[BEST OF: 2018] Most beloved books of 2018 ft. @OneworldNews @BelgraviaB @QuercusBooks @OtherPress @MantleBooks and more

First of all, Happy New Year. I want to thank you all for visiting and commenting on Breathing Through Pages in 2018 and making me want to continue blogging and sharing book love with you. I want to thank all of the publicists and publishers as well for being so kind with sending books this way! Seriously, thank you for making my little corner of the internet a joyous one.

BEST BOOKS OF 2018

Now, before I begin with sharing which books I liked last year I just want to note that none of these books are rated from ‘1 to 10’ or ‘worst to best’ etc. I just felt like doing a post reminding you, the readers, as well as me of the books I enjoyed a lot in 2018. With each book I will be posting a short comment on it as well as a Goodreads link so you can add it//them to your TBR pile.

BEST OF 2018

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne published 14th December 2017 by Black Swan.

I read this book earlier in January of 2018 and absolutely loved it. This was my first Boyne novel and it was filled with such interesting characters and I couldn’t look away from it. I was totally immersed in it.

Read my review of it. 

The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien, translated by Adriana Hunter published 4th January 2018 by Oneworld Publications.

I love reading memoirs and this book was so good! The horrific childhood of Maude Julien was so, well, horrific to read but also very fascinating and interesting. If you’re someone who loves reading memoirs this is the one you must pick up!

Read my review of it.

Educated by Tara Westover published 20th February 2018 by Random House.

Another fantastic memoir I highly recommend you pick up! Westover writes so well and her upbringing is something you’ll find so interesting. It’s one of those books that stay with you and make you think about them long after you’ve read them.

Read my review of it.

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara published 1st February 2018 by Oneworld Publications

This book is very special to me – from the moment I saw it I fell in love with that cover and when I read it I just got lost in the NYC ball scene and the lives of many LGBTQ+ characters. Such a fantastic debut! It’s the one I’ll never stop shouting about because I want everyone to read it.

Read my review of it.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin published 4th January 2018 by Tinder Press.

If you’re someone who’s active on social media and ‘the book world’ there’s a high possibility you’ve heard of this one. A family saga following four siblings who go to a fortune-teller to find out their death dates. I mean, come on. Read it.

Read my review of it.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara published 1st March 2018 by Faber&Faber.

Amazing true-crime novel. Worth every hype it got and praise it still gets. A must read.

Read my review of it.

VOX by Christina Dalcher published 23rd August 2018 by HQ.

This is a debut dystopian novel from Dalcher which I found to be pretty great and entertaining. I especially loved the use of the author’s profession in the book.

Read my review of it.

Kill For Me by Tom Wood published 26th July 2018 by Sphere.

This book came at the right time for me and I devoured it. Kill For Me is so entertaining and fast-paced you just can’t look away from it! Definite recommendation for thriller lovers.

Read my review of it.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton published 20th September 2018 by Mantle.

It’s Kate Morton. Although not one of her best it’s still worth reading..

Read my review of it.

The Incurable Romantic and Other Unsettling Revelations by Frank Tallis published 6th June 2018 by Little, Brown UK.

I loved reading Tallis’ stories about love and obsessive love. If you love psychology books I recommend you pick it up because it’s so interesting as well as fascinating!

Read my review of it.

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman published 11th September 2018 by Ecco.

I’ve read mixed reviews on this one but my personal experience of it was very enjoyable. I loved this book. Yes, it did read like a long thesis on Nabokov but I still loved it. True crime lovers – it’s a good one!

Read my review of it.

True or Poo? by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti published 18th October 2018 by Quercus Books.

A lovely short book that contains many interesting facts about animals and many animal things. It also has some fantastic illustrations!

Read my review of it.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker published 30th August 2018 by Hamish Hamilton.

My experience with this book was positive and I just love stories like this. A must read.

Read my review of it.

The Syndicate by Guy Bolton published 20th September 2018 by Oneworld Publications.

Noir crime book, I was sold. I loved reading this one. Bolton is the one to watch.

Read my review of it.

Little by Edward Carey published 4th October 2018 by Aardvark Bureau.

The illustrations inside done by the author are fantastic. The story inside is such a memorable one. I just love this book so much! It’s in my heart.

Read my review of it.

The Parting Gift by Evan Fallenberg published 4th September 2018 by Other Press (NY).

Such a fantastic one! It reminded me of Gone Girl in a way. Read it, yes!

Read my review of it.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton published 1st October 2018 by Bloomsbury UK.

Believe the hype. I found it to be a very interesting book and very original. Definite recommendation.

Read my review of it.

A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley published 1st November 2018 by Quercus Books.

An important work of literature. I teared up a few times reading it. I cannot wait to read more of Melvin Kelley in the future. Read it.

Read my review of it.

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup publishing on 10th January 2019 by Michael Joseph.

This one is not out yet but since I read it last year I’ve decided to add it here. It’s a debut from the producer of The Killing. I found it to be an awesome thriller book.

Read my review of it.

THE END

Thanks for reading this blog post. Do you agree with my picks? Would you add any of them to your TBR? Let me know below in the comments.

[2018-READING-LIST] Books I’m planning on reading this year

Last year was a somewhat great reading year for me [I just wish I read more books]. I discovered many authors and read some excellent books that will stay with me for a while. I have decided to make a to-read-list post because I want to share with you my potential TBR for 2018. This year will be very busy for me so I’ve set a goal of 10 books this year but I have more on my 2018 TBR. I really hope to get to them all this year because they all sound wonderful and I am very excited to read them all! Some of the books are 2017/18 ARC’s and some are my own copies of books. *

*this list might get updated because of other new books coming out this year.

Let’s begin:

The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien

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Maude Julien’s childhood was defined by the iron grip of her father, who was convinced his daughter was destined for great deeds. His plan began when he adopted Maude’s mother and indoctrinated her with his esoteric ideals. Her mission was to give him a daughter as blonde as she was, and then to take charge of the child’s education. That child was Maude, on whom her father conducted his outrageous experiment—to raise the perfect ‘super-human’ being.

The three lived in an isolated mansion in northern France, where her father made her undergo endless horrifying endurance tests. Maude had to hold an electric fence without flinching. Her parents locked her in a cellar overnight and ordered her to sit still on a stool in the dark, contemplating death, while rats scurried around her feet.

How did this girl, with her loveless and lonely childhood, emerge so unscathed, so full of the empathy that was absent in her childhood? How did she manage to escape?

Maude was sustained by her love of nature and animals and her passion for literature. In writing this memoir, Maude Julien shows that it is possible to overcome severe trauma. She recounts her chilling and deeply moving story in a compelling and compassionate voice.

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann

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In the seventeenth century, the English Revolution is under way. The nation, seething with religious and political discontent, has erupted into violence and terror. Jacob Cullen and his fellow soldiers dream of rebuilding their lives when the fighting is over. But the shattering events of war will overtake them.
A darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession, As Meat Loves Salt is a gripping portrait of England beset by war. It is also a moving portrait of a man on the brink of madness. Hailed as a masterpiece, this is a novel by a most original new voice in fiction.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

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In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump -the Salt Line.-

How far will they go for their freedom–once they decide what freedom really means?

In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line–a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks–and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.

The Locals by Jonathan Dee

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A rural, working class New England town elects as its mayor a New York hedge fund millionaire in this urgent and inspired novel for our times.

Mark Firth is a home builder in Howland, Massachusetts who, after being swindled by a financial advisor, feels opportunity passing him and his family by. What future can he promise to his wife Karen and their young daughter Haley? When a wealthy money manager, Philip Hadi, moves to Howland to escape post-9/11 New York, he hires Mark to turn his his house into a secure location. The collision of these two men’s very different worlds — rural vs urban, middle class vs rich — propels Jonathan Dee’s powerful new novel. After the town’s first selectman passes away suddenly, Hadi runs for office and begins subtly transforming the town in his image with unexpected results for Mark and his extended family. THE LOCALS is that rare work of fiction capable of capturing a fraught American moment in real time. It is also a novel that is timeless in its depiction of American small town life.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

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With the publication of her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters’ inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers’ finest work, and an enduring masterpiece.

At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small-town life. When Singer’s mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book’s heroine (loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Brilliantly attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated–and, through Mick Kelly, to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

The Blind by A.F. Brady

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‘Taut and intelligent’ Prima

‘Utterly addictive’ Lisa Hall

Every morning, psychiatrist Sam James gets up at six forty-five. She has a shower, drinks a cup of coffee, then puts on her make-up.

She ignores the empty bottles piling up by her door.

On this particular morning, Sam is informed of a new patient’s arrival at Manhattan’s most notorious institution. Reputed to be deranged and dangerous, Richard is just the kind of impossible case Sam has built her reputation on. She is certain that she is the right doctor to treat such a difficult patient.

But then Sam meets Richard. And Richard seems totally sane.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

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WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?

When beloved high school student Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched – not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the police officer assigned to investigate. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters – Cameron, Jade, and Russ – must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.

In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka explores the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between reality and memory. Intoxicating and emotionally intense, Girl in Snow is a gripping debut novel that will linger long after the final page is turned.”

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

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In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

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In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

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In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing. Drawing: Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.

Now, after a decade of striving, the two are finally celebrating the release of their first full-length feature, which transforms Mel’s difficult childhood into a provocative and visually daring work of art. The toast of the indie film scene, they stand at the cusp of making it big. But with their success come doubt and destruction, cracks in their relationship threatening the delicate balance of their partnership. Sharon begins to feel expendable, suspecting that the ever-more raucous Mel is the real artist. During a trip to Sharon’s home state of Kentucky, the only other partner she has ever truly known—her troubled, charismatic childhood best friend, Teddy—reenters her life, and long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

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When Margaret’s fiancé, John, is hospitalized for depression in 1960s London, she faces a choice: carry on with their plans despite what she now knows of his condition, or back away from the suffering it may bring her. She decides to marry him. Imagine Me Gone is the unforgettable story of what unfolds from this act of love and faith. At the heart of it is their eldest son, Michael, a brilliant, anxious music fanatic who makes sense of the world through parody. Over the span of decades, his younger siblings–the savvy and responsible Celia and the ambitious and tightly controlled Alec–struggle along with their mother to care for Michael’s increasingly troubled and precarious existence..

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

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Are any of these books on your TBR list as well? Have you read any of them? If so, do tell in the comments 🙂