Last Reads of 2018

I haven’t updated this since before September, and I wanted to catch up on the books I’ve read post before 2018 is over. I don’t think I’ll finish the next one before the New Year. My reading time is limited because my tot would rather me play with him or read his books.

Past Reading Goals

Before I get into the books, I have been doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2015. I choose how many books I would like to read every year, and then I try to reach my goal. I don’t always make it, and I’m okay with that. I’m reading. That’s the best part. Here are some past ones:

2015 I wanted to read 13 books. I read 9. I didn’t even have a kid as an excuse that year.

2016 I wanted to read 13 books, and I read 13 books. I knew not to make a huge goal for myself because my baby would be born in May. It helped that I added audiobooks to my life.

2017 I made my goal 15 books, and I surpassed it with 23 books. 

This year, 2018, I wanted to read 40 books. This was a pretty lofty goal. I didn’t get there, but I did read 33. I’m proud of that. I will read more next year.  (By the way, if we count all the kid’s books I’ve read, then I can add a lot more to the list.)

In 2019 I will keep the goal of 40 until I pass it.

2018 Reads from September to December

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I borrowed this book from the library. I usually just get books for my little one because I have so many to read at home, but I saw it on the shelf, and had seen many trailers for the movie so I decided to give it a go.

I’m glad I did. Crazy Rich Asians basically gives you advance warning about what it’s about in the title. There weren’t any surprises. They are crazy rich, and at times they are just crazy.

This novel follows a lot of characters. The only reason I was able to keep track of all the characters was because there was a family tree at the start of the book. I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth to see where the person I was reading about belonged. 

One of the many cousins, Nicholas Young, brought his girlfriend, Rachel Chu, from the states to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. This included meeting all of his family. She didn’t know how rich he was, and he didn’t tell her about his family, or warn her about what to expect. He also didn’t tell his family anything about his girlfriend until shortly after he invited her.

I would think somebody who grew up in that family might know what he was walking into, and worse, what he was walking his girlfriend into without her knowing.

I am about to start reading the second in the series so even though I had a few misgivings, and had trouble finding a favourite character, I am planning to read more of the series. 

I haven’t watched the movie yet, but I’m sure I will.

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

I bought this book the day after it was released. I have read a few books by actors, but I’ve chosen to listen to most of them on audible. I enjoy memoirs. I enjoy learning about the moments we don’t always see. Sometimes I am disappointed, sometimes I’m not.

I was not disappointed by this book. I follow Busy Philipps on Instagram, as many do. The book reads like her Instagram stories. Honest and unfiltered. We get a glimpse into her life from childhood until now. She has had her ups and downs in life as we all have.

While I enjoy reading about the life of a Hollywood actor, I actually really liked reading about her teenage years. I recognized parts of myself in her at that age. Not completely because my teenage years were pretty mellow, but most teenagers are filled with insecurities, and she shared some of that.

The book is basically full of her life ramblings. I didn’t mind the way it was written, but at times I would have liked more details. She kind of flitted from one topic to the other.

I’ve watched and seen Busy in quite a few of the shows she’s been in, and I wouldn’t mind watching her late night talk show if it were available in Canada (other than paying for cable). 

The book was good. I’ll probably read it again some day. There are so many things I don’t relate to, but others that I do. It’s sometimes hard to see actors as real people, but reading things they write helps. I enjoy watching her stories, but I’m not quite sure we’d click in real life. I think she would tell a lot of stories, but wouldn’t actually see me as somebody she wants to be friends with. (Unlike Drew Barrymore. After reading her book, I was pretty sure I should be her best friend.)

Lucky by Alice Sebold

I listened to this book on Audible.

Two memoirs in a row. This one isn’t written by an actor. Alice Sebold is a writer, but that’s not what this is about. She doesn’t write about her writing. She writes about her rape. It happened years ago when she was in her first year of university.

This book didn’t hold anything back. The first chapter jumped right into the rape. She was raped in a tunnel by a stranger on a night she walked alone from a party to her dorm room. The actual details were hard to listen to. It’s reality, and it’s scary as hell. You could tell she remembered every moment as though it were happening again. 

From there, the memoir detailed everything that happened after that. She seems to remember everything. She went to the police. She stood up for herself. She went to court to defend herself. I say it like that because even though she isn’t the one who is accused, she still had to defend herself. I mean, my god, why would she be walking by herself late at night? Things like that.

She remembered so many details of her life at that time, and why wouldn’t she? Unfortunately, your most horrific, sad, tramatic, and horrible moments sometimes get stuck in your brain, and the details are not easy to forget. Sometimes you don’t forget. I have never been raped, so I can’t relate to her on that, but I can imagine writing it must have helped her work through it even years later. 

I would recommend this book to anybody interested, but I wouldn’t read it again. I cried more than once while listening to it because life is really unfair, and I hate that this is something that happens to anybody.

I Was a Teenage Katima-Victim: A Canadian Odyssey by Will Ferguson

I have to be honest about this book. I’ve read it before. I think I’ve only read it once before, maybe twice. My friend and I read it together while we were in Katimavik. We read it 20 years ago.

There are two reasons I decided to read this book again. First of all, my own Katimavik group has started to plan our 20 year reunion. It reminded me of the book. Second, NanoWrimo was coming up, and I had decided to write about my own experience. I wanted to read another Katimavik book first. I don’t think there are very many written.

In my head, I thought once I started writing, my experience would be just as funny as his was. I was wrong. Waiting 20 years doesn’t help with your memory, and my story came out more of an angsty teenager story.

Back to Will Ferguson’s story. I loved it 20 years ago. We laughed so hard while reading it.

It was just as funny now, BUT Will Ferguson was hard to love as he wrote himself in the book. I just realised this is my third memoir in a row, but this one is classified as humour. I love Will Ferguson. I love his books. I think he’s very funny. In this book, he’s a sarcastic funny. I started to wonder what it would have been like if I had been in his group. I think I probably would have had a crush on him, but it would have grown old. I would have found his humour grating at times and sometimes mean. However, he was a teenage boy, fresh out of high school, and I know that people change. He also admits his faults in the book, one way or another.

Here’s something else I saw in him though. He seemed unhappy at times. He didn’t easily find the humour in situations (until later). He saw things in a grumpy way, and it’s not easy to spot this because the book is funny. Eventually, I saw myself in his character. Sad and unable to be grateful about my experience. (I am grateful now.)

In my opinion, anybody who has been in Katimavik should read this book. It takes you back to a completely different time. It shows the great and hilarious moments. I still loved it, and I’m sure I will read it in another 15-20 years. This was written about a Katimavik experience years before my own, but it still resonated with me. 

Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner

While I enjoyed this book, I completely forgot what it was about just by the title. I had to find the book.

I’m not sure where this book came from. I found it in my pile of books, but I’m glad I picked it up.

I liked it. This book followed three different characters who, at the start, had yet to meet. 

Each one of them met at a private psychiatric care facility after dealing with different breakdowns or mental health struggles.

This book had honest portrayals of mental health struggles. In this day and age where people want it to be less of a stigma (myself included), it was a great read.

The struggles were realistic. I especially saw this in the struggle with anxiety. Anxiety sneaks up on you, and getting help is never a bad thing.

I truly enjoyed this book, and was able to read it pretty quickly. There were sad moments, and happy moments. I saw the main characters struggle, and I saw them survive. I saw them smile. I smiled for them.

I would definitely read this one again.

Just One Look by Harlan Coben

I had definitely read this one before. But so long ago that it didn’t make it into my Goodreads library. Also so long ago, that I couldn’t remember reading it or what happened, I just continually had a ‘deja-vu’ feeling.

I still didn’t figure anything out until the end so I guess that’s a win.

I enjoy Harlan Coben books. They’re usually easy reads that constantly keep me guessing. The book usually has completely evil characters that are most likely working for somebody else even more evil.

It also has SO many twists and turns that you never ever completely figure it out until the end. Even if you’ve already figured it out five times. 

This one was super confusing. I can honestly say it wasn’t my favourite Harlan Coben book. It was okay, and a quick read, but the plot took more turns that I would have liked. 

I would go into the plot, but it’s just too much right now. Basically, without looking at the blurb in the back: a women finds a photo of her husband taken years ago in a new batch of developed photos, and her husband goes missing shortly after seeing the photo. The rest is her trying to find out what happened to her husband and why. 

There are SO many stories in one story that all make sense at the end, but you have to go through a lot to get there.

Don’t Cry Now by Joy Fielding 

I just finished this one last night so it’s still fresh in my mind.

Just like Harlan Coben, I really enjoy Joy Fielding books. And just like Harlan Coben, she has a certain structure in her books that seems to be in all of them. She also keeps you on your toes, and you are never sure of who is bad in the book. 

Her books always seem to have a woman in her 30s or 40s as the main character. She’s usually a mother. This woman sometimes seems meek, but by the end of the book you see that she’s pretty kick ass, and can make it through horrible moments.

Many times in her books, I think that it seems impossible that SO much has been piled on one person, but somehow she makes it through.

This book piled that and more on the main character. She was told her life was in danger by her husband’s ex-wife, and when she meets her to talk about the warning, the ex-wife has been murdered. Of course, she is the prime subject. Luckily, that wasn’t the major focus because she now has two step-kids to bring into her house (one with a snake), she already had a little girl, she has nightmares of her childhood, and so many other added fears. Also, EVERYONE was a suspect. Everyone. She had nobody to trust. 

I just hope if I ever get into a terrible situation, there would be somebody I could talk to. 

In all honestly, I found the main character a little horrible and judging at the beginning. I guess we can assume that’s because she’s had things whispered in her ears that lead her to see things differently. As a mother, she seemed like a mom-shamer. That’s never good. I started to like her as the book went on, and I guess she learns that life isn’t always black and white.

I had to finish it last night because it was getting creepy and scary. 

I rarely do this, but THIS WILL BE A SPOILER.

If you’ve ever watched the movie The Good Son (I did when I was probably too young to watch it), you will have similar feelings to that at the end. This is really only a spoiler if you’ve seen that movie.

I won’t read this one again, but I didn’t quite figure it the plot until the end, and read it quickly so it was good all in all.

That’s it:

More book posts coming in the New Year!

Happy Reading.

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

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