Monday, December 31, 2018

Memorable Reads of 2018-33 Best books of the Year

I will pretty it up later, but this post is reserved for memorable reads of 2018, because I have a hard time narrowing down books I've read, here are 33 that I will long remember past 2018. Have you read any of them? (Also, am 33 years old!) In no particular order, here they are...

Big Publisher Reads


The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Why I loved it: I love stories of gender role reversal, and THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang has it in spades. Also loved the romance and the male character.



Splendor Before the Dark by Margaret George

Why I loved it: It's rare to meet a book that dares to break my heart on every single page, but SPLENDOR BEFORE THE DARK by Margaret George is very good at doing just that.


If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim

Why I loved it: I'm not likely to forget a book that explores South Korea post Korean War and that is a beautiful and moving tale of women living during that time.


Eternal Life by Dara Horn

Why I loved it: Normally eternal life equals eternal bareness, but ETERNAL LIFE by Dara Horn is imaginative in asking a question of what happens if eternal life means endless chances for families, and what it would mean for human psyche.


Eagle and Crane by Suzanne Rindell

Why I loved it:  I often dreamt of the movie Pearl Harbor movie being done differently, and EAGLE AND CRANE by Suzanne Rindell was the perfect book to have my own version of Pearl Harbor movie.


The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Why I loved it: While I enjoyed the previous novel, SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE by Kristy Woodson Harvey, in THE SECRET TO THE SOUTHERN CHARM, she is not afraid of delving deeply into the characters and showing the audience their strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. She is also good at answering questions within the story yet leaving enough cliffhangers to keep the audience reading. I also look forward to the last book in the series.


The Sugarhouse Blues by Mariah Stewart

Why I loved it: While I got mere glimpses of Des in the previous book, in THE SUGARHOUSE BLUES, I really get to know her and begin to understand more about her and her personality. I also liked getting glimpses of Allie, and look forward to the third book and final of the series and seeing Allie grow up a lot more.


Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt

Why I loved it: I have previously read THE DARK LADY'S MASK, which I have enjoyed a lot, especially in getting to know Shakespeare and his possible muse, Amelia Bassano Lanier. In ECSTASY, I get to know another forgotten woman, Alma Mahler, wife and a talented musician to the famous composer Gustav Mahler. It's a wonderful tale of a woman who sacrificed much of herself but never let herself go or be forgotten.


Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

Why I loved it: Well written characters, a slice of time and place post WW2, amazing dialogue and a tale that felt short even at 500 pages. It's rare to find a book like that, but in KISS CARLO by Adriana Trigiani, all of those things meet in a delicious and well done package laced with humor, family, warmth and understanding. I sincerely hope to read more by Adriana Trigiani.


Small/Indie Publisher Reads


Camelot's Queen by Nicole Evelina

Why I loved it: Prior to being introduced to Nicole Evelina's Guinevere Trilogy, THE DAUGHTER OF DESTINY and CAMELOT'S QUEEN, I wasn't fond of Queen Guinevere, and had a love/hate relationship with her. After reading the previous two books, I feel as if I can understand her more and much to mine surprise, I will never look at her the way I looked at her before.


Amnesia Nights by Quinton Skinner

Why I loved it: If you love tales that mess with your mind and have a narrator that you can't make up your mind about, then AMNESIA NIGHTS by Quinton Skinner should be the right read. I think I enjoyed trying to figure the story out a lot more, especially since it seemed as if some memories are deceptively simple.


The Jinni's Last Wish by Zenobia Neil

Why I loved it: Looking for an Ottoman Harem tale filled with magic and genies as well as a tale where main character is a eunuch? THE JINNI'S LAST WISH by Zenobia Neil should be on the list. But what I loved about it is the storytelling, the character of the jinni and Olin and how she built up the world from fragments into a beautiful tale of love, passion and deception.



The Hope Fault by Tracy Farr

Why I loved it: It's definitely a tale that I have never read before; my favorite part was of how much secrets and life a person takes with them when they die, and that many of these secrets will never be revealed. I loved the part when the years went back and we experienced life backwards. THE HOPE FAULT by Tracy Farr definitely deserves multiple re-reads.


Before I let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Why I loved it: Previously I haven't read a tale of how much a drug affects relationships, and I haven't known the rule that mothers can have their newborns taken away if they take drugs. Reading BEFORE I LET YOU GO by Kelly Rimmer is a heartbreaking experience of two women because mine heart was literally breaking for the sisters and what happened to them.


Secrets and Shadows by Roberta Silman

Why I loved it: Another novel that deserves a re-read, but its definitely a unique tale of what happened to survivors who should have gone to camps but for one reason or another hid out. SECRETS AND SHADOWS by Roberta Silman also dared to put a face on survivor's guilt so to speak.


House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick

Why I loved it: I think what mainly drew me to HOUSE OF SHADOWS is the fact I didn't know the tale of Winter Queen and her possibly young lover. I also loved the writing and possibility of how lovers are destined to be with one another throughout times.


Red Adam's Lady by Grace Ingram

Why I loved it: From the cover and summary, I definitely thought RED ADAM'S LADY by Grace Ingram will be a typical romance. Oh boy was I wrong, and I am happy to have been wrong. RED ADAM'S LADY by Grace Ingram is a tale of living in medieval ages and what it's like. It's also a tale of slow romance and has all sorts of elements without being overwrought. For people who love medieval ages, RED ADAM'S LADY is not to be forgotten.


The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Why I loved it: Prior to THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON by Rebecca Rosenberg, I knew next to nothing about Jack London nor about Harry Houdini. In this book, I got to know the two couples a lot, and I enjoyed spending time with them. Best parts of the book, in my opinion, are of Mrs. London and Mrs. Houdini and the conversations they held with one another.


An Argument of Blood by Matthew Willis and J.A. Ironside

Why I loved it: It's not my first journey to England and to 1066, and I doubt it will be my last. But in AN ARGUMENT OF BLOOD, certainly made it a very enjoyable read because I got to know William the Bastard as well as Harold's sister that I didn't know about before, and I also loved watching the sister maneuver people and politics like a master chess player.


The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz

Why I loved it: Very often tales of war tend to focus on heroes, on generals and kings who seemed to be removed from everyday action. But in THE SOLDIER'S RETURN by Laura Libricz, the focus is on civilians, in particular women, children and peasant soldiers who are trying to live and survive through war, pillaging, fighting and rape. It's a raw and powerful tale of the futile of war.


Where do I go by Beverly Magid

Why I loved it: When it comes to Jewish fiction, the tales tend to focus more on the negative aspects of immigration, and they also tend to center around WWII. In WHERE DO I GO by Beverly Magid, while she presents some negative immigration aspects, there is focus on importance of family as well as support and of hope for the new world.


Degrees of Love by Lisa Slabach

Why I loved it: A lot of times tales of affairs always has a hero and a villain. But in DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach, there are no villains or heroes; there are merely human beings who make mistakes for better or worse, and this ambiguity is what makes DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach a beautiful and human tale.


The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen  Vol I by Collins Hemingway

Why I loved it: Although I'm not a big Jane Austen fan, I have previously read all of her published books twice, (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY only once,) and I have to say that I strongly loved THE MARRIAGE OF MISS JANE AUSTEN VOLUME I by Collins Hemingway. There are memorable lines, an amazing courtship between Jane and Ashton, and tidbits of ideas that Jane Austen gets for her future novels. Next year, am looking forward to reading THE MARRIAGE OF MISS JANE AUSTEN VOLUME II, and hopefully in the future, THE MARRIAGE OF MISS JANE AUSTEN VOLUME III will be on my radar.


Fresh Fiction Reads

As much as I want to mention why I loved them, I cannot. Instead I will present links within the blog, so the reader can read my reviews in full on Fresh Fiction.


This Life or the Next by Demian Vitanza


Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver


Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan


Vox by Christina Dalcher


Josh+Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren


My Mother's Son by David Hirshberg


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht



The Map that Leads To You By J.P Monninger


Madness Treads Lightly by Polina Dashkova

7 comments:

  1. What a great list! So awesome see so many HFVBT books on here! Thanks, Svetlana!

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  2. Thank you for including THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON, Svetlana!

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  3. I am honored to be included on this list! What great company to be in!

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  4. Thank you, Svetlana, for including The Soldier’s Return in this amazing list!

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  5. What a pleasant surprise for the new year! Delighted to be in such great company!

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  6. Love your list. I read Zenobia Neil’s book The Jinni’s Last Wish, and fell in love both with the book and the author. I also read Vox, by Christine Dalcher, immediately after I read The Handmaid’s Tale. I will also remember this book for a very long time.

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