Reader Favorites – bev’s Best Books of 2018 List

by Maryse on January 3, 2019 · 23 comments

in Book Recommendations

It’s bev’s turn!!!! I love that even though bev has been in a bit of a book slump this year, she’s been just as enthusiastic about hanging out with us here and letting us into her life in ALL the things that interest her right now (books, K-drama and otherwise). ;) And she got a new dog  this year, too! Who just happens to be a bed hog! LOL!!

bev: This is my very small best of list. As many of you know I hit a major slump last year and it is only now that I feel like I am through the worst of it. I am not sure how many books I have read this year as I got so frustrated with my lack of reading I stopped keeping track, but these are the books I enjoyed the most.

In no particular order:

1. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren <— I loved their journey from acquaintances to friends to lovers. Great chemistry, banter, and a memorable heroine.

bev: Josh and Hazel were fun. I was a bit worried she’d get on my nerves, but the writers made her lovable and unique. I was surprised in the beginning in that I was not expecting him to be her best friend’s Oppa.

2. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi <— Reading about these two reminded me of watching the cool mysterious kids in school. The ones who listened to music I had never heard of, referenced books I had never read and always seem to have that edgy confidence. Really these two are just vulnerable and unsure kids who find  in each other a safe place.

3. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoag <— This book reminded me of watching a romcom. I just really liked Stella and Michael and I appreciated the care and kindness they show each other. Just an overall gentle acceptance of each other. Bonus points for out of the norm careers and I’m not talking about the escort business.

bev: What book has charmed you? The Kiss Quotient. I wish it was less expensive. I really enjoyed it but like Amy said before not a rec at that price point. But one of my tops of the year for sure.

4. Etched in Bone (A Novel of the Others Book 5) by Anne Bishop <— What can I say?   My love for the courtyard and its citizens is well documented on this blog. This was a bittersweet read for me because I didn’t want to say goodbye to the series. Yet I appreciate that the author knows when to say goodbye. I just hope that she decides to revisit the courtyard on occasion.

bev: I’m going to miss the Courtyard, but also that feeling of finding a new world to love.

5. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate <— This was a bit of a surprise for me. I was expecting all fluff but it had a lot of depth. The author and or heroine  explore a lot of issues here while taking us on a fun journey.

bev: I read 3 books in July. I’m going to go with Note Worthy as my favorite. Mostly because it surprised me with its tone. I was expecting high jinks but it was more introspective than that.

6. The Duke of Shadows by Meridith Duran <— This is a much loved the book that I finally read this year. It would be a kick myself for waiting book but it reminded me of how much I adore historical romance. I have more of Meredith Duran’s works on my shelves and now they are must reads.

These last two sections of my list are actually the ones that had the most impact on my life this year. If feels weird to say this on a book blog but my two favorite stories came from dramas.

My Ahjussi

I’ve said it before but if it was a book I would gently place it in all of your hands. Yet I’m glad it is in this form as the actors  portray  these characters with such love. This drama can break your heart and then  heal  it in the most beautiful way. It has one of the fiercest heroines and most noble heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and I love them for it.

I will say it is a slow moving drama and  it takes its time and it took me around three or four episodes before I became fully invested.  Like a book it is a type  of story that needs to be slowly savored one chapter at a time.

Sadly since Drama Fever closed down it is not available anywhere in the US. But if this changes my Christmas wish is that some of you will choose to share this with me.  I honestly feel a lack in my ability to describe the show and just how much it touched me and how beautiful it was.


Giddy. Giddy. Giddy.  Seriously just thinking about this drama puts the hugest smile on my face.  This is the best mix of action and romance like SWOONY romance. I love a reticent hero that you know will fall hard when he falls. It has poignant  moments but is also  such fun with some superhero/alter ego escapades. This was just magic.

This summer I discovered a love for K-pop. I’m still discovering it and while I am only going to mention two songs here I could go on and on with all of the songs that I have enjoyed. One of the reasons I’m choosing these two songs is because the visual aspect was just as important as auditory.

Shine by Pentagon

This is the group that started my descent  into K-pop. I had a very hard 2018 and this song and video gave me three minutes of happiness every time I pressed play. Pure summer sunshine.

Move by Taemin

As I have come to discover K-pop  has a lot of good dancers and complicated dance routines. Whenever I come across a discussion or list of best dancers Taemin from SHINee was often at the top of those lists. This is from one of his solo projects. This dance gets a lot of love but at first I felt slightly underwhelmed . Yet I kept coming back to it over and over again and I am now in awe of how deceptively simple it is. There is many versions of this but the dance practice is my favorite.

I have watched these videos so often that when the songs come up on my Spotify I can perfectly envision them in my head.

“Well that is finally the end of my ramblings. If you read this list or watched the videos I’d like to thank you for letting me share what  has meant so much to me this year.”

THANK YOU SO MUCH bev!! This was fantastic!!!! I love that you tell us about new awesome things that you love and it gives us new things to explore. While this may be a book blog, we talk about so much more than books, and I’m so glad you’re here, whether you’re reading or not! Cooking, movies, skin care & makeup, kids, pets… our favorite anythings, or not-so-favorite grumblings… this is why we are so close. We started as a book family, but now we’re just family. <3 :D

P.S. Like bev’s book style, and favorite stuff-style? Check out more of her favorites:

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn January 3, 2019 at 2:07 PM

Bev I love this and I watched those two videos and loved them. I got choked up with the sunflower/watering can for me very symbolic and I definitely need to learn those dances. I watch videos all the time and try to mimic the dance with the song as I am not a girl who likes to exercise so this is my fun way of getting my workout on. Your description of Emergency Contact has me wanting to read that. I have not read any of the books on your list but my reading year was not that great either-I read 0 from Jan to July than read 54 from July to Dec.

Michele G January 3, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Bev, I love that I found some on your list that I can’t wait to read. I also love historical romance but I go “in and out” because like any genre, I get tired of it and need to change it up. I haven’t read any of Meredith Duran’s books so a few jumped onto my tbr.

I also really enjoyed The Kiss Quotient & Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. The characters were a little different from the norm and both books felt “fresh” to me.

bev January 3, 2019 at 3:11 PM

Thank you Maryse! All my lovelies look so pretty up there….though not my grammar and autocorrect mistakes.
Love the pretty links and the Wikipedia entry. LOL!

I love that you all let me come here and talk about it all. One silver lining of the slump is finding and opening myself up to new things.
I’ve posted it before (but I love it so got to do it twice) but there is a song by IU, the My Ahjussi actress, that I’ve been listening to a lot recently. Though I’m hitting a much older milestone than she at 25 it is resonating with me. If you turn on the captions the lyrics are about how, yes, she still likes this, but now she also likes this. I feel like I’m going through one of these self discovery moments…hopefully will keep having them.

And the video is adorable with a sweet rap by GD.

Anyway thank you for listening to all my ramblings.

bev January 3, 2019 at 3:18 PM

Jenn I’m glad it touched you in a personal way. It was one of my happy places last year. The dance is so fun… watch, lol. I can not dance.
The lyrics are adorkable too.

bev January 3, 2019 at 3:20 PM

Michele they did feel fresh. I really loved how the characters just liked each other first. Yes, Duran was a great discovery for me. I really want to get back to reading more HR this year.

Leslie M January 3, 2019 at 4:55 PM

Bev, I love the dancing! Isn’t it weird how music transcends language? It’s like you can feel it even though you can’t understand it.

Jan January 3, 2019 at 5:08 PM

I love that you stepped outside the box and gave us some non-book stuff as well. But I liked your books. Duke of Shadows was great, wasn’t it? I liked Jsh and Hazel too. I’ve been trying to make up my mind about reading the Kiss Quotient. I’m not too sure about the escort trope :\

Jan January 3, 2019 at 5:09 PM


bev January 3, 2019 at 5:30 PM

Yes, it does Leslie. And the dancing….I’m always a little in awe of good dancers or athletes.

Jan I dont think you will be put off by the escort part at all. And he does have a second job. Though I’d be afraid to look at the price n Australia. Is it as bad as The Hating Game?

MichelleS January 3, 2019 at 6:16 PM

Josh & Hazel made another list! I will download a sample for sure.

Sigh. The Courtyard. Haven’t read last book. So weird that I do that sometimes. You know I never read last book in Experiment in Terror series either? Like I’m saving it for the Zombie Apocalypse?

Jan January 3, 2019 at 7:31 PM

Actually bev the price in Australia isn’t bad. $3.99 AUD. I’m sure that’s been reduced :D Maybe cos there’s a new book on its way this year?? Anyway, I might just buy it at that price. Very reasonable. And your rec encourages me. BTW The Hating Game also got reduced eventually and I picked it up at $1.99 AUD which was nice. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get very far into it before putting it aside. Twice, actually :\ I need to try that one again. There’s so much love for it out there.

R. Renee January 3, 2019 at 7:34 PM

Jan, I tried reading THG twice too and then listened to the audio and that was perfect. The narrator is so good, I think she makes the book. I didn’t have to buy it though since my library had it.

bev January 3, 2019 at 7:40 PM

MichelleS definitely give it a try. I love when we all randomly like the same book. When I was dependent on the library I’d read a book in a series as it was released but now with an e-reader I seem to wait.

I get it Jan. The beginning of The Hating Game did feel slightly disjointed to me if I remember correctly.

Jan January 3, 2019 at 10:15 PM

Thanks ladies. I haven’t given up on THG yet and will def try again some time this year. R, I don’t often listen to audiobooks but I can see how that might be a way in. My library might have the audio.

Maryse January 3, 2019 at 10:18 PM

MichelleS … I haven’t read the last Experiment either… I couldn’t bare to end with them. And I hear it’s REALLY good, too.


R. Renee January 3, 2019 at 10:19 PM

I was anti-audio until recently. There are some narrators who just make the book better, IMO. I’m convinced this is the case with both The Hating Game and Roomies.

bev January 3, 2019 at 10:20 PM

Lin Manuel Miranda.

bev January 3, 2019 at 10:21 PM

So if we all meet up during the apocalypse we are all going to die because Maryse and MichelleS have to read one last chapter.

Nay January 3, 2019 at 10:32 PM

Love your list, bev! I’m so glad that in spite of your slump that you found some books you loved and because of your slump, you found a whole other world of entertainment to love. I *have* to read The Kiss Quotient and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating sometime this year.

MichelleS–I haven’t read the last Cat & Bones book and I also wonder what I’m waiting for!

Jennifer January 5, 2019 at 2:08 PM

Great list Bev!! I loved Etched in Bone. I thought she ended this series perfectly. Her other books in this world are wonderful as well…have you tried them?

bev January 5, 2019 at 6:28 PM

I haven’t read Lake Silence yet. I need to get to it. And then another coming out in March, but I think different characters than Lake Silence.

Cheryl January 5, 2019 at 9:46 PM

Bev, I have to put Josh and Hazel on my tbr. Just waiting and wishing for a reduced price or even KU!!! :)

Tessa January 8, 2019 at 4:44 PM

You read the important book, Etched in Bone. :) The Courtyard was mentioned in Lake of Silence and she said that there will be more courtyard this next book. :)

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