My Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2018

What an absolutely amazing year for books it has been! 

Just like last year, I thought splitting things up between series and stand-alones would help narrow down the list but nope. A Top 10 was never going to happen here. Despite the fact that my reading mojo was up and down like a bloody yo-yo all year, I still managed to read 250 books. Sure, that’s 50 less than last year but do I care? Clue : no, I don’t 😉

Anyway, I present to you My Top 20 Favourite (stand-alone) Reads of 2018. With apologies to the authors/books I had to drop from the list.

In no particular order, except for the Top 5, here we go!

Phoebe Locke – The Tall Man [my review]
Louise Voss – The Old You [my review]
Linwood Barclay – A Noise Downstairs [my review]
Mark Edwards – The Retreat [my review]

Ane Riel – Resin [no review]
Joanna Cannon – Three Things About Elsie [no review]
Gillian McAllister – No Further Questions [my review]
Shari Lapena – An Unwanted Guest [my review]

Lesley Kara – The Rumour [review to follow]
Karin Slaughter – Pieces of Her [my review]
SJI Holliday – The Lingering [my review]
Elly Griffiths – The Stranger Diaries [review to follow]

Gill Paul – The Lost Daughter [my review]
Louise Beech – The Lion Tamer Who Lost [my review]
Rachel Rhys – Fatal Inheritance [my review]

Top 5

5. C.J. Tudor – The Chalk Man [my review]
4. Ruth Ware – The Death of Mrs Westaway [my review]
3. Liz Nugent – Skin Deep [my review]
2. Elizabeth Haynes – The Murder of Harriet Monckton [my review]

My favourite book of the year is …

I don’t think this comes as a huge surprise. When I read this back in February, I said it would take something insanely special to knock this off the top spot. Skin Deep and Harriet Monckton came awfully close but in the end, “Agatha Christie on crack” won out. [my review]

A massive thank you to all the authors, publishers and Netgalley for making 2018 so spectacular! And to you, my fellow bloggers and readers, huge thanks for the support, for visiting and for commenting! ❤️

This Week in Books (September 5)

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This week is getting completely away from me! I’m so ridiculously busy and my reading is taking a massive beating.

Last book I finished reading

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

[Such an absolutely amazing story! Dark and heartbreaking but beautifully written!]


The book I’m currently reading

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When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

[I started this on Monday and I’m still only halfway! Bloody universe messing with my reading time. Anyway, another fabulous addition to the series! Not for the faint-hearted!]


What I’m (possibly) reading next

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You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

[At the rate I’m going, “next” will probably not be until Sunday but still, I am SO looking forward to this one. I can’t wait to see what devilish tale Michael J. Malone has come up with this time!]

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I’m so sorry for not being very social this week. Did I mention I’m insanely busy? I’m still trying to share as many of your blog posts as I possibly can but unfortunately, I don’t have the time to leave comments or to interact with you guys on Twitter. I hope my “liking” your posts and tweets shows you how much I do appreciate everything! Normal service will resume when I’m back from holiday.

What exciting things are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Rachel Rhys
Title : Fatal Inheritance
Pages : 400
Publisher : Doubleday
Publication date : June 26, 2018

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1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey London suburb.

Then, out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance. And to find out more, she must to travel to the glittering French Riviera.

There Eve discovers that her legacy is an enchanting pale pink villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Suddenly her life could not be more glamorous. But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.

Alone in this beguiling paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly.

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One word : LOVE!!!! There. Now go and buy it.

I adored Rachel Rhys’ previous book, A Dangerous Crossing, and couldn’t wait to read more by her. I had super high expectations for Fatal Inheritance and needing to wait for the stunning hardcover to finally land on my doorstep was excruciating! However, within the first few pages I already knew it had most definitely been worth the wait.

There is something immensely captivating about the way Rachel Rhys writes and it only took minutes for me to find myself completely transported to 1948, where we are introduced to the character of Eve Forrester. To say Eve is a wee miserable might be a slight understatement. Caught up in loveless marriage and living in a grey London suburb in a gloomy house where nothing is to her taste, she often wonders if this is it. Is this the best it’ll ever be?

But then she receives a letter, telling her of an inheritance left to her by a wealthy stranger. To find out more, Eve needs to travel all the way to the south of France. But with a family resentful of her status as an heir, all is not fierce sunshine and lovely smelling flowers.

Set right after the second world war, there was no hardship at all in sympathising with Eve’s circumstances. After all, women had been doing their bit during the war, finding their own feet and surviving, doing jobs intended for men as they were off fighting. Yet now, they are expected to go back to being submissive. Eve’s husband, in particular, is incredibly domineering and highly unlikeable. Her trip to France, where she gets to mingle with celebrities and get a taste of how things could be, will change her life.

I’ve never been to the south of France but the gloriously vivid descriptions made it incredibly easy to imagine the sights, the scents and the feeling of the sun on my skin. Although considering I read this in the middle of a heatwave, the latter wasn’t too hard to do. The mystery as to who has left Eve this inheritance is slowly revealed throughout the story and while I did figure bits out quite early on, it didn’t bother me at all.

Fatal Inheritance is historical fiction from the top shelf. It’s mysterious and exquisitely written. One to savour and enjoy and be utterly immersed in. Did I mention I loved it? I absolutely can’t wait for more by Rachel Rhys!

Fatal Inheritance is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

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Book 14 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson @DoubledayUK @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Good morning and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson. My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join the tour and to the publisher for my review copy!

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Author : Anne Youngson
Title : Meet Me At The Museum
Pages : 224
Publisher : Doubleday / Transworld Digital
Publication date : May 17, 2018

aboutthebook

Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are

When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.

When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.

They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.

Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.

Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.

Can their unexpected friendship survive?

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The story of Meet Me At The Museum starts when Tina Hopgood emails a professor at a museum in Denmark. She and her best friend have always wanted to visit the museum to view an archeological discovery that has held their interest. But now Tina’s friend has died and Tina regrets never having made the journey.

She doesn’t expect a reply and as it turns out the professor she tried to contact has long since died himself. But her letter is picked up by Anders Larsen, the current curator.  What starts as talk about archeology, over time develops into a deep and fulfilling friendship.

Both Anders and Tina are incredibly lonely. Anders lost his wife of thirty years, although he’s not quite sure he ever truly had her in the first place. His two children live quite far from him and all he has is his work. Tina is a farmer’s wife. She has a husband, three children and a few grandchildren. And yet, she feels lonely too. This isn’t exactly the life she chose for herself. She was thrust into it and she wonders what her life would have been like if she’d been able to make another decision.

Meet Me At The Museum is entirely written in letters between Tina and Anders. The topics vary from archeology, to every day life and as their friendship deepens, they find themselves revealing things they haven’t even discussed with those closest to them. Ultimately, life will change for both of them. For instance, Tina’s letters encourage Anders to look around himself more, to appreciate nature and to let go of certain things. I quite liked Anders and sympathised with him. I found Tina, on the other hand, a little harder to connect to. While I could understand her situation, her indecisiveness got to me sometimes.

This is a beautifully written and moving story about an unlikely friendship, about how someone you’ve never met and may never meet knows you better than the people around you, about how it’s never too late to make a change. I found the concept of the correspondence a little hard to get into at first but once I got to grips with it and the characters’ personalities began to shine through, it ended up being rather enthralling and captivating. Tina and Anders will capture your heart and you will root for them all the way. A very accomplished debut by Anne Youngson.

Meet Me At The Museum will be published tomorrow!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

ANNE YOUNGSON worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM is her debut novel, which is due to be published around the world.

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This Week in Books (May 9)

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Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.


Last book I finished reading

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In a reimagined contemporary Edinburgh, in which a tectonic fault has opened up to produce a new volcano in the Firth of Forth, and where tremors are an everyday occurrence, volcanologist Surtsey makes a shocking discovery. On a clandestine trip to The Inch – the new volcanic island – to meet Tom, her lover and her boss, she finds his lifeless body. Surtsey’s life quickly spirals into a nightmare when someone makes contact – someone who claims to know what she’s done.

The book I’m currently reading

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Eleven days after the death of Anne Boleyn, Jane is dressing for her wedding to the King.

She has witnessed at first hand how courtly play can quickly turn to danger and knows she must bear a son . . . or face ruin.

This new queen must therefore step out from the shadows cast by Katherine and Anne – in doing so, can she expose a gentler side to the brutal King?


What I’m (probably) reading next

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When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.

When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.

They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.

Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.

Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.

Can their unexpected friendship survive?

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What are you reading this week? Whatever it is, I hope it brings you hours and hours of lots of happy reading! xx

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

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Author : Rachel Rhys
Title : A Dangerous Crossing
Pages : 364
Publisher : Doubleday / Transworld / Penguin UK
Publication date : March 23, 2017

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1939: Europe is on the brink of war.

Lily Shepherd, a servant girl, boards an ocean liner for Australia. She is on her way to a new life, leaving behind the shadows in her past. For a humble girl, the passage proves magical – a band, cocktails, fancy dress balls. A time when she is beholden to no one. The exotic locations along the way – Naples, Cairo, Ceylon – allow her to see places she’d only ever dreamed of, and to make friends with people higher up the social scale who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man who she couldn’t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings.

But Lily soon realises that her new-found friends are also escaping secrets in their past. As the ship’s glamour fades, the stage is set for something awful to happen. By the time the ship docks, two of Lily’s fellow passengers are dead, war has been declared and Lily’s life will be irrevocably changed.

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Oh, what a little gem this book is!

Lily Shepherd boards the ship Orentes to travel to Australia to work as a domestic servant and in the hope of leaving tragedy behind her. During the crossing, she gets to mingle with a variety of people who would normally not give her the light of day. But on the Orentes, anything goes, in the knowledge that once you land, you won’t be seeing your fellow passengers again. Being cooped up on a ship with strangers and with the world on the brink of war, Lily’s life will look very different once she arrives at her destination.

This is another book that has been on my TBR pile for way too long and I’m so glad I finally decided to make the time to read it. I am usually quite a fast reader but with A Dangerous Crossing, I made a conscious effort to slow down so I could soak up the atmosphere and savour each and every page. I often enjoy some historical fiction and to have that combined with a murder mystery was such a treat.

I don’t like ships. Actually, I don’t even like water. So you’ll never see me travelling that way. Yet the author’s writing was such, that I truly felt I was right there bobbing away on the ocean and visiting all these wonderfully exotic locations, that were quite clearly really well researched. Just like the five weeks it takes Lily to travel, I felt like I was on a journey and I really enjoyed being immersed in the daily events of the passengers. Some I liked, some I very much disliked, some I would happily, accidentally on purpose, have thrown overboard.

It only took a few pages to have me completely engrossed and enthralled and I stayed up until two in the morning because I so desperately wanted to finish this. It almost felt as if the author had cast a spell on me, I was that enchanted. Rachel Rhys is a pseudonym for a well known crime writer and I so hope she tackles historical fiction again. I absolutely loved this one and it goes straight on to my list of books the year!

A Dangerous Crossing was published on March 23rd.

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