Top Books I Read In 2018

Top Books I Read In 2018

In 2018 I set a reading challenge of 30 books, and I just finished the 30th book about two days ago. *Dance party* Since that happens to be quite a few and I wasn’t able to write a separate review for each of them, I wanted to give you a recap on some of my favorites.

Here is a quick list that reveals my top favorite books that I read in 2018, arranged in the order that I read them during the past year (not in order of preference):

Killing Kryptonite by John Bevere (Finished February 24th, 2018)

Discovering/destroying the source of what steals your strength. I have yet to find a John Bevere book that doesn’t teach me and challenge me to raise my standards of what following Christ really looks like. Killing Kryptonite about the seriousness of idolatry and repetitive sin, as well as the lengths we should go to in order to identify that in our lives and remove it as fast as possible because sin keeps us from living in the power and strength we are promised. Challenging and eye-opening. Get your notebook out for this one and a few really good pens.

Amazon Link:

Killing Kryptonite: Destroy What Steals Your Strength by John Bevere

Everybody, Always by Bob Goff (Finished May 3rd, 2018)

The long awaited second book by Bob Goff after his first book Love Does finally released in April of this year and Everybody, Always is just as good, if not better, and well worth the wait. Everybody, Always is about “becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people” and Bob Goff tells stories about how he’s been doing just that. He tells us what he’s learned about the character of God and practical ways to love people like Jesus did regardless of how difficult people can be. I fully intend to reread this book since it is FULL of wisdom and joy, and when I do I will post a full review dedicated to it.

Amazon Link:


Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff

Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher (Finished July 1st, 2018)

This is another book I suggest getting a notebook out for. Pretty much every 20-something I meet is going to get this book recommendation from me. Hannah Brencher just knows what it feels like to be in your 20s and not have everything miraculously figured out yet. About all the transitions and ruts we can get stuck in if our perspective isn’t right. It’s relevant and powerful, and her writing style is refreshing. I can’t recommend this book enough. For more quotes and details, check out the book review that I wrote for Come Matter Here earlier this year: Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher

Amazon Link:

Come Matter Here: Your Invitation To Be Here in a Getting There World by Hannah Brencher

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp (Finished July 20th, 2018)

Ann Voskamp’s book The Broken Way is beautiful to the very core. It’s the first book I have read by her and I love it because not only does she deliver such powerful truths on tough subjects like suffering and loss, but she writes so elegantly it sounds like poetry. How do we approach and live with suffering? There is no easy answer. But Ann Voskamp takes her readers with her as she wrestles with it, and by the end the burden is somewhat lighter, and it feels as though she has reached through the pages and given many reassuring hugs.

Amazon Link:

The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp

Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire (Finished August 4th, 2018)

Speaking of sounding like poetry, Ken Gire’s book Windows of the Soul made the list for that reason too. It’s not a poetry book by any means, but his book is about spotting meaningful moments that surround us everyday that give us a deeper glimpse at what truly matters most. Reading his book is like sitting at the feet of a very wise teacher who slowly reveals one glittering lesson after another over many savored cups of coffee. I wish the book was ten times longer. It’s beautifully written and he talks about the writing process in relatable ways I haven’t come across before.

Amazon Link:

Windows of the Soul: Experiencing God in New Ways by Ken Gire

All Things New by John Eldredge (Finished October 3rd, 2018)

This is a book that reminds us to hope. But not just any hope. John Eldredge teaches us that there are levels of hope and points us to where our greatest, ultimate hope should be placed: The Great Restoration when all is made new. He tells us nothing good is lost, for they are only shadows of what we who believe in Christ are promised to inherit. He reminds us about the Kingdom. About the joy awaiting us that is greater than we could imagine. But imagine he does. In each chapter John Eldredge brings the reader into a wild guess at what The Great Restoration could possibly be like, and leaves us expectant and excited for the day our Lord returns. For more information about this book, I’ve written a separate review in more detail earlier this year here: All Things New by John Eldredge

Amazon Link:

All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love by John Eldredge

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (Finished November 5th, 2018)

If you’ve followed along with this blog for even a little while, you will know that I love Markus Zusak’s books The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger, so the release of Bridge of Clay finally was on my most-eagerly-anticipated list for this year. It didn’t disappoint. I love all the stories he managed to weave together while he told us about Clay. His imagery is still stunning, and his characters make themselves at home in your heart as you read through their narratives of love, victory, grief, and family. I could happily babble all day about this book, but I already wrote more about Bridge of Clay in a review here if you want to check it out: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Amazon Link:


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Finished November 30th, 2018)

Another young adult fiction book that made the list is Six of Crows. Honestly, I had more fun reading this book than I’ve had in ages. A group of 6 gathers to attempt an insane heist, and I loved every single one of them. The characters are developed so well, and you get to switch between different perspectives as the book goes along. It’s an adventure from the very first page, and I guarantee you will have a hard time putting it down once you begin. As I write this, I am currently in the middle of reading the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds for Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Wylan.

Amazon Link:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Remember God by Annie F. Downs (Finished December 5th, 2018)

The honesty and bravery and transparency of this book is what got it on the list. I have loved everything by Annie F. Downs ever since I discovered her amazing podcast called That Sounds Fun, so I had to pick up Remember God the second I spotted it in the store. She wrestles with the question: Is God Really Kind? Because sometimes it’s easy to say that in your mind, but when your life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would, or when things haven’t fallen into place the way you wished they would by now, what then? Is God still as kind as He claims? Does that ever change? Remember God takes you through her journey to discover the answer. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I LOVED it. The realness of it. Because that is how life really goes. This is a gem. You will learn so much from this one.

Amazon Link:

Remember God by Annie F. Downs


Did you read any of the same books that I did this year? Did any of the ones you haven’t read before sound interesting enough to investigate or read? If so, I really hope you will enjoy them as much as I did if you take the time to read them in 2019.

Happy reading!

Thanks For Stopping By The Salt Compass: Madeleine Hagan

Top Books of 2018 on The Salt Compass

Bob Goff Quote from Everybody Always

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Five Star Recommendations on The Salt Compass BookshelfBridge of Clay

By Markus Zusak

Reviews for books like this always intimidate me because I feel some kind of silly pressure to do the book justice. I can’t. It’s too good. Too well-written. But I will glow about it anyway.

Within these pages you will meet the Dunbar boys. There’s five of them.

And the fourth brother’s name is Clay. Continue reading

All Things New by John Eldredge

All Things New by John Eldredge

All Things NewFive Star Recommendations on The Salt Compass Bookshelf

by John Eldredge

I have been a huge fan of John Eldredge’s books for a long time. The Sacred Romance, Beautiful Outlaw, Wild At Heart, and Captivating (which is also on the bookshelf here) among many more have all revealed so much to me about the character of God and how He intended us to live and thrive. He has a way of explaining how he sees the world and God that speaks a language I know, yet seldom hear. Continue reading

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge

Five Star Recommendations on The Salt Compass Bookshelf

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

by John and Stasi Eldredge

I firmly believe that every girl should read this book as many times as possible in their lifetime. It completely changed the way I saw myself by showing the reader what God thinks of women, the crown of His creation, and how He designed them. Continue reading

Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

five stars books recommendations the salt compass madeleine hagan

wingfeather saga andrew peterson
Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

The Wingfeather Saga is an absolutely beautiful story that had me laughing the entire way through and sitting in a puddle of happy/sad tears by the end. There’s sea dragons, toothy cows, adventures and more. What more can you ask for?

Books in The Wingfeather Saga:

  1. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

  2. North! Or Be Eaten

  3. The Monster in the Hollows

  4. The Warden and the Wolf King

  • Author: Andrew Peterson

  • Genre: Children’s Fiction

This series is special because it can appeal to so many ages. There’s a ten year gap between me and my youngest sister, and yet all four of us eagerly looked forward to the nights when my dad would read The Wingfeather Saga books to us. The further you get into the chapters of the first book, the more you come to appreciate the genius balance between the simplicity of the names and tone of the story and the depth behind the writing.

The story line follows Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby and their adventures throughout the land during the oppressive rule of creatures called Fangs. They stumble upon a treasure map accidentally and find that they hold the key to the lost jewels of the Shining Isle of Anniera. But events at the Dragon Day Festival end up turning their lives upside down, and the adventures begin. Complete with dragons, tree-house castles, a protective ex-pirate, and a deep magic in music, this story will keep you turning the pages late into stormy nights. Enjoy the adventure!

Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers

Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers

five stars books recommendations the salt compass madeleine hagan

wilderking trilogy
The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers

A wonderful read-aloud and full of great lessons, this fantastical take on the story of King David had me laughing out loud many times.

Books in the trilogy:

  1. The Bark of the Bog Owl

  2. The Secret of the Swamp King

  3. The Way of the Wilderking

  • Author: Jonathan Rogers

  • Genre: Children’s Fiction