Top Five Books I Read In 2018

Even though I didn’t read nearly as many books as I typically read in a years time, I did read a few really awesome books. I rounded up my top five favorite books that really stuck with me all year.

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Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

This was one of the first books I read this year and even after months, I still refer back to it. I don’t read self help books but Rachel was super motivating and I really enjoyed it and would recommend even if you don’t grab a lot of non fiction reads.

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doll eyes. by Jessyca Thibault

I don’t read a lot of poetry but I adore all of Jessyca’s books. I originally read all three of her books on Kindle but I loved them so much I bought paperback copies. Even though her books aren’t as well known as the mainstream poetry books that you seen on every other Instagram picture, Jessyca’s poems are just as good, if not better.

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Becoming by Michelle Obama

Okay, to be honest, I haven’t completely finished Becoming yet. But I only have a couple hours left in the audiobook so I’ll probably finish it tonight and it’ll totally count as read in 2018.

Anyway, I was so excited for this book and it 100% lived up to my own hype. It’s pretty lengthy and it’s taken me a while to get through it but I’ve loved every second. I listened to it on audiobook, which Michelle narrates herself, and it’s amazing as an audiobook. Michelle is a great writer and an equally as great narrator.

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

After a MAJOR two year reading slump that totally destroyed by love of reading, The Simple Wild brought me back to life. I read the whole book in 24 hours and couldn’t put it down. I loved the writing, the setting was amazing, and the characters were so well written. K.A. Tucker has become my reading saving grace the past two years and I can always count on her books renewing my love of reading.

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Verity by Colleen Hoover

Is this my new favorite CoHo book? Perhaps.

I’m sure y’all know Colleen Hoover is my favorite author and I could go on and on about how much I love her books. I could spend hours talking about how much It Ends With Us means to me. But Verity has stormed into my life and it won’t leave. I’ll admit it took me a few chapters to get into it but as soon as I did, read it in one sitting. I couldn’t put this book down and it blew my mind. I didn’t know what to expect when I started it and seen a handful of people on Twitter and Instagram freaking out over it. It wasn’t long before I was freaking out over Verity and even though its been a couple weeks since I read it, I’m still freaking out over it. I’ve even had to stop myself from rereading it already.

Review: Until the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton

U39727035ntil the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton

Published November 8th 2018

Touching, heartfelt and passionate, UNTIL THE LAST STAR FADES blurs the line between slow-burn romance and women’s fiction, and is a must-read for hopeful romantics, devoted daughters, and the moms they cherish. 

COULD YOU BE THE ONE WHO CHANGES EVERYTHING?

In her senior year at NYU, Riley Hope appears to be on top of the world. With a loving mother who makes Lorelai Gilmore look like a parenting slacker, ride-or-die friends, and a long-time boyfriend destined for the National Hockey League, she puts on a smile for the world. But behind it, she’s drowning. Racked with fears for the future, she battles to stay afloat amid life in the shadows of a heartbreaking illness.

And then, Ben Fagan comes crashing into her life. Twenty-three-years-old, British, and alone in the Big Apple after a disastrous pilot season in LA, the struggling actor is looking for an escape: booze, mischief, sex—minimum commitment, maximum fun—anything to avoid returning across the pond. 

As they form an unlikely bond, Riley keeps her reality from Ben so that he remains a happy refuge. But how long can she hold back the truth…and is Ben keeping his own secrets, too?

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I loved the main characters so much and I thought Riley was so relatable. It was so refreshing to read about a character that deals with anxiety and depression, something I definitely relate to but rarely see represented in books.
I was so invested in the story and couldn’t put this book down, which doesn’t happen that often for me. I went out of my way to make time to read this book and it was definitely worth it. Jacquelyn Middleton never fails to write a book that I fall in love with but Until the Last Star Fades is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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Review: Everybody, Always by Bob Goff

36289256Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff
Published April 17th 2018

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it? 

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Alwaysreveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same.

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I’ve been searching for around for new Christian books to read and I’ve seen Everybody, Always around a lot and so many people have high praise for it so I knew it had to go at the top on my TBR.

I really liked this book but there was a few things here and there that weren’t my favorite.
I did, of course, love the message of the book. Mr. Goff used each personal story as a lead up for how to become love and really express it, which I really liked. I really enjoyed hearing about his life stories and he’s had some very unique ones.
Sometimes I did feel like the stories weren’t very organized and that the book was more of a memoir, which I didn’t mind but it also wasn’t that I expected when I started reading.
I thought it was interesting how casually Mr. Goff mentioned how upper class his life and activities were through out the book. It’s not something I, or many people, can relate to so I felt a pretty big disconnect. I wasn’t really sure if Mr. Goff really noticed how most of the things he mentions are very privileged. Perhaps it’s just the mild disorganized manner of the stories that unintentionally paints that picture but I’m really not sure.

And I also feel the thing that bothered me the most, was something he mentioned towards the very end of the book. He mentioned how he told witch doctors from Uganda to not kidnap children or he’ll kill them. I was so startled by that and honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It felt extremely out of place from the message of the book.
I’m obviously not saying it’s okay for those witch doctors to kidnap children but saying “don’t make me kill you” is a very bold statement.

Other than a few things, I did really enjoy the book and I think the message is so important. I definitely took away from very meaningful things and I would recommend checking this book out. I listened to it on audiobook with Mr. Goff narrating and I really loved it so if you get chance to listen to the audiobook, I definitely recommend it.

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Review: The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

36135426The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

Published January 2nd 2018

Four sisters desperately seeking the blueprints to life—the modern-day retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women like only Anna Todd (After, Imagines) could do.

The Spring Girls—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—are a force of nature on the New Orleans military base where they live. As different as they are, with their father on tour in Iraq and their mother hiding something, their fears are very much the same. Struggling to build lives they can be proud of and that will lift them out of their humble station in life, one year will determine all that their futures can become.

The oldest, Meg, will be an officer’s wife and enter military society like so many of the women she admires. If her passion—and her reputation—don’t derail her.

Beth, the workhorse of the family, is afraid to leave the house, is afraid she’ll never figure out who she really is.

Jo just wants out. Wishing she could skip to graduation, she dreams of a life in New York City and a career in journalism where she can impact the world. Nothing can stop her—not even love.

And Amy, the youngest, is watching all her sisters, learning from how they handle themselves. For better or worse.

With plenty of sass, romance, and drama, The Spring Girls revisits Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, and brings its themes of love, war, class, adolescence, and family into the language of the twenty-first century.

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I’ve tried several times before to enjoy a book by Anna Todd, she seems like such a nice person and I really want to jump on the hype wagon that is her books, but The Spring Girls is no different from her other books.

I felt like the writing was poor and needed better editing, the characters are shallow, boring, and unlikable, and the plot could use a revamp or two.

After about 20%, I decided to speed read through the rest of the book, hoping it would get better towards the end but it didn’t.
I haven’t read Little Women since I was a kid so I don’t remember enough of it to compare to The Spring Girls so I can’t really speak on that aspect of the book. I did think the idea of a modern Little Women was really cool but this book just didn’t do it for me at all.

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Review: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

32991569Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Published September 19th 2017

If you could change your story, would you?

Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is directionless. Then an old acquaintance, the glamorous and capricious Kiran Thrash, blows back into Jane’s life and invites her to a gala at the Thrashes’ extravagant island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.”

What Jane doesn’t know is that at Tu Reviens her story will change; the house will offer her five choices that could ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But every choice comes with a price. She might fall in love, she might lose her life, she might come face-to-face with herself. At Tu Reviens, anything is possible.

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Unsolicited ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher

I wanted to like this book so much. I tried and tried to get into this book but it’s just not happening.
I’ve spent months trying to get through this book but the writing style is so odd, it threw me off. I don’t want to say it’s bad writing but… it’s not for me at all. I spent a lot of this book confused, especially the first few chapters, and I actually double checked to make sure this wasn’t a sequel because I felt like I started in the middle of a series.
I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I struggled to even like any of the characters.
I know some people who really enjoyed this book but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they managed to get through this book. Jane, Unlimited wasn’t for me at all but maybe you’ll like it more than I did.

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Review: Keepers by Sacha de Black

33297377Keepers by Sacha de Black

Published November 2017 

Eden’s life is balanced…
…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.


Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.
 

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I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

This book is everything I want from a YA fantasy. It has awesome characters, great world building, a well thought out plot, and lots of action.
The world of Trutinor is so creative and such a refreshing change from the majority of YA fantasies I’ve been reading lately. Sacha built such an amazing world and she did it in a way that was easy to understand and I was able to picture everything clearly.
I absolutely loved the main character, Eden. She was so well written and complex.
There is a love triangle but I, hater of all love triangles, didn’t mind it at all. There’s just something about how Sacha wrote it that was so well done.
Overall, I really loved Keepers. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. If you’re looking for an action packed YA fantasy, I definitely recommend Keepers by Sacha da Black.

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Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

28421168Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Expected publication: November 7th 2017

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both. 

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An unsolicited ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher. 

Marissa Meyer is a master at writing a bomb YA book. Each new masterpiece she puts out is so creative and actually adds to the Young Adult genre. I was fully expecting to love Renegades and Marissa did not disappoint.
I loved the concept for this book so much. It was really creative and I don’t see a lot of books in the same vein as Renegades in YA.
I also really enjoyed the characters, especially the main character, Nova. She was a lot of fun to read about and such a well written female character.
There was a lot of action through out the whole book and I didn’t think it was slow at all. The plot definitely kept my attention and I absolutely loved how the plot didn’t focus on romance. I’m pretty sure the next book in the series will have more romance in it but for being the first book in a YA series, Renegades was impressively bare of any unnecessary romance.

Overall, I would definitely recommend grabbing a copy of Renegades. It’s one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time and I think it’s well worth your time.

 

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Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Expected publication: November 7th 2017

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for. 

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I was sent an unsolicited copy of this book from the publisher.

I wasn’t expecting much from this book so I was pleasantly surprised by Haven in a few ways.
I really like that this was a fairly unique take on Beauty and the Beast where the guy isn’t the “beast”. I’ve never seen anyone else do that so major props to Mary Linsey.
However, this book was slow for the first quarter or so. The first few chapters were a struggle to get through and I didn’t start to like the book until much later on.
I couldn’t really connect to the characters and they seemed a little lack luster to me.
The writing was pretty good though. I thought the style was nice and very clear.

Overall, Haven was good read but not quite my cup of tea. Even though I really liked the original spin on a very over done concept, my inability to fall in love with the characters was the downfall of this book. I think if you’re a less critical reader, you’ll enjoy Haven a lot more than I did, especially if you like retellings.

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Review: Note to Self by Connor Franta

31443393Note to Self by Connor Franta

Published April 18th 2017

In his New York Times bestselling memoir, A Work in Progress, Connor Franta shared his journey from small-town Midwestern boy to full-fledged Internet sensation. Exploring his past with humor and astounding insight, Connor reminded his fans of why they first fell in love with him on YouTube—and revealed to newcomers how he relates to his millions of dedicated followers.

Now, two years later, Connor is ready to bring to light a side of himself he’s rarely shown on or off camera. In this diary-like look at his life since A Work In Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment—with others and himself.

Told through short essays, letters to his past and future selves, poetry, and original photography, Note to Self is a raw, in-the-moment look at the fascinating interior life of a young creator turning inward in order to move forward.

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I really loved A Work in Progress so I was very excited to start Note to Self. I haven’t seen Connor’s videos so I’m not deeply invested in him which might be the reason I was so disappointed in Note to Self. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the photography in this book. Connor clearly has an eye for aesthetics and he’s work is really inspiring to me. But everything else in this book felt kind of boring and repetitive. I did like most of the poems but the essays just didn’t do it for me. Maybe because A Work in Progress was so open and Note to Self didn’t offer me anything new. I think people who are fans of Connor and love everything he creates will like this book much more than someone like me who just follows him on Instagram for his photography.

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Review: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

35606560The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Published October 3rd 2017

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom

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I don’t know a lot about poetry and I don’t have a lot of experience reading poetry either so I don’t know how much stock can be put into my review. But I really enjoyed The Sun and Her Flowers, maybe even more than Milk and Honey. Even though I really liked Milk and Honey and could relate to many of the poems in that book, I felt like The Sun and Her Flowers was more my cup of tea. I was really inspired by a lot of the poems in this book and many resonated very deeply with me.
I do think The Sun and Her Flowers is worth reading, even if you’re not super into poetry.

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