It’s been another great reading year with loads of choice within my favourite genres, so I ended up reading 162 books with 125 reviews published and another 23 in hand. In no particular order, these are the books that have stood out from the rest in the best way. Some of them might not even have garnered a 10 from me at the time – but all those included have lodged in my head and won’t go away. And none of this nonsense about a top 10 – I can’t possibly cope with a limit like that.
The Stone Sky – Book 3 The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
The whole trilogy is an extraordinary read – a mash-up between fantasy and science fiction and sections of it written in second person pov. It shouldn’t work, but it does because her imagination and prose fuses together to make this more than a sum of its parts. See my review.
Hyperspace Trap by Christopher G. Nuttall
I like this author’s writing anyway and I’m a sucker for a well-told space opera adventure, so I read a fair few. However, something about this one has stuck – I often find myself thinking about those passengers on the space liner and the crew looking after them, while marooned by a malign presence. See my review.
The Cold Between – A Central Corps novel by Elizabeth Bonesteel
This is the start of a gripping space opera adventure with interestingly nuanced characters, whose reactions to the unfolding situation around them just bounces off the page. I love it when space opera gets all intelligent and grown-up… See my review.
The Green Man’s Heir by Juliet E. McKenna
This fantasy adventure is set in contemporary Britain with the protagonist very much hampered by his fae ancestry and trying to discover more about that side of his family. It gripped me from the first page and wouldn’t let go until the end, when I sulked for days afterwards because I wanted more. See my review.
Head On – Book 2 of the Lock In series by John Scalzi
This is such a smart, clever premise. The paralysed young protagonist is able to live a nearly-normal life because his consciousness is uploaded into a robot, when he pursues a career fighting crime. Science fiction murder mysteries are one of my favourite genres, when it’s done well – and this is a great example. See my review.
Before Mars – Book 3 of the Planetfall series by Emma Newman
This has been an outstanding series – and this tight-wound thriller is no exception. I love the fact that Newman tackles the subject of motherhood, which isn’t a subject that comes up all that often in science fiction. See my review.
Child I by Steve Tasane
I’ve been haunted by this book ever since I read it. It’s not long and the language is very simple. The little boy telling the story is bright and funny and not remotely self pitying. When I started reading it, I assumed it was set in a post-apocalyptic future – and then discovered that it was set right now and is the distilled experience of children from all over the world. And I wept. See my review.
The Wild Dead – Book 2 of The Bannerless Saga by Carrie Vaughn
This was the most delightful surprise. This is another murder mystery set in the future – this time in post-apocalyptic America once law and order has been re-established. I loved the atmosphere, the society and the above all, I fell in love with Enid, the no-nonsense, practical lawgiver sent to sort out the puzzle of a body of a girl that nobody appears to know. See my review.
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah
As well as being a story of a family, this is also a homage to Alaska and a time when it was a wilder, less organised place. It isn’t one of my normal reads, but my mother sent me this one as she thought I’d love it – and, being my mum, she was right. See my review.
Fallen Princeborn: Stolen by Jean Lee
I’ve come to know the author from her amazing blog and was happy to read a review copy of her book – what I wasn’t prepared for was the way her powerful, immersive style sucked me right into the skin of the main character. This contemporary fantasy is sharp-edged, punchy and very memorable. See my review.
Eye Can Write: a memoir of a child’s silent soul emerging by Jonathan Bryan
This is another amazing read, courtesy of my lovely mum. And again, she was right. This is a non-fiction book, partly written by Jonathan’s mother and partly written by Jonathan himself, whose severe cerebral palsy locked him into his body, until he found a way to communicate with the outside world using one letter at a time. See my review.
Windhaven by George R.R. Martin and Lisa Tuttle
This remarkable colony world adventure is about a girl yearning to break into the closed community of flyers – and what happens when she does. I love a book all about unintended consequences and this intelligent, thought-provoking read thoroughly explores the problems, as well as the advantages of throwing open this elite corps to others. See my review.
Strange the Dreamer – Book 1 of Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor
I loved her first trilogy – but this particular book has her writing coming of age. The lyrical quality of her prose and her amazing imagination has her odd protagonist pinging off the page. See my review.
Battle Cruiser – Book 1 of the Lost Colonies series by B.V. Larson
This is just such fun. William Sparhawk is a rigidly proper young captain trying to make his way in the face of enmity from his superiors due to his family connections, when he’s pitchforked right into the middle of a ‘situation’ and after that, the tale takes off and buckets along with all sorts of twists and turns that has William becoming less rigid and proper… See my review.
Certain Dark Things by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
That this author is a huge talent is a given – and what she does with a tale about a vampire on the run in a city that has declared it is a no-go area for the destructive creatures is extraordinary. Review to follow.
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
I’ll be honest – I liked and appreciated the skill of this book as I read it, but I didn’t love it. The characters were too flawed and unappealing. But it won’t leave me alone. I find myself thinking about the premise and the consequences – and just how right the setup is. And a book that goes on doing that has to make the list, because it doesn’t happen all that often. Review to follow.
Are there any books here that you’ve read? And if so, do you agree with me? What are your outstanding reads for last year?
Amazing list, Sarah! I’m so glad you loved Certain Dark Things. It’s one of my favorites😁
Oh yes – it could so easily have been derivative and yet in her hands it turns into something original and very special…
Taking note of these, Sarah! I have The Psychology of Time Travel coming up- hoping it haunts me like that too! ♥️
I look forward to hearing what you think of it – though do bear in mind that initially it didn’t completely win me over…
The Psychology of Time Travel has stayed with me ever since I read it too, I keep find myself thinking about it. Eye Can Write sounds like a wonderful book, I may look out for that one. It sounds like you had a really good reading year in 2018 – I hope 2019 is as good, if not even better! 🙂
Thank you, Hayley:). I’m glad TPoTT had the same effect on you, too! And yes… Eye Can Write is an amazing, inspirational book. Looking back, I’m thrilled with my 2018 reading year, but they seem to continually go on getting better.
Wonderful list, Sarah. I read and loved The Great Alone, Strange the Dreamer, and The Psychology of Time Travel as well.
Thank you Suzanne:). They were all marvellous in their own way, weren’t they?
This is a great list and I’ll have to keep some for my TBR. I loved the Wild Dead. I’ve bought Head On and The Stone Sky. The Cold Between looks really fascinating. Thanks for sharing Anne – Books of My Heart
You’re welcome, Anne. The Wild Dead was brilliant, wasn’t it? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Head On and The Stone Sky – but do read the other two books in the trilogy first, if you haven’t already, otherwise it will never make sense.
Before Mars and Head On were both stand out reads for me in 2018 as well. It was a good year for sci-fi 🙂
It certainly was, Mogsy!
Great list! I also really love HEAD ON. I’m looking forward to another mystery in that world!
Thank you, SJ. And I heartily agree with you – more Lock In series, please!!!
An impressive list, indeed, and one that shows several books I want to read/need to read/MUST read: at the top of that pyramid is Jemisin’s latest trilogy – I have the books stowed away and all I have to do is start reading them… 🙂
Thank you, Maddalena! Oh wow! What a wonderful treat for 2019 – it’s a remarkable read:))
A great list Sarah – unfortunately more books on here that I haven’t yet read *hangs head in shame*
That’s okay, Lynn – I’m absolutely not going to judge – you read a bucketload of marvellous books I haven’t yet read, either:))
Looks like amazing books! I’ll have to look into a few of them. 🙂
Thank you, Melissa – I hope you have a fantastic reading year in 2019!
Great list, Sarah. I am still struggling with reading.
I think we all have times when reading is a struggle – I’m lucky that it hasn’t happened since I started blogging. But I went through looong patches in my life when I hardly picked up a book…
I have got a few problems. Long story 🙂 I read, but not like before.
I guess something serious happened to stop you from reading.
Yes… Life put down the hammer in a major way and I was so strung out and exhausted that when I picked up a book, I simply couldn’t enjoy it. I hope things improve for you, Inessa.x
I MADE THE LIST I MADE THE LIST! (does the happy dance) And I’ve requested Certain Dark Things. It’s nice to see a story where vampires don’t sparkle. 😉
No… they are really unpleasant – but I still cared. She is an extraordinarily talented author:))
well now I’m even more intrigued… 😉
Very happy to see The Stone Sky and Strange The Dreamer on your list! And I’d definitely like to check out The Great Alone and The Psychology of Time Travel in the future.
Thank you Sara:) And I do think that both The Great Alone and The Psychology of Time Travel would be an ideal fit for you. Have a great week!
What an interesting list, one which confirmed my impression of you–that you are an eclectic reader. I have ordered The Psychology and will soon finish Obelisk Gate and be ready for Stone Sky. I did not even attempt to make any kind of list as to favorites. I usually find the book I am currently reading is my “all-time favorite”!
Thank you, Rae:). Coming from you that’s high praise, though I’m not as eclectic as I’d like to be… And I fully understand your attitude regarding my current read. If I didn’t (rather obsessively if truth be told) keep notes on all my reads and have a chance to go back and re-evaluate my impressions, then I wouldn’t have a hope of compiling this list.