Top 11 Reads of 2018
Despite all the hype, there honestly isn’t too much that’s actually exciting about New Years.
There is one thing about ringing in the new year that is awesome, though: The countdown. Yeah, sure, it’s usually anticlimactic AF. The ball drops, confetti falls and 1 million people who have crowded so tightly into Times Square that they are literally forced to wear diapers amble out into the probably-crime-rich NYC streets.
Despite all of this, however, as I rip the last few December pages off of my Colin Firth desk calendar, I can’t help but allow myself to become imbued with the spirit of the season and start counting down to… well… everything.
Scene: Making Kraft Mac and Cheese for my kids
ME: (To myself, obviously) I’mma count down these last 10 seconds until this boxed pasta is cooked to al dente because it will make the production of nuclear-hued cheesey-ish macaroni more… vibrant.
Given my propensity for end-of-the-year countdowns, it should come as no surprise that I’m going to close out this year on Drink. Read. Repeat. with a… countdown.
Specifically, a countdown of our top 10 favorite reads of 2018.
11. Something in the Water
by Catherine Steadman
Two sentence summary - Couple on their honeymoon, make an advantageous (?) discovery while on a diving trip. Drama ensues.
Why you’ll love it - The author penned exceptionally, deeply, satisfyingly smooth prose - which, you know, always feels good. And the atypically liner plot was compelling and addictive, making it hard to put the book down (leaving me neglecting my real-life responsibilities #SorryHusband).
Check out the full review, here: Something in the Water Review
10. Baby Teeth
by Zoje Stage
Two sentence summary - A mom tries desperately to connect to her long-mute daughter who, despite appearing to be angel to her father, gives Mom a run for her money on the daily. Daughter starts talking, but this just makes matters worse.
Why you’ll love it - This novel is real AF. Not only will you be satisfyingly horrified as you read it, you’ll be left with a believable uncertainty. It will stick with you because it will leave you unsettled and unsure as to what the future holds for this family.
Check out the full review, here: Baby Teeth Review
9. Pieces of Her
by Karin Slaughter
Two sentence summary - After a more-dramatic-than-expected breakfast (brunch?) Andy learns that her mom isn’t just your everyday, average mom-turned-piano teacher. When she digs for the truth, she puts both herself and her mom in danger.
Why you’ll love it - As cliche as it may sound, you literally will not be able to put this book down. Probably unsurprisingly — given her proven track record as a prolific novel-writing badass — Slaughter’s perfect prose and beautifully paced plot will envelop you and make you forget that there is a real world and that you live in it.
Check out the full review, here: Pieces of Her Review
8. An Unwanted Guest
by Shari LaPena
Two sentence summary - A group of strangers are relatively resigned to being trapped in a romantic B&B — until one of them turns up dead. As they hunt for the killer and the body count rises, the urgency to find the perpetrator increases, rapidly.
Why you’ll love it - Written in classic Agatha Christie style, this novel will capture the hearts of readers who love pure, clean mysteries. And the setting — a snowed-in hotel — will leave you feeling trapped and chilled to the core, making you more of a participant in the intrigue than a disconnected spectator.
Check out the full review, here: An Unwanted Guest Review
7. The Chalk Man
by C.J. Tutor
Two sentence summary - A group of long-time friends with a murkier-than-typical past are called to action when someone starts using the secret code they developed in childhood against them. Long-buried ghosts emerge from their graves as this development makes answering questions of the past surprisingly important.
Why you’ll love it - The rich, flawed and ultimately believable characters jump off of the page. With an inarguable similarity in both style and feel to some of Stephen King’s most iconic works, this novel haunts readers long after they’ve finished it.
Check out the full review, here: Chalk Man Review
6. In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills
by Jennifer Haupt
Two sentence summary - When Rachel gets pregnant, the lingering questions she’s always had about the father — who abandoned her decades ago — come to the forefront of her mind and propel her into action. Desperate to finally get some from of closure, she travels to Rwanda — the last place she knew for certain her father was — and searches for the truth, uncovering a history more tragic than she ever could have predicted in the process.
Why you’ll love it - This novel is powerful and poignant. As you read, you’ll develop genuine fondness for the characters, making it all the more difficult to see the struggles that typified their pasts and continue to haunt their futures.
Check out the full review, here: In The Shadow of 10,000 Hills Review
5. Believe Me
by JP Delaney
Two sentence summary - Struggling acting student, Claire, takes a job with a law firm and uses her skills in the art of make believe — and her feminine wiles — to lure married men into propositioning her. When the wife of one of her marks is rather unceremoniously murdered, she’s asked to snuggle even closer to this probably bad-guy to help the police close their case against him.
Why you’ll love it - This already twisty, turn-y mind-fuck of a novel is made even more intense by the use of an unreliable narrator. The author messes you about so much that, by book’s end, you’re still not sure what is and isn’t true.
Check out the full review, here: Believe Me Review
4. The Final Six
by Alexandra Monir
Two sentence summary - With the earth pretty much fucked as a result of centuries of rough treatment by human kind, it’s soon going to be impossible to sustain life on this once lush planet. In a bid to avoid the extinction of the human race, the powers that be gather a group of 24 teens, from which they will select an elite crew of 6 to go to Europa — an icy moon of Jupiter — and set up a new civilization.
Why you’ll love it - I mean, who doesn’t love a good disaster story? By telling her tale from the perspective of two exceptionally likable main characters — Leo and Naomi — Monir gives a face to the faceless masses threatened with imminent extinction. She also manages to set up a Hunger Games-ian love story that somehow leaves readers more concerned about whether these two love birds will end up together than about whether this critical mission will succeed.
Check out the full review, here: The Final Six Review
by Courtney Summers
Two sentence summary - When Sadie’s younger sister Mattie is found dead, it rocks the already unsteady foundation on which Sadie has been trying to build a sustainable life. Unable to accept the possibility that justice won’t be served, Sadie takes it upon herself to hunt for the truth, even if doing so means leaving the only home she has ever known.
Why you’ll love it - Unless you have a heart of stone, you will care about Sadie and, ultimately, grieve for Mattie. By putting a hard-as-nails protagonist with a tragic — and tragically common — backstory at the center of her narrative, Summers produced a work that makes you feel deeply for the fictional characters it contains.
Check out the full review, here: Sadie Review
2. Her Pretty Face
by Robyn Harding
Two sentence summary - Frances is a plump mom of a troubled boy, making it difficult for her to fit in with the other pinterest-perfect parents that congregate in the pick-up line and attempt to hide their snickering faces behind their venti caramel macchiatos. So when perfect Kate takes a liking to her, Frances holds on tight to what she sees as a social lifeline — even when it starts to become apparent that there may be more to Kate than meets the eyes.
Why you’ll love it - The multi-dimensional characters that fill this novel will seem quite familiar to most moms, as they are accurate representations of the archetypes that fill most PTAs. In the tradition of Big Little Lies, this suburban drama reminds you that it isn’t safe to assume anything, these days.
Check out the full review, here: Her Pretty Face Review
by Rosie Walsh
Two sentence summary - From the moment Eddie and Sarah met, they were drawn to each other; so drawn to each other, in fact, that they spend seven uninterrupted days luxuriating in each other’s company. But when Eddie leaves for a holiday in Spain, the separation that Sarah was sure would be fleeting grows interminably long as he, seemingly heartlessly, ghosts her.
Why you’ll love it - You’ll cry buckets of tears. I’m talking ugly, wine-fueled, tears as you struggle to handle feelings the depth of which you never really believed to be possible. And, let’s not even talk about the twists. Holy Jesus, the twists! Seriously, though. Just read it.
Check out the full review, here: Review Forthcoming