Top 5 Reads From 2018

Top 5 Reads from 2018

2018 has come and gone. Pages were read, and books were devoured. Between graduating college, getting married and buying a house, I did not get as much time as I wanted to read. My last semester of college was a great one for reading things that I would have never found. So here is my favorites list that I read in 2018.

  1. Olive Kitteridge By Elizabeth Strout

This is not the type of book that is usually on my list, but I found it to be intriguing and feeling provoking. It is hard not to get emotionally connected to such sad characters. I did struggle getting into this book because of how lost I felt at the beginning, but a quarter in to the book I found myself sliding through the chapters with ease.


  1. Half of a Yellow Sun By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2018 was a year for me to travel out of my comfort zone and explore some pretty amazing literature. This was one of those books out of my comfort zone. This is a story about the Biafran War and how it effected the lives of three very different characters. The horrors of war are some descriptive that it had me in tears half of the time. Adichie has a beautiful way with words that makes me excited to read more of her work.

Half of a yellow sun

  1. The Round House By Louise Erdrich

I truly fell in love with this book. I was excited to read something from an author from my home state (Minnesota). This book did a good job at narrating a tragic story from the eyes of a young boy. Well it had some innocence because of the perspective, it also held a dark and heartbreaking tale. I loved this book from the first chapter. It is not for the faint of heart that is looking for a happy story. It is a Native American mystery/suspense that will keep you on your toes.

The Round House

  1. Ready Player One By Ernest Cline

This was all the rage in 2018 even though it was published in 2011. My husband had been nagging me to read this book for the last three years and I finally did. I was automatically hooked. There is a lot of 80’s geek nostalgia that kept me hooked. As an avid gamer, I appreciated the high intensity and the relatable desire to escape to another world completely. The book is so different from the movie.

ready player

  1. Unwind By Neal Shusterman

I just recently posted a review about this book. I cannot say enough amazing things about this book. It is truly captivating. It will make you uncomfortable in the best way possible. I honestly could not get enough of this book. I managed to read it in one sitting. The characters are controversial and smart. This dystopian had me in a paranoid panic. To have a book evoke suck emotion was truly shocking and amazing at the same time.


There you have it. My top 5 reads from 2018. For further information about each book, check out my other posts.

A Life Changing Work of Fiction

There are few times in an avid readers life where a book comes along and truly captivates that readers soul. That truly intense feeling of needing to read just one more chapter. Time slips through your fingers as each page slides through your greedy fingers. Before you know it, you have devoured an epic book in less than a day. I can’t tell you the last time that I read a book in a day before I read Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

Unwind follows the lives of three adolescents in a world where it is terrifying to be between the age of thirteen to eighteen. This is the window in which a child’s parents can decide to have them “unwound”. It is essentially a solution to getting an abortion. The war of pro-life and pro-choice came to a head. This was the solution found between the two sides. Unwinding a child is like forcing a living person to become a donor. But not just an organ here and there. Every inch of the unwound is used in some form of another. Not a single scrap of that child goes unused.

The main character of this story is Connor. Connor is living every kids’ worst nightmare. His parents have signed the documents to have him unwound. He has two choices. He can go peacefully or run like hell. I think it is pretty obvious that he runs. This is the best example of parents failing their children.

Enter our second main character, Risa. Risa grew up in an orphanage where you must be the best to avoid being unwound. There are only so many kids that can prove themselves to be an asset to society. You know, budget cuts… Unfortunately, Risa does not make the cut. She is slapped on a bus and sent to her forced fate. This is an example of the system failing a child.

Finally, we have our third and probably saddest main character, Lev. Groomed to be unwound. A tithe. Having faith that his unwinding is an honorable and noble sacrifice. Lev is taught to believe that this is what his higher power wants from him. Lev is in for a rude awakening. His eyes are peeled open when he sets off for his unwinding at a harvest camp. This is an example of a community failing a child.

Like I said earlier, I read this book in it entirety in one sitting. I could not put down the horror that was waiting for me. I had moments that I put it down for five minutes so I could catch my breath. The message that this carries is terrifying and heartbreaking. Though this book was written more than ten years ago, it feels like it is so relevant to the world that we live in today. I could not help but think of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. The possibility of this coming true was all to real.

It made me reevaluate what I believe in and why I believe in it. It made me uncomfortable in the best way possible. I truly believe that Shusterman is a full-blown genius after reading this. If you are determined to be close minded, I would not suggest this book. I am open minded, but this still made me shiver and feel a range of emotions that I have not felt reading a book in a long time.

The characters in this book are like old friends that one may have had in school. They are all too relatable. I found my biggest connection to Connor because I felt like I was Connor at some point in my life. Awkward, sad, lonely and very misunderstood. Being this way makes him lash out and that is something that I did as a kid. I was a definite headache for my parents at time and I would not be surprised if they chose to unwind me because of my less than perfect behavior.

The three main characters are not the only ones that you might find a connection with. There are a couple handful of characters that will find a place in your heart and emotions if only for a brief page or two. Their stories may even fill your eyes with tears and anger.

This biggest reason that you should drop everything to go read this is because it will make you think. It will push you to the limits of your opinions and may even open your eyes to a little bit of sad reality. It will start a conversation that you might not be ready to have but need to have. It is truly a book that could change your life.

A New Adventure

First off… I want to say thank you to all the people that follow me. It is nice to have people have an interest in something that I love so much. I recently graduated from college with a writing degree. I am excited to announce that I am on a new journey and that is A NEW BLOG. I decided to start writing about video games and how that plays into relationships. I wanted to start something new, something I have experience in and something that I am passionate about. I want to share it with all of you and I hope that you will check it out.

Tuesday Night… Book or Movie..

What is this?

Now I know most of you would say that the book is always better than the movie, especially if you are a big book nerd. Some of the time, I would agree with you. There are few times though where I think that they better executed a vision on TV and chilled the writer out of their wordyness.

Book of the night….


I was so unbelievably excited to see this movie…. I was even willing to get past the obvious changes. I thought that Tim Burton was the perfect person to make this movie because of how dark the book was.

Image result for miss peregrine's home for peculiar children

How did I feel about the movie….?

I FRICKING HATED IT!! I was so upset when I saw this movie. I don’t get upset when they mess up on turning book to movie. I usually like to see someone else vision of a book. Mine is not the only one, but…. the completely went a different way with think movie. I hated everything about it. I was so confused on why they changed so much of the original story because… that is what the book is…. ORIGINAL.

The Winner….

Obviously the book… If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. I have done a previous review if you would like to learn more…

Nostalgic Magic

I almost did not read this book because of the review that is on the back by George R.R. Martin.. “The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea… Hogwarts was never like this.” I was honestly offended. Harry Potter has always been my favorite.

Thankfully my fiance convinced me to over look this and read it anyways. I wasn’t as enchanted as I was with Harry Potter, but I could relate. How the main character feels about his childhood story is how I feel about Hogwarts. I could not put this book down. I fell in love with Fillory as much as Quentin.

About the book…

This story is set in modern time in New York. Quentin, the main character, is intelligent, a bit weird and awkward. He is that dorky smart kid that does magic tricks. He is about to graduate from college and is extremely depressed. He craves a land that is his childhood fairy tale, Fillory. In the midst of his depression, he is thrown into the world of Brake Bills. Brake Bills is a prestigious college for Magicians. He finally feels as if he belongs and finds friends that he can finally be himself with. He also gets introduced to a darker side of his favorite story… Fillory.

Opinion and Spoilers…

Spoiler alert!!!!!!!

I really enjoyed the story. One thing I found interesting was how fast it moves through time. I was almost disappointed how fast he went through school. He finished college in one book… that felt a bit fast. I appreciated that Grossman was not wordy. He also did a wonderful job at painting Brake Bills. All I could think of was Oxford when he was describing it. The way magic is performed was also interesting. I like that there was so much more of a science to it than just saying words. I found myself wanting to master these hand movements.

It is definitely a book for adult. There is a lot of drinking, some drugs and a dabble of sex. It felt a little weird with the main topic being about a children’s book, but it also made it feel more real and believable. The characters all had their ugly issues and nobody was perfect. I appreciated this, but it also made it hard to like any of the characters. It all felt like… Naughty Magic.

The main villain was terrifying. Grossman barely described the monster, but that almost made it more scary. His face is covered and he just watches them for long periods of time. No talking, just staring without a face. I really had to applaud Grossman for getting under my skin so well.

In Conclusion..

I highly recommend this fantasy to any adult that enjoyed/enjoys Harry Potter and is craving a fantasy world to fall into. It is not the same by any means, but it gave me a nostalgic feeling. PS the show is not really like the book. At least in my opinion…

My Top Ten of 2016 in order

  1. Red Queen By: Victoria Aveyard

While it was not my favorite book of the year, it was worth being on my list for the year for its interesting adventure.


  1. Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota Edited By: Alexs D. Pate, Pamela R. Fletcher, J. Otis Powell

I may have cheated with this one because I had to read it for school, but it is still worth a read. I enjoyed the variety of different stories. They also have some beautiful poems.


  1. The Girl you Lost By: Kathryn Croft

A good filler for when you are between books, a little junk food for when you are not sure what to read. A good thriller to get you through the lonely times.


  1. FireStarter By: Stephen King

Of course the master of horror must be on my list. Be prepared for a nail biting and gruesome adventure. One of the best endings I have ever read.


  1. Cinder By: Marissa Meyer

A futuristic Cinderella story with all the magic of the original story, but with a futuristic twist.


  1. Clockwork Princess By: Cassandra Claire

I really enjoyed this series. I enjoyed these more than the Mortal Instruments. I thought this was the best way to end an awesome series.


  1. Dorothy Must Die By: Danielle Page

This has been the year for re-imagined fairy tales and this has been my favorite by far. It is not so much a retelling, but a what happened after Dorothy.


  1. Throne of Glass By: Sarah J. Maas

This is my favorite new series I have started this year. It has that exciting feeling when you start a new adventure.


  1. Morning Star By: Pierce Brown

This is my third favorite series ever and I was heartbroken for it to end. I actually just started reading it again because I miss it so much.


  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child By: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

This had to be my number one for the year because as most of you know I live and breathe all things Harry Potter. Though this was a bit of a different read because of how it is written. I still recommend reading this and being captured by the magic.


There you have it. My favorite books that I have read in 2016. Excited to see what books I will discover in 2017.

The Yellow Brick Road is Cracking

Dorothy Must Die By: Danielle Paige

So I think it is obvious by now that I mainly shop in the YA section. I am not sure if that says something about my maturity level but I can’t help but be pulled in by the angst and wonder. The adventure you can find in YA is exciting and fresh. Anyways back to the reason you are reading this. Dorothy Must Die is a re-imagined story of Wizard of Oz. I am a sucker for re-imagined classic stories.

Amy Gumm is a teenage girl who is known for having a drunk of a mother and living in the trailer park. She is bullied daily and referred to as Salvation Amy. A sad joke to her financial status. She lives in Kansas and is just looking forward to the day she can escape her mother, school and Shady Oaks trailer park. One stormy and frightful day her mother leaves her alone during a tornado warning. She gets swept up and taken away to the land of Oz. Sound familiar? She soon realizes the stories of Dorothy are true and Dorothy has returned to Oz and rules over the land with her 4 best buds by her side (Scarecrow, Lion, Tinman and Glinda). Sounds great, right? Nope! Dorothy is a power hungry, spoiled brat that is destroying the land and now there is another girl that is from her home town and threatens to destroy everything she has worked towards. Amy is recruited by the wicked witches of Oz in a plot to over throw Dorothy.

This would have to be one of my favorite re-imagined stories. My favorite part would have to be the story of Dorothy and how she has been turned hero to villain. Even the classic friends she has have followed her into the throws of evil. The Lion is not so cowardly, the Scarecrow has used his new brains to become an evil scientist and the Tinman has used his new heart to obsess over Dorothy and Glinda is a not so good witch anymore. I was concerned that there would not be much originality to this story but it is overflowing with a creative new way to tell the story. It is not so much retelling but continuing the story in a new surprising light. It does have your typical teenage angst and insecurity but Amy is a character that is relatable and like-able. The romance that buds in this story does lack a creativity, but that aside the adventure is exciting and fresh. The yellow brick road is back in a new adventure and it is worth checking out.

A Disappointing Cover Hides the Adventure Inside…

Throne of Glass by: Sarah J. Maas

Don’t let the cover fool you into thinking this book is only made for teenage girls. While it does hold a certain appeal, a long-haired beauty clutching two swords with a sense of danger and damage, it still screams “Bad ass hot girl with problems”. I was also confused of the time period, her outfit was a bit modern for the description and title. Though the cover was a bit lack-luster, I found that the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” actually applies here.

Celaena Sardothien is a young woman who has survived the treacherous salt mines of Endovier. Celaena is Adarlan’s most notorious assassin, but yet her identity has been kept secret from the public. A girl not yet 20 is the most feared person in the land next to the vicious King of Adarlan.

With Celaena’s searing hate for all Ardarlan royalty, she agrees to compete for her freedom in the hopes of escaping the past that haunts her. She competes against known assassins and thieves that may match her ferocity and skill. Not only shall she overcome human beasts, there is a creature lurking in the castle that could threaten all she works toward. Along with this journey she finds herself caring for those she has so long hated and is troubled by feelings of care and sympathy. These emotions could threaten her freedom that she has craved for so long.

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this review, I was hesitant to pick up this series for fear of disappointing and unoriginal everyday young adult fiction. Boy was I wrong!! Though it does hold some basic traits that most YA fiction does such as dramatic love and a bit of a love triangle, it holds so much more. I found myself craving every page and every secret this story holds.

This is one story that I will not spoil for you because I truly enjoy is and encourage others to bask in all of its glory. Is it the best written book I have ever read? No. Is there a bit of annoying 3-way drama? Yes. Surprisingly, for the first time in a long time, I enjoyed the little love triangle in this book.

The mystery that is Celaena Sardothien will keep you craving more. She is a bit cocky and stubborn, but if you give her a chance you will find yourself being her biggest cheerleader and needing to know more about her.

Hmmmm… Best seller?

The Girl on the Train By: Paula Hawkins

I was very intrigued to read this book because of all the raving reviews I had seen on it. I really had no idea what it was about or even what kind of book it was. I just knew that people could not stop talking about the amazingness that is this book. So let’s jump into what this book was even about and then we will get into my person opinions.

Rachel is a depressed and confused woman with a drinking problem and a wild imagination. After her husband left her for another woman her downward spiral got worse. She lost her job and destroyed all of her relationships drowning herself in wine and gin and tonics. In a desire to keep her drinking hidden from her flat mate she took the train every morning to town on her way to “work”.

During her rides on the train she would observe a couple that seemed to be perfectly in love. They had everything she wanted and even fantasized about who they are and what was happening in their perfect lives. She even went as far as coming up with names for them. After an all-night bender Rachel finds that she remembers nothing from the night before and her fantasy of the happy couple had been shattered and Rachel finding herself right in the middle of it.

This book has what every mystery/thriller holds. Lies, deceit, adultery and murder.

This is your everyday who done it novel. Don’t get me wrong I love a good mystery. My expectations for this book was set a little too high.  It kept me mostly entertained and it was easy to keep reading and I even had moments of doubt on who I pegged it to be. I did figure out the culprit pretty early on but Paula did get me on some of the details. Reading this book felt like eating junk food. It tasted good and it was easy to devour all of it but it really didn’t do much for me after all was said and done. Yes it was pretty good and I enjoyed it while it lasted. It was a good book filler and I recommend it if you just need something to read and be entertained for a little bit. I just personally did not understand all the hype that it received after reading it…

……. AE      girl on the train

Choosing to do something

Good morning fellow Bloggers. Today I have chose to share my solution to being miserable with life. First off I should tell you I was recently hurt at work so I have been couch bound since Monday and will be for a few weeks yet. So as I sit on the couch I have been thinking of my life and where it is going. A year ago I decided I wanted to be a writer. For a good few weeks I was very committed and wrote a bunch. I started this blog and even started writing some short stories… and then the reality set in that this wont be easy. It is going to take a lot of work. I got intimated and just stopped. The idea of writing lingered and tugged at my heart everyday. I felt guilty that I was running away from something I really wanted to do. I let fear start running my life. I have been working a job that I hate every day and I have done nothing about it. Now I have been sentenced to the couch and it has been a slap in the face to start doing something about it. I have got that drive back to do what I love. So the steps I have taken to start to follow my dream are as follows.

  1. Applied for a creative writing program at my local college
  2.  Started a new blog.
  3. working every day on making my blog better.
  4. studying successful blogs.
  5. started writing short stories.
  6. applying for some freelance writing jobs

I think that is a very good start and I am excited and determined to keep trying to make my dreams come true. If you have any advice please feel free to share. 🙂

…. AEwriting