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All the Books I Read in 2018 | A Recap

In 2018, I read and finished a total of 16 books.


For some, this number might be too little. But for someone like me, who have always struggled in reading books consistently, this is the best reading year ever.

Although I set myself a goal of 25 books in 2018, making it to a double digit is still a great achievement.

It made me feel more confident that I can do better next year. And the years ahead.

Why do I read books?

Reading books make me feel good. I love the knowledge I gain in every book I finish. I enjoy the smell of new books same as the old pages. I feel satisfied whenever I devour a great story.

And in today’s post I am thrilled to do a quick recap of all the books I read this year. Towards the ending I am also sharing to you how many books I plan to read next year!

Let’s begin. In no particular order...

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This is the third Gillian Flynn book I read following Gone Girl in 2016 and Sharp Objects in 2017. I received Dark Places as a gift last Christmas and was the first book I ever read in 2018. Out of the three, I consider Dark Places to be a better reading experience that Sharp Objects but definitely not comparable to Gone Girl. Flynn continues to be a favorite author for me when it comes to “mystery-thriller-who-did-what” type of stories. The way she introduce different characters and reveal their version of what happened is always a one of a kind ride for me.


Money Grows on Trees by Clarissa Serina De La Paz

One of the best financial books I read of all time is De La Paz’s Money Grows on Trees. I enjoy this book so much because of the great storytelling. I love how the author brought inspiration when it comes to saving money and starting a business. I love the quote said by the author "What you do with you Php 10,000 salary is what you will do with Php 100,000 salary". If you can show discipline when it comes to spending, saving and investing your Php 10,000 (and no matter how small that amount is) you can also spend, save and invest wisely whatever amount of money you will own in the future.” It definitely helped me reflect on my financial habits and ponder upon how Imanage my money.

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watsons

After a good week-long break from Dark Places, I read another mystery thriller with a different author, S.J. Watsons – Before I Go to Sleep. I love how this turned out to be 50 First Dates in a mysterious psychological thriller version! For someone like me who loves reading crime and mystery books, I give this a 4 out of 5 stars. I definitely enjoyed every page of this book.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

I enjoyed watching the movie The Devil Wears Prada years ago and when I found the book sold for just Php 49 I knew I needed to buy it. Sadly, reading the book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I feel like the movie adaptation was 100x better than the book itself which is somewhat rare. But, I’m still keen in giving Weisberger another chance perhaps reading her other books next.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

This is the last book I’m counting as read and finished for 2018. I brought this with me in November during my vacation to El, Nido Palawan but only made significant progress reading it after the trip.

Compared to the movie, reading Crazy Rich Asians was way better in my opinion. There were a lot more substance in the book with each of the characters having their own time to shine. I enjoy the introduction to how the crazy rich Asians made their fortune, the definition of malay words and slangs at the bottom and the way places and foods were vividly described. You will also appreciate more how crazy rich the rich are in the book with the details of what they did, what they shopped and so on especially, Astrid.

Some of the significant differences between the book and the movie adaptation I found are as follows:

  • Eleonor Young did not meet Rachel in Singapore. Instead, she went to China with her “amigas” to investigate the background of Rachel.
  • Peik Lin and her family does not know the Youngs. They have no idea how wealthy the Youngs are because it is said in the book that Nick’s family kept their fortune hidden through the years.
  • Michael Teo is not a heartless cheater. He just got tired of Astrid and her family being the crazy rich Asian that they are. He felt unhappy with the relationship but he didn’t cheat. The mistress was a fake and was actually his cousin pretending so that Astrid will be forced to break up and call for annulment.
  • Charlie Wu has significant part in the book and I love his and Astrid’s story so much.

As you may notice, I’m a big Astrid fan now thanks to the book. I like Astrid better in the book than the movie and even felt like she is the main protagonist and not Rachel. Her storyline is so much better.

I adore this book so much and might as well finish the trilogy in 2019.

Room by Emma Donahue

I remember buying this book before thinking it would be the cure for my reader’s block. Sadly, it took me years to open and start digging in to the story.

Room has a special place in my heart because of how tragic the plot line is. It is based on Fritzl case which I’ve previously discussed in my truecrime documentary recommendations on Netflix.

I enjoyed reading the book and how the struggle of being a captive was described. Seeing the world in the eyes of a five year old who have never been outside definitely an amazing reading experience.

Make Today Count by John Maxwell

I received this book during the farewell party I had with my Purple Book classmates. If you remember last November I spent most of my Tuesdays and Thursdays attending discipleship class.

Make Today Count by John Maxwell was an easy read. I love how he explained a lot of good life habits that pays well if you want to change your day or your life. Make Today Count is truly a masterpiece and one of the best self-help books I recommend for quick reading.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

I was so excited to find the softbound, less expensive version of the book Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. The first few versions available in the bookstores were hardbound which costs Php 800. I know I couldn’t afford buying that so I really waited until the softbound arrived.

Paula Hawkins is not a new author for me. I have read and reviewed her previous bestseller, The Girlon the Train which was part of my 17 Books Before2017 ChallengeMy first half of reading experience has been nothing but good. However, the rest of the pages became flat. There were too many characters that I lost track of what’s happening.

Because it is written like The Girl on the Train wherein each character speak out their point of view, keeping track of 10 different people’s story became hard. This is so unlike Crazy Rich Asians wherein even though there was a plethora of characters, you can still differentiate who’s who.

If I will rate this book I’ll probably give it a 3 out of 5 stars. The first half of the book I was highly intrigued but the last half felt blank. The suspense that was supposed to be Hawkins well-known style in writing didn’t develop fully.

The story was entertaining but not addictive. And the ending raised more questions than answers on my end.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

I mark Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer as the best book I read this year.

What an amazing account of the 1996 Mt. Everest Disaster by Krakauer. It was a masterpiece and I enjoyed every line, every pages along the way. When you read the book it is as if you are actually there climbing the Everest. Every detail was thoroughly researched and presented in such a breathtaking writing style.

I found myself deeply immersed in the book from start to finish. There is never a dull moment with this book and it’s surprising because I get easily bored with non-fiction and books with few speaking lines.

If there’s a book in this list I highly recommend for you to read, this is it.



The Set-Apart Woman by Leslie Ludy

Set-Apart Woman was my July devotional/Christian book pick and I can say with confidence, that this book is life-changing.

In this book Ludy encourages every woman to be “set-apart”. There is a call to live life in according to God’s will that is good, pleasing and perfect and despite all distractions, we must remember to stay fully-focused on Jesus Christ.

Several strong points were introduced by Ludy and she did it very firmly.  The book is not meant to baby sit you or give you a pat on the back as a Christian. Instead, the book will convict you HARD.

If you experiencing spiritual mediocrity, this book will surely speak light. It will bring your faith to a different level.

Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern

Cecilia Ahern is one of the best chick lit author I know of. I have read her famous book P.S. I love You before and her writing style is way different than that of Helen Fielding (author of Bridget Jones Diary) and Sophie Kinsella (author of Confessions of a Shopaholic).

I really enjoyed reading Love, Rosie. It wasn’t a hard book to finish because the characters are so easy to love. You will be in an emotional roller coaster ride knowing how fear and fate played Rosie and Alex through the years.

This definitely deserves to be part of my best books read in 2018.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This book is such a tearjerker. I remember reading during lunch time and found myself crying towards the ending.  The interactions between the two main protagonist, Will and Louisa, were some of the best I read in years.

You will feel the love between them, you will laugh with them and definitely fall in love with them. Louisa’s courage and love for Will was so moving. Until the end she didn’t give up in convincing Will that life is worth living.

I felt contented with how the story concluded. I feel like the letter is enough of a closure and denotes how Louisa would move on. But, I am not closing myself to reading After You and Still Me - the two other books in the series, in the future.

The Giver

I am happy I read and finished this book this year. The Giver is such a short read but the reading experience is beyond incomparable. It’s like a roller coaster ride where you start slow, experience emotional highs and lows in the middle and end it with a burst of revelation.

I enjoy dystopian as a genre because it makes you think of the possibility of impossible. The way Lowrey described the community is well-researched, something I really enjoyed reading. I love the explicit information the author provided about the community on how the community works.

The only problem or issue I have was the ending. There was an open-ended question whether Jonas survived or not. I also wanted to know what happened to the community now that the receiver is gone and exactly happened to The Giver.

Paper Towns by John Greene

Finally finished Paper Towns.

After years of trying to read this book until the end it was only last month that I was able to savor the story fully.

I like to start by mentioning how much I love the Paper Towns movie. I remember watching the movie with Nica at Greenbelt 1 and crying towards the end scene.

Because I mostly watch either the movie or trailer first before reading, my expectations for the book was high. I thought it will be similar or even close to how the movie went.


And just like what happened with Devil Wears Prada, I found myself liking the movie more than the book it was based for.

I can sum up the things I like about the book into three:

  • There are a lot of good lines from the book
  • The road trip and how it was written was entertaining and
  • Radar - Q’s nerd friend

For the movie though, everything became memorable for me. The movie made the story and the characters more interesting. That at some point we are obsessed with defining other people on how we want them to be and not for who they really are.

No regrets though and I still have Looking for Alaska (another John Green book) on my queue. This 2019, I also want to finish The Fault in our Stars which I guess Green’s best book.

Simplify Your Hectic Life

This is my second time to read and finish Simplify Your Hectic Life by Annie Chapman and Maureen Rank. Yet, the book still provided new insights when it comes to maintaining a solid spiritual life despite one’s chaotic schedule. Chapman and Rank provided stories and tips that will inspire every reader to focus on God – alone. It is filled by Godly thoughts and messages that show what productivity and what a balanced life should be when you have God in the center.

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is in a different level of reading experience that The Giver provided. Although both are dystopian-themed, book burning which is the central plot of Fahrenheit 451 did exist in the real world like the Nazi Book Burning.

Bradbury touched such a sensitive topic and turned it into an exemplary novel that will make you think and wonder what if. I struggled reading the first 25 pages of the book because of how bizarre the writing style is. I felt like I needed to read twice the paragraphs just to make sure I understand was happening in the story.

But it is a good classic book to read. The fact that it is a story about the importance of literature and how knowledge through reading could change how a community acts is well represented in the totality of the novel.

The most surprising thing for me while reading the book was how the Bible and its important verses were presented. I didn’t expect Bradbury to include that. Even at the ending, Montag mentioned one of my life verse Ecclesiastes 3.




Warren Buffet, a well-known name in the investing world once said, “Read 500 pages (like this) every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

For 2019 I am setting myself a bigger goal – read and finish 35 books.

How will I do this?

Follow Mr. Buffet but make it a doable based on the current time I can make.

Read 25 pages every day. And keep track of the progress on my Bullet Journal.

I am so excited with this new goal. You can follow me on my Goodreads account for the real-time update.

How many books do you plan to read in 2019?

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