Best Books of 2018

I hope you all had a relaxing Christmas if you celebrated it and got in lots of reading! I didn’t get quite as much in as I’d like but I hope to get more done this weekend. It’s that time of year again when the best of lists are hitting the online waves. I love reading everyone’s top books of the year and comparing how much I do (or don’t) line up with everyone’s picks. I tend to not have anything in common with the book critics’ lists and usually much more in common with other bloggers. This year I’ve noticed I’ve strayed down my own path much more than usual, having only 1 or 2 books in common with my favorite bloggers. That’s what makes sharing books so fun, we all have a wide variety of reading tastes! This year wasn’t a great reading year for me, I had a TON of 3 star reads and DNF’s as well. Coming up with this list was easy because not many books stood out to me as stellar reads that I keep recommending to others. That being said, I don’t limit my choices to books published only in 2018 as you’ll soon see, they just have to be books I’ve read in 2018.  So grab some coffee, tea, or wine and check out my favorite books of the year, I hope you’ll find something you agree with or want to add to your own TBR pile.

 

 

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance  By Ruth Emmie Lang

Why I Loved It
*The Main Character Weylan Gray
*It took me out of my mystery/thriller comfort zone
*Spans years
*A charming story, excellent writing, and a little bit of magic and animals
(My Review)

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark  By Michelle McNamara

Why I Loved It
*I love a well written true crime story
*The way she writes is so realistic, my heart was racing while reading
*The story is terrifying and creepy
*It’s a true good vs evil story

(My Review ) 

 

 

 

 

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Why I Loved It
*Addictive writing
*Characters that feel like real people in good ways and bad
*A storyline that makes you wonder what you would do
*One of my favorite tropes…a love triangle

 

 

 

 

 

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Why I Loved It
*It’s Part Mystery, Part Love Story
*Atmospheric nature writing at its best
*Coming of age story
*A flawless second ending with an ending that wowed me

(My Review

 

 

 

 

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Why I Loved It
*Murder mystery
*A did they/didn’t they & why plot
*Fast Paced
*Plenty of twists, turns and an ending I didn’t see coming

 

 

 

 

 

The Dream Daughter  by Diane Chamberlain

Why I Loved It
*Time Travel
*A main character you can root for
*Explores the 1970s and 2000s
*Filled with suspense and tension
*A tearjerker

(My Review )

 

 

 

 

November Road  By Lou Berney

Why I Loved It
*Set in 1960s during time of Kennedy Assassination
*The thrill & suspense of a cat & mouse chase
*Very flawed yet likable characters
*Explores theme of redemption
*Has a love story

(My Review)

 

 

 

 

One Day in December  by Josie Silver

Why I Loved It
*Star crossed lovers
*Female friendship
*Set over a decade
*London setting
*All the emotions

(My Review)

 

 

 

 

The Wife  by Alafair Burke

Why I Loved It
*Subtle suspense that builds
*Unreliable characters done right
* Mystery element
*That ending

 

 

 

 

And My Top Book of the Year……

 

 

I Am Pilgrim By Terry Hayes

Why I Loved It
*Globetrotting spy thriller
*Outstanding character development
*Murder mystery
*Spies, Espionage, More Spies
*One of my favorite main characters of this year
*Suspense, drama, intrigue, thrills: this one had it all right up till the end!

 

 

So that’s it, another year of books has come and gone. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my top reads, have you read any of these or want to? I’m looking forward to sharing my book thoughts with you in 2019 which I have to say is looking like it will be a stellar publishing year, I’ve already added tons of books to my wish list. I hope to have my Winter Reading Preview up for you all soon!  

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29 thoughts on “Best Books of 2018

  1. I just finished One Day in December….liked it and it was perfect for this time of year. But, definitely had some plot quibbles!

    And wow for I Am Pilgrim! I checked it out from the library, but I had too many books come in at the same time, so it went back unread. It’s still on my backlist TBR list, though. Hopefully, I’ll try again.

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    1. I’m a sucker for a good romance like One Day in December although I would agree there was a couple questionable plot quibbles but I still had the best afternoon reading it

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  2. Okay, you’ve convinced me to try I Am Pilgrim! The Dream Daughter was one I couldn’t get into. That author is hit or miss for me, and even though I loved her last book, this one didn’t click. Could’ve been my mood at the time. I LOVED Where the Crawdads Sing and read it because of your recommendation. It Ends With Us is my favorite CoHo book. Jar of Hearts was so good – the audio version was excellent. And I’m going to look into Beasts!! Great list. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Brandie! I’m glad I convinced you about I Am Pilgrim, now I just hope you enjoy it🤞If you’re in the mood for a long spy thriller that reads fast I think you will.

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  3. Renee, I also loved Beast of Extraordinary Circumstances, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, The Wife, and One Day in December. I read I Am Pilgrim when it was first released and found it unputdownable! Although long, it felt much shorter because those pages flipped quickly.

    I own November Road as a BOTM pick, and I’m in need of a new audiobook so I just downloaded Jar of Hearts. I’ve heard good things from many book friends.

    The only book we disagree on is Crawdads. I’m the outlier on that one.

    I have yet to read a CoHo book, perhaps I’ll try her one day. I’ve read one Diane Chamberlain book, Necessary Lies and enjoyed it, and was on the fence with Dream Daughter. I’ll have to give it another look!

    Great list Renee!

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    1. Thanks Jan, I’m so happy to hear we have so many books in common that we both loved! I hope November Road and Jar of Hearts make it onto that list as well for you. Completely different books but so good. I never thought I’d read Colleen Hoover let alone love so many of her books this past year. Maybe you’ll give her a try in 2019:)

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    1. I really hope you love I Am Pilgrim! You know my reading has been hit or miss this year but it really stood out above everything. The Dream Daughter would’ve been my top read if I hadn’t read Pilgrim before year’s end

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  4. Yaaay! Two books are on my fav list too, It Ends With Us and Jar of Hearts. I also loved I Am Pilgrim but I read that one a few years ago :-). The Dream Daughter sounds like a book I would enjoy very much as well! I hope 2019 will bring you many many great books Renée!

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    1. I still can’t believe I waited so long on I Am Pilgrim! I also didn’t think I’d like Jar of Hearts and then loved it. The Dream Daughter would’ve been my top pick if I hadn’t read Pilgrim so I hope you give it a try Inge. Hopefully we both have a stellar reading year 2019!

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  5. This is my favorite post of the year! I just reserved all of them. 2 I’ve already read and I’m half way thru Pilgrim and I love it! Thanks, as always, for the recommendations 🙂
    Jaime

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  6. I’m with you on Jar of Hearts and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Like Jan, though, Crawdads left me underwhelmed. To each his/her own! I have a copy of I Am Pilgrim, and I have to say, your recommendation has pushed it up to a must-read in 2019.

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    1. Glad you also enjoyed those 2 titles Anne! I’m so happy to hear you plan on reading I Am Pilgrim, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did

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  7. Renee, you have amazing taste. I have read most of these and loved them and three of them I haven’t read are waiting here, Beasts, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, and November Road…and one I will definitely be adding asap, I Am Pilgrim. Can’t wait to read it! Happy New Year!

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  8. Happy New Year! We had a similar reading year – just a lot of meh books for me. In my case, all the meh made me start to wonder if it was the books or me and ultimately led to a lot of lengthy slumps. 2019 has got to be better! Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is currently in the top five on my list of backlog books I want to read. I WILL read it this year. So glad to see you enjoyed it! Where the Crawdads Sing is the one book that I will drop all other books for when my library hold FINALLY comes in. Every reader I know has gushed over it.

    What are your reading plans for 2019? Any challenges or focuses?

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    1. Happy New Year Myndi! I predict you’re going to love both Crawdads and Beasts, they’re such memorable reads. I’m a mood reader so I don’t really plan my reads to far in advance but I do have quite a variety of new releases lined up that I’m excited about. I’ll lay out a lot of those in my upcoming winter must read list…coming this week! I’m participating in a buddy read in Feb on Instagram for Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides. One of my focuses this year is to read several popular authors I haven’t read yet and Conroy is one. How about you? Any reading plans or challenges?

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      1. My first priority is to read what I have – be it past due galleys or my long languishing shelves (Kindle and physical). Amongst that group, I have a lot of popular authors that I haven’t read, including The Prince of Tides, which was recommended by a reader friend. I’d like to make progress on some series that I’ve loved so far, and maybe start a few new ones. The only formal challenge I’ve signed up for is Beat the Backlist. Outside of that, I’m a mood reader like you, and too much specificity kills my mood. 🙂

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      2. I have to make a definite effort to read backlist titles but it’s proving hard with all the new releases coming out! There’s so many upcoming releases that sound so good but I’m going to make a point of sticking with at least the buddy read for The Prince of Tides

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  9. My 2018 ended up the same way as yours- most of what I loved was not read by many other people! We did have an overlap with Where the Crawdads Sing, but honestly, I don’t know anyone who didn’t like that book!

    I have The Wife on my TBR but the hold list at my library is still long enough that I couldn’t get it in December and now it’s back to reading upcoming releases. I WILL get to it, though!

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    1. I think I ended up different than others on my favorites list since I read quite a bit of backlist and included those in my favorites. 2018 just was’t a great year for me as far as new releases went. I hope you can squeeze The Wife in sometime, I think you’ll really enjoy it. And her new one The Better Sister comes out in April!!

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