My Top 40 Favourite Books Read in 2019… Counting Down From 40 to 21!

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So it’s time for me to share my favourite books that I read in 2019 and I have to say that this list has been weeks in the making! 2019 was my best ever year of reading in terms of how many books I read (at the time of writing this post I’ve read 375 books over the year), I have no idea how I read so many and I don’t expect it to ever happen again! It’s also been a year where so many wonderful books have found me and it’s been a near impossible task to make this list.

So I finally got my list down to forty books and am splitting it into two. Today I’m sharing the books that were listed from 40 – 21 on my countdown and I’m sharing them in no particular order – these books were all fabulous and I highly recommend them!

Click on the title of a book if you’d like to see my review! 🙂

 

The Family by Louise Jensen

I’m a huge fan of Louise Jensen’s writing and have loved every novel she’s published and The Family was every bit as good, if not better, than her previous books.

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This is one of those books that made me feel emotional as I was reading it but it’s continued to run through my mind in the months since I read it. I found it a quiet book that has such a huge impact.

Do Not Feed the Bear by Rachel Elliott

I read this book fairly recently and I adored it. It’s a quirky book that has such emotional impact. I keep thinking about this one and I already want to re-read it.

How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

This is a novel I picked up after reading an interview with the author and the book more than lived up to my hopes for it. It made me tearful at times but it’s such a beautiful book and one I really loved.

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

I didn’t expect this novel to make as much of an impression on me as it did but it’s a book that won’t let go of me. It’s so much more than I thought it was going to be and again it’s one I keep thinking about.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

This is such a wonderful novel about books and libraries, I adored it. I think it might actually be my new favourite Jojo Moyes book!

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

This is a debut novel and it’s so well-written. I found this book really hard to put down and I loved the depth to the story being told. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I read this in one sitting, I just couldn’t stop reading and it’s a book that’s really stayed with me so it had to be on this list.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This was a book that took me a little while to get into but I’m so glad I stuck with it because it was a book that left such a profound impact on me. I still think of this novel and I will re-visit it in the future.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

This was my first Doug Johnstone book and I loved it so much that I’ve since bought most of his previous novels and plan on reading my way through them in the new year.

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This is such a brilliant book, it’s so dark and so funny! Plus the menopausal main character is so memorable and I could identify with some of her thinking!

Looker by Laura Sims

This book is a fascinating look at what leads someone to obsession and really gives an insight into where this behaviour may lead.

Postscript (PS I Love You #2) by Cecelia Ahern

I love PS I Love You when it was first published and so this sequel is one I was highly anticipating. I loved it, I think it may even be better than the first book!

Violet by SJI Holliday

This is such a brilliant novel following two women and you’re never quite sure if what they tell you is true and if they can be trusted. It’s a real cat and mouse novel and I loved it!

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

I also loved this book! It’s such a clever way of setting out a novel with the play, pause and rewind elements. It’s one that is really staying with me.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I’m a huge Donna Tartt fan so I’ve been saving this to read and I finally got to it in the summer and I adored it. It’s a huge book but I read it in just a few days as I just got completely engrossed in the story. It’s brilliant!

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

I had to include this book as it was such a different and unique read. You follow Lauren in her life but early on in the novel she has an accident and at this point you begin to follow Lauren as she continues on after she survives, and also you follow her loved ones as they come to terms with her death. It seems like it might be hard to follow but it really isn’t. This book is wonderful!

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This is another book that I devoured! I loved the crime mystery that runs through the novel but more than that I loved the main character. She’s really stayed with me and I keep thinking about her and wondering how she is.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen

I adored this book, it’s such a moving and at times heartbreaking book but it leaves you full of hope. I hope more people pick this one up.

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

This is a book I was so nervous about reading because I’m such a wimp but I ended up reading the whole novel in one sitting as I just couldn’t put it down. It’s such a fascinating novel about two girls and their family and the haunted house they live in. I loved it!

 

Tomorrow on my blog I’ll be sharing the next part of my favourite books 2019 with the Top 20 so please look out for that then. What are your favourite books that you read this year? I’d love to know. 🙂

 

Violet by SJI Holliday | @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks @annecater

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About the Book

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

 

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of SJI Holliday’s writing, in particular her previous novel The Lingering, but I have to say that Violet is absolutely her best book yet! I read the whole thing in one sitting, I got completely and utterly engrossed in it!

We meet Violet as she’s alone outside a train station in Thailand, she’s been dumped by her boyfriend and she needs a train ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express. Carrie is also travelling alone as her best friend broke her ankle right before they were due to leave and Carrie decided to go on her own. She still has Laura’s ticket and as luck would have it she bumps into Violet and the two get drunk together and realise they could take then next part of the trip with each other. So far, so good!

The novel is told from Violet’s perspective but we do get to see some of Carrie’s thoughts in the form of emails she sends home, predominantly to her best friend Laura. This makes it really interesting as we get to see how they really feel about each other. At the same time I was never sure how honest they were being, either to themselves or to other people!

I soon noticed that there was something off about Violet, a sense that she isn’t completely honest about who she is and this got me interested. At the same time I wasn’t entirely sure about Carrie either. It’s great to start off a novel like this though because I didn’t know who I could trust and I certainly didn’t know if one of them had just made a huge mistake in joining forces with the other.

‘I’m from Nottingham,’ I say, laughing. I throw a peanut in the air and catch it in my mouth. I’ve not idea where that came from. The city, or the peanut trick.

[…]

‘Would you believe […] I’m quite good at accents, actually.’ She throws a peanut and tries to catch it, but it goes way wide of the mark. She swears under her breath, but she’s grinning. ‘Oh damn it,’ she says in a good approximation of my accent. She’s right. She’s a decent mimic.

It soon becomes clear that Carrie is vivacious and outgoing, she likes to get to know other travellers on the train but Violet is much more reserved and had been hoping that she and Carrie could spend time alone together. This leads to tensions between the girls and the dynamic starts to get really interesting. It’s really clever because, in my experience, women are always weighing each other up at the beginning of a friendship so there are things here that seem off but could just be the two women being perfectly normal and keeping their guards up. Yet there is a sense that there is more to the undercurrent between these two women!

Neither girl is particularly likeable, which is perfect in this novel as it adds to you feeling wary of both of them and it makes it harder to work out who is not who she says she is. I loved how they initially both seem so friendly with each other but you soon start to see the cracks appear. Carrie wonders if she was wrong to let Violet travel with her. Violet wonders if Carrie really likes her and if she’d be better off moving on alone. It slowly becomes apparent that these two are more like frenemies than friends! You can sense the cat and mouse game but you can’t ever put your finger on who is in which role… or even if they’re chasing each other first one way and then the other.

This book kept me on my toes right the way to the end. There is a moment when I smugly had it all worked out, I could see what was going on and I knew how it was going to go. And then BAM, I was so completely and utterly wrong! I love it when a book goes a different way to what I was expecting, it doesn’t happen often so when it does it’s hugely satisfying. Violet is an incredible psychological thriller, the best I’ve read this year! It’s dark, disturbing and utterly impossible to put down! I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my copy of this book and for my blog tour invitation. All Thoughts are my own.

Violet is out now in ebook and available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

You can find the rest of this blog tour at the following stops:

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WWW Wednesdays (30 Oct 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

This book is gorgeous! It’s so festive and fun and I’m really loving reading it. I’ll be reviewing this on 1st November so please look out for my full thoughts then.

Nothing Important Happened Here by Will Carver

This book is brilliant – it’s so dark and like nothing I’ve read before but it’s so good. I do have to keep taking a little break because of the subject matter so I’m taking my time with this one but I’m still loving the writing.

James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era by Joseph Vogel

I didn’t read as much of this book as I’d hoped this week as my kindle is playing up but I hope I can get back to it soon.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I’m reading this one slowly because I am loving it so much! It’s really reminded me how much I loved Agatha Christie’s novels when I was younger and now I want to re-read them all.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Do Not Feed the Bear by Rachel Elliott

This is a stunning novel that I adored! I read it in two sittings and I keep thinking about it ever since I finished it. I will review this one as soon I get my thoughts together but I can say now that I highly recommend it!

The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

I’ve had a proof of this on my TBR for a while now and so was glad to make time to read it this week. I enjoyed this one, it was a lovely way to spend a couple of afternoons this week. I do plan on reviewing this one soon.

Trying by Emily Phillips

I’ve also had a proof copy of this for a long time and finally picked it up this week. I did enjoy this one for the most part but it was lacking something for me. I’m still mulling over how I feel about it but I will write a review once I’ve thought about it a bit more.

Violet by SJI Holliday

This was such a good book, so twisted and hard to put down! I actually read it all in one sitting as it had me so engrossed that I simply had to know how it was going to end. I’ll be reviewing this one on 6th November but in the meantime I recommend it!

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages so when I spotted the audio book in my library app I decided to download it. I found this such a fascinating book, and really appreciated all the extra information the author added in a later addition correcting errors in the way he told the story. It’s made me want to read the books other climbers on the same expedition have written to see their perspectives more fully.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers

I finished reading this soon after last week’s WWW Wednesdays post and I’m so glad that I stuck with it as it was a really interesting look at all the politics before and after 9/11. I learnt things that I didn’t know before, which is always good in a non-fiction book.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

This is the next festive book that I plan on reading and as Non-Fiction November is almost upon us I’d like to read this very soon so I can focus on non-fiction for the most part through the month.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

This is a book that I’ve wanted to read for ages and I’ve saved it for Non-Fiction November so I’m thrilled that I will finally be picking it up this week.

How to be Human by Ruby Wax

This is another proof that I’ve had on my TBR for a while now so I’m keen to read it during November.

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

I only got an ARC of this from NetGalley very recently and I’m so keen to read it. I’m a huge fan of David Bowie and am excited to read more about the books that he loved.

 

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

My New Book Haul (26 Oct 2019)!

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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!

 

Books / eBooks

Escape to Giddywell Grange by Kim Nash

I loved Kim Nash’s first novel so have been meaning to buy a copy of her second book and finally got to it this week. I’m really looking forward to escaping into this book!

Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich

I’ve been wanting to read a book about Chernobyl ever since watching the recent drama that was on Sky. I’ve seen some good reviews of this one so decided to buy a copy. I may pick this one up next month for non-fiction November.

 

AudioBooks

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The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

I remember seeing some fab reviews of this book when it was first published so when I spotted the audio book in the Audible sale this week I immediately bought it.

ARCs

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

Ever since I read Sweet Pea by this author I’ve been such a fan of her and so when I spotted this book on NetGalley this week I requested it straight away. I was delighted to be approved and am keen to read this one soon!

The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

I’ve been desperate to get my hands on this book ever since reading the premise so when I saw it on NetGalley I immediately requested it. I am thrilled to have a copy on my Kindle now and really want to read it right away. It’s not due to be published until next year though so feel like I need to catch up on some other reading first.

Violet by S.J.I. Holliday

I’ve actually already read this book – I read it all yesterday afternoon and I loved it. It’s such a brilliant book and I highly recommend it! I will post a full review for the blog tour on 6th November so pleased look out for that.

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver

This is another book that I’ve been eagerly anticipating and am so excited to have a copy. I loved Will Carver’s previous novel Good Samaritans and have really high hopes for his new book. I’ve read the first couple of chapters and it’s so intriguing, I can’t wait to read more!

The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux

I requested this one on a whim from NetGalley as I do enjoy a crime thriller set at Christmas and this one looks really good!

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

I was so excited to spot this on NetGalley yesterday afternoon and I couldn’t click the download now button fast enough! I love Sarah Pinborough’s writing, especially Behind Her Eyes which was brilliant!

 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.