Yes, you read it right – I will finally write a ‘top books of the year’ post!! Even though I’ve had the blog since 2017, this will be my first post about my favorite reads of the year. Why? Because December is always crazy for me, so my time to focus on the blog is practically non-existent. But I really wanted to change that this year, so here we are! 🎉
2018 was a good reading year, even though I missed my goal by just one book… ONE BOOK!! 😩 Regardless of that ridiculous failure, I managed to read 49 books, the majority of which very enjoyable. I was somehow able to come up with a list of my 15 favorite books, so here they are:
15. A Bargain in Silver by Josie Jaffrey
The first book in the Solis Invicti series, A Bargain in Silver tells us the story of Emmy, who has to go through an apocalyptical event: a vampire invasion, during which the ‘good kind’ of vampires take over the world. It has lots of wit, great characters, and sex scenes.
I guess you can never really know someone, even, perhaps especially, when you’re in love.
14. And I Darken by Kiersten White
And I Darken is a historical fantasy book, the first in a trilogy, in which we follow Lada and Radu. Their father is the prince of Wallachia, which is under Ottoman rule. It takes place in the 15th century, but that doesn’t stop Kiersten White from writing a badass female character. Lada is definitely not your typical girl, and she won’t let you think that for a second! This is a story that features romance, family ties, LGBT characters, and strong females 😍
It was a lonely, cold thing to live without expectations.
13. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
A phenomenal debut thriller, The Chalk Man, tells the story of a group of kids who, in the 80’s, find a body and end up being involved in a mystery. Going back and forth in time, it’s an incredibly atmospheric read, perfect for the Fall/Winter season. If you’re into fucked up characters and you want something along the lines of ‘It’ by Stephen King or the ‘Stranger Things’ TV show, this one is for you!
People say there’s nothing stronger than love. They’re right. That’s why the worst atrocities are always committed in its name.
12. The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blædel
This is a great crime novel that is based on an unidentified woman who is found dead. Due to this fact, photos of the victim are released, in an attempt to find anyone who knows this girl. Eventually, it is revealed that she once was in an asylum (not a spoiler, it’s in the synopsis!) and from there, an incredible plot is developed. I absolutely loved this but I have noticed that not everyone feels the same way. Either way, I totally recommend it to anyone who loves crime and thriller novels.
11. Sadie by Courtney Summers
Sadie is a fantastic and original thriller, but this one is YA! It is not often that we see YA thrillers, let alone good ones, so this one had to make it to this list. One of the best parts of it is the format in which it is told: parts of it are written in regular prose, while the rest is a script of a podcast. Sounds cool, right? And it gets better: St. Martin’s Press actually recorded the podcast, and you can listen to it for free!
I realized pretty early on that the who didn’t really matter so much. That anybody who listens to me, I end up loving them just a little.
10. Doomed Love: a Family Memoir by Camilo Castelo Branco
This was the first Portuguese classic that I ever finished – and absolutely LOVED! It is a story based on the writer’s uncle, Simão, who ended up in a forbidden relationship with a neighbor – you know, a Romeo and Juliet type of thing. It is a story of love, loss, and tragedy and I was so touched by it that I immediately bought other books by the same author!
READ MY REVIEW (Portuguese)
A rapariga sai à mãe. Minha mulher, que Deus haja, quando eu lhe andava rentando, dei-lhe um dia um beliscão numa perna. E vai ela põe-se direita comigo, e deu-me dois cascudos nas trombas, que ainda agora os sinto
9. The Snowman by Jo Nesbø
Here it is – my favorite crime novel of 2018! If you weren’t around at the time, you wouldn’t know that I read this in the middle of the summer in the countryside and this book managed to make me feel cold… that’s how atmospheric it is. It is about the hunt for a serial killer who builds snowmen to kind of signify their murders. Whenever they kill, they build a snowman. Creepy, right? It’s so good, if you’re into crime novels you should give this one a try, I’m sure you won’t regret it! Oh, and please don’t watch the movie, it’s terrible compared to the book 😬
I’m single. Saturday morning has no value for people like us. You, on the other hand, should have a life.
8. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Yet another thriller – this time about a drunk journalist who has to face the ghosts of her past by going back to the town where she grew up. At the same time, there is a missing child investigation going on, and tons of creepy shit goes down. This is a rather short, addictive thriller and it definitely set the bar high for the other Gillian Flynn books that I want to read – Gone Girl is next in line!
There is also an incredible TV adaptation of this book, so if you’re intrigued I suggest that you read the book and then watch the mini-series 😉
There was nothing I wanted to do more than be unconscious again, wrapped in black, gone away. I was raw. I felt swollen with potential tears, like a water balloon filled to burst. Begging for a pin prick.
7. The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
I have slowly been falling in love with historical fiction, and it is partly because of this lovely book. It is a feminist retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow that takes place in the late 1700’s. The historical component of it is absolutely delicious, and I became so attached to the characters that I cried my heart out. It’s a pretty heartbreaking story if I’m honest, so beware 😅
You have read too many books, a vicious little voice hissed inside my mind as I hurried back up the stairs, tears stinging my eyes. You are a romantic fool, Katrina Van Tassel. Back in my room, I vigorously brushed the tears away and opened Macbeth again. A tale of tragedy and blood sounded like exactly what I needed.
6. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
I finally read this!! And boy, did I love it… even though it ripped my heart out and then shred it to pieces 😭 I can’t tell you much about it because it is part of a series, and it’s a prequel so I refuse to spoil it! If you’ve never read anything by Sarah J. Maas, I definitely recommend that you give one of her books a try. I know a lot of people hate her books and find no literary value in them, but I always love them regardless of their faults 😅
There was no way in hell she was going to move to the southern continent without all of her books.
5. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sara Pekkanen
From the moment I read this book, I knew it would be in my favorites list – and here it is! The Wife Between Us is a fantastic thriller told from two different points of view, with one of the biggest plot twists I’ve ever read. It is better if you go into it not knowing much, just like I did, so I don’t want to tell you anything about the plot. Just know that it’s great and mind-blowing!
I was happy, I think, but I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our remembrances; the filters through which we want to see our lives.
4. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
A long-awaited book since its announcement, Restore Me exceeded all of my expectations. For me, the best book in the series so far. If you haven’t read anything by Tahereh Mafi, PLEASE GO READ EVERYTHING!! She’s amazing, I love her books 😍
I love that the girl who blushes so easily in my arms is the same one who would kill a man for hurting me.
3. O Diário Oculto de Nora Rute by Mário Zambujal
Here is the book that made me want to read more Portuguese literature 🎉 It is also a historical fiction novel and it takes place in 1969. It follows a girl named Nora Rute, who tells us her story through journal entries. It’s very interesting and fun, and there are endless references to things that my grandparents had told me about, so that made me enjoy it even more ♡
READ MY REVIEW (Portuguese)
Nem vou explicar ao meu amigo Diário que o desatino com o beijo nada teve a ver com ardores sensuais. Resultou de me engasgar por ele ter enfiado a língua até às amígdalas.
2. A Trança de Inês by Rosa Lobato de Faria
Yet another Portuguese novel, this time one that is unique, I’ve never read anything like it. It is a retelling of a very famous love story between our king Peter I and his queen’s court lady. But here is the twist: it is told in three different times – the 14th century, the late 20th century (when it was written), and the 22nd century. Thus, it is both a historical fiction, a contemporary, and a futuristic dystopia. It is also heart-wrenching, and it’s actually similar to Romeo and Juliet just like Doomed Love… sensing a pattern here 😄
1. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland
And finally, number one!! I’m sure you’re not surprised because I have been raving about this book everywhere. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a remarkable family saga that takes place in Australia. In it, we follow Alice, a girl whose family goes through a tragedy that changes her life forever. As the title suggests, it is highly related to flowers, as well as their meaning, which just adds so much beauty to the story 🌻🌺 Obviously, if I had to recommend just one of these books, it would be this one. Simply spectacular, no words can describe how deeply it moved me!
Around them, the willowy needles of desert oak trees swayed in the pale orange light. Wafts of yellow butterflies fluttered low over acacia and mulga bushes. The crater wall slowly change colour as the sun sank, from flat ochre to blazing red to chocolate-purple. The sun slipped under the dark line of the horizon, glowing like an ember as it threw its last light into the sky.
And thus, we reach the end of my favorite reads of 2018. What books stood out to you in the last year? Did you read any of the ones I mentioned? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡