Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Best Books of 2018: Top Ten

2018 was a bit of an odd reading year for me. According to Goodreads, I read 104 books, and I can think of a handful of others that I read but didn't review, so the total is probably closer to 115. But out of all of those books, I didn't have that one read that made me think, "This is it—I bet this will be my favorite book of the year!" Don't get me wrong: I read a lot of great books, and some I identified immediately as ones that would probably make this list, but not one stood far out from the rest as the book of the year. I'm still ranking these books from ten to one (as I always do), but I might feel differently about the order tomorrow 🤣.

Each book title is linked to the Amazon page (affiliate link), and I'm including a bit of my reviews to give a taste as to why I liked the books. I'm also linking up with Top Ten Tuesday ... which is what pushed me to actually get this list finished today!

10. Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren (my review

I read three books in Warren's Montana Rescue series this year. I gave all three of them 5 stars, but this one gets the edge because it was finally Ian & Sierra's story!
In previous books, while I really wanted Ian and Sierra to be together, I wasn't a huge fan of Ian as a person. But in this book, we get a look at Ian's past (it was not at all what I expected), and he became much more sympathetic. I also appreciated that the Esme story (which began with her disappearance in If Ever I Would Leave You) largely wrapped up, though there's still a bad guy to get in the next book!

9. Searching for You by Jody Hedlund (my review)

I'm going to tell you something here that I didn't state in my review, as it's not mentioned in the back cover copy and came as a complete (and pleasant) surprise: This is a marriage of convenience novel! (Insert happy dance.)
Of the three Neumann sisters, Sophie started out as my least favorite, but her love story is the one I enjoyed the most. I also appreciated this look at the darker side of the Orphan Trains: some of the characters ended up in abusive situations; not every family was as good as the one that took Sophie in.

8. Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter (my review)

This is the second marriage of convenience novel on my list—only this one is contemporary. Hunter's The Convenient Groom is my favorite marriage of convenience novel, and this one is nearly as good!
This book combines two of my favorite tropes: friends to lovers and marriage of convenience. And it's done in such a compelling—and swoon-worthy—way. Brady and Hope have been friends forever (she's his sister's best friend), and when, in the midst of a custody battle over Brady's son, Brady's attorney mistakenly believes Brady and Hope are engaged, they decide to go with it.

7. Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller (my review)

Carolyn Miller's regency romances are always so enjoyable! I especially loved Winning Miss Winthrop ... for reasons you'll see below.
Fans of Jane Austen's novels will love this latest regency novel from Carolyn Miller. Winning Miss Winthrop has shades of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility, coupled with a mother who feels ripped from the pages of Pride and Prejudice. (Seriously, every time I read Catherine's mother's lines, I heard Mrs. Bennet, the 1995 miniseries version, in my head.) The story doesn't feel like a copy of Austen, though—instead, it feels like it fits right into Austen's world.

6. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (my review)

This You've Got Mail-esque YA novel is a pure delight! While I enjoy most everything Kasie West writes, this is far and away my favorite of her novels.
I don't want to go much into the romance, as that would give away the identity of the letter writer, so just let me say that the romance is so cute and fun! Plus, Lily's big, crazy family is absolutely delightful, and her relationship with her best friend is an example of a great female friendship.

5. Mind Games by Nancy Mehl (my review)

This was the last book I completed in 2018, and I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it! 
Mind Games is a thrill ride from beginning to end! I kept changing my mind as to the killer's identity; when the person was finally revealed, I had it narrowed down to two. The killer does make sense, but I also understand why it took Kaely so long to identify the killer.

4. The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin (my review)

Is it any surprise that a Sarah Sundin book ended up on my list? (The answer is no; one of her books has made the list each year since I started doing favorite yearly reads.) This is the first book in Sundin's new series, and I can't wait to read the rest!
I absolutely flew through the pages as the story developed, and I loved the conclusion—one that I didn't anticipate but that was absolute perfection.

3. A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund (my review)

A Loyal Heart is the fourth book in Hedlund's medieval YA romance series (book three, For Love & Honor, made last year's top ten list). A fifth book, A Worthy Rebel, released later on in the year; if I didn't have a (self-imposed) policy of only having one book from a series on each year's list, it would've made the cut, too. (See my review here.)
This. This is the type of novel our teen girls should be reading! A Loyal Heart is gorgeously romantic. It features a strong woman and a swoony hero. And it brings up issues today's teens deal with like family loyalty, purity, and whether the ends justify the means.

2. Falling for You by Becky Wade (my review)

While I didn't love this book quite as much as I loved True to You (which would be very hard to do, as that was by far my favorite book of 2017), it was still excellent—far above almost everything else I read this year.
By now, I should know to expect more from a Becky Wade book than "just" an incredibly engaging, chemistry-filled romance. Still, I found myself surprised by how emotionally invested I became in the non-romance plot lines. I was reading during my lunch break when I reached the resolution of the Josephine mystery ... and I had to stop reading, as I started tearing up. Best to wait until I could cry in the privacy of my own home! Then at the end of the novel, Corbin's relationship with his father brought me to tears, and those tears continued until I closed the book with a sigh and a smile.

1. No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert (my review)

This is a heartbreaking, uncomfortable novel that is so timely. I can't say that I loved reading it (because it was hard and heavy and important, so reading it wasn't "fun"), but it certainly impacted me.
What follows is a thoughtful, heartbreaking look at race relations in the United States told through the experiences of one school district in Missouri. 
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And what was your favorite book of 2018? I'd love to know!

See my lists from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. I've only read 3 of these but I agree they should be on top ten list! (Falling for You, No One Ever Asked, and PS I Like You)

    1. Glad to hear you liked them, Toni! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I haven’t read any of these, but i do *intend* to read No One Ever Asked and P.S. I Like You!

    1. You know, I actually believe you on these!

  3. I love Jody Hedlund's writing and Kaise West as well. Great list you've put together! Here is My Top Ten.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cristal! Off to check out your list now :-)

  4. Wow! I think I’ve only read one of the books on your list(also on my list). I have some new books to look forward to!

    1. I saw that we had that book in common! Happy reading, Becky, and thanks for stopping by!


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