Today I am going to share with you 5 books I absolutely loved and 5 books I really disliked in 2018. Despite giving birth to our first child, it was a great reading year for me. I read a total of 60 books and exceeded my Goodreads Challenge by 10. I participated in an entire year of The Sassy Book Club and completed my Monthly Classics Challenge. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
The Top 5 Best Books Of 2018
1.) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was, without a doubt, my favourite book of 2018.
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo, is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Please pick this book up if you haven’t already. From the very beginning, I was so captivated and mesmerised.
2.) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.” Everybody who has read this book says the exact same thing: you should go into it knowing as little as possible. For this reason, I will make the plot summary very brief because I 100% agree. In this fantastical world, we follow orphan and junior librarian, Lazlo Strange, who has been obsessed with the mythical lost city of Weep his whole life. It has been two hundred years since it was cut off from the rest of the world. One day, Lazlo is invited to venture where no outsider has ever been before and restore the lost city to greatness…
To be honest, I never would’ve picked this story up if it hadn’t been for the book club. This makes me so thankful I joined because it exposed me to an incredible work of fiction. I loved so many things about this book. The writing was wonderful, the pacing flowed perfectly, the descriptions were beautifully vivid and the characters so well-developed.
I also wrote a review on the sequel Muse of Nightmares which you can check out here!
3.) Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
I really don’t want to spoil the plot seeing as this is the last book in the trilogy, so click here if you want more information regarding The Illuminae Files. All you need to know is that two new characters are introduced and we readers get to witness the final showdown between the citizens of Kerenza and BeiTech Industries. Epic!
Do I even need to express how excited I was to finally get my hands on this book? This was my most highly anticipated read of 2018. Feel free to check out my Obsidio Unboxing/Book Launch post if you’re interested. What can I say about this final instalment to a fantastic series? I flew through it so quickly, eager and scared to discover how it would end. There was non-stop action from start to finish, leaving my heart in my throat with every turn of the page. I think Amie and Jay did a phenomenal job wrapping everything up. I loved every single moment but I’m very sad it’s over.
4.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
In this haunting tale, we follow an orphaned woman who is swept off her feet by the wealthy and charming widower, Maxim de Winter. He surprises our protagonist (whose name you never learn) with a proposal in Monte Carlo, relieving her of her unsatisfying job as a lady’s companion. When they arrive at his large estate (named Manderley), she discovers that his late wife, Rebecca, casts a lingering shadow from beyond the grave that threatens to destroy their marriage before it has even properly begun. All of the staff, including the frosty housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, cannot let go of the woman that mysteriously drowned, leaving Maxim’s new wife feeling as though she will never quite measure up…
I fell head over heels in love with this gothic work of literature. The writing was so poetically beautiful and relatable. I felt as though I was walking through Manderley, breathing in the ocean air. The story was also immensely intriguing. It moved at a good pace and kept me hooked all the way through. Towards the end, I found myself wondering: who is the real villain here? To be perfectly honest, all of the characters were very unlikable and deeply flawed. Daphne du Maurier did an excellent job creating a spooky atmosphere without the actual presence of anything paranormal. This is a classic I would definitely re-read.
5.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Drifters in search of work, George and his childlike friend Lennie, have nothing in the world except the clothes on their back and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually, they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are dashed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength.
Such an incredible classic! It is only a bit over 100 pages but boy does it pack an emotional punch! I was a bit skeptical going into this book knowing it was so short. I didn’t think that much could happen, but it did. The writing was simple yet poignant. The plot basic but utterly sad. There are strong themes of racism, animal cruelty, violence and rape. This novel has been banned in schools due to the above, however, I believe it is very important for everybody to read as it highlights significant issues regarding mental health, kindness to strangers and pursuing your dreams no matter how small.
The Top 5 Worst Books Of 2018
1.) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
In the first book of this science fiction quintet, Meg Murray, her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin, journey through space to rescue her father, who has been experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel and mysteriously disappeared. They face off against all sorts of evil, gaining new allies and friends along the way in their quest to save him.
Hmm…I feel like this is going to be an unpopular opinion but I was very underwhelmed by this book. Please keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with you liking it, it just wasn’t for me. Hardly anything exciting happened in 256 pages and the writing style was quite odd. There were a couple of instances where Meg’s family and friend Calvin, insult her intelligence. This was done right in front of her and she never seemed to take offence. At times, she is interrupted whilst speaking and hardly ever listened to. Furthermore, I felt that the story moved at an incredibly slow pace in the beginning and when things finally did start to take off, not much was explained. The plot was poorly structured, there was little to no character development, hardly any world-building and unrealistic dialogue. I cannot think of a single thing I liked about this book, therefore I am not interested in continuing on with the series.
2.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
This classic work of literature follows sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, the living embodiment’s of good sense and sensibility. When their father passes away, they find themselves destitute due to his decision to leave his home, Norland Park, not to them, but to their stepbrother John. Although instructed to take good care of his sisters, John is dissuaded of his duty by his greedy wife, Fanny. The family moves to a modest home in Devonshire, where the romantic Marianne becomes infatuated with the attractive John Willoughby, who is not as he seems. The ever prudent Elinor however, finds love with Edward Ferrars, Fanny’s older brother, leading to distressing events…
Unpopular opinion time! I hated this classic! I was completely bored by it from beginning to end. In fact, I’ve already forgotten 95% of what happened. I did not engage with the story at all nor did I connect with any of the characters. I found both sisters to be completely man-obsessed and superficial. All they did was pine and pine after their love interests which irritated me to no end. I am sorry if this review is upsetting but I was not a fan. I’m surprised I actually finished it.
3.) The Golden Tower by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
This is the fifth and final book in the Magisterium Series, so I will not spoil it. The overall story follows a boy named Cal who joins a school of magic despite his father warning him not to. Every year, Cal faces a new threat whilst forced to confront a sinister past with the world’s deadliest villain threatening to return and spread eternal darkness.
I enjoyed the first three books but the fourth and fifth were so disappointing and boring. I did not like the ending at all and was so underwhelmed by the lack of action.
4.) Lady of the Shades by Darren Shan
This is one of Darren Shan’s adult, standalone books. It follows an American author named Ed, who travels to London in search of inspiration for a new novel to write. Through a strange twist of fate, Ed meets the beautiful and untouchable Andeanna Menderes. She seems too good to be true until he discovers that she is tied to a notorious crime lord. Startled by this shocking revelation, Ed finds his own world turned upside-down as the ghosts of his past force him to confront a deadly secret he was hoping would remain buried forever.
It’s no secret that Darren Shan is one of my favourite male authors, however, this book was completely different to his YA/middle-grade series. I found the first half of the story to be quite slow and difficult to get into. The second half on the other hand, was much more action-packed and full of twists I did not see coming. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work in my personal opinion. It was too all over the place, I struggled to navigate the many plot turns and didn’t connect with any of the characters. The ending was also extremely strange and very far-fetched. I really wanted to love this novel but sadly I didn’t…
5.) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British airplane crashes on an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their preadolescence. Two boys — the fair-haired Ralph and an overweight, bespectacled boy nicknamed “Piggy” — find a conch shell, which Ralph uses as a horn to lure all the survivors to one area. Ralph is optimistic, believing that grown-ups will come to rescue them but Piggy realises the need to survive just in case. Because Ralph appears responsible for bringing all the survivors together, he immediately commands some authority over the other boys and is quickly elected their “chief”. Ralph establishes three primary policies: to have fun, to survive, and to constantly maintain a smoke signal that could alert passing ships to their presence on the island and thus rescue them. The boys establish a form of democracy by declaring that whoever holds the conch shall also be able to speak at their formal gatherings and receive the attentive silence of the larger group.
I don’t mean to be rude or disrespectful to the author but I was so bored by this novel. Hardly anything happened, the writing was bland and the boys were so mean to Piggy it broke my heart. I found myself skim reading this book due to a strong lack of engagement. Sorry! I thought I would enjoy it so much more considering I love the series Lost, which is loosely based on the novel but nope!
I hope you enjoyed this post! What were your favourite and least favourite books of 2018? I look forward to seeing what makes the list in 2019!
Peace & Love xoxo