My Top Ten Books of 2019

The time has come again to face an impossible task of narrowing the 117 books I have read into a top ten list. As always it was difficult to do but I have managed and I will list them in no particular order. Apart from my favourite book of the year which I will reveal at the end. You can see my review for each book by clicking on the title.

Expectation by Anna Hope.

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman.

The Photographer Of The Lost by Caroline Scott

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Red Snow by Will Dean

From The City, From The Plough by Alexander Baron

On My Life by Angela Clarke

The Taking Of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman

My Book of 2019

Turbulent Wake by Paul. E Hardisty

The Shape Of Night by Tess Gerritsen – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of . . .

When Ava arrives at Brodie’s Watch, she thinks she has found the perfect place to hide from her past. Something terrible happened, something she is deeply ashamed of, and all she wants is to forget.

But the old house on the hill both welcomes and repels her and Ava quickly begins to suspect she is not alone. Either that or she is losing her mind.

The house is full of secrets, but is the creeping sense of danger coming from within its walls, or from somewhere else entirely?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have always enjoyed reading the Rizzoli and Isles series so was interested in reading this standalone novel. It is completely different, instead of a police based novel it is a ghost story combined with a disappearance of a young woman and takes place in a small-town in Maine.

When Ava arrives with her fantastic cat Hannibal at Brodie’s Watch she hopes that she can put the past behind her and finish her book. Almost immediately she senses a strange atmosphere and as she settles in she realises that she isn’t alone. And that her companion is a threat. What happens to her becomes increasingly unsettling, from the paranormal, the past and the present.

I always like a spooky novel and this doesn’t disappoint. There was just the right amount of tension and combined with not knowing whether the presence was a threat or protection, I was eagerly turning the pages to see what would happen next.

I did guess correctly at what was happening in the present day and what Ava was running away from but it didn’t stop me enjoying this novel. I liked her relationship with most of the characters, especially Hannibal and the recipes were an added bonus.

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A strange sensation runs through me, a feeling that I don’t know this person in front of me, even though he matters more to me than anyone ever has, than anyone ever will.

You go into your son’s bedroom. It’s the usual mess. You tidy up some dirty plates, pick up some clothes, open the wardrobe to put them away.
And that’s when you find it. Something so shocking it doesn’t seem real.
And you realize a horrifying truth…
Your own son might be dangerous.

Keep You Close is the chilling, relentless new thriller from the bestselling author of Need to Know.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I hadn’t read Karen Cleveland’s previous book so had little idea what to expect. I did expect a family crisis from the synopsis, when a mother had to find out what her son was involved in but I wasn’t prepared for what he was suspected of, or the espionage storyline. 

I did prefer the storyline that focused on Steph and her family. The battle that Steph had to achieve her position in the FBI and how she let it affect her relationship with  her mother and son. She knew she was failing but didn’t seem to be able to improve the situation. There were moments when I wished she would just show them both a little love and consideration.

The other side of the storyline was good, but didn’t captivate me as much until the latter stages of the novel. I was a little shocked by how corruption was rife in the various agencies and had no idea who could be trusted. The ending was a shock and I would love to see if there is a follow up. If there is, great, if there isn’t, it was one of the better final chapters I have read this year.

The Rumour by Lesley Kara – Review.


About the Book

A casual comment.

There’s a killer among us.

That’s all it takes.

She stabbed little Robbie Harris.

To change a life –

She’s living under a new name.

For ever.

She’s reformed. So they say . . .

Joanna is going to regret the day she ever said a word.

My Review

It’s rare that I review a book when it is a few months away from being published, but for this book I was happy to do so. I imagine that this book will be very popular. It was just what I needed to read after having a slight book slump, it was a book that I needed to carry on reading.
Joanna is struggling to fit into her new life after living in London and in a bid to make life easier for her son she engages in gossip at the school gate. It does get them accepted by the ‘in crowd’ but it places them in danger.
Joanna was a character I liked instantly. I sympathised with her predicament, she regretted what she said and she did it without thinking about the consequences. That people who were innocent could be accused of terrible things and have their lives ruined.
It is one of those novels that makes you suspect everybody. I did guess (correctly) fairly early, but it didn’t stop me enjoying the novel. There is a threat from more than one person. It only has short chapters and was very quick to read. Most of it is told by Joanna’s point of view but there are also glimpses of Sally and you see how she is coping with possible exposure.
The topic could be a difficult one. A child killer who herself was a child and who has been released whilst still young and the victim’s family seeing them lead a normal life. But the author shows both sides, that the killer has far from a normal life. Despite this it was difficult to warm to Sally though, even when you heard her side of the story and knew what her upbringing had been like and at times I did have sympathy.
There were many characters I liked, there were some sad lives and the author shows different ways of acceptance and coping. These will have to remain nameless because if you read this book you will suspect them just like I did.
A brilliant debut novel that I couldn’t put down and which had an ending that made my jaw drop. I’m sure it will do well.

With thanks to Alison Barrow for the signed proof and for the inviting me to the publicity launch at Theakston Crime.

I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen – Blog Tour Review.



About the Book

I have a secret.
And someone wants to make sure I never tell . . .

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.

Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?

One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.

But she has a secret that she has to keep . . .

My Review

I haven’t read all the Rizzoli and Isles series and every time I do, I tell myself that I need to catch up. The books that I have read I’ve enjoyed a lot and I Know A Secret is a welcome return to a fascinating series. The novel starts with an unnamed female narrator at the funeral of a young woman who has been killed in a house fire. She doesn’t seem to be there to mourn, more to observe.
When Maura receives a telephone call from Jane whilst she is visiting her mother in hospital she is relieved to have an excuse to leave. But the relief is short lived when she is faced with the grim sight that has sickened many of the team. It is the first in a series of murders that frustrates them all, horrifically staged but with no obvious cause of death.
All the victims appear to be unlinked but Rizzoli and Isles gradually uncover secrets from the past. There are some very unpleasant characters in the novel who try to stop them and with one of the characters I feel that there could be more to come in the future. The murders are fascinating, creepy and had me looking at more deeply on the internet. They are nothing like I have read before.
The scene setting and characterisation in the book is brilliant. I could see the squalor in the film studio and the passion that the team had to get their film into production. I could see the family life and the unhappiness in Jane’s family and I could feel the tension and distrust between Maura and her mother.
Whilst I have enjoyed watching the TV series based on Rizzoli and Isles the books are much more entertaining and informative. Rizzoli is a much deeper character with stronger ties to her mother and is less tolerant of her father and brother. Isles is more of a loner, has a strange relationship with her deeply unsettling natural mother and an on/off relationship with a man who she shouldn’t have a relationship with. If you have watched the series but never read any of the books, they could be read as standalone novels but I would recommend that you start at the beginning. There are many differences between the books and the TV series.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via Netgalley.

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