Thursday, January 3, 2019

Book Club: Best of 2018

Happy New Year friends! We hope you've had the very best holiday season with your family and loved ones. We've soaked it all in and enjoyed our little blog break these last few weeks. This time of year always puts us into overdrive, so it was nice to step back for a bit. It also allowed us to come up with some fun new ideas for 2019 - stay tuned! 

And what better way to kick off the year than with Book Club! We love this post each year. We get to share our top picks and go into the new year with new reading goals. 

A lot changed in 2018. The biggest change though is that Carrie Beth found the magic of Audible and is now a reading machine. Audible is a total reading game changer! Especially if you love reading, but rarely have free time to sit and open a physical book. 

Now to wrap up 2018, and kick off 2019! (That's so weird to say still!) We anticipate this being a slow month, and considering the Seattle-like weather we've been having there might be plenty of cozy couch reading time in our future. Or at least wine drinking time. Because we've all been trapped inside like 25 out of the last 30 days! 

Book Club Suggestions and Reviews December 2018


Carrie Beth
After a sort of heavy set of books last month I decided to change it up and try something very light and happy to start with.  First up was Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber.

This book was pretty much what I had expected.  A feel good story focusing on Christmas and family.  I learned that has been made into a Hallmark movie, which I can totally see. It was a little cheesy, but just what I needed to get me in the Christmas spirit at the beginning of the month.

Next up was the best seller, Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. I really wanted to love this book after reading all of the reviews about it, but in the end I just liked it.

It is about a well planned out suburb with wealthy and seemingly perfect families.  Then a single mother and her 15 year old daughter move in to the area and begin to mingle with one of the well established families their perfect world starts to become not so perfect. It kept me listening the entire time and I was so interested to see how it played out, but the ending was just kind of blah for me and I couldn't love it the way I wanted to.

The final and sort of very crazy book of this month was Evil by Tijan.

I don't know what made me pick this book, but it was nothing like I had expected.  The description seemed way different than what the book was and I think because I liked Ryan's Bed by the same author so much that I thought this would be similar. It was a very weird sci-fi love story, which is not usually my cup of tea. I was tempted to stop this book several times, but ended up finishing it just because I wanted to know what happened.


Okay it finally happened! I finally sat down and read Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks! For those of you new to book club, I've put this on my reading list for the last two months. The busy season got the best of me and I didn't find the time to read it until after Christmas. 

Every Breath is a love story (like every Nicholas Sparks novel) that spans over decades. Hope's longtime boyfriend seems to want to be single more than married, and she heads to the beach follow yet another one of their break-ups. Tru lives a life of adventure in the wilds of Africa, but gets a summons from a long lost father to see him. Tru heads to the beach house his father owns and the story takes off from there. I'm torn because I love the premise behind the story. The way Sparks opened the story had me thinking it was actually a true story. This made me way invested because I loved the idea of reading a real life love story. It does all the things Sparks novels usually do...the characters find love, lose it, some how a tragedy is mixed in, and on occasion the characters are lucky to find each other again. This ended abruptly and I found myself wanting just a little bit more! Definitely still worth a read though! And tissue alert warning! 

The next two books I listened to across the month via Audible, and one I loved! Like book of the year contender loved! 

First up was Janet Evanovich's latest Stephanie Plum novel Look Alive Twenty-Five. Janet Evanovich is one of my go-to authors when I want something light, super funny, and quick to read. Look Alive Twenty-Five was just what I was looking for. 

Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter (and maybe not the best one on the planet), and is accompanied by a cast of highly entertaining characters. This time around her uncle/boss puts her in charge of a deli he's inherited and she soon learns anyone who is in charge of the deli goes missing. The mystery elevates from there, and you laugh along the way. It was a great book to escape the stress of the holidays, and the person reading it did an amazing job!! 

(Note: Stephanie Plum novels tend to have adult content and language. Some of y'all seem to want that disclaimer so we will do a better job of warning you!)

To wrap up the month I read/listened to One Day in December by Josie Silver. I downloaded this book on a whim and I am so so glad I did! It was SO GOOD! 

Laurie is riding on a crowded bus after work, and is thinking about what she needs to change in her life in the new year. She's a little despondent, but at the next bus stop she spots a man reading a book out of her window and the moment their eyes meet she realizes she's fallen in love. (Crazy, I know. But stick with me here.) She spends the next year making it her mission to find him. Just when she gives up her roommate/best friend introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie and instantly Laurie realizes it's the bus man. What does she do? The novel takes off from there and Laurie and Jack spend the next ten years crossing paths. It's a story filled with love, friendship, heartbreak, and love again. I was totally sucked in the whole time. The ending was a little different than what I would have pictured, but I loved it all the same. 

If you love a good love story, put One Day in December on your lists people! 

(Note: Some adult language and content, but a very teeny tiny amount.)

The Best Books of 2018


Carrie Beth
This was tough because I read/listened to a lot of great books this year, but I narrowed it down to my top two favorites.  I think I liked these books most because the characters seemed so real, the stories were so believable, and the authors kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time wanting more and wanting to know what happened next.  I couldn't put them down, couldn't stop listening, and couldn't wait to hear the ending of the story.

My second favorite book of the year was Emily Giffin's All We Ever Wanted. It was such a great story to listen to because the characters were all narrated by different people. It made the story so interesting to listen to and the subject matter was something that I could totally see happening in real life. It dealt with parenting decisions in this age of social media and proved just how dumb teenagers can be when it comes to using social media.  There were plot twists I did not see coming and I loved the entire book because it was relatable.

My favorite book of the year was Ryan's Bed by Tijan. Oh my goodness. I don't know that I have cried this much over a book in a long time. The story focuses on teen suicide and pulled on my heartstrings the entire time. It just sucked me and and I couldn't stop thinking about the characters in this book, even when I wasn't listening to it.  The ending was something I NEVER saw coming and left me with so many questions and I just wanted more!  This book is classified as young adult, but so were some of my other favorites of all times, so maybe that is just what I prefer! I don't like to have to think too much with a book...just feel and this book sure did have me feeling all sorts of emotions.


I read some great books this year. A few stick out to me. In the psychological thriller category I loved The Last Mrs. Parrish and Something in the Water. Elin Hilderbrand had me on the edge of my seat this year with her latest beach read The Perfect Couple, and One Day in December was a contender as well. I loved Rachel Hollis' Girl Wash Your Face and think its a book every woman my age could relate to in some way. But my winner for the year is...

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan. It was such a good story and reminded me of a happier Me Before You (also a book I loved!). I read it for September's Book Club (see the review here), and its been my favorite for the year ever since. A few gave it a run for its money, but if you want to read one book out of the forty something I managed to read this year - My Oxford Year would be the one! 


Carrie Beth
Jen and I almost always have the same tastes in books so I am trusting her and going with One Day In December  as my next read.  Can't wait to give this one a try!

To kick off the new year, I have two going simultaneously. One I'm reading and one I'm listening to. I've started both already and one I'm feeling so far and one I'm not. 

I'm reading Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand. I purchased this a few month's ago, but hadn't had a chance to pick it up until now. It's past Christmas and I'm over the winter rainy weather we've been having. So bring on beach reads!

I've started listening to Where the Crawdads Sing. This one was suggested to me by a friend, and it has thousands and thousands of great reviews as well as been on the top of the NYT Bestseller list for months. With all that said, I'm about seven chapters in and I can't decide if I like it or not. At one point I thought about returning and picking out something else (you can do this with Audible), but because of the rave reviews I've stuck it out...for now. Have you read it? Thoughts? Should I stick with it or abandon it?!

And that's a wrap on Book Club 2018! Thanks for reading with us friends!!

Anything we should put on our must read lists for 2019?? Share with us! 

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  1. I'm into Where the Crawdads Sing also and I'm not loving it. For me, it's partly because the last few books I've read have been heavy and unhappy...I was hoping for a good southern, fun read.

    1. Yes! I thought it would be a little lighter. Everyone keeps telling me to stick with it and that it gets better. I might just come back to it another time. It's already Winter and dreary...I need a pick me up! ;)


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