Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books I Read in 2018 (+ Some Non-Bookish Things)


I’ve already shared with you all my favorite covers and favorite characters from books I read in 2018, so that means… it’s finally time to share my favorite books! I don’t know why I keep calling these posts “Top Ten” when I never manage to stop at just ten. My blog is just full of lies. It sounds good as a post title though, you know? Anyway, I’m excited, as I always am for this post, because I LOVE talking about amazing books!

Just a note, though I did put my 3 five-star reads at the end (the others are mostly 4.5-stars, which I round up anyway), the rest are in no particular order because they were all absolutely amazing! Another note, I read one 2019 ARC that would’ve made it into this post, but I’ve decided to save it for next year.

And now let’s not waste any more time chatting! Onto the books (and non-bookish things)!

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

I don’t always love high fantasy, but man did I love this! The characters were great, the world and story were complex, it was all about half-orcs, and it was a great combination of intensity and fun!


The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

This was the first book I read this year, and it helped me finally break my “terrible first book” curse! The goblins were interesting, the MC was great, and all the nature was really terrifying but cool!


Lovesick Titans by Amanda Muewissen

Lovesick Titans by Amanda Muewissen

This was the second half of a really touching duology that I loved. In fact, I was surprised by how much I loved it since I don’t normally like superhero stories! But these characters were so cute together, and the books handled the topic of mental illness really well.


Thieves Series by Lexi Blake

Steal the Light by Lexi BlakeSteal the Day by Lexi BlakeSteal the Moon by Lexi BlakeSteal the Sun by Lexi BlakeSteal the Night by Lexi Blake

As many of you may already know, I do include rereads in my top ten posts because if a book or series is good enough for me to read it and love it multiple times (in this case, four times), then it deserves the extra recognition. And the Thieves series with all of its humor and heart and lovable characters remains one of my absolute favorites!


The Shadow Weave & The Blood Curse by Annette Marie

The Shadow Weave by Annette MarieThe Blood Curse by Annette Marie

These two books brought the Spell Weaver series to a close (kind of), and they both had great characters, amazing descriptions of magic, interesting supernatural beings, and a sweet romance.


Hell Divers III: Deliverance by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Hell Divers III: Deliverance by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

The Hell Divers series has continued to be intense and amazing, but this book in particular really amped things up with a fascinating villain and a lot of emotional moments.


Under Series by M.N. Arzu

Underneath by M.N. ArzuUndercurrent by M.N. ArzuUnderground by M.N. Arzu

This series is one of those gems I just kind of stumbled upon on Amazon because the first book was free at the time and it sounded interesting, and I’m so glad I tried it! The merfolk-human relations are so well thought-out and believable, the characters all feel like real people, and this series has just gotten better with each book!


The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards

The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards

This book had this great kind of urban/high fantasy fusion feeling to it with one of the most unique settings I’ve ever read about, a really sweet friendship, and a complex cast of characters!


Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

I honestly don’t remember how I came across this book or what compelled me to look closer at it since I didn’t even used to like werewolves. But this book changed that! It has beautiful writing, touching family dynamics, and a very gritty portrayal of werewolves that I loved.


Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

This was my third time reading the Harry Potter series, and what I’ve learned is that, if you wait long enough to reread a series, it’s almost like reading it for the first time again. It’s amazing how much you forget in a few years. (I don’t watch the movies, so I didn’t have that to refresh my memory either.) Anyway, I was so gripped by these books, and the last few were so much darker than I remembered and made me more emotional than I was expecting. I loved them all, but Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows were the ones that hit me the hardest.


Beckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne

Beckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne

Although I enjoyed all the books in this trilogy, it was this first one that really captured me with its darkness, its sexy-but-deadly vampires, and its gorgeous writing.


Bang! Bang! BOOM! Vol. 1 by Melanie Schoen & Del Borovic

Bang! Bang! BOOM! Vol. 1 by Melanie Schoen & Del Borovic

I have been gushing about this comic both on my blog and Twitter for a while now, so it should be no surprise that it has made it onto this list! I absolutely adore these lovable gangsters, and the story and artwork are both equally fantastic.

[B!B!B! Guest Post]

My Favorite:
Detox in Letters by Cheryl Low

Detox in Letters by Cheryl Low

All of the books on this list were amazing. But if I had to choose one favorite, it’d be this one. This book blew me away. It’s a unique and complex story with incredible characters, incredible world-building, incredible writing, incredible everything!


As I mentioned, I also wanted to include a few of my favorite non-bookish things in this post, so…

Favorite Movie:
Those People

Those People

This movie was so bittersweet and angsty and emotional, and it made me so emotional.


Favorite Show:


This show was also so angsty and emotional. The characters could be such shitty people, and yet I loved them and felt for them anyway. It was maybe a little over-the-top, but also so relatable in some ways for anyone who’s still trying to figure their life out. This show left me with such a bad show hangover because of how good it was.


Favorite Games:
Monster Prom
West of Loathing
Lake of Voices

Monster Prom by Beautiful Glitch
West of Loathing by
Lake of Voices by GB Patch Games

I couldn’t decide between these three. Both of the first two have brought me so much fun and joy and distraction this year. Both are hilarious and well-made and creative. The third one isn’t really a “bring you joy” kind of game since it deals with a lot of death, but it completely sucked me in every time I played with its fantastic art, characters, and story, and I’m still thinking about it even though I’ve completed all the endings. I recommend all these so hard.


Check Out the Rest of My 2018 Top Ten Posts!

Best Book Covers from Books I Read in 2018 – Runners Up
Best Book Covers from Books I Read in 2018
Top Ten Characters from Books I Read (and Games I Played) in 2018
Top Ten Books I Read in 2018 (+ Some Non-Bookish Things)


Talk to me!

What were your favorite books, games, movies, and shows of 2018?


Your Thoughts


44 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books I Read in 2018 (+ Some Non-Bookish Things)

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  1. Deborah Adams

    Fun list!
    That first paragraph though. All I could think was “you sit on a blog of lies.”
    Hope you have a great 2019 full of top 10ish reads 🙂

  2. Lorna

    I’ll be honest. I’ve never heard of any of these except the Harry Potter ones. The one by De Lorne sounds interesting though.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Gotta reread HP every so often, it’s like a rule 😉 Ugh, I know, it sucks that we have to wait so long! But hopefully we’ll be able to get ARCs, maybe that means we can read it a bit sooner 😉

  3. Daniela Ark

    I remember you raving about the Grey Bastards and The Goblings of Bellwater. I added them to my TBR because of your reviews 🙂 totally agree about HD 3. It will be among my top books this year too. Gotta check out Those People and Eastsiders! First time I get a movie/show rec from you 🙂

  4. Lola

    I love top ten lists! It’s so much fun to look back on the year and see what others enjoyed the most. I don’t think i read your review of The Goblins of Bellwater, will have to do that next.

    I think re-reads totally count for posts like these. I think it’s great you re-read that series so often. I rarely do re-reads, but i did re-read two books this year. I was actually debating whether I had to list a book I re-read this year twice and it got a 5 star rating both times.

    I have the Spell Weaver series on my to-read list. Actually I have a question is it better to start with the Spell Weaver series of the Steel and Stone one. They take place in the same universe right? As Steel and Stone was published first i was thinking of starting there, but wasn’t sure what the best order to read them is.

    I have The Last Sun on my wishlist as it sounds good.

    I plan to re-read Harry Potter again sometime, but not sure when. We watched all the movies again last year, so that does help refresh my memory.

    I am looking forward to your review of Bang bang Boom, I think I want to read that, but wasn’t sure if I could buy it anywhere as I am not a big fan of reading on my computer, but I saved the link to the comic as well.

    I remember your Monster Prom review, I am not surprised it made your list :).

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love seeing people’s faves too!

      I know some people don’t count rereads, but I def do. Not sure if you mean you read 2x in this year or in general, but I had that issue with my stats post (not posted yet) because I marked down Bang! Bang! BOOM! as being read 2x this year, and I gave it 5 stars, so it kinda skewed my stats, haha.

      You *can* read them in either order. Personally, I think Steel & Stone is the better starting point because it came out first, it’s what I read first, and I feel like it explains the world better. But I know another blogger who started with Spell Weaver and loved it just as much. It’s kind of a diff experience depending on the order cuz of things you learn about the characters in each one. I feel like Spell Weaver is more your kinda series though? Cuz they are a little different. Spell Weaver has more romance, and maybe that would draw you in more.

      Idk if they’ll be putting an ebook version of BBB on Amazon, if that’s what you mean? Once I find out about how they’re selling the book, I’ll mention it on my blog, probably in an upcoming releases post, but idk yet what formats will be offered.

      I do love me some Monster Prom!

      1. Lola

        I read a book twice this year, once in ebook and now also in audio. I am not sure yet if I’ll add both versions to my favorite books post. I can see how it will skew my stats a bit too. I am planning to work on my stats post next week.

        I might start with Steel and Stone then. The subscription service I am using for audiobooks has both series, except the first Steel and Stone book sadly. So I am thinking of going for the audiobook version of both series. It does sound like Spell Weaver is more my kind of series, so I’ll keep that in mind, but I plan to read both series.

        Yes I was wondering if they will publish an ebook version of BBB. Good to know you’ll probably mention it on your blog when you know what formats it will be published.

        1. Kristen Burns

          So then we have the same problem, how funny!

          Personally I’m glad I read S&S first. I like it in that order. Idk if it works across countries, but I could try loaning you the ebook of the first through Amazon if you want to read it that way.

          I’ll be sure to mention it when I find out!

  5. Greg

    “My blog is just full of lies” lol. That made me laugh. So Goblins of bellwater always catches my eye, maybe just the cover, but I don’t know it sounds fun? That merfolk series has me SUPER curious because you know- me and merfolk. And Mongrels of course. Oh and west of Loathing I think I NEED to play that game- looks so fun!

    Great list!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      XD lol. Goblins is an interesting one! The merfolk aren’t the typical deadly or beautiful kind, but I am loving the series. Love the werewolves in Mongrels. Man, you do need to play WoL. I was just playing some more yesterday/today, it’s a blast!

  6. Angela

    I wanted to reread the whole Harry Potter series this year, but that didn’t happen. Maybe for my last read of the year? Happy reading in 2019!

  7. Lover Of Romance

    Great list you have here darling. I am loving the fact that you have Lexi Blake included on your list. I haven’t read the Thief series yet, still working on her Mercenaries series and loving them.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was such a great book! None of my blogging friends have read it though, so I haven’t seen it talked about much either. I’m also excited for the next book!

  8. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    The Goblins of Bellwater is one I keep eyeing. It sounds really interesting, so I’m glad to see it on your list. And I agree about re-reading Harry Potter. I re-read it with my son last year and it surprised me how much harder Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows hit me the second time around.

  9. Dani Eide

    Love your list! I need to read the last Helldivers; the book got pushed back as I had to finish arcs. The Last Sun and Underneath is on my TBR. I had read your earlier reviews and added them to the list. Thanks Kristen! Happy New Year! 🥳

  10. Olivia Roach

    The Goblins of Bellwater is one that is on my wishlist ever since your review because it sounds so intriguing and I think I will like it! The Grey Bastards also sounds so good from me looking at it this time round. I might have add that one to my wishlist… *thinks about it.* I am glad you enjoyed your third re-read of Harry Potter too. I hope you have just as many brilliant new favourites in 2019 <3

  11. Cee Arr

    Every time I read the title ‘Eastsiders’ my brain goes to the long-running British soap EastEnders which… is a *very* different show!

      1. Cee Arr

        Yeah… I don’t watch EastEnders, but *every* British person has heard of it – the freaking *Queen* watches it. It’s about people in the East End of London and has your average soap-opera-ness of murders, affairs, baby kidnapping… y’know, normal, everyday stuff! Ha! XD

        1. Kristen Burns

          Yep, very different from Eastersiders which is your not-so-average not-soap-opera-ness of drag queens, dysfunctional relationships, and lots of gay threesomes lol. There are affairs though!

  12. Sarah J.

    I have The Goblins of Belwater on my TBR and I’m definitely looking forward to getting to it. I don’t know if I’ll read it in 2019, but one can hope!