To close out 2018 I wanted to recap what I read this year. I didn’t actually start keeping track of what I was reading until halfway through the year, so I know I missed a few. But this list will do for now.
Before we get to the full list here are my top recommendations from what I read this year, not in any priority order mainly because they’re all so distinctly different (for the most part).
- The Girls by Emma Cline- roughly based on the Manson murders in L.A., The Girls follows young Evie Boyd as she finds herself apart of a cult that makes her feel ‘seen’. Cline does a wonderful job painting the picture and helping the reader to realize just how easy it is for young girls to be exploited and what one girl will do to gain acceptance. I binged this book! It’s so different and captivating that I just couldn’t put it down.
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber – This young adult fantasy is half mysterious, half creepy and I loved it. I will note sometimes I had to reread parts because I got lost but I think that adds to the trippy Alice in Wonderland vibe. This is the first of a series and the second book came out this year and is already loaded on my iPad waiting to be read.
- The Lying Game by Ruth Ware – a psychological thriller of four friends bound together through the lying game. It’s gripping and had me guessing the outcome until the very last page. I might be biased because Ruth Ware is one of my favorite authors but I don’t care.
- Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter – This was not what I was expecting and while it is not a scary read I was throughly creeped out by this one. This could be an episode of Criminal Minds if Criminal Minds aired on HBO.
- The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – another psychological thriller (thrillers are my favorite genre if you couldn’t tell). I had my book club read this one and I wasn’t the only person who binged this one. If you are a fan of Girl on a Train you will love this book!
- The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert: Not your classic fairytale and definitely not what I was expecting. It also made me rethink back to all the fairy tales I grew up with and analyze the overarching themes a bit more, talk about ruining your childhood.
Full list of everything I read in 2018
(that I can remember).
- The Anomaly by Michael Rutget: If Indiana Jones lived in the X-Files era,he might bare at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore — a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the “real” experts, but beloved of conspiracy theorists. See my review here!
- The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware: Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard.
- An Absoultely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green: The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. April and her friend Andy make a video with Carl, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight. See my review here!
- The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager: Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it allthe time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips. When Emma returns to camp as a counselor years later and is determined to get some answers. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price. See my review here!
- The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs: Just days after mathematician and family patriarch Isaac Severy dies of an apparent suicide, his adopted granddaughter Hazel, owner of a struggling Seattle bookstore, receives a letter from him by mail. In it, Isaac alludes to a secretive organization that is after his final bombshell equation, and he charges Hazel with safely delivering it to a trusted colleague. But first, she must find where the equation is hidden. See my review here!
- The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter: Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father—Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney—devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
- The Chalkman by C.J. Tudor: In 1986, Eddie and his friends were just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
- Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman: The first definitive, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes cultural history of the Bachelor franchise, America’s favorite guilty pleasure.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: A classic which I made my bookclub read prior to the movie coming out last spring.
- The Women in the Window by A.J. Finn: Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times, and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare. Nothing is as it seems.
- The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle: At one point or another, e’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? See my review here!
- Circe by Madeline Miller:In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. See my review here!
- The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller: Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women. See my review here!
- Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan: When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
- The Girls by Emma Cline: Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall toSuzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
- Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter: More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
- The Lying Game by Ruth Ware: Four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
- Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty: Nine people gather at a remotehealth resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be. See my review here!
- One Day in December by Josie Silvers : Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away. See my review here!
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly: The lives of three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and one is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
- The Trespasser by Tana French: Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed-to-a-shine, and dead in her catalog-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before. And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinetteʼs road. Aislinnʼs friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.
- Cross her Heart by Sarah Pinborough: Lisa lives for her daughter Ava,her job,and her best friend Marilyn, but when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it’s time to let her terrifying secret past go. Then her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see. Lisa’s world explodes, and she finds everything she has built threatened. Not knowing whom she can trust, it’s up to her to face her past to save what she holds dear. See my review here!
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber: Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
- The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
- Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann: How long must we pay for the crimes of our youth? It has been almost ten years since Matthias graduated from the elite Blackburne School, where his roommate and best friend, Fritz, fled into the woods, never to be heard from again, in the middle of their senior year. Fritz vanished just after an argument over Matthias’s breaking of the school’s honor code, and Matthias has long been haunted by the idea that his betrayal led to his friend’s disappearance.
Audiobooks play a huge part in my day to day, especially on my daily runs. However, I’m extremely picky which audio books I listen to. Even if I want a particular book on audio, unless their voice matches whatever I have in my head, I won’t get it. And if I can’t find any new audio books with voices I liked, I have a tendency to re-listen to what I have. Below are the audiobooks I listened to in 2018.
- The Harry Potter Books by J.K Rowling (1-7): I grew up with Harry Potter (as everyone my age did) and I love the wizarding world. Once a year I listen to the audiobooks. They’re an easy listen and perfect for when I don’t feel like investing energy into a new book, or just when I can’t figure out what to read next.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher( 5-15): This is one of my new favorite series. It’s basically Harry Potter meets Nancy Drew, as Harry Dresden is Chicago’s finest and only Wizard P.I. Each book is its own story with a start and an ending. However, they should be readin order, as each one referencesprevious books heavily.Death MasksBlood Rites
- Never where by Neil Gaiman: Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and I’ve heard that he might be revisiting London Below in the future.
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert shares her wisdom and perspective on creativity. She offers insight into the mysterious nature of inspiration and asks her readers to embrace their curiosity and let go of suffering. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy
What were some of your favorite reads from 2018? Anything I should consider putting gone my 2019 reading list?