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 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. | 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 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. | 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 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.Β 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 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 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.  🧠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!


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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

63 thoughts on “My Favorite 2018 Reads

  1. 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:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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?


  2. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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!


  3. 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 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 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 😜

        Liked by 1 person

    1. 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?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 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.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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~!


  5. 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’–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 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! ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 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˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 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.

        Liked by 1 person

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