Hello you gorgeous bookish folk! Welcome to my final #CaseClosed of the year and it’s a #CaseClosed with a twist. Instead of including a book of the month, today is the day I will reveal my top ten books of the year! (And, yes, I’m hoping many of you can’t count *looks sheepish*). As it’s going to be a chock full post today, instead of my usual witterings, I’m just going to crack straight on with what’s been happening on damppebbles during the month of December…
Not a lot is the answer!
Actually, that’s not true. It has been such a joy for me to host the #R3COMM3ND3D2017 feature since mid-November. And the good news is, we’re not done yet as I have posts scheduled until 13th January, ready for my second blogiversary on 14th January! December has been full to the brim of lovely book recommendations from some incredible authors and the very best in book bloggers. I feel quite humbled that so many incredible people wanted to take part, so THANK YOU. #R3COMM3ND3D will return in 2018 but this time I am going to limit the number of places to 57 (one a day starting 1st November, running through to 30th December but excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day). The form is already up and raring to go (although it *may* be a touch early to start filling it in now 😉). My heartfelt thanks to these lovely people for taking part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017 throughout December:
Sarah Hardy of By The Letter Book Reviews | Jackie Baldwin author of Dead Man’s Prayer | Cleo Bannister of Cleopatra Loves Books | Jen Lucas of Jen Med’s Book Reviews | Paul Cheney of Halfman, Halfbook | Tina of the TripFiction Team | Emma Mitchell of Emma the Little Bookworm | Lynne LeGrow of Fictionophile | Jessica Page Johnson of Jessica’s Reading Room | Cathy Ryan of Between the Lines | Chantelle Atkins author of The Tree of Rebels | Milana Madzarac of acouplereads | Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers | Melisa Broadbent of Broadbean’s Books | Rachel Sargeant author of The Perfect Neighbours | Helen of baattyaboutbooks | Ross Greenwood author of Fifty Years of Fear | Eva M. of Novel Deelights | Juliet Butler of Bookliterati | Kate Noble of The Quiet Knitter | Jo Robertson of My Chestnut Reading Tree | Tracie Delaney author of the Winning Ace series | Anne Williams of Being Anne… | Emma Littlefield of One Reader’s Thoughts | Karen Cole of Hair Past A Freckle | Rachel Broughton of Rae Reads | Nicki Maguire of Secret Library Blog |
Despite having NO blog tours in December, I did manage to squeeze a few extra posts in here and there (and they were mostly book reviews which makes me feel a little better about my lack of reading this month!):
All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker | One GLORIOUS Louise Jensen Post (a repost of my reviews) | The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell | Ragdoll by Daniel Cole | Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney |
All awesome books and all highly recommended.
So……I can’t wait any longer. I have to share my top ten list of the year with you otherwise, I may burst or spontaneously combust or something like that (ugh). In no particular order, these beautiful creatures made my reading year. Look at their gorgeousness….
The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett (pub. Bantam Press)
“Sometimes you read a book and everything about it just feels right. That’s how I felt about The Restless Dead. I couldn’t put this one down and when I was away from the book I was thinking it through, trying to connect the threads of the story.”
The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell (pub. Orion Books)
“Would I recommend this book? Oh my goodness, I will go on about this book for YEARS to come. It’s hypnotic and so beautifully dark. I was enchanted and disgusted in equal measure, it’s absolutely everything I want in a book. I am traumatised but I LOVED it. I could not put this book down, nor did I want to. Easily one of my books of the year (one for the books of all time list..?). I was left heartbroken that it was over. Absolute literary perfection!”
Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb (pub. Orenda Books)
“Oh Lori Anderson, how I want to be you! Ex-pole dancer turned bounty hunter Lori is the most likeable, most believable heroine I’ve met in a book in a long time. She fights, she shoots, she beats herself up on a regular basis for not being a good enough mum to her daughter. This woman carries a taser around with her for goodness sake, and she’s not afraid to use it. Forget your Wonder Woman. Forget your SuperGirl. I want to be Lori.”
Follow You by Richard Parker (pub. Bookouture)
“It had a lot to live up and it and it surpassed my expectations! This is exactly the style of book that I devour. It has the feel of a horror film in the making (not that I actually watch horror films….ever!), it doesn’t hold back on the detail (some gory) and the reader rarely has a moment to draw breath before the next heart-stopping moment. I absolutely loved it.”
Final Girls by Riley Sager (pub. Ebury Publishing)
“Would I recommend this book? Most definitely. It’s a new favourite and one I will be driving everyone around me crazy with! I’m so excited that this book exists – it’s perfect and I want everyone to read it so you can all see how awesome it is as well. Brilliantly addictive, deliciously dark and everything I want in a book! Superb.”
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (pub. Orenda Books)
“I felt truly scared at points and heartily commend Matt Wesolowski for his use of tension. The plot doesn’t really slow at any point and keeps you teetering on the edge. I couldn’t get enough of this book and I can guarantee that I will read it again in the future (one of those rare books that gets a second read!). Well, that’s if I can forget about Nanna Wrack in the meantime. Creepiness at it’s very best!”
The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (pub. Michael Joseph Books)
“Would I recommend this book? Daft question really. I loved this book and can see it featuring on my top books of 2017 list. It made me nervous, it confronted my worst fears, it was everything I didn’t expect it to be! So very well written. Zoo will stay with me for a long, long time to come. What an experience!”
A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood (pub. Killer Reads)
“One of the many things I loved about a A Room Full of Killers is that it’s set in Starling House, a young offenders prison. Meaning the majority of the characters are evil, vindictive killers (the type I love to read about!). Each of the young men gets to tell their story and the reason they have ended up imprisoned. I loved these chapters. They’re so well written and despite being relatively short summaries, they tell you everything you need to know about the killers. Building a clear picture of the evil, sadistic children stuck behind the walls of Starling House.”
The Surrogate by Louise Jensen (pub. Bookouture)
“There are so many surprises in The Surrogate that I became dizzy with joy while reading. You think you know what’s going on, where the story will lead you but in reality, you know nothing! Jensen has created a wonderfully intricate web of lies and half-truths with bucketfuls of creeping paranoia. I loved it! (I may have said that already…)”
A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward (pub. Faber & Faber)
“Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. It can be read as a stand alone so don’t worry if you haven’t read the first two books in the series (although if you get the chance, then do!). I love DC Connie Childs. I particularly like her when she’s breaking the rules and undertaking an investigation in her own time, which she *may* end up doing in A Patient Fury. Honestly, my favourite crime series out there at the moment and I urge you to get yourself a copy of A Patient Fury. You won’t regret it. Sheer brilliance.”
Exquisite by Sarah Stovell (pub. Orenda Books)
“If you buy only one book this week, this month, this year…make it this one. Sarah Stovell has created a magnificent and perfectly crafted piece of fiction which sucked me in, chewed me up and spat me out. And I LOVED it. Regular readers may be aware that I’m not the fastest reader in the blogosphere but this book, I couldn’t put down. I started reading at 4pm on the Sunday and was finished by 9am on the Monday – I absolutely drank it in and I’m desperate for more.”
Hope to Die by David Jackson (pub. Bonnier Zaffre)
“I absolutely loved it. One of my favourite reads of the year. It may be that the murders have a religious connotation, which has always appealed to me. It may be the subtle humour Jackson writes into his character’s narrative or it may just be that it’s an absolutely stonking crime thriller series that I insist you check out.”
So there you have it, my ten (please don’t count them) books of the year. What do you think? Did you also love any of my choices? Did any of my top ten not quite work the same way for you? I’d love to know.
Oh, and when I said the list wasn’t in any kind of order I was telling the truth. However, I should add my absolute favourite book of the year is FINAL GIRLS, closely followed by THE WRONG CHILD.
Interestingly, neither of these reviews feature in my most read posts of 2017. Here are my three most-read posts this year:
The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel | The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell | Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson |
And finally, before I bid you farewell until next year, a few blogging resolutions I wanted to share (seeing as we all know how good I am at sticking to them!):
📚 I have been shockingly bad at the admin side of my blog this year. My inbox is overflowing and I’m sitting in the corner gently burbling to myself and ignoring the gentle, rhythmic pings. This is not to the be the case in 2018. If you’ve emailed me and I haven’t replied then I am truly sorry. I’m terrible at admin (which is a surprise seeing as I’ve been an administrator most of my working life!). My plan is to delete (yes, you read that correctly, delete) everything in the inbox this afternoon and start afresh. If you want to contact me make sure you email me after midnight tonight! I’m going to start scheduling admin time into my day to make sure I can stay on top of my new, sparkly clean inbox.
📚 The same applies to moving reviews across from the blog to Amazon and Goodreads. This will also be covered in ‘admin time’.
📚 I haven’t been replying to your lovely comments on my posts and again, I am very sorry (maybe I should give up now. The good news is that I am able to read so I guess I do still have something going for me!). More attention will be paid to my gorgeous fellow bloggers in the New Year.
📚 I now realise that I can’t share all the #booklove to Twitter, despite still wanting to. I’m waaaaaaaay behind on my sharing at the moment so instead of fretting over it I’m going to be brutal once again and hit the delete button on the older emails (I’m so sorry). Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up from now on with my scheduled ‘admin time’ (it covers many things, believe me!).
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, advice and input this year. The happiest of New Years to you all my lovelies, let’s make 2018 sparkle…and full of books, obviously. There have to be books, otherwise, I’m not playing 😂😂.
Make sure you join me again tomorrow when I will be welcoming the very lovely Joy Kluver to damppebbles with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads. Happy New Year!