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Top Ten Reads of 2018 (Part Two)

Hey all, Dani here.

Back in July I had a post where I talked about my Top Ten Reads from January through June, and now it is time to highlight my Top Ten from July through December. I do this instead of an overall Top Ten of the whole year because…well, I read a lot of books, and that would just be a really difficult task.

In both 2016 and 2017, I had this post go up on December 31st, but as that is a Monday, I will be posting another Manga Monday review post…which meant that I had to schedule this post for today. The unfortunate part about that is that I’m still technically reading stuff that could potentially be an amazing read that would make it on this list and bump something else off. But I’m hoping I’ve done well enough with my choices.

This list will only cover the books I have read from July through December, meaning that there will be new release books, as well as backlist titles I’m finally getting around to. You can check out my top reads from January through June by going here. As always, I cannot include re-reads on this list. That wouldn’t be fair, because I am reading them again as I already know that I like them. I also cannot include any book that hasn’t been released yet, as it wouldn’t be fair to everyone who doesn’t get early access to books.

So, for that reason, I have to start this list off with an honorable mention book. I will have a review up for it in just a few more days, but I can already say that 2019 is looking like it will be a great year for books. My honorable mention for best reads of the year is Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan. This amazing novel will be released on April 2, 2019, and if I can recommend any book for all of you to add to your TBRs, it is absolutely this one.

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Oh, and as always, if I have a review posted then I will include a link to that post in case you missed it or want to check it out again. For the ones I don’t have a review up for (yet), well, I’m still working on a giant backlog of review posts. Hopefully a lot more great reviews are coming your way soon.

All right, well let’s just jump into the list.

The Emerald Sea by Richelle Mead (5 stars)

This was the conclusion I was so hoping for. I also was highly anticipating Tamsin’s story, because I thought it would be one I greatly enjoyed. Thank goodness that anticipation and hope was rewarded with an amazing book. I can definitely say that this one made me want to re-read the entire trilogy.

And I Darken by Kiersten White (5 stars)

Why, oh why did it take me so long to read this book? Honestly, it’s probably because my first experience with Kiersten White was more of a 3 or 3.5 star rating. But I am glad that I finally got around to this delightful gender-swapped retelling of Vlad the Impaler. Lada was just so bloodthirsty, and for a female character, that is something we don’t get to see that often. Then there’s her relationship with her brother Radu. And I was just so invested in this whole novel. I really need to read the rest of the trilogy soon, because this is a book that I can say does live up to the hype.

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell (5 stars)

I picked this up because so many of Sebastien de Castell’s books sounded fascinating to me, and I was very quickly gripped by the characters and the story. Following a magic user who has next to no magic trying to fake it out and make everyone think that he actually is powerful, was a story that I don’t see too often. Oh, and then throw in his animal companion/ally/frenemy who just happens to be a squirrel cat. This is the first book to a six-book series, and the world keeps getting more expansive and intriguing with each installment.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (5 stars)

I was so enchanted by this book…and then I watched the movie, and it wasn’t quite as good. The fact that the story is told pretty much entirely through letters just made it feel so magical to me. It was a fascinating unraveling of the lives of these people during an awful time in history. I don’t pick up many historical fictions but this one was definitely worth it.

Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep (5 stars)

This book was the start of an epic fantasy trilogy following a woman who is a lesser member of the royal family, but has to become a gladiator and fight back after a massacre leaves her as the only one able to take down a maniacal cousin. The food descriptions alone make this book worth reading, though I recommend having snacks on hand. I do kind of wish that the journey and training parts had been expanded upon, but it was still a great read.

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (5 stars)

I love Julie Kagawa, and discovering that her newest book was going to follow a half-kitsune character, I knew that I definitely needed to pick this up. And I’m glad I did. Yes, it follows some classic fantasy adventure tropes, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The characters in the traveling party were all pretty darn interesting, and I just had such a fun time reading this book. I am definitely looking forward to the next one.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (5 stars)

So, I can’t say that I enjoyed every part of this story, because the content warning of sexual abuse is true, and it is not an easy part to witness. But the cast of girls in this book…I liked getting to know more about them. Then there’s the romance that forms in this book. I just wanted to read and read this one until I finished it. And with the way it ends, the wait for the second book is going to be a rather impatient one.

Black Clover Volume 4 by Yuki Tabata (5 stars)

Well, I just had the Volume 3 review up for this series, so expect a Manga Monday post in January for Volume 4, but I think it is my favorite installment of the series so far. I just adore the growth I’ve seen from so many of the characters. Asta is learning so much, and I just have to respect the other people who are starting to see his worth and value as he continues to fight for his dreams. It’s pretty awesome.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri (4.5 stars)

This is a book I’ve finished reading pretty recently as part of my Diverse December reads, so I hope to have a review up for it in January. But this book intrigued me and grabbed my interest in a manner similar to that of City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, so I am thrilled to have another diverse book to add to my favorites list. The whole daiva and Amrithi elements, plus the sigils and rites, just added to the wonderfully complex atmosphere of this tale. I maybe would have liked slightly better descriptions for the sigils and rites, but this was still a wonderful and magical story. I’m interested to see what will happen in the sequel/companion novel.

The Way of Kings, Part One by Brandon Sanderson (5 stars)

Is it any surprise that I’m going to have a Brandon Sanderson novel ranked in my top reads? I’ve started to try and space out my Sanderson reads, but he is just a master storyteller. His worldbuilding is phenomenal and I think his magic and technology systems are very well done. And, okay, yes, I am reading the UK paperback versions of this series that split each book into two books, but to be fair, pretty much each book in the Stormlight Archive is roughly 1300 pages, so maybe it’s better to read it this way. So yes, I still have half of this novel to complete, but I am absolutely looking forward to it, and will be diving in very soon.

Whew, what a list. What were some of your favorite reads of the year? I’d love to hear about them, especially if I need to add them to my TBR. That is all from me for today. I’ll be back tomorrow for my final post of the year, a review for Volume 15 of My Hero Academia, and then it’s on to 2019.

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