2018 BOOKS IN REVIEW!

2018 Book Review

It’s here!

Today’s the day!

I’m like GIDDY right now!  ABSOLUTELY GIDDY!

This is my VERY FAVORITE post of the entire year!!!!!!!

Today, I’m sharing my December reads followed by my thoughts, feels and reflections on all the books I read in 2018 including MY TOP THREE BOOKS OF THE YEAR!

Someone pinch me.

I really am just so excited!

I love, love, LOVE talking about books with you ladies.  It really has been one of the biggest blessings for me in all the years of blogging.  If it weren’t for you girls, I wouldn’t have read 95% of these books.  Almost every single read this year was a recommendation from one of you.  THANK YOU!!!  It truly means so much to me that we get to “read” books together 🙂 .

Now, it’s only December 18, but I wanted to get this post in before the end of the year.  Here’s the kicker though…I think about the books I read every month and in my head, kind of put them in order of my Top Three as the year progresses.  So, by the time I get to December, I have a firm TOP THREE favorite books in my head.  And then this year happened.  And the whole system sort of fell a part.  Because friends, two of the books I read this month could easily be in my top three.

Whaaaaaaaaaat?

YES!

Somehow, the very last two books I read of the year could easily be my favorite two.

Ugggggggggggggggg!

My little brain wasn’t prepared for that.  I already had picked my faves…I didn’t need them to have any competition.  I WAS SETTLED.  But this month confused me.

So, I’m naming my original top three today because in my heart of hearts, they were my favorite this year.  They were the three books I recommended the most often, the three I reflected on the most, the three I couldn’t stop thinking about, the three that stood out to me among the others.  BUT…I’m going to name the last two books of the year as my “honorary” favorites, because friends, you need to read them too.  THEY DESERVE ALL THE HYPE.

Before we get to all of that though, here’s a little review on some of books I read this year…because friends, I read so many good ones!!

I dubbed this year THE YEAR OF THE AMAZING WOMAN!

Oh. My. Gosh.

At one point, I told friends that I thought the Lord was preparing me to be kidnapped/abandoned/deserted/stranded because I read so many PHENOMENAL books written by women who overcame the odds and SURVIVED UNIMAGINABLE THINGS!  Here they are, READ THEM ALL…

My Story by Elizabeth Smart
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
Educated by Tara Westover
…like seriously, don’t ask me to name only one of them to read.  READ THEM ALL.  All four of these women are heroes to me and it was honor to read each of their stories.

Another book that I loved, but didn’t name it in my TOP THREE this year was…

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  This memoir flirted with the top three most of the year, but in the end, I decided to name it an honorary favorite instead.  I really related to so many things she says in this book and very much look forward to her next book.  If you’re wanting a real “kick your butt and get you motivated for 2019 book” then here you go.  I loved this one!

2018 brought me several surprises as I read too.  For instance, my very favorite author, Elin Hilderbrand, disappointed me with not one but two books this year.  (Insert me sobbing HERE!)  I absolutely hate that because I do love her SO VERY MUCH!!!  So, I’m let down by some authors and then totally surprised by others!  This book here was so good and I’ve reflected on it long after I turned the last page…

…if you haven’t read The Dinner List, YOU SHOULD!!!  It was just refreshing and unexpected!  I thoroughly enjoyed it!!  It was one of my favorite books of 2018!

Another book I loved this year was…

How to Walk Away!  This book absolutely made me a Katherine Center fan!  I cannot wait to read more of her stuff in 2019!

When I was asked this year which thriller/mystery was my fave, I always recommended this one first…

The Last Mrs. Parrish will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time!!!

So, those are some faves out of my batch this year!  Now, are you ready for the three books I read in December?  Two of the three could EASILY be in my TOP THREE for the whole year.

My December Book Review starts now with…

…Something in the Water.

S-C-A-R-Y!

My friend Kaitlynn told me I needed to stop what I was doing and read this book…so, I did.

And I was scared to death.

Frightened!

Ha!  If you love a good thriller, then grab this one!  This fictional story starts off with a BANG.  Like on the first page, you’re going to go WHAT?!  And then it keeps going from there.  This is a story about newlyweds that stumble upon something bad/wrong/scary while on their honeymoon and let’s just say…it follows them back home to England.  There were lots of twists and turns in this novel, but I never got confused.  This one is perfect if you like a book where you’re on edge the whole entire time.

Now, the next book I read in December could easily be my favorite book of the year.

YES, OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m not going to officially name it my favorite of the year, but friends, I just truly loved this book so much!  You all must read…

Swear on this Life.

Where do I begin?  Okay, so after I read Something in the Water, I was like “Whoa, I need something LIGHT!”, and I had written this one down on a sticky note to read at some point.  I looked it up on Amazon, read a little about it and thought, “Okay, good!  A nice light read to follow the frightening book.”

WRONG.

WRONG.

WRONG.

This novel was gut-wrenching to me in all the right ways!  This fictional story is about a woman who realizes her former love has written a book about their childhood.  One chapter is present day (she’s furious that he wrote this book) and then the next chapter is one out of his book (about their extremely hard childhood).  I was in love with all of it.

I thought the characters were so well-developed, the plot was original, gripping and memorable, I loved the message…I loved it all!  This book does lean a little PG 13/possibly R, so please be aware, but I thought every page was fantastic.  As I was reading this book (before I even knew how it would end), I was telling myself it was MY FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR.  For some reason, this book just really struck a chord with me.  This isn’t chick lit, this is just a fantastic novel about moving past your circumstances, rising above, forgiveness and grace.  Loved. It.

Whew!  Okay, after I read that one, I told myself that I would be done for the year, but then, I saw this…

…and when one of your VERY FAVORITE AUTHORS IN THE WHOLE WORLD makes a declaration like that, you have to read the book.  I finished it in three days.  Guys, the hype is real.

Where the Crawdads Sing was the number one book you ladies recommend to me in my November Book Review, but to be honest, when I read the back of the book, I wasn’t into it.  Eh, it sounded okay, but not really my kind of book.  I WAS WRONG.  In my opinion, the book is so much better than the back of the book lets on.  This novel is captivating!  I was sucked in, fully committed and absolutely blown away by the whole thing.  If I would have read this book a few months ago, it would probably be my second favorite book of the year.  I do not want to give anything away…but the book toggles back and forth between when the main character is young and basically living alone (in the marshes) and then the following chapter is about a dead body that’s found in the marshes and how that all unfolds.  So, you go back and forth between the two time periods and how they’re all connected.  It’s fantastic and everyone should read it!  It’s one of those books you’ll just always remember.

Three books so far in December!  Any other books I read this month will be included in my January 2019 Review.

This has probably been my favorite year in reading.  I hardly read any duds and read lots and lots of fantastic books!

So, including the three I read this month, I read a total of 61 books this year.  Here are the titles and reviews of all of them…

2018 Reads…
(Just click on the month to read my review.)
January
My Story
by Elizabeth Smart
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan
Kiss My Fish by J. Bethany Anderson
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
February
Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison
Parisian Charm School by Jamie Cat Callan
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
March
The Red Notice by Bill Browder
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
April
If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer
May
The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin
Go Ask Ali by Ali Wentworth
The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
Everybody, Always by Bob Goff
June
Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer
July
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
Summer House by Nancy Thayer
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
August
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
We Own the Sky by Luke Allnut
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst
September
Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews
Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood
Educated by Tara Westover
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
October
All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins
Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
November
An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer
Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber
Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz
Holly and Ivy by Fern Michaels

December
Something in the Water 
by Catherine Steadman
Swear on this Life 
by Renee Carlino
Where the Crawdads Sing 
by Delia Owens

I always love sharing my top picks with you girls!  I get asked all the time “how do you read so many books” and the honest answer is, I just make the time.  I never started out thinking I would read so much, but I LOVE IT!  Reading has become a priority to me, so I find the time/make the time to do it.  I also consider it part of my job now because these book reviews are really so special to me (the community of it all!), and if I wasn’t reading, then we wouldn’t have that time together, so I make it happen.  When I was in the trenches with two babies at home, I didn’t read anything other than the back of the Life box while I ate my breakfast cereal in the morning, so if that’s you right now, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT!  In my opinion, there are seasons in life for lots of reading and I’m in one now, but who knows?  I might be out of it at some point too.
If you’re curious about all of my other FAVORITE BOOKS of the year, here you go:
2014
#1: What Remains by Carol Radziwill
2015
#1: Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist
#2: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
2016
#1: Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman
#2: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
#3: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
2017
#1: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
#2: Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup
#3: The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
Every single time I pick up a book, I think “will this one be one of my favorites” and am always amazed at the end of the year which ones were.
The three books I picked for 2018 were easy choices for me.  I read them, I loved them, I recommended them…they are books that have stayed with me many months after I put them down.  The funny thing is that I tell myself (and others) that my favorite books are “chick lit”, but honestly, I don’t think anyone of these could be called that.  They’re all three just really good novels.
Here we go, my THIRD FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR IS
You can read my full review of this novel HERE, but friends, it’s phenomenal!  Two strangers survive a plane crash…and well, everything you’ll never imagine happens next.  I had zero expectations when picking this one up, but was completely blown away.
My SECOND FAVORITE BOOK OF 2018 is…
Whoa!  I’m still talking about this book.  Like literally on Wednesday night, we had dinner with friends and I was talking about it because IT’S BRILLIANT!
You can read my full review of this book HERE.  This novel is about a young girl who moves to rural Alaska and has to make a life for herself despite some insurmountable odds.  It’s heart-wrenching, it’s suspenseful, it’s about love, it’s about walking away, it’s about every emotion I have ever had.  It’s just fantastic and I hope you all read it!
I loved both of those books, but when I read this next one, I knew in my heart of hearts that it would be my very favorite for the year, and as I close out my 2018 reads, it still remains my very favorite.  MY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2018 IS…
…I never saw it coming.
My Oxford Year looks like chick lit from the outside, but once you get inside of it, it’s a beautiful story about love and vulnerability.  Friends, I LOVED THIS ONE SO MUCH!!!  I thought I knew where the story was going, but I was wrong.  It twists, it turns, it made me cry, it made me smile, it was the number one book I recommended to people this year.  It takes the cake for me and I truly hope you all read it and enjoy it as much as I did.  You can read my full review from this book HERE.
Whew!  So, that wraps up all the books for 2018!  What was your favorite book this year?  I would love to know!!  Please comment and share!!  Who knows?  Maybe it will be my favorite book of 2019? 😉
Happy book day, friends!  I love reading with you guys!!!  See you tomorrow for an early edition of WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY!
To see the complete list of books I read in 2015 (all 63 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2016 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2017 (all 62 of them), click here.
If you want to view my Goodreads Account, click here.
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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog December 18, 2018 at 4:38 am

    Okay, I definitely need to get some of these books for the new year, since I get a book allowance where I work! I love your book reviews so much! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt December 18, 2018 at 5:01 am

    I’m kicking myself for not finishing Where the Crawdads Sing! I ready maybe the first 2-3 chapters and then had to return it to the library. I’m definitely going to give it another shot!
    MeetTheShaneyfelts

  • Samantha Harris December 18, 2018 at 5:06 am

    Swear on this Life! ♥️♥️♥️ So good! Now to go update my Kindle wish list!

  • Narci December 18, 2018 at 5:07 am

    Yay! You always recommend the best books. 🙂 Adding to my list this right now!

  • Erika Slaughter December 18, 2018 at 5:11 am

    Eeeeeeekkkkkkkkk!!!! Shay!!! After this post, I feel like I need to do nothing but read for the next two weeks! Great post, Friend!!

  • Laurie December 18, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Shay,
    Thank you so much for your book review. Your passion for sharing what you love with others shines when you do your book reviews. As a busy mom that struggles to take time for myself, I treasure the time I spend with a good book. Your reviews are always spot on and I greatly appreciate your input. Thanks again!

  • Lori December 18, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Verity by Colleen Hoover!! I am still thinking about this book! It is dark, suspenseful, even hard to read at times. I don’t want to say too much but make sure you read to the end. 🙂

    • Lindsey Sadler December 22, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      Yes! So different from her normal books but so good!

    • Alexis January 3, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      Yes! So hard to read at times but could NOT put it down! Wild ride…I definitely recommend it too!

  • Eileen December 18, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Book review days are my favorite!!!! I get the best book ideas from your posts and the comments. My top 5 of the year were:
    #5 – Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine
    #4 – One Day in December
    #3 – All Your Perfects
    #2 – My Oxford Year
    #1 – The Great Alone.
    I love that I’ve read 2/3 of your top 3! Castle of Water and Where the Crawdads Sing are on my to read right after Christmas list. Check out One Day in December – loved it!

  • Sheaffer December 18, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Wow! What a post! It’s inspired me to do a 2018 book review of my very own. It shall be the easiest post I’ve ever written. 😉

    • Melissa December 18, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Lol love this! I think Sheaffer is going to become a huge reader in 2019.

  • Andrea December 18, 2018 at 5:47 am

    Totally agree on My Oxford Year! LOVED it! Thank you so much for sharing these lists!

  • Elspeth Mizner December 18, 2018 at 5:48 am

    Shay!!! I always look forward to your book reviews. I read my Oxford Year based in your reviews and I absolutely loved it! It was a favorite of mine for sure, totally agree with the unexpected ending!!!

  • Jenn December 18, 2018 at 5:52 am

    Tattooist of Aushwitz definitely should be added to your must read books!

    • Dana Hennesey December 18, 2018 at 6:41 am

      YES!!! One of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time.

    • Melissa D. December 19, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      It was so good!

  • Amanda December 18, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Shay, I’m totally into your book reviews. This was the year I set a Goodreads goal for myself to read 12 books this year. Yeah, I know…not a super lofty goal, haha! BUT….I’ve read 37 already and I’ll probably make that 39/40 by the time Christmas vacation is over! I owe a lot of this to you and your fab book reviews! In fact, after I’ve finished a book I sometimes go back to your original review and compare notes! 🙂

    Now to set a new goal for 2019…!!

  • Lauren December 18, 2018 at 5:59 am

    I’m currently reading the Reese Witherspoon book club pick for this month – One Day in December. I can’t put it down!

  • Cori December 18, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Reese Witherspoon’s production company is developing the movie for Where the Crawdads Sing!!

  • Allison Budimlija December 18, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Cannot wait to try these out… Please tell me you’ve read Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber!

  • Angie December 18, 2018 at 6:05 am

    I just finished My Oxford Year and The Great Alone is sitting on my nightstand!! I’ve also added some new ones to my list, thank you! You have got to read One Day in December by Josie Silver. It was great, I read it in 3 days🙂

  • Sara Darveaux December 18, 2018 at 6:28 am

    I am an avid reader and you have some of my favorites listed too! May I strongly encourage you to read Renee Carlino’s Before We were Strangers? I think it is even better than Swear on this Life! (I KNOW?!)

    • Samantha Harris December 19, 2018 at 4:19 am

      I loved before we were strangers too!

  • Charlotte Place December 18, 2018 at 6:33 am

    I’ve been looking forward to this post all month! Thank you for sharing your reading life and so many great books with us!! Mant of the 60+ books I read this year came from your recommendations. By the way, just finished An Island Christmas and loved it! Merry Christmas!

  • votemom December 18, 2018 at 6:35 am

    PLEASE PLEASE read The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.

    • Rebecca December 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

      I love Kate Morton books! The Forgotten Garden is my favorite book that she has written, but they are all good!

      • Susanne December 18, 2018 at 8:41 pm

        Love Kate Morton! My favorite of hers is The Secret Keeper. So so good!

  • Leslie Ann December 18, 2018 at 6:37 am

    My favorite for the year was The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon. The ending will leave you speechless! I just posted my top 10 of the year. I loved Where the Crawdads Sing. If you loved Swear on this Life, you should read Blind Kiss by the same author. Soooo good!

    http://www.lalalifeblog.com/2018/12/top-10-favorite-books-of-2018.html

  • Leah December 18, 2018 at 6:38 am

    One of is us Lying, A thousand boy kisses (more YA but had me crying), the Husband Hour. But out of my 72 books so far this year I read 8 of your suggestions and have so many more on my “Want to Read” Goodread list. I also 4 Elin Hilderbrand and 1 Nancy Thayer book because I know how much you love their books!

    • Taylor December 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

      The Husband Hour was a favorite of mine this year!!

  • Beth Miller December 18, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Agree with your top three, but I have named The Great Alone as my favorite! I have been thinking about it long after finishing it! Reading is so much fun! By combining audiobooks, ebooks, and actual books, I’ve read over 70 books this year! You have got to read some books by Susan Meissner! They remain some of my favorites!

  • Jill Koch December 18, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Oh my goodness I need to get reading! This post has me amped to read all.the.books! Thanks for putting in the leg work and for this awesome post! My favorite this year was Behind Closed Doors, but I haven’t read any of these great ones you’ve suggested so I’m guessing it would get bumped some if I had haha.
    Jill @ https://jillcomesclean.com/

  • Claudia December 18, 2018 at 6:57 am

    You still have time, currently reading One Day in December and it’s so good!

  • Kaley December 18, 2018 at 6:57 am

    I can’t wait to read some of these! I agree that The Great Alone was a TOP TOP TOP favorite of mine this year. Also from Kristin Hannah I read The Magic Hour and I CAN’T EMPHASIZE ENOUG HOW GOOD IT WAS AND YOU MUUUUST READ IT!!!! You will connect with it and love it so much since you’ve adopted. The Magic Hour is probably my favorite book of all time 🙂

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams December 18, 2018 at 6:59 am

    The Great Alone is still on my mind to this day! I don’t know if it’s because it’s winter and I think how did that girl live with only 6 hours of daylight each day?! The book was so much more than that though. Girl Wash Your Face was an inspiring read too. I’m on the Rachel Hollis train now and can’t wait for her next book. I decided to read Laura Bush’s book Spoken From The Heart after loving Sisters First from Jenna & Barbara Bush earlier this year. Plus after watching President Bush’s funeral I want to read another Bush family memoir. I’m upping my reading goal for next year because you have so many good recommendations!!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Susan December 18, 2018 at 6:59 am

    I read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See and immediately thought of you. It tells the story of a birth mother in China who places her daughter in an orphanage. I think it’ll give you a lot of hope & peace. Just make sure you buy some pu’er tea to drink while reading it (you’ll see).

    I love your book review posts! I always open up my library’s search page in another window & start reserving books!

  • Lena December 18, 2018 at 7:05 am

    I love that you loved Swear on this Life!!!!! You’ll love Blind Kiss by her as well!! Thank you for all the time you put into these posts!!

  • kathy olson December 18, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Thanks so much! Our oldest daughter has CP and is in a wheelchair. Her books on Kindle are life to her!
    Sometimes it is hard to determine if books I find for her on Amazon are PG or not. That’s been a little tricky. But seeing your lists help me so much!

  • Grace December 18, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Love these!!! My favorite book of the year was One Day In December by Josie Silver!

  • Leslie December 18, 2018 at 7:19 am

    My Oxford Year was SO GOOD! Here are my 2018 reads…..https://ajleslieadventures.blogspot.com/search/label/2018%20reads

  • Rachel December 18, 2018 at 7:23 am

    I always love your book reviews! I’m getting a kindle for Christmas and definitely these books to it :)!

  • Carrie Tinsley December 18, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Did you realize that Julia Whelan, who wrote My Oxford Year, also narrated the audio versions of The Great Alone and Educated? I feel like she had such an impact on my reading life this year!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 18, 2018 at 7:47 am

      I did not! That is so cool!!

  • Elizabeth December 18, 2018 at 7:30 am

    I am so NOT a reader, but your book reviews have me convinced otherwise. I’ve got a running list of books I’ve written down per your recommendations. I’m thinking that the next couple weeks seem like the perfect time to cozy up next to a fire and read!

  • Melissa Terry December 18, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Your book posts are my second favorites-only behind your adoption ones. I am on the waiting list for My Oxford Year at the library and can’t wait to read it asap! My Top 3 this year were: Girl Wash Your Face, God and Churchill and The Dinner List. Honorary Mention to Class Mom which made me laugh aloud so many times! I can’t wait to follow along in 2019 and get some more suggestions.

    • Mix and Match Mama December 18, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Class Mom is so funny!!!

  • Leslie December 18, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Hi Shay! Merry Christmas! Thanks for another year of sharing your family, faith, books, fashion, decor, product reviews, recipes and tips with us! Your blog is such a positive and uplifting place!

    I wonder if you’re looking for any ideas for future blog posts ?
    — I would love a Kensington and Smith monthly book review/suggested reading list!! Just a couple sentences telling why they liked the book, if it was an easy/hard read, if it might be scary for kids, etc., who would like the book (kids who like dragons, adventure, fantasy, history, etc) and maybe a grade level or reading level? Moms are always looking for reading ideas for our kids — and it would be so neat to have your kids rec’s!! I think this would be a fun addition to your blog!
    – Another idea I would like, as a mom of 3 busy elementary aged kiddos would be Kensington fav recipes that she makes, how much adult “help” the recipe might need. Maybe some favs she likes to cook with you? Cooking with kids is so much fun! Would be interesting to hear a kids view of what they like best.

    Hope y’all have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! Looking forward to another year having coffee while reading your blog!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 18, 2018 at 7:46 am

      I love these ideas, Leslie!!

  • Satah December 18, 2018 at 7:57 am

    I always look forward to your book reviews— especially this one! Swear on this Life was amazing! I think my favorite of the year was Verity, the new Colleen Hoover book. Oh my gosh— you need to read it!

    I have a “bookstagram” where I post my current reads (currently at 74 for 2018!). @_thebookisbetter

    Happy holidays, Shay!

  • Elizabeth December 18, 2018 at 7:58 am

    So glad you read a Renee Carlino book! I have read all of her books and love each and every one of them. You should definitely read more! Also read some Christina Lauren books! And if you like a good thriller, Colleen Hoover’s new book Verity is awesome. I read it in one day because I had to get to the end! Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

  • Tara Tyler December 18, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Love love love your book reviews!

  • Brooke Entrekin December 18, 2018 at 8:00 am

    BEST POST EVERRRRR!!!! I have some reads now to last me into summer!!!

  • nikki December 18, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I lovedddd My Oxford Year. After you wrote your review on it, I immediately got it to read!!! Now I think I’m going to have to get Where Crawdads Sing

  • Rebekah Bueschel December 18, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Love this post (and all your book posts)! I added several of these to my “want to read” list on goodreads!

  • Paige December 18, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Great review as always Shay! I must say that I just LOVE the picture of your kindle while sitting at Met on Main…made me smile today 🙂 I can never get enough of Nantucket.

  • Liz December 18, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Love your reviews! Couldn’t wait to see the top!! I love reading!! Love it! If I don’t have a book with me, I am listening to one in the car. Have a super day!

  • Julie December 18, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Hi Shay-I adore your book reviews! And completely agree with your top three. All amazing and among my favorites for the year. Two of my favorites that it looks like you haven’t read are ‘Sarah’s Key’/de Rosnay and ‘Limelight’/Poeppel. Sarah’s Key is just incredible and unforgettable. About a young girl whose family is taken in a round up of the Jews in Europe. How she survives and the back story of her and her little brother is, well, I don’t have words! ‘Limelight’ is SO funny, and entertaining, and I just know you will want to be best friends with the narrator. That was my favorite of 2018! Happy reading in 2019!

  • Jenna S December 18, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Someone suggested My Oxford Year to me the other day, and now I have to read it if it’s your favorite of the year! Last year for Christmas I picked up Cancel The Wedding for my mom, and it’s been passed around the circle of family and friends a million times since! Can’t wait to read some of these in 2019!!

  • Sarah December 18, 2018 at 8:17 am

    I’m torn between the Great Alone and Where the Crawdads Sing for my top pick of the year. Both so good! Thanks for your reviews. These posts have inspired me to read 46 books this year. Can’t wait to see what books are ahead for 2019!

  • Brandi December 18, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Have you read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah? It is my favorite book of all time, and I am looking forward to reading The Great Alone!!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 18, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Yes!! That one is amazing!!!

  • Kelly Lane Nation December 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

    I’ve read several of your recommendations and I think I enjoyed nearly all of them….BUT I know I read The Last Mrs. Parrish…and I can’t seem to remember any of it!

  • Tammy Miro December 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

    You need to read One Day in December by Josie Silver. It was Reese Witherspoon’s December book club pick.

  • Linda Z December 18, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I always enjoy book review day. Totally agree with the surprise element of The Dinner List. It was one of my favorite reads this year. Reading your monthly reviews, going to a local book club and setting a reading goal on Goodreads added enrichment to my book life!! Looking forward to more good reads in the year ahead!!

  • Erinn December 18, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Thank you for doing these posts! You inspire me to read more and I always love the books you recomend!

  • STEPHANIE HARRIS December 18, 2018 at 8:34 am

    The Great Alone was my favorite this year, with Where the Crawdads Sing coming in second. I SO appreciate your book reviews every month!! It is where I get recommendations for most of the books I read. Thank you!!

  • Bridget December 18, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Love these reviews!! I’ve just added more books to my own list for 2019 – and two I would recommend that I loved this year are Reconstructing Amelia and The Alice Network.

  • Lindsey December 18, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I loved the Oxford Year too! I have thought about staring Where the Crawdads Sing so many times. Just like you, I have been hesitant because the back of the book makes it seem like its not my kind of book. After reading your review I think I will give it a try! You should read One Day in December. It’s really good.

  • Karen December 18, 2018 at 8:40 am

    I highly recommend you read “A House in the Sky” by Amanda Lindhout. I couldn’t stop thinking about that book. It is a true story of a woman who was held captive in Somalia. It was gripping- not a pretty story but it is full of resilience, forgiveness and endurance. Thanks for your book reviews Shay!

  • Bianca Andrea December 18, 2018 at 8:40 am

    thank you so much shay! i will be definitely reading during winter break, and these look like some really good books!

  • Samantha December 18, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Two books I read in December that I’d highly recommend are There There and She Would Be King. Both are different from anything I’ve ever read and are debut novels. Totally amazing.

  • June Ward December 18, 2018 at 8:42 am

    The forgotten garden by Kate Morton. Tea girl on hummingbird lane by lisa lee .you will love these

  • Alicia December 18, 2018 at 8:42 am

    I’m with everyone on One Day in December! Favourite book of the year!

  • Tracey December 18, 2018 at 8:47 am

    I wait for this post each and every month. Where the Crawdads sing and The Great Alone are being made into movies soon.

  • Maria December 18, 2018 at 8:48 am

    The Great Alone and My Oxford Year were two of my favorites too, and Castle of Water is on my list! I just read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and had a hard time putting it down. I love your book reviews, so thank you for posting them 🙂

  • Ann December 18, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Have you read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate? It’s historical fiction (about an actual lady who ran adoption agencies who stole kids in the American South from their less fortunate families and then sold them to wealthy families who never knew the kids had families who loved them) and it really stayed with me. It switches back and forth from present day to when the events happened and really makes you want to keep reading.

    • Mix and Match Mama December 18, 2018 at 10:10 am

      I read it this year and loved it!!

  • Alicia December 18, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I actually listened to “Something in the water” on Audible and adored it. It is read by the author, and just lends itself
    to fantastic storytelling in the audible version.

    I’ve read many of the same as you this year! And I have The Great Alone and The Last Mrs. Parrish downloaded to my kindle to be read later.

    As of now, my top pick would be “The Girl with Seven Names,” but 2018 was a great year for reading!

  • Kayla Bruce December 18, 2018 at 9:07 am

    I’m honestly so glad you put My Oxford Year first– I was hoping you would! I started it but haven’t finished, but now that I’m on Christmas break, this review makes we want to pick it up again. Love this whole post as well!!

  • Amber December 18, 2018 at 9:08 am

    By far my favorite post of the year! I love your book posts- thanks so much!! Merry Christmas

  • Taylor December 18, 2018 at 9:10 am

    I have so many thoughts! This was an amazing post Shay and I appreciate how much work you put into your book review posts, it doesn’t go un-noticed! The Last Mrs. Parrish was in my top 5 for sure but my top three this year was The Idea of You by Robinne Lee, All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin, & A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult.
    Also, my number one read of 2017 is a book I still think about often- The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith is absolutely amazing and heart wrenching.

  • Jody Forsee December 18, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Shay, thank you so much for these posts and continuing to share your love of books. As a busy working mama, this is my go-to place to get great recs. Can’t wait to read your December picks. I was curious – I absolutely LOVED It Ends with us and All your perfects by Colleen Hoover. Do you recommend other books from her that are as good as those two? Thanks!!

    • Brooke December 18, 2018 at 5:51 pm

      You should read November 9! I read it this month and absolutely loved it!

      • Jody Forsee December 19, 2018 at 6:51 am

        Thank you!! 🤗

      • Jody Forsee January 3, 2019 at 4:29 pm

        Brooke – I read November 9 and LOVED it!!! Thanks for the rec!!

  • Mary Ann December 18, 2018 at 9:18 am

    I love your book reviews! They are my favorite posts…as a mom of a toddler what has really helped me is downloading the Kindle app on my phone. I can read in snippets throughout the day versus mindlessly scrolling something else. The Great Alone was definitely my favorite book I read this year, but I plan to add My Oxford Year to my to do list. I must confess I can not get into Elin Hilderbrand books. I read The Identicals and The Rumour and just did not find the characters likeable at all. I enjoyed the food descriptions and setting but the characters were just off putting in my opinion. I recently just binged the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr. It is the sweetest romance series! The characters are real people you can root for, and it is a series that really emphasizes good values (if that makes sense). There are some rated R scenes but I absolutely loved it. I recently heard Netflix is going to make it into a series. Have a Merry Christmas!

  • Lacey December 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for the recommendations! Just added some to my book wishlist 🙂

  • Jaime December 18, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Thank you so much for your book reviews. I always look forward to them! Educated was my favorite book this year (on of my top all time, really). It just stuck with me for awhile. As did The Great Alone! Loved the last three on your list. I’m adding Where the Crawdads Sing & Swear on this Life to my need to read list.

  • Liz December 18, 2018 at 9:44 am

    You inspire me to spend more of my free time reading-I used to be a huge reader until I went to college and now it seems like I only make time for it on vacation. But-I read The Great Alone and it is honestly the best book I have read in YEARS! I could not put it down once I got about 10 chapters in. My mom read it and loved it, my fiance read it and thought it was great, and a few friends have read it and said the same thing-could not put it down.

    Adding several of these to my Kindle with the goal of reading them all in the next year!

  • Tanya December 18, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Thank you so much for the great (and fun) reviews! The Great Alone was definitely one of my faves this year. I’m putting the rest of these on hold at the library!

  • Riann December 18, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Just FYI – as of right now, the Kindle version of Swear on This Life is $2.99 on Amazon!

    I was excited to see this post today. I have a new Amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket and needed some recommendations. I’m almost finished with My Oxford Year and it’s giving me all the feels. Thanks for sharing your favorites with us!

  • Emily December 18, 2018 at 10:32 am

    My favorite book of the year would have to be We Were the Lucky ones by Georgia Hunter. It stuck with me all year and I recommended it to a couple people. Like many have mentioned here, I’m starting One Day In December very soon and I think it definitely has the chick lit quality you like. Merry Christmas!

  • Colleen Wojdyla December 18, 2018 at 10:34 am

    I haven’t read any of your top books for the year, but I did read ‘Now That You Mention It’ by Kristan Higgins the day it came out (that you read in Jan) and LOVED it! But now I have 5 books from this post written down to read in 2019. 🙂

  • Kelly Roach December 18, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Any chance you have read All The Light We Cannot See?? It is my all time FAVORITE!! I have sent it as a gift to multiple people. Can’t wait to add your books to my 2019 list!!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

      I have!!! That’s a good one!!

  • Lauren December 18, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Thank you for your book reviews! I really loved 3 books by Karen White this year – Flight Patterns, The Sound of Glass, and Dreams of Falling.

  • Lauren December 18, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Thank you so much for these book review posts Shay!! I always look forward to them :). I always have a running list of amazing books to add to my goodreads account thanks to your posts. I really loved the book The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard this year.

  • Amy Heinl December 18, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Your book reviews are my absolute favorites of the month. I had been debating about reading Where the Crawdads sing but like you was on the border line given how the cover went. Definitely will read it in January. Not sure if you saw but Reese Witherspoon just optioned the movie rights on this book. Also the movie rights have been bought for The Great Alone as well

  • Cathy December 18, 2018 at 11:30 am

    My Oxford Year was my number 1 also! I think you would like Roomies by Christina Lauren. It was such a good romance! I’d label it PG13/R but those scenes are easy to skip over if you want to.
    Thank you so much for these reviews. They are super helpful and I also love reading all the comments too. I have gotten a lot of good recommendations from them as well.

  • Tara Francs December 18, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I’m so excited to read some of these! My amazon cart is full now! I’m currently reading Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies by Shirley Gilmore. Good read!

  • Victoria December 18, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Shay I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years now and I think the biggest impact has been your book reviews! I went from being a non reader—like hadn’t read a book voluntarily for fun in YEARS—to reading 1 or 2 a month that you recommended and now I read an average of 4 books a month and I’m always recommending books to my friends. Also I thought I was a hard copy book girl until I got a Kindle and it has changed my life 😉 one of the coolest things about the Kindle is I can check out e-books from my local library for free! So just wanted to say thank you for making me a reader, and one of my favorite books this year was Castle of Water! I boo hoo’d through the whole ending I just loved it and it has stuck with me ever since reading it in July. I do have one book I hope you’ll make time for in 2019: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I read it and loved it and I could not stop thinking about it. I’ve read a couple other Moriarty books that were just ok/a little boring but this one is very different, I don’t know what it is but I had such an emotional connection to it right from the beginning! I immediately thought “I hope Shay reads this one!!” I would love to read your review 🙂 Merry Christmas!!

  • Jennifer F December 18, 2018 at 11:47 am

    My favorites this year were The Alice Network, What Alice Forgot, and Where the Crawdads Sing. Each of them remained with me long after I finished the book!

  • Natalie December 18, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for your book reviews! I love them and can’t wait for you to post them every month! I LOVED My Oxford year and can’t stop thinking about it! I can’t wait to read more of your recommendations! Thank you and Merry Christmas!!

  • Erica December 18, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I always look forward to this post! Please check out The Storytellers Secret……I could not put it down!

  • Megan Mathison December 18, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I look forward to your monthly book review each month, thank you for sharing with us what you read, you have great recommendations. My oxford year is in my top two this year too, my number one is probably The Lost Husband by Katherine Center. I read it after I read How to Walk Away, per your recommendation, and I loved it so much more if you haven’t read it add it to your list.
    I will have to finish Where the Crawdads Sing, I started it and could not get into it, but I will have to try again.

    Merry Christmas!

  • LeighAnn December 18, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Great list! Have you ever read Jaycee Dugard’s book, similar to Elizabeth Smart’s? She was kidnapped for 18 years and that story was simply shattering.

  • Mary Jane McNeill December 18, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Shay! Delia Owens is from my hometown of Thomasville, Georgia and we are sooooo proud of our hometown girl! She was my sister’s friend in high school, and when she and her ex wrote “Cry of the Kalahari” based on their time in Africa, that was BIG! She kicked off her Crawdads book tour at The Bookshelf in Thomasville and told us she drew from her time in Africa; that it would be WEEKS before she would see another person (aside from her husband) and the isolation of it all is what she wanted to relay in Crawdads. I’m thinking she succeeded! I’m naming it my Book of the Year!!!

  • Stefany December 18, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Swear on this Life…absolutely loved…actually every book by Renee Carlino is amazing…I recommend Before we were Strangers and Wish you Were Here by her…so good!!! Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!!!

  • Meg December 18, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    The Great Alone and Where the Crawdads Sing are in my top 3 list of the year also. You should try Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah- SO good! Rounding out my top 5 would be Beneath a Scarlet Sky and Love Walked In. Thank you for always sharing what you’re reading and encouraging others to pick up a book!

  • Jen December 18, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I loved The Great Alone. I keep hearing about Where The Crawdads Sing. It is next on my list. This is the perfect time to jumpstart my reading commitment. Things slow down a little over the holidays and I like to sneak away and read. My kids get new books and we will sit and read together in the same room while cozy by the fire. I love it!

  • Bonnie December 18, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    So glad others are recommending One Day in December, just finished it and I loved it! Couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end. About to start Where the Crawdads Sing, can’t wait! Also need to add your top 3 to my must read list, thank you!

  • Jenna Resnick December 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Shay!

    Thank you for sharing, I always love reading these reviews.

    A recommendation for you – “Night Road” by Kristin Hannah! One of the first books I ever read by her. You will love it!

  • Sally Hepworth December 18, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Oh I’m so glad you loved Crawdads!!!! Wasn’t it just perfection? I can’t stop thinking about it.
    I have Educated next on my list to read, so I’m thrilled to see it’s one of your favourites. Jane Harper’s The Lost Man is also a stand out from this year.
    P.S. have you received a copy of The Mother In law yet? X

    • Mix and Match Mama December 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      It’s going to be one of the very first books I read in 2019!!!!

  • Jeanelle December 18, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I read Before We Were Yours, The Sound of Gravel and My Oxford Year because of you and I think those were my 3 favorite, in that order. I couldn’t stop thinking about the first two especially. My most entertaining read this year was Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins. So funny, sweet and just really enjoyable. I’ve read a bunch of her other books too and nearly all have been wonderful.

  • Summee December 18, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    My two favorite non-fiction books from this year (aside from the ones mentioned above) were “The Glass Castle” and “When Breath Becomes Air.” I never gravitate toward biographies, but these two are amazing!

  • Paula December 18, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    After reading your post, I feel like I’ll be ringing in the New Year with a book in hand by the fire! Thank you!

  • Keisha Dawson December 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    I just want to curl up with a cozy blanket and spend the rest of the year reading! So much goodness!

  • Jeanine December 18, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for these book posts – love them! I really hope that you’ll get a chance to read “Surprised By Oxford” by Carolyn Weber next year. It’s one of my favorite books of all time, and I think you would love it too, especially since your favorite from this year was “My Oxford Year”. The two books are a little similar, but “Surprised by Oxford” is a true story. Hope you and your family have a very blessed Christmas!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick December 18, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve been binge-watching The New Girl and I love it almost as much as I do Friends and that is A LOT. 😉 So my book reading (listening) has gone downhill the past month or so. Now I’m ready to start a new one but there are so many choices!!! No idea what to go with first.
    That Inspired Chick

  • Keri December 18, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    I was not mentally prepared for My Oxford Year! It had me crying like a baby! I had to read 2 Elin Hilderbrand books to work myself out of the funk of being so emotionally invested in it! I started Castle of Water and couldn’t really get into it but maybe I should try to push through! I need to do a better job of tracking all of the books that I read! They all start to blend together and I can’t remember if I read them this year or last! I think my all time favorite book is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty! Big Little Lies also by Moriarty is a close second and One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid is third!

  • Carly December 18, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    You basically inspired me to start reading more regularly (or at all!) with your 2016 year end book review, and I love it so much! I’m a little disappointed in myself for watching less trash TV, but something has to give! Two of my friends recommended Little Fires Everywhere and A Gentleman in Moscow to me, and I don’t think you’ve read those yet. May be good for 2019! Merry Christmas!

  • Haley December 18, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Great review! I read and loved all of your top 3. Amazing books! My very favorite book of this year is One Day in December by Josie Silver. It’s a must read!!! Reese Witherspoon’s Dec pick.

  • Allena Gurley December 18, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I haven’t settled on my favorites for this year because I almost doubled the # of books I read in a year. I am normally in the 60 or so range and this year I’m at 102 (and counting)! I did a book challenge with a friend and it skyrocketed my hours of reading to beat her ha. You named several I haven’t heard of that I want to try – I get a lot of recommendations from your blog and comments as well!

  • Erin December 18, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Love your book review posts – i keep lists of books, and I’m always adding some or comparing what I thought to your reviews. I am reading a book now – it’s not recent, but I read it like once every year or so. Called Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. It’s basically a sequel story to Gone with the Wind, and I love it.

  • Olivia Moriarty December 18, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    My favorite reads this year: Next Year in Havana, The Alice Network, All the Light We Can Not See, and the BEST book I’ve read in a long time A Place for Us.

    • Julie Harris December 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      Olivia:

      Who is the author of A Place For Us? I searched for it on Goodreads because you said it was the BEST in a long time, and there are several with that same title. Thanks!

  • Deanna Zehr December 18, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    The Great Alone is the only book in your top three that I didn’t read this year, so I just ordered it! We have so many of the same picks. Crossing my fingers that Santa brings me a Kindle for Christmas…Happy reading!

  • Elz December 18, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    You may already know, but there’s a charity auction with the chance to name a character in a book and Erin Hildebrand is one of the authors participating. Thought you might like to bid? Or, someone could give it to you for Christmas?

    Saw it at CoolMomPicks website
    https://www.32auctions.com/IFT

  • Susan Crivella December 18, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Shocked over your #1! I read all 3 of your top 3 and Castle of Water was actually my choice for my book club.
    The Great Alone would have been my choice! The other 2 were ok in my opinion! Can not wait to read the 3 you read in December! And The Dinner List is waiting for me at the library! I too was disappointed with Elin this year, but I won’t give up on her! Here’s to some great reading in 2019!

  • Jen December 18, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    As a busy teacher, I never read before I started reading your reviews! Then last summer I think I blew through at least 15 of them! Ha! I requested My Oxford Year from the library and I cannot get into it!! Would you say the beginning is slow?? What is wrong with me? Lol. Granted now that summer is over I don’t have as much time but I don’t feel as compelled to pick it up like I have all your others. I have loved every one you recommend so I’m determined to keep trying!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 19, 2018 at 5:11 am

      I never thought it was slow…but there’s a turning point in the novel and you haven’t gotten there yet 😉 .

  • Paula December 18, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Shay, Would you consider a “book club”? I know you read several a month. But could you choose 1 a month for all of us to read together each month?

    I love your suggestions. I don’t get to them all, but I do many.

    • Mix and Match Mama December 19, 2018 at 5:11 am

      I tried that in September (I think it was September???), and the problem is that sometimes, I start books and stop them because I don’t like them and move on to another one (and never mention them on here), and I wanted to do that then but felt obligated to read said book because it was a part of our “book club”…so, I don’t know. Maybe one book a month? Not all of them though.

      • Paula December 19, 2018 at 7:19 am

        That makes sense. That would take the joy out of it. I know you are extremely busy and don’t want to add one more thing to feeling strapped.

  • Angela Ellingson December 18, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    This is such an incredible compilation! I love your honest reviews and recommendations! I’m curious, do you ever listen to the audio version of books while you work, cook, fold laundry, etc? Or do you literally read every book? So impressive either way!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 19, 2018 at 5:09 am

      That’s a good question! I have never listened to a book, I read every single one.

  • Laurel M December 18, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    It’s the most wonderful post of the year!!

  • Ann Mitchell December 19, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Elizabeth Smart’s book is great! I’m from Utah, and you couldn’t go anywhere during that time without seeing her picture, including billboards! She now has 3 girls. The person that wrote the book with her, Chris Stewart, is a fabulous author! My favorite book that he wrote is called “Seven Miracles That Saved America. He is also one of Utah’s Congressmen!

  • Lisa December 19, 2018 at 2:09 am

    Oh my gosh, I finished Where The Crawdads Sing recently and absolutely loved it, sooooo good! The Great Alone, another fabulous read. When I read books that good, it is sad when they end. Reading book number 35 for the year! I really look forward to reading your reviews and adding books to my list each month. I have read some amazing books over the last couple of years. Thanks so much for doing these reviews, Merry Christmas !

  • Katie December 19, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Great post! I want to read a few of these in 2019! Have you read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi?

  • Kristin Trepa December 19, 2018 at 9:33 am

    I can’t wait to read more of these!

    I’m reading “Bright Side” by Kim Holden for a second time. I love this book and I think you would, as well! (Some pg13/r language and moments but the overall plot & message are fantastic)

  • Sheila December 19, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Shay! I downloaded “Swear on This Life” yesterday after dinner and stayed up and read it all last night!! OH. MY. STARS. I loved it. My face is all swollen from crying this am, but so worth it. Loved it, loved, it loved it.

  • Steph Vandermeulen December 19, 2018 at 10:57 am

    I love the book review posts!! I am excited to refer to this as the new year approaches for new books to read! I love reading, but haven’t made it priority like I want to, so one of my New Years resolutions is to read more! 🙂 My favorite books I read this year were, The best of me by Nicholas sparks and My all time favorite book I ever read was Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom 🙂 Thank you for these posts!! Merry Christmas to you and your family !

  • Leigh December 19, 2018 at 11:05 am

    I really feel like your readers should know that if they decide to read My Story by Elizabeth Smart, it stays with you. The evil in that book shook me to my core. I wish I could forget the details.

    • Mix and Match Mama December 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      It really does. What they did to her was nothing short of horrific.

  • Stacy Tsoukatos December 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I read 51 books this year and all but 2 were from your recommendations. I made reading more a goal this year and I give you all the credit. Thank you so much for these posts!!!!!!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 19, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Wow!!! This made my day!! That’s so awesome!!!

  • Kelley Sawyer December 19, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Have you ever read anything by Charles Martin?he is my new favorite. I’ve read 5 of his and they are all wonderful and different, so it’s hard to choose my favorite. I started with The Mountain Between Us (never saw the movie). It was an excellent book, but not my fav of his. I think my top 2 are Long Way Gone and Send Down the Rain. Although Unwritten and When Crickets Cry are both extremely good too. Anyways- read some Charles Martin next year! You will be hooked! (Also, they are NOT r-rated. He is a believer, but his books are not all Christian stories).

  • Kelly December 19, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    I’m so embarrassed that I took My Oxford yr back to the library before finishing it!! I just couldn’t get into it. But The Great Alone was SO good, as was Thw Sound Of Gravel. I couldn’t put them down. I absolutely love all the books you and others recommend- it is such a helpful thing when I can just request them from my library and not have to waste time hunting for something I will like. They are almost always winners! Keep this kind of post up next year!! Thank you!

  • Emily December 19, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I adored My Oxford Year!!!! I gave it away last night at my book club’s book swap! 🙂

  • Kasi Adams December 19, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Where the Crawdads Sing was my favorite book of the year. Kya’s character just stuck with me. So good! The Great Alone was probably my 2nd favorite. I also really enjoyed Educated. How to Walk Away just didn’t resonate with me… I dunno, just felt like the storyline was a little lacking.

  • Andrea L December 19, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Shay! I just wanted to share this…I’ve always loved reading, but haven’t always made it a priority. I probably read at most 5 books a year for the last few years. Last December, after reading your post about all the books you’ve read, I made it a goal to read at least one book a month this year. I ended up reading 34 books!! It’s been such a fun journey, and it wouldn’t have happened without you, so thank you!!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 20, 2018 at 5:23 am

      Andrea! That’s awesome!!! Thank you so much for telling me! Merry Christmas!

  • Kristen December 20, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    I downloaded My Oxford Year this morning and finished it by the time I went to bed. (Long day of flights and traveling!) I thought it was AMAZING! Truly so sad it’s over

  • Claudia Mcconnell December 21, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I loved Swear on this life and How to walk away and the Great alone so so much! They are books that will stay with you to life! I may have recommended Swear on the life to you at one point….your welcome! Haha. Merry Christmas!!

  • jamie December 21, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    i just picked up {something in the water} and am a few pages in when i decided to read about the author. she played {mabel lane fox} on downton abbey. have you watched that? i can’t recall. thought that was an interesting fact!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 22, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Yes!! After I posted my first review, someone told me that! I think that’s just so cool!!!!!

  • Rachel Brown December 22, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Shay have you read Little Princes by Conor Brennan? It’s a memoir about this young man’s journey to Nepal to help the orphans and eventually building an orphanage there during their civil war. It’s so well-written -very witty, heartfelt, heart-breaking, a little love story, and heartwarming all in one. I think it’s a little known book but it’s such a great read! You would really enjoy it.
    Merry Christmas! I enjoy your book review posts. Thank you for sharing your great reads!!

  • Lauren December 22, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was my fave. I read it having no idea what it was about which was so fun. It made me laugh out loud a lot.

  • Jaren December 23, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    I look forward to this post every year! Thank you for all your reading 🙂 You have the best recommendations! My personal favorite of the year is the The Lake House by Kate Morton. It’s such a beautiful story! If you haven’t read that one, then you must!!!
    Merry Christmas!!!

  • Mandee December 26, 2018 at 12:59 am

    Went to bed early after a long Christmas Day, and was going to just read another chapter or two of Swear on This Life. Next thing you know, it’s 2am and here I am with tears streaming having just finished it. You never fail to suck me in with these reviews!😉 Merry Christmas Shay!❤️

  • McKenzie Allyshia December 28, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Oh my gosh you have so many amazing books listed — it is going to be hard to choose which I would want to read first. Thank you for sharing these ♥ I hope you had a very merry Christmas and that your New Year is amazing!

  • Maggie December 31, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    My Dear Hamilton is wonderful! It is historical fiction, but very closely based on the life of Elizabeth Hamilton.

  • Eileen January 2, 2019 at 9:25 am

    I just read Swear On This Life after your end of year review and Loved It! So good! Thank you for recommending this book.

    Earlier this year, I read your review of The a Last Mrs Parrish. That book was great too and set the bar of similar books.

    I look forward to your 2019 book reviews! Happy New Year!

  • Alexis January 3, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    I love seeing your book reviews! You have inspired me to pick up some books and READ! I am completely into it and I am constantly checking to see your reviews because turns out, we have the same taste! I read some Colleen Hoover books and I highly recommend Verity. Warning though, it is graphic and unsettling BUT SO GOOD! I could not put it down. I am already looking forward to your January book review.

  • Meghan January 6, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    If you have not yet read One Day in December by Josie Silver, it was a very good book I think you’d like it!