who knew?

The title is definitely fitting, as there were multiple times I needed to pour myself a glass of wine as I read her experiences that resembled or mirrored my own, or felt the raw emotion behind not just her experiences, but her vulnerability in sharing her own trauma with complete strangers to be immortalized in book form.

I applaud her bravery in telling her story. I stand with her in her anger and frustration as a black woman in the US. I stand with her in her pride as a black woman in the US.

This read was essential in my ability to see more than fame when I look at people on the tv screen. We don’t know the pain and heartache they carry each day. We don’t know the imperfections that they work through on set each day as they feign perfection.

Gabrielle’s story is a story of resilience and vulnerability and one that any woman can relate to in some way.

Rating: 3/5

The Sorcerer’s Ring (series) by Morgan Rice

Goodreads

This series was the bane of my freaking existence. It was 17 books long (yes, you read that correctly) and easily could have been written within five books. Multiple inconsequential characters were introduced, which prolonged the book unnecessarily. The first three books were great and I was drawn in, but it quickly became repetitive and just kept droning on and on. Of course, I can’t leave a series unfinished, so I labored through the entire series.

I don’t understand why “the warrior” Darius was introduced, prophesied to be a crucial character, and then was basically inconsequential AND THE AUTHOR NEVER EXPLORED HIS DRUID LINEAGE. It makes absolutely no sense for him to have been a druid if he never was able to fully realize his powers or, at the very least, have those powers revealed to Thorgrin.

Don’t even get me started on Volusia. She was useless fodder for three unnecessary books to be written.

The last book seemed like it was thrown together quickly but I was glad for this because I just needed it to be over. It was underwhelming, for sure. Basically, after 17 books, The Ring is right back in the same position. They’re being protected from the empire while the empire has free reign over the rest of the world. What was the freaking point!?

The teaser at the end of book 17 was not tempting. To think that there will be a spinoff is the stuff of nightmares.

Rating: 2.5/5

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