Jennie’s Best of 2018
This is a short list because I decided to confine myself to A category books only. Usually I’ll include at least B+s, but looking at my log this past year I really do think these five represent the best of what I read in 2018.
Bed of Flowers by Erin Satie
My review is here and I gave it a “high A-” – in my book log I actually have it as a straight A. I think either grade is fair – it’s not a perfect book but it made a strong impression on me, and that’s been sadly rare for historical romances for a number of years now. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the “Sweetness and Light” series.
Heartsick by Dia Reeves
This may be my favorite book of the year, though in an inverse of the book above, I originally gave it an A- in my book log then upgraded it to a straight A when I reviewed it. It seems odd somehow that what is essentially a horror novel of sorts has so much heart (and ironic given the subject matter to even talk about “heart” in connection with the book), but honestly Rue is one my favorite heroines of recent memory. I just loved Heartsick.
Calypso by David Sedaris
I’m a fan of Sedaris’ going back a while, and I really looked forward this latest collection of essays, especially after finding his previous book, Theft by Finding (a collection of old diary entries) disappointing. Calypso was a return to form, very funny while also poignantly detailing the vagaries of aging and loss. I gave this an A-.
The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran
I don’t remember this as well as some of the other books on my list, but that’s not surprising given that I read it last January. I do have memories of various plot points but perhaps more importantly I remember how the book *felt* – it was a deeply satisfying historical romance because the characters and their conflict felt so real and understandable. I reviewed it here and gave it an A-.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
After Heartsick, this might be my favorite book published in 2018 – perhaps it’s telling that my two favorites were not romances, but rather fantasy (though two very different types of fantasy). Janine, Jayne, Sirius and I did a massive joint review here – my grade was A/A-. It’s such a complex, beautifully told fairytale.