My Musings

The Top Twenty Books I read in 2018. #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #Books #MustReads #Fantasy #Thriller #BookBlog #Books #BestBooks


It has been such a tremendous year for books in both the fantasy and thriller genres that I couldn’t narrow down the best books I’ve read into a top ten. Instead, I’ve supersized it and done a top twenty.

Most books on the list are from 2018, one was out in ebook in 2018 and is out in paperback later this month, another is released in February, one of the hat tip and nod books was released in 2017 in ebook and 2018 in paperback and another of the hat tip and nod books was released in 2017 but being the dumbass that I am I only got around to reading it this year.

Now, there are four authors who I could easily have included two of their books on the list but I’ve decided to keep each author to an individual book. However, I have added a hat tip and a nod to their other book as I feel that they are deserving of a mention in the list too.

In no particular order here are The Top Twenty Books I Read in 2018:

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle review:

It’s a testament to the high-quality skill of Turton as a writer that he is able to keep abreast of all the various plot threads that he creates throughout the eight days and the various rich and well-developed eclectic mix of characters that inhabit Blackheath and bring his story to life. There are layers upon layers of this clever mystery and secrets galore to be found at the estate of Blackheath and it really is a multi-layered and elaborate story that Turton tells.

 The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my The Chalk Man review:

Tudor has a suspenseful style of storytelling that is laced with the occasional usage of dark humour and she manages to constantly pique your interest. Regardless of which timeline you have just read you’ll find a sentence or snippet at the end of each chapter that implies that there is more to something that’s previously been revealed or alludes to something yet to come. It’s a fantastic approach by Tudor that is well executed, hooks you and serves to keep you eager to find out what happens next always leaving you wanting to find out a little bit more about the story.

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my A time of Dread review:

The quality of Gwynne’s writing is once again tremendously high and Gwynne writes characters that you really do care about and hate in equal measure but who all come alive on the pages thanks to his skilful way with and mastery of words. Gwynne’s fight scenes are also epic, be they training ground sparring, hunting, arrows flying, sword fighting or full-on battle everything feels gritty, real and weighted, the action really packs a punch and leaps off the pages.

Adrift by Rob Boffard.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my Adrift review:

For me, Sci-fi is a very hit or miss genre but everything in Adrift just clicked together, there’s emotion, action, intrigue, a palpable feeling of suspense, a divisive group of characters, snappy dialogue and a damn good multi-layered story all packed into the pages of Adrift creating a thrilling and addictive read.

Adrift is claustrophobic, atmospheric and full of tension. It is reading time well spent and I fucking loved it.

King of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #3) by RJ Barker.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


Firstly, a hat tip and a nod to Blood of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom #2) which was also released in 2018. You can find my review for that book !!HERE!! And I described it as:

Blood of Assassins is a dark book from the characters to the world to the story being told and it is everything that is good in fantasy. It is compelling, tightly plotted, poetically written, well-paced, with fantastic action sequences, unexpected betrayals, twists galore and brimming with mystery. Finally, it is full of feeling. There’s beauty in the darkness and it’s a book that you won’t want to put down.

A snippet from my King of Assassins review:

With KoA Barker has saved the best for last and that is saying something as I loved both of the previous books but damn, you will be hooked, you will read, you will read some more, you will think to yourself ‘fuck it, I’ve got stuff to do‘ and inevitably you will decide ‘sod it, the book is more important‘ and then you will read even more, you’ll care, you’ll be entertained and on occasion, you might even find your eyes welling up with manly tears. If you haven’t yet guessed it then I thought KoA was a remarkable book and I loved it!

King of Assassins is nigh on perfection and a tremendous conclusion to The Wounded Kingdom trilogy.

Hunted (The Voices #2) by G X Todd.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my Hunted review:

Todd has a writing style that really draws you in and you will find yourself eating up the pages as you devour the story she is telling. There is some occasional humour thrown in by Todd and Voice is just as snarky as he was in Defender (gotta love the snark). The new characters introduced all add to and aid the story and the previous characters continue to grow and develop. Add in frenetic action, stellar setpieces and some thoughtful and emotional moments with a last 50 pages that will leave you speechless and you have a masterpiece.

The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands #1) by Jonathan French.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my The Grey Bastards review:

There is copious amounts of visceral action, emotion (surprisingly, there are a few moments that creep up on and sucker punch you right in the feels), humour, magic, a gritty and harsh well realised world with stellar world building, a surprisingly deep and layered story with plenty of twists and turns, strong storytelling and complex characterisation all to be found within the pages of The Grey Bastards.

The Grey Bastards is fantastically filthy fun.

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


Firstly, a hat tip and a nod to Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2) which was also released in 2018. You can find my review for that book !!HERE!! And I described it as:

Arm of the Sphinx leaves you wanting to find out what happens next, is a stellar continuation of The Books of Babel and an absolute pleasure to read. I, like I’m sure many others also are, am in awe of Bancroft and his imagination.

The Books of Babel are an extravaganza of ingenuity. I find myself enamoured by Bancroft’s creation, utterly enamoured!

A snippet from my Senlin Ascends review:

I really liked the writing style employed by Bancroft. He writes with a poetic styling that captivates luring you into his tale from the start. Likewise, Senlin himself with his unassuming demeanour is from the get-go a character that you get behind and root for.

Bancroft has an extraordinary imagination and with Senlin Ascends he has created an enchanting read with an ending that offers up an array of incredible possibilities for the sequel which I can’t wait to read!

The Lingering by SJI Holliday.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my The Lingering review:

With The Lingering Holliday has created the type of book that has a gnawing sense of foreboding throughout its length. A simmering tension that lingers alongside as you read and that creeps under your skin. With more and more ghostly and strange occurrences happening things finally come to a head when Jack and Ali’s secret is discovered and the truth about them slowly becomes apparent.

Part haunted house ghost story, part psychological thriller and all dark with an air of mystery that pervades the pages The Lingering is a scintillating read that will chill you.

Ravencry (The Raven’s Mark #2) by Ed McDonald.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my Ravencry review:

An impressive story, action, emotion, humour, characters that you care about and who feel real, an ingenious magic system, monstrous creatures (darlings remain spine-chilling), quality world-building (the first part of Ravencry predominantly takes place in Valengrad before we finally make a welcome return to the Misery around halfway through, well, it’s welcome for the reader and unwelcome for the characters. Both locations are well depicted with some vivid imagery on display in the Misery), stellar writing (that is often poetic and profound), pacing that is perfect for the story that McDonald is telling, an air of mystery, a small-scale start that builds to something large-scale and has terrible consequences for Galharrow, Valengrad and the Range and a gripping conclusion all combine to make Ravencry utterly outstanding.

TH1RT3EN (Eddie Flynn #4) by Steve Cavanagh.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my TH1RT3EN review:

The hook for Thirteen is ‘the serial killer isn’t on trial, he’s on the jury‘ it’s a tantalising statement that makes you want to find out how the story will play out, one could even say that the hook is killer, get it, it’s a book with a serial killer, groan!😱😂😝

Thirteen is clever, ingenious and totally gripping. If you doubt that thrillers are a genre that you will enjoy then read Thirteen, it won’t only change your mind, it’ll blow it!

Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my Someone Like Me review:

Someone Like Me is something different, something fantastical, something unexpected and something original. It starts out as one thing, changes, then, along the way it changes again, morphing into something else before changing once more. It is beautifully written, it is dark, it is deep, it is emotional, it is raw, a roller-coaster that twists and turns and it is utterly inventive.

A Demon in Silver (War of the Archons #1) by R. S. Ford.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my A Demon in Silver review:

A Demon in Silver is an impressive start to the War of the Archons by Ford. Dark but not overly dark, it is very accessible giving you everything that you could possibly want in the first book of a trilogy, it is a thrilling ride and I loved it all.

I was a big fan of Ford’s previous work, the Steelhaven trilogy, he is a talented author and I am pleased to see him return with a stellar new fantasy outing in A Demon in Silver, I hope it does well as I feel it deserves to be a hit.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, bloody and brilliant read then this is the book for you.

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my We Sold Our Souls review:

All of the characters featured are different with their own personalities and none more so than Kris who is a terrific main character. Kris is beaten, damaged, frayed and tough with no quit in her. She is ‘metal4life‘ and raises a middle finger to conformity. She is someone to root for, to get behind, to cheer on in her quest, she is heavy metal through and through, music runs in her veins and she is badass.

We Sold Our Souls is a hellish thrill ride of a book that is loaded with emotion, humour, redemption, craziness, action and heart.

Part horror, part homage to heavy metal, part road trip and all awesome We Sold Our Souls is pure unadulterated fun and a metal lover’s paradise. It is a totally bodacious book, it is going on my books of the year list and I fucking loved it!🤘

Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne #1) by Peter McLean.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my Priest of Bones review:

McLean writes in such a way that his words fluently flow and adroitly pull you in. From the first chapter, you find that you are in for a grim read and one in which the author isn’t afraid to off his characters. Priest of Bones is a dark and fast-paced book that you can devour and I found myself effortlessly reading 100 pages or more in one sitting.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

It’s not out until February but I read an ARC back in September and loved it.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my The Silent Patient review:

With The Silent patient, Michaelides has written a slow-burning type of book and one that is the epitome of a page-turner. Sometimes, you just know from the first page that you are in for something special and that was the case with The Silent Patient, I was gripped from the start and devoured the whole book in a day. Yes, it is thoroughly addictive. The story simmers, slowly burrowing away under your skin with Michaelides incrementally ramping up the suspense and keeping you guessing before hitting you with an absolute corker of a shocking reveal that comes out of nowhere and totally floors you.

Hangman by Daniel Cole.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


Firstly, a hat tip and a nod to Ragdoll (Hangman is the sequel) which was released in 2017. You can find my review for that book !!HERE!! And I described it as:

Ragdoll is the debut book from Cole which I find hard to believe as it is such an accomplished read that I devoured, it is the equivalent of crack, a potent new strain of book crack that kept luring me back with its addictive qualities.

A snippet from my Hangman review:

Well, Ragdoll was the debut book by Cole and with Hangman he shows that he wasn’t a one-hit wonder once again creating book crack only this time it is an even more intoxicating and rampant strain!

Be still my beating blackened heart! Dark humour, grisly murders, a spiky lead with one hell of a snarky bark and more bite than a pit bull and a thoroughly gripping story combine to make Hangman highly entertaining and better than its predecessor!

The Winter Road by Adrian Selby.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my The Winter Road review:

There is a darkness to The Winter Road and the story that Selby is telling. It is a tale fermented in misery and steeped in pain with Selby putting his characters through many a hardship. There is suffering aplenty handed out for many involved and the world is savage. The journeys undertaken are fraught with peril and the Circle is a cruel mistress for those who inhabit it.

I was drawn to the darkness in The Winter Road and I absolutely loved it!

Changeling (Six Stories #3) by Matt Wesolowski.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


Firstly, a hat tip and a nod to Hydra (Six Stories #2) which was released in ebook in 2017 and paperback in 2018. You can find my review for that book !!HERE!! And I described it as:

Wesolowski’s fresh style of writing and storytelling, the characters he creates who all have their own individual voices, the various accounts, the probing questions that King asks, the answers, his commentary on the answers, the information that he is given, the musings, his laying out of the knowledge, his putting together the pieces of the puzzle and the forming of the character profile of Arla all add to a tragic, occasionally unsettling yet ultimately fascinating read.

A snippet from my Changeling review:

It’s the power of the writer to fully transport you into their work and with Changeling you find yourself forgetting that you are reading a book and a story involving fictional characters. Wesolowski’s creation feels real. The tragic disappearance of Alfie Marsden that haunts the pages doesn’t come across as a story but a real tragedy that could have happened. His characters for all intents and purposes are real and you genuinely feel like you are reading real-life accounts from real people.

There’s a disquiet, an unease that runs throughout Changeling suffusing the story that Wesolowksi is telling and imbuing it with an unsettling sense of darkness.

Bloody Rose (The Band #2) by Nicholas Eames.

You can find my full review !!HERE!!


A snippet from my Bloody Rose review:

Bloody Rose, for me, is better in every aspect than KoTW, which, believe me, is not something that I lightly write. If you like fantasy then just buy this book, it is that good and you won’t regret it! Hell, if you don’t like fantasy then still buy this book as it could well be the one to change your mind! You will laugh with, fight with, cry for (and believe me, Poison had it right when they sang “just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song, every rose has its thorn” as Eames had me emotional for the first time by page 40 and it wasn’t the last time either. I’ll hand in my macho card as my eyes welled up many times throughout the course of reading Bloody Rose) and care about the characters that Eames has created as you follow them on their epic action-filled journey.

Bloody Rose solidifies what was first shown with Kings of the Wyld and proves without a shadow of a doubt that Nicholas Eames is one of the best in the new generation of modern fantasy writers.

So, there you have it The Top Twenty Books I Read in 2018. Do you agree?? Disagree?? Have you read them?? Do any interest you??

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69 thoughts on “The Top Twenty Books I read in 2018. #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #Books #MustReads #Fantasy #Thriller #BookBlog #Books #BestBooks

  1. «The Chalk Man», «The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle» and «A Time of Dread» were AMAZING books! Very much looking forward to the release of the 2nd book in Of Blood and Bone series this April. It’s going to be epic!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Th1rt3en sounds particularly interesting. It isn’t on scribd…fingers crossed I find it at the library. Haven’t heard of anything else on the list, well except for the author MR Carey. Read Girl With All the Gifts and felt so so about it, but I’m pretty burnt out on PA fiction. Here’s to 2019 being just as good a reading year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never read Girl With All the Gifts, I enjoyed The Boy on the Bridge though but Someone Like Me is totally different and far better.👍 Hopefully, 2018 was fantastic, if 2019 can be just as good or better it’ll be a great year for reading.


  3. I’ve only read a couple of the books on your list and completely agree with you on them. Almost all of the others I own or are on my want to get list but I haven’t quite gotten around to them as yet. I have been seriously tempted by Thirteen but is it not book 2 or 3 in a series? I wasn’t sure if it was ok to read if I haven’t picked up the others yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s book 4 in the series.😂😂😂 I haven’t read the others, had no issues with it at all and it can be read as a standalone.👍 I think many many people read it without reading the previous books as it’s been a mega popular book this year and I remember seeing lots of reviews where the reviewer hadn’t read the previous books.👍


  4. I remember your review of Chalk Man and that I thought I love the book! I’d completely forgotten about it until now, but I’m hitting up a new/used bookstore tomorrow, so I’m going to a reminder on my phone so I don’t forget to look for it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks like you had a great reading year! Clearly I need to read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m going to hold you directly responsible for me not getting any writing done now, Drew. I have put off reading some of these books because of lack of time but now I am keen to get going. A super list and some really gripping reads on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. During the December sales quite a few of them went for 0.99 on kindle, so i grabbed Changeling, Lingering, and also Senlin Ascends. The latter just sounded so weird, i couldn’t resist 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Most of the books I want to read are from several years ago … I blame the fact that I have a habit of waiting for a series to be completed before starting anything!

    Looks like a good list! A few of those are on my to read or listen list. Looking forward to them.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I forget the important parts. On the plus side, reading a completed series is a nice bonus. So waiting is good. I am going to start the Hell Divers series soon. Think that started 7 years ago … finished now, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve just read the first book in the Six Stories after seeing it on your blog. Really enjoyed it. I liked the fact it kept me guessing right up until about a page or two before the truth was uncovered. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. It’s such an interesting and modern twist on the traditional crime story.
    I bought Bloody Rose and was so excited to read it and while it was just as funny, emotional and exciting as Kings of the Wyld, I just couldn’t get myself into it. It’s one I’m going to be re-reading soon, though. It wasn’t the book because that was great, I think it was more me.
    Hope 2019 is just as great a year for you for reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw your Six Stories review and commented.👍 I’m glad you enjoyed it and as I said in my comment, the series keeps getting better and better with each book.👍

      Yeah, that happens at times with books, I hope you get on better when you re-read it.👍

      Thanks, I hope so too. I’m not a fast reader and can’t devour 150+ books but I’m pretty good at picking stuff to read that I enjoy.😀📚


  10. I also read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle this year! It wasn’t my favorite, but I still really enjoyed it. It made for an excellent book club discussion. I am not one to read thrillers or murder mysteries, or I think it definitely would have made my top books of 2018. My mind is still blown how complex the plotline was and that it was the author’s debut novel. I am interested in seeing what he comes out with next. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be unique and complex lol

    Liked by 1 person

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