I can’t believe I’m sharing this on the second to last day of 2018. It feels like just yesterday I was beginning this year. This isn’t a year in review post at all, but I’m truly proud of how this year’s gone. Looking at my Powersheets goals from last year, I really accomplished what I set out to do. I set a reading goal of 30 books, and I read 30 books.
You’d think I’d read the most in the winter, but the summer prevailed. There’s just something more relaxing to me about sitting outside on the porch (or the sunporch at my house) with a good novel.
I’m going to share my top five best books of 2018 below. I’ll also share a few honorable mention novels, but I think the top five blew the rest away. I’ll recap with the category and a brief description of why the book was a favorite.
I also wanted to add that I finished the goal setting series of prep work for 2019! Next year, I’m aiming for 32 books. Baby steps to an increase!
The Best Books of 2018
5. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn – I got into a bit of a historical fiction kick in 2018, but there were so many good books published in this genre. This is the story of an impregnated college student who goes to great lengths to find her cousin (who was like a sister) after WWII, and finds she was a secret agent in enemy-occupied France. Talk about suspenseful – it was an escape from reality reading it and a page-turner.
4. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – First I gave this three stars because I was like wow, this is such a messed up book, but the more I thought about what the best books I read in 2018 were, the more this one popped into my head. I can’t spoil anything, but the ending leaves you mind blown. It’s creepy. It’s a psychological thriller. It’s frightening. It’s unlike other books I’ve read. If you have a plane ride, a vacation, or a long time to sit and read, add this to your queue and then tell me when you’re done! Note: I also read The Breakdown and Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris and am having similar feelings. This author just keeps you thinking about their books for months.
3. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – There are two Kristin Hannah books on this list and she has easily made it to the top of my “favorite author list.” I thought I’d forever love Elin Hilderbrand until I got into Hannah’s dramatic, yet realistic, novels. The Great Alone is just nuts. It’s the story of a family who moves to Alaska, onto unsettled land in a cabin where one of the father’s deceased Veteran friend’s lived. 13-year-old Leni hopes Alaska will be a new start… and it kind of is. Dealing with her father’s PTSD, a wild winter, and her first boyfriend, Leni goes up against insurmountable odds. It’s an emotional read, and a heart-breaking story. I hope everyone reading this gives it a read!
2. Educated by Tara Westover – This memoir is a must-read. Tara grew up in Utah with a family who didn’t believe in public education. Fully self-taught and raised without ever seeing a doctor (her mom sounds like the inventor of the OG essential oils actually), Tara didn’t even have a birth certificate until she was nine. This is an amazing true story of a girl who underwent so much as a child and defied the odds – she now has a PhD from Cambridge University. Ever since reading The Glass Castle, I’m all about memoir books. This is fully deserving of the #2 ranking. I’d also like to add, if you like this book, you should read My Story by Elizabeth Smart or A Stolen Life by JC Dugard. I got into a weird memoir phase early in 2018, and although both stories are downright creepy, they’re page-turners, much like Westover’s.
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – Holy cow. I’m not just going to claim this as #1 for 2018, but the best book I’ve ever read in my life. The Nightingale is a historical fiction novel full of suspense, realistic happenings, and drama. When the Nazi’s invade France, Vianne is forced to take one into her house (while her husband is away at war), and suddenly her life and her child’s are in danger. She’s forced to make some terrible choices to keep living and her sister, who joins the resistance during the war, is tied into the story in a captivating way. Literally, this book made me want to cancel all my plans and just sit and read. And now I want to again. I read it in one sitting. If I could hand out copies to everyone I know, I would.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan, Look for Me by Lisa Gardner, Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand, The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
So, what’s next on your to-read list?
Hopefully one of the above, but if not, I’d love to hear! Some of my favorite posts to read are about books, too. Here are two other “Best Books of 2018” lists from bloggers I love:
Mix & Match Mama’s 2018 Books in Review List (Side note: I got into Elin Hilderbrand because of her recommendation. I usually agree with most of her top picks! I disagree with this year’s, but potentially it’s the point in our lives we’re at, and I’m more into serious novels right now.)
The Stripe’s Everything I Read in 2018 List (She read 81 books like whaaaaat. How does she have time? She agrees with a lot of my picks.)
Next up on my to-read list are:
- One Day in December by Josie Silver
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
- Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien
- Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Happy Reading and Happy New Year!