Best Books of 2018

Hey Readers!

I’m here to talk to you about some of my favorite books of 2018! I read 80 books this year so narrowing it down to my top 10 was HARD. However, I was able to do it. Two books fought it out for the top spot but other than that, organizing them from ten to 2 was too difficult so other than my number one I don’t have them listed in any particular order! Anyway… on to the books!

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer – Michelle McNamara

I loved this true crime mixed with memoir novel about Michelle McNamara’s hunt for the Golden State Killer. I was finishing this book the day that it was announced that they had made an arrest finally after all of these years and that just made the reading experience so much better. This is one of the best true crime novels a “murderino” like me has ever read. If you like true crime this one is for you.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,” you threatened a victim once.

Open the door. Show us your face.

Walk into the light.”

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman

This book was such a beautiful coming of age story of Elio and his relationship with Oliver. Call Me By Your Name was an intoxicating read, filled with romance, intimacy and was an absolutely stunning, perfect experience even when I was ugly sobbing and miserable at the end of the story. This is not the story for you if you’re looking for a love story that will fit all of your cliches, complete with a happy ending, but if you’re looking for two characters to fall in love with and then have your heart broken, Call Me By Your Name will satiate those desires.

“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”

An American Marriage – Tayari Jones

An American Marriage was the heartbreaking story of Roy and Celestial, a young African-American couple whose lives are forever changed when Roy is arrested and convicted of a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. This was a heartbreaking story of love, loss of love, and the search for freedom and happiness. You can read my review of this book here!

“Sometimes it’s exhausting for me to simply walk into the house. I try and calm myself, remember that I’ve lived alone before. Sleeping by myself didn’t kill me then and will not kill me now. But this what loss has taught me of love. Our house isn’t simply empty, our home has been emptied. Love makes a place in your life, it makes a place for itself in your bed. Invisibly, it makes a place in your body, rerouting all your blood vessels, throbbing right alongside your heart. When it’s gone, nothing is whole again.”

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier 

This is a romance that has never gone out of print in over 80 years of print. This book took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. The mystery of Rebecca and what the new Mrs. de Winter is learning swept me away and I could not put the book down. I’m already looking forward to rereading this.

“I believe there is a theory that men and women emerge finer and stronger after suffering, and that to advance in this or any world we must endure ordeal by fire.”

A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

This whole series blew me away. I loved all of the characters, my favorite Slytherin, Lila Bard, peculiar coat wearing Gryffindor Kell, and cinnamon roll Rhy. And honestly, most of all – my sweet baby Holland. This series only gets better as you move through the trilogy so when you start it, make sure you have the next two on hand ready to go. Trust me.

“For the ones who dream of stranger worlds.”

A Little Life – Hanya Yanigahara

This book absolutely destroyed me. I fell in love with all of these characters so hard. This was full of really difficult emotions and while I think this is on my list of all time favorite books I don’t think I’ll be able to read it again. It was hard to get through but it was so worth it. The destruction of my heart was just so worth it. You can read my full review for this book here!

“Friendship, companionship: it so often defied logic, so often eluded the deserving, so often settled itself on the odd, the bad, the peculiar, the damaged.”

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

This book is the stunning story of Kya, a girl growing up in the swamplands of North Carolina. This book was a debut novel and I honestly don’t understand how it is that because this book was AMAZING. It was full of lush and beautiful descriptions of the swamp that my favorite heroine of the year loved so much. If you want to know more of my thoughts, check out the review here.

“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”

The Hearts Invisible Furies – John Boyne

This book was so hyped when I first started my bookstagram and my book blog, and let me tell you it did not disappoint. This was the story of Cyril Avery, starting in the 1940s and going all the way through to the present day and once I started reading it I was sucked into the story and was invested right away. I laughed, loved, and cried with him as he lived his life. All of the triumphs and stumbles that he went through felt real as I was reading them and it blew me away.

“Maybe there were no villains in my mother’s story at all. Just men and women, trying to do their best by each other. And failing.”

A Place for Us – Fatima Farheen Mirza

This book was the book that contended with The Way of Kings to be my all time favorite book of the year, and honestly, it didn’t lose by much. This was the beautiful story of an Indian-American Muslim family on the day of their oldest daughters wedding. Told through a series of flashbacks and present day, it told the heartbreakingly beautiful story of each of these characters, and as I read it I fell in love with each and every one of the characters. Because of this book, I will insta buy any book written by this author in the future. For more of my thoughts, click here for the full review!

“But Imam Ali said two things: first, that we must imagine for one another seventy excuses before landing on a single judgment, and also, on that night, he told his companions to refrain from condemning a man, even as he staggered by showing proof of his sin, because they could not know if he would repent when alone, or fathom what existed in his heart.”

The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson 

This was my favorite book of the year, and honestly my favorite series. This book also solidified Brandon Sanderson as my all time favorite author. I loved everything about this book and this story, I loved it so much I wrote a full review of the whole Stormlight Archives series that you can read here.

“Words aren’t meant to be kept inside, you see. They are free creatures, and if locked away will unsettle the stomach.”

So those were my top 10 best books of 2018. What were some of your favorites?

– Hannah

 

Review: The Stormlight Archive

Hey Readers,

So here’s the deal, I say that this is going to be a review, and I’m going to try and make it one, but I can’t promise it won’t also be a little fan-girlish okay? Okay, now that we have that out of the way, lets dig in!

The Stormlight Archive

I started this series in late July and I could not put it down until I finished in October, and I loved it from the minute that I started it. The Stormlight Archive was my first series from Brandon Sanderson and I promise you it won’t be the last. This is an amazing epic adult fantasy series that has its own magic system, intense and developed political dynamics, complete worlds, and characters that grow throughout each book. On top of all that, it’s told from multiple points of view. I know, it’s overwhelming, But that’s what I’m here for, let’s talk about each of those things.

The Magical System: I don’t want to go too much into detail about the magic system in The Stormlight Archive, because I feel like the discovery of exactly how the magic system works is done as a plot device, and is one of the exciting things about reading the books. But I will say that the magic system is something completely different than I have read in a fantasy novel, and I have a bit of experience with those. (It’s my favorite genre.) It is an elemental based magic system, but not just in the traditional sense of water, air, earth, and fire. It goes deeper then that and it is genius. Also – when you start The Way of Kings and you start reading about spren and you’re like “what is he talking about? Spren?” don’t give up, I promise – it’s worth it.

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The Political System: For all of you Game of Thrones fans out there – while you’re waiting for the next book to come out… come to the light side and read The Way of Kings and I promise you it will be better (I said what I said). The Stormlight Archive series doesn’t have the gritty, gruesome to be gruesome, feel that Game of Thrones has, however, what it does have is death, blood, war, and vengeance done in a way that isn’t overwhelming and without what feels sometimes like gratuitous violence that will bog you down. Throughout the three current novels in The Stormlight Archives we learn more and more about the political intrigue, and because it’s told through multiple viewpoints, we get to learn how each of our characters play a part in the political sphere, and how their choices affect the world around them. I know some people don’t love the nitty gritty details of a worlds political system, but with these novels, the politics never feel overwhelming or that they are taking over the narrative. Instead, it blends in and is helpful to the telling of the story and overall feel of how it unfolds.

The World Building: I know I said I have only read one series by Brandon Sanderson but Sanderson is a master at world-building. I mean, he spent ten years researching and developing the world of Roshar for this series, and it paid off. I honestly don’t know of a series where I felt like I got so much beautiful information about the world. We are set in the world of Roshar and Sanderson gives us the most intricate descriptions of everything in this world. Everything from how the weather works, the creatures, history, mythology, religion, magic, the races, the different cultures, and more. Pretty much anything you can think of, Sanderson describes it. Because of this attention to detail, you really believe in this world.

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The Character Development: I have so much to say about all of the characters we learned about in The Stormlight Archive and I can’t say anything without getting a little spoiler-y so I won’t, (you’re welcome) but honestly these characters were EVERYTHING. In each of the books, our focus is on one particular character’s backstory, which we learn about through flashbacks that give us more depth into each character. However, don’t let that fool you, we see multiple characters perspectives in each of the books. The book’s parts, interludes, and chapters are broken up and let you know which character’s perspective you’re viewing the story through at any given moment and that is helpful. Sanderson writes the best characters, characters that drive you crazy, that make you laugh, make you cry for, basically, you’re going to be feeling all the feelings. I can’t tell you how many times I scream-ranted or literally yelled at the books, or the people around me about what was happening in the story at that moment (I’m a very passionate reader). Sanderson will capture your heart with these characters and then rip it out, and it will be worth every minute.

Audiobook Version: I also jumped between reading Oathbringer and listening to the audiobook on Audible. The narrators were Michael Kramer and Kate Reading and they were amazing. Definitely worth the listen if you have long commutes or you want to read the book but carrying around 1000+ pages is difficult!

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Overall Thoughts: 

These books have been my favorite reads of the year, and honestly most likely my favorite fantasy series I have ever read. I want and need everyone to read them. I have heard that some people found it slow going in the beginning when first learning about the different things that happen, but for me, I was hooked right from the Prologue. So if you find that you were finding it slow, give it about 100 pages (in a 1000 page book it’s not that much, trust me), and I’m sure it will pick up from there.

My favorite part of these books was the way that Sanderson built up the tension throughout them, between the politics, war, and emotions of the characters and watching all of their stories converge. Not just from The Way of Kings into Words of Radiance into Oathbringer, because throughout the three books the build-up was intense and the outcome was AMAZING, but also just in the individual books themselves. I always felt like there was so much tension and that we didn’t have enough book left to wrap everything up and then Sanderson did it, every time, with a BANG. Each ending left me desperate to get my hands on the next book, and the wait for the fourth one might just kill me (you may think this is me being dramatic, I disagree).

This series is for anyone who loves fantasy, or anyone who is willing and ready to give an epic fantasy a try, The Stormlight Archives is the perfect series full of everything you could ever want in a fantasy novel, it will grab your attention and run away with it. Read it, and then come find me here or on Instagram and tell me all your thoughts. I can’t wait to hear them.

Life before death.

Strength before weakness.

Journey before Destination.

My Ratings:

The Way of Kings: 5/5 Stars

Words of Radiance: 5/5 Stars

Oathbringer: 5/5 Stars

– Hannah