Here we are again! The end of another year! I’m sure I’ll blink and it’ll be time to write my ‘Best Reads of 2019’ post, as that’s the way it feels these days. The years fly by!
On the whole, this year has been a pretty good year for me, mostly because of the final month, where I started my new job and finally got to move in with my boyfriend! This feels like the first year in a long time where something has actually changed, and it feels like I’ve made some sort of progression. I’m still finding my new job quite tough, as I’m adjusting to the new people and new place (I get so freaked out by change, and I’m super shy!), but I’m hopeful that it’s all going to work out in the long run. And I’m so happy to be living with my boyfriend!
My reading year has been pretty good this year too, as I beat my Goodreads target of 60 books by reading 63 (and maybe it’ll be more by tomorrow!), and I seem to have liked an overwhelming majority of the books I have read. Largely I think that’s down to the book blogging community being such an amazing source of recommendations, but also I think I’ve just got better at knowing the types of things I’ll enjoy.
But whilst I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read this year, there have been a few standouts! So here’s my top 10 reads of 2018, and a few honourable mentions:
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
This was one of the last books I read this year, but one of my favourites. Even though I already knew I liked Robin Hobb’s writing, and I adored the premise of living ships, I’d been avoiding this book for a while because of how incredibly long it was. And it did take me ages to read, but it was so worth it!
I definitely want to continue with this series in the new year, and read even more Robin Hobb books.
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Another series I’d love to continue in the New Year is Bernard Cornwell’s Last Kingdom series, as I read the first book recently (mostly because I wanted to watch the TV series), and absolutely loved it. If anything, I enjoyed this even more than the Warlord Chronicles!
Bernard Cornwell is definitely the guy if you want to read gripping historical books, full of intense battles and political intrigue!
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Although I didn’t 100% love the final book in the Throne of Glass series, it has to get a mention on this list, because it was such a huge event for me. TOG is one of the first series I discovered through blogging, and has been one of few series I’ve been excitedly reading as its been released (I’m generally so bad at keeping up with new releases!).
I know not everyone has loved where this series has gone, but personally I’ve continued to enjoy it, despite being able to see some of it’s flaws. And I think the final book was a worthy edition to the series!
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Ok, so this isn’t a new-to-me series, but I finally got round to rereading my childhood favourite books, the Harry Potter series this year, and I loved them as much as ever! I virtually never reread these days, so it was pretty fun to return to a series that has meant so much to me, and I had a lot of fun writing my ‘Rereading Harry Potter’ series of blog posts.
The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I got really into space opera books this year, and this is probably the book that was responsible for that!
I’d seen this book on a lot of blogs before I read it, and had heard such great things, so I really, really wish I’d read it sooner. It was such a fun, yet heart-breaking book, and I loved the camaraderie of the crew of the Wayfarer! I don’t think I’ve loved a cast of characters this much since I read Six of Crows!
Defy the Stars/Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray
I read these two books whilst on my aforementioned space opera kick, and I absolutely adored them! I loved the concept of a sentient, humanoid robot developing a friendship with a human who has been brought up to hate everything about him, and I loved the moral questions the book raised about the advancement of technology, and at what point a machine be classed as a person.
It was very, ‘Romeo and Juliet in space’ and I absolutely loved it! I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I have to admit, the only reason I actually picked up this book in the first place was because I wanted to watch the TV series. However, I ended up reading and loving the book, and never actually watching the TV series!
This book was so gripping, and not what I was expecting at all. From the cover I’d assumed it was going to be a straight up domestic drama, but what I found instead was part domestic drama/part edge-of-your-seat thriller! It also had a wonderful touch of humour though, and characters you could really root for.
After I’ve Gone by Linda Green
I’ve been enjoying thrillers a lot more this past couple of years, and of the ones I’ve read, After I’ve Gone has been one of the most gripping. I love how it used modern technology – Facebook – and added a slightly supernatural turn (Jess’s Facebook account appears to flick forward in time, and shows that she will be dead within 18 months), to create an intense, and genuinely terrifying mystery. I can’t recommend this book enough if you haven’t read it already!
Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir
I absolutely loved Alison Weir’s take on Katherine of Aragon in the first of her Six Tudor Queens books, and she did such a good job of painting her as a complex and sympathetic character that I wondered how she would fair with Anne Boleyn (who after all, was the villain as far as Katherine of Aragon was concerned!).
However, I feel like she did an even better job with Anne Boleyn, who is quite a tough character considering how well documented she is in fiction already! I feel that Alison Weir managed to put a new spin on her, showing her progression from an innocent young woman who just wants to be loved, to a strong young woman with a will of steel.
I now can’t wait to read her book on Jane Seymour, who is one of the more overlooked of Henry VIII’s wives. I just got it out of the library, so hopefully I’ll be reading that soon!
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
I’m a long time fan of both Emily and Charlotte Brontë, but I realised this year, that I had’t actually read anything by the youngest, and least famous sister Anne Brontë. So I first read her novel Agnes Grey, and whilst I enjoyed it, I wasn’t entirely blown away.
However, I then read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and just…wow! What an incredible book! I would definitely consider it on a par with her sisters’ greatest works, and I feel like this book should be much more famous than it is!
Aside from it simply being a good story, it was also a very brave story for a woman of her time to have told reflecting on things like alcoholism, domestic violence and the rights of women in society.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab, Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh and Graceling by Kristen Cashore.
So what have been your best reads of 2018? Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think?