Best Books of 2018

According to Goodreads, I’ve read one hundred fifty books this year.

Having read so many books, which were the best ones? The ones that stuck with me, that I want to grab you and tell you to read this book now. Here are ten, in no particular order.

Buy Hamilton’s Battalion here

This is an anthology of three novellas perfect for the Hamilton fan in your family. All the stories touch upon Alexander Hamilton, but they are not about him. Rather he serves to act as the connecting thread through three very different stories.

My favorite is Promised Land by Courtney Milan. It’s the story of Rachel, a woman serving in the continental army as a man and Nathan, who she tackles, thinking him a British spy. Reasonable, given his sympathies when they last spoke. Awkward, given that her husband thought she’d died of yellow fever. Rachel and Nathan are both great characters, and they have issues to work through (even putting aside the failed her own death thing) that make the story compelling.

Buy A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole here

A Princess in Theory is the first book in the Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole. I couldn’t put this book down. Ledi and Thabiso’s story is part modern fairy-tale (a prince in disguise) part secret identity exposed (prince? Or fuckboy?) and a hell of a lot of fun. I love that the heroine is a scientist and completely dismissive of Prince Thabiso, who has never been treated that way before. When an unknown disease hits Thesolo, Thabiso convinces Ledi to go there with him and help find a cure. Oh, and they’ll need to pretend their childhood engagement is back on. (I love the fake relationship trope)

Book 2 in the series was great, and I’ve pre-ordered book 3 (April 2019) and the novella that will act as book 2.5 (Jan 2019).

Buy Rosemary and Rue here

So I’m actually going to use this space to encourage you to read the entire October Daye series–I devoured the first twelve books in only a few weeks. I will say that books 1 and 2 are good but a little shaky, but once they take off in book 3 they only get better and better. October Daye is a half-human half-fae in this urban fantasy series.

It opens with her on a case as a private detective–but instead of recovering the missing people, she is turned into a fish for fourteen years. That loss of time informs the rest of the series because her partner moved on, and her daughter wants nothing to do with her. She turns her back on the world of Fae until she’s dragged back into that life by a binding spell. The secondary characters are compelling, Toby is a flawed but awesome heroine who anchors the series. I love Seanan McGuire’s books almost without exception and I’m already dying for book thirteen.

Buy Puddin here

If you’ve read or seen Dumplin’ (and you SHOULD), you’ll want to read the sequel, Puddin’. If you haven’t, Puddin’ works as a solo book, but Dumplin’ is so good, I encourage you to read both. Puddin’ is the story of Millie Michalchuck, who has gone to fat camp every year, but is determined to go to a journalism camp this year instead. Callie Reyes is in line to be the next dance captain until she leads an act of vandalism, and Millie identifies her. Callie has to work with Millie at her uncle’s gym as her punishment. An unlikely friendship forms…until Callie finds out that Millie is the one who turned her in. Millie has to battle her mother and the world’s expectations of fat girls to follow her dreams. Julie Murphy is great.

Buy Me Talk Pretty One Day here

This is actually a recommendation for the audiobook rather than the physical book. While reading the essays can give you a giggle, it’s hearing David Sedaris’s voice with all of its inflections as he reads his work that will make you die of laughter. I recommend all of his books, and just finished Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls on audiobook about a month ago.

Buy Heretics Anonymous here

When an atheist is enrolled at a Catholic school, how will he ever make friends or fit in? How will he survive any day without his eyes rolling out of his head? This is a great YA novel about faith, falling in love, and growing up. Definitely worth a re-read.

Buy Big Fat Bitch here

I gave a rave review to Big Fat Bitch here, but my fast review is that this slow burn romance is a great take on Beauty and the Beast. I love that the “beast” in this book is the woman. But it’s so much more than a romance. If you like deeply complex narratives, love stories, and books making you cry, pick this one up.

Buy Media Darling here

I reviewed Media Darling here, but my fast pitch is that this f/f romance between a movie star and a media writer is possibly my favorite romance of the past year, period. Both Emerson and Haley are well written, three-dimensional characters. They make mistakes, make love, and while it’s hard fought, they get their happy ending.

Buy The Autumn Bride here

I got this book from The Ripped Bodice (indie romance bookstore–buy from them!) as a “blind date with a book.” I haven’t read much Regency era romance, but it was my blind date, so I decided to give it a chance. Abigail and her three closest friends are practically starving. So Abby does something she’d never imagined–she goes over some rooftops and breaks into a house, desperate to find something to buy–or eat. Instead she finds Lady Beatrice, an old woman being abused by her servants. Abigail and her friends save Lady Beatrice from her servants and are promptly adopted as her “nieces”–the Chance sisters.

When her real nephew, Max, returns from abroad, he’s certain that the girls are gold diggers at best. Sparks fly between him and Abigail, and the rest is history. Each of the four books (Autumn Bride, Winter Bride, Spring Bride, and Summer books) works as a stand alone, but they’re better read back to back as a series.

Buy Nate Expectations here

Nate Expectations is actually the third book in Tim Federles’ series about Nate, a small town boy who becomes a Broadway Actor. In this book, Nate’s show closes down and he has to go back to small town life. When he’s assigned a project on the book Great Expectations, he decides to put on a musical. The book centers around this. There’s great secondary characters and Nate continues on his journey to figuring out who he really is.

You don’t need to read the first two books in the series, but if this book appeals to you, read them first.

What was/were your favorite book/s of 2018? If you want to see what I’m reading in 2019, keep up with me on Goodreads.

Be my friend on Goodreads

I used to have two Goodreads accounts. One was under my IRL name, where I reviewed most of what I read (when I remembered). The other was under Delilah Night, where I only reviewed erotica, because I thought my readers wouldn’t want to know what I thought of this urban fantasy or that YA book.

However, that got to be a giant hassle and I stopped reviewing on Goodreads completely.

This year, however, I have gotten back in the saddle and decided to only use the Delilah Night account for all my books. Further, I set myself a goal of reading 100 books this year, and have been faithfully documenting everything I’ve read, and I am on my fortieth book this year.

I’d like to invite you to be my friend on Goodreads. I do read and review erotic romance and erotica, but I’m also a fantasy, YA, memoir, and romance fan.

Top Books I’ve read (so far) this year are

  • A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole, which is about a grad student named Naledi, who keeps getting bizarre emails telling her she’s the betrothed to a prince of an African country. Certain this is a scam, she emails them back to Fuck Off. Prince Thabiso is in search of the girl he was betrothed to as a child. When he goes to confront her, and she thinks he’s a waiter she was supposed to train, he doesn’t correct her. Great story, good pacing, hot sex scenes.
  • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, which is the story of Zacharias, a freed slave who has risen to the position of Sorcerer Royal in an alternate version of London. He’s trying to solve the question of where all the magic in England is going. Prunella is a woman with immense magical powers in a world where women aren’t supposed to have such powers. She is looking for a husband, and convinces Zacharias to help her. The first section of the book is slow, but once Prunella is introduced, it really takes off. The book doesn’t gloss over the racial prejudices both Zacharias and Prunella face, and that makes it a richer novel. I’m looking forward to the second book.
  • Hamilton’s Battalion by Alyssa Cole, Courtney Milan, and Rose Lerner. As a total Hamilfan, I had to read this anthology of three novellas. The framing device for the anthology is that soldiers are coming to Eliza Hamilton’s house to share the story of serving with her husband (something the real Eliza Hamilton actually did). The first story, my favorite, is called Promised Land–the story of Rachel who has disguised herself as “Ezra” to fight for the country she believes in. She thinks Jews will be more welcomed in a free/fair America, and her Judaism is a big part of the story. The second is The Pursuit of, which tells the story of a Black soldier and the white British deserter and how they fall in love—and lots of cheese. So much cheese. I mean literal cheese, not that it’s cheesy. The final story is That Could Be Enough, which is the story of Eliza’s secretary, and the dressmaker who worms her way into her heart.
  • A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena, which is a realistic fiction YA novel set in Saudi Arabia. The story is told from multiple viewpoints to create a complex portrayal of a girl who died in a car with a man she was unrelated to.
  • Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. Noah’s memoir about being half white/half black in South Africa during and after Apartheid is incredibly eye opening. Seeing him on The Daily Show, you’d never imagine half of what he has done and experienced.

I’m currently reading the eleventh book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, which is great urban fantasy set in and around San Francisco (which, coincidentally is where I moved a year ago). I am a huge fan of McGuire (who also writes as Mira Grant). If you jump into the series, read it in order as McGuire is constantly world building, and things that happen in one book often have consequences in another book. Stay with the series until book three/book four. The first two are the weakest (but are still good), but for me the series really began to take off with book three. I’m a bit bereft as when I finish this I’ll have to wait until September for book twelve.

Upcoming books include

  • We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
  • Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card
  • Touched by an Alien
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky

What are you reading? What do you think I should add to my to-read shelf? Add me as a friend on Goodreads if you use it.