Bookish Odds & Ends, Features

Favorite Books of 2018 (1st Half)


Since we are more than half way through 2018, I thought I would share some of my favorite reads of the first half of the year.   As of the end of June, I had read a total of 58 books in 2018.

Which books were the most memorable?  Continue on to find out…


» The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden



Genre: Fantasy

Why it is a favorite: If you have not heard about The Winternight Trilogy, then where have you been? I adored the first book in the trilogy, The Bear and the Nightingale.  I adored the Russian folklore woven throughout the book making it feel like a fairytale.  Arden is a fabulous storyteller.  The sequel, The Girl in the Tower, did not disappoint.  Whereas The Bear and the Nightingale was slower moving for world building purposes, The Girl in the Tower was an action packed adventure.  I also adore the main character Vasya.  She is fierce, brave, independent, level-headed, and kind.  The release date of the third book was pushed back from August 2018 to January 2019, which breaks my heart.  I guess you can’t rush greatness.

» The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne



Genre: Historical Fiction

Why it is a favorite: This was my first John Boyne novel, but it won’t be my last.   This multigenerational family saga spans over 70 years.  With themes like intolerance & prejudice, identity, non-traditional families, and forgiveness, The Heart’s Invisible Furies was much more than I was anticipating.   This book was very cleverly written and full of dry humor & witty repartee.

» March: Book One, Two, and Three by John Lewis


Genre: Graphic Novel • Memoir

Why it is a favorite: These graphic novels are a wonderful way to present such an important part of U.S. history: The Civil Rights Movement.  I’m embarrassed to say that before reading this series, I only knew the key events in the Civil Rights Movement, but never in much depth. I’d obviously heard of key players like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcom X, etc, but I never knew about all the other important people and organizations who played such crucial roles in the movement. This series did an excellent job of shedding light to all the lesser known people, organizations, and events in the Civil Rights Movement.

» Ready Player One by Ernest Cline



Genre: Science Fiction

Why it is a favorite: I read Ready Player One in preparation for the film adaptation that came out at the end of March.  Ready Player One is a tribute to all things geek in the 1980s.  With themes like technology, poverty, friendship, and virtual reality vs. reality,  RPO felt very relevant.  You do NOT have to be a “gamer” to enjoy this book, nor be familiar with 80s pop culture to enjoy this book.  I am neither, but really enjoyed this book.

» Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab



Genre: Fantasy

Why it is a favorite: Schwab solidified her position on my favorite author list with her Shades of Magic series.  I have to admit, when I first saw that this book was about people with “super powers,” I was nervous that it did not sound like my cup of tea.  Wrong!  The plotline is absolutely fascinating, especially the science behind how EOs are created & which “power” they end up with.  Schwab’s characters tend to blur the lines between good & evil, and she loves to explore those grey areas.  Despite the fact that this book is technically an adult book, it is very much paced like a YA novel: short chapters & fast paced.

» Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller



Genre: Fantasy > Mythology • LGBT+

Why it is a favorite: I’d recommend this book to Greek Mythology Fans.  Song of Achilles has it all: action, adventure, love, tragedy, friendship, political intrigue.   I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that this book includes a M/M romance.  I’d probably venture to say it is my favorite M/M pairing in a book I’ve read.  Not because it was a perfect relationship, but because it was flawed and realistic.  If you have been contemplating giving this book a go, I highly recommend it in audiobook format.

» The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid



Genre: Contemporary • Historical Fiction

Why it is a favorite:  When this was chosen as a book selection for one of my book clubs, I was not expecting to LOVE this book as much as I did. What a fascinating look at “Hollywood culture.”   Despite the fact that Evelyn wasn’t exactly an endearing character, I admired her ambition, drive, independence, and strength.  She may have done some bad things, but I didn’t consider her a bad person.   This book was filled with drama and scandal.

»An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) & A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir


Genre: Fantasy • Young Adult

Why it is a favorite: This series is EPIC.  I had this series on my TBR for YEARS, but had never picked it up for some reason.  When I discovered that Sabaa Tahir would be stopping in Ohio for her book tour to promote the third book in the series, I figured it was time to give these books a go.  I am so happy I was motivated to read these books because they blew me away.  Full of action, adventure, and just the right amount of romance, I flew through these fast paced novels.  Loved the plot.  Loved the characters.  Loved the books.

» Refugee by Alan Gratz



Genre: Historical Fiction • Middle Grade

Why it is a favorite: Told in 3 alternating perspectives, Refugee is the story of 3 child refugees at different points in history: a refugee during WWII, a refugee during Cuba’s “special period” in the 90s, and a modern day refugee due to the Syrian Civil War.  This book is so relevant today.  It should be read by everyone, children and adults, to teach empathy towards refugees & their experiences.  Refugee will crush your soul.  It has been a while since a book made me ugly cry like this one did.  It is one of those books that you will remember for years to come.

It was so hard to narrow down this list.  So, here are a few more books that I really enjoyed reading this year…

» The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner

» The Queen of Blood (Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst

» The entire Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor

» Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee

» Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

» I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

» The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

» The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

» Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi



What are some of your favorite books you’ve read so far this year?

Have you read any of the books on this list?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know!

9 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2018 (1st Half)”

  1. I loved Song Of Achilles and Vicious as well! And there are so many books on here I’ve been dying to read… Looks like I’ll be having a lot to look forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

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