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Best Books I Read In 2018

This is a queued post, so if I read any especially awesome books in the last 6 days of December I'll add even more ties for tenth place, but in the meantime I wanted to finally get my act together enough to participate in Top Ten Tuesday again. I'm also writing this before I fill out my annual book survey, which either made this harder or is going to make that one easier...not sure which.

Original / party post here.

best books of 2018
note: books are listed in approximate chronological order of when I read them



2. The Ghost at Kimball Hill by

3.To Take a Dare - Crescent Dragonwagon/Paul Zindel
I am still curious how much influence Zindel had here, because this really feels like the other author's story full of details drawn from her life/where she lived then, but it was SUPER vivid and really drew me into the setting, more so than I think I even realized at the time.

4. Like Mandarin - Kristen Hubbard
I waited 5 years to read this and it was just what I wanted it to be.

5. A & L Do Summer - Jan Blazanin
Same for this one.

6. The Fate of Mercy Alban - Wendy Webb
Everything I could ask for in old houses + ghosts + mysteries from the past.

7. Blue Voyage - Diana Renn
"A feast for the senses as the beautiful, exotic location described in sumptuous detail brings several different slices of Turkey to life (no pun intended, because that would be terrifying). From the Riviera to the heart of Istanbul, this is the most fantastic armchair vacation I didn't know I wanted to go on."

8. The Hired Girl - Laura Amy Schlitz.
This just really hit the spot as far as my love of combining old houses and personal history (in the form of a young housemaid's journal) -- really made me feel like i had time-traveled to 1911 and become a contemporary with one of my ancestors.

9. The Lost Hours - Karen White
What Kate Morton's doing for British manors, Karen White is doing for America/The South, basically.

And...oh no. I can't decide who gets the tenth slot, ahhhh! I am too close to the end of the year now to have objective perspective or know which ones made a lasting impact, so here are three tons of titles tying for the last slot:

10. Wild Spirits - Rosa Jordan
This book sold itself on the friendship between a 19-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy, and her taking him under her wing. Right away, that sets off some bells in my head. Skimming through, I see she has a serious boyfriend and gets married young. And let me tell you, right there in the bookstore where I found it, my brain EXPLODED at the possibilities in my hands.

The real reason it made this lI couldn't really explain this on Goodreads, but guys -- guys -- remember how in 2016 I was on my Power Rangers Turbo nostalgia kick and I was all, "MomKat is in fine form in this film, and Tommy also pretty instantly seems to appoint himself the official Big Brother, so again I say, please give me a scenario where [he and Kat] become [Justin's] legal guardians through whatever means necessary."?? And remember how AU Kat in My Great Big Complex Fictional Universe lives on a farm with a thousand pets? THIS BOOK LETS ME IMAGINE BOTH DREAMS COMING TRUE. But minus all the garbage of, you know, show canon about superpowers and evil villains. I am soooo glad I splurged and bought it. Thanks for not having any copies, Minnesota libraries!

11.The Etruscan Smile - Velda Johnston
Italy is kinda hit-or-miss for me, so I did not think it was gonna suck me in nearly as well as it did, but it absolutely captivated me and carried me away, both in the setting and in the mystery.

12. In Real Life - Jessica Love
I ran this uber-cute YA romance two different ways in my head because it's so good that I could not decide which TV-famous faces I wanted to imagine in it, and honestly I have about five more duos I want to run it with still. It seems to be getting harder and harder to find contemporary YA that really hits the spot for me in the romance department, so I love when I hit a home run.

13. If Wishes Were Horses - Jean Slaughter Doty
Technically this is a reread, but it's an elementary or middle school reread that has not been featured on my online reading lists before, so. I haven't finished my review yet but suffice to say that although there is a lot of sadness in this book, it's so so so well written that I've never forgotten it.

14. The Black Spaniel Mystery - Betty Cavanna
The only thing wrong with this book is that it makes me want a black Cocker Spaniel puppy* to cuddle in my arms. Cute puppies, 1940s fabulousness and adventure on every page.

*problem: even if I could afford a dog, I am not sure they make Cocker Spaniels the way they looked in the 1940s anymore. English Cockers are closer, but they're a bit bigger and have longer muzzles than the American ones used to...but modern show-quality American Cockers tend to have overly pronounced brows and somewhat smooshed snouts. I whine about this constantly, but surely anyone who has looked at the photos in Especially Spaniels and/or was born before 1960 would agree with me!
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And if you made it this far, go check out how I did on my 2018 Bookish Resolutions!

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