So, once again it is that time of year when we think about the year that has flown past at astonishing speed. For some 2018 will have been a good one and for others, it might have been a bad one and for many, it might be somewhere in between. Whatever it was for you, I hope that 2019 will be better.
For me 2018 has gone in a bit of a blur, life was trundling along pretty normally until June when everything suddenly changed. Literally over the course of one day, in the morning all was normal and in the evening I was in A+E. I don’t want to go into detail as I’m sure that many of you don’t want to hear the gory details but it wasn’t fun and suddenly life felt very uncertain and unknown. Regular readers of my blog will know that I struggle with my mental health and the stress and uncertainty had a definite impact on me.
My little blog was neglected, reading wasn’t always the escape that it had been and I struggled to concentrate and enjoy reading in the same way. It made me sad, but I just had to do the best that I could.
In November I somehow managed to complete NaNoWriMo when I wrote 50,000 words for a new book. I know that it will need major editing as my head was all over the place, but I love the storyline. And near the end of the month, I had major surgery, something that at the start of the year I would not have imagined that I would be having this year. The recovery wasn’t a lot of fun and I am still not healed, far from it, but I’m getting there and so I really, really, really hope that 2019 will be better, that I will edit my book and read some brilliant books. And I really hope that my blog is less neglected.
But now I need to think about the best books that I read this year, never an easy thing! As always I set myself a Goodreads challenge, last year I had failed to reach my target so I had lowered it this year to 60 and I am currently on 78 books! So I smashed it! Hurrah. I so wish that I could read faster (hence the blog name) and read the hundreds that some bloggers manage but that just isn’t going to happen.
So, here are my top reads. They are not in order, that would just be too stressful to work out!
So, to kick us off is a book that totally took me by surprise. Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh was one hell of a read. I loved it from the very first word to the very last word.
There was a bit of fuss about the book as the tagline appeared to tell the reader what the twist was. I didn’t get the fuss at all, because it worked so well as a read and totally kept me hooked. I absolutely loved it and will definitely be reading other books in the series, but this can definitely be read as a standalone.
Next up is The Crying Season by DK Hood, which is book four in the fabulous Detective Kane and Alton series.
I’ve enjoyed all the books in this series set in a small American town which has a scarily high murder rate. The Crying Season was, undoubtedly, the best book yet and I enjoyed it immensely. This is a series that is best read in order, so start at the beginning with Don’t Tell a Soul by D.K. Hood.
Only Child by Rhiannon Navin was a book that took my breath away. Told from the point of view of little Zach, Only Child tells the story of a family torn apart by a school shooting.
It isn’t often that a book is told from the point of view of a child and it gave the reader a real insight into the family and at times it really was heartbreaking. I loved the father in the story and his relationship with Zach, he was flawed but he was trying. This is a book that will stay with you for a long time to come.
The next book is one of another series, the much loved DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons. There were two books in the series out this year and I loved both but Dying Truth has to be on this list.
This was the book that broke readers hearts, online support groups sprung up to give readers a place to process what happened and all the while, author Angela Marsons could be heard chuckling in the background, enjoying her readers’ distress.
Next up is Home by Amanda Berriman. This is the second book on my list that is told to us by a young child, Jesika who is four.
I loved this book, although it isn’t always easy reading it is a very special book and a fabulous debut novel. I highly recommend it.
I don’t normally read a lot of non-fiction but this year I have read a few and they have all been good reads, but one stood out for me.
When I heard that Listening To The Animals: Becoming The Supervet was coming out and written by Noel Fitzpatrick himself I really wanted to read it. As a long term Supervet fan, and a secret admirer of Noel himself I was keen to find out more about the man and this book definitely did that. I really enjoyed this read that made me laugh and nearly cry.
Next up is a book that I was biased towards liking before I started to read it. Overkill by Vanda Symon is set in a small New Zealand town, and having lived in New Zealand for a number of years and wishing that I could return, I was so excited to read Overkill.
Just look at the cover?! Doesn’t that make you want to read the book all by itself? I really enjoyed it and loved the main character and I’m very excited about the rest of the series that the fabulous Orenda Books will be publishing.
Technically I read this book in 2017, but too late for it to be included in my top reads of that year so I’m putting it in here.
The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor is an incredibly impressive debut and I absolutely loved it. You have probably heard about it, even if you haven’t read it yet, as it has been hugely popular, but it deserves the hype. It is creepy and engrossing and just brilliant.
My next book is a book that I haven’t even reviewed on my blog yet. I was sent an advanced copy of this book to read and review recently, apparently the publisher picked 30 book bloggers to send it to and I was rather astonished to be one of them.
I have to admit that when I started to read The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen I was a bit worried that I wasn’t going to like it. I was a bit confused by the writing style took a bit of getting used to and I really wasn’t sure where it was going. But gradually I fell into the story and what a story it was. Sure, it was quite predictable in a way but that didn’t matter, it was beautiful and special. You’re going to have to wait until June to read it, but it is definitely worth the wait. I will be reviewing it on my blog soon.
So now it is the time that you have all been waiting for…what will be my Book of the Year 2018?!
Yes, my 2018 Book of the Year award goes to… The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. This is a truly deserving winner as it really is such a beautiful book with characters that you will fall in love with and scenery that reads so real you will think that you can smell it. Louise Beech is a hugely talented author and if you haven’t read any books by her then you really are missing out, she really is something special.
But I’m not going to leave it there. I need to give a special mention to my top children’s book from 2018. Akea- The Power of Destiny by Elizabeth Jade is a wonderful story that many will enjoy.
There we go, my yearly roundup. I’d love to hear what you think, do you agree or disagree? Is there a brilliant book that I missed out? There are lots of great books that I couldn’t squeeze into this list, Anita Waller, Louise Jensen, Barbara Copperthwaite, Alison Belsham, Luke Allnutt, Matt Wesolowski, Adam Kay, Louisa De Lange, Ronnie Turner, Stephanie Rogers and Patrick Redmond are just some of the authors who missed out.