Maryse’s Top Fifteen Favorite Books in 2018

by Maryse on January 17, 2019 · 24 comments

in Book Recommendations

It’s READY!!! This list is a celebration of my reading year. My favorites from 2018 have been highlighted (note: not all of them were published in 2018, but I read them in 2018 so that counts for me :P ). These aren’t in any particular order (they are all 5 stars or 4.5 stars) but I tell you why I loved each one, I added snippets from each of my reviews, too.

They brought me joy, they brought me sorrow, they gave me chills, they gave me butterflies, they brought me personal growth. These are why I read.

Each one is special to me, and absolutely unforgettable and I must insist… these are MUST READS!!! :D


Heartbreak Warfare by Heather M. Orgeron & Kate Stewart <— EXACTLY what I’m looking for when I want to be taken on a roller-coaster ride of emotional angst that “goes… there“. It made me swoon, it made me nervous, it made me furious. It made me soooooo confused. But most of all, it convinced me that this was real, because every single emotion, thought, and desire (no matter how inappropriate) was authentic, and believable. And to some extent, understandable. I had NO clue how it was going to end, and I loved every minute of it (even when I was hating it!!). 5 stars!! Here’s my Book ReviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

While I was reading this, I LOVED everyone involved. I was so confused, just like the heroine. I was on “both teams” because WHEN we were in “that situation” THAT team was all I could see. All I could feel. All I could love. And then it would switch and I’d be right back there again… but on the OTHER team. It takes incredible emotional writing and detail for me to feel the same way, in both worlds.

My Oxford Year: A Novel by Julia Whelan<— I absolutely loved this journey. The heroine, her amazing life plan and incredible success, her trip to London to fulfill a life long dream, and meeting an annoying (but hot and cocky) local that drives her insane. And then she finds out he’s her professor. Maybe a little “forbidenny” but not really ’cause that’s not against the rules over there, but still… he seems to be keeping a secret (causing her – and us – all sorts of emotional turmoil). Oooooh this one has lighthearted AND angst in spades and I cried my heart out. ;) This story touched me heart and soul. Here’s my 5-STAR PLUS Book ReviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“Yes I’m crying. I won’t tell you why!!!!

  • I could be devastated yet touched.
  • I could be crying of happiness <— I’m good at that too, ya know!

But everything… EVERYTHING I read in this book, I took straight to my heart. I experienced. I fretted. I laughed. I learned. Oh how I have learned. But in the BEST way.”

The Transcend Duet by Jewel E. Ann<— Another love triangle that swept me up in a whirlwind of romantic emotions and indecision when I just couldn’t decide who I loved more. The distinguished, brooding professor, grieving his wife (that she was nannying for, and had an undeniable connection with) or her bad-ass alpha male boyfriend that she was head-over-heels in love with? OH MYYYYY.

It had that delicious “old school indie-romance” feel with a few of the jealous scenes that made me swoooooooon and certain reactions that just stopped my heart, cold. The agony!!! I love a hero who makes it known what he wants, and claims what’s his. And we definitely had two different teams amongst our reading crew on this one. ;) But this one had something… extra, that I was totally into.  A little twist that brings everything full circle. So clever, so unique, and to me? So believable. I won’t say more, because the excitement is in the reveal. And there are two reveals essentially that had me guessing and stressing right to the very end. Here are my 5-STAR reviews of Transcend and Epoch (The Transcend Duet Book 2)And here’s a snippet from my review:

“Oh my what a 5-STAR READ full of intrigue, emotion, intensity, and heartache, and love-triangley delight. And best of all. I love that this author explored something (is exploringsomething) that absolutely fascinates me and always has.

This is my JAM!!!! And apparently it’s OUR jam!!! ;)

Verity by Colleen Hoover <— A psych-thriller right up my creepy-loving alley! And by one of my favorite authors, to boot! This had it all.  An obsessive love story, a disturbed villain, unanswered questions, and a secret-find… full of answers. It’s in this “find” (an autobiography/confession of sorts) that the most depraved and horrendous scenes are depicted. They will haunt you. It was totally what I was in the mood for and it took me beyond all of my guesses. I thought things were obvious but… ;) The reveals and that jaw-dropping ending will blow your mind… and haunt you some more. Here’s my 5-STAR Book ReviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“Was I creeped out and cringing? YES. But who am I kidding? I relish exploring lives through the eyes of the villain and/or the victim. What made this one so captivating was that I was never really sure WHO was the true bad guy. Or I should say… I suspected there was more to it, than the obvious “bad guy”.

Was I right? Was I wrong?

It seemed undeniable, but… you know. Things. ;)

My lips are sealed.”

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find–and Keep– Love by Amir Levine & Rachel Heller <— Something a little different for me to review, but I just loved it, and find it goes well with the self-help “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts“. It really opened up my eyes to relationships and the dynamics (good and bad) between certain couples (married, dating, or even relationships between family and friends). A look into why we are attracted to who we are attracted to, attachment styles (some are anxious, some are avoidant and and some are secure), communication, why we need what we need to feel loved, and how to become more secure and happy within these relationships (or… OUT of them). It’s not a romance book, no, but it sure is about our real life love stories (past, present and future). Here’s my 5-STAR Book Review. And here’s a snippet from my review:

It’s fantastic and eye opening and…. relieving!!!! And the epilogue is EVERYTHING!!! I’d totally quote it here… it answers it all. But I’ll let you read it from start to finish and come to your own personal conclusions and better yet… understanding.

The Wife Between Us: A Novel by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen <— Another psych-thriller that kept me guessing and had a unique reveal/twist that I was so on board with!!! I had all sorts of guesses, and was even doubting which character’s POV we were getting,  but it allllll comes together so cleverly! In fact, my sister and my aunt and my mom all read it too! That copy got passed around and they all enjoyed that little gasp-worthy jaw-dropper in the end. ;) Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“This one will keep you wondering, reevaluating, backtracking, and I have no doubt, gasping in glee when it all comes together. Especially the day after you’ve finished, had some time to refresh, and suddenly it becomes even clearer, in retrospect. Ahhhhhhhhh WOWOW!!!”

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson<— Eeeeeep!!! Another psych-thriller (can you tell I love those??) LOL! I love having NO clue what’s going to happen, and the good ones always have that clever “I didn’t see it coming” reveal. I had been dying to read this since it made Tasha’s best of list last year, and she was right. It was AWESOME. Maybe I was scared for her. Maybe I was scared OF her. Creepy, insidious, and I had NO clue who was telling the truth (I had my own ideas) but that ending was YESSSSSS!!!! Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“…there’s always that level of “what if…?” lurking. Wondering what we’re missing. What we haven’t found out yet. What the potential true reveal will be…. you have NO idea how this one will end, if the truth will ever be brought to light, and what consequences will be faced. Or is it exactly as we understand it to be? Is the reveal and twist going to be something else entirely?

Reveal and twist? Oh yes. There is always that. ;)

Oh my… my friends. This one is FULLY loaded.”

Disturbing His Peace: The Academy by Tessa Bailey <— I can’t help myself. I AM IN LOVE WITH HER COPS!!! He’s the Lieutenant, and she’s in the Academy and the push-pull between these two will drive you crazy in the BEST of ways.

Sure… sure… cute-fluffy book covers, predictable contemporary romance but her characters are SO REAL. Hilarious and cocky, or hurting and self destructive, or moody and brooding, I fell in love with EACH one. I so want to be a part of their family/friends circle. You want something, light and sexy, but with Tessa Bailey’s “story substance”, then I highly recommend these!! Here’s my 4.5 STAR book review. And here’s a snippet from my review:

“Pure romance candy, but Greer is my kind of overbearing alpha. ;)You just have to get through his tough and crunchy exterior and then you get his deliciously sweet and gooey middle. :P *squee!!!*”

The Idea of You: A Novel by Robinne Lee <—- All SORTS of forbiddeny goodness in this one. Not too risqué mind you but enough that you know there’ll be trouble ahead (her teenage daughter is in love with the young singer of a boy band, but HE has eyes for her 40-year old mother!!) *waggles eyebrows*. It’s got that edge that will have you wondering how it could possibly work, and heart aching the whole way through with each obstacle they face. And boy do they. The best guilty pleasure that will have your heart racing, swooning and stressing. Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“It will take you away, in every way.  And not always in the best of ways, but could we expect anything else in such a public, demanding, fantasy-life? With all odds against them? This is THAT journey and OMG what a journey it was. Is? I won’t say much more on that front. Love it or hate it, it will make you FEEL.”

All Your Perfects: A Novel by Colleen Hoover <— Colleen Hoover’s books ALWAYS make my “Best of” lists ’cause she’s just that great of a story-teller. One of my favorite authors from the very start, and she continues to blow me away with each love story, romance, and tragedy. And I can’t help it, marital strife love stories (even with all of their ugly moments) hook me. Always has me on edge, devouring it, crying with the characters, fuming, but always hoping… always hoping. And this one made my blood run cold at one point, and yet, I LOVE it. P.S. We buddy read this one, and we FREAKED out together (I included our freak-out in the review and I’m giggling so hard as I re-read that conversation). Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“…You’ll be hurting with them as they struggle to find their ground again, mistakes made from both sides (the anger, the guilt, the self-blame… ohhhhhh but I could totally understand). Yet when it comes to true love… and Colleen Hoover’s gorgeous storytelling, you can trust that your heart will be soaring. Mine was.”

Tragic (Lark Cove Book 3) by Devney Perry <— Another one of my book “catnips” are sexy but reclusive, moody neighbors that aren’t in the least interested in being friendly. And constant tension that creates when each one has to cross paths, or come to each other’s rescue, and this one had it ALL. The bark and the bite. ;) Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“Yep. She’s plenty social and cheerful and well… neighborly, and she’s grating on his last nerve. OH THE FUN!!!!

Plenty of push and pull …and some heartwarming, cozy-snuggle moments to melt with into a gooey smiling mess. But even better? Some seriously infuriating moments (and sad ones) too. Well-paced, a few gasp-worthy reveals, and the backstories to both main characters had merit and shaped them, just right.”

Forever Right Now by Emma Scott <— Another no-nonsense moody neighbor AND he’s a single dad! Be still my heart. He wants nothing to do with his happy-go-lucky new neighbor, but when she comes to his rescue, he reluctantly takes a closer look. And panicking at what he’s seeing… and feeling. Plus it’s Emma Scott, so you know we’re in for emotion and depth, and an incredible unforgettable love story. Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

I LOVED it. Just a slow-enough burn to make me believe it, and how I loved every single character that brought this story to life. Everyone of them fitting together to solve this puzzle called life, and together, completing each other to make a family, no matter that they might not be family by blood. A truly heartwarming, and fulfilling read, that had me stressing for so many different reasons.

Waiting for the Sun: Waiting for the Sun, Part One by Robin Hill <— And THIS delight written by one of our own from our book crew, but don’t let that fool you. This girl can write, and this has ALL the old-school indie feels that we’re always looking for (friends with benefits, but she’s getting attached and he’s pushing her back). *ooooomph* I was SO hurt. SO mad. I knew exactly where she was coming from (knowing better but just wanting to be with him so badly). Her heart felt like it was mine, and I want more!! Yep… I’m just anxiously awaiting book #2, and growling a little bit over here, ya know. ;) Just teasing my friend. Take your time, ’cause this story deserves everything you’ve got. Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“…Oh the mixed signals. Oh yes. This was one of those “OH NO HE DIDN’T!!!!!!! madmad” books. I was swooning, and then I was fuming and so happy to be feeling that intensely…”

That Guy by Kim Jones <— Hilarious and fun and kind of crazy (but I’m not surprised, since I like to watch this author’s live videos on Facebook. She CRACKS ME UP!!). I don’t read a ton of romcoms (some are a bit too… crude-ish for me), but I DO love them, and this is  a perfect example of my kind of laugh-out-loud relief! The main character is looking for romance-story inspiration (she’s an author) and pretty much hijacks this rich guy’s apartment while he’s away. But then he comes back. OH BOY! Let the crazy begin!! Sure, she’s shameless, but has her moments of insecurities (and I really could connect with her). Loved it! Here’s my 4.5 STAR book reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“You guys. This is a MUST read!!!! Sweet, funny, delightfully predictable, and yet full of its own personal quirks and touches that makes this one unforgettable. It had me laughing out loud MANY times. And that ending. OMG THAT ENDING!! It made me cackle with delight, ’cause… well. You’ll see. ;)

The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent <— The perfect marriage (or so it seems) until the wife goes missing. I loved how it lead me on, having me second-guessing my original suspicions over and over again. I devoured this one in a day ’cause I had to find out and well… I won’t say another word about it. Here’s my 4.5 star reviewAnd here’s a snippet from my review:

“…And so the wild ride begins. A look from past to present… her life as it unfolded within her “perfect/not-so-perfect marriage” to the current investigation that goes national, as all those close to her try and find her (while all of them are scrutinized). Especially by the reader. ;) Oh yes. I guessed and I guessed and I guessed. Everyone is a person of interest…”

Also check out:

➔ My Best Books of 2017
➔ My Best Books of 2016
➔ My Best Books of 2015
➔ My Best Books of 2014
➔ My Best Books of 2013
➔ My Best Books of 2012
➔ My Best Books of 2011

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

R. Renee January 17, 2019 at 4:17 PM

OMG Maryse!!! I was not expecting this at all! I was sitting at my desk reading through your picks on my phone (because I have software that kicks me off my laptop so I can write :roll: ) and I threw it! Luckily I have carpet! Eeeeppp! I’m so excited. And weepy! And I can’t wait to get you book 2. It’s almost fully in Nay’s genius hands.

Maryse January 17, 2019 at 4:19 PM

I can’t WAIT R!!!!!! MY. HEART. CAN’T.

Tasha J January 17, 2019 at 5:37 PM

*jots down every book on this list I haven’t read*. We are SO book twins! I loved the ones you loved, have some of these purchased, some already on my tbr, and now ‘new to me’s’ to add too!
Still really need to get to an Emma Scott book. I feel like I’m missing out.
Excellent list, Maryse! :)

Maryse January 17, 2019 at 6:17 PM

:D !!!

I love being book-twins!

Jenn January 17, 2019 at 6:34 PM

Maryse-love your list and I just got done telling someone after reading back to back heart heavy reads I needed something light and sweet or a thriller-you give me both up there-I love Tessa Bailey as she is my go to when I’m in the mood for that. Great list and thank you for sharing ❤️

Jenn January 17, 2019 at 6:38 PM

Tasha-I read so many of Emma Scott’s books in 2018 and honestly could have put them all on my best of list. I absolutely love her writing and her creation of characters that you fall so in love with you become one with them.

MichelleS January 17, 2019 at 6:53 PM

I read 6 of these! Yippee. Was thinking we went down different roads, but, nope… lots of love for those six, and now there even MORE samples to download.

MichelleS January 17, 2019 at 6:55 PM

Sexy, reclusive neighbor…. love that trope too. Don’t have to read previous books?

Michele G January 17, 2019 at 7:22 PM

Awesome list Maryse! I’ve read and loved 8 of them. Yay! That means I am putting all the others on my TBR, if they aren’t already there…and I’m pretty sure most of them are…can’t wait to dig in!

MichelleS January 17, 2019 at 7:57 PM

I have a “reader question”… don’t know where to post! It’s the book about woman and her ex husband who survive a plane crash. Was on someone’s list recently. Have that “On The Island” itch I need to scratch. Sounds like good fun.

Maryse January 17, 2019 at 8:04 PM

MichelleS! I didn’t read the others. If I can remember right, I do believe she’s a crossover character (maybe a best friend) from a previous book, but this stands alone perfectly.

Nancy Parken January 17, 2019 at 8:08 PM

I loved Tragic, too! Those reclusive neighbors are the best!!

Jenn January 17, 2019 at 8:12 PM

MichelleS-I have not read it yet but that book is Dane’s Storm-Mia Sheridan

Peyton January 17, 2019 at 8:21 PM

When are we getting the sequel to Waiting for the Sun?

bev January 17, 2019 at 8:57 PM

R, I’m so happy for you.

Maryse…..we’re not book twins. LOL.

Interesting to see so much CR creeping in. It seemed like you’ve been reading a lot of psychological thrillers and general fiction.

Leslie M January 17, 2019 at 9:57 PM

Maryse, I love that although our tastes can be quite different, we still have some same faves! I was dying laughing at our freak outs over All Your Perfects.

R. Renee January 17, 2019 at 10:13 PM

Thanks for asking Peyton! So flipping soon. The first 2 chapters are available in my reader’s group and I’m also putting together an ARC list for interested parties. Message me if you’re not on FB. Otherwise,

Maryse January 17, 2019 at 10:38 PM

LOL bev! True… maybe not twins. But sisters for sure. ;)

And I am equally into both genres (but depends on my mood… and since I like a lot of creepy stuff, well.. ;) *snort* )

Tasha J January 18, 2019 at 9:23 AM

Maryse, any chance you could find that book of short stories you read a few months back that were horror stories, I think? I lost the post, it was on a regular Tuesday or Friday one I believe, and I wanted to read them.

Tessa January 18, 2019 at 10:28 PM

*hides face* I’ve read only one book, Robin’s (Which I loved). We are not book twins. :( But The Oxford Year is about a cocky hero? 0.0 That sounds like my type. :D

Marion January 19, 2019 at 1:59 PM

The Idea of You has been picked up to be made into a movie! Yippee!
Great list Maryse

marina January 19, 2019 at 3:36 PM

Love your list Maryse! Have read some and looking forward to reading the others!!

Cheryl January 19, 2019 at 10:11 PM

Have read 5 from your list and loved them too! I think I might read Heartbreak Warfare on my train ride tomorrow. ;)

R., can’t wait!!!!

Rochelle January 20, 2019 at 12:18 PM

These top 10 books are killing me. My TBR list is soooo long. That is good, right? I thought I listened to Transcend and just couldn’t get into it. Then when I saw it on Maryse’s top 15 I thought there has to be something wrong. I had Transcedence by Shay Savage. Couldn’t get into it. I kept thinking what am I missing here. So needless to say Transcend was a one click!

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