I have read so many wonderful books this year that I have broken my favorites into Ten categories with a Winner and an Honorable Mention given. If you want more information I have added a link to any original review.
Winner: So That Happened by Jon Cryer. My nine hours spent listening to Ducky (I mean Jon!) talk about his youth and experiences felt far too short. He is dryly funny and deeply interesting and it stands out as my absolute favorite audiobook of the year.
Honorable Mention: Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik. This audiobook had the delightful ability to keep me interested in a subject matter that probably would have put me to sleep otherwise. Read in a clipped British accent that drives the information directly into your brain and featuring a perfect blend of history and science Stuff Matters will make you the most annoying or fascinating party guest, depending completely on your audience. Read the room before you launch into the history of plastics!
Winner: Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead is the early middle grade book everyone should read. A story of what it means to be a friend is always important but Bob brings subtle layers to the friendship between the sweet Bob and his Livy.
Honorable Mention: The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall. This book was part of a book club required reading and, although I was determined to hate it, I cannot love it more. A redemption story through the recognition that things are not always what they seem to be was a wonderful theme for 2018.
Winner: The Prince and Dressmaker by Jen Wang is hands down my best graphic novel of 2018. The story didn’t match my prediction based on the cover at all. Instead it was so much more. If you want a story about being true to yourself and what it means to accept someone, look no further.
Honorable Mention: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa. I read this series during my month of Frighteningly Good Reads 2018 and it is amazing. If you have already peeked at the Netflix series and liked what you saw then you will also love these books. I do not enjoy horror stories but this dark turn on Sabrina was just the right combination of horror and storytelling for me.
Winner: The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. Perhaps this book lands on top of my fantasy experiences for the year aided by the satisfaction of finishing the trilogy but I don’t think so. This was, hands down, the best of the trilogy for me and the last 100 pages were so action packed and then sweet that I will always remember reading this with joy.
Honorable Mention: Iron Gold by Pierce Brown. Beginning this book was difficult. Not simply because it is a hefty 601 pages but because we left the characters at the end of Morning Star at relative peace. Ten years later we find them….still fighting. But, in true Pierce Brown manner the character building and action climb together until you close the book and find yourself wanting more.
Winner: Circe by Madeline Miller. I tried to limit my expectations after reading and falling deeply in love with Song of Achilles but Madeline Miller absolutely exceeded even my (secret) wildest expectations. You have seen the book in every store and heard everyone talking about it for a reason – it is perfect.
Honorable Mention: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikery by Gabrielle Zevin. I bought this book because it has a bookstore on the cover. I started reading it because it was alphabetized last on my TBR bookshelf. And I love it because it is a beautiful story that shines a light on the how books weave into the fabric of our lives and those we love.
Winner: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. This was one of the first books I read in 2018 and it remains my absolute favorite. It is the overall winner of every award for me in every category but I placed it here because, technically, it is historical fiction. This beautiful sweeping story takes you back and forth between London and Japan and volleys between historical facts and fantastical fiction. This is the book that owned my heart in 2018.
Honorable Mention: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I started this book and misplaced it. It is a testament to the writing and characters in this book that when I found it again I was able to immediately sit down and continue reading without missing a beat. This story features a number of strong women as they help the war effort and pick up the ravaged pieces of the world. As two story lines, one from WWI and one from post-WWII, begin to intertwine the rising action took on a break neck pace. This adventure is one I was thrilled to see unfold during 2018.
Winner: Awkward, The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome by Ty Tashiro, PhD. This was not only an excellent book but also stands as my most often quoted book of 2018. Where was this book when I was an awkward nerd in sixth grade?!? As an awkward adult I enjoyed seeing the growth potential and the previously unknown benefits of my awkwardness. As someone who works with children I love recommending this book to naturally socially adept adults. You know, those who have never stood outside the circle just wondering how all the talking happened. Awkward people unite!
Honorable Mention: Canada by Mike Myers. I have a deep and abiding crush on Canada. I cannot say I love it yet. I found myself first attracted to Canada several years ago. I finally took my first trip through Quebec this year and so my crush is still blooming. But, true knowledge is what leads to love. Mike Myers has that in spades for his native land. Part autobiography part history of Canada and all fabulous this book was perfect for feeding my fascination with Canada.
Winner: Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid. This is the seventh book in the Knitting in the City series and features (finally) Kat and Dan’s story. Penny Reid introduced both of these characters in book one and has allowed the readers glimpses of their infatuation and love in brief moments through the series. The hype about finally seeing them get together was high. And, the book delivered! The female characters Reid creates are interested and her books always have truly smart quirks. I was as happy to finally read Kat and Dan’s story as I was sad that the series was over.
Honorable Mention: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. This book received an unbelievable amount of hype in 2018 and, deservedly so. It was the most surprising contemporary romance I have read since Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. This gender swap on Pretty Woman is made more interesting by the author’s ability to simultaneously feature culturally varied characters and characters with disabilities without making the reader feel like they are being lectured.
Winner: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. This is part of the DC Icons series. I may not have always been a fan of the scantily clad Amazon but after Gal Gadot I became a dire hard fan. Leigh Bardugo’s retelling of Diana’s beginnings as Wonder Woman was a perfect mixture of cannon and invention and I loved it completely.
Honorable Mention: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. I do know normally enjoy books set in high schools. However, I received Foolish Hearts from an OwlCrate and those books are always enjoyable. I was delighted to find that, while this was a romance of sorts, it was mostly about falling in love with yourself and growing as a person. This book also featured genuinely positive examples of both female and male friendship and I ate it up.
Scary / Spooky (Horror Light)
Winner: Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lente. Ten comedians are locked on an unpopulated island and one after another they die…horribly. Fans of Agatha Christie’s locked room experiences will enjoy this modern twist. The added bonus of comedy’s more recently defined “unacceptable” lines left me constantly guessing as to the real identities of the fiction dead jokesters.
Honorable Mention: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden. Holy moly this middle grade story was scary. It had everything – kids that don’t listen, parents that don’t believe, a ghost, an old curse and most of all a tag line you can whisper to fellow readers, “Stick to Small Spaces.”
Tell me, please!
What are your favorite reads from 2018?