2018 was FULL of incredible reads for me. 49 books, most of them new to me, many in genres I don’t usually venture into, and many with incredible stories that I didn’t expect. You can find my full list of 2018 reads here, but the ten listed below (in no particular order) were my top ten favorites – the best of the best! Although, I had quite a hard time narrowing it down to only ten…
Still Life – Louise Penny
This was one of those “bookstagram made me do it” scenarios. I’ve seen people sharing the Inspector Gamache series for just over a year now, starting with my friend Katelyn, and I just finally gave in and bought the first book! This is a mystery series, perfect for winter, cozy reads – like get some hot chocolate and a cozy blanket because you’re about to get sucked into the world of Inspector Gamache and Three Pines and you’ll probably be there for a while. I loved this kickoff to the series, and I can’t wait to get deeper into the characters’ stories.
The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
Wow, just wow. Jeannette Walls shares the crazy, almost unbelievable story of her childhood and youth in such a way that breaks your heart, makes you laugh, makes you think, and just leaves you thinking about her story for days and weeks to come. I had not (and still haven’t) seen this movie, although I read the book after it came out, so I went into it with absolutely no expectations, other than that I’ve heard great things. I still find myself thinking about the glass castle and all of the hardships that she and her family had to endure, and how they came out on the other side of it all. This book is beautiful and heart breaking and funny and just all the things.
Cultivate – Lara Casey
I’ve already shared a few times about this book, but I will probably continue talking about it for many years to come. Lara Casey’s story and mission to equip women to “cultivate what matters” is absolutely inspiring and empowering. This book is part story, part workbook (for lack of better word), part motivational message, part gardening analogies, and it all ties together so beautifully into something that I will continue to re-read and reference and share with all of my people.
Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
If you don’t know what this book is, then I’m not quite sure where you’ve been?! Liane Moriarty is known for her suspenseful, thriller-type novels, full of drama and intrigue. This was not the first book of hers I’d read, but I loved the characters and the pace of this novel the best. Her books are told in flashbacks, switching back and forth between the present, where something absolutely terrible and tragic has happened, and the past, with all of the events leading up to the unknown event. There’s also an HBO series based off of this book, and Reese Witherspoon plays her character fantastically, so I call it all a win.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – John Berendt
I read this book ahead of a trip my mom and I took to Savannah in 2018, and I plan to share a more in-depth review because this book still has me thinking. It’s a non-fiction book that covers the topic of the murder of a young man by a well-known antiques dealer in one of Savannah’s historic mansions in the 1980s. The cast of characters that Berendt was introduced to during his research for the book are all loud, unique, quintessentially southern people that it was a joy to get to know. I finished the book while we were in Savannah, so I had a blast locating all of the places referenced in the book, especially the Mercer House where the murder took place.
Winter – Marissa Meyer
Several Christmases ago I was gifted the first book in the Lunar Chronicles Series, Cinder. I had absolutely no idea what it was, and honestly didn’t think that the series would be for me – futuristic retelling of Cinderella turned cyborg? Even writing that line makes me cringe just a little because it all sounds so ridiculous. But I take back any and all judgments made on this series, because it is fantastic! I’ll probably re-read this one again in the near future because I just couldn’t get enough of the characters and the fast-paced action of the story. All of my favorite fairytales got a futuristic makeover – just trust me, you’ll love it
If You Only Knew – Jamie Ivey
I LOVE The Happy Hour, which is Jamie Ivey’s podcast, so when she launcher her book last year, I immediately ordered it. I felt like I knew her from listening to her podcast, but getting to hear her entire life story laid out start to finish was so inspiring. Jamie’s faith journey is one that is encouraging and heart-breaking and overall such an empowering book of how God redeems us and saves us always.
Capital Gaines – Chip Gaines
Chip Gaines is HILARIOUS – I think we all know that. What I didn’t know is how he got his start and traveled down the path to what they do now! I had already read The Magnolia Story, so I figured this book wouldn’t be too different, but I loved getting to hear Chip’s background story from his point of view. He worked hard to get to where he is, and it’s inspiring, and honestly a good kick in the pants to get you motivated to make your dreams happen. And like I said, he’s hilarious, so the book had me laughing non-stop.
Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate
For some reason, I was under the impression that this book was non-fiction, so I was surprised to find that it was a fiction novel when I finally picked it up, but this story drew me in from the very beginning. This book is about a woman who ran an “adoption agency” in Memphis, where many of the children were kidnapped from their poor families and bought by wealthy families, some under false pretenses that they were adopting orphaned children. I had NO idea that this actually happened in US history, in Memphis, no less. I was shocked and heartbroken to read this story and imagine that children really experienced these types of horrific experiences, and that people really existed in the world like this. I plan to do more research to learn about the real history and people involved soon.
Winter Street – Elin Hilderbrand
My favorite cozy series for Christmastime! I really got into reading Elin Hilderbrand’s books in 2018, and this series was no different. A quirky family is all getting together for Christmas when drama begins to unfold in different ways for each family member. Relationships gone bad, insider-trading scandals, mom having an affair with Santa – it’s drama alright! I love how Hilderbrand’s books are told from the different perspectives of each character. It’s like a Hallmark movie, but without all the predictability and waaaay more drama.
I’ve already jumped right into some of my most anticipated reads for 2019, and I want to be better about sharing my reviews with you here. So stay tuned because I have several coming very soon that I’m so excited to share with y’all! Now, tell me your very favorite books from 2018 so I can add them to my TBR list!
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