Best reads of 2018

In no particular order, here are the books I loved reading last year:

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary


Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met...

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they're crazy, but it's the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy's at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly-imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven't met yet, they're about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window...

Release date: 10th April 2019

What I thought

An utterly magical read!!! I fell head over heels for Tiffy and Leon.

I was hooked  from the moment I stepped into Leon and Tiffy’s story and never wanted it to end.

This hugely clever story centres around two people - Tiffy and Leon - who share a flat and even a bed, and yet they’ve never met. The two very different strangers strike up a hilarious and wonderful friendship over post-it notes and what follows is an uplifting and beautiful story that everyone should read. I really loved the two points of view and found Leon’s chapters really cleverly written.

I really wish I could give this book more than five stars. The first thing I wanted to do when I finished it was flick right back to the start and read it all again. Thank you to Tanera Simons at Darley Anderson and Quercus for allowing me the chance to read an advanced copy. The Flatshare is out on the 10th April 2019

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward


Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry. . . . That something is really, really wrong with me.

Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD, her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie, and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, 16 years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 9-1-1 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

But what in this beautiful home has gone so terribly bad?

Release date: 21st March 2019

What I thought

This book really packs a punch. I was utterly gripped from the first page to the last! 

Beautiful Bad is the story of adventurous Maddie and dark troubled Ian, who over the course of eighteen years fall in love and marry. But this is far from a picture perfect love story. 

The novel opens on the day of the killing. There is blood and horror and so much intrigue that the reader is instantly swept into the story and desperate to know who has been hurt. 

The story jumps back in time to 2001 to Maddie and her friend Joanna who are living and working in a turbulent area of The Balkans. The author's ability to draw the reader into the dusty dangerous heat of Skopje is phenomenal. There is so much tension throughout this book - in the characters, the plot and the world around them. 

This is a spectacular thriller and a book I expect to be hearing about and seeing a lot of in 2019!

The After Wife by Cass Hunter


When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.

She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband.
Now she's gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.

But Rachel has left behind her life's work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death...

Release date: 22nd March 2018

What I thought

This book is both poignant and precious, and Aidan and Chloe’s story will stay with me for a long time.

The extremes of the different characters, the polar opposites, the nice and the mean worked so beautifully to show the vastness of human nature at its best and worst.

It was an eye opening look into a future we are not ready for, but above all what amazed me the most about this wonderful book was the concept of what makes us who we are and how deftly that was delivered on every page! An utterly outstanding book I devoured

The Night She Died by Jenny Blackhurst


On her own wedding night, beautiful and complicated Evie White leaps off a cliff to her death.

What drove her to commit this terrible act? It's left to her best friend and her husband to unravel the sinister mystery.

Following a twisted trail of clues leading to Evie's darkest secrets, they begin to realize they never knew the real Evie at all...

Release date: 6th Sept 2018

What I thought

There aren’t many books in this genre that completely throw me, but this was one of them. I was clueless, absolutely clueless as to what was really going on. It’s  twisty and smart and oh what an  ending! There are a whole host of characters in this book that you’ll love to love and love to hate.  

 I read the last 20% of this book in the bath until the water went cold but I couldn’t get out until I’d finished it (and I hate being cold!). That’s the kind of book Jenny Blackhurst has created! Really really brilliant! I will be first in line to buy the author’s next book.  

The Rumour by Lesley Kara


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?

Release date: 6th Sept 2018

What I thought

Intense and frighteningly realistic, The Rumour will make you question how well you really know the co-worker you smile at each morning, that neighbour who walks your dog, the people you pass in the street. But most of all you’ll question every word you speak - are you guilty of passing on the rumour? Joanna is. And in a sleepy-sea side down, where nothing ever happens, Joanna finds out just how much damage sharing one rumour can be. 
An original and fabulously written novel. This is a gripping psychological suspense that will have you reading way past bed time. 

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech


Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it?

What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

A dark, consuming drama that shifts from Zimbabwe to England, and then back into the past, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a devastatingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart…

Release date: 15th July 2018

What I thought

Louise Beech is one of my favourite authors and The Lion Tamer Who Lost is now one of my favourite books (alongside How to be Brave of course)! 

Told between the streets of Hull and a Lion reserve in Africa, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a powerful novel that transcends any genre. It is a unique and captivating novel about love and friendship, following your dreams, and ultimately being true to yourself. 

A spellbinding, intelligent, page-turning, must-read, book!!

Perfect Liars by Rebecca Reid


Sixteen years ago, at an elite boarding school secluded in the English countryside, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable.

Their secret forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond of silence. But now, in their thirties, one of them wants to talk.

One word and everything could be ruined: their lives, their careers, their relationships. It's up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. - she knows there's nothing that can't be resolved by three courses in her immaculate kitchen.

But the evening does not go as planned.

Three women walk in to the dinner, but only two will leave.

Murder isn't so difficult the second time around...

Release date: 1st Sept 2018

What I thought

Disturbing and brilliant!! Perfect Liars delves into the darker side of female friendship and the lives of three women tied together by their past. A very refreshing psychological suspense and an outstanding debut.

When I Find You by Emma Curtis


What do you do when someone takes advantage of your greatest weakness?

When Laura wakes up after her office Christmas party and sees a man’s shirt on the floor, she is horrified. But this is no ordinary one-night-stand regret.

Laura suffers from severe face-blindness, a condition that means she is completely unable to identify and remember faces. So the man she spent all night dancing with and kissing – the man she thought she’d brought home – was ‘Pink Shirt’.

But the shirt on her floor is blue.

And now Laura must go to work every day, and face the man who took advantage of her condition. The man she has no way of recognising.

She doesn’t know who he is . . . but when she finds him she’ll make him pay.

Release date: 1st Sept 2018

What I thought

When I Find You is an enthralling page-turner of a read! The novel captures human nature at its best and its worst, portraying realistic characters pushed to their limits. Pacey and clever and well worth a read!

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