18 Books of 2018- A Review

Let’s not talk about how it’s practically August already. I don’t even know.

Let’s also not talk about how it’s (over) halfway through the year, and I’m just now talking about the first half. I’m a little behind, but it’s fine. Instead, let’s talk about BOOKS! A few friends and I started a book club this year, and it’s been the best thing. We meet once a month, and it’s so nice to get out, no kids, and just talk some good lit. It’s also been SO amazing for helping me stay motivated to keep reading a priority!

book review blog

If you follow along on Instagram, I try to share what I’m reading on there quite a bit. I just wanted to do a quick brief here, though, too. Some of these were amazing, some ok, and there’s even one that was flat out awwwful. (In my opinion. Everyone’s tastes in books are different, I’m just going to tell you my thoughts.)

I’m also just going to provide a super brief synopsis. For a more in depth version, just click the book title link and it’ll take you to it! Disclaimer that some of these links may be affiliate links, so if the book sounds amaaazing and you buy it, I could receive like, a tiny commission. Thanks for supporting this lil blog!

Nonfiction/Memoir

This. Book. Is. Ah.Mazing. I loved this book so much. I’ll say that I am not usually a fan of nonfiction or memoirs. This is written so much like a novel, and it’s so incredibly touching knowing that this is a real story. You’ll laugh and probably cry. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it’s on my list. Read this. It’s so beautiful.

Nonfiction/Memoir

This came after The Glass Castle but is the prequel, the story of Jeannette’s grandmother. A novelized true life story, I didn’t like this one quite as much as I liked The Glass Castle, but I still definitely think it’s worth reading. Reading The Glass Castle gave me a lot of questions about Jeannette’s parents and grandparents, so reading this book gave me a lot of insight into the family dynamics. I think it’s so important to understand when dealing with such dysfunctional families!

Contemporary Fiction

I feel like this is the new “popular” book, or will be soon. It’s getting turned into a mini HBO series with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, so if you haven’t heard of it before- I think you will soon! This was a book club read, and it was a great novel for discussion! This book is very real life, and it really looks into family dynamics, friendship, parenting, and so much more. Lots of discussion was had on the importance of culture and parentage, right and wrong, and I think it’s a really important book to read in our current times.

Contemporary Fiction

Y’all may remember from my last book-roundup that I am a HUGE fan of Fredrik Backman. In the name of honesty, this was my least favorite of his so far. It took me a long time to get through this one. To be fair, I’m not a fan of books with child narrators. I didn’t really like the tone, I wasn’t a huge fan of the character, and the story got a little too convoluted for me. I think that was a huge drawback for me with this novel. If you like Frederik Backman, I’d suggest giving it a try. However, if you haven’t read any of his books yet, pretty please do noooot start with this one!

Contemporary Fiction

THIS book was phenomenal. I had heard mixed reviews about it, so I was really nervous to give it a go. Beartown made me laugh, cry, and so so angry!! Any book that can emote such strong emotions from me, though, I automatically list as a good book because it takes talent in writing to do that. This book deals a lot of with justice and responsibility, and I think it’s an incredibly important book to read in our current social climate. It left me with a renewed vigor to raise Oliver to know that he alone is responsible for his actions and to raise Zoey to be a confident and strong woman.

Read this.

World Fiction

Home Fire was another book club read. I have mixed feelings about this book. I think it’s important to read, and it definitely created great conversation at our book club. For the first time ever, it also made me feel some compassion for the people who get recruited into terrorist groups. I know that sounds weird, but it really does a great job showing family dynamics and manipulation go into this, as well as the impacts on the family they leave behind. I was not at all a fan of the ending, which is where the mixed feelings come in. It is absolutely worth reading, though, and if you need someone to chat about it with after the fact, hit me up!

 

Russian Literature

Another book club read! A Gentleman in Moscow had been on my to-read list for quite some time, so I was so glad to have this chosen for book club! I liked it. It took me quite a while to get into, but I loved the character and by the middle of the story, I really did get hooked. Generally, Russian lit is not my favorite. This was by far one of the easiest to read, and I think it was just such a good story.

Contemporary Fiction

Let’s just assume half of the books on here are book club reads! I didn’t love this book, but it did a really great job exploring the idea of family and culture and adoption and parentage. It also explores what defines your identity and how do you come to terms with you really are, and it led to some great discussion and thought!

Contemporary Fiction

This trilogy was amazing. If you follow me on Instagram at all, you’ve most likely heard me rave about these books. They’re so funny and well written. The books look lengthy, but please don’t let that intimidate you! They are so easy to read! They’re also just fun and entertaining, so you want to keep reading. Crazy Rich Asians is being made into a movie that’s releasing this month, so if you’re a book-before-the-movie person, get them now!

Fantasy

The Lost Plot is the 4th installment of The Invisible Library series I’ve been reading. Seriously, I just read this to finish out the series. I’m pretty over these books- as good as the first one was, they all went downhill and this one was the worst. If you’re into fantasy and other-world books you may like these, but they are definitely not my fave.

Thriller

Did. Not. Like. I had heard so much hype about this book, and y’all- I was SO disappointed. This may have been one of the most anticlimactic books ever. This was my 2nd Ruth Ware novel and the second one I thought was terrible, so no offense to Ms. Ware, but I think I’m done with her books.

Fiction

This book was really different, and, if I’m honest, I still don’t know how I feel about it. I didn’t really like any of the characters. And by that I mean, I really hated all of the characters. I heard this was labeled as a beach read. I definitely don’t know if I enjoyed it enough that I would want to read it while relaxing on the beach, but it was a great discussion book for our book club!

Classic

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of this book or TV show. Only one of us in our book club had watched the show, and we wanted to read the book before the rest of us started watching. Let me just say that this book…it boils the blood. It’s actually disturbing enough that I don’t think many people in the book club cared to watch the show after reading it. It’s scary how pertinent this book can be to our current society. Not specifically this scenario, but the events that led up to this. I actually wrote a post about it here. Such an important book!

Contemporary Fiction

This book was picked for Oprah’s book club, and again- so important to read! This book really deals with social justice and injustice, and it’s a heartwrenching story that needs to be read. When I checked this out from the library, the librarian told me she had a love-hate relationship with this book. I did not at all understand that at the time but have the same exact feelings myself now. Read this and talk about it!

Thriller/Mystery

I’ve only read one other of Kirstin Hannah’s books, The Nightingale, and I loved it. This book kept me enthralled- I read it in less than 24 hours. However, it was way more anticlimactic than I was expecting. I was sharing about it with my husband and he had some really good ideas about why it was this way. Real life is seldom full explained, but when I’m reading a novel- I want a full explanation! Still good and worth reading, though!

Contemporary Fiction/Mystery

I really like Liane Moriarty. I haven’t read one of hers that I haven’t liked yet, and this one was no different. It kept me reading and kept me interested. I liked the characters a lot, and I’m so excited to see this brought to life in a move soon! I love books that get you into the mind of multiple characters, and the multiple view points you experience throughout this book provide such a complete experience that I loved.

Best books for book club and discussion

PHEW! For me, this is a lot for half the year! I’ve been loving book club to really motivate me to read more, and it’s worked. When life gets really busy, it can definitely be hard to find the time for this, but I’m always glad to have my worldview expanded or travel to distance places and meet fascinating characters.

If you’re looking for more book recommendations, I have a page I try to keep updated where you can check back frequently, so check that out here! And comment below to let me know what you’ve been reading- always love hearing about new books!

Have a phenomenal day!

 

2 Comments

  1. Mary Leigh @ Live Well Play Together

    August 2, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    These all look so good! I am always impressed at how you are able to get so many books read – my pile keeps growing!

    1. Alex

      August 8, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Oh it definitely goes in spurts šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚

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