10 books I should’ve read in 2018 | #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, we’re talking about books we meant to read in 2018 but never got to. This topic seems like it was made especially for me as I am the absolute worst with to-read lists or TBRs. That’s why I chose to switch up my 2019 to-read list to monthly prompts. If you’re curious about that, you can read my post on my January 2019 Prompts. Anyway, here are 10 books I meant to read last year but didn’t.


Age of Myth (Legends of the First Empire #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
I really should have read this years ago, because Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favorite authors and I was anticipating this book’s release – which was in 2016. I’m terrible, I know… I swear I’ll read this in 2019!

Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1) by Zen Cho
There are several reasons I should have read this in 2018. First, this sounds right up my alley as it’s a mix of historical fiction and fantasy. Second, Annemieke at A Dance with Books loves this book, and I trust her opinion. Third, I met Zen Cho and she was the nicest woman ever. Fourth, the sequel is about to be released!

Train Man by Hitori Nakano
I haven’t owned this book for that long so I don’t feel as guilty about not having read Train Man yet. However, this sounds like such a fun read and I did feature it on some TBR posts in 2018. I wanted to read this for my ‘read a book from every country’ project, as this is a Japanese novel. I say wanted because I’m currently reading a different Japanese book for said project. Will definitely still read this and count it as an extra though!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I should have read this in 2018 because of the hype. That’s it. Everyone raved about this book and put it on their favorite books of the year list. I’m scared I won’t love it as much as everyone else now!

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
I should have read this last year because I actually started reading this already. I picked it up during a readathon but immediately realized this was a quite slow read – one that requires quite a bit of time, and is thus not ideal for a reading marathon. I put it back down, then had to return it to the library. Although I do own a Kindle copy, I just haven’t continued yet.


The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
I’m a huge fan of The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and Olive (abookolive) recommended this on her list of books that are similar to that one. I bought it solely for said reason, but haven’t read it yet. Although I did read a book with similar vibes to the Secret History last year! Maybe I’ll space them out and read one a year…

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
I have heard nothing but amazing things about this memoir focused on the author’s 17 near-death experiences. I’ve had the ebook for months at this point, and still haven’t read it. I’ve even lent it from the library last year and had to return it without having read the book. Seriously, Jolien, get your life together.

The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Adrzej Sapkowski
I can’t bear to repeat myself one more time. I’ve never played The Witcher games, and I kind of want to get into the world through the books first. READ THIS SO YOU CAN PLAY THE GAME, JOLIEN.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
One of my most anticipated releases of 2018. Who is surprised that I still haven’t read it? Certainly not me, because I’m just not that up-to-date with life. I’ve only heard a few people talk about this book, but always in such a positive light. It appears to be a 5-star read for so many people, and I want to be added to that list.

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
I have no idea why I’m so fascinated with the concept of this nonfiction book. It’s all about colors (obviously) and goes into the history and cultural aspects as well. I need to buy this book soon, because I have a feeling I’ll fall in love with it.

This list could honestly be endlessly long because I’m a mood reader and tend to procrastinate reading the books I actually should be reading. Have you read any of these books? Which books did you never get to in 2018?

I’m participating in #YARC2019!

Sometime in the past week, I discovered the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019, which is hosted by Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea, CW @ The Quiet Pond, Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams, and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads. It’s a reading challenge dedicated to reading books by Asian authors in 2019.


You can pick a reading level depending on the amount of books by Asian authors you wish to read. Only books you started and finished in 2019 count and as for genre and format, anything goes.

For example, I finished reading Attack on Titan vol. 1 in 2019, but started reading it on the last day 2018 so it doesn’t count.

You create a sign up post where you keep track of the books you’ve read for the challenge as well. Don’t forget to follow the reading challenge updates on Twitter: @YearOfTheAsian


I am aiming for the Philippine tarsier, which means I’ll read 1 to 10 books by Asian authors. I’m certainly not limiting my reading to 10 books! I’m just not good with stressing myself out over reading so I’m aiming for the lowest level and hoping I’ll end up reading more.

yo5iek1 (1)


I’ll use this space to update you all on the books I’ve read by Asian authors. I’ll add them once I’ve read the book, and link to my review once I’ve written and posted that. If there’s a book on this list without a link, I simply haven’t written a review yet (you can always visit me on Goodreads to see my thoughts on the books I read though).

  1. Naoko by Keigo Higashino

Are you participating in #YARC2019? Do you have any recommendations for me? I still have quite a few books by Asian authors on my bookshelf and Kindle that I’m really excited to get to. I’m looking forward to reading more books by Asian authors this year!

An impromptu 24 hour readathon | 600+ pages read in a day

Yesterday, I was watching some reading vlogs when I decided to do my own 24 hour readathon. I usually participate in the #24in48 readathon, but am not available during the next round. Instead, I figured I’d create my own 24 hour readathon at a time that suits me best to boost my reading a bit.

I started reading on January 17th at 14:00 and ended today at the same time. I honestly had such a great time! I read far more than I’ve been reading lately, and it had all the excitement of a readathon without any pressure. Every once in a while, I posted an update on Twitter to keep track of my progress.

So what did I actually end up reading?


I was still reading A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke when I started the readathon. When the 24 hours kicked off, I was 158 pages into this book. After 2.5 hours of reading, I finished it!

This is a polar fantasy novel that revolves around Ósa and Ivar, who live on the island called Skane. Generations of her people have lived on this cold island, guided by the lights the Goddess communicates through. On clear nights, colored lights illuminate the sky. Green means all is well, while blue warns them of the upcoming snowstorm. And when the lights turn red, it’s time to be scared. Red is a warning of danger to come. For the first time in 17 years, the lights turn red above their heads.

I absolutely loved this. This is such an atmospheric read, and works perfectly well as a standalone. I do believe there is a companion novel that is a prequel, but I’m not entirely certain of that. The only reason I didn’t give this 5 stars is because I believe it should’ve been a bit longer so we would’ve been given more time with the characters before the lights turn red.

Aside from that, I have no complaints about this book. It was atmospheric, tense, action-packed, and I was so attached to the characters. Especially Ivar.

📚 I gave A Shiver of Snow and Sky 4.5/5 stars.
📚 I read 183 pages of this book during the readathon.


After finishing my first book, I picked up The City of Brass (Daevabad trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakrabortya fantasy novel I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I’m currently kicking my past self for not reading this sooner. I fell in love with this book from page 1, and I just know it’ll end up a 5-star read even though I haven’t finished it yet.

If you don’t know what this novel is about, I’ll try to provide a small synopsis that doesn’t include any spoilers. It follows Nahri who lives in Cairo and makes a living as a con artist/thief. She pretends to do magic and predict the future for rich people, using her skills to keep her stories believable. She’s always been able to sense illnesses in people.  She doesn’t believe in magic, but sees no problem in faking it to earn some money. One day, a zar (a sort of exorcism) she stages ends up going differently than expected and Nahri might actually find herself face to face with a djinn.

I haven’t finished this book yet so I won’t talk too much about my feelings on it, but it’s absolutely fantastic so far. It reminded me of why I love epic fantasy so much. I fell into this world so easily, and was hooked from the very beginning.

📚 I read 420 pages of The City of Brass during the readathon.


I’m really happy with how much I managed to read during the 24 hours! I think if I do this more often, I’ll be able to read even more in the future. I’m not used to focusing so much on reading in one sitting anymore, and it takes some getting used to.

I managed to read 603 pages! I finished one book (which I really enjoyed) and read 77% of another (which will definitely end up being a new favorite).

2018 ranked | TV shows I watched

It’s time for my second installment of ‘2018 ranked’, this time focused on TV shows. Now, I’ll set some rules for this edition of ranked. I can only use TV shows I either completed in 2018, or watched a large chunk of last year. I can’t count ones I only watched a few episodes of, because I think that’s a bit unfair. I’ll add whether I’ve completed them or not after the title, so you’ll know. Let’s get to it!

Disclaimer: there are really no shows on this list I didn’t like at all. If I don’t like a show, I won’t continue watching it, and I surely won’t finish it. 

Rich Man, Poor Woman – completed
Out of all the TV shows I watched/completed, this might have been my least favorite one. Sorry, Suho! I certainly didn’t hate it, because I gave it around a 3/5 stars. I just didn’t feel much chemistry between the main characters, which is pretty crucial in a drama for me.

Boys Over Flowers – completed
I would have loved this more if I had watched it years ago, like everyone else did. However, years ago I wasn’t even aware of the existence of K-dramas. Instead I watched it in 2018, after watching a modern, Chinese reboot of the story. As I don’t have the nostalgic link, and knew what would happen in the story already, I just didn’t fall in love with this.

I Am Not a Robot – completed
I actually truly enjoyed watching this show. The reason it’s not higher on the list, is that I had genuinely forgotten I watched it in 2018. To be fair, I watched it in January which is a pretty long time ago. I would still recommend it!

Between – still watching
The first show on the list I haven’t actually finished watching. This is a Taiwanese drama about a ‘sandwich girl’. Always stuck in between people and situations. The reason this is quite ‘high’ on the list despite not have watched it in its entirety is because I can relate to the main female character in her work life. The feeling of always being stuck between your boss and colleagues, wanting to do your work well, not really knowing how to say no to more work…

Uncontrollably Fond – completed
Did I ugly cry at the end of this series? You bet I did. I first started watching this because of Suzy, who plays the main character in this show. She’s absolutely fantastic in it, by the way. It’s the story of a famous actor and the producer who is making a documentary about his life. Except there’s way more to the story than that. Of course.

Read my full thoughts on Uncontrollably Fond here.

Something in the Rain – completed
Something in the Rain was one of the cutest shows I’d seen in a long time. It’s about a woman who reconnects with her best friends’ little brother when he comes back from the US. Instead of the little boy she remembers, he’s now a charming and kind adult, and they develop a wonderful relationship. I love the fact that this story focused on their relationship instead of their getting together. It showed a healthy, adult relationship and I can’t praise it enough.

Read my full thoughts on Something in the Rain here

Meteor Garden – completed
I’m still not sure where to put Meteor Garden on this list. I recognize that it has its flaws, like a lot of TV shows do. But it’s also one of the only shows on this list I’ve gone back and rewatched multiple times? Surely that means I love it, right? Anyway, this is a remake of a remake, and it’s still worth watching. It’s a Chinese drama set in college/university.

Read my full thoughts on Meteor Garden here.

Just Between Lovers – completed
The best way to describe this show, in my opinion, is quietly beautiful. It’s nothing showy or spectacular, but it managed to blow my mind anyway. It follows two people who have lost loved ones in the collapse of a mall – two survivors of the collapse, in fact. There’s so much hurt and grief in their lives, and both of them have so much love to give. I wanted to wrap these characters in a blanket and protect them from the world.

Read my full thoughts on Just Between Lovers here

Suspicious Partner – still watching
Another show I haven’t finished watching yet! I love it so much already though, that it deserves a top spot on this list. I think it’s the combination of a lawyer drama + murder + conspiracies + romance that drew me in here. I’ll gather my thoughts on the show later when I’ve completed it and write a ‘Thoughts on TV’ post on it, but for now all I’ll say is that I would highly recommend watching it.

Queer Eye – caught up
You knew this would be on the list, didn’t you? I binge-watched this show in about a week – yes, both seasons in a week – because I just couldn’t stop. This is so much more than a makeover show. If you somehow haven’t watched it, please do. I never thought I would end up loving it, because I don’t really watch much reality TV. I ended up giving it a try, binge-watching two seasons, and crying my eyes out.

You – still watching
The last show on this list I haven’t finished watching. I binge-watched the first 6 episodes of the show immediately after its release, because it was one of my most anticipated Netflix releases. I couldn’t really get in to the book this is based on, but the trailer of the show looked epic. The first episodes were incredible, and I can’t wait to see how the season ends.

Sense8 – completed
There’s no doubt in my mind that Sense8 was the best show I watched in 2018. I had seen season 1 before, but binged season 2 and the movie-length episode that finished the series off in 2018. Every single TV show on Earth should see this one as an example to be followed. That’s all there is to say, really.

This was clearly the year of Asian dramas. I’m going to try and balance my TV watching a bit more this year. I’ll still watch a bunch of Asian dramas, but I also want to watch others. There’s a Spanish show that has been on my to-watch list for ages, as well as a German one, and the hundreds of British/American shows on my to-watch list haven’t disappeared either, of course. Have you watched any of these shows? Which shows did you love in 2018?

New-to-me authors of 2018 | #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, we’re talking about our favorite new-to-us authors! I probably won’t choose 10 as I read around 70 books in 2018. Choosing 10 would just be too much, especially since it would become a partial recreation of my favorite reads of the year list. Here are some new authors that stood out to me!


Read: Red Sister, Grey Sister, Prince of Thorns
I started reading Mark Lawrence’s books this year, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’d heard nothing but incredible things about his books for years, especially on r/fantasy. However, his books made me feel really intimidated and I just couldn’t get started on them. Until Red Sister came along. I fell in love with this story about assassin nuns and their friendships and relationships. If there’s one of his series you definitely HAVE to read, it’s the Book of the Ancestor series.


if we were villains

Read: If We Were Villains
I picked this up at the library on a whim. I had never heard anyone talk about this before, but it was described as perfect for fans of The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I adore that book, so I decided to give this one a try – and promptly fell in love with it. I’ve seen it mentioned a bit more this year, which gives me hope that more people will read it.



Read: Pachinko
I bought this because I saw it mentioned on a YouTuber’s favorite books of 2017 list. I can’t remember whose video it was, otherwise I would’ve credited them here. Anyway, this is a generational novel set in Korea and Japan, starting in 1911. It was beautiful and heart breaking, and Min Jin Lee crushed my heart. I will definitely read more of her works.



Read: The Hate U Give
I know I should’ve read this book last year, but I didn’t. I did listen to the audiobook in 2018, and it blew my mind. This book is fantastic. It’s real, and sad, and makes you feel awful because of the world we live in. But it’s also humorous, filled with hope, and highlights healthy friendships and families. I will definitely read On the Come Up when it gets released.


Read: Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems
I binge-read this entire trilogy in 2018. Is it entirely without its problems? Of course not. Is it still a fantastic and addictive series? Yes! It made me laugh out loud multiple times, managed to teach me some Mandarin as well as make me a bit more familiar with a different culture, had me rooting for so many characters, and oh yeah, made me laugh out loud multiple times. Did I say that twice? Oops.


Read: Nevermoor, Wundersmith
Jessica Townsend captured my heart in 2018 with her Nevermoor series. It’s been a long time since I’ve loved a middle grade fantasy that much. No shade, I’m just not the target audience and it shows most of the time. This, however, was perfect. It felt nostalgic, magical, wonderful, and all the positive descriptors you can think of. But it also addressed some more serious topics, like emotional abuse, being ostracized, friendships and betrayals, and more. It’s just so good.



Read: Illuminae 
Both authors were new to me. Surprising, right? They’re both incredibly popular in the YA community, but I hadn’t read any of their works. I randomly started the audiobook of Illuminae while commuting in 2018, and immediately knew I’d end up giving it 5 stars. The audiobook is fantastic, but I’d recommend combining it with a physical copy/ebook to get the best reading experience. I’ll definitely continue the series.

Movies I want to watch in 2019

Last week I made a list of 11 TV shows I want to prioritize this year, inspired by Destiny at Howling Libraries’ list. She also made a list of movies she wants to watch in 2019, and I decided to make one too. I love movies, but they are the form of media I tend to procrastinate most with. For some reason, whenever I do have some time I end up watching a TV show rather than a movie. There are so many classics and incredibly popular movies I haven’t watched yet… Please don’t judge me for not having seen these!

Black Panther
I’ll start with probably one of the most popular movies of 2018, Black Panther. No, I haven’t watched it yet. Yes, I’m SO far behind on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I promise I’ll watch this soon.

Get Out
Another incredibly popular one. I’m so sorry. I have no excuse either! I do want to watch this movie as soon as possible. Especially since Us will be released in March 2019, and I’d like to watch it in theaters.

The Lion King
I couldn’t make this list without including The Lion King. One of my favorite movies growing up being remade? Yes, please. The trailer looked absolutely epic, and I honestly can’t wait for July.

More Disney on this list! In May, the new ‘live action’ version of Aladdin will be released. I think Aladdin might have been my favorite animated movie as a child. I loved it even more than I did The Lion King. The only one that could compete with Aladdin was Anastasia. I’m so excited to watch this in May!

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
I absolutely loved the book this movie is based on, and I’ve been waiting for ages to watch this movie. Was it even possible to watch this movie? I feel like it was only played at film festivals… Anyway, I’ll be seeing whether there’s a DVD release and going from there. I will watch this movie, mark my words.

One that’s a little bit easier to access this time. Battle is a Norwegian dance movie that was recently released on Netflix. I was first interested in it because of Lisa Teige, who played Eva in Skam. But the trailer looked really wonderful, and I can’t wait to watch it.

The Hate U Give
I’ll finally be able to watch the movie adaptation of The Hate U Give! I believe the Belgian release date is stated to be January 23rd, and I’ll be there. One of my favorite books of 2018 on the big screen? I won’t say no to that.

A Quiet Place
I added this to the list quite late, because of a pattern I discovered when looking back at the movies I watched in 2018. Some of my favorite movies of last year were horror, which I never would have expected. So I’m including more horror this time! This one seems like an incredibly interesting one. Besides, I love Emily Blunt.

Another incredibly popular one I haven’t watched. Sigh. I don’t think I have to explain this one, right? A linguist trying to communicate with aliens? Amy Adams? Jeremy Renner? Sign me up.

A Belgian movie on this list, finally! I actually wanted to watch this in theaters when it came out in 2015 but I’m a procrastinator like that and never actually did it. This is the movie adaptation of Dirk Bracke’s novel called Black, which I have read.

ashes in the snow

Ashes in the Snow
I haven’t actually read Between Shades of Gray, the novel this is based on, but I do have it on my shelf at home. I really want to watch this WWII story focused on a young girl who’s been deported to Siberia with her family.

The Nightingale
There’s no news on this movie yet, but Letterboxd has marked this as a 2019 release. I sure hope it is. This is an adaptation of one of my all-time favorite novels, and I need to see it on the big screen. It follows two French sisters during WWII: one trying to survive and take care of her daughter, the other hell-bent on joining the rebellion.

Someone hold me accountable here. I am going to watch these movies. I AM! Have you watched any of these? Which movies do you want to watch in 2019?

Review: Promise of Blood

promise of bloodTitle: Promise of Blood
Series: Powder Mage #1
Author: Brian McClellan
Published in April 2013 by Orbit
Genre: fantasy (flintlock/gunpowder)
Rating: 9/10 – loved it!

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

my thoughts on - review black (1)

Promise of Blood sat on my shelf for years, unread. I initially bought it because of the good reviews, and the tagline of the novel. I mean, “The age of kings is dead, and I have killed it.” Doesn’t that sound epic? For some reason, I put off reading it for years. I was too blinded by all the amazing new releases. In addition, I never really see anyone talk about this book or series? I’ve seen a few SFF-focused blogs talk about the sequels, but that’s all that comes to mind right now. I’m glad I finally picked it up, because I was pleasantly surprised.


This novel starts off with the death of the monarchy and nobility of Adro. Field Marshal Tamas and his Powder Mages have just killed the majority of the royal family and the entirety of the Royal Cabal (mages, I’ll explain more later) in order to save the country. In Tamas’ eyes, the monarchy has become greedy and lazy and would have given Adro away for personal gain. According to him, it’s time the people are in power again.

The world is changing. People do not exist to serve their governments or their kings. Governments exist to serve the people, so the people should have a say in those governments.

One of the most interesting aspects of this story is that it starts right after the coup takes place. We don’t see the alliances and months of planning leading up to it. Instead, we start with a bloodbath and follow the characters as they deal with the consequences of ending the Age of Kings. We have the struggle of the Powder Mages and their supporters versus the surviving royalists, the set up of a new way of ruling the country, and legends that maybe should be taken seriously.

I loved every single aspect of this story. The coup and Tamas’ reasons for it, the battle against the royalists, the battle at the borders of the country, the investigation into who betrayed him, the magic and world… Everything about this novel was fantastic. I wasn’t bored for a second!


I mentioned before that I would go in to more detail on the Royal Cabal. In this world, each country has a King who is supported by their Royal Cabal. They’re mages called Privileged, who support and protect the King. Aside from the Privileged, you also have Magebreakers and Powder Mages in this world. Privileged use the Else to do magic while Magebreakers cut off their access to the Else leaving them unable to use magic. Powder Mages have powers focused on manipulating gun powder such as pushing bullets, extremely accurate shots from miles away, igniting gunpowder/bombs from far away, incredibly eyesight, and so on. They do need access to gunpowder to do this, snorting it to enhance their powers.

I found this such a unique magic system. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read a lot of gunpowder/flintlock fantasy yet, but I loved the idea of Powder Mages and discovering what their specialties were.

I also loved learning more about the history of the world, especially the mythology and legends. Those become more important towards the second half of the book, and watching them unfold was incredibly enjoyable. I don’t want to say anything more than this because I believe the reader should discover these secrets as they read but the myths and legends relate to gods as well as magic and the Else.


Obviously we need to talk about Tamas, the Field Marshal who has killed the Age of Kings. I haven’t read a book from an older guy in so long, and I quite liked the change of pace it provided. The Field Marshal is 60 years old, making his achievements believable and realistic – as realistic as a fantasy book can get, of course. It gives us a reason to believe in his convictions, his leadership, and strategic plans. After all, he’s been a soldier and leader for decades. Tamas is a character I both loved and hated. I loved how he would do anything for his country, how proud of and loyal he was to his Powder Mages, and how smart he was. You end up supporting his beliefs, and wanting him to win. On the other hand, you also have to bear witness to his strained relationship with his son, Taniel. While he is a great leader and Powder Mage, he is not a great father. It made me resent him for not making more of an effort for his son. Thanks to the mixed feelings the author creates surrounding Tamas, he ends up seeming like a real person to the reader.

I’ll also talk a bit about Taniel, since he’s one of the PoV characters as well. He’s Taniel’s son, and one of the most renowned Powder Mages. He comes back to Adro after a long mission, and arrives right after the coup has taken place. He’s immediately sent on another assignment by his father. There’s so much mystery surrounding him as his past slowly gets revealed, and I have so many questions I want to ask him. I want to know more about his fiance who cheated. I want to know more about Ka-Poel. Tell me all about your life, Taniel.

There are many other characters, some with their own PoV as well – such as Adamat – but I’ll let you discover those on your own.


If it isn’t clear yet, I would highly recommend this book. I thought it was a fast-paced, immersive book set in a unique and intriguing world. I love that it’s a multiple PoV book, and the characters we follow are so different. The 60-year-old Field Marshal, his marksmen son, his son’s 18-year-old mysterious companion, the ex-cop and private detective, and more. There are so many interesting characters in this novel, and I can’t wait to read more about them all. It’s got action, politics, backstabbing, magic, legends, and everything I’ve ever wanted from a fantasy book.