I know, another end of the year post. But I had to include my favorites of this year.


War and Peace – beautiful, poignant, and so true to life, this book means more to me than words allow

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – so adorable! I want to read more books told in letters now

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Still Life – probably one of the best three Christian fiction books I’ve read, Parrish is not a sappy writer, and her prose is more poetic than any (that I’ve read) in the genre

The Book Thief – so full of beauty and emotion, a wonderful, heartbreaking story of the power of love and words; not to mention Zusak’s brilliant, unconventional writing style

Testament of Youth – very revealing of the time period and full of pathos

Between Shades of Gray – sheds lights on a tragedy otherwise forgotten, absolutely heart wrenching, but necessary

Brave New World – subtly horrifying, this one definitely made me think about society and where it could (very likely) head in a deeper way

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River’s Edge – a simple home front story, yet emotional layered and surprisingly deep; another more poetic Christian novel

He Held Radical Light – while I didn’t quite agree with everything Wiman had to say, I loved his overarching point that poetry and art point us to God, but they must not take the place of God

Between Earth and Sky – so horribly tragic, but necessary as well; this one had me thinking about Native American history and the long term effects of the laws set in place in the late 1800’s regarding them


The Tree of Life – profound and moving; like watching a poem; honestly I don’t know how to put the experience of watching this into words but I will be posting my thoughts on it soon


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – very creative and funny, a refreshing easy going (but not shallow) film

War and Peace – although the 2016 adaptation doesn’t feel very Russian *remembers that the actors didn’t even try to have Russian accents*, the casting was excellent and the aesthetic gorgeous; the miniseries did loose some (what am I saying), actually most of the emotional depth, but that is to be expected going from novel to film

(This is not one for sensitive eyes. I believe its only rated PG-13, but some episodes could very well be R. There is some very provocative content, especially involving one character (who isn’t intended to be a moral role model), and in later episodes graphic war violence.)

Hostiles – raw and gritty, but true to the lives of those in the era; this one really speaks to the themes of prejudice, not just racially but personally, and redemption


(I do not recommend this for sensitive viewers either. In terms of violence, language, and emotional trauma, this was a very difficult film, but very poignant as a result of its harshness.)

Dunkirk – this one really made war seem real, from the driving soundtrack to the emotional scope every moment of the film contributed to its overall intensity and depth


The Four Feathers – thought provoking and interesting, very different from your typical period piece; also my favorite face is in it sooooo that’s a plus

ah, don’t we love Heath Ledger???

Little Women (2018 miniseries) – honestly I’m not sure I liked this one, the acting was mediocre (*cough* Amy *cough*) and I didn’t like the overall feel of it although it was very pretty, I much prefer the more endearing and heartfelt 1994 film, but this wasn’t a bad adaptation, just not my favorite (also they made two Little Women films in 2018 and there’s another adaptation set for this year, do we need this many? stop tampering with good things folks.)


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – ahhh this was as cute as the book and I loved how the film didn’t stray from the book too much; also Dawsey and Juliet are adorable and Lily James is just perfect in everything

The Man From U.N.C.L.E – such an entertaining, edge of your seat, spy movie (also Armie Hammer’s accent is adorable)


Mary Poppins Returns – practically perfect in every way; while nobody could ever replace Julie Andrews, Emily Blunt did a near perfect job with Mary Poppins, Lin Manuel Miranda was amazing as always, and the children were adorable



  • My love for soundtracks ever grows. Some notable soundtracks I discovered this year are The Tree of Life and Hostiles.
  • Much to my sister’s chagrin I maintain my unadulterated love for Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (#please don’t judge). But I finally gave Hamilton a try and I absolutely loved that too. Les Miserables, Phantom, Fiddler on the Roof, Anastasia, and many many more also graced the speakers of my car throughout 2018.
  • I’ve also discovered Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors as well as some other miscellaneous indie (maybe? idk what to call my non-instrumental music) music.
  • In my own musical endeavors I learned both some Debussy and Chopin on the piano. Both of which I found enormously romantic and exciting challenges.

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Our trip to the Pacific Northwest was absolutely beautiful. I particularly enjoyed our stay on Vashion Island in Washington. All the pine trees, wildflowers, and grasses against the back drop of the ocean was magical. I felt like I was on Prince Edward Island. I did like Seattle too, more so than I would have imagined. But my heart will always belong to the mountains and the woods and the unperturbed green. All the time on the road made for good memories with my family and cousin as well. Definitely one of my favorite road trips.




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My school’s trip to Zion was breathtaking. You can read about that here.

My school’s other trip up to the mountains was wonderful as well. I grew so much closer in my friendships and I was baptized! My sister and I were blessed to be baptized within minutes of each other. It’s an experience I’ll never forget and I’m so grateful I was able to share my faith with my closest friends and classmates.




I discovered my love for coffee this year. Caffeine has most definitely become a habit (unfortunately). Vanilla lattes and chai lattes have become a staple in my life. In fact I had a vanilla latte this morning. The barista’s at the coffeeshop by school know my name now, which I’m not sure to feel honored or ashamed about. Oh well. What’s a girl to do?


  • My writing really came alive this year, I feel it’s found its own personality and I’m so excited to keep experimenting and growing it (because it definitely still needs, and always will need, polishing). I also finished my first novel in February which is so exciting! I’ve been editing it for almost a year now, and while I’m not as far along in my edits as I would have liked, I’m very proud of this version. I also have another idea for a new novel, which I’m so so anxious to start working on.
  • I don’t feel as close to God as I would like at this moment, but I’m learning to draw closer to him through his word and in prayer. I know so much about my faith, but putting it into active practice can be so difficult. I want to have a deeper friendship with my Lord and Savior Jesus and I pray daily that he softens my heart and opens it more and more towards him.
  • A few months ago my leader at church and I embarked on a study of the Bible together. We started in Genesis and we’re going to read all the way through Revelation together. So far it’s been really insightful and has brought the two of us closer to the Lord and each other.
  • My writer mentor and I started a writing group a while back, however we’ve only had one meeting. While that’s rather disappointing, I’m still rather amazed we actually put it in motion! I’m hoping that everyone’s schedule will be freer in the new year.

That’s all I have to say! What are some of your favorites from 2018?


6 responses to “The Best of 2018”

  1. aberdeenliv Avatar

    *eagerly adds to my movies-to-watch list* And goodness you’re really making me want to read War and Peace. Maybe 2019’ll be the year. =D Also that Bible study sounds really cool and I hope it (and everything else in your life) continues going well and draws you closer to God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thebookshopbarista Avatar

      Ahhh yes, I love hearing that, it’s definitely a worth while read. Thanks! I hope so too. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lissa Avatar

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a fantastic movie. Watched it this year for a film course I’m taking and although I’d seen it before I had a new appreciation for it.
    Yeeeees I remember watching the Four Feathers this- ahem- *last* year and fangirling to you over text about it and, of course specifically Heath.
    Honestly I’m 100% there with you on your opinions of Little Women (2018).
    This was such a good post, like a little window into your life. You’re a lovely person and you have very good taste 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thebookshopbarista Avatar

      For sure. There’s so much to appreciate.
      Ahhhh yeeees. I love him. We love him. How could one not love him? *sighs*
      *nods* glad to be in agreement on that one. The 1994 one is such a gem.
      ahhh yes, I can’t believe I hadn’t listened to him before. Did you know his wife also produces worship music? She’s pretty good too.
      Awww thanks friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lissa Avatar

        Yes I did! She’s talented, but I like his music best.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. thebookshopbarista Avatar

        Yeah, same here.

        Liked by 1 person

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