It’s time for me to share my favourite books read in 2018! This is a mix of new releases and backlist, in a variety of genres – my only criteria was ‘enjoyment’!
Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman
This book, you guys! I think about how wonderful this book was at least once a week. I never, ever love a book so much I want to start it again as soon as I finish but it took a lot of willpower not to hit play on this again and to move on to the rest of my TBR. Tess’ story is so beautifully told that I couldn’t help but fall in love with this difficult, troubled, young woman and her growing determination not to let her past keep her down. It’s got an awe-inspiring quiet power.
I filmed an entire video on this book, which you can watch below:
The best of the rest:
Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman
Before Tess of the Road, I read Seraphina and its sequel Shadow Scale, which I would highly recommend, as the ending of Shadow Scale is spoiled in Tess of the Road, and it’s better you get the benefit of the incredible world building right from where it all begins. Seraphina’s mother was a dragon, but no-one knows – relationships between humans and dragons are strictly prohibited. Her father would rather she live a quiet life to protect them both, but she can’t resist persuing her dream to becoming assistant music mistress at the royal court, where she develops suspicions that some dragons are plotting high treason.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
Half my friends seem to have fallen in love with this book this year. If I was to rate on audiobook narrator alone, this would be #1. As I said in my original review:
‘I heard so much buzz about this book and the hype was totally deserved. Heartwarming but not sickly, sad but not gloomy, Eleanor Oliphant is completely perfect, as the narrator, Cathleen McCarron, is for the book’
Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham
This book has really stayed with me for some reason, perhaps because I want to carry the narrator’s determination to make it as an actor around with me in my heart as I try to start a writing career. I listened to the audiobook, which is read by the author, and I really liked the tone her voice gave to the story. Content warning for lots of diet/weight-loss speak.
First Class Murder, Jolly Foul Play, Misteltoe and Murder, all by Robin Stevens
The continued adventures of teenage 1930s upper-class detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong continue to be brilliant, as they deal with murder on the Orient Express, another murder at Deepdean, and a festive felling in Cambridge. I hope there are many, many more to come.
Unveiling Venus, by Sophia Bennett
‘This sequel to Following Ophelia was a nerve-wrenching adventure full of glamour, art, architecture, romance, betrayal, and entrepreneurship! I really really really really hope that many more people read these books, firstly because they are fab, and secondly because I want a third book in this series!’
Never Evers, by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
I think I said it best the first time around:
‘This was a delight! I’m very fussy about books for younger teens – I think it’s so difficult to get the voice right and some writers miss the mark but Tom and Lucy got it spot on. The book follows a group of boys and a group of girls on a ski/snowboarding trip. They find themselves staying in the same hotel and of course bets are made, crushes develop, and much hilarity follows.’
The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black
Holly Black is one of those writers who just keeps getting better and better. Ben and Hazel have always known that their town exists alongside the faerie world, but now old bargains are having new consequences, and the beautiful sleeping prince is missing…
The Dark Days Pact, by Allison Goodman
When I read this, I really enjoyed it, but it’s the way this book has stayed with me that catapulted it into this list. It’s the second in the Lady Helen series, a Regency-set tale of demon hunting and extreme romantic tension and in this book, Lady Helen has accepted her role as a demon hunter but is struggling to reconcile her abilities and responsibilities with the restrictions placed on women in her society.
Embroideries, by Marjane Satrapi
This is the shortest book on this list, being a graphic memoir, but it was really interesting and not something you see very often – different women in the author’s family recounting stories from their love lives.
Educated, by Tara Westover
This is one of those books that’s lived in my head ever since I finished it. It’s shocking, thoughtful, and incredibly well put together. As I put it in my original review, it’s a ‘powerful pacy memoir about the author’s childhood as a Mormon survivalist and her decision to pursue education despite her father’s disapproval and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother’.
The Last Namsara, by Kristen Ciccarelli
Magic, mythology, political intrigue and dragons…if I hadn’t been reading Rachel Hartman this year then this would probably have been my favourite fantasy series that I began reading in 2018. Alas, it was pipped to the post but it’s still a fantastic read that I devoured in almost a single day.
The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal about the Art, Ideas, and History of What We Wear, edited by Serah-Marie McMahon
A collection of pieces from a Canadian fashion journal? How could I not love it? This is a colourful, varied, anthology and well worth checking out if you enjoy thinking about clothes.
The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp, by Sarra Manning
This book is best described in a single word: delicious. Sarra’s contemporary Becky is as sharp as her name and her scheming adventures are irresistible. I must read Vanity Fair so I can fully compare it, but I watched the TV adaptation and I loved seeing how the characters and settings were updated. And it’s always nice to see Tories and media barons get the slagging off they deserve.
Giant Days (so far), by John Allison, with art by Max Sarin and Lissa Treiman
If you haven’t read this charming, realistic-yet-surreal serial about three young women at university in Sheffield, you really should give it a try. I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t like it. It’s fast, easy to follow, and emotionally involving.
Pure Juliet, by Stella Gibbons
You know when a book makes you desperately want to binge read everything by that author? This did that to me. Pure Juliet is a funny, warm, flawed gem of a book that made me want to read everything Stella Gibbons actually finished during her lifetime! The fact that I can’t just abandon all my responsibilities to hide in a cottage somewhere and read her entire catalogue is extremely frustrating.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? I’d love to know.