My Favourite Novels of 2018!

My Favourite Books 0f 2018!

Firstly, happy new year to you all! I hope 2019 brings you good health, peace and happiness!

2018 has been an amazing reading year for me. I read 290 books, which is the most I’ve read in one year since I started keeping track of my reading! Of the 290, 211 were fiction so that has made it so hard to pick a top 10 or even a top 20 so in the end I made a list of the books that have stayed with me the most and 27 novels have made my list! (My non-fiction picks will be in a separate post tomorrow).

Some of these books have stayed with me because they were well-written, some were impossible to put down and others brought out such an emotional reaction in me that they simply had to be on this list.

So without further ado, here are my favourite books of 2018 (click the title if you’d like to read my full review on each of these books)…

 

In reverse order: 

27. Dead in Venice by Fiona Leitch

This is one of the best audio books I listened to this year and had to be on my list as it’s really stick with me.

26. The Lingering by SJI Holliday

This was an unsettling, creepy novel that I couldn’t put down!

25. You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

I love Lucy Clarke’s writing and this has joined The Sea Sisters as my favourite books by her!

24. The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

This was such a different read for me and I utterly adored it.

23. Perfect Bones by AJ Waines

This is a crime fiction novel that haunted me in the times when I wasn’t reading it, it definitely earned its place on my list.

22. The Date by Louise Jensen

I love Louise Jensen’s writing and this book was another brilliant read by her. It gave me an insight into a condition I knew nothing much about and the ending of the book gave me chills!

21. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

I read this book in one sitting on a boiling hot day but the writing was so good that I could feel the snowy cold and the oppressive atmosphere of those trapped in the hotel with a murderer on the loose!

20. Odette by Jessica Duchen

This is such a beautiful book and it really resonated with me so it had to be on this list!

19. Attend by West Camel

This is a recent read but I keep finding myself thinking about the characters and it’s staying in my mind so I had to have this in my top books.

18. Daisy Belle by Caitlin Davies

This is a wonderful story about a young girl who wants to make it as a champion swimmer in a time when it’s not the done thing for females. It’s inspiring and beautiful and I knew it would make my top books of the year as soon as I finished reading it.

17. The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah M. Lynn

This is a bit different from my usual reads but it’s so beautiful and very moving in places and I still think about it.

16. Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

This was such a brilliant novel, and is another book that really has stayed with me.

 

15. The Girl in His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

This was a very prescient and moving novel, and while it was hard to read at times for me personally the writing is so sensitive and honest that I couldn’t put it down.

14. Fukushima Dreams by Zelda Rhiando

I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did but it’s so stunningly written and the story is still swirling in my mind. It was an unforgettable read for me and deserves its place on my list.

13. Narcissism for Beginners by Martine McDonagh

This is another book that was a bit different to my usual read but I devoured it. It’s funny and emotional and I adored it.

12. Good Samaritans by Will Carver

This is such a brilliant read, one I’ve been recommending to people ever since I finished reading it.

11. Overkill by Vanda Symon

This is my new favourite crime thriller series and I’m desperate to get my hands on the second book as soon as it’s out!

10. Him by Clare Empson

I got this book on a whim from NetGalley and I’m so glad I did. This really got under my skin and I couldn’t put it down until I’d read all the way to the end.

9. Miss Marley by Vanessa LaFaye with Rebecca Mascull

This is the only book on this list that I haven’t managed to review but I highly recommend it. It’s gorgeous and moving and just brilliant. It honours A Christmas Carol so beautifully whilst also standing on its own as a novella. The final couple of chapters were incredibly moving. I know this will be a book that I read every Christmas from now on so it absolutely deserves to be on this list.

8. Roar by Cecelia Ahern

This short story collection is brilliant. I loved every story and enjoyed finding the ones that resonated with me. It’s fabulous!

7. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

This is such a magical and lyrical novel, it’s another book that is staying with me and I know I’ll want to read it again in the future.

6. The Long Forgotten by David Whitehouse 

I was looking forward to reading this novel but I wasn’t expecting it to get to me in the way it did. It’s very moving and so fascinating, and the writing is stunning.

5. Snap by Belinda Bauer

This was my favourite crime thriller of the year, I loved it. I don’t think I’ve read a crime novel before that has made me cry in the way this did. It’s such a brilliant novel.

4. Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

This novel really connected with me in so many ways and my review ended up being very personal as the story got so entwined with my emotions at the time I was reading. It’s a beautiful novel and I urge you to read it if you haven’t already.

 

 

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3. Love and Fame by Susie Boyt

This book is why I love blog tours – I was offered a copy of Love and Fame, a book I hadn’t heard of before and decided to give it a go. It’s such a witty, funny and moving novel about grief and loss in various forms. I absolutely fell in love with this book and it’s one I consider to be a firm favourite. I’m so glad this book found me!

 

 

And the next two books are jointly my favourite books of the year because I just couldn’t pick between them…

 

 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

I adore Louise Beech’s writing anyway but The Lion Tamer Who Lost stole my heart in a way that no other book has done in 2018. I keep thinking of the characters and wondering how they are, I keep thinking of how cruel life can be but how a novel like this does ultimately remind you why you need to keep going. I cried buckets reading parts of this book but I fell in love with it and it absolutely deserves this number one spot!

 

Let Me Be Like Water by S. K. Perry

I hadn’t heard of this book before a copy got sent to me for review but it was serendipity that it came into my life at the perfect moment. This is such a beautiful, lyrical novel that had me sobbing one moment and feeling consoled the next. The characters are wonderful and the depiction of grief is so real, as is the way we find a way to start living with grief. A stunning book that I will treasure forever and ever!

 


Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my Top Non-Fiction books of the year so look out for that then. In the meantime what were your favourite books of 2018? If you have a blog post please feel free to leave the link below. Happy New Year! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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#BookReview: Snap by Belinda Bauer @BelindaBauer ‏@TransworldBooks @BeckyShort1 #snap #ManBooker #longlist

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About the Book

SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS . . .

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack, now fourteen, is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . .

My Thoughts

I was thrilled when I was sent a copy of Snap as it’s a book that I’d already been eagerly anticipating and I’m so pleased to say that it more than lived up to all my expectations.

Snap is a crime thriller and is predominantly the story of Jack. The novel opens when he’s ten years old, his mother has gone missing and from that moment on he has had to grow up and look after his two younger sisters. Time the moves on and we’re back with Jack when he’s fourteen and still doing all he can to keep his family together and to stop the authorise discovering how difficult his home life is.

The opening of this novel was really quite chilling. The idea of a heavily pregnant mother having to leave her children in the broken down car at the side of a motorway while she walks to the nearest phone to seek help, is alarming. Then the reader realising that the children have been left for quite a long time and are starting to get worried – you just immediately have the horrible sensation that something terrible has happened but you don’t know what. When Jack decides they should all go look for their mum I had the most awful feeling of dread at what they might find. The combination of how young the children are,  the hot weather and knowing that their mum had possibly come to harm at the side of the road is disturbing. I knew from this opening chapter that this was going to be a novel that I couldn’t put down and I was right!

I was expecting Snap to be a well-written crime thriller with a real mystery at its heart, and it absolutely is, but it’s also so much more besides. There are moments in this book that took my breath away; the pain and grief these children felt at the loss of their mother was intense and so moving. There is a moment with a purse that was really brief and yet so powerful – I absolutely knew what the character was feeling in that moment and I sobbed reading that paragraph.

Jack is a wonderful character; he definitely won a place in my heart and is someone I hope might pop up in another book some time. He’s one of those characters where you can’t condone his actions but you can absolutely understand them; he was forced to be a parent whilst still a child himself and he was just doing the best he could. I was rooting for him all the way through the novel and hoping that he would be okay, that he would find some kind of peace with all that had happened to his mum.

I read Snap in just two sittings (and the only reason it wasn’t one was because I needed sleep) and haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished reading. It’s a compelling crime novel with a perfect mix of mystery and bittersweet, moving moments. I highly recommend that you grab a copy of this book!

Snap is my favourite crime thriller of the year so far, it’s brilliant!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

Snap is out now in hardback and ebook and available here.

About the Author

Belinda Bauer grew up in England and South Africa. She has worked as a journalist and screenwriter, and her script THE LOCKER ROOM earned her the Carl Foreman/Bafta Award for Young British Screenwriters, an award that was presented to her by Sidney Poitier. She was a runner-up in the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition for “Mysterious Ways,” about a girl stranded on a desert island with 30,000 Bibles. Belinda now lives in Wales.

Stacking the Shelves with my May Book Haul!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

It’s been a while since I joined in with Stacking the Shelves; it’s partly because I’ve not been blogging regularly for the last few months but also because I’m not buying so many books at the moment (although I did acquire rather a lot of books in May, hence this haul!).

So, here are all the books that I got in May…

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

I’ve read really mixed reviews of this book but it still sounds really appealing to me so I decided to buy a copy.

Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson

I really like David Jackson’s previous novels and this new crime thriller sounds brilliant so I couldn’t resist buying this. I hope to read this soon as it’s a kindle book and I can fit it in around the print books that I’m reading for my 20 Books of Summer challenge.

The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

I didn’t think this was my kind of read but I kept hearing great things about it so I bought it and read it straight away; I honestly couldn’t put it down and really enjoyed it.

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

I couldn’t resist treating myself to this hardback as I love Sharon Bolton’s writing and have been waiting for this book to be released.

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill

I’ve seen quite a bit of hype around this book and I had to get a copy to see what the fuss is all about. It does sound like a lovely YA novel with a body positive message.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

I’ve been interested in reading this for a while but have read mixed reviews about it so couldn’t decide. It ended up in a kindle deal recently so it seemed a good time to buy it!

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

I love David Jason – especially his roles as Del Boy and Inspector Frost so I bought this book as soon as I saw it. I think it’ll be a nice book to curl up with one evening and I’m looking forward to it.

Left and Leaving by Jo Verity

I’ve been sorting through my huge wish list recently and when I re-read the blurb for this book it sounded really good so I bought it on kindle.

You, Me and Everything by Catherine Isaac

I just bought this the other day because it was on offer for kindle at 99p and I decided to give it a go as I’ve seen lots of good reviews of it.

The Poetry Pharmacy by William Sieghart

This was a bargain buy that I was really happy to spot as I was sorting through my wish list and discovered it was the kindle daily deal on that very day so I snapped it up! I think this will be a lovely book to dip in and out of, and if I enjoy it I will buy a physical copy.

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

I saw the author tweet that it was her ebook publication day this week so I went straight to Amazon and one-clicked as it sounds like a really intriguing premise. I hope to get to this one over the summer as it sounds like a good, summer read.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The premise of this book grabbed me as soon as I read the blurb so I had to get a copy. This is another ebook purchase so I’m hoping to read it in between my planned print summer reads in the coming weeks.

Fatal Weekend by Tom Rubython

I was a huge fan of Ayrton Senna and so after watching some documentaries about him on the anniversary of his death earlier in May I decided to look and see if there were any new biographies of him. I found this one so bought it and read it straight away. It was a decent read but not the best biography of Senna.

The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor

I got Reservoir 13 for my birthday earlier this year and whilst I haven’t read it yet I still couldn’t resist buying this book as I do love Jon McGregor’s writing. I hope to get to both books before too much longer.

Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield

This is a review book that I got from NetGalley, I think it’s due out later this month so I plan on reading it soon. It sounds like a lovely, comfort read and I feel sure I’ll enjoy it.

The Date by Louise Jensen

This is another NetGalley book also due out later this month. I love Louise Jensen’s writing so I couldn’t resist downloading this one. I’ll definitely be getting to this very, very soon!

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

I’ve had my eye on this book ever since I first heard about it earlier this year so I was thrilled when my wish was granted on NetGalley recently. I actually read it as soon as I downloaded it and thought it was brilliant. I’ll be posting my review soon.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

I love Lisa Jewell’s writing so this was another book that I requested on NetGalley as soon as I heard about it. It sounds like a great read so I’m eager to get to it soon. I think it’s due out in July so not too long to wait.

Snap by Belinda Bauer

I was thrilled when I was sent a copy of this in the post. I read the novel in one sitting earlier this week and I loved every minute that I spent reading it. I’m hoping to finish and post my review in the next week or so but I can say that I highly recommend Snap!

Toxic by Nicci Cloke

I adore the cover of this book and when I read the blurb I was very keen to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible. I was so happy when NetGalley approved my request! I’ll be reading this a little bit nearer publication date as it’s not due out until the end of July.

Falling Short by Lex Coulton

This book arrived as a total surprise recently and it sounds like a really good read so I’m adding it to my TBR. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon!


Did you get any new books recently? I’d love to know. Have you read any of the books in my book haul? Are there any that you recommend me getting to sooner rather than later? Feel free to leave a link to your own stacking the shelves post in the comments! 🙂