My Year in Books 2018

This was another great year of reading for me, but it was also a reflective year where I re-read a lot of books; I crave the comfort and predictability, especially when other parts of my life feel out of control. Some are series that I reread yearly, like A Discovery of Witches or the Harry Potter series, or ones that I reach for every few years, like the Divergent series or the Hunger Games. Regardless, I’m happy with the books I read in 2018, and I’m very excited to get through my enormous TBR pile in 2019!

It’s no secret that I really love Goodreads. The ads are irritating, but it’s the best tool available for tracking books read and reviews written. The only books I don’t track are the ones I read as research for my book, mostly because people would think that I’ve lost my mind or that I’m a serial killer or something. And I love that every year they create a ‘year in books’ overview so that you can reflect on the past year. Below is my Year in Books, or you can visit the interactive one here. (Previous ones are here: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013)

2018 goodreads year in review for ashley fisher on ashleyfisher.ca

How was your 2018 reading year?

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang {Book Review}

The Impossible Girl was the featured book in my adult October Once Upon a Book Club box, and I was so excited to see it! I have wanted to read this book for months, since the first time I heard about it. I’m not as far behind as you’d think with this review—Once Upon a Book Club ships mid-month, and due to delivery delays with Canada Post, I didn’t receive the box until mid-November.

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
Two hearts. Twice as vulnerable.

Manhattan, 1850. Born out of wedlock to a wealthy socialite and a nameless immigrant, Cora Lee can mingle with the rich just as easily as she can slip unnoticed into the slums and graveyards of the city. As the only female resurrectionist in New York, she’s carved out a niche procuring bodies afflicted with the strangest of anomalies. Anatomists will pay exorbitant sums for such specimens—dissecting and displaying them for the eager public.

Cora’s specialty is not only profitable, it’s a means to keep a finger on the pulse of those searching for her. She’s the girl born with two hearts—a legend among grave robbers and anatomists—sought after as an endangered prize.

Now, as a series of murders unfolds closer and closer to Cora, she can no longer trust those she holds dear, including the young medical student she’s fallen for. Because someone has no intention of waiting for Cora to die a natural death.
— Goodreads

When I first heard about this book, I had to Google resurrectionists to see if they actually existed—and they did, but they were more commonly known as body-snatchers on this side of the Atlantic. Not as charming or romantic as resurrectionist, so I can see why Lydia Kang went with the British wording.

There isn’t a lot I can tell you about this book that isn’t a) a dead-ass spoiler, or b) lifted from the description of the book, but I can tell you that this book is utterly fascinating and bewildering. Frequently, I found myself Googling things in the book—and then subsequently falling down the rabbit hole—so I learned so much while reading it.

Because of the delivery delay (that totally wasn’t Once Upon a Book Club’s fault!) I missed the discussions almost entirely, but between the Googling and the gifts, I really enjoyed the experience of reading The Impossible Girl!

My rating: 5 stars.

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White {Book Review}

I received The Glass Ocean inside the September (adult) Once Upon a Book Club box, which also happened to be the first one that I’ve ordered. They do have a YA option if you’re interested, although I’ve never order that one.

The premise of the box is pretty neat: each month you receive a book, and then four-five gifts, art prints, and other goodies that directly relate to the story—but you don’t open them until to get to the page where they are mentioned. It’s an immersive experience, and if you want to go one step further with the “book club” part, you can take part in the scheduled discussions on Facebook and Instagram in order to connect with other readers. I liked it so much that I also ordered their October box (review up soon!), although I missed the deadline for the November box which made me a little sad.

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White
From the New York Times bestselling authors of The Forgotten Room comes a captivating historical mystery, infused with romance, that links the lives of three women across a century—two deep in the past, one in the present—to the doomed passenger liner, RMS Lusitania.

As the Lusitania steams toward its fate, three women work against time to unravel a plot that will change the course of their own lives . . . and history itself.
— Goodreads

Right from the start, this book had me hook, line, and sinker (PUN!). I love that the story weaved between the past and the present, and the way the stories of the three women intertwined was fascinating! I don’t normally reach for books written by multiple authors because they can have a confusing tone to them, but Beatriz, Lauren, and Karen all did a phenomenal job with The Glass Ocean—and their editor deserves a raise as well.

The story was lovely, sad, poignant, and utterly breathtaking. When I connected with other box subscribers, not everyone was thrilled by the ending. Some felt it didn’t fit, or was unnecessary, and other complained that it was hasty. I really enjoyed it, though; it felt right, and without it I would have been mad at the author for leaving things ambiguously.

My rating: 5 stars. Nothing about this book was boring or slow, the writing was fantastic, and the story flowed incredibly well.

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas {Book Review}

This past July, I ripped through the Throne of Glass series (up to Empire of Storms) in just over a week. And, as I mentioned already, I absolutely loved it. After I finished EoS, I decided that I needed a break from the chaos of the TOG universe, and instead re-read the Divergent series for the tenth time, and then the Selection series for the third time because I am a creature of habit and I take comfort in knowing exactly what is going to happen in a book. One of the main reasons why I delayed Tower of Dawn, however, was because I was sure I would rip through it as well, and then have to wait in agony for a few months before Kingdom of Ash was released.

Caution: minor spoilers, but this book is over a year old so I feel like at this point it’s not a spoiler because you should have read it already.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
— Goodreads

To be entirely candid, I did not rip through Tower of Dawn. It wasn’t for lack of trying; I am really invested in Chaol’s character and the role that he plays in the overall story, and since this book was almost entirely about his journey, it should have been a no-brainer.

Reader, it was not a no-brainer.

I found the first third of the book to be heavy in words but light in story, and I slogged through it a few pages at a time when I could find the attention span for it. It felt like it was a LOT, like it was trying so hard to be the connector between the first five books and the final installment that it became too much. The timeline didn’t make sense to me until the last third of the book when Aelin and the pirates are mentioned, and even then the entire book spans only a few months but so much happens that it’s overwhelming. At the same time, though, it wasn’t enough. New plot points and characters were introduced so rapidly that it felt like a standalone book, with this new world that had to be built, rather than the sixth in a series.

But. BUT.

By the last third I was entirely hooked, and I loved the way the characters grew and changed and adapted by the end of the story. And that’s the point, isn’t it? The second-to-last book is the setup for the game-winning spike, and as long as you get there and it’s a successful setup, that’s what counts. This book was necessary in order to get Chaol’s character to the point where he can and will fight for the world in the last book, and to finally end the Chaol-Celaena romantic connection once and for all, but in the end I didn’t love it as much as I had expected to.

My rating: on it’s own, I’d say this was a 3 star book. In the context of the series, however, I’d bump it up to 3.5 stars because it did what it needed to do in order for Kingdom of Ash to happen.

Ashley Fisher

About Wonderland Media

Wonderland Media was created to provide startups, businesses, and bloggers with a resource to help them meet their goals. We are digital storytellers, using your unique story to connect potential customers with your brand. After diving deep into your business, we will craft a unique multi-platform marketing campaign that will best meet your short- and long-term business goals. Best of all, we will use quantifiable data gathered throughout the campaign so that you can see exactly how we are positively influencing your business.

We specialize in: social media marketing & community management, event planning & publicity, digital marketing (including Pay-Per-Click & ethical SEO), content generation, and graphic design.

About Ashley Heinaranta

Throughout her decade in various marketing roles, Ashley has guided countless businesses through the muddy waters of creating an “online presence”. With experience in branding, consulting on business and marketing plans, graphic design, and digital marketing, she is a powerhouse of knowledge and experience. Ashley loves to work with start ups, bloggers, and small business owners, as well as established businesses and brands. No project is too small for her, and she loves the unique challenge that every project presents.