Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2018

Happy New Year, friends! I'm writing this a few days before 2019 arrives, and I'm so excited to share some of my favorite reads from this past year before diving into the new one. :)

Compared to the last two years, I read and blogged quite a bit more in 2018, which has been fun! In 2019, I hope to go a little deeper in my blog posts. Not necessarily longer posts—just maybe a bit more personal and creative. Like more devotions or inspirational thoughts on what I've read (instead of standard reviews). We shall see! I also hope to continue reading more of the books I already have, which are many!

Anyway, in 2018 I read more than 75 books. (As compared to about 27 in 2017 and 44 in 2016.) Yay! I met two of my bookish resolutions: reading Mansfield Park and Sense & Sensibility, and reading more than 50 books. I didn't finish going through my stack of older review books, but I did make progress. And 2019 awaits!

Now, of the books I marked as "read" on Goodreads (at least one of which I started before 2018, but still finished this past year), here are my top 10 first-time reads in no particular order...

East by Edith Pattou

This was a gift from a friend that I finally read, and it's epic! Beautiful writing, a fascinating fairy tale, and a vast adventure. 

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

It took a while for me to get into this one, and it's sometimes a slower read, but it truly is wonderful, especially when it comes to the main characters and the wild frontier setting. And that ending!

{Read my review}

Can you believe I've taken so long to start this trilogy? Friends, it's so unique and intense! I'm sure I'll include Price of Privilege (book 3) among my favorites too, but I've just started it. I can't wait to see how the series ends!

{Read my reviews of book 1 and book 2}

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

I absolutely loved this historical novel! The research, the photographs and illustrations, the relationship between the hero and heroine, the charm of it all...so lovely. (And I adore that cover too!)

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

A young-adult romance set (in part) in a cemetery in Italy. This one won me over with its relationships and setting!

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Another sometimes-slow historical novel, but with interesting characters, echoes of Christy by Catherine Marshall, and some thoughts to ponder. A lovely read!

{Read my review}

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I listened to more audiobooks this year, and it's hard to pick a favorite! There were a lot of great ones. (You'll find another in my bonus 5-star list below.) This one is a bit odd and bizarre, but the audiobook experience is just so much fun! The narrator went wild with the characters and accents, and I greatly enjoyed it. Also, G and Jane are the cutest. ♥

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

I'm so glad I finished this before the end of the year; it's definitely worth adding to my top-ten list! It's a beautifully written story (alternating between contemporary and historical) that depicts such powerful hope in tragic and dark circumstances.

{Read my review}

The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder

Okay, the characters in this steampunk story are just so good! Totally the stars of the show. But the descriptions and the fun fantasy adventure are great too. ;)

{Read my review}

The Rose and the Briar by J.M. Stengl

It was hard to narrow down this list; some of the 5-star reads mentioned below are definitely deserving too! But I loved the uniqueness and fun of the stories like My Lady Jane, The Electrical Menagerie, and this one, so I had to pick them. The Rose and the Briar has such delightful descriptions of gardens and magical topiaries, plus a cute Sleeping Beauty romance.

{Read my review}

Other 5-Star Reads...
Thank you for checking out my favorite reads of the year! I'd love to hear which books stole your heart in 2018. :) 


Rissi said...

I have as yet to read Love & Gelato but it's been on my shelf for SO long. Guess 2019 needs to be THE year I remedy this bookish oversight. Same can be said for My Lady Jane, too. I don't know if I'll like this series (because as you say, it does sound a bit bizarre), but it does sound fun. :)

Happy reading, Amber - and 2019!! Hope the year is a wonderful one for you.

PS: so glad to see you back blogging, friend.

MovieCritic said...

All these books sound so good! And you read so many in 2018! I'm so sorry that I wasn't able to participate in your Sense & Sensibility read-along! I really was looking forward to rereading it, but time slips away! I am definitely going to go back and read your thoughts on it!

Miranda Atchley said...

Born of Persuasion was not what I expected but I have liked the other books in the series. The Sound of Rain sounds good and I am totally going to have to check into Tiffany Girl!

Wishing you a very happy New Year filled with lots of great books, Amber!

Amber Holcomb said...


I think you'll LOVE Love & Gelato! It seems right up your reading alley. :) I'm hoping to read Love & Luck (by the same author) this spring!

My Lady Jane is definitely different, but I found it to be a lot of fun, for sure! And there are some adorable romances mixed in.

Happy 2019 to you as well, friend! So grateful for your friendship. Hope it's a wonderful year for you too!


Amber Holcomb said...


These are all awesome reads, for sure! And no need to apologize at all! I totally understand how crazy life can get. I'm happy you got to participate in the Mansfield Park read-along, though! :) Hopefully we can do another read-along or two this year!


Amber Holcomb said...


I hear you! It's such a different, unique series... My mind is a jumble after finishing Price of Privilege last night! I'm not quite sure how I feel about it all. But definitely a thought-provoking and fascinating series!

The Sound of Rain is a great read! Interesting settings and characters. And yes, I do hope you check out Tiffany Girl! It's very engaging; I loved it. ♥ Possibly my favorite of the year, although Hidden Among the Stars is up there, and those YA/fantasy reads are just so good (and different) too!

Wishing you a delightful year ahead, too, with lots of great reads!