Tuesday 1 January 2019

My Top Reads of 2018 #AmReading #TopBooks2018 #BookBlogger

My Top Books of 2018

So, it's that time of the year again!  The end of a reading year and the beginning of a new one. I must admit that I love to read the 'best of' lists that appear at this time of the year. I love to compare and contrast, and of course, to add to my 'to be read list'.

As always, it's been a very difficult task to pick out my favourite books of the year. I rarely finish a book that I'm not enjoying, so I can safely say that I have enjoyed every book that I've read and reviewed over the year. However, there are always those that stick in the mind, and these are the books that I've mentioned here.

As always, my list is split into three sections; I start with some of the 2018 books that I read in 2017. I mentioned them last year and predicted that they would be huge. I think I was right.

The second part of my post is my list of Top Books of 2018; and there are more than 20, because try as I might, I couldn't whittle it down to any less.

Finally, I'll give a mention to some 2019 publications that I've read early. If these are an indicator of the books of 2019, we are all in for such a treat! 

2018 Books that I predicted would be huge ...

At the end of last year, I'd read these 2018 books pre-publication, and predicted that they would do well. I'm still recommending them, twelve months later.  (click on the title for my full review).

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah VaughanPublished by Simon & Schuster on 11 January 2018

The Chalk Man by CJ TudorPublished by Michael Joseph on 11 January 2018

The Confession by Jo Spain: Published by Quercus on 25 January 2018

Need To Know by Karen ClevelandPublished by Bantam / Transworld on 25 January 2018

Lullaby by Leila SlimaniPublished by Faber on 18 January 2018

My Top Reads of 2018

My Top Reads of the year are listed in order of reading. The list contains some favourite authors who pop up year after year, and also some debuts. I think it's a great list, with something for everyone. I heartily recommend all of these books.  (click on the title for my full review)

An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato: published by W&N on 14 December 2017 (I read it in January 2018), and paperback on 12 July 2018. 
'An Unremarkable Body is warm, compassionate and quite brilliant. I was entranced by both the story and by the alluring writing.  Highly recommended, and I look forward to reading more from this extraordinarily talented author.'

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood: published by Two Roads Books in hardback on 25 January 2018 and paperback 4 October 2018 
'The Cactus is a joyful, funny and very insightful story. Incredibly well written and wonderfully imagined. Effortlessly entertaining with captivating observations. This really was a joy to read.'

Still Me by Jojo Moyes: published by Penguin on 25 January 2018, and will be published in paperback on 7 February 2019
'Still Me is an absolute triumph. It is my favourite of this series, without a doubt. Louisa Clark is a character who stays with the reader, who worms her way into the heart and who we cheer on and love through every single page. This is such a joyful story, with an ending that is absolutely pitch perfect.'

The Mother's Secret by Clare Swatman: published in paperback by Pan Macmillan on 22 February 2018.
'Clare Swatman is a talented author, who is going from strength to strength. The Mother's Secret is a profoundly touching and very moving. With themes of love and loss, and hidden truths, I found it impossible to put down.'

Come and Find Me by Sarah Hilary; published in hardback by Headline on 22 March 2018 and in paperback on 4 October 2018
'This is the finest of writing. It's clever and thrilling and populated by incredible characters and follows an amazing plot. The structure is perfect, the voice is beautiful. Quite frankly, a triumph.'

The Fear by CL Taylor: published by Avon Books on 22 March 2018
'Once again, CL Taylor has proved that she's up there with the very best of current psychological thriller authors. The Fear is without doubt, her best book yet.'

The Weaning by Hannah Vincent: published by Salt on 15 February 2018
'Hannah Vincent is a talented observer; she sees life and people and relates them through her books with incredible insight. Fluent and powerful, I loved this book, just as I adored her first and hope that I don't have to wait quite so long for her next!'

The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox: published in hardback by Doubleday on 8 March 2018 and will be published in paperback on 4 April 2019.
'The Smiling Man is tightly woven, the plot is complex but hugely satisfying and the sparks of the darkest of humour that flash intermittently throughout add a sparkle that is quite magical.'

The Old You by Louise Voss: published in paperback by Orenda Books on 15 May 2018.
'The Old You is a fresh and new, the author explores the dark psychology that makes up human relationships, she looks at the impact that lies and hidden truths can have, and best of all, she does with such an ease. This is a story with a genius premise; a combination of dark, psychological thriller and a hard-hitting, tough-loving relationship drama.'

Tale of a Tooth by Allie Rogers: published in paperback by Legend Press on 19 April 2018.
'Tale of a Tooth is a story that will stay in my heart, with characters that are precious and that the reader really does care for. There's no worries about that 'difficult second novel' for Allie Rogers, this is a triumph. I loved it.'

Little Big Man by Katy Regan: published by Mantle on 19 April 2018.
'Little Big Man is a compelling, provocative and astute story of families and long-hidden secrets.'

Let Me Lie by Claire Mackintosh: published in hardback by Sphere/Little Brown on 8 March 2018, and published in paperback on 27 December 2018
'I think everyone will realise that I really loved this book. It's a page turner that delivers shock after surprise. It made me swear out loud, I gasped a few times and I smiled in smug satisfaction when I got to the end.
Loved it. Have raved about it to so many people already and will continue to shout about it for a long time!'

Underwater Breathing by Cassandra Parkin: published in paperback by Legend Press on 3 May 2018
'Underwater Breathing is a beautiful, haunting and poignant story. This author is not frightened of dealing with the darkest of issues and there's some unsettling and uncomfortable themes running throughout.  This is Cassandra Parkin's best book yet. Sublime and wonderful and highly recommended by me.'

It Was Her by Mark Hill: published in paperback by Sphere on 17 May 2018.
'It Was Her is supremely well-crafted, from that irresistible premise, right through to the heart-thumping finale. Absolutely first-class writing, I loved this book, and can't wait for the next one.'

Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone: published in paperback by Orenda Books on 22 May 2018
'Not a single word is wasted, it is wonderfully atmospheric, often unsettling and always thought provoking. The story and its characters have lingered in my head constantly since I turned the final page.  Absolutely exceptional and one of the best books of 2018 so far.'

Keeper by Johana Gustawsson: published in paperback by Orenda Books on 28 April 2018
'It's difficult to explain how such a grotesque plot line can be so beautifully written. The author has a delicate touch with words, and then, out of nowhere, her writing becomes darker and vicious as she brings the horrific scenes to the reader.'

Overkill by Vanda Symon: published in paperback by Orenda Books on 6 September 2018
'Overkill moves at break-neck speed, plunging the reader and Sam into a mystery that is cleverly thought out and impeccably told. The tense atmosphere and the multiple twists and false leads make this a breathtaking and compelling read. The sense of place is amazing, this author has created a community that is close, yet divided; there's a claustrophobic feeling about Mataura and its residents that adds such depth to the story.'

Putney by Sofka Zinovieff: published in hardback by Bloomsbury on 12 July 2018 and will be published in paperback in June 2019.
'It is thrilling, disturbing and quite remarkable. Perfectly placed for the #MeToo era and emotionally draining, Putney is a book that is incredibly important. This author is extremely talented and Putney will remain with me for a very long time. I highly recommend this book; shocking and complex and haunting.'

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent: published in paperback by Penguin on 5 April 2018 
'Skin Deep is captivating, but so bloody uncomfortable. This author's intricate plotting and tension building is second to none and those characters!
Completely and utterly brilliant. I literally couldn't put this down and consumed it within a day. Liz Nugent is at the very top of her game. Highly recommended from me.'

The Lingering by SJI Holliday: published by Orenda Books in paperback on 15 November 2018
'Beautifully written and perfectly plotted; The Lingering is a book that will stay with me for a very long time. The tension is almost unbearable at times. It's nerve-shredding and genuinely chilling.'

The Necessary Marriage by Elisa Lodato: published in hardback by W&N on 23 August 2018 and will be published in paperback in July 2019
'The Necessary Marriage is powerful and gripping. This author has a magical way with words that just engulf me. Her characters are perfectly formed, with flaws and foibles that just add to their strength and make them completely real for me.Both the story, and the author are strikingly brilliant, her ability to look at human relations is so astute. Wonderful, I loved every page and will recommend this highly.'

The Rest Of Me by Katie Marsh: published in paperback by Hodder on 26 July 2018
'Vividly written and packed with emotional punches, this novel is devastating yet uplifting. The characters are brilliantly crafted, with vulnerabilities and flaws and beautifully observed.'

Bitter by Francesca Jakobi: published in hardback by W&N on 8 March 2018 and in paperback on 4 October 2018
'Francesca Jakobi writes with precision and so lyrically. Bitter is deeply moving and so very wise. I absolutely adored it and can't wait to find out what this very talented author does next.'

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper: published in paperback by Headline on 20 September 2018
'Thoughtful, sensitive and a complete tear-jerker. The Songs of Us is a truly beautiful book. I adored the characters, the story and the impeccable writing.  Highly recommended from me.'

Attend by West Camel: published in paperback by Orenda Books on 13 December 2018
'Up to date, gritty and dark yet filled with a magic that is unique and uplifting. Attend is adventurous, charming and utterly compelling.'

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech: published in paperback by Orenda Books on 20 September 2018
'The Lion Tamer Who Lost is an amazing study of love, and of grief. Louise Beech holds her readers firmly in her hand as she tells her story. Her ability to convey human emotion is precise and impassioned.'

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh: published in paperback by Orion on 14 June 2018
'I absolutely devoured Thirteen, it's one of those books that keep you up way past bedtime. Excellent hook, fabulous characters and ingenious plotting. I can't wait to read more from this author.'

Books to look out for in 2019 ....

I've already made a start on the 2019 books, and if the ones that I've read already are anything to go by, we are in for another outstanding book year.
Here are a few tips; books that I think will be huge next year. (click on the title to read my full review)

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark Platts: published by Raven Books on 24 January 2019

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley: published by Harper Collins on 24 January 2019

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman: published by Orion on 21 February 2019 

Mrs Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister: published by HQ on 24 January 2019

So there we are; my top books of 2018, with a few tempters for you for 2019.

I hope you all have an excellent 2019, with lots of amazing books to discover. Huge thanks for continuing to read my blog and for the wonderful support that I've had over the last 12 months.

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