what rad reads 2018

2018: A Bookish Year in Review

2018: A Bookish Year in Review

2018 was a good year for reading! Lots of diversity (thanks to my goal to focus primarily on books written by women and people of color), lots of 5-star reviews (and a few duds, as per usual), lots of library snags and book sale grabs, lots of fun fiction and meaningful memoirs and impactful nonfiction, and just a lot of goodness overall.

Book by Book: My December 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My December 2018 Reads

The last month of the year — yay! I crossed the finish line of my 2018 reading goal of 150 books this month just in the nick of time, hitting a total of 152. Here’s what I read in December!

Book by Book: My November 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My November 2018 Reads

I was off to a strong start in November… and then didn’t read at all for like two weeks. Times like these are when I’m glad I had some buffer in my reading goal progress!

Book by Book: My October 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My October 2018 Reads

Ten books this month (three of which were an awesome new trilogy!) and some real winners in the bunch — check out what I read this October.

Book by Book: My September 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My September 2018 Reads

Something about the anticipation of fall just puts me in the mood to curl up and read ALL THE BOOKS… which I clearly did this month!

Book by Book: My August 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My August 2018 Reads

August… the month where it's too miserable to be doing literally anything else but reading inside where there is AC. Ya feel?!

Book by Book: My July 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My July 2018 Reads

This month did not disappoint when it came to diverse and fun reads.

Book by Book: My June 2018 Reads

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It always amazes me (but I guess probably shouldn't by now) how many books I devour in the summer! It's the best season for light, fun fiction reads and summer reading guides (shout out to Modern Mrs. Darcy for the recommendations of SO MANY of the books I read this month!) and great new releases... this month was full of a TON of winners.

We'd love for you to link your latest bookish blog post with us at the bottom of this post -- the more book recs, the better, I say!

HERE'S WHAT I READ IN JUNE:


From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I looooved When Dimple Met Rishi by Menon, and was quick to snag this new release— it’s just as great! It was a little slower to start, but it’s YA fiction at its quirky, lovable, enjoyable best. Love the diversity of characters, the way this one is told through letters to directors this aspiring film fan adores, the surprises in the plot, and the endearing earnestness of it all. Read it in one sitting and was sad there wasn’t more! Hope there are many more to come from this author.

MY RECOMMENDATION:


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: Stayed up past my bedtime to finish this one, so you know that’s a good sign! Such a fun (predictable in the best way) rom com/chick lit book, with some new twists and great characters (with biracial love! and friendships!) that made it a delightful read. This one is sexy and a little steamy but sweet too— a great late night read.

MY RECOMMENDATION: If you like romances, chick flicks, and great love stories, grab this one.


Gospel Medicine by Barbara Brown Taylor

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: BBT is my girl. I met her in real life last year and it’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! She is BRILLIANT and wise and these words are straight up power— soaked them up, savored them, already want to read them again. (but I have new books by her to read so I can share a post of where to start reading her books!)


I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: I loved every single thing about this book. It’s perfect. I devoured it. I didn’t see the storylines coming. I was surprised by it. I was so drawn into it. I loved the characters. I loved the parallel points of view. I found it poignant but not heavy handed, lovely and not long winded, compelling and captivating and clever. There’s mystery, there’s drama, there’s romance... this book has it all. Best fiction I have read in A LONG TIME.

MY RECOMMENDATION: READ THIS BOOK THIS SUMMER. My #1 recommendation these days!


That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: This one surprised me— first that it was about motherhood but was written by a man (not a bad thing, and surprisingly didn’t read like it was from a man’s voice, yet still felt slightly detached) and second that the story arc played out like it did. It’s a character development story much more than a plot driven one, which I tend to enjoy. I didn’t find Rebecca (the mother) to be particularly warm or endearing, but I was still drawn into the story by what felt like a constant undercurrent of tension and uncertainty. She has a son and then adopts a son of a different race, and while I thought there could have been so much more said about the dynamics and challenges there, they were addressed honestly and in a way that felt relevant to a story set several decades ago. Overall, this one was a slow burn but a good read that surprised me!


Listening Below the Noise: The Transformative Power of Silence by Anne D. LeClaire

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. It’s probably wrong to yell at you about a book about silence... but I cannot express to you how much I loved this book, needed to read it right now, found it inspiring, and found it to be a much needed breath of fresh air. So so so glad I randomly grabbed it at @chopsueybooks this week! Basically underlined every other sentence, and already want to read it again. I’m seriously considering starting my own day of silence rhythm now...

MY RECOMMENDATION: Introverts especially will love this one, but I think anyone feeling burned out or burdened by all the noise and chaos of life will find this refreshing.


Party of One: Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness by Joy Beth Smith

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: This book has been on my radar for ages, but I’ve kept putting it off and putting it off... until this week felt really hard and lonely being single. And I’m so glad I read it now— it was honest, refreshing, light and beautifully deep at the same time, not cliche or trite or cheesy, and really just the book I’ve wanted to read on all things singleness for SO LONG. @jbstwocents knocked it out of the park with this one. A real winner, this one!

MY RECOMMENDATION: I wish I could give a copy to every single gal I know, to everyone on staff at my church, and even my married friends so they can’t understand where I’m at.


Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: This was another light, fun, easy, breezy summer read -- a friend recently gave me a huge stack of Emily Giffin books and I'm loving mixing them in among my more serious books! 


The Most Beautiful Thing I've Seen: Opening Your Eyes to Wonder by Lisa Gungor 

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: I have long followed @gungormusic, loved their songs, and appreciated their journey of deconstructing and exploring faith. This book from @lisagungor tells the story beautifully— her voice is a lovely one and her journey relatable and real. There were times the stories felt scattered and the thread hard to follow, and I honestly wanted to hear so much more about her unraveling and rebuilding, but I read this in one sitting all the same.

MY RECOMMENDATION:  If you’re wondering where you fit in the faith world, if you’ve had a life event radically alter everything about who you are, if you just love the band Gungor, and if you love stories of family and humanity and belief, grab this one!

THANKS TO: BookLook Bloggers


Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: Mannnnnn, THIS BOOK. Lived up to all my love for Beartown (this one is the sequel!) and took it even further. The writing is SO engaging and you get sucked into the story immediately. I admit I love that it’s centered around hockey as I’m a huge fan, but you don’t have to be to love these stories. The characters are so real— layered and tortured and genuine and messy, and you will feel all the things about them. Backman’s ability to tell a story about people and place and sport and heart and soul and tension and love and loss and winning and losing and ALL THE THINGS AT ONCE is astounding.


The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I mean I would have picked this one up SOLELY for that beautiful cover, but I really enjoyed the story too! Character focused (my favorite) with a lot about music (which I loved even though I’m not a serious musician myself) and a lot about friendship and relationship dynamics (which I find fascinating). It didn’t feel light or breezy, but had a sort of weight to it that I appreciated and that felt honest, perceptive, and introspective.


Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: Winsome and whimsical and wonderful and worth a read. Bob inspires me to live better, bigger, and more like Jesus. It’s a gift.

MY RECOMMENDATION: If you want to take everything fancy out of faith and boil it down to just love, and want to be inspired to live openly and wildly, grab this one.


The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: This was a fun one— it was like a bookish reality show combining Teen Mom and 19 Kids and Counting and a cult and some kind of televangelist... haha! It tackles some big issues (religion, pregnancy, sexuality, cults, murder, violence against women, class, etc!) but wasn’t heavy, told the story from multiple characters’ perspectives without getting confusing (although i think i would have enjoyed less of the Liberty Bell character/story), and kept you hooked with just enough mystery, suspense, secrecy, and drama. There were some loose ends throughout that left me wanting more, and some things that didn’t quite click for me, but overall I was rooting for Essie from the beginning and didn’t want to put this down without knowing how things played out for her in the midst of some wild situations and really hard decisions. (There are some potentially triggering things in this one so if you’re sensitive to violence against women, it might not be the book for you.) Can’t wait to read more from this author— this was QUITE a debut novel!


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: Fiiiiinally got to this one, but guys, I was underwhelmed. I think most of it has to do with the fact that I’ve never lost anyone in my life, so grief over the death of a loved one is foreign to me. I thought there was wise advice here, touching stories, and a really honest look at what it means to “kick the shit out of option B” but it just wasn’t a book I needed at this stage in my life. Holding on to this one for when the day inevitably comes that grief knocks on my doorstep, though!


The Dry by Jane Harper

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: Couldn’t put this one down all day yesterday — such a great mystery that kept me so hooked and had me second guessing everything. Loved this one.


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Add your links here if you blogged about books this month-- and be sure to browse around the other links and find new bookish friends! For bonus points, challenge yourself with one of the reading prompts below!

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Book by Book: My May 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My May 2018 Reads

I never know how birthday month will go when it comes to reading-- it always feels like the month flies by and is full of fun activities, but I'm glad I was able to crush my 12 book goal this May after all!

Book by Book: My April 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My April 2018 Reads

I spent this whole month thinking I had made my yearly reading goal 200 books and consequently feeling the pressure to read a ton... turns out it's only 150 and I'm actually on track!

Book by Book: My March 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My March 2018 Reads

Goodreads is (kindly) reminding me I'm 4 books behind schedule on my reading goal for this year... yikes. The stacks look impressive, but I'm not counting kid lit books toward my yearly goals...

Book by Book: My February 2018 Reads

Book by Book: My February 2018 Reads

It was a month of a lot LESS reading than normal, but the ones I read were great, and I discovered a new kind of literature I cannot get enough of...

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