Everything I’ve Read so Far in 2018

Best Books to Read in 2018 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Best Books to Read in 2018 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

I’ve definitely found my groove with reading.

I’ve always been a bookworm, but I’m one of those people who will read four books in one weekend and then won’t touch a book for a month. This year, I wanted to be a bit more consistent with my reading habits, mostly because it helps me tear myself away from my phone. In an attempt to make a serious dent in my ever-growing to-read list I decided to double my Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge and go for 40 books instead of my usual 20.
Looking back at my Goodreads account – which I’ve had since 2014 – I typically read an average of 30 books in a year, so I think 40 is doable if I’m just a bit more consistent with my reading. Now that we’re a quarter of the way into the year I thought I’d pause and share everything I’ve read so far in 2018, partly as a way to document it, but also to share some really good books I’ve found.
So far, I’ve read 12 books and I’m three books ahead of schedule. I have my next four or so books sitting by my bed ready to go, and I’ll no doubt be ordering more in the very near future. If like me, you spend the majority of your income on books then you might want to get your bank card at the ready for this post, because there are some great reads ahead…
Best Books to Read in 2018 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees

The first book I read this year was The Curated Closet, a book I’d been meaning to pick up for a fair few months before I finally got round to it. I used to have a really unhealthy relationship with shopping and was forever finding myself on emotion-fuelled Primark sprees, filling my wardrobe with cheap and cheerful rubbish that I just didn’t wear. Whilst this book didn’t quite solve all of my wardrobe woes, it did encourage me to make more considered purchases and be a bit more conscious of how things work in my wardrobe, as opposed to buying trend-led pieces that I’d wear once and would never see the light of day again.

You by Caroline Kepnes

I can’t remember what made me pick up You, in fact, I think it was actually my mum who chose it for me, but as soon as I saw that it was revered by none other than my beloved Stephen King I knew it was worth a read. You follows Joe, a seemingly “normal” guy who meets Guinevere Beck by chance when she wanders into the bookshop he works in. Their relationship soon spirals into something more sinister, and Joe’s obsessive behaviour takes a dark turn.
This book had me gripped from the outset, and to be honest it was kind of terrifying. Stalker stories tend to be told from the victim’s point of view, so it was refreshing to see it from the other side and get a glimmer of insight into the mind of the stalker. It was uncomfortable to read at points, and the characters were all painfully unlikeable, but I think that added to the overall atmosphere of the book.

21 Rituals to Change Your Life by Theresa Cheung

My childhood best friend, Sarah, always picks the best books for me, with the perfect combination of Instagram-worthy covers and topics that are actually relevant to my life. 21 Rituals to Change Your Life focuses on the impact of small actions and how they can change your outlook on life, which is a concept I’m a big fan of. Starting small feels a lot more attainable than making huge life-changing decisions at the drop of a hat!
Whilst I’m really not a fan of the Law of Attraction, something this book does touch on a bit, I did love the signposting of small actions that were easy to build into your daily routine. I don’t think it was groundbreaking, at least not for someone who reads as much “self-improvement” content as I do, but it was a nice reminder of how the little things do make a big difference. I really enjoyed the structure of this book too, focusing on setting yourself up for the best day and unwinding properly afterwards.
Best Books to Read in 2018 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

The Vanishing by John Connor

When an ex-policeman receives a strange request from an heiress, he doesn’t expect to be thrown head first into a life-changing series of events that see them both fighting for their lives as they run across the world. Sounds pretty gripping, right? I thought I’d love this, but it fell a bit flat for me. It took me a while to get into it, and I did feel that some parts of the plot were very cliche, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read. It is fast paced when it gets going, full of twists and turns with a complicated web of characters that slowly falls into place. The ending was disappointing, which was probably the final nail in the coffin for me.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I honestly don’t know how it’s taken me this long to get round to reading The Handmaid’s Tale because it has everything I look for in a book. I love dystopian fiction, so thought this would be worth a read. I’d been putting off watching the TV series until I’d read the book and was starting to feel very behind the times…

In this new world, your value is determined by your fertility and Offred is coming to terms with that in her position as a handmaiden for a high-ranking commander and his wife. It’s an infuriating read, as you’d expect, but for some reason, I didn’t love it like I expected to. Not a lot really… happened? I don’t know, I think I would have liked it more if it explained more of how this world came to be and what’s happening outside of Offred’s life, but I suppose a diary style is limited to one perspective. It’s worth a read, and I’m working my way through the acclaimed TV show as we speak.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

Laura has a good life, but then her son meets Cherry and everything changes. Is she really as perfect as she seems? No, but it’s only Laura who can see it, so when the worst happens and tragedy strikes she tries to take advantage and get her son back. But as to be expected in thrillers like these, it doesn’t go to plan.

The Girlfriend was very highly recommended by friends aplenty and for good reason. It was yet another gripping thriller that had me sucked in from the very beginning and wanting to scream at the page throughout. I devoured it in the space of one evening and was desperate for more as soon as it ended – a must read if you like psychological thrillers.

Best Books to Read in 2018 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Dark of Night Episode One & Two by C.S. Duffy

I love books set in Glasgow, even more so when they take place in “my bit” because they bring a new level of context and send my imagination running wild. The Dark of Night series follows Ruari, who has just summoned up the courage to confess his love to Lorna when she is found dead in the hills (that I can see from my bedroom window). It’s a race against time to find who did this to Lorna, but Ruari soon realises that he’s fighting a losing battle and he’s contending with a twisted serial killer.

I thought that I knew exactly what was happening when I started reading and was ready to predict the ending when everything I thought I knew for certain was flipped on its head in the space of a few pages. Dark of Night is jam-packed full of uncertainty, and you never really know who or what to trust.

Both books will keep you guessing throughout, and if you’re anything like me you’ll struggle to put them down. I flew through episode one in record time and was desperate to get started with episode two, which was even better than the first. These are my first five-star reads of the year, and I can’t wait for episode three.

Happy by Derren Brown

I make my disdain for the “Law of Attraction” theory pretty well known, and as a result, I was recommended Derren Brown’s book – Happy – on numerous occasions. It’s exactly what it says on the tin, a book about happiness, and explores the overall concept of happiness from a philosophical and stoic standpoint.

This book is heavy going, and I did really struggle to get through it. I love the overall concept and it did encourage me to look at the way I tell my own story, but it could have been a bit more concise. Some of the academic insight was a bit overwhelming at points, but I learned a lot more about stoicism, and whilst it’s definitely not the right approach for me, it did have some interesting points that I want to adopt into my own mindset.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I’d been hearing a lot about Celeste Ng’s latest book, Little Fires Everywhere, recently but I decided to give her debut read a go first. I think that was a very good decision because I adored it from start to end. Everything I Never Told You tells the story of a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio and the events leading up to the disappearance of Lydia, one of their three children.
I loved this for its depiction of a fragmented family, parental pressure and the impact Lydia’s disappearance has on each member, with the added depth of race and gender issues, too. It covers a lot of bases in a beautifully written way and has definitely been one of my favourite reads of the year. Apparently, Little Fires Everywhere is even better, so I can’t wait to get stuck into that soon.

Best Books to Read in 2018 | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

The Fear by C.L. Taylor

I think all of my book posts recently have included at least one C.L. Taylor novel, so it’s only right that I talk about her latest novel – The Fear. The Fear is a gruesome look at the impact of child grooming on the victim and those surrounding them, it’s gripping from the very beginning and utterly haunting throughout. A couple of parts felt a bit forced or cliche, but it was minimal and the rest of the book made up for it.

I wouldn’t say it was C.L. Taylor’s best work, but it was still a brilliant read and definitely one to read if you’ve tried any of her past books.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Finally, last weekend I started (and finished) They Both Die at the End. It takes place in a world where, at midnight, you receive a phone call if you’re going to die, so that you can go out on a high. Rufus and Mateo both receive that call, and upon the realisation that they’re going out alone on their last day, the look to an app called “Last Friend” that unites them for one final adventure.

I LOVED THIS. It made me think about what I’d do if I received that call, and I honestly have no idea. It oozed heart and served as a poignant reminder of the passing of time and our inevitable end. I thought it was a really beautiful read and a brilliant concept, too. Highly recommend!

Up next…

At the moment I’m making my way through Lily Pebbles’ debut novel, The F Word. I’m not loving it as much as I thought I would, as it feels a little disjointed and it’s kind of emphasised my own insecurities regarding friendship and making new friends. I don’t know how to explain it, it’s just not clicking with me yet – but we’ll see!

Also in my to-read pile, you’ll find Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, which has had great reviews so far, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, one I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time, and The Keeper of Lost Things which is another read that came highly recommended!

Good on you for making it all the way through this post… that was intense.

What have you been reading this year?