I can’t believe how quickly this year went by and with so many fantastic reads it was hard to narrow our choices down to just 20. We read over 240 books this year and had a great time reminiscing about our favorites of the year. We read across genres and years but wanted to specifically call attention to new releases. So, enjoy our list of the 20 best books of 2018 and let us know if any of them made your to-read list!
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Mysteries & Thrillers
I can’t say enough about how much I loved this book. There were twists and turn on every page so that every time I thought I knew what was going on, I found myself gasping in surprise yet again. Like the cover says, you will assume that you know what is going on. You should assume nothing. Nothing is as it seems with this page-turning thriller!
First off, thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us this book. I AM OBSESSED, PEOPLE!!!!!!!! It was so good. It’s a thriller and chick-lit and feminist literature all in one! You start off knowing there is a murder and then traveling back to find out what happened and why she was killed. But here is the kicker – the victim is a REALITY TV STAR. So the whole thing is like watching a behind-the-scenes look at Desperate Housewives. It was seriously amazing guys. It’s truly the perfect beach read.
I absolutely love every book that Clare Mackintosh has written but, this was her best book yet!!! Every time I thought I knew what was going on, I realized I was completely wrong. If you love a good twist, excellent plot and great writing, this is the book to read! Wow. I read this book as my kick-off to the summer and I am still thinking about it. Thank you Penguin Random House for this amazing read!
Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for my copy of this book. This is one of the best books that I have read in a really long time. It is so smart and so well written- the complexity of the plot line is mind-boggling and kept me absolutely entranced until the very last page. Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered every day at 11:00 PM. In order to escape Blackheath, Aiden Bishop must solve her murder. He will wake up every day for 8 days inhabiting a different host body. I absolutely love the way that Stuart Turton tells a story. Everything is explained and in hindsight is so clear but, will keep you guessing throughout the entire book. This is a murder mystery but with a twist, and a delightful one at that. An absolute must-read!
Louise Penny NAILED it with this book. I’m always a fan of this series, but it does have its ups and downs. Kingdom of the Blind was a five-star read for me because of the way the opioid crisis was dealt with, as well as, the cleverness of the main mystery. In this particular Gamache book, the chief inspector is named as the executor of a will that is quite out there. I can’t say more without spoiling the plot, but this one didn’t disappoint!
This is a realistic Young Adult book and I couldn’t be happier. It has a romantic element, but it also deals with racism, parental expectations, and cultural divides. Ahmed’s writing had me laughing, blushing, and crying tears of pain and happiness throughout the story. It was wonderfully written and I can’t wait to read her next book.
What a fantastic debut novel! Ashley Woodfolk is definitely an author to look for in the future. Each teen in this story is learning how to cope with life in the aftermath of intolerable loss. Woodfolk tells each of their stories with such emotion and understanding and integrates them seamlessly. Logan, Shay, and Autumn are all dealing with loss differently and Woodfolk does a wonderful job of telling their stories. The stories seem so genuine- not neglecting the role of friends, parents, and siblings when dealing with loss. Despite being about a difficult topic, this book is so readable and relatable. Teens, young adults and adults and alike will be able to read this book and relate. Wonderful book. I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.
Backman does it again with this book. He writes about characters that are so real in a story that is so compelling that you cannot help but keep turning the page. This story picks up exactly where Beartown left off so reading Beartown first is a must. I thought that Beartown ended well and it wasn’t until I started reading this book that I realized the story wasn’t nearly finished. Maya, Ana, Amat, Bobo, Peter, and Benji are all back with their stories.
Easily one of the most unique books I’ve ever read, this debut was fabulous. Despite the title, this book is more literary fiction than thriller. Korede has to hide the secret that her gorgeous sister, Ayoola, is a serial dater who murders her many boyfriends. When Ayoola sets her sights on the only man Korede fancies, Korede has to decide where her loyalties lie. More about the emotional bonds of sisters, the murdering is just an undercurrent of the story forcing emotions to the surface. I can’t wait to see what Braithwaite comes out with next.
This book is so haunting. I could not get it out of my head. Kristin Hannah is an amazing writer with wonderful characters. Her stories feel realistic almost to a fault. They are heartbreaking and heartwarming and utterly unforgettable. I did not think that I would like a book about Alaska but, I could not put it down.
Kirsten and I both read this book. I loved it. The writing, the story, the whole thing made me feel so good while reading it. It had everything for me- history and romance in an amazing setting. There is something for everyone to love in this book. Be warned, you’ll be dreaming of a nice, red wine and a good charcuterie board while reading this tale.
I want to sing about this book at the top of my lungs. I did not have any interest in reading it based on the description but Jackie (and Reese Witherspoon) helped me to see that this was the book I needed. OMG. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I’ve recommended it to hundreds of people since reading it. It moving, beautifully written and just so compelling. I’m still thinking about Kya and her life weeks after finishing the story.
For more books like these, check out our list of 13 books like Where the Crawdads Sing
I picked up Next Year in Havana after Reese Witherspoon recommended it in July – I wasn’t disappointed! This historical fiction tale about a young Cuban American woman who visits Cuba for the first time to spread her grandmother’s ashes is one of my favorite books of the year. What Marisol thought would be a simple quest turns her world upside down as she uncovers secrets from her grandmother’s past. Cuba becomes a character in this novel and it’s truly spectacular.
This story is part contemporary fiction, part historical fantasy. It takes cuts between present-day Syria where a young girl is a refugee and mythical medieval fairytale where a map-maker heroine from the same geographical location. As the women travel in each other’s footsteps, the parallels to their stories are uncovered. This story of strength and courage is not to be missed.
The Odyssey is one of my all-time favorite books and I think I read Du’Laires Book of Greek Myths more than any other book when I was in middle school. Which means I ADORED Circe! Circe, the nymph who is but a footnote in Du’Laires and gets overshadowed in The Odyssey was a fascinating goddess. I can’t believe I knew so little about her. I’m desperate to read Madeline Miller’s first book – The Song of Achilles now!
I am not sure why it took me so long to finally read this book that has been on my TBR list since it came out. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. It’s a YA fantasy with all the angst, treachery and drama that makes it completely addicting. As a matter of fact, I ordered the sequel the minute that I was done this book. Look for the sequel on our upcoming 2019 releases list.
I adored this book by Naomi Novik. There was something about it that I loved more than her first book (Uprooted). I loved the strong female characters, the story, and the writing. This book is an adaptation of Rumplestiltskin that complex and wonderful. I don’t want to give anything away but, the ending had me in tears.
I read this early and let me tell you- It is amazing. It was on our list of upcoming adult releases for the summer but, if you loved Caraval, you must read this book! I am not sure how it is possible but, it is better than the last one. It started full steam ahead and did not stop. This story is told from Tella’s point of view and begins immediately after Caraval ends. I loved it and can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
This book had me thinking about it for DAYS. I mean truly, DAYS. If you liked Hillbilly Elegy, this is a great book for you. Tara’s journey was inspiring, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking all in one. A great insight into more extremist religions.
This amazing story of love and survival in the worst time in recent history is beautiful and inspiring. It is a true story written after three years of interviews with the man who was the tattooist of Auschwitz. I could go one for days. I will be thinking about this book for years.