Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Charlottesville, VA

January 24, 2019

Best Books I Read in 2018.

    2018 was the year that I really prioritized my love of reading! I read 48 books in 2018, and tracked them all on Goodreads. A suggested blog post topic by a few friends was that I review the very best books that I read in 2018! I feel like out of the 48 books that I read last year, a lot of them were "eh." Not the worst books, but not something I'd necessarily go out of my way to recommend to someone either. But there were a few stand-outs! Two fiction trilogies, and a non-fiction book on travel. Today on the blog, I'm review the best books I read in 2018 (everything that I gave five stars to on Goodreads)!


Photo by Kate Greer

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    👍🏻 FIVE STAR BOOKS 2018:

  • Crazy Rich Asians (CRA #1) by Kevin Kwan - I was so impressed with the Crazy Rich Asians movie, as it stayed very true to the book! I read the entire trilogy a few months before the movie came out, and loved each book. Of course the first one was wonderful! The ending of the first book is a little different than the movie (SPOILER: it's assumed that Rachel and Nick get engaged, but there's no airplane proposal like in the movie), but honestly other then that it's essentially the plot of the movie in book form, and so fun to read! I loved the fact that Kevin Kwan also used Singaporean slang terms in his writing, it seemed very authentic. I read this book in 48 hours!
  • China Rich Girlfriend (CRA #2) by Kevin Kwan - The second book in the CRA trilogy was a fantastic follow-up to the first! You find out what happens to Rachel and Nick post engagement, and a plethora of fun new characters are introduced in this book as well. Things get even more crazy and rich! I read this book even faster than the first book- this one I finished in 24 hours.
  • Rich People Problems (CRA #3) by Kevin Kwan - Another book that I read in 24 hours! There isn't as much of a focus on the love story of Rachel and Nick in book three, but they are still prominent characters. I thought this book was a perfect ending to the trilogy- the only thing I didn't like about it was that it was the end of the Crazy Rich Asians series! If Kevin Kwan wrote 30 of these books, I'd read them all. I can't recommend reading all three Crazy Rich Asians books enough- especially if you liked the movie! 
  • Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter by Lisa Patton (Dixie #1) - So funny that another three books from 2018 that also got a five star rating from me were part of a trilogy. I just adored the Dixie books! The first book, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, tells the story of Memphis Southern Belle Leelee, who moves with her husband and young daughters from her southern homeland... to rural VERMONT! (Can you already guess why I loved this trilogy?) Leelee's husband wanted to fulfill his dream of buying a Vermont bed and breakfast, and Leelee has a very hard time adjusting to New England culture and the harsh winters (This sounds very close to home...). I could relate to so much of this book! The author, Lisa Patton, spent time living in New England, so I found most of the descriptions about Vermont life to be accurate. Finishing this book left me so excited for the next one!
  • Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton (Dixie #2) - I also loved the second book in the Dixie series! SPOILER: Leelee leaves Vermont and begins her life again in the South in this book, so again I was able to relate this to my own life! Even weirder? This book follows as Leelee gets a job at a radio station. (Seriously... I feel like Lisa Patton knew something about my life while she wrote these books!) This book was a perfect follow-up to the first in the series.
  • Southern as a Second Language by Lisa Patton (Dixie #3) - This book concludes Leelee's story- and I was so sad that book three was the final in the Dixie series. Leelee has left her radio job, and tries her hand at opening her own restaurant. Of course- opening a new business from the ground up is hard to do without trial and error! Some of the goofy characters from the first book (set in Vermont) also make appearances in this book, so it felt like everything came full circle in this final book. 
  • The Best Travel Hacking Guide by J.F. Warden - This is actually the only non-fiction book that I gave five stars to last year, but I loved this! If you're not familiar with the concept of travel hacking, this book is a great intro guide. It goes into great detail to explain how to best maximize travel rewards credit cards, and also discusses hotel and airline rewards programs, as well as little-known budget travel tips! It's been a goal of mine for a couple years to start travel hacking! I've decided I'm going to wait to start until I finish paying off my student loans (hopefully this year!), but I know when I do begin this, I'm going to refer back to this book. 

     Have you read the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, or the Dixie trilogy? Or any great books on travel hacking? I'd also love to know what your favorite books of 2018 were!

     If you'd like to keep up with my regular reads, follow me on Goodreads! I log everything that I'm reading on there, and rate each book when I finish.





     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese
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13 comments

  1. I really wish I'd done better with reading actual books last year (instead of listening only to Audible!) but in 2019 my goal is to read more!

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  2. I really want to read the CRA series now! I’ve heard great things but couldn’t tell if they were just being hyped up because of the movie.

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  3. Before I even clicked on this, I knew you would have the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy on here! I'm waiting on the last one from the library now - can't wait to read it!

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  4. Okay, I really want to read pretty much every single book on this list-I've added them all to my Amazon wish list and every time I make an order on there, I usually toss a new book in my cart!

    xoxo, SS


    Southern and Style

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  5. I loved Crazy Rich Asians. Read it on holiday and must get the follow up books to complete the series! Inspired!

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  6. yes my friend- i loved reading a few of these books over the year and i cant wait to add a few more of what you recommended to my book list! def loved Crazy Rich Asians and Uninvited!

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  7. Crazy Rich Asians is awesome!! I want to read the book so bad, the movie was great!

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  8. Wow I didnt read one book last year.....so sad! I need to find a good book to read as I used to love reading......definitely a goal to to make some more time for myself to pick up a good book

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  9. Always love to see what other people are reading, and compare thoughts! Can I add you on Goodreads??

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  10. I loved the Crazy Rich Asians movie. You’ve inspired me to read the books. I’ll find you on Goodreads!

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  11. Oooo the travel hacking guide sounds like a must read! I'm trying to up my travel this year.

    xx Tatyanna

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