My Top Ten Books for 2018

Woohoo my top ten is here! Nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy inside than looking back on the year’s greatest hits. It’s like I get to curl up with my faves and get all cosy with my positive thoughts for them 😀 What could be better? *Cue the satisfied monkey*!

my top ten of 2018.png

As always, not all of these were published in 2018, I’m not including rereads and all book covers link to reviews! Alrighty then, enough of the preamble, let’s get to my semi-incoherent-adoration-addled-reasons as to why these books are *awesome sauce with a side of bananas*:

number 10

ravencry

Ravencry– as many of you know, last year I was blown away by Blackwing, so when the second instalment in the Raven’s Mark series stormed onto the scene, I had to pick it up. What’s so cool about this is the immense depth behind the hysterics. Though there can be no doubt that the world was well drawn, the plot was compelling and the characters were to die for, what I liked the most about this was there’s more to this book than meets the eye. Already in the first book psychological complexity was established- but this delves deeper into the psyche with one of my favourite folklore motifs of venturing into the wilderness and returning changed (you may notice a trend in some of the books on this list 😉 ). Incorporating this idea is just one of the ways there’s more to this story than meets the eye- and that’s what keeps drawing me back and back and back to the Misery. I can’t quite get this haunting story out of my mind.

number 9

guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– when I read this I just *had to* share this with my sister- contrary to my review, I didn’t actually write her a letter- instead I immediately put it in her hands and said READ IT. Because that’s what everyone should do. It’s one of the best historical fiction books I’ve ever read and one of the finest in the oft-oversaturated market for WWII. I’m not usually a fan of epistolary novels and only recently discovering how well collaborative books can work- and this one really does work. Guernsey will take you on quite the journey- I can’t recommend this enough.

number 8

titus andronicus

Titus Andronicus– it’s absolutely staggering how shocking this is hundreds of years after publication. Even though I knew what was coming, I still ended up scarred by this story- and that’s quite the feat! Now it’s obviously redundant to describe the finesse of Shakespeare’s language or the substance of his place- but I can say that this is now a firm favourite. I also recommend the 1999 film version- it’s a truly sensational adaptation (and this is coming from someone super fussy about takes on Shakespeare)

number 7

grey sister

Grey Sister– what is most incredible about this book was its ability to drag me out of a slump. I was super busy in June and yet I still managed to read the entirety of this book in one sitting- I just couldn’t help myself! For pure entertainment value alone, I’d have loved this book. However- as I often say on these posts- IT WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! All the intricate details from Red Sister were taken to another level. Most importantly, this book *excited me* and whenever I think about this book I want to jump right back in- and for a bookworm it doesn’t get much better than that!

number 6

words in deep blue

Words in Deep Blue– I need a little courage to talk about this one, because *this book broke me*. I cried from beginning to end. I’m not joking (kinda wish I wasn’t that much of a sap, but there you go). It’s think of book that holds you under its spell- I felt breathless and emotional by the end. The characters, the romance and the story were all *swoonworthy*. I’m also *a complete sucker* for book love in books and this did explored that topic so well. With some genius strokes to the narrative structure, this plunged into much deeper waters than I expected.

number 5

circe

Circe– even though I read this right at the end of the year, I knew while I was reading that I *had to* find a place for it on my top ten. In fact, it rose in my esteem as I got further and further into the book. I often find myself at odds with Goodreads choice awards, but I can safely say this deserved its win. Forged from myth, its epic proportions are well balanced and creatively engineered. It’s more than simply well researched- the stories woven into the narrative feel lived-in. I’d say this is Miller’s aristeia, only I predict she’s going to keep being victorious with every book she releases. Dorky classics allusions aside, it’s such a wondrous retelling that I know I’m going to love this more and more with time. Needless to say, Circe has me under her spell and I can’t wait to see what this author pulls out of her repertoire in the future.

number 4

hazel wood

Hazel Wood– this book combined two of my favourite things: fairy tales and stories within stories. What a match made in heaven! Yes, this goes at a steady pace, yet this still managed to be twisty and unexpected. Perfectly drawing up the veil between a dreamscape and the real world, I was enchanted by how I couldn’t quite pin it down. Somehow it manages to be a retelling of folklore with a Gothic flavour- whilst also having a life of its own. That indefinable quality made feel like it has its feet in multiple worlds- and that’s why I love it!

number 3

girl in the tower

Girl in the Tower– I loved stepping back into Arden’s reimagining of Russia’s mythic past. For me, this exploration seems so enticing and different and lovingly evoked. One thing I adore about the Winternight Trilogy is how each book seems to stand so well on its own. Like the first book, this presented a world that most people cannot see. However, what made it stand apart was that the uncanny elements were ratcheted up and it was darker than its predecessor. That haunting note clung to every facet of this beautiful venture. The writing was just as lyrical, immersive and gorgeous as Bear and the Nightingale; the characters made me fall in love all over again. I’m so freaking wowed by this series- I can’t wait for the last book! Bring on January 9th!

number 2

strange the dreamer duology

Strange the Dreamer/Muse of Nightmares– yes I am putting them both on the list and counting them as one- but you guys should know cos I do it every year… so really this is your fault for letting me get away with it 😉 Anyway, shh, these books are both brilliant, deserve to be here and I couldn’t pick between them! I adore Taylor’s writing and am always spirited away by her world building. I can’t help but feel like her series embody escapism and brilliant stories. They leave nothing behind in terms of what I look for in a book: the characters, romance and intrigue are top notch. Laced with a dreamy quality, this duology lived up to every hope I had for it.

number 1

the master and margarita

The Master and Margarita– simply speaking, I haven’t read a better book in a really long time. Where some of these I had to squeeze into position, I didn’t have to think when it came to placing this book. Describing what I feel about it though? Now that’s nigh on impossible! Perhaps it makes sense, since this is a book of where the impossible meets reality. Surreal and hard to pin down- and yet not totally otherworldly- Master and Margarita deserves more than the accolades and bananas I can give it. It’s strange on the surface- however lurking at its core are more truths than I can possibly articulate. A true artistic endeavour and literary masterpiece, it feels more real than reality. If you’re searching for a classic that’s more than a little magic, look no further.

So have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2018? Let me know in the comments!

100 thoughts on “My Top Ten Books for 2018

  1. The Girl in the Tower was a last minute read for me that wound up on my top ten! I shouldn’t have been surprised though. Fingers crossed Arden goes 3 for 3 with this trilogy 🙂 And I can’t wait to get into Grey Sister I was trying to wait until closer to the release of Holy Sister but I might not be able to.

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  2. Loved both The Master and Margarita and Titus Andronicus, both excellent (although very different to one another, of course). TMAM was better for me on a second reading, as I tend to struggle with Russian names, but worth persevering with. I don’t recognise any of the newer books, as I’ve been a little out of the loop with contemporary fiction this year, but I knew a few authors. Maybe in 2019 I’ll be more in touch with recent releases.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you agree! Of course! Ah that’s very understandable! That’s totally fair- I’ve read a lot more new books than I ever have before, so that was a massive change for me. If you do, that’d be cool, but if not, no worries- oldies are goodies 😉

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  3. Titus Andronicus is my FAVORITE Shakespeare play!!!! This is the first time I’ve seen someone mention it on a favorites list omg 😍 I love that movie adaptation, and I’ve also seen a great theater production of it too.

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  4. Nice list! I did read The Girl in the Tower, but it was just okay for me. The first was best for me and now I’m on the third. Hopeful! I also have The Hazelwood on my shelf. I started that one and quit because I couldn’t get into it lol. I’m starting it back up soon.

    I loved reading your thoughts on these and see a few to add. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year! ❤

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  5. I can see why Words in Deep Blue and the Potato Peel Society made your list. Both are great books.
    I had to keep my Top 10 of the year to books released in 2018 so that I could narrow my list down. Otherwise, it might have gotten out of control. I’m not posting until TTT, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Love the list!
    I haven’t managed to read the Girl in the Tower this year, even though it would have been great for this season. Hopefully manage to read it early next year.

    I also got a copy of Strange the Dreamer recently. Quite curious about that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh cool! I’ve never heard of your number 1 pick 🙂 But the cover is awesome, really catches the eye 😀 I’ll look into it!

    Glad to see ‘The Girl in the Tower’ on your list. I didn’t enjoy it as much as part 1, but it was still a really good read. If part 3 delivers this will be one of my favourite trilogies of all time! (please deliver!)

    I hope you’ll come across many more awesome books in 2019 and share with us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved Circe and Girl in the Tower and I definitely feel that all your other books are a must read for me! I wish I could start right now.

    Actually I’m reading Red Sister and I love it. I’ll get back to doing that now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t read any of these, but already had “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” on my TBR list. Based on your recommendation, I also now want to read “Words in Deep Blue.” Several of my faves this year were “The Rules of Magic” (Alice Hoffman), “The Secret Life of Bees” (Sue Monk Kidd), and Louise Penny’s newest book in the Three Pines series, “Kingdom of the Blind.”

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  10. Your list is amazing. Taking notes as I haven’t read some of those books. Thanks. 😊❤️

    Circe is so beautiful. And I wholeheartedly agree with The Girl in the Tower. Arden’s books stand well on their own and I absolutely adore them both. I have almost finished The Winter of the Witch and it’s amazing – it goes even darker and makes me so happy, I don’t want it to end. Happy reading my friend. 📚❤️

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  11. The Master and Margarita sounds amazing, I’ll have to add it to my TBR along with Circe and Strange the Dreamer! On this list, I’ve only read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was so charming and feel-good. Great list!

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  12. Ooooh, I’ve read The Girl in the Tower, The Hazel Wood, and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and they were amazing! I still love The Bear and the Nightingale more, but The Girl in the Tower is such a great follow up!!

    Will have to check out the rest of the books!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so happy to see that The Master and Margarita is your favourite book of the year! 😀 I read that book years ago and completely adored it. I consider it to be one of my all time favourite books. ❤ It's stayed with me even years after I read it. Amazing list! 🙂

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  14. I’ve been recommended Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society so many times I’ve lost count. I even own a copy but have yet to read it… I feel like the hype surrounding it has me a bit intimidated. Have you watched the Netflix movie?! If so, what did you think?

    The Girl in the Tower and Muse of Nightmares both made my top books of 2018 list as well 🙂

    I’m dying to read Circe after listening to The Song of Achilles earlier the year via audiobook. Actually, Madeline Miller came near me on her book tour for Circe, but I was out of town 😦 I was supper bummed about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I do understand that- but I do recommend it. Erm gotta be honest for me it was one of those cases where I much preferred the book.

      Ah I’m happy to hear that- I *love* the Winternight Trilogy!!

      Oh that’s brilliant!! I hope you love Circe! What a pity- I hope you get the chance to meet her one day!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a fab list!

    I adored Strange the Dreamer. Like you said, no one can build a world like Laini. I hadn’t read many reviews and the story was nothing like what I expected – the storytelling felt compelling and unique and I can’t wait to get my hands on Muse of Nightmares!

    Titus is an interesting pick for a favourite! That play is brutal. It’s the one with no tongue and twig hands, right? I had to read it at university and that’s the main thing I remember, poor woman.

    I’ve never heard of The Master and the Margarita, but I am officially intrigued! I’m also, I can’t lie, very into that weird cover art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!

      So glad you think so too!! And the story was totally unique!! I really hope you love muse of nightmares as much as I did!

      I know- it’s completely brutal- and not something I normally think of for a favourite. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days/weeks/even months after. It just really stuck with me- possibly because it’s so visually horrific.

      Definitely recommend it! I think the weird cover art suits what’s inside, so if you like that then there’s a very good chance you’ll love what’s inside 😉

      Like

  16. I’ve been seeing Circe everywhere! This confirms it, I’m going to need to read Circe asap 😆 My friend also loved Words in Deep Blue and I’ve been meaning to read it for such a long time, so thank you for bringing that book to the forefront of my mind again. Wishing you another year of wonderful books! 😊

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  17. Happy new year! 🙂 The master and Margarita and Titus Andronicus look really interesting and I added it to my TBR! I have not even heard of these books before! I’m also looking forward to reading Circe. I’ve heard so many good things about it.

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    1. Happy New Year! 🙂 Both are great!! Definitely recommend them- though do bear in mind that Titus is an incredibly violent and graphic tragedy (it seems that this sort of thing in entertainment isn’t just a modern phenomenon- though it’s done well and for a reason in Shakespeare’s case) Brilliant 🙂

      Like

  18. Some great recommendations on here! I really want to have another go at The Master and Margarita and I’ve downloaded Red Sister and requested Circe at the library. I’ve just finished The Winter of the Witch too – it’s everything you’d hope it would be 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh you’ve got some of my favourites on this list as well. I think if I had to pick just one book which I’d say was my best read of 2018 it would be Circe. It’s such an incredible story, I love Madeline Miller’s writing and between this and TSOA anything she releases is a must for me. 🙂 Also I really need to read Words in Deep Blue and The Girl in the Tower soon. I keep hearing amazing things about the former, and I loved The Bear and the Nightingale so I know I’m going to love the latter.
    Great post, and great picks as well. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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