Ash's Top 18 Books of 2018

So, I'm struggling. I'm struggling to find time to read, to find books I like, and to write this post. This year has been a horrible year of reading for me. I don't know if it was the stress of last year's class that kept me from starting the year strong, as it did the year before. (Is that mean, blaming it on my class from last year?) Maybe I just got too busy, I'm not sure! Either way, this is my lowest reading year in a long time. I didn't make my goal last year, and this year I challenged myself to read 75 (!!!) books. Right now I'm at 67 and 89% of my goal. Chances are that I'm not going to read seven books (I'm almost done with one now) by the end of the year, but I'm going to push through with this post, just for you.

It was kind of hard to even get through this list because there wasn't anything that I just truly loved and wanted to shout about. This year I started listening to a lot of books, which makes my drives to and from school a little bit better. It also helped me getting through my training runs for the Chicago Marathon. I also revisited two of my favorite series this year, one of which has TEN BOOKS, so I haven't read a lot of new stuff. Anyway, enough whining. Let's get on with it!

This year, for some strange reason, I reread every single book of the Percy Jackson series, starting with this one. There are five books in the original "The Olympians" series, and five books in the spinoff "Heroes of Olympus" series. (Okay, I skipped one book of the series because technically Percy isn't in it. It was The Lost Hero and I'm not sorry.) I'm sure I'll catch some flack for this, but I truly feel like this is an underdog series and it rivals Harry Potter in so many ways. Don't get me wrong, HP is amazing and has everything to go with it. PJ got shafted in the movie department, but the books are amazing. They are full of Greek heroes and magic and teen angst. It's a story of friendship and relationships and loss. I will rec this series until the day I die. It's funny and sad and snarky. If you like me, you should read it. (Yes, I said if you like me, not if you're like me...)

Continuing on with my love letter to Rick Riordan, I also took a chance on Magnus Chase this year. There are three books in this series about Magnus who dies and goes to Valhalla, learning that his father was a Norse god. Forget everything you know about Chris Hemsworth's version of Thor, because the one you meet in this series farts a lot. This series is also full of diverse characters and heartbreak. Kudos to Uncle Rick for stories he tells and the risks he takes with certain characters. 

This was another reread series for me. Pierce Brown release Iron Gold, which is the fourth book in this series, but it takes place ten years after the third book. (I hope you followed that.) I can't bring myself to read Iron Gold just yet (that whole "struggling" thing), so I reread the first three books. Again, if you're into space and hints of mythology, heartache and murder...check this one out. Also, Pierce Brown is a super hot author. *insert shrug emoji here*

This one kept me guessing with all of it's twists and turns. I love the unlikely alliance between the four main characters and their different points of view. It's full of magic and hardships and hope. 

This one took a bit for me to get into, but once I "Your life is not your own" is an appropriate phrase because you really don't know what's going on until the very last page. It's part of a series, so definitely pick this one up if you're into futuristic robots and, well, deception kind of stories. 

Wow. My love for WWII era books was satisfied with this. It's based on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a huge maritime disaster that I didn't even know about. Though the characters are, of course, fictional, the things that could have happened to them are not. I love interpretations like that this that show that hope and love was alive in that time. (Hopefully.) 

This one hurts a little. It's twins pitted against each other when one of them does the unthinkable. It's about grieving lost relationships and building new ones. Bonus points for LGBT main characters. 

I will basically read anything Gayle Forman writes, so here we are. I love this idea of three strangers meeting and ultimately becoming best friends in the course of a day. Each of them have their own story to tell and I loved reading them. 

It shouldn't really surprise you that a picture book is on this list. If you're a teacher or have kids, read this book. It's hilarious. My class and I died laughing reading it last year. 

To quote John Green, I would read John Green's grocery list. 

I loved this telling of stories and how they all came together in the end. A lovely tale of friendship and family. 

Kasie West is a go-to for love and fluff with minimal angst. 

Bad boy and good girl fall in love. Girl basically saves boy's life. Read this.

Three people with an empathy link. I'm hoping for a polyamorous relationship here. Don't judge me for saying that. The three main characters have an interesting dynamic and a strong will to live. Looking forward to the next installment. 

Sometimes I read books simply because they are available and I need something to listen to on my ride to work. This story takes place in the present and on September 11th, 2001 and it's heartbreaking and uplifting. 

Sometimes you get to read books because you have talented friends. Rochelle is lovely and so is this book and it's follow up. 

If you dig mystery and family drama (who doesn't?), grab this. 

Totally late to this party and currently listening to the third book in the series. Chimera, angels, humans, magic, love. So many things. I can't wait to see how it all ends. 

So. There you have it. A large part of my reads this year were rereads, which means you should definitely check them out. Also, if you have any recs then send them my way! 

Happy reading! 



As always, here's Chris Evans reading for your time.