One of my favorite things about the end of the year is all the Best Of book lists. And this year, it’s been especially fun because I’ve made a few of them!
The One You Can Forget was selected as a Best Book of 2018 by Publishers Weekly.
So that got my to thinking that it was time to do my own Best Books of 2018 list. As many of you know, I keep a reading journal and record my thoughts about everything I read each year. That makes it easy at the end of they year (and after reading almost 75 books so far) to easily flip back and see which books received a 5-star rating from me.
Now, I will preface this list by saying that I am VERY stingy with my 5-star ratings. Most books I read get about 3 stars (liked it but didn’t love it). I have a decent number of 4-stars (thoroughly enjoyed). But 5-stars are reserved for books that wow me.
Wowing me can mean that the book leaves me in awe of the author’s talent. Wowing can mean that the book pulled real emotion from me and got me deeply attached to the characters. Wowing can mean that a book was addictive like candy and made me want to read everything else the author has written. Wowing can also mean that I’ve learned something fascinating that I will carry with me. But most of all, it usually means that at the end of the year, even with all the reading I’ve done and my crappy memory, these books have stayed with me. I don’t have to remind myself what they were about. They’ve imprinted on my brain.
So, this year, 10 books of the 73 I’ve read have reached that 5-Star status.
Ready to fill up your TBR pile?
My 2018 Five-Star Reads
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
This one gutted me, y’all. It covers a touchy subject matter that I won’t reveal because spoilers, but if you’re afraid of triggers, google it and you’ll find what you need. This book handled the issue with such a deft hand and worked in a romance as well. After reading this, I wanted to go pick up everything else Colleen had ever written. My original review.
One Foot In the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
I’ve told y’all that I’m on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer binge lately, and this has brought my old love of vampire romance roaring back from the grave (yeah, I went there.) So when I was looking to start a vampire romance series I missed, I picked up the first book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. It fit the bill perfectly. And though I loved Halfway to the Grave (book one), the second book is the one that got me fully hooked. Lots of action, very steamy, and a couple I can’t get enough of.
Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
I love a friends-to-lovers story, especially one with a dual timeline that reunites old friends. This book was sweet and fun and just an overall enjoyable experience.
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’ve professed my love for Reid’s books all over the place, but my favorite of hers I read this year was Maybe In Another Life. The story follows the heroine down two separate timelines based on which decision she makes in one scene early in the book. If she goes home with this guy, this is where her life will go. If she doesn’t, this is where it will go. I loved the structure and loved how it explored the concept of soulmates. Her books always leave me thinking. My original review.
A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan
This one deals with some heavy topics, but it was also so delightful. I loved the characters and the author’s voice. If you’re afraid of books with illness in them (like I am), this one gives you a happy ending, so don’t fear.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
General Fiction/Historical (1970s)
This is a gut-wrencher, y’all. But also hopeful. The characters and setting in this book will stick with me for a long time. The writing was beautiful and so immersive. The whole thing had a very epic feel. Trigger warnings for domestic violence. My original review.
I’ll Be Gone In the Dark by Michelle McNamara
This is a tough read because the crimes were very real. Also, going in, you know the author passed away while finishing this book. But this book was so well-written, interesting, and had such heart to it. Also, it helped find the killer because when McNamara wrote this, the guy was still unknown. She never got to see him caught, but her book had a hand in it. This is true crime writing at its best. My original review.
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
At the heart of the body positive movement and health at every size, this book focuses on diet culture, the myths we’ve been told, and how to combat the negative dieting culture that surrounds us. As someone who’s done all the diets for many decades, this was an eye-opening book. This is not a diet book. It’s a an anti-diet book.
Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday
This one is probably going to be more a fit for my fellow writers, artists, or other business owners, but Holiday’s focus on putting your best work forward, giving that work the time it needs, and developing perennial sellers was chock full of great tidbits. I marked so many passages in this one that it probably weighs an extra half pound from all the book darts.
That’s my list! A top 10 without even trying for a nice round number like 10 makes me happy. : ) So I’d love to hear from you. What were your 5-star reads this year?