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Favorite Reads of 2018

I know it's a little early, but I've read a LOT of great books this year, and I've just got to share.

In 2018, I made a point of reading more diversely this year, making sure I didn't stick to one genre or age group. That served me really well, I think, and I was able to discover quite a few new-to-me authors that I might not normally have picked up. So, that being said, many of these are backlist titles.* But they're still worth picking up!

So here we go: my favorite 2018 reads!


Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
Crown Books, 2016

I've recently discovered sci-fi thrillers, and I'm obsessed with them right now. This one is a perfect example of a techno-thriller done right. It's super fast-paced with cinematic action and a romance at the heart that was both touching and surprising. And the end was not what I was expecting. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good page-turner.

Force of Nature, by Jane Harper
Flatiron Books, 2018

On the other end of the spectrum from Dark Matter, Jane Harper's second book in her Aaron Falk series is much slower paced. But holy crap is it good. Incredibly atmospheric and tense, I couldn't put this one down. I also really loved the narrator of the audiobook.

I'm absolutely in love with Jane Harper's prose, and she's one of my most-recommended authors. Check out Force of Nature if you like tense mysteries and characters who aren't what they at first appear to be.

The Gone World, by Tom Sweterlitsch
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2018

Another sci-fi thriller. This one absolutely blew my mind. I forced a family member to read this just so I'd have someone to talk to about it. Take NASA and send them into deep space and deep time in the 1990s, throw in people meeting other versions of themselves in alternate timelines, and mix with a brutal murder of an entire family, and you'll have a portion of what this book has to offer. Seriously. It's so twisty and so good. But make sure you read with a piece of paper handy so you can draw a flowchart of events to keep them all straight.

Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
Grand Central Publishing, 2009

This was honestly the year of mysteries for me. Child 44 is the best the historical mystery genre has to offer - at least in my opinion. The setting is exceptional, the research and historical ambiance fine-tuned, and the characters both relatable and heartbreaking. I was captivated by the story of Leo Demidov as he struggled to stop a serial killer in Stalinist Russia, where the government says there's no crime. This is a must-read for historical fiction fans and honestly probably my favorite book I've read all year.


On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
Harper Perennial, 2016 (rev. ed.)

A classic! I had to read this one for graduate school and wasn't particularly excited. It's geared toward writing nonfiction, especially memoir, but Zinsser has a lot of great things to say about writing that transcends genre. I wish this could be handed out to every college freshman. A masterclass on efficient, explosive writing.

Marquette University Press, 2016

For all my theologians! I finally read this classic from Eleonore Stump, and it didn't disappoint. As an Aquinas fan (and sometimes-critic), I was excited about this lecture series. Definitely on the meatier, more philosophical side of theology (i.e. just my taste).


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014

Holy. Crap. Apparently, I discovered this book along with everyone else this year because of the Netflix movie. I fell head-over-heels in love instantly. I want Lara Jean to be my best friend, and where was a Peter Kavinsky when I was in high school?! This is, hands down, my favorite YA contemporary series ever.

Little Monsters, by Kara Thomas
Delacorte Press, 2017

This book was soooo creepy and good! Like I said, 2018 was the year of mysteries for me, and this YA didn't disappoint on that front. It had me guessing until the end. Highly recommended!

Defy the Stars, by Claudia Gray
Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017

My favorite YA read of the year, hands down. Claudia Gray was my most-read author this year (I read 5 of her books in total, including an entire trilogy). Defy the Stars was my favorite, though. I had very low expectations and was immensely pleased to find that it hit all the right buttons for me. Gray is so good at weaving in realistic emotion with deeper themes in a fast-moving plot. She's on my short list of auto-buy authors, and this book is one of the main reasons for that.

That's my list, folks! Hope y'all had a lot of great reads this year too. And don't forget: 2018 isn't over yet! Still lots of time to get that quality reading in. Enjoy!

*Backlist (as opposed to frontlist), in publishing, means that the book is older, sometimes already a year old and in paperback. Basically, for my purposes in this post, I'm referring to books that didn't release in 2018.
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