When I begun reflecting on the books, I had read in 2018 and trying to decide which ones I would place in my favourites I thought I would struggle. At first, I couldn’t think of many stand out books and started to think it had been a rather mediocre year. However, when I looked through my notes I realised I had actually read some real cracking books. Last year I shared my top 6 picks but this year I decided I want to share my top 15. Looking at the books I have read this year I can see:
I have read 54 books, my good reads target for the year was 70 so I unfortunately didn’t hit my target.
- 19 books 5 stars
- 11 books 4.5 stars
- 16 books 4 stars
- 4 books 3.5 stars
- 3 books 3 stars
- 1 book 2 stars
Therefore, I rated more books 5 star than any other rating which is fantastic.
Statistically my best reading month was January as I rated 5/6 books, I read 5 stars. My worst month was August when I rated no books 5 stars, although I was in a huge reading slump this month so this didn’t surprise me.
I read books by 32 new authors this year compared to 8 books authors I had read before so it was a great year for experiencing new authors.
I started the year reading 2 nonfiction books but all other books I read were fiction
I have really discovered the joy of reading a series of books in quick succession rather than leaving large gaps between books as I often wont go back to a series if I leave large gaps.
I had read a lot of books set in wartime, I have always been a fan of books set in wartime but this year that has really soared.
Nearly half the books I have read are YA novels, I have really fell in love with YA as a genre this year.
In past years I have read lots of books that are made up of short novellas This year I have made a conscious effort to wait until these stories are released as whole books before reading them. Therefore, there are fewer short stories on my list.
Here is the list of the top 15 books I read in 2018, I have decided not to rank these as that is just too hard!
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
This was the second book of the year I read and it blew me away. It was a fantastic exploration into the world and lives of junior doctors. In my review at the start of the year I described it as open, honest, frank, funny and I have seen a lot of reviews since then calling it Heart-warming and Heart-breaking in equal measures which I think is perfect description of this book. I would encourage anyone to take some time to read this one.
The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson
In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do ANYTHING to win. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…
This is the first book was incredible and without a doubt my favourite book I read in 2018. I was totally immersed in the world and could not put this it down. This is one of three books on my favourites list that marks the start of a new series and in each case my feelings about book one are mirrored through the whole series. I have to wait until February for the next installment and I am on tenterhooks. I’m hoping to go to Waterstones and pick it up a few days early as they sometimes put out new releases early.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re every girl. But they start with just three: Grace, the preacher’s daughter who unwittingly moved into the old house of a victim whose pain adorns the walls. Bold Rosina, whose heart has become hardened by all of the straight girls who broke it. And misunderstood Erin, the girl who finds more solace in science and order than she does in people. They are brought together by the idea of changing the narrative of a girl they had never met, Lucy Moynihan, the victim of a sexual assault who was victimised further by people who found it easier to believe she had cried wolf than to confront what had really happened to her. A girl who, through the course of one evening, went from an excited teenager who felt wanted by a boy for the first time, to someone else entirely, with ‘a voice in the darkness, giving her a new name: Slut’. Together, they form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew.
I was intrigued by this book but hesitate to read it as I knew it was going to be a tough read. The previous year I had read Louise O’Neil’s Asking for It and that book devastated me so I was scared this book would do the same. It was a really difficult story to read but it left me feeling more hopeful than Louise O’Neil’s book. I think it was fantastically written and was a great portrayal of female empowerment.
Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivision
Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?
I adored this book! As someone who went to university but didn’t live in halls, I’m always interested to read books set in university revolving around freshers and student life. This book did just that, it transported me back to 2016 when I was a student and gave me a little insight into what life may have been like had I lived on site. It also introduced me to two of my favourite characters I met in 2018 in Phoebe and Luke. They were lovely and I was so sad to finish this book and leave them behind! I want to know what they are doing now.
The Witch’s Kiss by Elizabeth and Katharine Corr
Can true love’s kiss really save the day…?Electrifying dark magic debut by authors and sisters Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. Merry used to dabble in witchcraft and her gran runs the local coven – but, apart from that, she and her brother Leo are normal teenagers. So when Jack, a cursed prince, wakes beneath a nearby lake after fifteen hundred years, Merry is shocked to learn that she’s inherited the job of dealing with him. Aided by Leo, Merry tries to manage her power and figure out a way of breaking the curse. But as she gets to know Jack she realises she wants to save him – not destroy him. Will Merry lose her life as well as her heart? Or can true love’s kiss really save the day?
This is another instance where I read the three books in the series in quick sucession and I would class the whole series as a favourite. I loved this series so much, I thought the magic system and world building was fantastic. The relationship between Merry and her brother Leo was fantastic. It was a rip roaring ride that I could see making a great film/tv adaptation and I cannot wait to see what Elizabeth and Katharine has in store for us next.
The Woolworth Girls by Elaine Everest
It’s 1938 and as the threat of war hangs over the country, Sarah Caselton is preparing for her new job at Woolworths. Before long, she forms a tight bond with two of her colleagues: the glamorous Maisie and shy Freda. The trio couldn’t be more different, but they immediately form a close-knit friendship, sharing their hopes and dreams for the future. Sarah soon falls into the rhythm of her new position, enjoying the social events hosted by Woolies and her blossoming romance with young assistant manager, Alan. But with the threat of war clouding the horizon, the young men and women of Woolworths realize that there are bigger battles ahead. It’s a dangerous time for the nation, and an even more perilous time to fall in love . . .
This was the third series this year that I became completely engrossed it. The first two books in the series and a novella weren’t new releases when I picked them up so I was able to read them back to back. Quite soon after two more books were released and I couldn’t get enough of this world. I became completely lost in the wartime period and the exploits of the Woolworth Girls. My favourite part of this series was meeting the three main characters in book one and watching through the 5 books how this huge tightknit group of friends and family are born from their friendship. It was lovely watching their relationships grow and the characters grow as individual. I just loved these books and I was so chuffed when Elaine announced she was writing another in the series. I am also really excited to read The Butlins Girls and Elaine’s book due out later this year The Teashop Girls.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal …
This book was a total surprise to me. It started to get a little bit of a revival with the film adatption in the summer. I picked it up out curiosity and was so glad I did because it was a beautiful story. I adored the sweet love story between Blue and Simon. I loved the Simons friendship group and wished I could be friends with them, in particular Abby and Simons friendship was lovely. Everything about it was so sweet and it just warmed my heart to read it. I then watched the film on the plane on my way home from Florida in October and I must say I adored that too, it was a fantastic adaption and I would happily watch it again and again.
The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman
Devastated by her mother’s suicide, Luna is in New York dealing with her mother’s estate when something impossible happens. She finds herself in 1977 and about to witness a week in her mother’s life that would change it forever. Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life. Even if it means sacrificing her own.
This book sideswiped me slightly as I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. I had previously read a short story by Rowan Coleman which I enjoyed but it didn’t blow me away. I then saw this book was featured in the Zoe Ball book club but upon reading the synopsis it didn’t really sound like a story I would like. However, when I watched the Zoe Ball show and Rowan Coleman read an extract from it I was captivated and ordered a copy right away. The writing just gripped me from the snippet I heard read. What initially put me off this book was the magic element but it turned out to be what I loved most about the story. The magic was woven into the story so well you felt it could be real. I was kept guessing the whole way through and couldn’t guess the outcome and the outcome we did get in my opiion was perfect but not at all what I thought it would be. I am now keen to give Rowan’s work another shot and see if her other books are as great as this one.
Heartache and Christmas Cakes by Amy Miller
The Barton family bakery in Bournemouth has been at the heart of the town for generations: Audrey and Charlie Barton have never been rich, but their bread and cakes – and their love and advice – have enriched the lives of others in the town for many years. When war breaks out, it doesn’t take long for trouble to arrive on the bakery doorstep. Audrey’s brother William has joined up to fight, and William’s fiancé Elsie fears she may lose him before their life together has even begun. Audrey’s stepsister Lily comes to stay, but Lily is clearly hiding a dark secret. And a silent and strange little girl is evacuated to the town – will Audrey get to the heart of what is ailing her? Audrey battles to keep hope and love alive in tumultuous times. But when disaster strikes at Christmas, will her efforts be in vain?
This book shot out of nowhere for me. I am usually quite aware of Wartime stories that are floating around, this one was about wartime and set in a bakery which are two book buzz words but somehow it had passed me by. I saw book three being advertised and this alerted me to the series so I bought the first book right away. As I expected I loved this one. It was set in wartime focuses on the home front which is what I love and as mentioned it was set in a bakery which is something else, I adore. Everything about this story was warm, comforting, family focuses, the relationship between Audrey and Lily was fantastic as was how supporting Audrey was of Lily in her hour of need. I now have book two in my possession and I plan to read it in January which I am very excited about.
The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell
Monique and Issy are teachers, housemates and lovers of musicals! Their Friday night routine consists of snacks, wine and the Frozen DVD. So when Monique’s boyfriend moves to America for a year and her sister Hope moves in because of her own relationship woes, Friday nights get a new name… ‘The Singalong Society for Singletons’! It’s a chance to get together, sing along to their favourite tracks from the best-loved West End shows, and forget the worries of work, relationships and love (or lack of it). But when Issy shares the details of their little group further afield, they get some unexpected new members who might just change their opinions on singledom for good….
This was another book that took me by surprise. I was in a reading slump and struggling to stick with any books I picked up. I purchased a few books from The Works on a whim and grabbed this one to try and I’m so glad I did because it was great. It centres on a group of friends who get together every Friday night to watch a Musical and through these nights you catch up on their lives and the problems each girl is facing. Overtime more people are introduced into these get together and we just see the impact the gatherings have on everybody. My favourite part of this book was that each chapter focuses on a Musical the group was watching and was packed with descriptions of the films, songs, the group reacting to scenes and it was great when I had seen a film they were discussing as you felt you were there with them watching the movie. It also made me want to go and watch all the films I hadn’t seen as the book made them sound great.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she’s ever loved. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
This was another series I basically inhaled this year and thought was fantastic. Similar to with Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I was aware of this book and it was on my radar to read it but it was propelled to the top with the release of the Netflix film adaptation. I knew I wanted to watch the film on the plane when I went on holiday in October so delved into this not long before and I was left asking myself why on earth I had waited so long to read it. This book was awesome, I completed fell in love with Lara Jean and her family. I loved how sweet and down to earth Lara was, she was also a baker so we go plenty of descriptions of yummy foods she was cooking throughout. The relatisonhip she had with her dad and her sisters was a great and it was nice to see a functional tightknit family in a YA books. Of course, my favourite part of this story was the relationship between Peter and Lara Jean. Without a doubt it was my favourite relationship of any book I have read this year. I was routing for them throughout the whole series and enjoyed every installment just as much as the last. I would love to catch up one day with Lara Jean, Peter, their friends and family and see what they are getting up to now.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
It’s 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer’s block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.
This was another book that wasn’t on my radar at all until I saw the film trailer for the movie adaptation. Once I looked at the synopsis, I felt straight away I would like. It was telling the stories of wartime with a literary tie in which I thought was fab. The book is told entirely in letter form which was a new concept for me, but it made for really easy, quick and relatable reading. The stories told in this book are heart-warming but also heart-breaking, there was a couple of times my heart wept for the character and what they went through. I think what made this so touching was you know although this is fictional the people of Guernsey were likely to have lived through events in this book which is terribly sad. It was just a beautiful book I would implore everyone to read.
Nevermoore: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Morrigan Crow is cursed, destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But, as the clock strikes midnight, she’s whisked away by a remarkable man called Jupiter North and taken to the secret city of Nevermoor. There she’s invited to join the Wundrous Society. Mystery, magic and protection are hers – if only she can pass four impossible trials, using an exceptional talent. Which she doesn’t have…
This book was another standout surprise to me. If you had asked me when I was about 10 chapters in if I would have picked this as a favourite I would have said not at all. The whole of the Booktube community that I follow were raving about it and I was questioning if I was reading the same books. This story started out slow for me and, although it wasn’t bad it wasn’t blowing my socks off. Then around a third of a way from the end when the trials mentioned in the title really started the book just came into its own and flew! From that point on I couldn’t put it down and just loved everything about it. I loved the whimsy magical world and the mystery that flows through the book. Of course, book one ends with a resolution but there are still lots of unanswered questions that are setting up nicely for the rest of the series. I intend to read book two in January and I cannot wait to get lost in the world of Nevermoore one again. I have never followed along with the releases of a big fantasy series like Harry Potter but I feel I will with this which could be quite fun.
My Mamma Mia Summer by Annie Robertson
Laurel hasn’t taken a risk her whole life. Now as summer dawns, she’s going to do something that nobody expects of her. Laurel turns to her ABBA albums and her favourite film, Mamma Mia! She grabs her passport, dons her dungarees, and jets off to Skopelos for her own Meryl-inspired adventure… Laurel books into the faded but charming Villa Athena and befriends its eccentric owner. As she explores the island’s famous sights, Laurel finds herself feeling strangely at home. So should she return to her life in London, or could this be where she truly belongs?
The Penultimate book on the list is we this fantastic little story that was my read of the summer and my holiday read too, perfect for sitting in the sunshine. This story appealed to straight away as I have always had a wanderlust for the Greek islands being a big fan of the play and film Shirley Valentine. Generally, that means I love any books that are set in the Greek Islands. It just so happens this one is just that but it is very Mamma Mia centric which just made it the perfect book for me. I love the film Mamma Mia, how can you not like something that pulls together Greece and Abba so a book that is inspired by this is a fantastic idea. I thought the main character Laurel was great and my heart broke for her making the trip to Skepelos in honor of her grandmother who brought her up. It is of course packed with Mamma Mia film references and I could so clearly picture the characters at the places you see in the film and being able to do this really brought it to life. I also loved that Laurel very quickly establishes a diverse little group of friends that become so integral to her and the story. She also builds a lovely relationship with Athena, the owner of the guest house she is staying in. This story was pure sunshine and I really hope Annie writes more books in this series. It is also worth mentioning that the novella follow up My Mamma Mia Christmas was also fantastic!
Miss Marley by Vanessa Lefaye
Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price. And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…
And the final book on this little was a cheeky little story that just nudges its way into my top 15. I actually finished reading this story on New Years Eve so it only just made it as a 2018 book. I adored this book. I am a big fan of a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and in the run up to Christmas I saw lots of people mentioning this book on BookTube and it being such a short story I thought I would give it a go. It was a fabulous little book offering a back story to a Christmas Carols Jacob Marley told from the perspective of his sister. I am always hesitant to read books that are meant to be sequels or prequals to books I love because bad versions can be awful but this wasn’t. It was a believable tale of how Jacob could have become the man he was in a Christmas Carol. I really liked Clara Belle, Jacobs sister who narrates the story and from the beginning you tell the story is going to be tragic. I really liked the little homage to a Christmas Carol near the end too. Fantastic read!