Favorite Books of 2018

Once upon a time, I had lofty dreams of being a book blogger. I wanted to read hundreds of books a year, take pretty pictures of them, and carefully analyze their messages.

But, uh… I am not capable of that. I’m lazy, crappy at taking photographs, and I don’t have the vocabulary to truly describe a book past I loved it!!! It’s taken some time, but I’ve finally come to terms with those facts—although that doesn’t mean I won’t be posting about some of my favorite books.

So now that 2018 is drawing to a close, I can share my favorite reads of the year!

I’m going to be honest with you all: the past few years have been awful for me reading-wise.

In college, a time when I had no time or energy to read anything except for the thousands of pages assigned for my classes, I think I read a grand total of five novels.

Five novels over four years.

Yeah. It was bad.

Even after graduation I was still in a reading rut. It sucked! I went from devouring over 50 books a year (if not more) in high school to hardly reading anything at all. You’d think that after reading a million technical manuals for school I might want a nice fiction break. But nope! Still couldn’t convince myself!

According to Goodreads, I only read 17 books in 2017. For someone who’s a writer, that’s pretty sad. Scratch that, it’s really sad.

So in 2018, I forced myself to get that number up. And boy, am I glad I did.

At the beginning of the year, I set my Goodreads goal to 36 books. It broke down to 3 books a month, a totally manageable goal for someone who’s a semi-fast reader and has a TBR pile that could wrap around a city block. Still, I was intimidated. 3 books a month?? That was too many for someone who hadn’t read a novel in, like, forever. But in comparison to my friends who were reading 100+ books a year, it seemed like practically nothing.

Well, guys, I’m happy to report that I read 45 books this year. 45!! And the year’s not even over yet! I may have time for lucky number 46!! (Okay, well, maybe not since it’s the holidays and I’m spending my free time mostly just napping and eating. No shame)

Here’s everything I read in 20182018 Books 12018 Books 22018 Books 3

You’ll notice there’s a lot of YA and Romance in there, two of my favorite genres. I figured that if I was going to make myself love reading again, I might as well read the stuff I love.

Of those 45, these are my 5 favorites of the year
(in order of when they were read — all summaries provided by Goodreads)

1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Boy, I sure am a sucker for the the enemies-to-lovers trope. I’ve read and written it a million times, but it never gets old. While certain parts of this book felt a little slow or drawn-out, I still enjoyed this very much, thus earning it a place in my top 5 this year.

 

2. Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I’m a million years late to the party with this, you don’t have to tell me. But you know those books you can’t stop thinking about long after they’re finished? This is one of them. Legend hooked me from the start with its premise and characters. While sometimes I had to suspend disbelief that these were supposed to be teenagers (tbh, they read more like adults) I adored the action-packed plot. Plus, as someone with a degree in Geography (and what might as well have been a minor in PoliSci), it was interesting to see this take on a future world.

 

3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Holy crap, y’all. I absolutely could not put this book down! It’s one of my few 5-star ratings on Goodreads, and I really think it deserves every single one of those stars. I was a little iffy about how the story was being told at first, but WOW, I ended up loving it.

Also, I’ve got a (very) small soft spot for AIDEN but I definitely would not want to be anywhere near it.

 

4. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

This was yet another 5-star rating for me. Yes, the title spoils what happens at the end of the book, but despite that, I still felt myself caught off-guard. Like, they both die? Are you… are you for real?

 

5. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

One last 5-star rating of the year! There was so much hype surrounding this book, so I knew I had to read it. I was almost expecting to be disappointed because of all of the hoopla, but oh boy, I definitely was not. Guess who has The Wicked King on preorder! (I’M SO EXCITED!!!)

 

Honorable Mention: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

This book had been sitting on my shelf for ages. It wasn’t until the movie came out on Netflix (which I loved!) that I finally convinced myself to read it. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. The cuteness! The fake-dating! The diversity! Love, love, love!

Now that you know my favorite reads of 2018, feel free to share yours in the comments! Oh, and follow me on Goodreads!

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25 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2018

  1. This was a great read! And yessss I totally love “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”! I haven’t read the book but I think the movie had me swooning enough for the both of them!

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  2. I AGREE WITH SO MANY OF YOUR FAVORITES!! The Legend series is so incredible, and honestly rereading the end of Champion still makes me cry. It’s the kind of ending I want to be able to write.

    The Cruel Prince was another one of my favorites, and one I read in a day because I could not put it down! I cannot WAIT for The Wicked King!!

    And don’t even get me started on Illuminae omg. AIDAN owns my whole heart, I’m genuinely in love with it, and I even went so far as to decide to write a literary analysis on its character to convince my best friend that not only did it feel, but it definitely loved (though thankfully she figured it out on her own so I didn’t need to write the essay).

    Some of my other favorite reads from the year are the Red Queen series (four books that I read in six days and rarely left my room to do so). Also, the Shadow and Bone trilogy (wow wow wow. All of Leigh Bardugo’s books are phenomenal I must say)

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  3. Oooh, thanks for the top 5 list. I might just give one a go!

    I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut too for the past few years myself. However, working in primary education, I recently rediscovered the joy in children’s fiction. I’m not ashamed to admit that some of the books I enjoyed most this year were children’s fiction. We’ve finished listening to the Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (and narrated by the lovely David Tennant) and it was honestly really good! So yeah, I’m learning to look in new places (or old) for good books. Where before I almost strictly stuck to young adult/romance and fantasy, I’m giving completely different genres a try. A recent great book I read was Trevor Noah’s autobiography, Born a Crime.

    Right, I’m off to look up the Cruel Prince on Amazon!

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    1. I LOVE Born a Crime! It’s another one of my 5-star reads, and I’ll probably reread it in the future. He’s such an interesting (and hilarious) person. And hey, definitely no shame in reading lots of and enjoying children’s fiction. There are some really great books out there!

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  4. My friend’s been recommending Illuminae for forever, but my TBR list is so long it could wrap around Earth twice. I’m a Cassandra Clare fan, and I believe Holly Black and her are good friend, they’ve co-written a book as well, so I’ve meaning to read The Cruel Prince but as I said, that TBR list isn’t getting any shorter.
    I have read the whole To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series and loved it to bits (except Always and Forever Lara Jean, hated that one), although the first one is undoubtedly the best. I still hate Peter’s guts and Lara Jean is a tad too naïve, but it was so different from what we usually get in the Teen Fiction genre that I couldn’t help loving it. Lara Jean was like a breath of fresh air because she really stands out amongst the hordes of tomboys who have the perfect little life except for the fact the popular guy is too busy snogging her best friend to notice her. It’s always something ridiculous like that.

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      1. I got Illuminae off the TBR list (which means nothing really, since Gemina and Obsidio are now on there instead), and oh my goodness that was something alright. AIDAN somehow became my favourite character, despite the insanity. His (I know I should say ‘its’, but he seems so… real) desire for (paraphrasing here) “lungs to sigh” and “arms to comfort Kady” are almost heartbreaking.

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  5. you have some good taste in books is I do say so myself. Also, I think you’re a great writer as well. Keep reading good books and writing good stories!

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  6. loved this haha! i was just looking for some new books to read. i’m in the process of “one of us is lying” right now. can you share some thoughts on it?

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  7. i went out and decided to read China Dolls.
    and wow.

    by the end i was just baffled. personally, i can’t understand why Ruby, Helen, and Grace are still friends through it all.

    what did you think of the book?

    i’m usually not a fan of historical fiction, but this book was pleasant and the historical context just made things more interesting.

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    1. It was an interesting book, for sure. For the most part, I enjoyed it, but by the end I was sort of disappointed. I could understand that they were all friends because, when it came down to it, they were all pretty much alone in their own worlds, and the others were the first time they’d really had some semblance of friendship. However, the reunion scene at the end… I wasn’t a fan of that. As for the historical context, it was fascinating to read about three women navigating being Asian in America during that time. It definitely made me want to seek out more historical fiction.

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