Just One Reader's Opinion!

Lil’ Pingwing’s 2018 End of Year Survey

I already shared my survey answers. Now it’s my sister’s turn! Read on for her look back at her 2018 reading.

Getting the chance to contribute to Pingwing’s Bookshelf was one of the highlights of my year. I’ve always loved reading, and always have had very strong opinions about my books, and loved being given the opportunity to share those thoughts with others. Unfortunately, my return to work after the end of my year-long mat leave has made it harder for me to write reviews, but I thought it would be fun to fill out this review of the year in general. It’s great to be reminded of all the wonderful books I read (and that I should remember to reread!).

2018 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 56
Number of Re-Reads: Roughly 15-20
Genre You Read The Most From: Cozy!!

Best Book You Read In 2018?

Honestly, it’s too hard to pick one. There are so many books that I loved reading this year. Such a cop-out of an answer, but it’s true.

Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) Book You Read? 

Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower. As soon as I realized there was a bit of a magic component to the book I was concerned that it would be a bit hokey, but I just loved the book, along with its sequel.

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Stephen King’s On Writing. I pushed my mom and husband to read it.

Best Series You Started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018?

“The Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries” by Jacqueline Frost. This series was an unexpected pickup from Netgalley and I loved the winter setting in Mistletoe, Maine, on a Christmas tree farm. This series only has two books so far, and I am counting down the days till the third book is released.

Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2018?

Auralee Wallace — her Otter Lake series is hilarious! And every book seems to follow a different mystery genre so they do not feel repetitive (this is something that can become obvious when you read a series from start to finish, as I often do

Best Book From a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?

I read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and found it to be such a fascinating overview of the difficult process in writing both in the short-term as an act, and in the long-term as a career/process. I initially took it out from the library but purchased my own copy as soon as I was finished as I think I will be rereading it many times over the years.

Most Action-packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?

Snowed in with Murder by Auralee Wallace — being snowed in on an island with a killer is enough of an action-packed premise, but Wallace’s book was so gripping that I kept getting chills even though I read this in the summer! I absolutely loved this book and will read it again the next time I need a thrill or two!

Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Any of the Bakeshop mysteries by Ellie Alexander. As the series has progressed I have become very invested in the different relationships and storylines, and I can see myself wanting to reread the series before the next book comes out.

Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2018?

Lil Pingwing’s Cozy Corner: Goodbye Cruller World

Goodbye Crueller World by Ginger Bolton — it has a wall of donuts and a cat. Enough said.

Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2018?

Where I Belong by Alan Doyle — I’ve always loved Alan Doyle as a musician, but in this book it becomes obvious what a talented storyteller he is. His tales of growing up in Newfoundland are thoughtful, poignant, hilarious, and thoroughly entertaining. I can’t wait to read his next book.

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

This may sound silly, but Dead in the Water (Mattie Winston Mysteries #8). I have really struggled a lot this year with the lack of sleep from a child that still refuses to sleep through the night 13 months later. And going back to work has made it harder in some ways too. So I was so relieved to read in Dead in the Water and Stiff Competition (book 7) about Mattie’s complete and utter exhaustion over going back to work with an infant and (later) her toddler. I didn’t realize how much I needed to read about another person going through the same awful experience until it was right in front of me on the page (and this was even more effective given that I tend to only get to read now when I am up doing — sometimes hours-long — feeding sessions with my baby). Both books are great, too, but it just made me feel so much better to read about someone going through that exact same experience at the same time as I was, regardless of it being a fictional character.

Book That Shocked You The Most

Purrder She Wrote (Cat Cafe Mystery #2) by Cate Conte. Wowee the ending of this book threw me for a loop. I did not guess the killer and was very surprised by who it was in the end. I will admit that this impacted my perception of the book overall, but it’s definitely a good book for someone who doesn’t want the normal cozy ending.

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Not sure if I am interpreting the terms in this question correctly… but I love the relationship between Julia Snowden and her boyfriend Chris in Barbara Ross’ “Maine Clambake Mysteries”. They aren’t perfect, and definitely need to work on their communication, but I find them to have a really realistic relationship just love reading about their lives and going along for the adventure.

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

I always love the relationship between Hayley and her brother Randy in the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mysteries. They seem to have such a fun relationship and I love the idea of visiting my sibling at the bar they own (or if they owned a coffee shop/bookstore. HINT HINT). And if I ever needed to solve a murder, I would totally ask my sisters for help.

I think I love the relationship even more knowing that Lee Hollis (the author) is a pseudonym for a brother and sister writing team. I couldn’t imagine writing a book with one of my sisters, let alone ten! And for the relationship between Hayley and Randy to be so good in the books must mean their relationship in real life is awesome, too. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Death of a Cookbook Author (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #10). It’s hard to write a good book, let alone maintain a good book series. And since ten books is a lot (!!!) I wasn’t really sure how this latest book by Lee Hollis would go, but I was pretty blown away by how good it was! I loved having some returning characters, changing relationships, and unexpected outcomes in this book. Honestly, this book was so good that I’m currently re-reading the whole series.

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley. It may have been that while I was reading this book I was on a road trip through cottage country, driving by shimmering lakes and quaint small-towns, but I found the lakeside setting of this book to really stick with me even when I was done reading it.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Skinny Dipping with Murder by Auralee Wallace. Honestly, any of the books in this series just makes me laugh out loud. The relationship between Erica and her best friend Freddie makes me crack up, and I always enjoy following their hijinks.

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

A Dark and Twisting Path by Julia Buckley. I loved the first book in the series, but then quickly realized this book focused on solving the mystery of a kidnapped baby and just found I couldn’t get into it. I don’t like to not finish books, but I knew that this storyline just wasn’t for me.

Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The “Blue Ridge Library Mysteries” by Victoria Gilbert. I’m always a sucker for a book about people rebuilding their lives, and also for books about librarians, so this just seemed like a perfect series for me! I was lucky enough to be given an ARC for the book and just couldn’t put it down. A third book is coming out early next year and I am already looking forward to reading it

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Yule Log Murder by Leslie Meyer. Oh man. My review says it all.

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