2018: A Year in Fiction Book Reviews

As much as I love to read, I’m actually a pretty slow reader. So I went into the year with the goal of reading one book a month.

Luckily, I discovered so many wonderful books that I read far more than that.

(And if I count the children’s books I’ve read to my kids, I could probably add 100+ to this list!)

So, without further ado, here is the round-up of the fiction books I read in 2018.

(These reviews first appeared on BookBub – be sure to follow me there for my latest recommendations and reviews!).

Plus, keep reading for the one book I just couldn’t bring myself to finish.

Books Worth Reading

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Elementals by Michelle Madow

This was a really enjoyable read. I thought the concept of the elemental powers was clever and intertwining that with mythology made for an interesting storyline. I’m planning to read the whole series. 🙂

The Blood of the Hydra by Michelle Madow

I loved the second book in this series. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction to the characters and elemental powers in the first book, now that the characters are well established the reader is immediately pulled in to a wild adventure. I love Madows‘ writing style. Her books are fast-paced and easy to read — the perfect little escape from reality!

The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow

This book was action-packed, easy to read and thoroughly entertaining.

The Portal to Kerberos by Michelle Madow

The Portal to Kerberos continues Madow’s style of great world-building and is a real page-turner.

The Hands of Time by Michelle Madow

The conclusion of this series was action-packed, original and thoroughly entertaining.

Gods and Demons by BR Kingsolver

This book was very well written, it just didn’t capture my interest as much as I would have hoped. I don’t fault the author for that, though, as I knew I was trying a new genre. The main characters were original and believable (although I did have a hard time remembering who the more minor characters were). The storyline was unique and very creative. I think readers who enjoy UF books about elves and shifters will find this to be a fun read.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Why did I wait so long to read this?!?! It’s like The Bachelor meets dystopian YA fiction, but in the absolute best way possible. There’s jealousy, competition and friendship among the girls vying for Prince Maxon’s heart. And the blossoming relationship between America and Maxon feels so genuine and sweet. I liked this book WAY more than I thought I would. This is a series I definitely plan on finishing.

The Vampire Wish by Michelle Madow

I never got into the whole Twilight thing as a teen. But I’m on a The Vampire Diaries kick right now, so I wanted to read a book about vampires. I loved Madow’s Elementals series, so I knew this series would probably be good, too. And it is! The book is written from multiple points of view, and the chapters are relatively short and keep you wanting more (in a good way). It was a really fun read and not too graphic. I think this is a book both teens and adults will enjoy.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I don’t know why I waited so long to read the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed Cinder, and Scarlet did not disappoint. Scarlet is definitely a strong female lead and will do anything to save her beloved grandmother, even if that means putting herself in grave danger. Marissa Meyer’s beautiful descriptions and thoughtful character development make this book one you can lose yourself in. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

The Elite by Kiera Cass

I have mixed feelings about the second book in the series. I didn’t love it as much as the first. But every time I thought I might be about to lose interest, a new twist pulled me back in. I’m still enjoying the relationship blossoming between America and Maxon and hope America can use her position for good. I’m still liking this series enough to read the next book. 🙂

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I’m (seemingly) one of the few people in the world who didn’t read the Twilight series when it first came out. I think I would have absolutely loved it as a teen. As an adult, I can see the argument for Edward coming across as a bit creepy and controlling. But if I turn off the logical part of my brain and just enjoy this story for what it is, it’s hard to deny that it’s a fascinating premise and keeps your attention. It’s easy to see how this book started a phenomenon.

The Vampire Prince by Michelle Madow

This book was romantic, had great world-building and is filled with wonderful characters.

The Vampire Trick by Michelle Madow

The third book in this series was easy to read, entertaining and totally original.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

While A Study in Charlotte is a little outside of the realm of what I normally read, I decided to give it a shot. And I’m so glad that I did. I thought this was an insanely clever idea. The descendents of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson ending up at the same boarding school and teaming up to solve a mystery that they’re being framed for? Um, yes please! I wavered between giving this 4 or 5 stars. The biggest negative aspect of the book, in my opinion, is how casually Holmes’ drug use is treated. I mean, the girl has a SERIOUS drug problem, but it’s treated as if that is perfectly normal and just what teens do. That really rubbed me the wrong way. But the story was entertaining enough that I could look past it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am glad I decided to branch out and try something new.

The Wombanditos by Andrew Einspruch

The Wombanditos is unlike anything I’ve read – in the best way possible. In a novelette, author Andrew Einspruch has managed to create a whimsical yet believeable world inhabited by an OCD princess and her talking chipmunk companion Jerome (who was my favorite character!). Together, they set off on an adventure – and run into trouble along the way. Princess Eloise is kidnapped, and it’s up to her and Jerome to outsmart her captors – the Wombanditos. I actually found myself smiling as I read this story. There have been plenty of books lately that have made me teary-eyed, but I can’t remember the last time I SMILED while reading. It’s one of those books that’s a great little escape. Though this story can stand alone, it is the perfect teaser for the series. While it’s technically a YA book, it can certainly be enjoyed by a younger audience as there is no violence or graphic language. As a parent, it’s always nice to come across a fun story that can be enjoyed by all ages. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

The One by Kiera Cass

The third book in The Selection series did not disappoint. If you enjoyed The Selection and The Elite, you’ll find The One to be a great conclusion to America and Maxon’s story. While I expected the dystopian element to play a larger part in things, this series is definitely more of a romance than anything else. I thought I had the ending figured out, but while there is an HEA, the way it played out was shocking. The action really ramped up, which made for a page-turning ending. This series is a great little mindless read. It’s fun and entertaining and a fun escape.

A Game of Vampires by Caroline Peckham

I think I just found a new favorite vampire series. I can’t wait to read the rest! The quality of writing was superb and the descriptions were so vivid without being over the top. For a relatively short story, it was full of action and romance. I loved everything about this book! I highly recommend it.

The Vampire Fate by Michelle Madow

If you enjoyed the rest of The Vampire Wish series, Book 4 will not disappoint! Can’t wait to see what happens next. 🙂

V Games by Caroline Peckham

I absolutely LOVED this book. Like most readers, when I see something being compared to The Hunger Games, I’m a bit skeptical. But y’all… after reading it, I’m telling you it’s a totally fair comparison. It’s like The Hunger Games on steroids… with vampires. But in it’s own totally unique way. The whole premise was fascinating, the characters were well developed, the quality of writing is phenomenal. I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re into reading books about vampires, you do NOT want to miss this one.

The Book I Just Couldn’t Finish

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I realize that I’m in the vast minority hear, but I did not enjoy this book. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I really don’t get the hype. The idea was interesting enough, but I think there was just SO much description that, for me, it got in the way of the story. Before reading it, I remember seeing reviewers complaining about the excessive descriptions of dresses and thinking that was an odd complaint. But seriously. There are so many long-winded descriptions of dresses and colors that it started grating on my nerves. It’s not a terrible book by any means, but I was nearly finished with it when I realized I wasn’t enjoying it at all.