It is a little insane that we are here again already. But the end of another reading year approaches and as I always do at this time I’ve picked a Top Ten for the year. This is my reading year not necessary the publishing calendar so you may have to wait for some of these should you be encouraged to read them – but all are books I’ve read and reviewed this year.
It was an extremely difficult one. My Best of the Rest post earlier this week encompassed 30 books that could easily be Top Ten. Since I locked this list down I’ve read several that are in the running for next year, every time I struggle with what goes in what stays out. But in the end I go for a mixture of the books that I have completely and utterly adored during 2017 and my No 1 is the one that made me go wow the most times before I finally put it away.
Before we get to that that though I’m giving a shout out to 5 books that in a lesser reading year would quite definitively be in this top ten and I can’t end the year without mentioning them. Louise Beech’s beautiful family drama “Maria in the Moon” made me weepy and I HATE (love) being weepy over a book. Mike Carey’s “The Boy on the Bridge” had such beautiful writing for such a very dark tale and took me back to the world of The Girl with All the Gifts (A top ten book in it’s year). Rachel Rhys (or Tammy Cohen as she is also known) wrote the book that stole a weekend of my life with “A Dangerous Crossing”. Then we have Michael Malone and his BRILLIANT gothic psychological thriller “House of Spines” and last but by no means least the work of utter utter genius that is “Gnomon” by Nick Harkaway. Great books all and all offering something a little different.
So with that slightly guilty feeling of having left so many wonderful books out, here are my Top Ten for the year for your reading consideration…
Khurrum Rahman’s East Of Hounslow was a purely brilliant read that crept up on you with that brilliance, telling the story of Jay, drug dealer but randomly good guy as he gets caught up in an attempt to bring down extremists and struggles to asses the world around him. It is both witty and hugely thought provoking, with an ending that will resonate and the authors ability to draw deep, divisive and cleverly layered relationships between his characters is second to none. I genuinely cannot wait to see more from this author. You can READ MY REVIEW and/or Purchase East Of Hounslow by clicking the links.
Sylvain Neuvel’s follow up to Sleeping Giants was a huge hit with me this year, not least because he absolutely BROKE MY HEART with one particular plot twist and I still haven’t forgiven him. That aside though, Waking Gods is a dream of a read, fast, funny, incredibly imaginative and it has robots. I mean what more could you POSSIBLY want? You can read my review and purchase Waking Gods HERE.
The Woman in the Window is a book I read really early but it is due out soon and comes HIGHLY recommended from me. An ode to Hitchcock with beautifully immersive writing, an engaging main protagonist and a voyeuristic twist that really resonates, The Woman in the Window was another book that I devoured in short order this year and one of those I wish I hadn’t read yet so I could read it again for the first time. You can read my review and purchase The Woman in The Window here.
I was introduced to the writing of Jamie Sawyer this year with the start of a new series – The Eternity War: Pariah was utterly gripping, excellent world building and a thrill ride of a plot with some divisive and brilliantly drawn characters. At the end I was hanging off the edge of my seat and I’m telling you I’m going to be going after that Nazia for the next book in the series with the passion of the newly converted. You can read my review and purchase The Eternity War: Pariah here.
Poor Evelyn Hardcastle gets both 7 and 71/2 deaths depending on where you are reading it but either way the poor girl is NOT having the best day. Plus it’s like Groundhog Day on acid so she’s not getting out anytime soon. Stuart Turton’s speculative and extraordinarily clever novel is out next year and although I have not yet given it a full review yet, it HAD to be in my Top Ten simply because it’s a work of genius that you should all immediately put on pre-order. Or something. Just don’t ask me how the author managed to keep it straight and ultimately work, this is a puzzle piece that will grip you from the very first page. A teaser review here or purchase The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle HERE.
As soon as I put “The Feed” down I KNEW it was going to be in my Top Ten. A speculative post apocalyptic joy to read, you will I promise NEED THE FEED next year when you can get your hands on this. I adored it, it was ludicrously addictive and brilliantly paced – you’ll be breathless and possibly slightly emotional by the end of it. You can read my review and purchase The Feed here.
Cold Desert Sky is a book I read so early that there is not even a definitive cover for it yet and you can’t read my review because I haven’t written one – but having obtained Rod’s permission to include it in my Top Ten nonetheless here it is. In a year of brilliant reading, this was dazzling – as I’ve come to expect – the 3rd Charlie Yates novel and by far the best one yet, with mobsters and missing girls and Las Vegas you’ll be hook line and sinkered. Absolutely I’m very pleased to be able to put it well onto the reading radar here and sometime next year (I want to say July but don’t quote me) you should dive into this one and live in the 40’s for a while. God knows we all need a little escape from the modern world right now. You can purchase Cold Desert Sky here.
Dark Pines has definitely earned its place here -I loved this book, atmospheric, beautifully drawn characters, a setting to die for (literally for some) and another book I devoured in short order, drawn into the life of main protagonist Tuva and the world she lives in. Clever and entirely addictive Dark Pines is simply an amazing debut and you should all give it a go. You can read my review and purchase Dark Pines here.
Anatomy of a Scandal was NEARLY my No 1 this year but got usurped by my actual No 1 – still Sarah Vaughan’s debut is one of the best crime novels I’ve read this year – beautifully written, socially relevant and absolutely gripping, I don’t even know what words to say to make sure you pick this one up. A genuinely talented writer telling a deeply disturbing yet hugely realistic story I’m going to be fully reviewing this one upon publication. A teaser is here and you can purchase Anatomy of a Scandal here.
So that is 10-2 then so what did make it into the No 1 spot this year? Well I’m about to answer that question and the very MINUTE I put this novel down after holding onto it for ages not wanting to let it go, I knew that it would be in my No 1 spot.
Eva Dolan’s “This Is How It Ends” was simply an incredible piece of writing, not only in style but in substance – It is almost impossible to describe how much this one struck me, not only was the plotting absolutely cleverly divine and a work of pure genius but the characters literally come alive on the page. Not conventionally told, but all the more gripping for it, this book above all the others this year made me go Wow. Then made me go wow again. Then a few days later when I thought back on it made me go Wow AGAIN. Honestly deserving of my top slot this year this is Eva showing us what she’s truly made of. I cannot WAIT to see what she does next. You can read my review and purchase This Is How It Ends here.
That is IT for another year then. My word what a reading year it has been and next year is shaping up beautifully.
Great books next year including the best Marnie Rome yet from Sarah Hilary and of course Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold which I devoured recently and I can tell you it’s going to be the biggest hit of the Red Rising saga yet – plus many I probably don’t even know about yet, I can’t wait.
Hope you’ve found something here to love and have a great end of 2017 and a thrilling 2018.
So this IS how it ends….