My Favorite 2018 Reads

Happy New Year, friends!Β  πŸŽ‡ 🍾 πŸŽ‰ I cannot believe that 2019 is finally here, it feels like 2018 lasted for an entire decade. Regardless I am super excited for the fresh slate that the new year brings, and I managed to finish my final current read last night sixteen minutes before midnight!

I read a total of 137 books in 2018, which is simply incredible and by far my best reading year since I was probably in middle school. I wanted to wait until January to put together my favorites of 2018 post in case a book simply wowed me (and a few did!). It was really difficult for me to narrow it down, and without further adieu here they are!

Top Five 2018 Releases

Top Five 2018 Reads: Contagion by Erin Bowman, Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda, Mirage by Somaiya Daud, Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody, & The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz

I was blessed to read so many amazing books in 2018, but when I set down to come up with a list these were the books that my mind and heart instantly gravitated towards. I was fortunate enough to read Contagion, Mirage, and The Siren and The Spectre as eARCs but I loved them all so much that I bought the finished copies as soon as they were released.

♣️ Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody was the first book that I ever upgraded from the Kindle to physical format because I loved the book so much. This book has it all: strong female characters, lovable and morally grey characters, gangs, and magic. Ace of Shades swept me away and I am anxiously awaiting King of Fools’ release. This book is tied for my favorite read of the year. | πŸ“– Read my full review

πŸ’‰Β Contagion by Erin Bowman was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and Harper was kind enough to grant my request on Edelweiss after my gushing about how I pre-ordered it but really wanted to help boost this story I was sure to love. When I finally got it I was terrified that I had hyped it up too much for myself and that I wouldn’t like it, and it took the #24in48 readathon for me to finally pick up the book. And then I cursed myself for waiting so long because I LOVED IT. Such a wonderful science fiction and horror mashup that I will scream about for ages to come. This book is tied for my favorite read of the year. | πŸ“– Read my full review

πŸ‘»Β The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz simply blew me away! I requested it from NetGalley on a whim after seeing Destiny say that she was afraid to sleep on Twitter, and I devoured the book. I love horror movies but don’t read much horror, and this book brought a love out in me that’s led me to explore more of the horror genre. As someone that is difficult to scare, Janz managed to creep me the heck out with the Long Room scene and I slept with the lights on in my apartment. I am now working my way through Janz’s backlist titles and he is a skilled horror writer. | πŸ“– Read my full review

πŸŒ‘Β Mirage by Somaiya Daud was such a magical read for me and I was so fortunate to be on the blog tour for this book! This is a powerful own-voices Moroccan inspired SFF tale of culture, family, oppression, and rebellion with a diverse cast of complex characters that I absolutely adored reading. I feel like this book straddled the fantasy and science fiction line well – it’s science fiction for fantasy lovers that is easily accessible. This was my first buddy read with Destiny, Kelly, and Danielle and I had such a wonderful time reading this book with them. | πŸ“– Read my full review

πŸ’€Β Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda is a book that Destiny recommended to me after I fell in love with Contagion. I picked it up when I saw it on BookOutlet and purposefully didn’t read any reviews for it, reading it this November. I was blown away by the narrative and atmosphere, and absolutely loved the philosophical underlying theme of whether or not humanity is worth saving and what it means to be worthy of redemption. I was immersed in the story and Alameda builds the horror so that this fast-paced read has you on the edge of your seat. The diversity in this book, especially reading Spanish, is fantastic and I definitely recommend reading the Afterword when finished to see where Alameda got her inspiration for this story. | πŸ“– Read my full review

My Monthly Favorites

This year I kept track of my favorite read each month as a way to hopefully make this whole “faves of the year” post easier, which in a way it kind of did. I wanted to list all of the monthly faves and provide links to the full reviews as well!

monthly faves 2018

JANUARY: The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn is one of the most compelling, unique, sad, and hopeful books that I have read. At its core this is a character-driven book set in a post-apocalyptic setting, using that setting to delve into topics of community and the human condition… when everything we knew from before is left behind, how do we persevere?

FEBRUARY: Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade is great if you: are a fan of science fiction and fantasy stories set in a distant future. While the story wasn’t perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed the world the authors crafted.

MARCH: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi blew me away and I am grateful that I was granted an eARC by the publisher so that I had a chance to read the book before the hype train took off. I was able to read it without expectations and absolutely devoured it.

APRIL: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope is really well written and delves into very important topics of race, privilege, power, corruption, and a refugee crisis without overburdening the fantasy story. I loved the world-building and even the budding romance here (gasp!).

MAY: Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro was the first book of the year to make me ugly cry. This is an incredibly powerful novel about resilience in the face of adversity and loss. It is about the community. It is about taking a stand against the system of oppression, even if it seems hopeless. This is an incredibly difficult read, but it is such an important read.

JUNE: Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (replacing Ace of Shades here πŸ’–) is an unputdownable mystery that gripped me from the first page. I loved trying to figure out just what happened and appreciated how everything tied together at the end.

JULY: Contagion by Erin Bowman πŸ’–

AUGUST: The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson was such a fantastic read! I buddy read this for Melanie’s birthday and absolutely adored it. I haven’t written my review yet (oops), but I was granted an eARC for the second book so I should get around to that soon.

SEPTEMBER: Strange GraceΒ by Tessa Gratton was a truly magical and odd reading experience. It really felt like reading someone’s lucid dream but I absolutely adored the characters and their love for one another.
& Vicious
by V.E. Schwab was an incredible read full of the anti-heroes that I love so much! I was so nervous to read this book after having a not-so-stellar experience with the Shades of Magic trilogy but wow.

OCTOBER: The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman I picked this up on a whim and was not ready to become a fangirl instantly. It is magical and exactly what I love about science fiction: the light that it casts on the darkest parts of our society through storytelling. The themes I picked up of otherness, political divide is hauntingly relevant to society today.

NOVEMBER: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada should surprise no one for being on this list (the reason it isn’t in my Top Five is because it is backlist). I honestly think about this book so often and it has become my mission to get everyone I know to read it. The book is fantastically written with masterful exposition and world-building; the characters are complex, scarred, and so perfectly human.

DECEMBER: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse was such a stunning debut! This is a fantastic urban fantasy set in an alternate America after a cataclysmic flood and is a fast-paced adventure. The characters are all wonderful and the worldbuilding offer just enough to whet the appetite, and while there are Navajo words and phrases used I never once felt lost. I appreciated the glimpse into Navajo mythology and culture that this own-voices story gave as well.
& Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I just finished this book the other day and haven’t been able to formulate a coherent thought to write a review yet, but I did not expect to love this book more than Illuminae.  🧠πŸ’₯

Well there you have it, my favorite reads of 2018!

What were some of your favorite reads of the year? Do you agree with my list? What did I miss out on in 2018? Let me know in the comments below!

I am truly so blessed to have read so many wonderful books this year and to have this platform to share my thoughts with all of you. Thanks for an amazing ten months and I am looking forward to the next bookish year with you all!

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Jaymi at OrangeCountyReaders

    January 1, 2019 at 10:13 AM

    Great organization! Lots of fabulous reads! Happy New Year πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:28 PM

      Thank you so much, and hapy reading to you this year!!!

  2. curlygeek04

    January 1, 2019 at 10:37 AM

    I have Trail of Lightning and I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve also heard such good things about Traitor Baru and Children of Blood and Bone. Happy reading in 2019!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:29 PM

      I hope you enjoy Trail of Lightning as much as I did when you pick it up! Happy reading to you, as well!

  3. Tammy

    January 1, 2019 at 10:39 AM

    One of my favorite things about reading everyone’s “best of the year” lists is that they are so diverse and different! I love seeing books on lists that weren’t really on my radar, and now I can add them to my TBR. I keep seeing Jonathan Janz on lots of lists, so I know I need to pick up something from him soon:-)

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:31 PM

      I know, best of lists are really wonderful for adding books to my TBR! I was surprised that a lot of the books I loved this year weren’t super hyped, which was a nice opportunity to boost them again because they are all so good. Jonathan Janz is now one of my favorite horror authors, I recommend picking up his work! I’ve read… 4 or 5 of his titles, now?

  4. Beth Tabler

    January 1, 2019 at 10:57 AM

    I have Pitch Dark sitting next to me, begging to be read. I am going to get on that asap.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:32 PM

      YES please do, it is such a fun & spooky read!

  5. Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

    January 1, 2019 at 1:21 PM

    ANGER IS A GIFT. Ahhhh, I really wish I brought that book when he came for the tour in July! But then again… budget. *cries* I’ll snag this from the library, though, because I love that title so much.

    At first I was disappointed in you because THIS MORTAL COIL, KALEENA. HOW COULD YOU. Also I got This Cruel Design and wow, that is a cruel way to start the new year.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:36 PM

      Anger is a Gift was such a beautiful book, and I really should buy a finished copy for my collection at some point. Also I am going to request my library buys it, because more people need to read this book.

      Hahaha DON’T YOU WORRY, This Mortal Coil was def one of my all-time faves, and would have been in the top 5 if it were a 2018 release for sure!

  6. Becky

    January 1, 2019 at 1:23 PM

    Loved Ace of Shades, COBAB and This Mortal Coil! Have also added a couple of your other favourites to my wishlist as we seem to have similar tastes!😈

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:38 PM

      All such wonderful books, and I am diving into This Cruel Design now! Happy reading, and I am going to check out your blog… hopefully my TBR doesn’t grow too much!

  7. Alyssa Cohen

    January 1, 2019 at 2:36 PM

    Awesome post!! I want to read β€œAce of Shades” in 2019 since it sounds like something I would love!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:38 PM

      Thank you so much, and I hope you love Ace of Shades as much as I did! If you do decide to pick it up, maybe wait until around the time when King of Fools is released so you don’t have to wait a long time for more.

  8. Phantom Paper

    January 1, 2019 at 3:02 PM

    It’s great to see you’ve had many smashing reads in 2018! WordPress’ post saving feature comes in handy in posts like yours cuz there are quite a few books I’d like to add later to my TBR 😁 I’m glad I found you cuz we both have a thing for sci-fi(do you like post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction?) and now I get to know about some fantastic books 😜

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:41 PM

      Wait, what about saving posts?! IS THERE SOMETHING BETTER THAN REMEMBERING TO BOOKMARK A LINK?! I really do enjoy post-apoc and dystopian, but if I am being honest I haven’t read most of those popular books that exploded the genre. I am so glad that 2018 brought you into my life and I am looking forward to getting to know you better this year, and read some fantastic books that I am sure my TBR will thank you for!

      1. Phantom Paper

        January 9, 2019 at 2:04 AM

        Lollll πŸ˜‚ There’s a ‘Save Post’ option in the WordPress app that lets you read saved posts offline 😁
        I haven’t either! Weird, huh. I’ve watched the Maze Runner though and loved it. I read somewhere that the movie’s supposedly BETTER o.0 They say that the character’s were more fleshed out.

        Thank you oh so much for being such a glorious person!! I SO look forward to seeing what you’ll be recommending this year. My TBR’s gonna get fat but at least it’s GOOD fat 😜

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          January 11, 2019 at 5:52 PM

          Huh interesting about Maze Runner. That’s a series I have wanted to read but just never got around to. And I look forward to YOUR recommendations, too! Happy reading, love!

          1. Phantom Paper

            January 22, 2019 at 7:14 AM

            Haha πŸ˜€ This makes me excited to share my reads! I wish you a brilliant year of reading, too!

  9. esmoogle

    January 1, 2019 at 3:03 PM

    I’ve heard so many good things about This Mortal Coil, I think I’m going to have to add it to my wishlist!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:42 PM

      DO IT DO IT DO IT! Becca and I buddy read it together and I loved it so freaking much.

  10. Redhead

    January 1, 2019 at 3:15 PM

    Great list!! I really want to read Trail of Lightning! So happy you enjoyed Vicious and Traitor Baru Cormorant. I quickly re-read Baru before reading the sequel, I’m happy I did!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:43 PM

      Thank you, and Trail of Lightning was such an amazing read – I really enjoyed it! Looking forward to Storm of Locusts coming out in a few months to see what happens next. I definitely will re-read Baru (and maybe actually review it) before reading the sequel, I definitely will need a refresher at this point. Did you enjoy it overall?

      1. Redhead

        January 8, 2019 at 4:30 PM

        oh, definitely enjoyed the 2nd Baru book and the two of them together! it’s very different from the first, but a worthy sequel that opens up the world. I do recommend re-reading the 1st again, so you can go right into the 2nd. There is a lot of detail that carries over.

  11. Catarina @ Pages & Plots

    January 1, 2019 at 3:36 PM

    I haven’t read any of those 😲 I guess it’s time to add some to my TBR.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 7, 2019 at 8:45 PM

      I apologize in advance to your TBR, but I hope that you enjoy these books as much as I did!

  12. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    January 1, 2019 at 4:30 PM

    Oooooh, this is SUCH a good list! And yessss to so many of these, like Siren, Mirage, Contagion, and Pitch Dark. I’m so glad you had so many amazing reads this year (and now I’m even more excited for Trail of Lightning when I can get my hands on it!).

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:20 AM

      Thank you so much, Destiny~! I was truly blessed with some amazing reads last year (3.6 average rating say WHAAAAT?!). Thanks so much for your awesome recs and I hope you LOVE Trail of Lightning when you read it!

  13. confessionsofayareader

    January 1, 2019 at 6:46 PM

    I see some great books on your list! I still need to read some of them, but I’m sure I’ll love them, too. Ace of Shades my best of list for the year, too.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:21 AM

      Ace of Shades hands down is tied for #1 with Contagion for me, I loved that book so much! Can’t wait for King of Fools!

      1. confessionsofayareader

        January 9, 2019 at 9:27 AM

        I can’t wait to read the sequels for both of those.

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          January 11, 2019 at 6:03 PM

          ugh SAME! Like, six months ago preferably

  14. pcochrun

    January 1, 2019 at 6:58 PM

    Anger is a Gift. Very good read. So was Mirage. Excellent list Kaleena! Happy to share some reads with you in 2018. Looking forward to following in 2019!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:21 AM

      Thank you so much for commenting, Paul! I am looking forward to sharing more reads with you this year as well!

  15. Adriana (@BooksOnHerMind)

    January 1, 2019 at 10:21 PM

    That’s saying a lot that you bought those ARCs afterwords. I think I’ve only done that once but I plan on buying more of my past ARCs because I liked them so much that I want a physical copy as well. Ace of Shades looks like the one I would like the most. Your review introduction was so funny πŸ˜„ The heredity magic system is so unique. I’ll have to add it my tbr!
    There’s a lot of books I’ve never heard of that are your favorites. I’ll have to definitely look at your reviews to see what books you are reading in the new year. Hope you have a great reading year!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:25 AM

      When readers buy the finished copies after reading the ARC it definitely makes me want to read the book more, that’s for sure! I haven’t done it too often but the ones I did were beloved. Ace of Shades DEF was my fave of the year and that book killed me in such a good way, hahaha. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

      Happy reading, Adriana~!

  16. meltotheany

    January 1, 2019 at 11:50 PM

    Seeing Baru by August just.. my heart. I hope I pick something just as good this year for us. And I hope you’ll join me again. I love you so much. I love this list so much, too! And I hope we get even closer in 2019, and I hope it is filled with buddy reads together. Happy new year! πŸ’—πŸ’žπŸ’–

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:26 AM

      Baru was such a lovely book and reading it with you was a great experience for me. I definitely will join you for your next birthday buddy read! I love you so much, thank you for your comment and friendship and I look forward to growing closer to you.

  17. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    January 2, 2019 at 12:06 AM

    OOh a monthly favourites tracker is a great idea! I absolutely need to check out Contagion sometime this year. And go go check out Baru 2! It’s such a different book to the first, but in a lot of ways I love it even MORE.

    Here’s to another great year, Kaleena! <3 <3

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:28 AM

      The monthly faves was honestly the best idea that I had last year, it made this post so much easier to write! PLEASE READ CONTAGION it is incredible and I loved it. I will read Baru 2 soon, I want to re-read Baru (and finally review it) first.

      Looking forward to another amazing year, Kathy!

  18. waytoofantasy

    January 2, 2019 at 9:54 AM

    Looking forward to Mirage, I’ve had that in my TBR for too long!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:39 AM

      I hope you get to it soon and love it as much as I did! I can’t wait to continue with the series.

  19. Kristina

    January 2, 2019 at 2:41 PM

    Oh wow 137!! Congrats!!

    I love how you kept track and allow us to see which book was your favorite every month :3 thats kinda cool, I like that!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:45 AM

      Thank you so much, 137 is the most I have ever read in a year as far as I am aware & I am so shocked!!!

      1. Kristina

        January 9, 2019 at 1:05 PM

        I’d bet !! May you go even beyond this year 😘

  20. Kelly Brigid

    January 2, 2019 at 8:11 PM

    Wonderful post, Kaleena! Congrats on reading so many books! How you manage to read so much while also sharing the most amazing posts will forever impress me! Hahaha! I had such a lovely time buddy reading Mirage with you and the other ladies! We’ll certainly have to plan more BRs in the future! ❀️

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:47 AM

      Thank you so much, Kelly! I still am in awe of how many books I read last year, I didn’t think it was possible. you are too sweet though, I am in awe of YOU and your discussion posts! We definitely need to do another buddy read asap, love!

  21. Lili Star Reads

    January 3, 2019 at 2:49 AM

    Congrats on all the awesome books you read in 2018! I was a sucker for Ace of Shades, I can’t wait for book 2.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 9, 2019 at 9:50 AM

      Thank you so much, Lili! Ace of Shades was DEF my fave book of the year and need King of Fools like yesterday

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  23. sammers65

    January 4, 2019 at 2:06 PM

    I. Need. To. Read. All. Of. These.

    But oooo it’s sounds like you had an epic reading year! I almost threw my popcorn at you because TMC wasn’t on the top 5 but decided against when you said it was due to it being backlist. You may live another day young one.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 10, 2019 at 9:46 AM

      You. Do. Need. To. Read. All. Of. These.

      I indeed had a great reading year, my eyeballs & brain were so blessed! And don’t you worry, TMC was one of my fave books of the year and top 5 at that!

  24. Norrie

    January 5, 2019 at 2:32 AM

    Great list!
    I didn’t think Mirage is my sort of book, but i’ve seen it around so many times and the reviews were so great, i got kinda tempted to read it for myself πŸ˜€

    Contagion defo has to go on my list πŸ˜€

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 10, 2019 at 9:55 AM

      Mirage is such a beautiful and genre-bending book, I think you might like the space setting and the political unrest. It’s essentially science fiction that’s written like a fantasy (but no magic).

      1. Norrie

        January 12, 2019 at 9:23 AM

        Ha! Now we are talking! πŸ˜€

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          January 14, 2019 at 3:06 PM

          I know the way to your heart!

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  26. Kathy @ Books & Munches

    January 16, 2019 at 2:09 AM

    I’m SURE that small section in your spreadsheet will save me at the end of this year, haha. I feel so torn looking back at 2018 and trying to figure out my favorite reads. :’)

    Yes to Children of Blood and Bone! I’m so bummed the release of the sequel has been set back to June. I was really looking forward to it and now the wait’s even longer – boo!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      January 16, 2019 at 9:27 AM

      Honestly I was SO GLAD I had that Monthly Favorite thing on my spreadsheet when working on this post, best idea I ever had.

      I am so sad about Children of Virtue and Vengeance! I mean I was suspecting it was going to happen since we were like 2 months out and there wasn’t a cover reveal yet, but it still sucks.

      1. Kathy @ Books & Munches

        January 16, 2019 at 11:00 PM

        I can imagine, haha. I’ll be so grateful for your spreadsheet once the end of the year’s upon us! [I already am though, I’ll just be even more so by then, haha. :P]

        Same. I’m really curious about the cover! Not to mention the size of the book.. If CBB was already that huge, I can only imagine what the sequel will be like. Most authors succeed at making those even bigger after all.

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          January 18, 2019 at 8:04 AM

          I am sure the cover is going to be another stunner… and yea on the size. I just hope Adeyemi doesn’t fall into the trappings of unnecessarily fluffing book 2 to drag shit out because I will RIOT

          1. Kathy @ Books & Munches

            January 21, 2019 at 2:38 AM

            Gaah no. If that happens, I’ll be dying a slow and painful death. :/

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