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.

 

 

Love and Fame Cover

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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview: Good Samaritans by Will Carver @Will_Carver @OrendaBooks @annecater #SixBottlesOfBleach

 

 

About the Book

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…

 

My Thoughts

I was thrilled to be offered a copy of Good Samaritans as based purely on the cover I knew this was a book that I simply had to get my hands on. I then read the blurb and knew this was going to be a brilliant read – I was so right!

Good Samaritans is told from multiple perspectives in short chapters and gradually you get a picture of what makes each of these characters tick. Hadley is suicidal and doesn’t know how to make her feelings stop. Seth can’t sleep and just wants someone to talk to (even though his wife is upstairs, he want someone else someone random to listen). One night a crossed wire leads these two characters into each other’s lives. We also get to know Ant, who actually works for the Samaritans. He began volunteering after a friend of his hanged himself while they were on holiday together. He’s clearly not coping in his own life and is desperately trying to help others in order to make himself feel better. 

Alongside this two bodies are found in separate locations in Warwickshire and Detective Sergeant Pace is desperately trying to solve the murders. He can’t see how they can be connected but at the same time both bodies have been bleached and wrapped in plastic in the exact same way. His perspective through the book was brilliant. I’m really hoping that he will show up in another novel because I found him fascinating and I’d love to know more about his past.

From the premise it initially seems like one or two of these characters are going to be good samaritans and help someone but clearly with two bodies turning up someone is not all that they seem! I was so intrigued by this and I kept changing my mind about each character and wondering whether any of them could actually be trusted. It’s such a twisted book! Its very dark at time but there are elements of humour in there, there is also a fair bit of sex but it all makes for such a brilliant thriller!

I knew from the first couple of pages of this novel that I was going to love it and I wasn’t wrong! It’s a book that grabs you from the start and it honestly doesn’t let you go until after you’ve finished reading it. There are real shocks in this book – when one character gets murdered I was so not expecting it and it actually made me gasp in surprise! It’s impossible to work out the twists and turns of this book so I suggest you sit back and just enjoy the ride! I had my suspicions about one of the characters and I was sort of right but had no idea about anything else so the end was a shock!

Good Samaritans is so dark and twisty, and it’s utterly brilliant! This is definitely going on my favourite books of 2018 list and I’m already keen to read whatever Will Carver writes next but in the meantime I highly recommend this book!

Many thanks to Anne and Orenda Books for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Good Samaritans is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

 

Will Carver lives in Reading, though his younger years were spent in various parts of West Germany. He is the author of four books in the JANUARY DAVID thriller series – GIRL 4 (UK: Arrow, 2011), THE TWO (UK: Arrow, 2012), DEAD SET (UK: Arrow, 2013) and THE KILLER INSIDE (UK: Arrow, 2013).

Carver likes to work his body as much as his mind and runs his own fitness and nutrition company, though he prefers to talk about his writing more than how he consumes adequate protein as a vegan. 

 

 

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

 

 

 

This Week in Books (14 Nov 2018)! What are you reading at the moment? #TWiB

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

I’ll Be There For You by Kelsey Miller

I spotted this on my audio book subscription yesterday and couldn’t resist downloading it. I’ve been re-watching Friends since it’s been on Channel 5 and it’s made me nostalgic so this book is a fun look back at the series. I’m really enjoying it so far.

The Present by D.S. Devlin

I’ve got a lot of festive reads for this year but it still seems a little early to fully get into reading them so I’m starting with the crime novels set at Christmas. This one is really good so far, it hooked me straight away and I’m keen to get back to it asap!

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983 – 1992 by Tina Brown

This is one of my non-fiction November picks and also an ARC that I’ve had for absolutely ages so I wanted to make sure I got to it this month. I’m only a little way in but it’s an interesting read so far and I’m looking forward to reading more. I plan on dipping in and out of this book so it may be a little while before I finish it.

The List That Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

This book is utterly wonderful! I knew I was going to enjoy but it’s even better than I was expecting. I’m so glad I picked it up and I already highly recommend it.

 

Then 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

I bought this book when it was published and have held off reading it because I was saving it (I don’t know why I do this…) but it was calling to me this week so I picked it up. I devoured this novel, I utterly adored it and I already want to go back and read it all again.

I Will Find You by Joanna Connors

This is a non-fiction book about a woman who was raped and many years later she decides to find out what happened to her rapist. It’s a really interesting and honest memoir.

Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets by Jessica Fox

This was also on my non-fiction November TBR and I was so looking forward to it as I’d owned it for a long time and had such high hopes. Unfortunately, I found it a real let down. It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be and so much of it got on my nerves. I see on Goodreads that a lot of people loved it so maybe it just wasn’t for me.

The Diary of Two Nobodies by Mary Killen and Giles Wood

This book was adorable! I love Giles and Mary on Gogglebox and their personalities just shine off the page in this book. I recommend this to all Gogglebox fans, it’s fab!

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

This has also been on my TBR since it was published but I finally picked it up late last week. I part read it and part listened to the audio book and I absolutely loved it. It was a joy to read and I got so engrossed in it. I’m so happy that I finally read it and even though it’s enormous I think this may well be a book I re-read at some point!

Good Samaritans by Will Carver

This book was brilliant! I wasn’t sure what to expect going in to it but it’s gripping from the opening pages and is so dark and twisty but utterly compelling. I loved it. I’ll be reviewing it for the blog tour next week so keep an eye out for that if you want to know more!

 

Next

The Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan

This coming week feels right for me to start reading my Christmas books so I’m beginning with this one. It looks like such a gorgeous festive novel and I’m really looking forward to it.

Twenty-Six Seconds by Alexandra Zapruder

I’m continuing with my non-fiction November picks too and next up I think will be this one as I’ve been keen to read it for ages. It looks like a fascinating read about the man who filmed the Kennedy assassination and what happened to his family as a result of owning that piece of film.

Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

This looks like a beautiful, magical winter read and feels like a perfect book for this time of year so I’m excited to get lost in this one. I think it’s a middle grade book and I haven’t read anything like this for such a long time so I think it’ll be a wonderful escape.

How to be Human by Ruby Wax

This is another pick for non-fiction November and I really do want to get to this soon. It’s a review book and one that I’ve put off until I knew I was in the right head space to read it. I think I’ll aim to at least start it in the coming days.

 

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

This Week in Books (7 Nov 2018)! What are you reading at the moment? #TWiB

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

Good Samaritans by Will Carver

This book is so good! It’s very twisted but it’s one of those books that I just don’t want to put down. I’ll be reviewing this for the blog tour in a couple of weeks time but I can already say for definite that I highly recommend it!

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke

I’ve had this book on my TBR for absolutely ages and recently got the audio book so I’m part listening and part reading it. I’m really enjoying it, it’s different to what I normally read and it’s so refreshing.

The Diary of Two Nobodies by Mary Killen and Giles Wood

I was already part way through this when I made my non-fiction November TBR so I didn’t put it on the list. I love Gogglebox and find Giles and Mary very entertaining so it’s interesting to read more about them.

 

Then 

Mercury and Me by Jim Hutton

This is the third non-fiction November TBR book that I’ve read this month so far! I just finished this yesterday and it was okay. I’m a huge Freddie Mercury fan but this isn’t the best book I’ve ever read about him. I think it’s hard when it’s a memoir from  a loved one of the famous person as there is always going to be bias.

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

This is the second book from my non-fiction TBR that I’ve read in November and I enjoyed this one. I feel like I’m a decluttering obsessive now so I don’t really need these self-help books anymore but I still like to read them. This book just really reminded me how far I’ve come and still gave me some great tips on how to make sure I keep on track. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to declutter but has a very busy life.

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

I’ve had this on my TBR ever since the day it was published but I’ve kept putting it off because it looked like it could be an emotional read. I’m so glad I read it because although it was emotional, it was also a lovely read and I really enjoyed it.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve owned various copies of this book ever since it was published but have never managed to actually get around to reading it. I’m kicking myself now though because I picked it up at the weekend and read it in just a couple of days. I really, really enjoyed it!

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

I completely and utterly fell in love with this short story collection – it was empowering, inspiring and thought-provoking and I highly recommend it. If you want to know more about what I thought, here is my review!

Waco by David Thidebeau

This is a review book that has been on my TBR for quite a while now so I put it on my non-fiction November list and it was the first book I picked up this month. I found it such a fascinating read. I’ll be writing a review for it as soon as I’ve got my thoughts together.

 

Next

The List That Changed Everything by Olivia Beirne

I’m on the blog tour for this book later this month and I’ve been so looking forward to reading it that I can’t wait any longer to start it.

Bouncing Back with a Bang by Geraldine Ward

This is a poetry collection and I’m just in the mood for poetry so it seems the right time to pick this book up.

Truth or Dare edited by Justine Picardie

This is a collection of essays that I’ve got on my non-fiction November TBR and it seems perfect for dipping in and out of so I’m planning on picking this up next.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂