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 😉

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! ❤️

In Her Shadow by Mark Edwards

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Author : Mark Edwards
Title : In Her Shadow
Pages : 366
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer
Publication date : October 4, 2018

aboutthebook

For four years Jessica has never doubted that her sister Isabel’s death was an accident. But when Jessica’s young daughter seems to know long-forgotten details about her aunt’s past, Jessica can’t shake the feeling that there’s a more sinister truth behind the tragedy.

As Jessica unearths disturbing revelations about her sister, and about the people she loved and trusted most, it becomes clear Isabel’s life was less than perfect and that Jessica’s might also be at risk.

Did someone murder Isabel? Are they now after Jessica and her family? The key seems to lie in the hands of a child. Can Isabel reveal the truth from beyond the grave, or is the answer closer to home?

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When In Her Shadow first popped up on Netgalley, it didn’t have a cover or a book description. Yet, after just having finished Mark Edwards’ previous book, The Retreat, I jumped at the chance to request it. His psychological thrillers with a slightly paranormal vibe to them are always hugely entertaining.

Four years ago, Jessica’s sister Izzy fell to her death from a balcony at her home. Jessica never questioned that this event was nothing more than an unfortunate accident. Until the day her four year old daughter starts acting a wee bit creepy, seemingly coming up with memories and details about an aunt she’s never known. Was Izzy’s death an accident or was she murdered?

Through a few flashback chapters and Jessica’s search for the truth, the reader discovers that Izzy’s life was, despite appearances, anything but perfect. This is also the point where I got lost a little. There was so much going on, from drugs to infidelity to stalkers, from quite an odd business to the #metoo movement. While it all made sense in the end, there seemed to be quite a lot to try and keep track of.

Even though I was unable to figure out the who or the why, which is always a bonus, In Her Shadow lacked a little something for me. It wasn’t as thrilling as I expected it to be and I felt the chapters dealing with Izzy’s past broke the flow of the story. And while Olivia’s words and actions were a tad creepy, they never quite chilled me to the bone.

Nevertheless, I stayed up way past my bedtime, again, to finish it because that’s just what Mark Edwards does to you. And that’s also why, even though this maybe didn’t quite work for me as well as The Retreat did, I will most definitely be picking up one of his other books in future. Because they are entertaining and enjoyable and they are addictive page-turners. Mark Edwards is a fantastic writer and tells a great story but for me, this thriller needed just that little bit more thrill to it.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

In Her Shadow will be published on October 4th.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

The Retreat by Mark Edwards

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Author : Mark Edwards
Title : The Retreat
Pages : 356
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer / Amazon Publishing
Publication date : May 10, 2018

aboutthebook

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

mythoughts

I have finally discovered Mark Edwards and all I can say is WOW!

The Retreat had me utterly in its clutches from the very first page. It’s almost like the opening scene of a scary movie somehow. A seemingly innocent drive through the glorious Welsh countryside and yet straight away, I couldn’t shake the feeling something utterly creepy was just around the corner. The setting oozes atmosphere in a haunting sort of way.

Lucas is an author who heads to a writer’s retreat in Wales, hoping to finally find the inspiration to finish his second novel. The owner of the retreat, Julia, lost her family. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter. But the little girl’s body was never found and Julia is convinced her daughter is still alive. And then strange things start to happen.

Mark Edwards is a new to me author. I know, shame on me. I picked up The Retreat after seeing a lot of buzz around from my fellow bloggers and the fear of missing out was becoming increasingly tough to beat. Now I’m left to wonder why I’ve not read any of this author’s books before because if this is anything to go buy then, yes, I have most definitely been missing out!

The Retreat had me glued to the pages from beginning to end. This is a brilliantly absorbing and compelling story. Yes, it’s slightly creepy but it’s also a bit sad at times when it plays into the topic of local superstition and the stuff of myths and scary stories. I had no idea whatsoever where things were heading. It’s a quite unpredictable journey but I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of it. I’m purposefully leaving my review on the vague side because I don’t want to ruin the sheer fun of it for everyone.

This is going straight onto my list of books of the year and I quite happily recommend it as a total must-read! A delicious psychological thriller with a difference and I will undoubtedly make the time to read more books by Mark Edwards in future.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

The Retreat is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

This Week in Books (May 23)

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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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Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

The book I’m currently reading

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When Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in the kitchen, insecurities resurface from a time when she was bullied at school. Jealousy rears its head and her marriage begins to fall apart. Desperate for a solution, she finds herself trying to track down her first schoolgirl crush: Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.

What I’m (probably) reading next

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Everyone knows an Aisling:

Loves going Out Out, but secretly scared of liquid eyeliner.
Happy to drink the bar dry, but will bring her own coaster if necessary.
Would rather die than miss a cooked hotel breakfast, but can calculate the Points in a Snickers at fifty paces.

Aisling’s the girl with a heart of gold, but a boyfriend who still hasn’t made a peep about their Big Day even after seven years.

But then a disastrous romantic getaway shows Aisling that it’s time to stop waiting around and leave John behind for the bright lights of Dublin. After she’s wailed her way through Adele’s Greatest Hits, that is.

Between glamorous new flatmates, a scandal at work and finding herself in a weird love square, Aisling is ready to take on the big city. So long as she has her umbrella with her.

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Bit of a mix this week. I quite approve!

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