2018 Must Reads #2018MustReads @kimbochambers @KerryBarnes1 @GrahamSmith1972 @CaseyKelleher @RobertBryndza @WriteAngie @aadhand @EmmaEsj @annasmithauthor
I normally struggle to pick out a top ten, it a difficult choice sometimes knowing I tend to read and review books I think I'm going to love. I've read some exceptionally good books this year. Some have made me laugh out loud, some have made me reach for the tissues.
At the beginning of 2018 I started a tag with 2018 must reads, and decided as I went along with my reading, any that really grabbed me, really made me get stuck in and enjoy the story, the characters. Any of the 5 star reads that deserved to be more than 5 stars, I decided I'd tag them and make it easier now, when we are almost at the end of the year for me to decide what my top 10 reads of the year would be. It's made things super easy because as I got to these 2018 must reads, it just so happens there are actually 10 books tagged in there. No messing, no changing my mind, here are the books that for me are some of the best of 2018.
I'd like to thank, while I have the chance, the authors writing all these amazing books. The bar has been set really high over the last few years, with many new authors coming on the scene, it's getting more and more difficult to find books that are different, that grab you in a way other books don't. So thank you to each and every author whose books I have read this year for giving me many many hours of entertainment. I look forward to reading all your new books in 2019.
In no particular order. Here are my top 10, 2018 Must Reads
Stay Dead is the heartstopping sixth book in Jessie Keane's bestselling Annie Carter series.
Annie Carter finally believes that life is good.
She and Max are back together and she has a new and uncomplicated life sunning herself in Barbados. It's what she's always dreamed of.
Then she gets the news that her old friend Dolly Farrell is dead, and suddenly she finds herself back in London and hunting down a murderer with only one thing on her mind . . . revenge.
But the hunter can so quickly become the hunted, and Annie has been keeping too many secrets. She's crossed and bettered a lot of people over the years, but this time the enemy is a lot closer to home and she may just have met her match . . .
Go me, another book read from my back log of books. Good old Amazon informed me I'd purchased this book in 2016, I really thought I was up to date with this series, but clearly I wasn't. It was only after I'd just read LAWLESS that I decided to check what other outstanding books I had by this author and come across this one.
I've loved my little Jessie Keane binge, it's cemented again my thoughts that this lady certainly can write a page turner. Annie Carter at her best, this book I have read in just over a 24hour period, not sleeping very well certainly had it's advantages for me.
Some brilliant twist and turns in this book and a lot I really didn't see coming, I love when a book can surprise me and this one certainly did that.
Personally I have to say, that to fully enjoy this book then the series needs reading in order. It really will help to have the back history of a lot of the characters.
When Annie Carter receives news that her friend Dolly Farrell is dead, she heads back to London. What then unfolds is a roller coaster of a ride, heart pounding, nail biting read. I was hooked from the beginning and I know we say it a lot about good books, but I really couldn't put this down.
There is an awful lot packed into these pages, and it was good to read it over a short time period so my little mind didn't get lost. Some of our favourite characters from this series really show their colours here.
How or where Jessie Keane gets her story idea's from I don't know, I just hope they continue for a long time to come.
Thrilled to have finally caught up, and absolutely loved this book.
It's a big 5 stars from me.
Only the lawless will survive . . .
It is 1975 and Ruby Darke is struggling to deal with the brutal murder of her lover, Michael Ward.
As her children, Daisy and Kit, battle their own demons, her retail empire starts to crumble.
Meanwhile, after the revenge killing of Tito Danieri, Kit is the lowest he's ever been. But soon doubt is thrown over whether Kit killed the right person, and now the Danieris are out for his blood and the blood of the entire Darke family.
As the bodies pile up, the chase is on – can the Darkes resolve their own family conflicts and find Michael Ward's true killer before the vengeful Danieris kill them? Or will they take the law into their own hands . . .
Lawless is the heart-racing sequel to Nameless, from bestselling author Jessie Keane.
Well according to good old Amazon, 'You purchased this item on 19 July 2014'. so why the hell am I only just getting around to reading it. I trawled through my reviews and goodreads to double check if I had read it, yet as soon as I started it I knew I hadn't previously read it. How bad of me is that.
Well as they say, better late than never. I really do need to stop buying books until I'm going to read them. lol
I also had a feeling I hadn't read book 1 yet, although good reads is telling me I have, and some parts of this story the characters seemed familiar. Once I got going and slowly remembered some of the characters I was back in to the story.
Ruby Darke, has lost her love, Michael and is trying to get on with life. It's not easy to do when your son seems to hate you, but is trying to help you as he promised Michael, Ruby's love, that he would look out for his mother.
There is just trouble here, trouble at ever turn. Every few pages there is drama and more trouble. What a read this turned out to be.
Ruby's son Kit, believes that Tito Danieri killed Michael, So its down to Kit to kill Tito. It doesn't mater who tries to tell him any different his mind set is set. Only one thing can happen when families clash. This book needs reading to enjoy it, and it needs you sat somewhere quiet where no one can disturb you until that last page.
There are a good few twists and turns in this book that throw up a good few surprises. some amazing characters.
Well worth reading. If you have read any of Jessie Keane's other books then you know what sort of treat you are in for, believe me this book really does not disappoint.
I am now lucky that I have book 3 to read, while all characters are fresh in my mind, I really can't wait to see what happens.
What if you made one mistake and it came back to kill you?
When Met Police Detective Troy McEwen, is found dead in his home. The official verdict is suicide. But his friend and fellow detective, Zac, believes it was murder. And he thinks he might be next on the killer’s list.
If Troy didn’t take his own life, then who did? As he investigates, Zac discovers a link to an incident from decades earlier. Mistakes were made that day. Lives were lost and secrets kept. Until now…
As more people who were there on that fateful day are found dead, Zac knows that the killer is closing in on him…
A tense crime thriller for fans of Lee Child, Mark Billingham and Mark Dawson. Last Witness is a gripping, fast-paced thriller that will have you hooked from the first page.
I went to start book 3 in this series and suddenly realised I hadn't read book 2, how bad of me is that. So over Christmas I decided while I had a little time off work, I could play catch up on some of the series I've gotten a little behind with. Starting with this bad boy.
What a brilliant read I picked. I was introduce to Zac Boateng in book one, Bring her back. That book opened with such a gripping start it was so difficult to put it down. This one was no different. Another brilliant start to a book, and a main character who is growing on me the more I read about him. What is it with Bookouture authors, they seem to crate some of the best fictional characters there is. Mainly detectives.
This book kicks off with Detective Inspector Zac Boateng receiving a call from an old friends, a long time friend, yet when he arrives at the house there is no answer. gaining entry to the house he discovers his friend, Troy McEwen is dead. It looks like suicide to anyone but Zac, Zac is convinced that his friend would not have committed suicide.
Zac has to investigate Troy's death off the record, there is no way he can leave it at a suicide verdict, he know's different. When other things start happening that seem to relate to something that had happened in Zac and Troys past, Zac knows he's on the right tracks.
But at what expense will Zac go to to prove himself right.
A brilliant nail biting read. Any crime thriller fans will enjoy this series. There is only one thing for me to do now and that is to start book 3.
The Taken Girls
Someone is watching them…
When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.
As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.
Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?
Thrilled to be able to share an extract with you today.
Ed was surprised when Jenny opened the door to Lucy’s room. She’d expected they’d have to pick their way around a typical teenager’s bedroom. Instead, everything appeared to be in its appointed place. There were no pop posters. Delicate floral wallpaper covered the walls and the same pattern was continued on the duvet cover and pillowcase. A well-worn teddy bear was propped against the bed head. Other fluffy toys formed an orderly line under the window.
‘Check the wardrobe and bookshelf, Jenny. I’ll take the desk.’
Lucy’s laptop had been taken for forensic examination the previous evening. Now there was nothing on her desk except a blank pad of lined A4 paper and a pot with assorted pens and pencils. Ed turned her attention to the drawers, which contained other stationery items and a journal or diary with a small brass-coloured lock. She searched the drawers but failed to locate a key.
‘Anything interesting, Jenny?’
‘Not in the wardrobe. You?’
‘Nothing promising except for this.’ Ed waved the journal. ‘It’s locked but a bent paperclip should crack it. What’s on the shelves?’
‘Her very neatly filed A-level notes, study guides, a complete set of the Harry Potter novels and a couple of box files.’
At that moment the simple lock clicked open. Ed riffled through the pages and sighed.
‘I thought it looked suspiciously new. The pages are completely blank. It’s not been used.’
Also thrilled to be sharing my thoughts.
So, what did I think of this book?
An interesting protagonist and a decent story line, once I had started and gotten into this book, I really enjoyed it. Learning about new characters, getting know what makes them tick, why they act the way they do, is always interesting when starting a new book.
This book certainly makes you think the whole of the way through it. Although it felt a little unusual, it was very enjoyable.
For a debut, I think the author has done exceptionally well and should be very proud of what they have achieved.
Arriving in Canterbury, DI Edina ‘Ed’ Ogborne is a character very different to others, getting to know her was great. Thrown right into a case where a teenage girl is taken, kidnapped yet not harmed in anyway it seems. It also seems very odd that the kidnapper hasn't wanted to harm her. So why has he taken her. Well, all that is revealed from reading the book.
It soon becomes apparent that this is not the first girl he has taken. It's down to Ed and her team to try and figure out what connections these girls have, what or who do they have in common, only then can things move forward and the case move on.
I found this book to have some good twists and turns and seemed to move on at a decent pace, it wasn't to slow, but didn't race on with itself.
‘Spooky and absorbing. I was gripped from the first page!’ CASS GREENThere’s a stranger in your house…
When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.
But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.
As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?
A haunting and twisty story about the lies we tell those closest to us, perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Cass Green.
Readers love CUCKOO:
Caro is an artist and illustrator, fining life a little bit of a struggle, when returns to her childhood home for the funeral of her stepmother Elizabeth, little does she know how much of her life is about to change.
Steph the sister of Caro has made the journey over from New York for the funeral and is meeting her younger sister for the first time in many, many years. Although the sisters are now relative strangers to each other there is always a bonding, a sibling bond between them which has never left them really stemming from the time they spent growing up at the isolated farmhouse in rural Derbyshire with their stepmother.
This remote farmhouse now offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again for Caro.
The village seems strange for Caro, why are people looking at her oddly. What is it with this place.
There were parts in this book it felt a little odd, and I found if I stopped part way through a chapter, then I had to go back and re read it, there were parts in this book that felt rather spooky, that made you want to continue reading it.
overall an interesting read.
‘Fans of MARTINA COLE will love this’ Katerina DiamondA gripping new series from million-copy bestseller Mel Sherratt.
‘I love all Mel Sherratt’s books’ IAN RANKIN
‘Twists and turns and delivers a satisfying shot of tension’ RACHEL ABBOTT
A killer is on the loose, attacking people in places they feel most safe: their workplaces, their homes. It’s up to DS Grace Allendale to stop the murders, and prove herself to her new team.
All clues lead to local crime family the Steeles, but that’s where things get complicated. Because the Steeles aren’t just any family, they’re Grace’s family. Two brothers and two sisters, connected by the violent father only Grace and her mother escaped.
To catch the killer, Grace will have to choose between her team and her blood. But who do you trust, when both sides are out to get you?
Thrilled to be given the chance to read and review this book. What a book this was.
Another hit, another great book written by this very talented author. DS Grace Allendale is not only starting out with a new team, the first new case she is faced with is investigating one of the local crime families, which turns out to be her own family. Her estranged family, she's certainly not close to any of them. This had conflicting views from all around. Her team didn't know if they could trust her and her family didn't want anything to do with her. It certainly added an edge to this story.
Can Grace and her team figure out who is murdering men in their city, before the count rises?
This certainly turned into a real page turner, once I managed to get around to reading the book, I couldn't wait to pick it up, each time I had chance to sit down, I did so with this book.
It's a great start to what I believe is going to be another damn good series by this author. The pages of this book are packed with everything you would expect from a Mel Sherratt book, with a little more thrown in. I sure can't wait to read more.
The Shop Girls of Lark Lane by Pam Howes @bookouture @PamHowes1 #Review #TheShopGirlsofLarkLane #Netgalley
What a read!
The war is over, but there’s heartbreak ahead…
Liverpool, 1945. As the war draws to a close, Alice and Terry Lomax are building a new life with their young daughter Cathy. After years away fighting, Terry is a stranger to his daughter and must work hard to win her trust and love.
Alice and old friend Sadie work in the haberdashery of Lewis’s department store, where bomb damage scars the walls and rationing is still in force. Yet Lewis’s remains open, a sign of strength in the midst of Liverpool’s post-war ruins.
Though memories of those lost in the war are fresh, Alice and Sadie look forward to the future. But then a tragic accident leaves Alice a widow, and the father of Sadie’s child – a man she hoped never to see again – is back in Liverpool…
With Alice struggling to start again alone, and Sadie desperate to protect her son, can these two shop girls overcome their troubles and keep their hopes alive – even with all the odds against them?
The Shop Girls of Lark Lane is a heart-wrenching family saga about the strength of friendship and the costs of war. If you love Nadine Dorries, Diney Costeloe and Kitty Neale, you won’t want to miss Pam Howes!
Although these are not my usual reads, there is something about a family saga, written by this author that I can't resist. Pam has a wonderful talent and makes these books engaging, emotional, enjoyable and unputdownable. I was first introduced to Pam's books around the beginning of 2017, when the wonderful 'Kim Nash managed to convince me that the book that was due out at the time was well worth reading. That book was 'The Lost Daughters of Liverpool, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have since gone on to read many more of Pam's books and can safely say I haven't been disappointed.
It's a great change from Crime thrillers, it allows me to sit back, feet up and get lost in another time. The story is brilliant. Very well written. It flowed beautifully, Captures you from the word go,
as this is the second book in this series, it was good getting back to know the characters again and seeing what they had in store for them this time around.
This really was an emotional book at times, I feel like I have been on a huge life journey with Alice. Alice is a character I've really enjoyed reading about. It was great to see her reunited with her love, her husband Terry. The war is over and life can get back to normal for this couple and their young daughter Cathy. That sounds lovely doesn't it, well sadly it wasn't meant to be for long, it's heart breaking when Terry is involved in an accident that takes his life.
Mourning and bringing up her daughter and her brother, Alice must do what is best for her and the kids, only is she making the right decision. Alice's life takes a huge a turn and I feel like I've just been through this part of her life with her.
This book brings out a number of emotions while reading it, and really is a first class page turner you really want to read.
Thanks as always to #Bookouture and #Netgalley for an arc of this book.
Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer #Review @Bookouture @CaroleWyer #LastLullaby Detective Natalie Ward Book 2
Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?
When the body of mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband Adam, in their bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: The word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood.
As Natalie begins to delve deeper into the couple’s lives, she discovers that Adam has a dark past he’s been hiding and she’s sure that the Brannon’s teenage babysitter Inge has secrets of her own.
Then another mother is murdered on her doorstep in front of her young son, the word ‘why’ scrawled on the wall next to her.
All the key suspects have alibis and with her own marriage hanging by a thread, Natalie is struggling to stay focused on cracking her toughest case yet.
When a young woman and her baby disappear, a member of Natalie’s own team is put in terrible danger. Can Natalie stop this twisted serial killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?
Wow, I can't believe I have just read book 2, it's not that long ago I read book one, Carol Wyer is certainly a writing machine.
I loved getting to know a little about Natalie in book 1, so it's great to spend some more time with her in book 2. Natalie is going to be one of those characters that you really need to be reading about. I don't just mean reading about the cases she works on, I also mean her as a person, following her life and learning about her past.
Carol certainly has a way of producing likeable, strong characters.
Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene when A husband has discovered his wife dead in their bedroom. Creepily written on the wall in her blood is the word 'WHY'
Now if that doesn't grab your attention, I don't know what will.
I started this book with the intention of reading a little at a time, to savour the story. Not possible, once started it one of those books that you really need to read at every opportunity. It grabs from the word go and spits you out again at the very end.
The case is a disturbing one, a young mother brutally murdered, her body discovered by her husband, who then becomes a suspect, as do most wives, husbands, partners in these cases. Protesting his innocence, uncovers more about their life. It soon becomes apparent that maybe not all was rosy, in the Brannon household.
This book has tension oozing from the pages, and suspects at every turn, if like me you want to try and play at amateur detective, I really wouldn't bother with this one, short of highlighting every name throughout the book, I think it's a tough one to decide on who you think may have done it. This really does add to the mystery throughout the book.
Truly a superbly written book, I can't wait to read more of this series. I was a little sceptical when I realised the author was starting a new series. I love the authors other series Robyn Carter and wasn't sure another could be pulled off and done just as well. I love being proved wrong, and that's certainly what has happened here. Carol Wyer is one of those authors now for me, that I feel there is just no need to read the blurb about the book, if it has her name on the cover, then I want to read it.
Amazing characters, some you'll love, some you'll hate. But certainly a book you can dive right into and won't want to put it down until you have finished. Praise for Carol Wyer. I can't wait for the next one.
Sinead Moriarty's delicious tenth novel, The Secrets Sisters Keep, is the story of three sisters, three life-altering problems and one eternal truth: nobody knows you quite like a sister!
Sinead's writing mixes the worldly wit of Jane Green with the down-to-earth warmth and insight of Marian Keyes and will remind people just how important their sisters - and their friends-who-are-like-sisters - are to them.
The Devlin sisters rely on each other - but some things are just too painful to share, even when your sisters are your best friends ...
Mum-of-four Julie thought that if her family had more money, life would be easier. But now that they've inherited a fortune, her problems are only starting.
Lawyer Louise is used to having life go exactly as she wants it to. So accepting that she cannot control everything in her world is beyond her.
And former model Sophie can just about cope with getting older - that's until her ex-husband finds a younger model.
All three women think that some battles are best fought alone. Maybe they need to think again ...
Praise for Sinead:
'Moving, disarmingly honest and at times laugh-out-loud funny' Sunday Times
'One of the brightest voices in modern women's fiction' Bella
'Sinead Moriarty can bring readers from hilarity to heartbreak with great deftness' Sunday Independent
'Touching, warm, funny and emotional. She has the gift of telling a very emotive story with grace and empathy' Woman's Way
What a read!
Is there anything else to say?
I really enjoyed this book, it's a good few years since I had read any books by this author and I was looking forward to getting stuck in. a cold wet Sunday afternoon, adulting done meant it was me time, me time with a cuppa and a brew. I needed a distraction, something away from blood and guts of the crime thrillers I normally read and this was just what the Dr ordered.
I read this before realising it's the 2nd book in a series. I don't think it's taken away any of the joy of reading it, clearly as I certainly didn't feel I'd missed out on anything.
Life can be very challenging sometimes, and for 3 sisters it certainly seems that the challenges are there for them.
Sophie, Louise and Julie. 3 very different people. Each facing what is thrown at them through life, each have each others back no matter what. A love of a sisters bond will be broken. isn't it?
This book seemed to cover some great issues in life, some real life issues that a lot of people face. The marriage break up, financial issues, bringing up children, making friends. But this not done like any other books, this is done with the flare and humour that Sinead Moriarty is well known for in her books. I feel this is what sets these books apart from any others.
Brilliantly well written, fun read.
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