Today I’m continuing my Best Of + Favorites Posts of 2018 with the TOP FIVE books I read this year! Most of you know that I’ve been an avid reader since childhood. There is nothing more relaxing than reading a good book! I’ve mentioned all of the following books on my blog before, but now they are compiled into a neat list. Let’s get started!
The BEST book I read this year was…
The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles simply blew me away. Everything about this novel is absolutely perfect. Before reading this book, I’d never read anything that took place in Brazil. The way Peebles told the story made you really feel like you were right with the characters without being overwhelmed with wordy descriptions. I could easily visualize the landscapes and feel all emotions. The following summery is what I wrote initially on my blog…
Air tells the story of two best friends in 1930s Brazil, Graca and Dores. The book opens as Dores is an old woman looking back on her life. Graca has since passed, and Dores is telling their story. Graca and Dores meet as children on a sugarcane farm in Brazil.
The two girls come from two different worlds–Dores is an orphan working in the kitchen of the plantation that Graca’s father owns. Graca obviously comes from a wealthy background. Nonetheless, the two girls hit it off and form a strong bond.
Soon, Graca and Dores develop a love for music and have dreams of becoming famous samba singers. They run away to pursue their passion…but only one girl can be a star. Eventually, Graca becomes an international sensation under the name Sofia Salvador, while Dores is behind the scenes, writing songs for her.
I SO ENJOYED THIS BOOK. You have to read it! It explores a friendship (which turns into a bit of a rivalry) through the ups and downs of life and fame. Something about it was so captivating; I had to make myself put this novel down each night. The descriptions and the story itself was so lush and entertaining.
I loved these books, too….
The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn was the only thriller that I read this year, and also the very first book I read in 2018. That being said, I loved it! The plot was unpredictable and kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s even going to be a film sometime in the future. Can’t wait to see!
When the novel begins, we meet Dr. Anna Fox. She is a recluse, trapped inside her home with a fear of the outside world. She fills her days watching black-and-white suspense films and is heavy handed in the wine department. One night, she witnesses a neighbor’s murder through her window. This sends Anna into a frenzy; she becomes determined to solve the murder.
But wait…are things really what they seem? Or was all those suspenseful films playing with her mind? As the story unfolds, we begin to learn about Anna’s past, leading up to that murder. What really happened?
The Woman In The Window kept me interested till the very last page. There are multiple twists that kept me guessing. I highly recommend!
If I had to choose a single book that was most talked-about this year, it would be Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. But seriously, if you haven’t read this one yet, head to the nearest Target or download it on your Kindle. It’s a coming-of-age story, murder mystery and love story all wrapped into one. I have my mom reading it right now and she is loving it too…
Crawdads tells the story of Kya, a young girl who grows up in a broken home. When she is seven or eight, she is eventually abandoned by her entire family, who leave her to fend for herself. Kya quickly adjusts to living on her own in the North Carolina swamp. As Kya grows older, she befriends Tate, and they quickly fall in love. He teaches her to read, and she becomes educated, highly knowledgeable about the swamp.
Like all good love stories, this one tapers off. Tate eventually goes off to college and Kya is left alone in the swamp again. In comes Chase Andrews.
Kya falls in love with Chase. But there’s a twist in the story. The novel switches back and forth between Kya’s story and a murder mystery. Several years down the road, Chase is found dead near the swamp. Did Kya commit murder? Or is her community simply accusing The Swamp Girl for a crime she didn’t commit?
Crawdads kept me entertained from the first page.
I’m a sucker for a good historical novel; Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah did not disappoint! So many emotions! It’s one of those novels that stays with you for awhile.
Winter Garden tells the story of two daughters, Meredith and Nina, and their Russian mother, Anya. For years, Anya has been extremely cold and reclusive to her two daughters. When Anya’s husband passes away, his dying wish is for the three women to become close, something they have never achieved.
Slowly but surely, Anya begins to open up about her mysterious past by telling Nina and Meredith a fairy tale–with a twist. The women begin to learn and understand their mother’s harrowing past.
Without giving too much away, Winter Garden takes place in the early 2000s and during World War II-torn-Russia. It took me about 120 pages to get into this story, but once I did, it was so worth it. Parts of this book is tough to read, but the ending is triumphant. Definitely recommend!
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate and Where The Crawdads Sing have similar settings, but they are completely different stories!
If you’re ready for a poignant, thought-provoking read, look no further.
Back in the 1920s to the 1950s, there was a child trafficking ring in Memphis called the Tennessee Children’s Home. Georgia Tann and her assistants kidnapped poor children and newborns from their families, claiming that they were helping children find a better home by selling them to wealthy, upper-crust families. Sometimes, the parents would unknowingly sign their children over to “adoption” or they’d be kidnapped in broad daylight. How scary is that?
Anyway, this novel focuses around five siblings in the 1930’s who got kidnapped by the Tennessee Children’s home. The story also has a present-day story line where a prosecutor is trying to piece together her aunt’s mysterious secret past.
Yours is only around 350 pages; I thought it would be a quick read. However, it is on the heavy, emotional side. I got so caught up in these poor children’s situations. So many emotions! It is just bizarre to me how something like this could actually happen. My attention was kept the entire time. Definitely worth the read.
Catch up on my November + December Favorites as well as my Lifestyle Favorites of the year!
I want to know….what was YOUR favorite read of 2018? Please share!!