2018 Top Ten Reads

December 27th, 2018 Kimberly Feature 38 Comments

27th Dec

2018 Top Ten ReadsThus far I’ve read/listened to 254 books, of those 141 were books that I read. In no particular order…..my favorite reads this year.  Please note: This list doesn’t include audiobooks.  You can enjoy my top ten listens tomorrow. Grab a cup of peppermint mocha coffee and check out my top ten reads.


2018 Top Ten Reads
Kill the Queen
by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #1
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

fantasy magical Kick Ass Heroine Royalty 2018 Fave

From the world-building to the gladiators I devoured this one and cannot wait to return to this world. Read my review HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
The Broken Girls
by Simone St. James
Genres: Suspense Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .

2018 Fave MURDERMYSTERY SUSPENSE thriller well written

I loved the chilling, atmospheric boarding school, the secrets and mystery! A brilliant standalone that will have you keeping a light on. Read my thoughts HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
The Kiss Quotient
by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat Level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

2018 Fave Beach Read ROMANCE smartfunny Diverse

I loved, loved, loved this romance and straight up contemporaries are always my thing. In fact, it is the genre I read/listen to the least, but these quirky characters stole my heart, made me laugh and brought on all the feels. See my review HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
Burn Bright
by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #5
Narrator: Holter Graham
Length: 9 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Narration: 5 cups

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other--one that lurks too close to home...

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok's pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf--but can't stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills--his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker--to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn...

well written urban howlinggood magical 2018 Fave

I love the Mercy Thompson series by Briggs, but must confess the Alpha & Omega series is my favorite. Briggs made me warm up to Leah. That. Is. All. Read my thoughts HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
Jar of Hearts
by Jennifer Hillier
Genres: Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who's been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong's remains are discovered in the woods near Geo's childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he's something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo's first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela's death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

thriller twisted SUSPENSE mystery 2018 Fave

Secrets betrayal, murder, and heart-pounding suspense await you in Jar of Hearts. The details of this story stayed with me. Read my review HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
Smoke and Iron
by Rachel Caine
Series: The Great Library #4
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making...if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies

EPIC fantasy friends dystopian 2018 Fave

I love the Great Library series and this was another nail-biting installment. From mythology to automatons Caine held me spellbound. See my raving review HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
The Governess Game
by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat Level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

historical ROMANCE smartfunny 2018 Fave

Tessa Dare just makes me smile and reminds me why I need to keep adding historical romance into my TBR pile. Read my thoughts HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
by Courtney Summers
Genres: Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

A gripping novel about the depth of a sister's love; poised to be the next book you won't be able to stop talking about.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial—like podcast following the clues she's left behind.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

mystery SUSPENSE WTF? well written 2018 Fave

I’ve never met a Summers book I didn’t like, and Sadie is one of those books that is relevant and stays with you long after you’ve closed the book. The mystery, the quirks and the secrets will pull you in. Brilliant. You can check out my thoughts HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
Iron Gold
by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #4
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the pale blue planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-second of his life.

A decade ago, Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk everything he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe, and Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

well written fantasy Auto-Buy 2018 Fave

I love the world but most of all the characters Brown has wrote in his Red Rising Saga. He takes great pride in bringing us the unexpected and toying with our hearts. Read my thoughts HERE

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2018 Top Ten Reads
Hunting Annabelle
by Wendy Heard
Genres: Suspense Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Sean Suh is done with killing. After serving three years in a psychiatric prison, he’s determined to stay away from temptation. But he can't resist Annabelle--beautiful, confident, incandescent Annabelle--who alone can see past the monster to the man inside. The man he's desperately trying to be.

Then Annabelle disappears.

Sean is sure she’s been kidnapped—he witnessed her being taken first hand—but the police are convinced that Sean himself is at the centre of this crime. And he must admit, his illness has caused him to “lose time” before. What if there’s more to what happened than he’s able to remember?

Though haunted by the fear that it might be better for Annabelle if he never finds her, Sean can’t bring himself to let go of her without a fight. To save her, he’ll have to do more than confront his own demons… He'll have to let them loose.

twisted SUSPENSE Standalone thriller 2018 Fave

Twisted, freaky and captivating. Fans of You will enjoy this and that ending…wow! Read my thoughts HERE.

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That was not easy. I also read some terrific books that deserve mention. Rhiannon Frater’s Hidden Necromancer Series, Ilona Andrews novella, Diamond Fire and Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley.

Share one of your top ten read from 2018 with me! 

Grab a cup of coffee and check out Caffeinated's Top Ten Reads for 2018. #topten #mustread #books #ebooks Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

38 Responses to “2018 Top Ten Reads”

  1. Mary @StackingMyBookShelves!

    I loved Sadie, I am listening to The Broken Girls on Audio now. I also have Jar of Hearts and The Kiss Quionent lined up. I think these were all recommendations from you. =)
    I loved Sadie and I am liking TBG now. I will have to check out the others here.


  2. Olivia Roach

    Kill the Queen, Burn Bright, The Kiss Quotient and Sadie are all four books on my wishlist! I want to read them so badly. I only just read Red Rising in November and absolutely head over heels loved it. I can’t wait to continue on with the series ^.^

    Olivia Roach recently posted: December Wrap Up! [2018]
  3. bookworm

    Wow 254 books! These all loo good and I have a few on my wishlist. I need to read the Tessa Dare book, I read the first in the series this year and I loved it.
    Happy New Year 🙂

  4. Carla

    With over 700 books read and/or listened to this year, it is so hard to pick my top ten. Okay, half of these books were children’s books I read with or to my grandchildren. I have read four of the books on your list and did enjoy them a lot, some I will have to check out.. Thanks for sharing Kimberly.

  5. Melanie Simmons

    It was a great year for books. I didn’t read nearly as many books as I have in past years, but I had some great ones. I found the Prospero’s War series by Jaye Wells. John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster was a very interesting read by the lawyer that defended Gacy. I read my first Nora Roberts book with Year One. Found new-to-me author, Justina Ireland with Dread Nation. And so many favorite series came to a close, Heartstriker by Rachel Aaron, Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews and Menagerie series by Rachel Vincent. So, all in all, a great year. I hope we have just as good of year in 2019.

    Melanie Simmons recently posted: 2018 Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop
  6. Danielle Chapman

    Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs – Totally and completely loved it!!

    The Governess Game by Tessa Dare – in my to be read soon pile! 🙂

    Merry Christmas and have a beautiful and Happy New Year!!

  7. Jennifer

    Burn Bright is the only one I’ve read (listened) to. I have Kill the Queen to read and I plan on reading The Kiss Quotient

  8. Lectus

    Jar of Hearts sounds interesting, will definitely add to my list. I already read Saddie and it was a disappointment for me.

  9. Sophia Rose

    I do love seeing your best of 2018 list. I’ve only read one of these, but I have several on my wish lists after your reviews. 🙂

  10. Anne

    Great choices. I can see a couple to add to my list. What? No Ilona Andrews? I suspect those are listens. Anne – Books of My Heart

  11. Lorna

    I wanted to read The Governess Game and now that I’ve read about Jar of Hearts I think that looks good. I’ve had The Broken Girls to listen to since I read your review months ago. Need to get to it! Kiss Quotient would be in my top ten as well.

  12. Angie Elle

    I love it when I see books I know on someone else’s list! You have me so excited for Smoke and Iron! I’m reading Paper and Fire right now, and I love this series! Also, I think it was here that I first heard of Hunting Annabelle, That one is on my TBR, too!

    I also loved the Estep, Hoang and the Dare. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, and here’s to a spectacular 2019 – reading year and all!

  13. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    I got stuck halfway through the Kiss Quotient and so I loaned it to a friend. She got to the place where I had stopped and said that is where it really picked up for her. She gave me the book back when she was finished, so I need to give it another chance I guess. Haven’t read any of the other books on your list, although I do need to start the Pierce Brown series.

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: Top 10 of 2018 - Best Books I've Read in 2018 with Giveaway!
  14. ShootingStarsMag

    I don’t know how you narrowed these down. I really loved Hunting Annabelle too, and I still want to read Sadie, Jar of Hearts, and The Broken Girls.

  15. Tyler H. Jolley

    Kimba, what a year! I know you’ve had a ton going on, but you always made time to read and review. You rock. Excellent list, I hope you had a great Christmas.

  16. Kristin @ Addicted to HEA

    Surprised that Kill the Queen was right up top and Anne Bishop is missing this year!!! What a change from a year ago! I really liked Kill the Queen, too but I don’t know if it would have made my list of top ten. It’s definitely a fantastic world, though!! I just finished it a few books ago so I really should start “Prince” while it’s fresh.

    And I don’t think I knew you liked Alpha & Omega better than Mercy. I go back and forth between the two. I used to like A&O better but I’ve switched lately 😀

    Fantastic list, Lady!! Happy NEW Year!! xoxo

  17. Lola

    Great list! I am looking forward to your top ten audiobook list, as I am always looking for more audio recommendations now that i started listening to them. I haven’t read any of the books from this list, but I have heard of most of them. I like the sound of Kill the Queen and have to add that one to my wishlist as I enjoyed other books by that author.

  18. czai

    Pierce Brown broke me when he killed a certain someone in Iron Gold. ohgosh. But I’m still so hyped for the next book! The ending just left everyone hanging.
    Hunting Annabelle sounds good. This is the first time I saw it. I’ll keep my eyes out for that one 🙂