To everyone reading this blog post, happy new year!! I know it’s almost February (AH!) but I’ve been on a crazy whirlwind ever since the ball dropped in Times Square at midnight (which luckily I got to watch right in all the madness of New York!). After being home for a couple of months in Chicago and making a trip to New York, I’ve finally settled back in LA and I’m ready to focus on 2018. First thing’s first: my reading list. Now I don’t really have a problem finding time to read (if it isn’t already obvious) but more of what to read. Since this is my first reading list of the new year, I decided to focus on what I want more of in 2018. To start, I want to fill my year with more love, more confidence, and more spontaneous adventures. In honor of the “new year, new me” mantra, I decided to structure my reading list in a way that supports any feeling you want to have more of in 2018. Whether you’re seeking to find more excitement, romance, or even just everyday wisdom, there is a book for you!
In 2018, I need more…
The Woman in the Window – A.J. Finn
I have become addicted to psychological thrillers. The page turning stories keep me entertained for hours and I stay up so late I end up finishing the book in one day! One that I’ve been waiting for is The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (the book of the moment right now!). The story is about Anna Fox – a woman who hasn’t stepped outside her New York home in 10 months (yup you read that right). Anna’s only lifeline to the outside world is through her window, where she sits for hours everyday watching her neighbors. When a new family moves in, Anna finds their picture-perfect nature weirdly mesmerizing, watching them for hours every day. However, one night a blood curdling scream rips through the silent night and Anna witnesses something no one was ever supposed to see. Now Anna must find the courage to step outside the comfort zone of her home and uncover the truth of her mysterious and potentially violent neighbors. Just started this book and I stayed up until 3am reading as much as I could – I cannot put it down!
The Perfect Nanny – Leila Slimani
Leila Slimani’s thriller will stay with you long before the last page. A nanny: a person who has the keys to your home, knows everything about your family, has ingrained herself so deeply into your everyday life that you sometimes forget she isn’t related by blood…or that she is basically a stranger living in your home. When Myriam decides to return to work, she and her husband find the perfect nanny to live in their chic Paris apartment and watch over their children. Louise is quiet, polite, and devoted to making the children happy and loved. However, as Louise becomes more and more embedded into the family’s lives, jealousy, bitterness, and suspicions begin to grow. What started as an ideal situation quickly escalates into a dark obsession. A compulsive read that will make you question what types of people you welcome into your home…and your family.
Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman
Where do I even begin with this one. It’s the most romantic story I’ve ever read and not to mention the film…my favorite of the year by far. Actor Timothée Chalamet (who plays 17-year-old Elio) blew me away in the movie. Both Armie and Timothée’s performances were stunning… I was in awe. (Rooting for Timothée for that Oscar!) Anyways back to the book…Aciman’s story has been called “One of the greatest love stories of our time” and for good reason. The coming-of-age-story follows the passionate, emotional romance between an adolescent American-Italian boy and his family’s summer guest in the Italian Riviera. As the summer weeks pass on, Elio and Oliver’s desire, passion, and sexual tension intensify, leading them to confront something both fear they may never truly feel again: complete and total intimacy. Aciman beautifully intertwines the erotic and mystifying feelings of first love with the pleasure of youthful self-discovery and acceptance, making this novel an instant classic. I read the book, saw the movie, and am completely hooked by these characters. The story brings truth and insight into loving others and loving yourself.
Still Me – Jojo Moyes
If you haven’t read Me Before You yet… 1. what have you been doing! and 2. definitely get on that asap before you start reading this one. Moyes’ newest release follows along our favorite heroine from Me Before You Louisa Clark as she arrives in New York City to start a new life. She is immediately thrown into the world of the wealthy Gopniks – where she learns how to work for New York’s high society. Louisa soon meets Joshua Ryan, a man who carries with him reminders of Louisa’s past. As Louisa tries to keep her relationship strong with her boyfriend Ambulance Sam back home in England, she begins to realize she has been carrying secrets with her that could shatter her current situation. Louisa must decide if she really wants to start over and forget her past or finally face what she’s left behind. Still Me comes out January 30th and I cannot wait to read it – Jojo Moyes knows how to write a classic romance story that will make you melt (or in Me Before You‘s case…cry your eyes out).
The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin
I’ve been waiting for Chloe Benjamin’s new novel to hit the shelves and now it’s quickly become a bestseller. How would you live your life if you knew the day you were going to die? Well, that’s exactly the question the Gold siblings face in The Immortalists. In 1969 New York, word gets out that a mystical psychic who can tell anyone the day they will die is traveling through the Lower East Side. Bored and intrigued, Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya Gold decide to sneak out one night to hear their fates and their prophecies lead them in all different directions. Benjamin is a young author but her novel is packed full of long-lived wisdom. I loved this story because it really makes you sit back and think about whether we are victims of our own destinies or if we can change the outcome of our lives by choice.
Neon in the Daylight – Hermione Hoby
Meet your next Great Gatsby-esque story. Characters so vibrant and captivating, they truly jump off the page and make you feel like you know them in real life. A story that will stand through time. It’s 2012 in New York City and Kate just arrived in her Manhattan apartment from England. Her days consist of skyping her miserable boyfriend back home and babysitting her friend’s cat. Kate is comfortable with her routined life, but New York has other plans for her. In the city’s endless bodegas and galleries, through hidden bars and crowded clubs, Kate meets two strangers that will change her life: Bill – a charismatic yet cynical writer and his daughter – a recent high school graduate with a secret money income. Kate falls into infatuation with both of them and their various adventures teach her about desire, self-love, and the difference between life and art.
We Were The Lucky Ones – Georgia Hunter
Inspired by the remarkable true story of a Jewish family separated at the start of WWII, We Were the Lucky Ones tells the story of the Kurc family in the spring of 1939 Poland. The Kurcs do their best to live normal lives, focusing their dinner conversations on romances, new babies, and family, rather than the impending threat to Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. However, the horrors overtaking Europe soon become inescapable and the Kurc family is forced to flee to far corners of the world, each seeking to find his or her own path to safety. Driven by an enduring will to survive and reunite with their loved ones, each family member does whatever it takes to escape death – whether it’s working grueling hours in a factory on an empty stomach or hiding as gentiles in plain sight. A beautifully written, extraordinary novel that demonstrates how hope, inner strength, and intelligence can keep a family and the human spirit alive.
Moonlight over Paris – Jennifer Robson
It is the spring of 1924. Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr is still recovering from the heartbreak of war and a serious illness that nearly killed her. Refusing to become a victim of her suffering, Lady Helena promises that for the first time she will live life on her own terms and break away from the strict social constraints of her aristocratic society in London. She decides to move to Paris, stay with her free-spirited aunt, and simply be Miss Parr (another reason I love this book… the protagonist has my NAME! Is this a sign that I should move to Paris? Yes please). The city is a bohemian paradise – full of artists, writers, and American expatriates who welcome Helena into their inner creative circle. Helena soon meets Sam Howard, the Paris correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Incredibly attractive but scarred by the horrors of the war, Sam is unlike any man Helena has ever met. He teaches her about art, love, and a future that is impossible to resist. Capturing the true essence of the Lost Generation in 1920s Paris, Moonlight of Paris is an enchanting story about one woman’s journey to claim the life she truly wants and discover herself along the way. If you know me, I dream of 1920s Paris pretty much everyday (I AM Owen Wilson’s character in Midnight in Paris OK). So when I found this book at a bookshop, I knew it would speak to me on so many levels.
Single State of Mind – Andi Dorfman
I have to admit something…. I don’t watch The Bachelor. I tried once and just couldn’t get into it. I’m not a huge fan of reality TV…. sorry not sorry. BUT… I did see Bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s new book and was instantly intrigued. Dorfman shares her everyday adventures as a single girl living and thriving in New York City. Dorfman doesn’t hold back – her stories include finding her first NYC apartment (and using the fire escape as her front door when the front door broke) her dates on “celebrity Tinder” and even watching her ex-finance propose to another woman on Bachelor in Paradise. Her stories are equally entertaining as they are relatable. I started reading some of the chapters inside my favorite bookshop and I couldn’t put it down! Andi’s voice is so vibrant and charming and her stories about romance, city adventures, and Bachelor inside details had me laughing out loud. After reading her book, maybe I’ll even start watching The Bachelor… (new year new me!?).
You Do You – Sarah Knight
I included Sarah Knight’s other bestseller The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck on my Spring Break Reading List back in 2016. I love her writing style because it’s blunt, honest, and insightful. It’s like having a conversation with Samantha Jones from Sex and the City – someone who will tell you how it is but in an intelligent, genuine way. A new year brings about feelings of change – whether you want to stop old habits or incorporate new ones. One of my goals? Gain more self-confidence and self-love. Sarah Knight’s latest read You Do You is exactly what I needed. Knight focuses on how being yourself should be easy, but so many people still struggle to find the confidence to live their life on their own terms. Through her trademark no bullshit talk, Knight instructs readers on how to start putting your happiness first, how to take risks, and how to prove the haters wrong. It’s time to stop letting people tell you how to live your life and finally put your own happiness first – without alienating people in the process. It’s the year of YOU DO YOU and this book will help you get there.
There you have it! Whether you want more love, honesty, adventure, or even just more laughter in 2018, these books are a great start. Happy reading!
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