What I Read: December & Top Books of 2018

Whew, ok I know this post is INCREDIBLY late, but having been down for the count all last week with the stomach flu, I’m just now getting back to my life. I’ve been super excited to share what I read in December as well as my favorite books from 2018. As the book nerd that I am, this is basically my favorite post to write all year. 

I read 3 really great books and 1 not so great book, and 1 incredibly disappointing book (which I was expecting to LOVE) in December. 

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Ya’ll, this was my very disappointing book. Which is especially sad because I have LOVED the other books I’ve read by Liane Moriarty! It just did NOT live up to the hype placed on it. Like, I would actually just tell you not to read it. It’s about 9 strangers (go figure) who all end up at a wellness spa type place, called Tranquillum House. The owner is slightly eccentric, with ways of “healing” her clients that are very outside the box. 

It literally took half the book to even really understand the background and where the book was heading. Each chapter is from a different persons view, so as there are 9 strangers, plus 2 people that work at Tranquillum, it takes a WHILE to remember who is who. It just wasn’t good. By halfway I was really hoping there was going to be something big that would pick things up, but even when the climax hit, it was very disappointing. Just trust me, leave this one be. 

An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer

This was the other book that wasn’t all that great. I have read other books by Nancy Thayer that I’ve really enjoyed, this one just didn’t cut it for me. It was VERY predictable, (and that’s coming from someone who loves Hallmark Christmas movies that always end happily tied up in a red bow!) and just not super exciting. 

In this book, you’ll meet Felicia and her mother, Jilly, who both have slightly different ideas for Felicia’s Christmas wedding on Nantucket. Jilly isn’t a huge fan of Felicia’s finace, the rugged and adventure-seeking, Archie. As their wedding gets closer, the two clash on what the day will look like, and if it should even happen. 

Trust me, next Christmas, skip this one and just turn on Hallmark. It’ll be more fun.

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Ok, now onto the good books! This book was SO fun you guys. SO fun! It’s a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, and she hasn’t let me down yet! This is my book club’s January pick as well, and I cannot wait to discuss this book with friends! 

Ask any woman, and you’ll get a different answer regarding her relationship with her mother-in-law. Luckily for me, I hit the jackpot in that area, but not every woman is as lucky. Some women end up with someone who doesn’t invite them into the family, but do everything they can do to keep them from marrying their baby boy. 

Meet Pammie. She loves her son Adam with everything in her. She does NOT, however, love his new fiance, Emily. And she goes to some pretty nasty depths to keep emily from becoming part of the family. I don’t want to give anything else away, just trust me this book is cringe-worthy in the best way, and you’ll walk away amazed at the twists and turns that come along the way!

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

This Christmas book read like a Hallmark movie, very predictable, but still enjoyable and fun to read. Finn, a cab driver, meets Miss Callie when he goes to pick her up for a cab ride. He soon comes to realize that she isn’t completely with it, falls asleep at very inconvenient times, and needs a lot more help than the average cabbie is willing to give. 

Sydney is working her butt off at her law firm, trying to keep her job with everything she has, including attempting to win a ridiculous case that was thrown off on her. She’s doing everything she can to take care of her grandmother, but she just doesn’t have enough time in the day to do everything in her life that demands time. 

You can probably already guess how this book ends, but even so, it was still a fun read for Chrsitmastime. Add it to your TRL for next year!

One Day in December by Josie Silver

This book was also a Reese pick, and she hits it out of the park again! I was lucky enough to have requested it from my library like the day before Reese announced it, so I didn’t have to wait 3 years for my hold to come available! 

Do you believe in love at first sight? Neither did Laurie, until she was on the bus one night and looked out the window and locked eyes with a handsome man. She wondered if she should get off the bus, but wasn’t sure if the whole thing was in her head. On the other side of the look, Jack hesitates, a choice he regrets as soon as the bus pulls away. He runs after it but it’s too late. 

Laurie and her best friend Sarah look for “bus boy” everywhere they go, but eventually concede to the fact that they probably will never find him. A year later, Sarah goes to introduce her new boyfriend (who she’s quickly falling hard for) to Laurie, and of course it’s none other than the handsome man at the bus stop. 

I’ll leave it there, but this was such a fun read. You won’t know who to root for, as you read about these 3 friends over the course of a decade, but I know for a fact that you will love all of them. 

Ok, now onto the fun stuff! My top books of 2018! I decided to broaden my lists, so I’m going to share my favorite 7 books, top 3 to reread, 4 biggest surprises (books I didn’t know if I’d like, but ended up loving), 4 most heartbreaking books, and 3 biggest disappointments. I’ll also be sharing my reading goal for 2019 and 5 books on my 2019 To Read List that I’m super excited to read this year! 

(Hint: each book is linked to the review page I posted about it, in case you want to read my opinion about it.)

Favorite book of 2018: Caraval/Legendary (yes I realize it’s 2 books, but they go together.)

Favorite books in no particular order:

Honorable Mention

Top books to re-read

  • Caraval/Legendary (I plan on re-reading these before the 3rd book in the series hits shelves in May!)
  • Castle of Water (I listened to this on audio book on a road trip, so I’d love to read the physical book for a different experience.)
  • Nothing to Prove (this is the type of book that I know every time I read it, I’ll gain new insights and lessons from it.)

Most heartbreaking books

Biggest Surprises

Biggest Disappointments

So let’s talk 2019! I read 50 books in 2018, so I’m going to increase my goal to 55 books. (Insert surprised/afraid face here.) I aimed low last year, only thinking I’d read around 36 books, so I’m hoping aiming high won’t be too difficult! 

There are a million books that I’d love to read this coming year, but here are 5 from my to read list: 

  1. Still Lives by Maria Hummel
  2. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
  3. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
  4. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  5. The Road Back to You/The Path Between Us (all the enneagram info!) by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

What books are on your 2019 TRL??? Let me know in the comments below!!