The 50 Best Books of 2018 (ft. Bloggers, Booktubers, and more!)

12.28.2018



The coming new year compels reflection. As we look back on the last year in books, I've invited 50 bookish influencers, including bloggers, booktubers, and even a bookstore, to share the stories that captivated them this year. These are the 50 best books of 2018:


1. Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf / Ashley @ Falling Down the Book Hole

With a society of witches and heartless that are at war with humans, a play on the "witch hunt" idea and unique story elements all wrapped up in a fantasy setting, Sara Wolf really outdid herself in telling the story of Zera in Bring Me Their Hearts. The moment you start this book you are thrown into a world with such intriguing development that you can see the whole picture of the story in front of you. Bound by a witch, her heart in a jar, and haunted by the events of how she became an immortal heartless, Zera strives to release herself by sentencing another to immortal servitude. Zera was my favorite kind of female lead. She is strong headed, snarky and all about being her own person. She deals with her personal struggles, but also has such a big heart (for a heartless) and cares others. Zera learns fighting for yourself and the ones you love comes at a cost.


2. Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen / Mackenzie @ Lit Lemon

I love Jane Yolen’s writing, so naturally when I discovered Mapping the Bones I had to read it! I enjoyed reading this book, so much so I finished it in a day. Anyone who likes historical fiction or holocaust fiction will enjoy this story. Be warned, this tale will pull at your heartstrings and remind you of the power of family. Chaim, his twin sister, Gittel, and their family are forced out of their home into a Jewish ghetto. As soon as they seem settled Bruno, Sophie and their family moves in with the twins. Food, space, patients are scarce. Chaim and Gittel’s family gets the news they are on the list. People on this list are called and shipped away on a train to what we can only assume is a concentration camp. With the help of community members, they form a plan to escape into the woods. It becomes clear their parents will do whatever it takes to ensure the children's safety. Believe me, you won’t be able to put the book down!

3. A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir / Talia @ Being by Talia

I must preface my review with the fact that I did not get the chance to read as many 2018 released books as I would have liked so I’m sure there are so many that could be tied for my number one. But, I can confidently tell you A Reaper at the Gates is an amazing book. I love reading books with different perspectives. I also adore books that mix action, fantasy and romance into an exciting story. So, it should come as no surprise that I really enjoyed Tahir’s A Reaper at the Gates. This book already has a “leg up” as it’s the third in a series that continuously leaves me wanting more. Though this isn’t the last book I think it does an amazing job of building up the action and setting us up for the fourth (I also believe last) book. The first two books were amazing, but now the characters are unleashed on the world and have to make even bigger scaled decisions. It’s amazing how Tahir uses the Nightbringer, Elias, Laia, and the Blood Shrike to weave a fantastic new world I cannot seem to stop reading about. I am more than eager for the next book!

4. The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar / BrocheAroe @ River Dog Book Co.

Scheherazade's The Thousand and One Nights meets Alan Gratz's Refugee in this important debut novel. A 12th century fable about an apprentice mapmaker is interwoven with a modern-day Syrian 12-year-old refugee searching for home, as the plot follows both girls through the Middle East, encountering tremendous dangers and immense acts of kindness. A must-read for teens and adults, this is an incredibly moving and lushly described story of family and friends, meaningful culture, changing landscapes, and universal hope.

There are parts that will make your heart stop and parts that will make it beat again. It's an incredible force, with the most vivid descriptions that made me long to see, smell, and taste everything described. I already can hardly wait to read what the author publishes next.

5. Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro / Kaliisha @ Bookish_Kali

Anger Is A Gift takes on societal issues of police brutality with a diverse group of young adults joining together to seek justice. This book is a hidden gem within the books published in 2018. If I were being honest, I favored this more than The Hate U Give in terms of its depiction of police brutality. It was heart crushing and bold in the most truthful way. Our African American, queer main character, Moss was full of useful anger and his passion fueled a fire in me to take action for change.






6. City of Ghosts by V. E. Schwab / Jayvel @ An Introverted World

City of Ghosts is definitely a fun fast-read. It has its soft moments where you’d just smile and laugh because of the characters, and also some supernatural elements, and a bit of mystery. The balance of the supernatural factor and hilarious banter makes for a light and interesting book to read.








7. Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi / Hester @ Goodreads

2018 was a great year in terms of new releases. I’ve read so many amazing books, but one that really stood out to me was Children of Blood and Bone, a debut fantasy by Tomi Adeyemi. It discusses important themes like acceptance, family, trust and power, but also violence and oppression. I was terrified to pick this up because of the size, and I was scared it wouldn’t live up to all the hype it was surrounded by.

Children of Blood and Bone is a West-African inspired fantasy, set in Orïsha, where magic has disappeared eleven years ago. The main character Zélie has the chance to bring magic back and strike against the monarchy. She has to learn how to control her powers and outrun the crown prince, who wants to rid Orïsha of magic for good.

The world-building and magic system are incredible, and it’s hard to imagine that this is only a debut novel! It is so fast-paced and the writing is so lyrical and magical. The characters are one by one magnificent. The alternating perspectives of Zélie, Princess Amari and Prince Inan show insight from different POV’s, and they collide very smoothly.

Children of Blood and Bone obviously lived up to the well-deserved hype. But what I really loved and treasured was the powerful message that each life is valuable, along with the perfectly executed representation of diversity. I hope you’ll read this if you’re able to, because I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for the world!

Thank you, Tomi Adeyemi, for adding such a powerful and enjoyable book to the world.

8. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan / Clarissa @ Wavy Pages

I was enchanted the moment I set my eyes upon this book. Apart from having an aesthetically gorgeous cover, The Astonishing Color of After tells a beautiful story of connecting with your roots and healing.

It tells the tale of Leah, half white and half-Taiwanese, dealing with the aftermath of her mother’s suicide from mental illness and her own problems. I loved the Taiwanese/Chinese culture that was so much like the one I grew up with and reading this book transported me back to my childhood in Malaysia. It also touches upon how mental health and illnesses are taboos in East Asian cultures and also how East Asian children are traditionally encouraged to take up “scientific” careers such as medicine and law instead of “artistic” careers, like writing, visual arts and music.

Reading The Astonishing Color of After was not just a fantastic and magical experience for me because it took place around my culture, but also because of the magical realism that helps transport into the dark but also sparkling world of Leah Sanders and the phoenix that is her mother. So if you haven’t picked this up yet, I’d definitely recommend doing so!

9. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid / Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is about the life and times of silver starlit Evenlyn Hugo. Evenlyn has a story to share, and she chooses Monique, a young journalist, to write her biography. Monique can't figure out why she was chosen for this honor, but it soon becomes apparent that Evelyn and Monique's lives intersect in startling ways.

This book came out in 2017, but it was new to me in 2018. If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be: WOW! This book came highly rated from several of my friends in the book blogging community, so I knew I had to pick it up. I wasn't disappointed! This had all the makings of a solid 5-star read! It was masterfully written, rich with stunning details. Once I started the book, I didn’t want to put it down.

To me, a great book is one I can’t stop talking about and recommend frequently to others. That’s this book! I’ve recommended this book to several others in the bookish community, and they’ve all enjoyed it! If you haven’t The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo already, I highly recommend you add it to your TBR!

10. I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman / Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice

After reading and enjoying Alice Oseman's sophomore novel, Radio Silence, I was SO excited to see that she was releasing another book in May of this year: I Was Born for This! IWBFT is such a genuine, emotional, and relatable book, and I honestly can't express how much I enjoyed reading it. 💛 I absolutely adored the fact that it was so casually diverse. Angel Rahimi, one of the main characters, is a hijabi Muslim teenager, who is questioning but may be on the aro/ace spectrum. The other MC, Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, is gay and trans, who struggles with anxiety and is biracial (half-white, half-Indian). There was also so much diversity among the side characters! One of my favorite side characters was Bliss Lai, who is bisexual, biracial (Chinese and white), and atheist, which was honestly amazing to see!! I saw so much of myself in her. 😄

IWBFT is a book about fandom, boybands, and online friendships, taking an important look at the good (and bad) sides of all three. This is truly a millennial/Gen Z book (and reminds me of Emma Mills' Foolish Hearts, which is also incredible), and I adore it so much. Thank you so much, Alice Oseman, for writing such a diverse and beautiful novel that made me (and countless others) feel so represented and understood!! 💕

"But despite everything in the world being terrible, we choose to stand by The Ark. We choose hope, light, joy, friendships, faith, even when our lives aren’t perfect, or exciting, or fun, or special...In an otherwise mediocre existence, we choose to feel passion.”

11. One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus / Bea @ The Girl Who Writes

One Of Us Is Lying is one of my most anticipated read ever and I am glad that this year I was able to read it. When I saw on Goodreads the line “The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars”, I told myself that I had to read this book. The story was really interesting and definitely a page turner. I was able to see some character development upon reaching the end of the book, so I was really happy. Another thing that I really liked about this book is that it was told from different points of views, so I was really able to read and know what every character thinks about. And of course, the ending was really shocking for me and it certainly did not disappoint.

I still can’t stop talking about this book and if you haven’t read it yet, I definitely recommend this to you!

12. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black / Tiffany @ Bookish Tiffany

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black was one of my absolute favorites of 2018. I loved the magical world that Holly created. I chose this book when I won a giveaway because I was seeing it everywhere. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. This book deserves all the hype and then some. I never felt so emotionally attached to the characters like I am with Jude and Cardan. After receiving an advanced reader copy of The Wicked King all I can think about is rereading this book. Trust me when I say everyone needs to read this book and they need to do it soon before The Wicked King comes out. You don't wanna miss this fabulous book.


13. American Panda / Jessica @ Endless Chapters

When I first started reading American Panda, I thought this is going to be a light and fluffy read. But then, this book really surprised me and exceeded my expectations. One of my favourite thing about American Panda is that it has a great representation of Chinese culture and some of the superstitions were spot on. Gloria Chao has successfully described typical Asian parents’ high expectations on their children’s academic performance through this book. All of these are very relatable. As an Asian myself, I do experience the cultural values written in this book, I’ve also witnessed how my chinese friends were pressured on their academic performance and how those parents comparing their children with one another. It was super stressful. Thus, this book is very close to my heart because it represents Chinese/Chinese American culture so well.

Of course, there are so many other positive aspects to the book, as in how it highlights the parents-children relationship more than the romantic relationship and how Mei, the main character chases her dream despite the obstacles she faces. Overall, I am really glad that I read this book and I’d highly recommend American Panda to every single one of you.

14. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett / Sami @ BookishSami

This book just has it. If I had to explain it to anyone out-loud, I know I could never do it. On the outside this book looks like just another cliche contemporary love story, but it’s so much more.

Starry Eyes
is the story of coming to terms with your past, living in the moment, and love (so much love). This book made me laugh, this book made me cry, hell, this book taught me love again. This simple story of two people getting lost in the wilderness with a crazy past and lots of burdens just made me feel all sorts of ways. Our main characters Zorie and Lennon are some of the most true to life teenagers I’ve read in a long, long time. Friends to lovers to enemies to...something more? Sex positive and absolutely brilliant, you’ll want to give this a chance.


15. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon / Jenn @ Bound to Writing

From Twinkle, With Love blew me away. I’ve never found a character more determined to make her dream come true than Twinkle. She is relatable in so many ways that I found myself wanting more of her story. Though she does some questionable things in her quest to reach her goals. Now, Sahil is the main reason I love this book. He is a sweet guy that you fall in love with. His quirks only make him better. This is Sandhya’s second book, and I loved it more than When Dimple Met Rishi. I recommend reading this book if you enjoy strong women and cute romances.
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16. The Rebels of Gold By Elise Kova / Fariha @ Fariha's Studio

While I wasn’t able to read as many books in 2018 as I had planned, one of the first books I picked up was The Rebels of Gold by Elise Kova. It’s the third and final installment of The Loom Saga, filled with steampunk worldbuilding, hardcore heroine and loads of action with tingly romance. The character development is great and ending is satisfying. I liked it much better than Kova’s Air Awakens. She not only improved her writing style but also managed to maintain plot consistency without making it feel like a drag. Recommended for anyone looking for Steampunk-Action-New-Adult-Fantasy.
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17. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan / Lili @ Utopia State of Mind

I have read so many books this year, but the book that takes the cake whenever I think about it is The Astonishing Color of After. I still cannot get it out of my mind (read my review). It is lyrical, gorgeous, and heart wrenching. Pan sweeps us off our feet, mesmerizing us with words that roll off our tongue and imagery that transcends the pages. It deals with loss, love, and family all while grappling with suicide as well. At the same time, I was able to see parallels between Leigh’s journey back to Taiwan, when I visited China as a child.




18. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo / Jessica @ The Book Bratz

I've had this book sitting on my TBR (and also my physical bookshelf!) for a few months, and I hadn't had a chance to read it due to an overwhelming amount of schoolwork and also a lot of books that I had to read for blog tours and such. However, after I found out that this book one the National Book Award for Children's Literature this year, I knew that I had to put all of my other reading plans aside to bring this book to the forefront. And let me tell you, once I made that decision, I was so glad that I did. Overall, I absolutely loved The Poet X and I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to stop singing its praises. This book touched me emotionally, made me feel that fierce sense of female empowerment that I always love feeling, and also struck me creatively. Before I started reading, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about reading a book written as a series of poems, but I'm so glad that I made the leap, because this book touched my heart and my soul and I can't wait to recommend it to everyone I know. Now I know for sure that With the Fire on High will be on the top of my TBR for 2019!

19. A Very Large Expanse of the Sea by Tahereh Mafi / Fatima @ Fafa's Book Corner

In the past I have tried to read Mafi’s previous works. None of them worked for me. The only reason I picked up A Very Large Expanse of Sea was because of the positive reviews from Muslim’s. Being one myself I’m always hesitant to go into a book as such. I was happily surprised! Shirin was so funny! I wasn’t expecting any humor but here we are. I loved how well the representation of Islam was done. And of course Shirin’s talks about the hijab were fantastic as well. The family dynamics and friendships were so sweet! The romance was really cute too! Of course there are some heartbreaking moments, considering the subject it makes sense. The humor added a nice balance to it all. Overall I recommend A Very Large Expanse of Sea to everyone! It’s really important and you can take a lot from it.

20. Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell / Lauren @ Reading, Writing and Me

There’s a fire in Orange County, and Audrey’s boyfriend, a volunteer firefighter, is acting like it’s the highpoint of his life. This doesn’t sit right with her, but there’s too much to worry about as her home is threatened, and her parents are away. Slowly, though, the weeks leading up to the fire flash back to Audrey, and she’s horrified by what is uncovered. Heather makes you feel like Audrey’s reality is entirely your own. The pages turn themselves as you rush along with Audrey, scared to believe your eyes as this contemporary YA flies at you with an intensity I’ve never experienced. Watch out for what debut author Heather Ezell will do next.



21. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor / Sara @ Novel Novice

Last year, Strange the Dreamer swept me away with its lush storytelling, beautiful prose, and loving tribute to fantasy books and the readers that cherish them. This year, the conclusion to this stunning duology secured this series as one of my all-time favorites. Muse of Nightmares picks up right where the first book left off, and hurtles the reader into a story rich with romance, mythology, history, and war. It's epic in scope, but intimate in feel, and the surprise connection to Laini's Daughter of Smoke & Bone series was the cherry on top for me. I can’t wait to revisit this series over and over again.

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22. Tennison by Lynda La Plante / Sarah @ All Things Sarah

I adored the televised version of Tennison, aired on ITV back in 2017 - titled Prime Suspect 1973. So much so that the second I found out it was based on a book, I bought it. The book and TV series is a prequel to Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren. The size of the book left me little daunted, taking me over a year to get around to reading it, but when I eventually did I was enthralled, devouring its 624 pages in less than 4 days.

Tennison follows WPC Jane Tennison, aged 22 in 1973, as she starts her probation at Hackney Police Station as one of two WPC’s in the station at that time. She impresses the Detective Chief Inspector Len Bradfield and is allowed to work on a murder case that is baffling the the team. With her desperation to learn, her knowledge and ability to accidentally come across vital evidence, Jane becomes a key player in the murder case and later on a connected bank robbery. I adored Jane and her awkward yet bold nature for standing up for herself when sexism was rife. I think she is someone I would love to be friends with.

Lynda La Plante’s effortlessly simple writing style is addictive and I cannot wait to spend 2019 reading the rest of the books in the Tennison series.This book works so perfectly as the first in the series as the reader learns the police lingo along with Jane. It’s such a simple yet smart technique to explain everything to a reader who may not know anything about crime and avoids the patronising nature sometimes found elsewhere.
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23. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton / Darina @ Facing the Story

I was completely mesmerised by Stuart Turton’s storytelling and amazed that this is his debut novel. The writing flows so smoothly and the characters are so multidimensional making this the perfect read for Mystery/Historical Fiction lovers. I have never previously read a book with time jumps where all events are so well interlocked yet all the events had their own place and made perfect sense upon finishing the book. This is by far the most intelligent thriller I have read and I am so glad that I discovered this gem.
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24. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee / Margaret @ Weird Zeal

In the sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Monty’s sister Felicity takes center stage. More than anything, she wants to go to medical school and become a doctor, but as a woman in 18th century England, that path is forbidden to her. Discouraged and angry, she sets off across Europe with a mysterious companion in hopes of meeting her medical idol and fulfilling her dream.

This book may take place in the 1700s, but much of it feels so applicable to today’s world, which too often tells women that they’re asking for too much and that they should lower their expectations. Felicity is a woman who will not be told to compromise her dreams, though. Fierce, prickly, and rightfully angry, she is determined to carve out a place for herself in a world that refuses to accept her.

Felicity is also what we now understand as aromantic asexual, which is a huge part of her character story. Side characters include, of course, Monty and Percy from Gentleman’s Guide (a bisexual deaf boy and a gay epileptic biracial boy in a happy relationship with each other), as well as a queer hijabi Muslim lady, African pirates, and a woman who loves both pretty dresses and science. Mackenzi Lee says no thanks to your completely straight white historical fiction! The writing is witty and engaging, the story is full of adventure, and overall this is basically a perfect book. Please go read it.

“You deserve to be here. You deserve to exist. You deserve to take up space in this world of men.”
blog / twitter / goodreads

25. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman / Jess @ Kisses from Jess

I read a ton of amazing books this year, so picking just one was super tough. However, this book is one that I keep thinking of and coming back to. It tells a story of grief in such a raw, emotional way. The characters are all so relatable and unique, and the book has great representation- on top of dealing with grief, Rumi is also discovering her sexuality. It feels like you’re reading poetry because the writing is so beautiful and flows so nicely. It is definitely a character driven story, so if you like those, you will love this one. 

The whole story was heartbreaking but so beautifully done, and nothing comes close to this one to me. I don’t think I will ever forget this book. I cried a lot, and I felt so invested and connected to the characters.I just loved the story so much, and I’m going to hold it very close to my heart.

26. Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof / Kristen @ Books. Faith. Love.

This may have been one of the toughest decisions choosing only one favorite book this year! However, I wanted to choose Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof because of the beauty of the story and the fact that it’s an under-rated book.

Every once in a while you read a book that speaks to your soul and this one did just that for me. The writing was timeless as it transported me back in time to nineteenth century Appalachia. The characters were fascinating in their development, which made me fall in love with them. One of the characters was deaf so it was interesting how Bischof incorporated his methods of communication into her writing. In fact, it inspired me to learn basic ASL. Overall, this book was beautifully written. As I said in my review: “This book was a sweet, slow-simmering romance that gripped my very heart strings and never let go.”

27. The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield / Brittney Joy @ Brittney Joy Books

This book touched my soul. It made me laugh and cry and nearly sob on an airplane. In a nutshell, it’s a redemption story told through the eyes of a recovering alcoholic (daughter), a scorned-softball-loving mother, and the sweet innocence of a neighbor boy. It’s set in small Montana town (Quinn, Montana - population: 956) and the town is a character in itself. I read this book in early 2018 and the characters are still with me. In my eyes, this was the perfect book and I will read any future book by Fifield. No questions asked. I will buy it sight unseen.





28. Sadie by Courtney Summers by Amanda @ Between the Shelves

I read a lot of really great books this year, but one of the ones that really stuck with me was Sadie by Courtney Summers. Written in a half podcast format, we follow the story of a girl named Sadie trying to get justice for the murder of her sister. Sadie’s story feels like one that was ripped from the headlines; through her book, Summers is giving a voice to a lot of girls whose voices are silenced too early. The book is expertly paced and filled with characters who will most definitely tug on your heartstrings. This is a book that I’ll surely return to time and time again in the future, and I will definitely check out Courtney Summers’ other books because her writing is just so excellent.



29. Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco / Vivian @ Vanilla Angel Pages

Escaping From Houdini completely took my breath away with all the magic, fantasy, intrigue, and mystery. I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did and I was hooked not only by the plot but the emotions of the characters. The writing style as intricately detailed and I was hooked by the plot of who the killer in the ship was and I didn’t expect that! Even the ending took my breath away. Just when I was seconds away from weeping, Thomas Cresswell shows up and makes me smile. Both this book and this series will forever be in my heart because of the romance and the happiness that I found reading between the pages of this series. I found joy, love, and peace whilst reading about Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. The last book, Capturing the Devil, comes out late next year and I cannot wait to get it in my hands.

30. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline / Corinne @ OrganiseDIY

Picking just one book for me to review was tough and I don’t know about you, but I find that I tend to stick to one genre without noticing and so when my friend bought me Ready Player One I was a bit skeptical at first, but after reading the first chapter soon realized how great it was and couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed following the journey of Wade whilst he searched for the key to solve humanities problems. Despite it being a futuristic novel, I could still connect with the struggles of the characters and it made me understand what the human race is doing to our world and that action should occur in the near future. I think anyone and everyone will love to read this book and I heard that the film is now out on DVD so I hope I shall be seeing it soon! 


31. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik / Payne @ Payne Books of Appetite

Before reading The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, I had read Arnold’s other two books and loved them both. So my expectations was high for this one and in the end, to sum it all up, I wasn’t disappointed. This book is a high complex story about Noah and his Strange Fascinations, mostly but yet, there’s so much more to it than an ordinary plot line.

This is a story about Noah who is tired of what his life is supposed to be like, with swimming scholarships and same trajectory given to follow one day got hypnotized. And… Afterwards, things isn’t the same as before. His dog used to be useless, walk into the walls and now, somehow, he became more agile. This is a story about friendships and tackling the answers of life, curiosity of one’s own.

In my opinion, this is way underrated and goes unnoticed when it should be noticed everywhere because, with brilliant writing told by a favorite (a friend so am I biased?) author who have an unique ways with words and storytelling that only David Arnold could come up with. The story was wild, funny (by funny, I mean you will laugh out loud, literally), shocking fascinating (pun intended) and highly entertaining. Hands down the best book I read this year.

32. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas / Olivia @ Liv the Book Nerd

This was the most beautiful conclusion to a series I have ever read. I cannot fully explain how impactful these characters are to me. They are so well written and wonderfully thought out. Sarah J. Maas’s writing has continued to improve over the course of the whole series. It has been a joy to follow the characters of Throne of Glass and to see their growth and journeys. I can’t wait to read Maas’s next literary endeavors. This book is everything that I could have hoped for.






33. Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny / Lynne @ Words of Mystery

Set in the fictional village of Three Pines which is based on the real life Eastern Townships in Quebec, as well as the City of Montreal the Inspector Gamache series is my all-time favourite mystery series to cozy up to. This year’s addition, Kingdom of the Blind did not disappoint! A heartbreaking yet also heartwarming novel, Kingdom of the Blind looks at the hard choices families make as well as dealing with the consequences of taking a small risk in an attempt to prevent a bigger catastrophe. The writing is gorgeous as always with Louise Penny and the main characters are the type of people who you can’t help but root for. There’s no need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one, however you may find yourself wanting to go back after finishing this breathtaking novel.

34. The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech / Kelly Van Damme @ From Belgium with Book Love

Before this summer, I had never even heard of Louise Beech. Out of the blue (well, for me at any rate) I saw raving review upon raving review on my Twitter feed of The Lion Tamer Who Lost. Although not at all what I usually read, I decided to give it a chance anyway. And I ended up devouring it, feeling all the feels, loving it to bits, crying my eyes out. It enchanted me, mesmerized me, ruined me!

I can still see myself sitting at my kitchen island, I still know what I was wearing, I still know which mug I was sipping my coffee from (and okay, crying into, I’ll admit). When I think back on my year in books, this is the one I think of first. This, my lovelies, this is The One. Or I have a bad case of PTSD, that is also entirely possible, but let’s go with the former, shall we!

This book is proof that for a story to be thrilling and suspenseful, it doesn’t have to a thriller. This book is proof that an emotional story does not have to be a sob story. This book is proof of Louise Beech’s immense story-telling skill.

My initial reaction after turning the last page was: This book is EVERYTHING! It made me smile, it made me cry, it is written so vividly you can't help being sucked in. It had been a very long time since I’d cared about characters as much as I did about Ben and Andrew. I felt utterly lost when I’d finished. I felt like I’d had to say goodbye to some very dear friends and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought since reading it: I wonder how Ben is doing, or how every time I see a lopsided smile I think of Andrew. If you buy only one more book this year, if you only read one book next year, make it this one, it really IS everything.

35. Scream All Night by Derek Milman / Sarah K @ The Book Traveller

Scream All Night by Derek Milman is hands down one of my top favorite books of 2018! This book was amazing and unlike anything else I’ve read! It’s about a boy who returns to his childhood home (transylvania-eque castle, really) where his dad was a famous director & creator of cult classic B-movie horror flicks.
But Dario comes back with many scars. He was emancipated from his dad so coming back home to see his dad, his brother,, his home, and childhood sweetheart is incredibly hard. Despite the heartbreaking moments, this book is HILARIOUS and is full of healing! If you want to be thoroughly entertained from beginning to end, pick up this book!

Scream All Night was hilarious, heartbreaking, EXTRA (in a great way), and so fantastic.

Trigger warning: flashbacks of parental physical abuse

36. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss / Dearna @ Words of the Roses

Picking just one stand out book for the year is hard! I have read some amazing books this year. But the one that’s stuck with me is The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. I was totally engrossed from the opening line. This story reminds me of the TV show Penny Dreadful mixed with the X-men franchise.

There are two elements that made this book a stand out for me. First all the characters are daughters of famous 19th century mad scientist characters—Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau and Justine Frankenstein. And these girls get together to help uncover the origins of a secret society and to discover who’s responsible for the brutal murders happening on London’s streets.

The second is that interwoven throughout the narrative you get commentary for each of the girls about what’s happening in the story. In these comments you really get to learn more about each of these girls and begin to recognise their individual voices.

I cannot wait to get to the sequel! I highly recommend if you love girl gangs, mystery storylines and to see who Goss plays with nineteenth-century characters and narratives we know and love.

37. The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi / Philippa Mary @ thelittlebookowl

Originally released in Japan in 2006, this was translated into English by Cathy Hirano and published by Pushkin Press this year. Set in a fictional fantasy world, the story starts when a young Elin’s life is thrown into disarray when her mother is sentenced to death. This book is unlike anything I’ve read before and I absolutely adored it. Uehashi has created this world with such depth and clarity, which makes it such a joy to read. The characters are wonderfully written and the plot will keep you gripped from beginning to end. It’s focus is on character development over an action packed plot, so don’t go in wanting fast paced action. Instead you will enter a rich, vivid world with captivating characters and engaging story. I knew from the very first chapter that I was going to love this book and it did not disappoint. The Beast Player is now on my all time favourite book list. I highly recommend reading this book.

38. Neverland by Margot McGovern / Michelle @ The Unfinished Bookshelf

Neverland was a gorgeous and thrilling exploration of mental health with the most sumptuous writing. Much like its inspiration, Neverland has darkness around the edges like storm clouds rolling in from the distance. The demons of Kit’s past threaten to tumble down with a thunder crack, but she is determined to keep them at bay.

It is a beautifully crafted novel, but the writing never feels overbearing in what is a swift plot. I raced through this so much faster than I expected, especially given how much I was enjoying McGovern’s writing style. Given this is McGovern’s debut, I am waiting with bated breath to see how her writing career develops. I can’t pinpoint the last time I read a YA debut this impressively formed.

Neverland is a beautiful, lyrical Australian young adult novel exploring mental health with sensitivity and compassion.

39. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden / Tessi @ Cosmic Book Love

While not exactly released in 2018 but rather at the end of December last year, The Girl in the Tower was definitely one of my favorite books of that I read in 2018. Set in medieval Russia where traditional myths mix with early Christianity, the book follows Vasya, a girl with a wild heart who embarks on a journey to escape life in a convent or being married off. After tragedy has hit her family in the first book, she is now forced to quickly recover. Disguised as a boy, she joins battles but quickly has to realize that many people are not who they claim to be.

Lyrical, tragic and dark, I loved this book because it didn’t only beautifully interweave Russian folklore with dreamlike settings again, but also strongly depicts the sibling dynamics within a family. There are decisions that Vasya has to made that don’t come in easy but which emphasize her headstrong character. Also there are unlikely characters that you just grow to love (a horse!). Highly recommend.

40. Save the Date by Morgan Matson / Gel @ Whimsy Wanders

I don’t usually join in on the hype when a book is just recently released but I didn’t regret reading this book in the midst of its popularity. This book was like a movie and I think it was the reason that made me so hooked with it. Save the Date also made me nostalgic about my childhood and our own family memories and traditions. Funny and endearing, it is a must read.








41. A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab / Meaghan @ The Words Gremlin

It’s hardly a secret that I love Schwab and all her work, but A Conjuring of Light is the main reason why, the thing that sealed the deal. I read it in August, just a couple weeks before my birthday, and devoured the entire 600 page monster in one sitting (if you don’t count that very rushed snack break). It’s got everything I love: thieves, pirates, sharp girls, soft boys, queer characters in love (queer characters who survive!), complex antagonists, high stakes, and an ending that promises so much more.

It’s been nearly four months since I read it by now, and I’m still thinking about it constantly. Schwab does such a stunning job of weaving in and out of POVs, of setting up this staggering final showdown that truly feels like a finale, like a culmination of everything the characters have set out so far to do, and I had this incredible, satisfying sense of completion when I reached the last page. It’s how series should be finished, I think.

And you know what? I even forgive Schwab for all the stabbing. Stabbing this character, stabbing that character, stabbing my own poor little heart… It’s all forgiven because it’s just that good.

10/10, would be stabbed again.

42. An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim / Lara @ Bookish Lara

An Ocean of Minutes is dreamy as well as visceral, giving you a raw and real account of what could go wrong when amazing technology mixes with ordinary lives. Polly & Frank want to be together, but with a plague and almost two decades in the way of their relationship things get rough to put it lightly. What I really loved about this book was how I felt completely immersed in the world that Polly is transported into and even though she has only jumped a few years how it felt like everything has changed and how sick she felt trying to navigate her way through it. It all felt so close and real. She has got the mix of romance, literary and science fiction just right!



43. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang / Rain @ Book Dragonism

YES THIS WAS SO GOOD THAT I STARTED SHRIEKING IN CONSONANTS AFTER I READ THE ENDING. I JUST CAN'T COPE WITH THE GREATNESS OF THIS BOOK.

The Poppy War is an invoking read and if I had a dime for every time I recommended this book to somebody, I'd be able to buy a whole bookstore and add more books to my infinite TBR pile.

This book follows Rin as she matures from a student trying to prove herself to a fiery girl fighting in a bloody war to protect her country. This book completely transports you to a world full of magic, complex characters, and bloodshed. The Poppy War is a masterpiece you do not want to miss.

44. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor / Angel @ Avid Reader

I know this book got picked before, but y’all, Muse of Nightmares was an absolute DREAM (lol)! It’s the second book to my favorite book of 2017 and one of my favorite books ever (aka Strange the Dreamer), and Muse of Nightmares did not disappoint! It was beautiful and wondrous and I tried to slow myself down so I could enjoy the book longer but it’s just so good! Muse of Nightmares is by far my favorite book of 2018 and one of the best sequels! It’s a fantasy book with pretty much anything you could ever want of it: amazing visuals - I can’t stop making art based off of it! -, a breathtaking plot, and a variety of characters that make you question how evil or innocent someone can really be. If you haven’t already, you NEED to read Strange the Dreamer, and Muse of Nightmares!

45.  The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee / Lindsey Turnbull @ MissHeard Media

This year, I really loved The Lady’s Guide! I stuck it on a shelf when I got it, because while I liked The Gentleman’s Guide, I didn’t love it. So, when I got around to it, I don’t know that I had any real expectations.

And I was blown away. This book has everything I wanted and more. Rich children fallen from wealth! A flawed, strong female protagonist! A queer lady pirate of color! A sensitive, beautiful, kick-ass sidekick! A girl gang I definitely want to be a part of!

Science! Treachery! Piracy! Mystery!

Seriously, The Lady’s Guide has it all. I fell in love with this book and Fecility about ten pages in. She’s laugh-out-loud funny (at least chuckle-worthy!) and watching her grow throughout the book is a joy. The Lady’s Guide addressed racism, sexism, sexuality, colonialism, homophobia, disability, and even menstruation with a smartness, humor, and sensitivity not always seen in YA. Plus, I felt camaraderie Felicity when she was at a fancy party and opts to socialize with the dog, rather than the other party-goers. A girl after my heart!

One thing that struck me is how quotable The Lady’s Guide is. If you read this book with a highlighter in hand...well, you may need two highlighters because the first one will definitely run out of ink.

46. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone @ Where the Reader Grows

Picking one book that I loved for 2018 is like trying to choose a favorite child. While some people can do this, I cannot! However, I did absolutely LOVE Jane Doe! This is a linear psychological thriller that doesn’t need the throat punchy goodness most thriller readers live for. Instead, we get the inside monologue and actions of a sociopath who knows what and who she is.

A book you should definitely walk into blind. As an avid reader of thrillers, this one surprised me and is an absolute solid read from beginning to end. Jane Doe has that hilarious sarcastic wit and I SO relate to her thoughts. Does that make me a sociopath too? Maybe! ;) I need Jane Doe in my life. (And really, you should be on the right side of her….)

Engaging, funny in parts and addictive. Get to know Jane.

47. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas / Novera @ novascrazywonderland

Personally, I'm not a fan of YA. I tried reading the Red Queen series and The Hunger Games series and failed miserably in getting interested. So when my two besties recommended A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy I flatly refused to read it. Over a couple of months, I kept seeing my besties getting more and more obsessed about ACOTAR. One day I was bored and decided to pass my time by reading a chapter or two of A Court of Thorns and Roses and to my utter amazement, I was engrossed in the story so deep that my life depended on completing the whole book and then finishing the trilogy page by page. At first, I thought the romance would be a typical beauty and the beast one; a guy bringing a girl to his home so she can pay off her debt of wrongdoing. But Rhys came out of nowhere and I was shook. My belief in 'true love finding you wherever you are' is more firm now. I loved Feyre becoming strong and compassionate and not being the perfect heroine. I loved Rhys for respecting women and making his own set of rules not caring what others might think. I could just go on and on about ACOTAR and I'm truly thankful to Sarah J Maas for writing such a masterpiece and sharing the magical courts with us readers.

48. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson / Catherine @ XCatherineReads

Nothing makes a story more appealing and easy to devour when it is filled with a cast of likable characters, and a well-written story arc. Brandon Sanderson is the king of writing. His latest release, Skyward, is an amazingly written sci-fi story with adventurous twists and turns that will leave you gasping and begging for the sequel!

Although I’m not one to normally pick up sci-fi, there was no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy Skyward. I mean it’s written by Brandon Sanderson, HELLO. Brandon Sanderson’s world’s and characters are so well developed and written, it’s nearly impossible to find flaws.

Skyward was my favorite book I read in 2018. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Even if sci-fi is out of your comfort zone, I can guarantee Skyward will be a new favorite read if you give it a chance.

49. What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera / JM @ Book Freak Revelations

My most favorite book of 2018 is What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. I chose this because not only is it my highest-rated book, but it’s also one of the books that made me feel something.

For those of you who don’t know what this book is about, it tells the story of two boys who serendipitously meet in a New York post office during summer, and are then separated by a flash mob, only to be reunited by the universe. It’s a YA romantic contemporary that puts a spotlight on a queer, modern-day love story that is brought about by fate, all while highlighting great family and friendship dynamics.

As a gay, Filipino reviewer who loves romance and aspires of one day visiting New York, this is the best book I could’ve ever gotten my hands on this 2018. And as a firm believer in the higher powers of love, faith and destiny, I knew right from the start that I was going to fall deeply, madly, and hopelessly in love with this book. While reading Ben and Arthur’s story, I felt giddy and light, and rightfully so seeing that this book was written by two of my all-time favorite authors. Unfortunately, both Becky and Adam have no books releasing this 2019 so I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be gladly re-reading this until they do. (Check out my review at http://bit.ly/JMxWIIU)

50. Moonstruck Vol 1, Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle / Rachael Hobson @ Boston Book Bitty

Moonstruck is an urban fantasy comic book series. Our main characters are POC, plus size, queer ladies who are just starting off in a relationship. At their first date; their friend gets their magic taken from them. Our ladies must find and rescue the stolen magic. I absolutely loved the characters! They were funny, cute, and absolutely charming. I especially loved how the color scheme of the art was all pastel. I would have liked to have seen more world building (and there were holes in the plot itself), but it could be because it is the first volume of a series. More could be explained later! I'm also over the moon (pun intended!) that the story didn't center around the ladies' weight. Diets were not mentioned in the slightest!

51. Sisters’ Entrance by Emtithal Mahmoud / Fanna @ F A N N A

Sisters’ Entrance is definitely one of my favourite reads this year. It’s a poetry collection that will cut you deep with the actual, frightening facts of humanity around the world. It’s filled with poems that can can enlighten you, empower you, and engage you with people, incidents and places of the world that you didn’t already know about but should be knowing. It can trigger every sad bone in your body while also triggering every angry bone because war, rape, abuse, virginity, refugees, patriarchy, misogyny, religion and other tough topics are being rhymed through the poems.
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That's a wrap! Be sure to check out all of the incredible creators who participated in this year's best books list. What was your favorite book of 2018?


7 comments :

  1. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to shout my love for this amazing poetry collection <3 This idea is great and I'm taking away so many recommendations :D

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  2. This is a fabulous list. I will be back for recommendations for 2019 soon.

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

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  3. Wow, this is a huge list! I’m happy to see so many books from my TBR list on here. I guess next year will be a good reading year for me.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. This post is basically a TBR list for me! I still have yet to read City of Ghosts and the Cruel Prince, but there's always next year, right? I LOVED The Bear and the Nightingale this year. It's definitely one of the best fantasy series I've ever read. I miss your posts, Claire!

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  5. I love this list so much and I love all the people you included. Thank you for making me even more excited for a bunch of books on my TBR. Happy New Year!

    Megan @ http://www.booksbirds.com/

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  6. What a great list! I'm glad to see I am not the only one who could not stick to just ten books. Normally I read non-fiction, but I read One of Us is Lying and I LOVED it. Happy New Year!

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  7. these are all great books! Most of them on my TBR. Now adding Jane Doe! I really enjoy Baby Teeth and I'm not a Serial Killer and Jane Doe sounds like them! :)

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