Top Ten Reads of 2018

It’s that time of the year again. I can’t believe that we’re about to say goodbye to 2018, where does the time go? It has been a phenomenal year once again for books, and I have read some real corkers, which is what has made it so hard to choose a top ten this year. So far I have read 145 books, according to Goodreads.

There are a few books that I am already excited to read, which are being published in 2019. But there have been many other brilliant books that I’ve also read this year that do deserve a mention. Roz Watkins The Devil’s Dice, I really liked the humour in this debut novel, and particularly DI Meg Dalton, who I’m looking forward to finding out more about. Also, Vicky Newham’s Turn A Blind Eye, DI Maya Rahman is such an intriguing character who had me captivated. Sharon Bolton’s The Craftsman was another belter as well as Mark Hill’s second novel It Was Her and Angela Marson’s Dying Truth, book number eight in the DI Kim Stone series. And of course I haven’t forgotten the brilliant Sarah Hilary who’s latest book in the DI Marnie Rome series was Come And Find Me. If you’re a fan of Sarah’s books and haven’t managed to get to her most recent one yet, be prepared, you’ll be in for a shocking read.

The books I have chosen for my top ten this year are the ones I felt really stood out, and some of them offered something different to anything I’ve read before, which I’m always on the lookout for.

So without any further ado, here are my top ten for the year.


The Old You by [Voss, Louise]

The Old You is a real page turner; the characterisation is absolutely stunning and there are some really ingenious and original twists in this book. This is the first book I have read by Louise Voss and I’m really excited to see what she writes next. You can read my full review by clicking HERE and you can purchase The Old You by clicking HERE.


The Cliff House: A beautiful and addictive story of loss and longing by [Jennings, Amanda]

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings, is a wonderful, evocative novel that I read over the scorching Bank Holiday weekend earlier in the year. Just looking at the cover alone puts you in mind of summer. You can read my full review by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.


The Lingering by [Holliday, S.J.I.]

I do love a good ghost story and The Lingering by SJI Holliday is one of my favourites. I think that this should come with a warning however, not to read this book in the bath, definitely NOT in the bath. You can read my review of The Lingering by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.


All the Hidden Truths: the heartbreaking, gripping crime debut of the year (Three Rivers) by [Askew, Claire]

I read All the Hidden Truths very early in the year and it is one of the books that has stayed with me. It is a very powerful crime novel that will keep you thinking about the characters. You can read my review of All the Hidden Truths by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.


Brothers in Blood (Zaq & Jags) by [Anwar, Amer]

Brothers In Blood by Amer Anwar. I actually read this when it was previously titled Western Fringes, but since then this book has had a remarkable publishing journey as it has been re-published this year by Dialogue Books, an imprint of Little Brown. It thoroughly deserves a place in my top ten this year. You can read my review of Brothers In Blood by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.


Salt Lane: DS Alexandra Cupidi: Book 1 by [Shaw, William]

I really liked DS Alexandra Cupidi in The Birdwatcher, William’s previous stand-alone novel, so I was thrilled to learn that she was getting her own series. This is a brilliant new novel by William Shaw set in an atmospheric seaside town in Kent. You can read my review of Salt Lane by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.


The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2018 by [Turton, Stuart]

I suspect that The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, will feature in many bloggers top ten this year. It is such a mind-blowing book that is so cleverly plotted. You can read my review of Seven Deaths by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.


This Is How It Ends: The most critically acclaimed crime thriller of 2018 by [Dolan, Eva]

This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan is a very clever novel that leaves plenty of room for thought. I was pulled into the book by its intriguing characters and plot. You can read my review of This Is How It Ends by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.


Hydra (Six Stories) by [Wesolowski, Matt]

This is a dark, dark, crime novel, told over a series of podcasts. This is a novel that really did chill me as I was reading it and I haven’t forgotten about those black-eyed children. Spine-chilling stuff. You can read my review of Hydra by clicking HERE and you can purchase the book by clicking HERE.

And finally, my top read of the year. Can I have a drum roll please . . .







Good Samaritans by [Carver, Will]

Good Samaritans by Will Carver. I thought this book showcased such a unique style of storytelling. I flew through this book. Original and captivating, this is one of the best crime novels I’ve read. You can read my review by clicking HERE and you can purchase Good Samaritans by clicking HERE.


So that is it for another year. I hope you’ve managed to find some books in this list that you may enjoy reading, or that you may consider buying someone for Christmas. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of them and what you thought. This is my final blog post for the year but I will be back in January 2019 with more book reviews and blog tours. Have a great Christmas and a very happy New Year.

The Rumour by Lesley Kara blog tour #bookreview @LesleyKara @TransworldBooks

The Rumour by [Kara, Lesley]


When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .

Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.

Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.

So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?


Did you ever start Chinese whispers around the school playground? Did that rumour, just grow bigger and bigger as the next person passed it on, twisting and changing it? In Lesley Kara’s The Rumour single mum, Joanna, hears just one whisper that a convicted child killer, Sally McGowan, is now living, with a new identity in their hometown of Flinstead, thirty years after the terrible crime was committed when she was ten. And what starts as one passing comment soon spreads into a rising sense of worry and panic as Joanna and other people try to find out who the person could be. Could it potentially be someone they all know?

Lesley Kara has created a suspense filled read in her debut novel. I think I had suspicions of just about every character in this book, and just when I thought I’d nailed the person down, who I thought was this killer, Lesley threw in a brilliant twist that completely blew my mind. I had a lot of fun trying to work out who the killer could be and top marks to Lesley Kara for thwarting me at the end.

What this book really shows us is how much of an effect one small rumour can have on a person’s life. It’s quite terrifying to think that anyone could be in this position, without any reason for it at all, but the more that gossip is spread, the more it seems to have a sound base in fact. You only have to look at how “Fake News” is spread across the Internet and how such stories can influence other people to see this.

Lesley Kara knows how to draw her readers into her story. As Joanna became more wrapped up in trying to work out who Sally McGowan was, I felt more and more uneasy that she was being pushed closer and closer to danger.

The Rumour is an absolutely gripping tale that examines the dangerous consequences gossip can have on a community and on the person who starts it. I’m looking forward to reading more from Lesley Kara in the future.  Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 10th December 2018

Print length: 320 pages

If you would like to purchase The Rumour, you can do so by clicking on the following links below. 



The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley Book Review @lucyfoleytweets @fictionpubteam

The Hunting Party by [Foley, Lucy]



In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.

The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
The outsider

The victim.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.


The Hunting Party is a captivating page-turner that held my attention all the way through. A group of Londoner’s – friends since their time at Oxford University together – head to the Scottish Highlands to see in the New Year. They find themselves in a remote, but luxurious house known as The Lodge situated close to the bank of the nearby loch. As the holiday gets underway and as the group get ready to ring in 2019, one of them disappears. And soon a body is discovered just as some dark truths begin to come to the surface.

Lucy Foley’s writing transports you to the Scottish Highlands. As city dwellers, you immediately get the sense that the group are out of their comfort zone and this makes it the perfect setting for what later develops. You can quite clearly see how vulnerable they are in this location, particularly when the bad weather strikes which essentially cuts them off from the rest of civilisation.

For me, the most mysterious person in the book was the groundkeeper, Doug, who lives in the grounds of The Lodge. The group of friends will really get you thinking, and I was undecided about my feelings towards a few of them as events unfolded. They do get you wondering, how on earth some of them have remained friends. The pace in the novel is excellent. Lucy Foley keeps you guessing as to which of them is going to end up dead and who, if any of them, is responsible. I didn’t have any idea until the final secrets were revealed. I loved how Lucy managed to keep me in the dark right up until the last chapters. Along the way, Lucy keeps teasing the reader into thinking that this is the moment that things will start to become clear. This is what kept me gripped.

This book is perfect to read while wrapped up in a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day. The Hunting Party is atmospheric, well written and utterly absorbing.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 3rd December 2018 (kindle) 24th January 2019 (hardback)

Print length: 400 pages

If you would like to purchase The Hunting Party, you can do so by clicking on the following links below. 

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones 

Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon blog tour #bookreview @knntom @BOTBSPublicity



Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’s old church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction.

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark police suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

Dig Two Graves is the first in the Solomon Gray series. Pick it up now to discover whether Gray finds his son in this thrilling new crime series.


Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon is an intriguing start to a new crime series featuring Detective Solomon Grey. I found this novel very difficult to put down. I wanted to find out what had happened to Solomon’s son, Tom, ten years on from his disappearance after reading those haunting chapters when we see him disappearing into a haunted house at a fun fair, the last time he is ever seen. There are some quite raw and emotional scenes in this book that Keith Nixon explores well, and you can quite clearly see the loss that Solomon has suffered which comes across very strongly in his character.

The disappearance of Solomon’s son is the main pull in this story, Keith Nixon soon throws in another twist, however, when the body of a sixteen-year-old boy is discovered, the boy is of the age Solomon’s son would be now if still alive. But what is all the more perplexing of this case is when a number in the boy’s mobile matches Solomon’s. Very soon after the discovery of the boy, who may have committed suicide, more deaths begin to occur. Just what exactly is happening? Do the murders that are taking place in the present have anything to do with Solomon’s son’s disappearance? And why do all the people who are dying now have some sort of connection to Solomon?

Solomon Grey is a very well rounded character, and I found him instantly likeable. You can see the grief he has suffered through the loss of his family which is also revealed in flashback scenes when we re-visit his past. He is absolutely determined to find out what happened to his son, even though it appears that everyone else has forgotten about Tom. I was rooting for him to find answers and I really wanted to know myself what had happened.

There is some excellent dialogue in this book which kept the pace of the novel flowing and for me, it was what made this book an addictive read. Keith Nixon keeps up the suspense throughout the novel with surprising new directions. The plot was unpredictable, and its ending has left me desperate to read the next book in the series as soon as I can.

Dig Two Graves is a chilling and at times an emotional read that will keep you turning those pages to find out the answers. An excellent start to a new crime series. Thank you to Sarah Hardy at Books on the Bright Side for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Gladius Press

Publication date: 8th October 2018

Print length: 211 pages

If you would like to purchase Dig Two Graves, you can do so by clicking on the following links below.

Amazon UK Kobo



Attend by West Camel blog tour #bookreview @west_camel @OrendaBooks

Attend front new


When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.


Attend by West Camel, is unlike anything else I have read this year. I don’t usually read contemporary fiction, but I am so glad I read this book. It is a very hard book to define, as it can easily fit into many genres: crime, magic realism and even romance. Deborah is the lead character in this book who holds everything together and she does become the centre of our focus. Then there are the characters, Anne and Sam, both who are very different to each other, but who ultimately are pulled together in this wonderful, mesmerising and addictive plot. It is a very strong debut that I suspect I’ll be talking about and recommending for a while.

Anne is the first character we are introduced to, a recovering heroin addict, who has just moved into her new home in Deptford. She meets Deborah who comes across as a vulnerable, lonely old woman, but she has a fascinating past which she begins to divulge to Anne. In the end, for me, Deborah came across as one of the strongest characters in this book, which I was surprised by. We are then introduced to Sam who has only recently begun to accept his sexuality, and he forms a relationship with a local thug, Derek, who is well known in the area, which means he has a reputation to uphold. Their newfound relationship is a move that surprises both of them. Sam is also drawn in by Deborah and her compelling stories. These three threads are stitched together in a very clever, and a very well plotted way.

It was the characters in this book which made this book such a compelling read, and West Camel’s writing swept me into his story from the first page and into the murky areas of Deptford. One theme that does come across strongly in this book is the theme of loneliness, and this is what I did think of whenever I thought about Deborah and her stories. There are some flashback scenes in this book when she is revisiting her past, as she is re-telling it to Anne and Sam, and these scenes really did make me want to concentrate as I tried to understand her character more.

West Camel’s writing is what made this book feel so very fresh and unique; there are some wonderful descriptive phrases throughout Attend that added so much depth and colour to his characters and the settings. He is such an exciting new writer and I cannot wait to see what he writes next.

If you’re looking for a book that is dark, has very good writing, but very different to what is currently out there in the market at the moment, then I would highly, highly recommend Attend. It is a stunning piece of fiction. I loved it. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th November 2018 (kindle) 13th December 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 287 pages

If you would like to purchase Attend, you can do so by clicking on the links below:

Amazon UK  Waterstones Kobo


Attend Blog Tour Poster

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme blog tour #bookreview @bookouture @ErikTherme



Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot.
She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter.
What kind of person would abandon their daughter?

Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family.
But her real father has sent her a letter.
And now Ally is missing. 


This was a rollercoaster of a book. I was pulled into the story straight away when in the opening pages, couple Dan and Holly find a young child abandoned in a car park and the body of a young woman a short distance away lying in a pool of blood. Who was the child? Why had she been left there and who was the woman who had been found dead? Finding out the answers to these questions is what compelled me to read on, and I had so many more questions about the plot and the characters along the way.

Fifteen years later and the young girl, now named Ally, is Dan and Holly’s daughter having been adopted by them in 2000, a short while after she was found. Ally is desperate to know the truth about her past, and she wants to find out who her biological parents were; although, Dan isn’t quite so keen on her searching for this information. As Ally sets out to find out the truth about her former life, she disappears.

As the plot of this book progressed, I did get a real sense that things were only going to get worse for Dan, Holly and Ally and there was an impending sense of danger circling around them. Like Ally, I was interested to find out where she had come from and why she had been left in that car park all those years ago. I kept thinking of the possible reasons why someone may have chosen to do this.

Keep Her Close moves along at a very quick pace, and it heats up as Dan and Holly try and track their daughter down. Erik Therme did a great job of keeping up the tension, and his writing style made it a very easy book to get into, you know when you just think, I’ll just read on for one more chapter, then another, and then another; this is that type of book. And I think here this is all down to the characters and the events they become mixed up in. I think what also made this a gripping read is that I could never be sure what the outcome was going to be for the characters, and I could never really be sure what had happened to Ally, and if whether or not she had chosen to disappear of her own accord. That was one idea that was going around inside my head.

There is a very devious character in this book who kept me on the edge of my seat as I wondered what card they were going to play next. But I’m not going to say much more about that here, but once you read the book, you will know exactly who I mean.

If you’re looking for a quick, suspense filled read, then you should definitely read Keep Her Close. I think it’s also the perfect book to read just when you want to have a break from the mad Christmas festivities, and have a few quiet hours to yourself, with a glass of wine perhaps. Thank you to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to read via Netgalley.

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: 5th December 2018

Print length: 247 pages




Cuckoo by Sophie Draper blog tour #bookreview @sophiedraper9 @Sabah_K @AvonBooksUK

Cuckoo: A haunting psychological thriller you need to read this Christmas by [Draper, Sophie]


There’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?


Cuckoo is a very dark novel that pushes the relationship of two sisters to the brink. Caro is reunited with her step-sister, Seth, after years apart, following the death of her step-mother, Elizabeth. Seth now lives in New York, and very kindly, gives Caro Elizabeth’s house. From the beginning it is clear that something happened in their past, which is what has kept them apart for quite some time, but with Elizabeth’s death, can the past finally be forgotten? Or is there a wound which runs much deeper?

I loved the unraveling of the lives of Caro and Seth’s lives in this book. From the opening pages I wanted to know what had gone wrong in their history, and why everyone was so frosty towards Caro; there were some scenes which really made me think, what had she done to deserve this treatment? This, for me, is what made this book a page turner. There is a dark sense of malevolence that runs throughout the novel, and it really made me think that there was something evil hidden, and I was desperate to find out what it was. I particularly liked the fairy tale aspect of the book which added an even darker tone to the book.

As Caro revisits her past, we do get see ghosts of her childhood and gradually, Lucy Draper begins to reveal the truth about what happened, and there are some hard hitting revelations which pull the different strands in the novel together very well. There are plenty of captivating characters that kept me intrigued and I was utterly absorbed by Sophie’s writing.

I really enjoyed reading this book; I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out to see what Sophie Draper writes next. Cuckoo is absorbing and compelling, perfect for fans of psychological thrillers. Thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for inviting me to join the blog tour and for providing me with a copy of the book to read via Netgalley.

Publisher: Avon

Publication date: 29th November 2018

Print length: 400 pages



Cuckoo Blog Tour