Your Ultimate Book List for 2019
I love sharing book lists with you all and as an English teacher and lover of literature, I read a ton! Last year I posted about my latest favorites here and this year, I’ve got a brand new set of the top fifteen books I read in 2018. Just like last time, the majority would fall under the “thriller” category; however, I’ve also included several that are “feel good books” or just well-written pieces that I loved. Hope you enjoy! Leave a comment below if you’ve read any of these!
*The text titles link to Amazon and the picture links lead to Barnes & Noble. As always, it is so appreciated if you use one of our links if you decide to purchase.*
Bird Box by Josh Malerman: I talked about this book (and the Netflix movie) on Instagram Stories over Christmas break. While I read it at the beginning of last year, it has stuck with me as a memorable story! The plot is very hard to explain and so unique. Basically, the book tells the story of Mallory as she tries to get to safety from the terrible creatures that have caused mass suicides across the world. If you see the creatures, it causes you to go insane; therefore, all of the characters in the book must remain blindfolded. She must navigate a river without her sight. The book shifts between past and present and gives a great backstory as to Mallory’s character, how she got where she is, and what happened before her journey on the river. Again, very hard to explain but trust me when I say, this is worth a read!!
Tangerine by Christine Mangan: Tangerine would not fall into the thriller category but I thought it was extremely well written. It tells the story of what used to be inseparable roommates. Something happened between them and the book leads up to that conflict. One of the girls, Alice, is married and living with her husband in Morocco. Her ex-roommate and old best friend Lucy comes to try and rescue Alice from her marriage but not without conflict and drama.
Before The Fall by Noah Hawley: This one was such a great read! Eleven people are involved in a private plane crash and the only survivor is a random last minute passenger and the son of a wealthy businessman. You will question everything in this fast paced novel and wonder why the plane went down and whether or not it was an accident.
Promises To Keep by Elizabeth Haynes: This is the author of Behind Closed Doors, another novel that I read (included in last year’s review). It’s actually a short story, which I loved because you can read it in one sitting. A woman discovers a young boy in the woods and because of her haunted past, she brings him to her home. Her partner returns home confused, but there’s a whole backstory here that becomes revealed as the story goes on. A great quick read! It’s also just 99 cents!
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave: Okay I loved this one and it was very different from my norm. Georgia is a bride to be but the story starts as she is driving home to her Northern California family winery. She craves familiarity but when she arrives home, nothing is as it was. Her family is different and even the winery is undergoing change. She discovers that her fiancee, her parents, and her siblings are keeping secrets and her world feels like it’s unraveling. This is the story about a messy family and almost a coming-of-age tale. It’s got every emotion in it but leaves you with a happy heart in the end. I would recommend this as the perfect novel to read on vacation or at the beach.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell: One of my favorites of the year! Laurel Mack lost her daughter Elle ten years ago. She is damaged by the loss of her daughter but starting to put her life back together. When she meets a charming man, it seems as if everything is starting to go right again…until she meets his young daughter who looks exactly like her lost daughter. It’s a psychological thriller that will keep you turning the pages at night to get to the bottom of it!
Awake by Natasha Preston: Scarlett can’t remember anything before the age of four. She’s a teenager now and meets an amazing guy who seems to have everything that Scarlett could want. But as she starts to regain some memory, she discovers a crazy past that is buried deep within her. Although this book isn’t eloquently written (I think it’s actually young adult fiction), I still enjoyed the story. Sometimes an easy, quick read is what you need and this book did just that for me.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh: A mother’s life is shattered on the day that her son runs into the street and is killed by an oncoming car. The story follows her grief and the investigation behind the accident. As the story deepens, you start to question if it was even an accident at all. The critics compared this one to Girl On The Train and Gone Girl.
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James: This one was wonderful! Told in past and present intervals, the story is about an all-girls boarding school in Vermont and the troubling past it holds with a disappearance, and the present state it’s in with a body surfacing. A reporter is tied directly to the case and she tries to get to the bottom of the detailed, in-depth mystery that spans over years and years.
The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell: I’ve read and loved all of Lisa Jewell’s books in the past and this one is no exception. SO good! Adrian is a successful man but he’s on his third marriage when his wife dies in a tragic accident. He still keeps up with his previous wives and even holds family vacations with all of his kids and family together. As the plot deepens, he starts to wonder whether or not his third wife’s death was truly an accident as he discovers clues and a shocking past.
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena: I flew through this book like lightening and could not put it down! It’s the perfect winter read, a “whodunnit” novel in its truest form. Set in the snowy region of the Catskills at a remote B&B, a number of guests arrive for what they think is a lovely weekend away. When a storm rolls in and eliminates power and a dead body is found, the guests begin to panic. When a second guest dies, the thought that someone is a murderer begins to creep into the mind. Told in varying perspectives of each guest, you’ll be given clues to decipher who is the unwanted guest in this chilling tale of a murder mystery. This one may have been my favorite of the year.
I Found You by Lisa Jewell: Another Lisa Jewell novel! Single mom Alice finds a man sitting on the beach in the middle of a crazy rainstorm. He doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, and has no form of identification. She takes him in, and together, the two try and decipher his past and why he’s here. The book bounces from his past (giving snippets) and his present and you are left to put the pieces together in the same way that he puts his memory back together.
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo: This was on Reece Witherspoon’s recommended book list and I absolutely loved it. It’s written almost poetically and gives the love story of two people who actually aren’t together. Lucy and Gabe met at Columbia University but ultimately go their separate ways toward meaningful causes: Gabe to report from Iraq and Lucy to pursue a career in New York. The novel is a powerful story of first love and a crazy ending that I couldn’t stop thinking about!
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sagar: This is a great “summer camp” mystery book for adults! The story reflects between past and present. Emma Davis attended Camp Nightingale as a teen and three of her friends went missing and never returned. Now a successful artist and adult, Emma has been invited to help reopen the camp. At first she is hesitant, but ultimately accepts the offer, hoping to get some closure. While she is there, it seems as if the past repeats itself in some ways and she discovers clues that point to the answer she’s been searching for all these years: What happened to her friends?
Whiskey In A Teacup by Reece Witherspoon: I love a coffee table book that reads like a true story and Reece Witherspoon’s Whiskey In A Teacup is the perfect combination of southern sass, fabulous recipes, and a great story that you won’t want to put down. I’ve read it cover to cover and have recipes bookmarked and dog-eared for later. I think this would be an awesome hostess gift, or even just a great birthday gift for mom or a southern girl in your life. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s gorgeous and looks great sitting out on any coffee table.