My Top 20 Favourite Books of 2019

What a year! This list has been nearly impossible to put together. I’ve read so many incredibly brilliant books in 2019 and it’s been a real battle trying to narrow it down to 20. I do so apologise to the authors whose books I had to drop from the list (not that you know who you are 😂) but lines must be drawn somewhere and I’ve had to be utterly ruthless.

Note : These were all published this year.

So, without further ado, in random order except for the top 4, here are my Top 20 Favourite Books of 2019.

John Marrs – The Passengers [my review]
Phoebe Locke – The July Girls [my review]
Jo Spain – Dirty Little Secrets [my review]
Taylor Jenkins-Reid – Daisy Jones and the Six [my review]

Kia Abdullah – Take It Back [no review]
James Delargy – 55 [my review]
Søren Sveistrup – The Chestnut Man [my review]

Anita Frank – The Lost Ones [no review]
Stacey Halls – The Familiars [no review]
Elizabeth Letts – Finding Dorothy [my review]

The Orenda Collection 😂

Sarah Stovell – The Home [my review]
Will Carver – Nothing Important Happened Today [my review]
Doug Johnstone – Breakers [my review]
Helen Fitzgerald – Worst Case Scenario [my review]
Louise Beech – Call Me Star Girl [my review]
Thomas Enger – Inborn [my review]

4. Ruth Ware – The Turn Of The Key [my review]
3. Rowan Coleman – The Girl at the Window [my review]
2. C.J. Tudor – The Taking of Annie Thorne [my review]

| And Novel Deelight’s Book of the Year award goes to ….. |

If you read my review back when I posted it, this will not really come as a surprise. I have to say The Taking of Annie Thorne (!!!!!! infinity) and The Girl at the Window came incredibly close and I almost had to resort to drawing straws to pick a winner. Such a hard choice to make but The Whisper Man just had that little bit of an edge. [my review]

So, there you have it. Thoughts? Suggestions? Criticism? 😂

As 2019 is coming to an end, I want to say a huge thank you to all the fabulous authors and publishers for an absolutely outstanding bookish year! Thank you to YOU, my lovely fellow bloggers and readers for your enthusiasm, your support, your comments and for sharing the book love. ❤️

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and I’ll see you on the other side when I’ll be taking a look at what 2020 has in store for the book world. Until then, stay safe, be merry and keep reading. xx

This Week in Books (December 18)

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 |

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police. 

‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.

She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust?

A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

[* There’s a bit of a story attached to this one, which you can read at the bottom of the post, if you’re so inclined.]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness.

[Catching up on some of Ruth Ware’s older work after loving The Death of Mrs Westaway and The Turn of the Key]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back.

[One of my favourite crime series and I can’t wait to get stuck into this new instalment!]

For those of who you who saw last week’s post, DO NOT PANIC! I did indeed read Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker and absolutely loved it!

* The Nicci French story. At my local mall, which is about half an hour’s drive away from my house, is one book shop that sells English books. It’s not a very big selection and they aren’t updated all that often either. I’d been there three weeks or so ago so the odds that there would be any new and exciting offerings were dismal. Still, as I explained to the other half, one does not just walk by a book shop! Cue lots of sighing and eye rolling. From him, not from me 😉. He goes off to browse the dvd section and I head to the books. There were a few new additions and by few, I mean I could have counted them on one hand. Also, I’d already read those. Nothing else really appealed to me. Which is when I spotted Nicci French. Now, I haven’t read a Nicci French book in my life and I really wasn’t sure about this one but at least it was a title I’d actually heard of and there was absolutely no frickin’ way that I was going to leave that shop without a book and prove the other half right. This is how Nicci French got to go home with me and since I stupidly exclaimed I was really excited about this book, I obviously had to start reading it right away. Thankfully, I actually really enjoyed it. And this is how we roll at Casa Novel Deelights. 😂

What are you reading this week? Do let me know! “This Week in Books” will return on January 8th. Until then, I wish you lots of happy reading! xx

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | @RuthWareWriter @HarvillSecker | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Ruth Ware
Title : The Turn of the Key
Pages : 340
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Publication date : August 8, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Ruth Ware’s previous book, The Death of Mrs Westaway, was one of my top books last year. So to say I had high expectations for her next offering would be somewhat of an understatement. I couldn’t wait to pick up The Turn of the Key and as soon as I started reading, I just knew this one was going to be another extra special treat.

Rowan Caine answered an ad for a nanny position in the Scottish Highlands. But it’s obvious from the start that things did not go well. A child is dead and Rowan is in prison awaiting trial for murder. What on earth happened and how did Rowan get here?

Oh, what a twisted tale this is. I feel like I didn’t breathe for 340 pages, it’s that tense. The modern gadgetry alone already freaked me out, never mind all the shenanigans that could possibly be caused by ghosts because hey, isolated house in a remote location where a death or two has occurred , it’s bound to be haunted, right? Hugely atmospheric? Check! I mean, there’s even a poison garden! Yikes! And what of Rowan? Reliable narrator or not? I couldn’t quite decide for most of the story and yet, at every turn, I found myself firmly on her side.

Creepy and chilling throughout, I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened and the conclusion left me reeling. Or at least my interpretation of it, which obviously means you should read this novel right now so we can discuss it! Wow. I mean, really, just WOW. I absolutely devoured this novel and as tends to happen with books I loved as much as this one, the words to describe my experience with it just will not come. Also because I’m way too worried I’ll give anything away.

Brilliantly written, immensely engrossing, extremely addictive …. WOW! 😉 This is most definitely Ruth Ware at her best and I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this, because did I mention how utterly brilliant The Death of Mrs Westaway was? The Turn of the Key, you guys, is even better and it shoots right up my list of favourite books of the year! I’ll be recommending this one left, right and centre until I’m blue in the face and I am already eagerly awaiting Ruth Ware’s next book.

The Turn of The Key is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

Book 17 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 18)

Summer has gone and done a runner. It’s been a miserable, windy and wet week and I do not approve in the slightest. I’ve been torturing myself by constantly checking the weather in Italy, where it’s lovely and warm, and keeping my fingers crossed that will still be the case when I arrive there in a few weeks.

Since I ran out of Hawaii Five-O episodes to watch [note to self : binge-watch slower next time], there seemed little else to do but read. And by read, I mean stare at hundreds of books on my bookshelves and declare I had nothing to read. 🤣

Meanwhile, the pile of books I will be taking with me on holiday has grown to … one. Yes, you read that right. One. Considering my hormonal reading mojo this year, you never know. It could be enough. Still, it’s good to be prepared for every eventuality, right? So I’m thinking I need a few more. I might be forced to do a panicky “grab-whatever-is-closest” on the day we leave. 😂

Anyway! No tv shows to watch and miserable weather. What’s a girl to do? Read, I guess. So here’s what I read this week.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

That’s not too bad again. I’m about 100 pages away from finishing another one but I got distracted.

For those who’d like to guess this week : one of those shot right up my list of “books of the year”. No, Kelly, you’re not allowed to play along 😜

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

Well. I don’t know what happened here but apparently I bought none. What’s up with that?! Feel free to stage an intervention if this continues! 😂

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Shared my review for Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Reviewed Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks

Friday : Again with the nothing

Saturday : Took this day off as well

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

You know something? I could totally get used to this!

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Blog tour | Extract | Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Tuesday : Review | Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Most likely nothing

Friday : Review | The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Saturday : Taking the day off

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Slightly busier because I need to squeeze in the 20 Books of Summer challenge reviews before the end of the month. 😂

Speaking of that challenge, I’m currently reading my 18th book. I may yet nail this after all! I also reached the 150 mark of books read this year, which considering the up-and-down reading mojo makes me feel quite accomplished. And the year isn’t over yet!

That’s it for this week. I’m spending the afternoon with the mother-in-law. Again. She seems to be here a lot lately. I hope she’s not planning on moving in 🤔

Wishing you all a fantastic week and lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

This Week in Books (August 14)

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 |

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body.

For Stella Harvey, the news is doubly shocking, as the body is found in the garden of her childhood home. The home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the Dorset island. But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets.

But one thing rings true…
You can’t bury the truth forever. 

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.

They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed.

Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin. 

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Why yes, I am reading two books at the same time. Why no, I’m not making much progress on either one of them 😂

What are you reading this week? Do let me know in the comments! Happy reading! xx

Weekly Wrap-Up (August 11)

Nothing much to report this week. I’m still stuck in Hawaii, solving cases, enjoying the scenery. Nothing at all to do with the eye candy. Honestly.

(Happy now, Shallow Tribe?! 😜)

Sorry, where was I?

I have been trying to squeeze some reading in between episodes when I feel like it. I also have my own reward system going on which actually works really well. Read 50 pages, watch an episode, rinse, lather, repeat. Now if only I could stop wasting hours of my time trying to figure out what to read next, that’d be even better.

So, what did I read this week? Let’s take a look.

| BOOKS I READ THIS WEEK |

That’ll do me. All solid reads but one stood out just that little bit for me. Feel free to guess which one that might have been.

| BOOKS I BOUGHT THIS WEEK |

I wasn’t going to buy any books this week. That went well, eh? 😳

Ruth Ware was a preorder and I can’t wait for it to arrive! The other three are all down to reviews from bloggers who are a bad influence on my spending habits.

| ON THE BLOG THIS PAST WEEK |

Monday : Joined the blog tour for Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

Tuesday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Clear My Name by Paula Daly

Wednesday : Completely forgot to post 😳

Thursday : Shared my review for The Chain by Adrian McKinty

Friday : Reviewed Now You See Me by Chris McGeorge

Saturday : Hosted a stop on the blog tour for Torment by Mark Tilbury

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

If I hadn’t forgotten to post on Wednesday, this would have marked my last full week of posting. I’m really looking forward to slowing down somewhat.

Thank you for all the shares on social media this week!

| NEXT WEEK ON NOVEL DEELIGHTS |

Monday : Nothing

Tuesday : Review | Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

Wednesday : This Week in Books

Thursday : Also nothing

Friday : Review | Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks

Saturday : Taking this one off as well.

Sunday : Weekly Wrap-Up

Would you look at that! Not a blog tour in sight! Evidently, I also ran out of reviews along the way which is why I don’t have much of anything to post 😂

I do still have two blog tours coming up in August. Which I haven’t read the books for yet because that’s just how I roll. And with the books I’ve read this week, I managed to get to 15 books read for the 20 Books of Summer Challenge so I could still possibly maybe still nail that one.

Four weeks to go until Italy. I’ve been trying to decide which books to take with me and it’s not going well at all. Even worse, I’ve been having long, hard looks at my bookshelves and I’m seeing a whole bunch of books I’ve bought that don’t even appeal to me anymore. Has that happened to you? If so, what do you do? Have a nice culling? Or does a part of you feel since you bought them, you should actually really read them at some point?

That’s it for this week. I feel like I need to make some changes to these wrap-ups. They’re awfully boring lately, aren’t they? 😂 Something to ponder by the pool in a few weeks.

Hope you all have a fabulous week and I wish you lots of happy reading! Until next time! xx

20 Books of Summer – 2019

The 20 Books of Summer Challenge is an annual event run by the lovely Cathy, running from June 3rd until September 3rd. Since I nailed it last year, joining in again this year was a total no-brainer. And just like last year, I will be reading these 20 books on top of my other commitments because otherwise it just doesn’t feel enough like a challenge to me. Unless my reading slump continues, in which case I’ll be in serious trouble 😂

So, here are the 20 books on my list. For now. This list has gone through so many changes already and I can’t promise you’ll be seeing these same 20 books again at the end of it all. But that’s okay! Because it’s totally allowed!

In no particular order, with links to Goodreads for your convenience. Reviews will be added as and when they are written. I hope.

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about my list. Apart from two titles that are only there because Janel made me add them 😜.

Who’s joining in this year? The more, the merrier! It’ll be fun! I think 🤣

Wish me luck! xx

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! ❤️

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Ruth Ware
Title : The Death of Mrs Westaway
Pages : 384
Publisher : Harvill Secker
Publication date : June 28, 2018

aboutthebook

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

mythoughts

Oh boy, I have absolutely no idea how to tackle this review and get across how much I loved The Death of Mrs Westaway. 

Hal receives a letter telling her she’s inherited something. She’s convinced names were mixed up and this inheritance isn’t meant for her. But debts and threats spur her on to rely on the cold-reading skills she’s picked up as a tarot card reader to convince everyone she is a rightful heir and maybe get herself out of trouble.

Despite the fact Hal is about to commit fraud, I couldn’t help but warm to her. She’s a very likeable and complicated character who has fallen on hard times and I was rooting for her all the way, wishing she could get some sort of happy ending.

The Death of Mrs Westaway is not packed full of action, nor would I call it a thriller. It has quite a slow pace but it’s nevertheless incredibly engrossing and as the tension gradually builds up throughout the story, I felt I just couldn’t put it down. It’s an intensely gripping mystery that held my attention, kept me guessing and I devoured it in one day. The Westaway family has secrets like no other and I enjoyed trying to unravel them.

I found this to be quite the dark and haunting story, set against the glorious and slightly creepy feeling of a neglected mansion. It oozes atmosphere and has that delightful gothic vibe to it. The immensely mysterious and character-driven plot full of intrigue had me completely enthralled from start to finish and Ruth Ware’s brilliant writing totally won me over.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ruth Ware and it left me feeling like I’d seriously been missing out. So much so that it prompted me to buy her other books and I can’t wait to find the time to get caught up. For now though, this one shoots right up my list of top books of the year and I highly recommend it!

The Death of Mrs Westaway is available to buy!

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

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Book 11 from my 20 Books of Summer list

20-books-of-summer-cathy