Kernels of Nonsense: Favorite Four-Star Reads of 2018

Welcome to another addition of Kernels of Nonsense, where I discuss random book and blogging related topics. With all the end of the year lists that came out, I always feel like we miss out on giving credit to books that might not have earned five stars from us, but which were nonetheless amazing four-star reads. In my experience, there are certain four-star reads that might have been five-stars if I had picked them up at a different time or ones that I could potential rate five-stars upon a second reading (at the end of 2018, I picked up Naomi Novik’s Uprooted again, originally a four-star read for me, but after this reread I had to bump it up to five-stars). For this post, I’m listing my ten favorite four-star reads of 2018. This was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be because there were some amazing four-star reads in 2018. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

1. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas series has incorporated so many things that I love with Latinx characters, magic, and sisters at its center. With Bruja Born, Córdova hit her stride, writing a sequel that managed to improve on the first. I am eagerly awaiting (2020?!) the final book in the series.

Read my review of Zoraida Córdova’s Bruja Born.

2. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Marie Machado has a truly unique voice. Her short-story collection Her Body and Other Parties was thought-provoking, eerie, and sometimes shocking. There is an adaption underway for this one and I cannot be more exited to see these stories on screen.

Read my review of Carmen Marie Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties.

3. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

S.A. Chakraborty’s debut The City of Brass has some of the most vivid world-building I’ve come across. It was also one of the few adult fantasy novels I picked up in 2018 and gave me a hunger for more. I cannot wait to pick up the sequel to this one which is currently on its way to me (hurry up, mail!)

Read my mini-review of S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass.

4. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles is as stunning on the inside as it is on the outside. Clayton managed to appeal to all of my senses with her luscious prose and posed some interesting questions when it comes to how much value we place on beauty. If you haven’t gotten to this one, do so quick, the conclusion to this duology releases in only a couple of months.

Read my review of Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles.

5. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

I think Lily Anderson is one of those rare writers who can write pretty much write anything. I loved both her previous contemporary novels (The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and Not Now, Not Ever), and when I heard about Undead Girl Gang, which features a fat, Mexican, Wiccan MC, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Read my review of Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang.

6. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

If I had to make a list of the most epic novels I read, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone would be high on my list. This is one of those books that I think will be credited with ushering in a new age of fantasy novels.

Read my review of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.

7. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I buddy read N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season with Annemieke @ A Dance With Books and am so glad I did. This book has some of the best world-building I’ve come across and it’s partially told in second-person POV and to my surprise, I kind of loved it. I still need to continue this series, but hopefully soon.

Read my mini-review of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.

8. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

More people need to pick up Courtney Alameda’s Pitch Dark. A combination of horror and scifi, this novel left me wanting more. I really enjoyed both of this novel’s leads and wouldn’t mind revisiting this world again.

Read my mini-review of Courtney Alameda’s Pitch Dark.

9. The Bear and the Nightingale by Kathrine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden was one of the most beautiful books I read in 2018. It’s one of those fantasies that I was completely swept up in. It takes its time unfolding, but once it does, it’s a really lovely story.

Read my review of Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale.

10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince impressed me on so many levels. I actually picked this one up twice in 2018, buddy reading it at the end of the year with Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories. I loved reading about this cruel, but beautiful Faerie world, but fell in love completely with the ambitious Jude.

Read my review of Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince.

Have you read any of these books? Which 2018 four-star reads really stands out to you? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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33 thoughts on “Kernels of Nonsense: Favorite Four-Star Reads of 2018

  1. I often rate some books by certain author’s as 4 stars, especially if I am an avid reader of their work, because in comparison to their other work it might just be 4 stars to me.. at the same time it may still be just as amazing as other works I’ve given 5 stars to. I have to be really careful about it. I mean when their are only 5 stars to work with I can easily mix up some things when books are great. Sometimes there is a fine line between awesome and mind blowing! Love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Her body and other parties was amazing. I really can’t wait for the movie. That book is perfect for a horror tv show.
    I loved Undead Girl Gang, the characters and all the revenge plot, I don’t know, it was great. I need to check out the other books of the author!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was going through my To Read list on Goodreads today and I realized I have several short story collections on there, but not Her Body and Other Parties. It sounds so intriguing and so different from the things I usually read. Thanks for pointing this one out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel like some books got shafted by me as well, because of either my mood or just following an incredible book. I went 4.5 on Bruja Born. I thought it was great, and I was on a paranormal kick that week.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve surely read a fair share of Top 5-Star Reads so it’s great to see a list dedicated to those books with great potential and could’ve made it to 5-stars. I’ve definitely got my sights set on Bruja Born, The Belles and The Cruel Prince! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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