Friday, December 21, 2018

My Favorite Reads of 2018

I'm not going to apologize for my long list of favorites.  It could well have been longer, but at some point I grabbed control of myself.  It seems like every book I read touches me in some way, and it's a rare read indeed that I don't enjoy.  So, I could list all the books I've read this year and, with maybe one or two exceptions, talk about how each one had something in it that called to me.  With much restraint, I have instead listed the following books published in 2018 that thrilled my reading heart.  An additional few words of explanation.  If you click on the Reading Room Review link under the cover picture for each book, you can read my entire review for that book.  I have included two short reviews for the two last books.  The order of the books is mostly chronological, from January through December, but I may have missed a beat on that.  There are cover pictures for three books for which I'm currently writing reviews, but they aren't ready yet, and I want to publish my favorites today in case anyone is still looking for some great reads to buy for Christmas.  And, there is one book that was published in the UK in November, but it won't be out until next March in the states.  However, as The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths was one of the most amazing books I read this year, I have to include it, too.  I hope you enjoy revisiting my reviews for these books that have made 2018 a spectacular reading year for me.



Last Spring I broke my hand, and it was difficult to type for a short bit.  This condition resulted in a different type of review for a couple of books, a shorter, but just as heartfelt review.  Two of my favorite books fell under these shorter reviews, The Broken Girls by Simone St. James and Scot Free by Catriona McPherson.  So, I've decided to include the entire short reviews for all these books in their entirety with their cover pictures.

Scot Free is the first in Catriona McPherson's new Last Ditch Mysteries (because writing two to three books a year isn't enough for this Scottish madcap author)--marriage and moving from Scotland to America isn't what Lexy Campbell had hoped it would be, major understatement--finding herself stuck in California, divorced and using her ex-husband's credit card without his knowledge to stay afloat in a run-down hotel and her marriage consulting practice with a dead client doesn't defeat Lexy--this is, as the cover of the book says, "the lighter side of the dark underbelly of the California dream--Mrs. Bombarro, the other half of Lexy's couple who has the dead person, is suspected by the police of killing her husband and is the reason Lexy missed her flight and is still in California--Lexy is determined to prove Mrs. Bombarro innocent--needing a cheap place to stay, Lexy moves into the Last Ditch Motel and finds you really can find friends in low places--the cast of characters is one of the most entertaining a reader could wish for--laugh out loud is not an overused phrase for this book, it is what you will do from the first page to the last--I am entirely smitten by this new series.



Simone St. James has given us some great novels with a touch of the ghost, and The Broken Girls may be the most deliciously creepy yet--story is set in two different time periods, 1950 and 2014 in a small town in Vermont--Idlewild Hall, a girls' boarding school in the 50s sits empty and decaying in 2014, but it figures prominently in both time periods--resident ghost Mary Hand has been a feared presence on the school grounds since its beginning--four girls become close friends and allies in the school for wayward/unwanted girls in 1950, but one of them will go missing on a cold December evening--Fiona Sheridan, a freelance journalist in 2014 can't let go of her sister Deborah's murder twenty years ago and the field at Idlewild where her sister's body was found haunts Fiona--after thirty years of lying in disuse, Idlewild Hall is bought by a new investor who has plans to reopen the school, and Fiona feels drawn to cover the story of its restoration--Fiona still has questions about her sister's death and covering the story gives her access to the grounds--complicating the plot further is Fiona's boyfriend is a local policeman and his father, police chief at the time, investigated Deborah's death--a discovery on Idlewild's property during renovations will be the impetus to change everything--great melding of different timelines and connecting the dots--a mystery and and a thriller and a book to keep you up and keep you reading to the haunted end.

The Stranger Diaries out in the UK in 2018, but not in the States until 2019:

The Three Books for Which Christmas Craziness Has Interfered with My Finishing Their Reviews:

Sunday, December 2, 2018

December New Releases: Because You Still Read Even When You're Busy

December.  Wow!  That got here fast, again.  While trying to catch up on all the 2018 titles from the year before 2019 begins, here are a few more that you might want to add to your year-end reading.

December 2018 Titles:

The One That Got Away by Joe Clifford (Dec. 3rd)

Murder at the Mill: A Mystery (The Iris Grey Mysteries) by M.B. Shaw (Dec. 4th)

For the Sake of the Game: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon, Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie Klinger (Dec. 4th)

The Mansion: A Novel by Ezekiel Boone (Dec. 4th)

Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield (Dec. 4th)

Bryant and May: Hall of Mirrors: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery #15 by Christopher Fowler (Dec. 4th)

Broken Ground (Karen Pirie #5) by Val McDermid (Dec. 5th)

A Baker Street Wedding: A Baker Street Mystery by Michael Robertson (Dec. 11th)

Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day (Dec. 18th)

Fear No Truth (Faith McClellan #1) by LynDee Walker (Dec. 18th)  

The Frangipani Tree by Ovidia Yu  (paperback, e-book already out)  (Dec. 18th)

Liar's Paradox (Jack and Jill #1) by Taylor Stevens (Dec. 18th)

Watching You by Lisa Jewell (Dec. 26th)