My Favorite Books of 2018
I track the books I read on Goodreads and in my handy handwritten book journal. To be honest, there are many I don’t add to Goodreads as I feel bad bombarding my friends with 50,000 status updates on there (I read really quickly) and all the smut romance novels I read. Even though I read them as I’m falling asleep, I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and many of them aren’t fully review-worthy. Not that they aren’t well-written books, but if they are the predictable romance or just not that great, it takes a bit too much time to review all the additional ones I read at night.
The point of my tangent is Goodreads helps me track and quickly filter to my most favorite books. This year, I also found a cute little summary of what I read in 2018 with little pictures to go along with it. This was fun to see and helpful since flipping through my pages in my book journal to find the ones I marked as “favorite” takes much longer.
See how fun?!
Now, here is the list of the books that I loved this past year, in no particular order. There were quite a few this time around as I found some amazing series where each and every installment was perfection. And I think I just got lucky with finding some gems that I really needed to read this year. Isn’t it amazing how you can found a book at the exact right time you need it?
What were your favorite reads this year? Did you also read any of the ones I listed below?
Click the book covers to read my full review and a synopsis of each book.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This book caught me off guard. I had heard so many people talking about it and it was listed on so many book club lists, but I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. Gail Honeyman wrote this novel with a perfect balance of sad and humorous scenes. She took a serious and difficult issue and somehow made it warm and funny, while still showing the severity and sadness of depression and loneliness. It was a book filled with emotion without making it overly-sentimental and made me laugh and cry with it’s perfect moments.
2. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I reread this classic this year and fell in love all over again. Rebecca is a beautifully written and creative story with great imagery and characters. Some of the details, such as the fact we never find out the name of our main character and narrator, to the twist that has you sympathizing in a cringe-worthy way, Daphne du Maurier wrote a wonderful and suspenseful book.
3. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
This is the first Chuck Palahniuk book I’ve ever read. Insert your gasp or burst of outrage here. So imagine my mixture of surprise and delight when these are the first sentences I read; “If you’re going to read this, don’t bother. After a couple pages you won’t want to be here. So forget it. Go away.” One of my friends warned me that this book is dark and fucked up, it’s messy and also “weirdly heart wrenching”. I have to agree.
4. I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel
This was a wonderful, quick little read that truly had me falling in love with reading all over again. It is a nod to everyone of us who is thinking about the book we are currently reading, just finished or is next on our list. It was heartwarming and really so relatable to anyone who loves to read.
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Reader, I am in love with this book. Jane Eyre is a romance, yes, but I was also impressed by how Charlotte made Jane so ahead of her time. Jane's life is gut wrenching and emotional but still she stays strong through all her misfortunes. It is a realistic and plausible story for the most part, but there are added fantastical elements that made the story even more beautiful.
6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This book surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. Not the biggest video game connoisseur, I was a bit nervous about relating to the overall plot but this book sucked me in so quickly and had me finishing it within a day because I just had to keep reading. It’s a great balance of Sci-Fi and very interesting story that doesn’t go completely out of the realm of possibility.
7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This is everything you could want in a story about childhood; adventure, magic, overcoming fears, the things that children know and adults begin to forget. While reading, I found truth, joy, love and a sad, sweet melancholy that pulled at my heart and made me fall right into the pages. This book touched me so deeply that I know it will stay with me for years to come and I'll find myself rereading it in the near future.
8. And Then There were None by Agatha Christie
This was my first Agatha Christie novel and I absolutely loved it. It was such a fascinating idea; ten people are lured to a remote island under false pretenses and quickly find out they are to be punished by death for ‘crimes' they have committed in the past and got away with. It is not a long or complex book like many mysteries/thrillers, however it is still so clever and unpredictable. I never saw the end coming of who was behind the murders.
9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
I loved how Hercule Poirot points out certain facts and slowly puts things together for the other authoritative characters, but also for the reader. You almost feel like you are the detective yourself which is pretty fantastic. At times, the fact finding is comical but it always points out something I didn't catch myself.
10. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I was hooked on this book with the first couple pages, I just had to know what happened. It was a charming, exciting and very well-written book. Novik creates such a compelling world and describes everything so wonderfully, with just enough detail that you can imagine it but not get bored or frustrated as the plot line always moves forward.
11. and 12. Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
I truly enjoyed each and every character in these books. All of them are extremely well developed. These stories are darker with characters who are twisted just enough. This series is called “Villians", but the main characters are truly complicated antiheros. Sure, they are dark and murderous but they are also sympathetic and caring in certain situations.
13., 14. and 15. Wayward Children Series by Seanan McGuire; Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Beneath the Sugar Sky
This series are dark, creepy almost fairy tales about children who find cracks - a wardrobe, a rabbit hole, or a simple doorway - and find themselves somewhere else; somewhere their family members and friends won't believe they've been. The stories are very strange, but so wonderfully written. They are eery, with this almost perfect balance between comical and serious, dark and light, fairy tale and thriller.
16. Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel
I first started this series in 2017 but the final book came out this past year and I have loved almost every moment of this storyline and wonderful characters. There was still some action but this installment was a bit more dark and sad. It still had similar dark comedic moments which made it blend well and end in a consistent manner. Overall, I'd recommend this series to as many people as possible. It was one of my favorites over the past few years and each individual book had something great to offer, which is often difficult to accomplish.
17. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë uses this descriptive style of writing to truly set the scene of this darker tale and severely flawed characters. The descriptions bring you into the turbulent emotions of these characters and I loved the way the descriptions of the landscape, rooms or weather truly set the mood of the storyline, adding to each scene and setting.
18., 19. and 20. The Winter Night Trilogy by Katherine Arden; The Bear and The Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch
I haven't read many Russian folklore tales, but I truly enjoyed the magical and whimsical tales Katherine Arden weaves into her storytelling. I was hooked from the very beginning of this series and could feel the atmosphere Arden creates. It is chilling and haunting, but at times there is humor and moving moments that really made this series one of a kind. And even with the magic woven into the plot, these books are also grounded in the reality that makes a more enticing read. I cannot recommend this entire series enough.