Favorite Reads of 2018

A65B0907-48A4-4791-8F3A-03776E1DECF7One of my favorite things to do before the New Year is to reflect on the books I’ve read over the past year. Looking back, I’m able to mark the season or time of year by what I read at the time. This year my favorite reads (not all of which were published in 2018) were eye-opening and full of heart.

In no particular order…

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

My expectations couldn’t have been higher for this book because The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite books, but somehow The Great Alone still managed to exceed my expectations and surprise me. The story was compelling from the headstrong main heroine who moves to Alaska with her parents to the ruthlessly beautiful Alaskan terrain that she found herself in. If you take anything from this post, try out this book.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This story seemed take the world by storm this year. In The Power, women become the dominant gender due to the ability to release electric shocks from their fingers. While there are incidents in this book that I don’t necessarily agree with, it has stuck with me for the conversations it evoked and for the female dominated plot.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I’m late to the game here, as I know this has been a popular book for years, but I couldn’t help but adore this story and the old man’s grumbly personality. A story of hope and that it’s never too late to build a life worth living.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Jamie Ford has a beautiful writing style, it’s gentle and vibrantly descriptive. Emotional, but not overpoweringly so. Inspired by a true story, this book centers around Ernest, who is sold at the Seattle World’s Fair as a young boy in 1909. He’s auctioned off to a high-class brothel, where he becomes the new houseboy. I loved the historic Seattle setting!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This was one of the best books I could have picked out for a beach vacation. It was witty, fun and yet also managed to pack a punch and teach some strong lessons. I don’t want to categorize it as a “beach read” because it was so much more than that. I couldn’t put it down!

Circe by Madeline Miller

I really enjoy Greek mythology and after reading Madeline Miller’s Achilles, I couldn’t wait to read more of her work. This story stars a powerful, independent female god in a universe ruled by males. She paves her own path and I was rooting for her the whole time.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeymoon

The perfect combination of heartbreaking and sweetly funny. I don’t know how Gail Honeymoon did it, but I felt like I was smiling and grimacing along with Eleanor’s journey the whole time.

Some of these books were provided to me for free from publishers – thank you for the opportunity to review these stories. Cheers to another year of wonderful books!

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

What would you do if your best friend called you the F word? In Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, F refers to Fat. One morning, Janey is ambushed by her best friend and business partner when he tells her that she needs to lose weight to stay in her position as CEO of their wedding dress business. Understandably Janey is hurt (and pissed).

Over the next three months, Janey goes to great lengths to lose weight. $50 (or more) workout classes. $30 juices. The clay diet. A weeklong fitness retreat. You name it, Janey tried it. It’s clear that this “healthy” lifestyle is anything but being healthy.

Fitness Junkie is entertaining and ridiculous at times, but underneath the silly exterior are very real issues like eating disorders, poor body image, and unrealistic expectations. I appreciate a book that can shine a light on important issues in a way that’s easy to absorb.

Janey’s (fictional) wealth allowed her to take part in all of these extreme and expensive health trends, but many times it veered too far towards the excessive. The fact the Janey could pay for all this extravagance (in NYC no less) without much consideration was a little bit too unrealistic (at least for the majority of people) for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Fitness Junkie and recommend it!