What Lucy Read: January 2019

This year has got off to a great start for me reading-wise. I read a total of 13 books in the month of January; 8 of which were physical, 2 ebooks and 3 audiobooks. All of the books were ones that I enjoyed, not a single book I read this month was below a 3 star, and 10 ended up being between 4 and 5 stars. If this is a preview of how this years reading’s going to go then it is looking to be a great year!

Top 5 Anticipated February Reads

Title: The Lost Man

Author: Jane Harper

Release Date: February 5th

Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

Why I want to read: I read Jane Harper’s ‘The Dry’ back in 2017 and really enjoyed it, and i’m actually currently reading the second book in that series ‘Force of Nature’ which is also looking to be a fantastic read so far so I already knew I was excited to see what else this author had to come but those early reviews have piqued my interest even further. I haven’t heard a single negative thing about this one yet!

Title: On the Come Up

Author: Angie Thomas

Release date: February 7th

Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

Why I want to read: ‘On The Come Up’ is the 2nd novel by Angie Thomas, the bestselling author of ‘The Hate U Give’. I, like most others, read and loved THUG upon its release back in 2017 so I have been eagerly awaiting anything else Thomas had to write, and I have no doubt that this one will also be a hit.

Title: After She’s Gone

Author: Camilla Grebe

Release date: February 7th

Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: For psychological profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schoen, life is good. She and her partner, investigator Peter Lindgren, have just returned from a dream holiday in Greenland and the symptoms of her early onset dementia seem to be under control. Then they are asked to go to the small, sleepy industrial town of Ormberg to investigate a cold case: ten years earlier a five-year-old girl’s remains were found in a cairn near the town. With her dementia creeping back again, Hanne starts to keep a diary noting down everything she is likely to forget. She will go to any lengths to keep up appearances so she doesn’t lose her job, or worse: Peter. Then Hanne is found wandering around the outskirts of Ormberg lost, hurt and confused – and Peter is missing. When the body of a woman is found at the cairn and one of Hanne’s shoes is found nearby covered in the victim’s blood, can Hanne’s diary hold the key to what happened? How does this new murder connect to their old one – and where is Peter?

Why I want to read: Camilla Grebe is the author of ‘The Ice Beneath Her’ a thriller that was a massive hit amongst readers a couple of years ago but one that I never actually got round to reading, so when I heard she had a new book coming I just knew I had to get my hands on it. I’m hoping i’ll enjoy this one as much as everyone else seemed to love the last, and if I do then I can finally go back and pick that one up.

Title: The Secretary

Author: Renee Knight

Release date: February 21st

Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: Look around you. Who holds the most power in the room? Is it the one who speaks loudest, who looks the part, who has the most money, who commands the most respect? Or perhaps it’s someone like Christine Butcher: a meek, overlooked figure, who silently bears witness as information is shared and secrets are whispered. Someone who quietly, perhaps even unwittingly, gathers together knowledge of the people she’s there to serve – the ones who don’t notice her, the ones who consider themselves to be important. There’s a fine line between loyalty and obsession. And when someone like Christine Butcher is pushed to her limit, she might just become the most dangerous person in the room 

Why I want to read: I’m going to be honest i’ve actually never heard of this author before but I was browsing through new releases recently when I came across this and that blurb just drew me straight in! It definitely sounds like the kind of book that i’d like. Since I first heard of it I have come across a couple of great reviews aswell making me even more excited for the release of this one.

Title: The Last Letter

Author: Rebecca Yarros

Release date: February 26th

Genre: Romance

Synopsis: One letter. That was all it took for Beckett Gentry to fall for Ella MacKenzie, his buddy Ryan’s sister. Through her letters, Ella spoke to his heart, fueled his dreams, and made his days in Afghanistan bearable. Until Ryan’s life ends and so do the letters. Leaving the military, Beckett heads to Colorado with one destination in mind – Ella. Despite the guilt Beckett feels over his friend’s death, he’s determined to carry out his promise to watch over Ryan’s sister and never tell Ella he’s the one she’d been writing to. At twenty-six, Ella has lost almost everyone she loves – and now one of her precious twins is battling cancer. When Beckett walks into her tiny town – all six-feet-plus of dark, brooding, gorgeous man – Ella barely takes notice. Okay, fine, of course she takes notice. He’s come with the last of Ryan’s letters and the promise that he’d made to watch over her, but he’s insanely tight-lipped about everything else. Now Beckett is everywhere – and the most irritating part is that she likes him, despite his tough-as-nails exterior.

Why I want to read: I’d actually never heard of Rebecca Yarros until recently when I started seeing people talk about this book, all the ARC reviews starting coming in and I found myself paying attention as there has been a lot of 5 stars. Then I actually read the synopsis and just knew I needed to pick it up as I love a good emotional romance but I haven’t read for a good while. I’ve been basically only reading fun, light romances recently but this one sounds perfect for when i’m in the mood for a tearjerker.

Top thrillers I read in 2018

I read 200 books in the year of 2018, 48 of which I shelved on goodreads as crime/mystery/thriller. I read from a wide range of genres but if I had to pick one favourite it would be thrillers, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a really suspenseful thriller! Last year I was still just getting into romance, after only truly discovering the genre in 2017, so I read quite a few of them meaning that thrillers were put slightly on the back burner for me this past year so I didn’t get to quite as many as i’d have liked. These are my absolute favourite ones I picked up during the year though, some are straight up psychological thrillers, some more crime based and some that are definitely more mysterious. There’s something for everyone here.

One of the first books I read in 2018 was Hydra By Matt Wesolowski, one that I picked up as soon as it was released. I adored Six Stories, it was one of the most refreshing crime books i’d read in a long time, so I knew I was probably going to love the sequel; Hydra. Honestly though Hydra far surpassed my expectations, solidifying this series as some of my favourite crime reads of all time. This book is again told through the podcast ‘Six Stories’ where they’re investigating not the who but the why of a murder. 21 year old Arla bludgeoned her mother, stepfather and sister all to death in an unprovoked attack, now she’s finally ready to admit to why but the only person she’ll talk to is Scott King; the narrator of ‘Six Stories’. These books are in my opinion far and away some of the most original crime novels out there, you don’t have to read Six Stories in order to read this but I would recommend if you haven’t as that one is also an excellent read. The next book in this series, Changeling, is to be released this month and of course I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my pre-order.

Kill the Father‘ is the first book in the Colomba Caselli series by Italian author Sandrone Dazieri. Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli is recovering from a bombing, still on official leave, when her superior requests she looks into a kidnapping case. Her superior also suggests she works with Dante Torre on the case. Dante is a man still dealing with crippling anxiety and claustrophobia from his kidnapping and subsequent 11 year incarceration in a silo as a child, but he has a brilliant mind which makes him excellent at solving crimes. Dante and Colomba are both fascinating characters who make an unusual pairing. The pacing is fast and there are a whole range of twists and turns throughout the book which make it incredibly hard to put down. The plot is well-done but it’s the characters that make this such a memorable book. I also read the second book, Kill the Angel, last year which was a thrilling follow-up to this excellent book. I hope there’ll be more to come for these characters soon, I can’t get enough of them!

This is probably the most hyped book on this list, ‘Sadie‘ was definitely a well loved book last year. It’s a book told through two different narratives, the first of which is Sadie’s POV. Sadie is a young woman who has left her home behind in order to go on a desperate quest to find the man who murdered her younger sister, Mattie, and make him pay for taking her world away. The other narrative is a podcast narrated by West McCray as he follows Sadie trying to figure out where she is and exactly what she’s up to. This is such a suspenseful book. It’s also a gut-wrenching, emotionally heavy read but it is so worth it. If you haven’t read this one yet then I would definitely recommend the audiobook which has a whole cast of narrators who do an absolute superb job of bringing this book to life.

Like so many others I absolutely adored Clare Mackinstosh’s first novel ‘I Let You Go’ so I knew I needed to read another of her books. ‘Let Me Lie’ is a book that begins one year after the death of Anna’s mum. Her mum is believed to have committed suicide just months after her husband did. However, Anna has always struggled to believe that that’s what really happened so when she gets a card hinting that there may be more to the story of their deaths she becomes determined to find out the truth once and for all. Clare Mackintosh is firmly in the category of my favourite authors, her writing is absolutely excellent. This is quite a slow burn thriller but it pulled me in right from the beginning. I felt such a strong connection to this book and the characters that are mentioned that I actually felt emotional at points reading about their struggles. I still haven’t read Mackintosh’s second book, ‘I See You’, but I recently brought a copy that i’ll definitely be picking up during this year.

This was my first Tarryn Fisher book, aka the start of my obsession. ‘Bad Mommy‘ (also known as ‘I Can be a Better You’) begins when Fig see’s a woman, she later learns is Jolene Avery, and her daughter at the park. She convinces herself that the woman’s young daughter is the physical embodiment of the soul of Fig’s own daughter that she miscarried years ago. Fig becomes obsessed with Jolene so when she finds out the house next door to her is up for sale she buys it in the hope that this way she can get closer to Jolene and her family, making it easier for her to steal Jolene’s life out from under her. I loved this one because of its originality, it’s so unlike anything i’ve read before. Being inside of Fig’s mind is overwhelming at times, the woman exudes all kind of craziness. The whole novel is thrilling and fast-paced which makes it hard to put down, and that ending.. wow.

This book is one that definitely seems to divide opinions, it took me a while to read it as I was unsure whether I was going to like it or not but i’m so glad I finally did as I definitely fall into the love category. ‘Behind Her Eyes’ is told from two different POV’s, beginning with Louise a newly single mum who is on a rare night out when she meets a man she feels an immediate connection with. However, when she starts her new job on Monday she meets her boss, David. The man from the bar David. A very married man. The other POV is from Adele, a beautiful young woman who exudes a hint of vulnerability which draws people to her. Her and David are childhood sweethearts who have been together for years but maybe their relationship is not all it appears on the surface. I honestly loved every single second of this book, I know it’s not for everyone, but I could not get enough of it!

Top 10 of 2018

2018 was a strange reading year for me. In some ways it was a great reading year in that I had an average rating of 4 stars, meaning that the vast majority of the 200 books I read were ones that I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I also hit a major slump that lasted throughout the last few months of the year. This post is to talk about my absolute favourite 10 books of the year, which was hard to narrow down at times, but I did read some strong stand-out novels.

The Hearts Invisible Furies By John Boyne – One of the most hyped books of 2017, I finally got round to reading ‘The Hearts Invisible Furies’ in February 2018 and I have to say I totally get it. The hype with this one was well deserved. This is a really moving and heartfelt story following a young man named Cyril from the moment his family learned of his mothers pregnancy with him until the end of his life. Such an amazing book, at times tragically sad whilst at others just brilliantly funny.

I’ll Be Gone in The Dark By Michelle McNamara – I read this book as soon as it was released; as soon as I heard about it I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it as I really enjoy a true crime novel but this is so much more than that. This book tells the story of the crimes of the at-the-time-unidentified violent sexual predator ‘known as the golden state killer but it’s also part memoir talking about McNamara’s life and how her determination to uncover the identity of this man has consumed all aspects of it. A really phenomenally written and researched novel, the only thing that could have made it better was if McNamara had been able to see the impact it had.

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom By Leigh Bardugo – I’m not typically a big fantasy reader but everyone had been raving about this duology so much that i finally decided to give in and just read it, and it blew me away. A fantastic duology with six brilliant lovable misfits that I just could not get enough of, I could read endless books set in this world!!

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row By Anthony Ray Hinton – An excellent piece of non-fiction from Anthony Ray Hinton, a black man sentenced to death in 1985 who spent thirty years living on death row before finally winning his release in 2015. In this book he discussed what it was like living on death row, how it changed him and the things he learned. This is an incredibly emotional read but more than that it’s an important one. If I ever had to recommend one book to everyone it would be this one.

The Wicker King By K. Ancrum – A fast-paced brilliantly told YA novel that looks at the effects of a codependent relationship when one person falls ill. When Jack begins suffering from hallucinations August is determined to help him even if that means hiding the truth from those around them and believing in Jack’s visions himself, but what happens when they can no longer tell whats real. There are so many great subjects explored in this one that i don’t often see in YA, including D/s relationships, fantastic mental health rep and exploration of an unhealthy relationship. This may not be for everyone but it all just worked 100% for me.

11.22.63 By Stephen King – This was my 4th Stephen King but it was far and away my favourite i’ve read by him. This book is fantastic in the way it crosses so many genres, on the surface it’s a science fiction novel about time travel, but it also manages to feel like a thriller, a love story and a well researched piece of historical fiction. A very long novel, like most of King’s work, but this one just flew by for me.

Lover Awakened By J.R Ward- In 2018 I finally decided to start the ‘black dagger brotherhood’, one of the most loved paranormal romance series ever. I read the first 5 books throughout the year but this one was a standout for me. I loved seeing Zsadist get his happy ending which was well deserved after all his been through, and Bella is a great heroine well deserving of such a fantastic man. One of my favourite things about this series is that during each book we also get to catch up on other characters story lines, its great to see how everyone else story is continuing. I loved starting this series and cannot wait to continue it on in 2019.

Rust and Stardust By T. Greenwood- A very harrowing read that shares a fictionalised account of the true kidnapping of 11 year old Sally Horner. This book had some of the most exceptional writing of anything i read last year and that’s what puts it firmly into my favourites of the year. The story is hard to read, it’s a very chilling novel that discusses one of the most vile crimes that can happen but the writing is beautiful and keeps the reader engaged throughout.

Mud Vein By Tarryn Fisher – I adore Tarryn Fisher so this one is no surprise. I have been meaning to read this one for a while and i’m so glad I finally got round to it. What makes this book stand out so much for me is the simple fact that it doesn’t fit into any particular genre, it feels like a genre all of its own. I don’t want to mention anything from the plot of this one as it’s best as a blind read but it was a beautiful, raw read and I just fell absolutely in love with it.