My Favorite Books of 2018

First of all, I want to apologize for my lack of activity these past few weeks… I’m still deciding what I want to do with the blog. And I don’t know if you were even expecting this post given how inactive I’ve been, but this is actually one of my favorite posts of the year and I obviously couldn’t miss it. Basically, when I finish a book that I’ve absolutely loved, I always think: “this is definitely a favorite…” and then it comes the time when I have to choose the ones that have made the list… So here it comes… *drumroll*

My Favorite Books of 2018

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Barbed Wired Heart
The Dream Daughter
Hangman
Resin
The Fifth to Die
The Psychology of Time Travel
Don’t Believe It
The Craftsman

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Honorable Mentions:

The Lion Tamer Who Lost
Murder Mile
Pieces of Her
The Immortalists
The Clockmaker’s Daughter
The Promise

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Favorite Books that Weren’t Released in 2018 but I Wanted to Feature Anyway

The Heart’s Invisible Furies
The Cartel

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What about you? Which are your favorite books of 2018?

Review: Resin by Ane Riel @AuthorAneRiel

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Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think. Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing. But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents. This way, Liv would be safe.

My review:

This book practically came out of nowhere and without expecting it, it instantly became a favorite of mine. I remember reading reviews months ago that said that the book wasn’t what they expected, but I still thought this would be reminiscent of stories like The Marsh King’s Daughter where a girl is held captive by her evil family… Well, this book wasn’t like that, at all. It was much more tragic and intimate that I thought it would be.

I don’t want to give anything away, but Resin was such a special story and one that I would recommend to anyone who wants to read something quite different from your typical “dysfunctional family book”. Resin was like a dark fairytale and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the characters in the novel. Even when you know they’re not doing the right thing. Even when they commit unspeakable acts of cruelty.

The novel structure was not easy to follow at first (diary entries, present time narration, flashbacks of family members, Liv’s flashbacks, different points of view…), but somehow I didn’t mind because the writing was so easy to follow and so beautiful at the same time. I became immediately captivated by this dark and sad, and emotional tale about family, isolation, love, and broken childhood.

And I know I won’t ever forget about Liv easily. She’s a character that stays with you. Her voice is striking and she’s simply precious.

 

Blog Tour: The Good Samaritans by Will Carver @OrendaBooks

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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… Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

My review:

The Good Samaritans is a unique and original thriller that is quite hard to describe. And it’s definitely not a story that will appeal to everyone. But I believe that’s precisely what makes it stand out.

What I enjoyed most about this novel was that I never knew where it was going. To be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to the blurb, so I didn’t know what the book was actually about when I started reading it. And I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel that, sometimes, that is a much better option.

None of the characters of this book were particularly likable, but I just couldn’t stop reading. I was gripped by this dark tale from the very first page, as it explored a bleak and creepy world where everyone wears a mask and pretends to be someone they’re not. It was not a particular hopeful story, but everyone here knows how much I love dark books 😉

I don’t want to spoil anything because I feel this is a book that should be read without knowing too much. Believe me, it will make the journey much more satisfying. The plot gets more complex and intriguing as you keep reading.

The Good Samaritans is the perfect book to read if you’re a fan of dark POVs and Peter Swanson.

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Will Carver

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

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Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that  some obsessions can be deadly.

My review:

Last year, I read and deeply enjoyed The Wife Between Us. The twist caught me completely by surprise and I loved the way it was written: in a smart, yet super entertaining style. I didn’t hesitate when I saw the glowing reviews for An Anonymous Girl. And the book was equally engaging from the beginning: I was intrigued and I felt the plot was quite original. In the end, though, it wasn’t as shocking as I expected it to be.

This is the story of a young woman, Jessica, who is struggling with money as she works as a professional make-up artist. When she hears about a paid study on morality, she decides to take part, even though she wasn’t invited. And the mysterious and enigmatic Dr Shields gets a bit obsessed with her… and forces her to participate in her little experiment.

I think the reason I didn’t love this as much as TWBU is merely a matter of expectations. There’s nothing wrong with this book. The novel is superbly written, the characters were multi-layered and it was a fine psychological thriller. But being the same two authors, I guess I expected to be shocked multiple times, something that never happened. Here, you know from the beginning who’s the villain and what they want, so I kinda missed the excitement of the twists. And I know it’s my fault, because I shouldn’t expect every book to deliver shocking twists, as sometimes they even feel unnecessary.

An Anonymous Girl is an original and smart psychological thriller about marriage, lies, blame, and honesty. If you’re interested in complex relationships and manipulation, I believe this could be a great book for you. I can’t wait to read another book by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.

 

Review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain

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When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back. Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part. And all for the love of her unborn child. A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

My review:

There’s something about Diane Chamberlain’s writing and the worlds she creates, something that grabs me from the very beginning. Maybe it’s the southern setting, the historical side of the story, or the way she makes you care about the characters after only a few pages. I’ve read some of her books and although I haven’t loved all of them, a couple are among my personal favorites. And The Dream Daughter is probably my favorite of hers yet. It’s a WONDERFUL book.

I admit that, at first, I didn’t consider reading it because her last one had left me a bit indifferent. But after reading wonderful reviews from some of my favorite bloggers, I realized I wanted to give it a chance. The blurb doesn’t really say anything about the plot, but I guess I must’ve seen what it really was about in a review, because I knew the “real plot” before I started reading it. Without saying much, I can promise you that the book is SO MUCH MORE than what the blurb says. In fact, I can assure you that the blurb doesn’t make me want to read it at all. Remember A Mother’s Confession? Don’t get me wrong, these two books are not similar at all, but they are both wonderful novels that I wouldn’t have read at first because of their title, cover, or blurb, and yet they ended up being favorites of mine.

This is going to be a top 5 of the year for me, and I have no doubt about that. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to tell everyone about this book, I literally explained the whole story to my boyfriend and I couldn’t stop thinking of what I would’ve done had I been in Carly’s situation. This book made me cry more than once, as it was emotional, sad and yet comforting at the same time.

The storyline is super hard to predict and there was a particularly shocking twist that I never saw coming and left me speechless. I read the book in less than two days because once I picked it up, I couldn’t let it go. I was consumed by it. And I’ll never forget it.