Top 18 books of 2018

I read approximately 140 books this past year. It was awesome I was so lucky to get to have the time and access to so much reading! I read some incredible books that I want to share, yes most are fantasy and most are female authored but that’s what I read.

I want to keep this short and sweet so I am going to keep my “Why I FREAKING loved it” to 10 words or less per book.

To be honest some slots have more than one book by the same author (Don’t judge I really like books and it’s hard to pick more) So without further ado here are the best books I read this past year.

18. The Mines of the Minotaur by Julia Golding

  • Complex environmental discussion with mythical beasts. Minotaurs. Mental Stability importance.

17. Kings Cage by Victoria Aveyard

  • So many payoff scenes that I’d been waiting for

16. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

  • Hades/Persephone angst/smut. Lots of growth and recovery.

15. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

  • Morally grey. Genius protagonists. So many deaths.

14. The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

  • Nostalgic LBD. Emotional and mental abuse recovery. Recovery isn’t linear.

13. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

  • Reads like a fairy tale. Morally grey characters. Magical Mystery.

12. The Evertree by Marie Lu

  • End of Spirit Animals series. Heartbreaking. Sweet relationships. Great villains.

11. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

  • Dragons. Napoleonic Wars. The sweetest dragons. Dragons.

10. Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi

  • Religion-based magic system. Nigerian world. Quest to save the world!!!

9. Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

  • The ROMANCE! The TRAUMA! Amazing found and discovered families!

8, Trickster’s Duology by Tamora Pierce

  • Gods. Political plots. Spies. Unending love for Aly.

7. The House of Hades or The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

  • My precious, sad children! All the Rick Riordan!

6. The Fatal Throne edited by Candace Fleming

  • Historical fiction. All the Wives! Slightly educational.

5. The Woman Who Rode Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

  • Alanna! My perfect little found family. Also George Cooper.

4. The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irene Brignull

  • Beautiful witch-y writing. Perfectly creepy. Lovely heartbreaking work.

3. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

  • I cried the whole time. Beautiful family novel.

2. Windwitch (all the Witchlands series really) by Susan Denmark

  • Angsty Romance. Political Intrigue. Discovery of unreliable narrator. Owl!

1. Damsel by Elena K. Arnold

  • The most beautiful writing of your life! Dragons! Feminist fantasy.

Monthly Recommendations: Witch-y Reads

This month for the Goodreads group we are recommending books that are… witchy. Now especially in books it’s hard to define what makes a book witchy it could be anything from Harry Potter to the Crucible.

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft – I was super lucky to get to pick up this new anthology from my library. It was about witchcraft but focused much more on feminism, independence, forging ones own path in all variations of witchery. My favorite of these stories: The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma, Divine are the Stars by Zoraida Cordova, and Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May.

toil and trouble

The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard – This is a fantasy series but the magic is witchy enough for me to justify putting one of my favorite series on this list. The magic is derived from 6 natural wells of magic and have nature as their base. All those with powers are required to have prominent witchmarks. It’s a story of female friendship saving the world and if that doesn’t sound witchy fight me.

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The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani  – Though both Agatha and Sophie have magical powers. Hester, Anadil, and Dot are probably one of the best covens of all time is in this middle grade trilogy. Their fantastical prowess is a perfect fit for the school of evil. Not to mention this is just one of my favorite series of all time.

the school for good and evil

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – This more a type reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials set in 17th century New England. Kit doesn’t feel like she fits in until she meets the town witch…

witch of blackbird pond

The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull – This is an occult  magical realism novel that follows a witch prophecy as two babies are born. It’s beautiful and spooky the witch culture and coven is exactly what one wants this time of year. Highly recommend for witch fans of Laini Taylor.

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Monthly Recommendations: Underrated Reads

Every month a Goodreads group gives a category to recommend books from, August’s theme is Underrated Reads. I am really excited about this because I really need to talk with other people about some books that it feels like no one else has read and I want to read more, everything I haven’t heard of.

Catwings (series) by Ursula K. Le Guin – This is my favorite children’s series of almost all time. It’s so cute and it’s about stray cats with wings. It’s very fun and all about found family. Also if you have small children it’s a great way to indoctrinate them to the master of Ursula K. Le Guin

Diadem: Worlds of Magic by John Peel- This is a 12 book epic fantasy series. It is so fun and each book takes place on a different world. This is more middle grade but is so fun and has one of my favorite magic systems that works through creatures and crystals. I honestly feel like it’s such a good baseline for fantasy characters, creatures, and world. But I think about it like at least twice a day so more people need to read it.

Susan Dennard (all of her books) – The Something Strange and Deadly trilogy is criminally underrated. Not only is the main magic necromancy but we follow a problematic main character who has to get over her own prejudices. This takes place all over the world and has just the angst-filled romance. I still believe that her Witchlands series will gain popularity as people realize her genius. It has a great elemental magic system, even the healers are beholden to their element in healing. There is so much political intrigue and the most three-dimensional characters I’ve ever read in YA.

The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irene Brignull – Honestly I just read this book and made me realize how much I wanted to do this theme this month. It was just the creepiest most beautiful written witch novel. It was so up my alley and I had never heard of it. It is about a witch and a human switched as they are being born to fulfill a prophecy for someone. It’s cruel and dark and beautiful and I really need to talk to someone about it.

Frontier Magic by Patricia C. Wrede – This alternative history trilogy is fantastic. It follows the United States as it expands west, except you know magic is real and there are great mythical creatures. There are so many magic systems that go with different culture and doesn’t overlook the civil war or the racial discourse of the time. In this the main character is from a family that follows a numerological magic system as the Thirteenth Child in her family she is curse and must overcome her fear of herself. SOO GOOD!

Sun Wolf and Starhawk (series) by Barbara Hambly – It is a great adult fantasy series that follows mercenaries (always the best). There is very cool and cult-like magic. Probably some of the best characters that respect you know other people and women. It does follow the trope of a chosen one but Sun Wolf makes decisions that make sense and Starhawk is a badass warrior who never relinquishes her femininity .