My top 10 books in 2018

I am in a pickle! I enjoyed so much writing 'My top 5 books in 2017' post last year that I thought I'd do that again. I didn't read a lot in 2017, though, and picking my top 5 books was a breeze.

If you've come across 'My 2018 in books' post last week, however, you know that I had a stellar 2018 when it comes to reading. There is no way I can do a Top 5 list. I tried. I failed. I refuse to try again. As I don't think anybody would survive a 'My top 70 books in 2018' post, I have therefore settled for a Top 10 instead. Just as hard but more doable.

What I am NOT attempting is ranking these books in order of merit, enjoyment or any other classification. The numbers purely help me tidy up the page. In my heart, they are all in first place!

So here it goes… And please do let me know in the comments below or on Twitter whether you also have loved some or all of these!

1) The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
If you haven't experienced a book hangove…

In conversation with... Neil White

Hi Neil! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of The Darkness Around Her, the second book in the Dan Grant trilogy! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thank you very much, Silvia, and for the invitation to your blog.

For those who don’t know, Dan Grant is a defence lawyer in a small northern town, some forgotten place in the hills, who does what lawyers do: he defends the innocent. Or at least those he hopes are innocent. His investigator is Jayne Brett, a former client acquitted of a murder after her boyfriend was killed and she was holding the knife.

The Darkness Around Her had as its inspiration the rumours of a serial killer stalking the Manchester canals. The so-called “Pusher” who keeps on getting press attention.

What intrigued me about the canals, as the setting for a murder novel, was the peace of the water, the barges travelling at a crawl, grasses trailing along the surface, but someone can travel unseen, unmonitored. No cameras, no…

Book review: Help Me!

By Marianne Power
Published by Picador

Synopsis: Marianne Power was stuck in a rut. Then one day she wondered: could self-help books help her find the elusive perfect life?

She decided to test one book a month for a year, following their advice to the letter. What would happen if she followed the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Really felt The Power of Now? Could she unearth The Secret to making her dreams come true?

What begins as a clever experiment becomes an achingly poignant story. Because self-help can change your life – but not necessarily for the better…

How did this book end up in my hands? I saw this book mentioned on Twitter and it sounded intriguing so when I found the audiobook version on the BorrowBox app, I jumped right in.

Was it a page-turner? I took my time to listen to this book to make sure I absorbed whatever I could. I have never read self-help books so this was my way of letting someone else do all the work for me… hehe! I probably would have enjoyed more having …

My 2018 in books - according to Goodreads

Before January 2019 comes to an end, I thought I'd take a quick look back at my 2018 in books, with most of the graphics kindly provided by Goodreads.

To be honest, I don't know why I've never used this website before. Apparently I registered back in 2010 but I only started adding past books and keeping track of current reads this year. Do feel free to connect here as I love seeing at a glance what others are reading! Plus, the 'compare books' function is amazing!

Before I get too sidetracked, here's my 2018 in books:

I had set myself a reading target of 50 books and I was super pleased to reach a grand total of 76, which more than doubled my reading activity of previous years. I have been in the grip of the worst reading slump ever between 2011 and 2017 and I can't even think of all the books I've missed out on. Resuming my blog at the end of 2017 was the best decision ever as the bookish community has been a great motivator and support network.

More stats…

In conversation with... Tabatha Stirling

Hi Tabatha! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the upcoming publication of Bitter Leaves! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A:Bitter Leaves is a uncompromising examination of maid abuse in Singapore but one of the major themes is how women survive in very brutal circumstances – how that changes them and how it effects their relationships with other women.

Can you please describe your journey to publication?

A: Loooooooong.It wasn’t until I was properly medicated for my Bi-Polar that I was able to focus enough to complete my first novel.Writing has become much easier since then and my published body of work has grown. I first put up an extract of Bitter Leaves on the writing platform, Authonomy, and met many writers who are still very good friends.From there I subbed to 4 agents (1 polite dismissal, 2 interested but not publishing ‘this’ sort of fiction and the other one I never heard from again!).Then I saw a friend on Twitter had posted that Scott Pack from…

Book review: My Sister, The Serial Killer

By Oyinkan Braithwaite
Published by Atlantic

Synopsis: When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

How did this book end up in my hands? It didn’t. Well, not in a physical form anyway. I joined this book’s serialisation on The Pigeonhole and enjoyed both the narrative and the other readers’ comments.


New Year’s Book Resolutions - past and present

Happy 2019, everyone!

Do you ever feel the pressure of setting New Year’s Resolutions? And – more specifically – reading resolutions? I often do and last year I thought it would be a great idea to post them on my blog. You know, to add a touch of accountability.

If you’re curious, you can click here to find out what I was aiming to achieve in 2018. There is also a pretty picture of some of the books eagerly waiting their turn on my physical TBR pile.

Now, let’s fast-forward to 2019 and observe a moment of silence for the 10 ½ out of 12 bookish resolutions that didn’t make it.

2018 was a great reading year – and there will be more on this in a separate post – but it didn’t exactly go as planned. I did reach my reading goal of 52 books and I am pleased to report that I even surpassed it, having read 76 books by the end of the year. I also listened to more audiobooks, which I’m getting more and more drawn to. Everything else, however, fell by the wayside.

So this year I am limiting myself to …