Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books We've Read So Far in 2018

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

CJ's Selections

Here we go: my top 5 from 2018 so far. I kind of sucked about reading this year, but  I did pick some good ones. 

1.The Cruel Prince / Holly Black - Yeah I know, you're super surprised. I can't help it! I adore this dark twisty toxic faerie romance. You have to let go of human social expectations for this to work well, but once you do...oh, my Cardan.

2.Sightwitch / Susan Dennard - Seriously, where you guys been on this one? I know it's a novella, but it's so much cleverer than your typical novella! It's found footage and even though you can read BLOODWITCH without it, you're gonna be so pissed you missed out on all the sneaky secrets and foreshadowing.

3.The Poppy War / R.F. Kuang - This adult book is seriously one of the best books I've read in 10 years. It's a historical slightly-fantasy mashup, a tight alternate universe retelling of the Rape of Nanjing--a real historical massacre that Kuang renders with bonechilling starkness. The whole book is brutal, beautiful, and shocking.

4.Iron Gold / Pierce Brown - This is seriously my most predictable TTT ever. Of course I loved IRON GOLD. Yet again, Pierce Brown has proved that sophomore slump can't touch him. IRON GOLD is a vicious, emotionally fraught successor to the RED RISING trilogy, raising the stakes for Darrow and crew and torturing us all yet again.

5.The City of Brass / S.A. Chakraborty - Another adult fantasy book with a lot of crossover appeal. Brutal (but much less than POPPY WAR), it's the sweeping, gorgeous tale of a daeva/djinn, a girl in Cairo, and an ancient vendetta between immortals. I can't express how compelling this story is.
0.Just five wasn't enough for me this time.

Children of Blood and Bone / Tomi Adeyemi  -  It's less HARRY POTTER (despite the comparisons), more epic Nigerian-based fantasy adventure about a brewing battle between the oppressed caste of magi and the unmagical king who wants to stamp them out. Meet Zelie, magical chosen one and general badass, and the two royal children who must choose their place in the war.

Whitley's Selections

I have such issues with qualitative lists so please don't take these as being in any significant order. They're mostly in reverse order of when I read them.
1.A Princess in Theory / Alyssa Cole - A prince is determined to find his long lost betrothed, missing since childhood, but when he does she doesn't remember or recognize him. He uses the oportunity to get to know her as a peer, but when his subterfuge comes to light her trust issues kick in hard.

Hands down the best contemporary romance (maybe any romance) I've read that I can remember. I adored both of these characters and the way they interacted. Even more, such a big part of romance (or at least, the ones I like) is the self-reflection each character takes towards themselves and their personal growth, and that part of Ledi's story is just ashdfjkahsflkjashdfj I love her so much.

2.The Ugly Stepsister / Aya Ling - A girl from the modern world gets sucked into a Cinderella storybook, cast as the part of the ugly stepsister. She has to make the story come to it's happy ending, or she can never get home, but the prince seems determined to fall for her instead of Cinderella!

I thought this was an adorable retelling, and it's almost hard to describe why. It just had a charm about it that carried it through what could have so easily been trite and dull. Almost every plot point I could tell you about would sound overdone, but the voice of the protagonist and so many of the little details just made me love it anyway.

3.What a Difference a Duke Makes / Lenora Bell
An out of luck governess needs a job in the worst way. A duke suddenly finds himself with a pair of illegitimate twins who need governing. Mari blusters her way into the position on pure brass and turns out to be just what that family needs.

I'm a sucker for the 'gruff grumpy dude with a heart of gold,' and it's so often not done very well, hence the sucker-ness. But Edgar is my perfect example of that trope and I love him so much. He hits a great balance between withdrawn and caring, not too rude to be mean and make me resent his hero status. And Mari is so confident and sassy and asldkfjasdjf I love her.

4.Girls Made of Snow and Glass / Melissa Bashardoust - A retelling of Snow White that gives almost equal time to exploring the characters of Snow and the 'Evil Queen.' Both women have been created/partially created by magic and struggle with what that means for their humanity and how they interact with the world.

This was suuuuuuuuuuuch a good introspective book. Not much on the plot/adventure front, and honestly I think the Snow White model slowed it down at the end because the middle went so far off from the fairy tale. But, heavens, that middle was so good. I loved Mina as the 'evil' queen and reading about her development and the relationship she had to her father and her stepdaughter and her world and all the various ways that struggling to survive put her in this typecast role and how much she wanted to be there for  Lynet and jafaskhdfkjh I want to hug her so much. It was just really beautiful.

5.Song of the Current / Sarah Tolcser - Caro gets blackmailed into take a mysterious box down the river on her barge, but along the way gets beset by privateers and decides to open the box. Inside she finds a royal escaping his country's bloody coup, and has to decide if she wants to help him to safety and/or help him get his throne back.

This book felt really whole-package for me, like nothing was ASLDKFJ WOW but on the other side everything was lower-case wow! The worldbuilding was gloriously smooth and interesting and I loved all the details in it. I loved Caro's character and her competence and insecurities both. There was swashbuckling adventure and humor and pirates and magic and romance and it all just fit together so nicely.

Your turn! What are some awesome books you've read this year?