Jan 16, 2019

My 2018 Reading Review

by Bronwyn Jameson

For the 2nd successive year I set my GoodReads Reading Challenge at 50 books.  In 2017 I limped over the line with 50 books read.  In 2018 I totally crushed this goal with a grand total of 85.  This may correlate directly with my non-achievement of other goals in 2018, and also with my increased number of long haul flights.  There is nothing like a long flight to get me immersed in a book or three.

It's fair to say that I love reading, and that in 2018 I rebounded winningly from several years where I wasted reading time in favour of social media.  It's also fair to admit that I love statistics, and so I offer my 2018 reading year broken down.

I rated 17 books as 5-star reads, and that is a hard-won rating from me.  It truly does mean memorable, amazing, I-could-not-get-enough-of-this-book.  A further 38 I rated as 4-star, meaning that I REALLY liked 63% of my list.  Is it any wonder that I kept on reading?

At the other end of the scale, I only gave 5 x 2-stars and 1 x 1-star, probably because if a book isn't working for me it is DNF'ed and not counted.  Those 6?  All rated according to my extreme disappointment scale, because I'd expected so much more.

21% of my "reading" was audiobooks, up on 2017 and I suspect that will rise again this year.  Already I am listening far more than I'm reading.

Romance represented 55% of my reading. Mystery/Thriller/Suspense 28%. General Fiction 8%.  Non-Fiction 9%, which sort of fulfilled by vague goal to expand my reading beyond the usual suspects.

My favourite read in 2018: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  Since I was listening to the audiobook at a time when I'd vowed to only listen while walking, I broke my all-time step-count record day after day.  Unique, brilliant, involving. And unexpectedly romantic. 

My favourite long romance: The Art of Inheriting Secrets. Mystery, secrets, romance, food, an English country village and a magical mysterious mansion. All told in the wondrous voice of Barbara O’Neal. *Happy sigh.*

My favourite short romance was a 2017 release. Casey by Kelly Hunter may well be my new favourite KH story (a big call, I have many Kelly Hunter favourites.) A bull-rider hero and a stock contractor heroine, set on the American rodeo circuit, but not your typical western romance. You know when a story, the characters, their conflicts and how they deal are just perfect for you? 

My favourite category/series romance: Undone by the Billionaire Duke by Caitlin Crews. Loved the setting and the gothic overtones in the wilds of Yorkshire. My Jane Eyre loving young heart embraced its OTT wonders. Puffer coat for the win!!!

My favourite suspense/thriller: Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts. Examines the impact of a mass shooting on the families of victims, and on the survivors. Super chilling and thought-provoking. One of my favourite NR’s of recent years.

New Discoveries:

Patricia McLinn’s Caught Dead in Wyoming series (I read the first 5 and am currently on #6.) A cozy mystery series set around a TV station in small-town Wyoming, featuring a fish-out-of-water heroine who is sharp and resourceful, and a band of friends and colleagues who form a loose alliance as amateur sleuths. A well-written series that’s as much about the characters as the mysteries.

Kaylie Newell, a new-to-me author, has become an instant auto-buy. Loved her RITA finalist Christmas at the Graff.  Sure, it’s packed with all the Hallmarky Christmas baubles but Newell’s writing and her characters absolutely charmed the grinch out of me. As did the tale of family forgiveness at its heart.  I may have enjoyed Tanner’s Promise even more.

My aim this year is to continue expanding my reading list by reading a minimum of 4 classics.  I will point out that this doesn’t preclude me choosing romance classics: I feel a need to revisit some Bronte and Austen. 

How was your 2018 reading year?  Did you break any records (in reading or step-counting)?  Do you have any newly discovered authors or series to share?  And have you set any challenges or goals for reading in 2019?


  1. Hi Bronwyn

    Woohoo well done, I read 217 books in 2018 so many fabulous books in this lot, the majority of mine were romance and woman's fiction, new finds for me were Jacquie Underwood, Maddison Michaels, Michelle Montebello and Laura Boon and I can highly recommend their books. As for steps I love walking and listening to audio books but sadly my days of walking are gone until my back and ankle improve, and fingers crossed they do.

    As for 2019 I have set a goal of 210 books and I have joined a few challenges so I too will be reading a few books outside of my normal reading :)

    Have Fun


    1. I always love to hear your reading records, Helen, as well as your recommendations. I recently saw your Top Ten List and I'm in awe that you can narrow it down to a Top 10. Especially from 217 books.

      Your new finds are all new names to me and I am going to check them out. It's exciting to find fresh new voices with wonderful stories to tell.

      Sorry to hear that you've been unable to enjoy your walking and listening recently and my fingers are crossed for you as well. Here's to good health and more reading opportunities in 2019!

    2. Yes Bronwyn narrowing that down to 10 was so hard I really could have added so many more books, but I was told 10 and 10 only LOL.

      Thank you

      have Fun


  2. Wow, 85 books is a stellar achievement, Bron. I think managed 40-ish, though I've set a target of 50 this year. :-)

    I did discover some new to me authors, though: Sherry Thomas and Virginia Kantra immediately leap to mind. I adored Lauren Willig's The English Wife...and I know as soon as I publish this, another 3 books and authors will occur to me, LOL. I'd really recommend picking up Caitlin Crews A True Cowboy Christmas--I just finished it and it blew me away.

    Must check out some of the new authors you mention. And I'm determined to read Eleanor O this year.

    1. Reading time is never wasted time, I say, especially when I'm justifying the time spent reading 85 books! I'm so happy to hear that you've found time to dive into your reading pile, Michelle. Isn't it the deepest pleasure?

      I'm also a fan of Sherry Thomas (started her Charlotte Holmes series last year) and Virginia Kantra (from her category romance beginnings) but I've not tried Lauren Willig. Must rectify that! And thank you for the rec of A True Cowboy Christmas, which I've immediately grabbed.

      And, yes, you need to try Eleanor O before the movie.

  3. OMG, Bron. What an amazing list and I love the statistical breakdown. I love numbers too. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is waiting for me on my bedside table, so thrilled you loved it.

    1. Hope you enjoy it as much, Jen. I imagine it's one of those books you either LOVE or don't enjoy at all. Very strong voice and writing style. Eleanor is not your usual heroine!

  4. Oh I loved this deep dive into your 2018 reading year, Bron!!

    I read 82 breaking my 75 goal which I was thrilled about but I think 5 or 6 were DNF's so strictly speaking, I was probably more at 75.

    In 2016 I rediscovered Caitlin Crews. I think I must have been on as OS trip as well. I'd downloaded her new release and I loved it so much I read 5 Caitlin's in a row and neglected all the other books I'd downloaded to read :-)

    2016 was also the year I discovered Melbourne author Eve Dangerfield and she's a total auto-buy for me now. I also subscribe to her newsletter which always makes me laugh out loud.

    In 2018 - right at the very end - my best find was Tikka Chance On Me. It was getting lots of raves on Twitter so I grabbed it and it was so awesome! I feel like I've sipped the Suleikha Snyder kool aid and I've been converted. I just loved this book so hard.

    I've set myself a target this year of 50 books because I dont want to feel stressed about reaching my target but I'm hoping to reach this goal and exceed it. I think this is where audio books really help, because they're great for "reading" during times when you can't be physically reading a book like driving :-)

    I've just started a Penny Reid obsession and I'm listening to her Winston Brother books on audio and loving them HARD!

    I'm also reading Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long at the moment and it's also really really good!

  5. I loved my dive into your favourite reads, Amy. I've been a Caitlin Crews/Megan Crane fan for a while now; she has a voice that clicks with me and is auto-buy status. But the others you mentioned -- they've been on my radar and your endorsement shall advance them onto my TBR list. Which is ever so long.

    All the best with your 50-book target. That's me as well. Oh, and I thoroughly agree with your audiobook comment. Sooo useful for "reading" while driving, walking, housecleaning and such.