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!  

5 UNDERRATED BOOKS I LOVED

My friend Annie at The Misstery recently wrote about her favorite underrated books and it got me thinking about my own.  I was curious to see what favorites of mine had only 500 or less ratings on Goodreads…surely there couldn’t be that many, right? I have to say I’m pretty shocked that the following books I loved have all received (as of today) only around 500 or less ratings on Goodreads. I know there’s still time for word of mouth to spread on these awesome reads but…just to put things into perspective, The Help by Kathryn Stockett currently has 1,645,869 ratings so these have some catching up to do. I thought all of these were SO good for different reasons so I hope they’ll catch your eye as  you’re finishing up your 2017 reads!

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Castle of Water was one of my favorite books this summer. I thought the writing was outstanding and the story grabbed me from beginning to end. At less than 300 pages this is an easy one sit read

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Trophy Son might be my surprise hit of the year because I almost passed it by but something made me take a closer look and I’m so glad I did. This was such a unique coming of age story with a very likable main character. You don’t have to love tennis to appreciate this story either, it just happens to be the backdrop just as hockey was in Beartown. Such a fast, easy read!

 

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Favorite Sons is such a wonderful mystery that takes place around 4 childhood friends involved in a death and a coverup which alternates between 1974 and 2004. This actually worked SO much better for me than the very similar storyline of The Chalk Man

A Brilliant Death  ….hmmm, I’m seeing a theme I really can’t believe! Robin Yocum is a fantastic writer and is clearly underrated on Goodreads imo. If you like atmospheric, well plotted mysteries with outstanding characterization you really should pick up A Brilliant Death 

 

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Tall Oaks is one of those quietly amazing books that had mystery, suspense, humor, and lots of drama. I hope Chris’s books gain a huge following in the US soon because he’s an author to watch out for. I’ve read and loved both his books and forced, hounded nicely encouraged most of my book club to read this one and everyone has really liked it!

 What are YOUR underrated favorites? 

 

 

JULY READING WRAP UP

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July turned out to be a much better reading month for me in terms of quality which I’ll take over reading lots of 3 star books like my June ended up being. That being said, I did only finish 7 books this month but I’m really happy with all of them except one. I’m so excited for some of my upcoming August/Sept reads and I’m also really making an effort to read 1 backlist book off my TBR every week or 2 for my Throwback Thursday posts. I think it’ll be fun to go back and read some of the books that at one point I said ‘oh I’ve gotta read that’ but then it’s fallen down the tbr black hole. Moving on…

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BOOKS READ IN JULY 

Goodbye, Vitamin By Rachel Khong ( This was an engaging, quirky read with a super likable main character that made a perfect one-sit read, 4.5 Stars)

Slightly South of Simple By Kristy Woodson Harvey ( This was my bookclub’s July pick and while I thought the setting and dialogue was a plus, overall the story was just ok for me, 3 Stars)

The Force By Don Winslow ( A mammoth door stop of a book that I read in a day and a half because it’s just that good! This had everything I loved and will be on my top 10 of 2017 for sure, 5 stars)

Hum if You Don’t Know the Words By Bianca Marais (  Reminiscent of The Help with wonderful setting details and compelling characters, this had mystery, drama, and humor, and even though I’m not thrilled with the ending, I highly recommend this, 4 Stars)

All the Wicked Girls By Chris Whitaker ( One of my new favorite authors, I love the writing, mystery, and characters that inhabit the pages of Whitaker’s books. And his mysteries fool me every time. Just fantastic! 5 Stars)

Safe By Ryan Gattis ( My review will be up later this week but this was a case of loved it early on and the love went downhill as the story progressed…)

The Jealous Kind By James Lee Burke ( This was an audiobook which seemed to check all my boxes for what I would like, but I found myself so irritated with the main character Aaron that the whole story fell apart for me…Will Patton as narrator was awesome though, 2.5 Stars)

TRIED BUT COULDN’T GET INTO…

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READ HALF… BUT HAD TO PUT IT DOWN….MAY REVISIT

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I absolutely love Don Winslow’s writing and the action, suspense, and characterization were fantastic, HOWEVER, it was so realistically violent…I’m talking beheadings, torture, burning, and murder after murder that I had to stop because I couldn’t get the images out of my head at night. That’s some exceptional writing…but I need to sleep! It’s going to be a movie in 2018 so I may try to revisit this at some point

 

 

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH 

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Another month come and gone! Am I the only one who can’t believe we’re going to be talking about our AUGUST reads soon?? It seems like it was just January yesterday. As always, I’d love to hear if you’ve read any of my July reads as well as YOUR favorites of the month so feel free to dtop me a line in the comments. Here’s to another month filled with fabulous reads!!

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HAPPY READING!

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published May 1999 By Regan Books

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother, Thomas, entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut, public library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable. . . .

One of the most acclaimed novels of our time, Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True is a story of alienation and connection, devastation and renewal, at once joyous, heartbreaking, poignant, mystical, and powerfully, profoundly human.

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Remember Oprah’s Book Club? I have to say I didn’t like many of her choices but THIS one…So Good! I read this many, many years ago so my memory of specific plot points is foggy.  I actually think this should go on my re-read list because I don’t remember details about it, just that I loved it. Check out all the awesome Goodreads Ratings for yourself and give this a try if you’re in the mood for a character driven emotional read.

HAPPY READING!

**For all you Throwback Thursday bloggers, if you don’t see your blog at the bottom of my post please leave me a comment here or DM me on Twitter because WordPress has been VERY bad about sending me links and I want to include everyone!!**

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Cathy at Between the Lines Book Blog

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Nicki at The Secret Library

Caryl at Mrs Bloggs Books

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Claire at I’m a Coffeeholic Bookworm

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills Review

Dee at