My Musings

My Top Five Books for the first part of 2018. #bookbloggers #bookblogger #bookreview #bookreviews #bloggers #books #blogger


I thought that today I would show some book love and share with you all My Top Five Books for the first part of 2018.

There’s a couple of sequels that I have read (they are actually sequels to books that feature on my Top Ten Books of 2017 post) that I could have included in the list but as you would have to read the first book before reading the sequel (and for that purpose) I chose not to include them in this particular list (though I am sure…..very very sure that they will be in my Top Ten Books of 2018 post should I still be blogging then).

Anyhow, in no particular order My Top Five Books for the first part of 2018 are:

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.


‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

Review snippet:

It’s a testament to the high-quality skill of Turton as a writer that he is able to keep abreast of all the various plot threads that he creates throughout the eight days and the various rich and well-developed eclectic mix of characters that inhabit Blackheath and bring his story to life. There are layers upon layers of this clever mystery and secrets galore to be found at the estate of Blackheath and it really is a multi-layered and elaborate story that Turton tells.

This is one of those books that you need to read and experience first-hand to get a grasp of how truly brilliant it is. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a work of art, cleverly plotted, intricately woven, absorbing and ingenious.

Books like Seven Deaths are what reading was made for, it grabs you, doesn’t let go and it is the book equivalent of Bobby Roode and AJ Styles (if you know who they are then I offer you the highest of fives ✋if not, they are WWE wrestlers). Both glorious and phenomenal.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is one of the best books I have ever read.

You can find my full review for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle !!HERE!!

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft.


The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engines, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.

Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he’ll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassination, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure. 

This quiet man of letters must become a man of action. 

Review snippet:

Senlin Ascends has elements of steampunk-infused with the fantasy and the Tower of Babel is a tremendously ingenious creation. The Tower itself reaches into the sky and is comprised of various ringdoms (levels). They are called ringdoms as each different level is akin to a separate kingdom offering its own unique setting. We only get to see a few of the ringdoms during Senlin Ascends but as a destination for the story, each is wonderfully realised by Bancroft, distinct and all offer Senlin completely different experiences and challenges that he must overcome.

I really liked the writing style employed by Bancroft. He writes with a poetic styling that captivates luring you into his tale from the start. Likewise, Senlin himself with his unassuming demeanour is from the get-go a character that you get behind and root for.

Bancroft has an extraordinary imagination and with Senlin Ascends he has created an enchanting read with an ending that offers up an array of incredible possibilities for the sequel which I can’t wait to read!

If I had to describe Senlin Ascends in only one word that word would be: exceptional.

You can find my full review for Senlin Ascends !!HERE!!

The Chalk Man by C. J Tudor.


In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Review snippet:

Tudor has a suspenseful style of storytelling that is laced with the occasional usage of dark humour and she manages to constantly pique your interest. Regardless of which timeline you have just read you’ll find a sentence or snippet at the end of each chapter that implies that there is more to something that’s previously been revealed or alludes to something yet to come. It’s a fantastic approach by Tudor that is well executed, hooks you and serves to keep you eager to find out what happens next always leaving you wanting to find out a little bit more about the story.

Oh boy, what an ending! Tudor ties things up nicely whilst simultaneously leaving you enough for you to use your imagination and come to your own conclusions but damn! It’s a chilling final chapter that will stay with you for days afterwards and you are not expecting THAT!

The Chalk Man is the debut book from C. J. Tudor and what a debut it is! I absolutely loved every moment I spent reading The Chalk Man and found it to be fully deserving of the praise and plaudits that it has been garnering! If you are a fan of the mystery or thriller genre then it’s a must-read. Exceptional and addictive!

You can find my full review for The Chalk Man !!HERE!!

A Time of Dread (Of Blood and Bone #1) by John Gwynne.


The Ben-Elim, a fierce race of warrior-angels, burst into the Banished Lands over a hundred and thirty years ago. They were in pursuit of their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim demon-horde. On that day a great battle was fought, the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim joined by allies from the races of both men and giants, and a great victory was won.

Now much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim, who have made this world their home, extending their influence and power as they swallow ancient kingdoms into the protective grasp of their ever-extending borders. But peace is fragile within the realm and the Kadoshim that remain are now amassing on the edges of the empire….

Threats long in the shadows are about to strike.

Review snippet:

Gwynne does a great job of ramping up the tension throughout A Time of Dread building to an awe-inspiring finale. I didn’t want the book to finish! Gwynne is a masterful storyteller whose range of abilities are on full display within the pages of A Time of Dread. He excels at immersing you in his work. His pacing is excellent and he writes endings that somehow manage to end the book at the perfect moment leaving you with a sense of absolute joy at having just finished a superb read whilst also leaving you wanting more and eager to find out what happens next.

If you’ve read The Faithful and the Fallen series and are already an established Gwynne fan then it goes without saying that you need to read A Time of Dread. And, if you call yourself a fantasy fan and you haven’t yet read Gwynne then you need to rectify that situation sooner rather than later as for me, A Time of Dread is the perfect example of everything that is right with modern fantasy and is sure to gain Gwynne a legion of new fans.

As a reader, I find myself in awe of Gwynne’s ability to transport me into his work, he is a master of his craft and A Time of Dread finds him firmly at the top of his game.

You can find my full review for A Time of Dread !!HERE!!

The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands #1) by Jonathan French.


Jackal is proud to be a Grey Bastard, member of a sworn brotherhood of half-orcs. Unloved and unwanted in civilized society, the Bastards eke out a hard life in the desolate no-man’s-land called the Lots, protecting frail and noble human civilization from invading bands of vicious full-blooded orcs.

But as Jackal is soon to learn, his pride may be misplaced. Because a dark secret lies at the heart of the Bastards’ existence – one that reveals a horrifying truth behind humanity’s tenuous peace with the orcs, and exposes a grave danger on the horizon.

On the heels of the ultimate betrayal, Jackal must scramble to stop a devastating invasion – even as he wonders where his true loyalties lie.

Review snippet:

There is copious amounts of visceral action, emotion (surprisingly, there are a few moments that creep up on and sucker punch you right in the feels), humour, magic, a gritty and harsh well realised world with stellar world building, a surprisingly deep and layered story with plenty of twists and turns, strong storytelling and complex characterisation all to be found within the pages of The Grey Bastards.

The pacing in The Grey Bastards is unremitting throughout and when you hit the final stretch, around the last 80 (or so) pages business really picks up. It is certainly what you would call a ‘fast-paced read‘ but the quality of both the storytelling and the writing doesn’t waver throughout and it’s never overly fast or rushed.

The Grey Bastards is bold, brash and crude and filled with excitement, heart and feeling. It is riotous and rowdy oozing more machismo than Razor Ramon in his heyday and it will give you a shit ton of fun for your buck! You will find yourself balls deep in The Grey Bastards and be loving it!

You can find my full review for The Grey Bastards !!HERE!!

So there you have it my top five books of 2018 so far, read any?? Any take your fancy?? 

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I’ll also give a shout out to Ragdoll (Fawkes and Baxter #1) by Daniel Cole, it was released last year (so I didn’t put it on the list of 2018 releases obviously) and if any of you are yet to pick it up then it is a tremendous read!

Ragdoll (Fawkes and Baxter #1) by Daniel Cole.


A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

Review snippet:

Ragdoll is the debut book from Cole which I find hard to believe as it is such an accomplished read that I devoured, it is the equivalent of crack, a potent new strain of book crack that kept luring me back with its addictive qualities.

You can find my full review for Ragdoll !!HERE!!

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23 thoughts on “My Top Five Books for the first part of 2018. #bookbloggers #bookblogger #bookreview #bookreviews #bloggers #books #blogger

    1. Seven Deaths isn’t out until September in the US, never know, might get around to it. 😉

      Senlin is wonderful, so different and Gwynne is always quality. The Grey Bastards is amazing, I loved it but it won’t befor everyone with the language and the testosterone on display by the Orc’s possibly a marmite book for some, love it or hate it, for me, I loved it, then again I am a dirty foul-mouthed man-child! 😉


  1. I’m at 70% of Evelyn right now, and am mindblown 😮 I just read your review, kudos for keeping it without spoilers, but I went into it totally blind, all I knew was the title 😀 Like I woke up with Sebastian Bell in the woods, and all the time-loops, the host changes, etc were all huge wth moments for me, I’m glued to my kindle, pretty sure I’m getting fired soon 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always try and keep my reviews spoiler free.👍 Though, I’m not really sure how I’d write an in depth and spoilery analysis of this anyway if that was my style as it’s so complex and would confuse people, loop after loop, host swapping, repeated days.😱😂😝

      Damn, that last 30% is great, probably not worth getting fired for but it’s a close call on that!😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My copy of The Seven Deaths is on its way. I was about 2 seconds too late to grab a copy at Book Expo. I’m very exited about it as its one everyone seems to agree on. I also enjoyed The Chalk Man.

    Liked by 2 people

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