Happy New Year, friends! 🎇 🍾 🎉 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
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. | 📖 Read my full review
💉 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. | 📖 Read my full review
👻 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 a 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. | 📖 Read my full review
🌑 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. | 📖 Read my full review
💀 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 into 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. | 📖 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!
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 over burdening the fantasy story. I loved the worldbuilding 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 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 💖) 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 💖
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 Grace 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 are 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 worldbuilding; 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. 🧠💥
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!