Five Favorite: Books I Read in 2018

Instead of focusing on the less-than-stellar reads that made up my 2018, I wanted to highlight the five that made it great––which just so happen to all be written by women. (So freaking dope!!) I also thought that I wouldn’t have ten books to fill out a Top Ten Tuesday post but that was a huge miscalculation. Lol. Winnowing down this list was so hard.

Are any of my favorite 2018 reads your favorite, too? Let me know! To see previous topics, click here.

Five Favorite: Atmospheric Thrillers

It’s taken me a full month to digest the seemingly innocuous Top Ten Tuesday prompt villains. (Please don’t ask why because I just don’t know.) Very few books I read have capital-V Villains, and I became bored scrolling through Goodreads trying to think of more than a handful or any one type. Since it’s so chilly/borderline cold in New England now AND it gets pitch black by four-thirty, I thought I’d explore creepy, chills-down-your-spine atmospheric thrillers instead – because sometimes a place itself can be the scariest thing.

Do you have your own favorite atmospheric thrillers? Let me know! To see previous topics, click here.

Review: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Title: Neverworld Wake
Author: Marisha Pessl
Rating: ★★★★½
Summary: Once upon a time, Beatrice and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim changed everything. One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft hoping she’ll get to the bottom of Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and awkward silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened. Then a mysterious man knocks on the door and announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers . . . and at life. And so begins the Neverworld Wake.


The Prestige is one of my favorite, favorite films: a knot of a cipher that explicitly asks its audience to pay attention. Are you watching closely? a character asks. Because here are all the answers. But no one does the first time around; whether it’s the magic of the movies or the pull of a story, we want to be deceived.  It’s only looking back that we see all the clues laid bare. (Please go watch this film, y’all; it is so, so good.) For me, the beauty of Marisha Pessl’s latest, Neverworld Wake, is not the driving force of its protagonist, Beatrice, who wants to figure out what really happened to her late boyfriend, Jim. And it isn’t found in the novel’s core plot, either, when the main characters do everything (and then do it twice) to decipher and beat the Neverworld. It’s folded around the monotony of repetition. When faced with only hours and also eternity, how do individuals occupy their time? Whom or what do they prioritize? It’s tucked into memory and choice and the things we tell ourselves after the fact. What makes something real? Is it the act? What about the feeling of the act? Or the memory of the feeling of the act? Or the memory of the memory of the feeling of the act?

When Pessl finally explains what happened to Jim, it almost doesn’t even matter anymore. Both we and her characters have gone through so much that the act of uncovering has become more insightful than what we were waiting to uncover. In such a short book, she manages to beautifully flip everything around, recenter reality to explain how we weren’t watching closely at all. We wanted to be fooled and so we were. Neverworld Wake is so good at hiding things in plain sight that I want to read it again just to figure out how much I missed.

Top Ten: Authors I’ve Only Read One Book from But NEED to Read More

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was books by authors of which I’ve only read one of their more-than-one published books.

  1. Chris Cleave
    Book I’ve read: Little Bee
    Books I want to read: Gold and Incendiary
  2. Cory Doctorow
    Book I’ve read: For the Win
    Books I want to read: Down and Out in the Magic KingdomHomelandLittle BrotherMakersPirate Cinema, and The Rapture of the Nerds
  3. Deborah Harkness
    Book I’ve read: A Discovery of Witches
    Books I want to read: The Book of Life and Shadow of Night
  4. Dave Eggers
    Book I’ve read: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
    Book I want to read: The Circle and You Shall Know Our Velocity!
  5. J.K. Rowling*
    Book(s) I’ve read: Harry Potter series
    Books I want to read: The Casual VacancyThe Cuckoo’s Calling, and The Silkworm
  6. Libba Bray*
    Book(s) I’ve read: Gemma Doyle series
    Books I want to read: Beauty QueensThe Diviners, and Going Bovine
  7. Marisha Pessl
    Book I’ve read: Special Topics in Calamity Physics
    Book I want to read: Night Film
  8. Michael Chabon
    Book I’ve read: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
    Books I want to read: Manhood for AmateursThe Mysteries of PittsburghTelegraph Avenue, and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
  9. Rainbow Rowell
    Book I’ve read: Attachments
    Books I want to read: Eleanor & ParkFangirl, and Landline
  10. Scott Westerfeld*
    Book(s) I’ve read: Uglies series
    Books I want to read: Afterworlds and Peeps

* I’m including these authors because I’ve only read books of theirs as part of a series