2018 was a very good year for books. Now, I’m not one for stats or counts, so I won’t bang on about the exact number of books I was fortunate enough to read in 2018. But I will say that as a lover of biographies and a history buff I was kept busy with lots of new and fascinating novels on offer by some of my favorite authors. I also enjoyed reading a host of truly magical middle-grade books, some contemporary and some classics, which I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading until last year.
If you stopped reading children’s book when you hit puberty and haven’t revisited one since, I urge you to remedy this tragic oversight with immediate effect. There are so many touching and delightful stories to read, and I cannot recommend them enough as a way to de-stress after a long, rotten day being kicked about in the adult world. Total escapism. Perhaps you might find your next read nestled amongst my Top Five listed below? Wouldn’t that be lovely.
#5 The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding – Agatha Christie
This was a wonderful short story I discovered on Amazon whilst perusing through its virtual bookshelves in November. I was already a big fan of Agatha Christie’s super sleuth Hercule Poirot, so to discover this delightful and quintessentially British tale, set in a spectacular country house deep in the English countryside, was like bumping into an old friend (one you’re happy to see, that is). Poirot is invited to join a group of friends in the country to celebrate a traditional English Christmas, complete with crackers, mince pies, parlor games, and of course the piece de resistance, the Christmas pudding. But, as this is an Agatha Christie novel, things are never quite what they seem, and it us up to our here Poirot to solve the many mysteries at large and the adventure of the Christmas pudding. A thoroughly enjoyable read with a wonderful cast of delightful and dastardly characters.
#4 War of the Windsors – Lynn Picknett
One of my favorite book genres to read is biographies. Love them! And this fascinating book on the house of Windsor did not disappoint. I get bored very easily with puffy, fluffy biographies that attempt to rewrite history and paint the subject(s) in the most positive and glowing light possible. No thanks, not the biography for me at all. I wanted a raw, truthful, unbiased, expertly researched biography on Lord Mountbatten, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and the House of Windsor in general and this marvelous tome delivered in every way possible and answered all the questions I ever had. It is filled with interesting facts and information that I have never seen in print before. Fascinating read for any biography or history buff.
#3 Pax – Sara Pennypacker
Oh, how I adored this beautifully written, heartrending story. Utterly sublime. I was hooked from the first few sentences, and it gripped me within its compelling pages right to the very last word (which left me crying floods of tears when I finished it). Truly emotional. Pax is the story of the touching friendship between a young boy and his pet fox, who the poor lad is forced to suddenly abandon one day by his father. This heartbreaking decision takes the young boy on a terrifying journey across a war-torn landscape on a desperate quest to find and rescue his fox. A captivating, instant classic of a story. Gorgeous penmanship with an important message woven within its stunning pages.
#2 Jackie, Janet and Lee – J. Randy Taraborrelli
Loved, loved, loved this fascinating biography by one of my favorite biographers. I’ve read and devoured almost every book on Jackie Kennedy over the years and I thought I knew all there was to know – not so. This marvelously entertaining and page-turning read by Randy Taraborrelli was filled with stories, information, photos, and facts I had never heard or read about before, and I simply couldn’t get enough of it. If you are a Jackie Kennedy-Onasiss follower, this is most defiantly the book for you. It offered me a completely new insight into to the First Lady and her fascinating life, and was an eyeopener when it came to the complex relationship she shared with her gorgeous sister Lee Radizwell. An excellent, vastly entertaining read.
#1 The Girl who drank the Moon – Kelly Barnhill
This magical, middle-grade novel by Newbery Medal winner Kelly Barnhill was one of those books that I simply couldn’t put down and whose characters I was deeply invested in and cared about from the first few expertly-crafted pages. The magical story of Luna and her eclectic, but fiercely loyal group of friends, which includes a kindly, old witch, a spunky, wee dragon, and a wise, comforting bog monster is a must-read fantasy adventure for any age. From it’s gorgeously inviting front cover to its last, gloriously written prose, this book was utterly captivating. I cannot recommend this spellbinding tale with its powerful message of love and friendship enough. Five stars, and my absolute favorite read of 2018.
B.A. Keating’s MG novels are available from Amazon Worldwide. Visit www.bakeating.com for details.