My Musings

My Favourite Books of 2019 (so far). #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #Blogger #Bloggers #Books #Mustreads

favbooks

It is halfway through the year (doesn’t time fly) and I have seen a lot of ‘best/favourite books of the year so far‘ posts around on the blogs that I follow and so, I thought that I’d throw my hat into the mix with my own post too. A lot of these books might well end up on my ‘best books of the year‘ post but I might not be blogging by then and whether the books make that list or not will also depend on whether the list come the end of the year is ten or twenty books too.

Anyhow, it’s all about the book love and shouting about the books we’ve enjoyed. Year’s end is another six months away and so here are my favourite books of the year so far.👌📚

Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox.

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Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

Molly and Gene Myers were happy, until tragedy blighted their hopes of children. During the years of darkness and despair, they each put their marriage in jeopardy, but now they are starting to rebuild their fragile bond.

This is the year of Woodstock and the moon landings; war is raging in Vietnam and the superpowers are threatening each other with annihilation.

Then the Meteor crashes into Amber Grove, devastating the small New England town – and changing their lives forever. Molly, a nurse, caught up in the thick of the disaster, is given care of a desperately ill patient rescued from the wreckage: a sick boy with a remarkable appearance, an orphan who needs a mother.

And soon the whole world will be looking for him.

Cory’s arrival has changed everything. And the Myers will do anything to keep him safe.

Review snippet:

Our Child of the Stars isn’t fast-paced or action-packed, it’s not that type of story. It’s a slow burn until later in the book when Cox lights the touch paper and then, the pacing, the scope and in a sense, the action all pick-up. What Cox gives you with Our Child of the Stars is an emotional story that is filled with tension and one that has an underlying intensity to it. It is a quietly impactful enchanting story, a poignant portrait of a family life, a story that is threaded with hope, a story that highlights the ties that bind, the strength of those bonds and of those that have been bound together by fate and a story that asks, how far will you go to protect the ones you love?


The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor.

annie

Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

Review snippet:

The setting, Arnhill, which is as much an integral character as the human characters is a small village in Nottinghamshire that has seen better days. It is a village with a history where many misfortunes have occurred and it is a community on the decline since the colliery closed thirty years ago. The mine though rumoured to be haunted with tales of ghosts, ghouls and other things that dwell in the darkness, go bump in the night and inhabit the underground caves, shafts and mine tunnels was the beating heart of Arnhill and the jobs it provided the lifeblood. Without it, Arnhill is a harsh setting, it is a grim place that has seen better days and making a living there is hard. It is greyed out, leached of colour, a bleak and colourless monotone and it is like a movie star past their prime and fading into obscurity.

The Taking of Annie Thorne is chilling and compulsive in equal measure with something that prickles away, niggling at the back of your neck throughout its length. A sense of unease, a feeling of gathering dread, lurking in the background, creeping around, hiding in the shadows, a serpent ready to strike and the epilogue, well, the epilogue is fucking chilling. Like with the rest of the book, the horror is (mostly) understated but it is a nightmare’s nightmare and leaves you with a lingering sense of disquiet that ends The Taking of Annie Throne on an unsettling and unforgettable note.


Breakers by Doug Johnstone.

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Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

A toxic family … a fight for survival…

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation … unless he drags her down too.

Review snippet:

There are motes of colour in an otherwise grey existence for Tyler. You’ll be warmed by Bean who is such an endearing and strong child and some of the interaction between her and Tyler even as your heart breaks over their situation. Likewise, you’ll smile at Tyler and Flick, some of the comments shared between them and at Tyler’s awkwardness around her during the course of their budding friendship.

You know that come to the end of Breakers that in some way Holt will get his revenge for his wife, that is the story reaching its pinnacle, it’s inevitable, like night following day, you can’t escape it and the climax to Breakers is the ‘edge-of-the-seat‘ type of reading where you have to carry on reading to see where the cards finally fall. For me, however, at the forefront of Breakers is the Wallace family and I found Breakers to be a story about family, the drama and the lives of the Wallace’s. It is an uncompromising look at harsh family life, a family that has been consumed by alcohol and drug addiction, kin, the ties that bind, those that don’t and how they survive with an additional focus on the blossoming friendship between Tyler and Flick, two people from different worlds but inside, the same.


The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons.

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Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

When destiny calls, there’s no fighting back . . .

As a bard’s apprentice, Kihrin grew up with tales of legendary deeds. He also steals, desperate to buy a way out of Quur’s slums. Then he raids the wrong house, he’s marked by a demon and life will never be the same again.

Kihrin’s plight brings him to the attention of royalty, who claim him as the lost son of their immoral prince. But far from living the dream, Kihrin’s at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless ambitions. However, escaping his jewelled cage just makes matters worse. Kihrin is horrified to learn he’s at the centre of an ancient prophecy. And every side – from gods and demons to dragons and mages – want him as their pawn. Those old stories lied about many things too, especially the myth that the hero always wins.
Then again, maybe Kihrin isn’t the hero, for he’s not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.

Review snippet:

The Ruin of Kings features epic world-building and Lyons has crafted a world that is full of history and lore. Much of which we only get to glimpse the surface of but it is utterly fascinating and leaves you wanting to dig deeper and find out more. The locales in which the story takes place are well-realised and the world includes zombies, krakens, snake men (sadly none with the name of King Hiss), various cults, assassins, gods, goddesses, dead gods, magic, magical artefacts, mages, witches, demons, dragons, ghosts, the Morgage (who are a savage race with poisonous barbs adorning their arms) and various types of Vane who are an immortal race.

The Ruin of Kings is absolutely stunning, it is epic fantasy at its finest, like a tapestry it is hugely complex, intricately woven and lavishly detailed. It is a highly skilled debut from Lyons and it is a book that you need to concentrate on reading. If you do give The Ruin of Kings the attention that it requires (and fully deserves) then you are richly rewarded with what amounts to a highly immersive reading experience.


One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1) by Mark Lawrence.

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Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

Review snippet:

One Word Kill is like an ocean, there are hidden and unseen depths beneath the surface waiting to be discovered. It is something more than words, it is something deeper and it is a meaning that can be found through reading the book. Nick is a character that makes you care and One Word Kill a story about who you are as a person, how you act on the chances and choices that you are given, how you face what life throws at you and how you deal with adversity.

Words have a power to them, put them together you form sentences, paragraphs, pages and a story. In the right hands that power can multiply and resonate, Lawrence is the right hands and One Word Kill has that power.


The Girl Who Could Move Sh#t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford.

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Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

Teagan Frost is having a hard time keeping it together. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers – a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once.

But then a body turns up at the site of her last job – murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name – and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding . . .

Review snippet:

The story is a wild ride and the pages go by in a blur, it is fast-paced, full of heart, deep in places, has some surprises along the way, twists and turns and includes a lot of action and a whole lot of random stuff flying through the air. The writing by Ford easily flows, pops, sizzles, includes a few pop culture references and is brimming with humour and emotion.

The Girl Who Can Move Sh#t With Her Mind is like a shot of adrenaline to the system and I fucking loved it. Luckily, it is the first book in a series and I’m really pleased to know that there will be more books featuring Teagan, her team and that will be filled with technicolour mayhem and crazy stories.


The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy #1) by Gareth Hanrahan.

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Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

The city of Guerdon stands eternal. A refuge from the war that rages beyond its borders. But in the ancient tunnels deep beneath its streets, a malevolent power has begun to stir.

The fate of the city rests in the hands of three thieves. They alone stand against the coming darkness. As conspiracies unfold and secrets are revealed, their friendship will be tested to the limit. If they fail, all will be lost and the streets of Guerdon will run with blood.

Review snippet:

The world-building and Hanrahan’s creations are both brilliant. When I read Blackwing by Ed McDonald back in 2017 I remember being creeped out and disturbed by his nightmarish creations of Darlings, Drudge and Gillings and in awe at his imagination. I had that same feeling of being creeped out and disturbed and the feeling of awe at the imagination on display when reading about the Tallowmnen, Ravellers and Crawling Ones that Hanrahan has created and included in The Gutter Prayer.

The Gutter Prayer is a cauldron of creativity. It is batshit crazy, it is brilliant, it is demented and it is all fused together with grim goodness.


A Boy and His Dog at the end of the world by C. A. Fletcher.

boydog

Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

My name’s Griz. I’ve never been to school, I’ve never had friends, in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football. My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, before all the people went away, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs.

Then the thief came.

He told stories of the deserted towns and cities beyond our horizons. I liked him – until I woke to find he had stolen my dog. So I chased him out into the ruins of the world.

I just want to get my dog back, but I found more than I ever imagined was possible. More about how the world ended. More about what my family’s real story is. More about what really matters.

Review snippet:

These words that I write don’t do justice to A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World but they are all that I have and they are the best that I can muster. Fletcher and Orbit have an absolute winner on their hands with this evocative and powerful book. After I finished reading it I was left tattered and torn, like a doll coming apart at the seams, it is a book that left me bereft, it is a book that broke me and it is brilliant.

Dogs are a faithful companion, loyal to the end, they are devoted to their owner and their owner is, in turn, devoted to them. A bond between an owner and their dog is a bond that cannot be broken. Griz personifies that sentiment as he journeys out into the world after his lost dog. A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World shows that bond in all its glory, the bond between companions, between family, between friends, that bond of something more.

Griz’s story is a story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page. It is a story that is full of heart, that reaches out and grabs you, reaching you on a primal level. You are not just a person reading a story in a book, you are a person feeling that story, living the book.


A Book of Bones (A Charlie Parker Thriller: 17) by John Connolly.

bones

Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

He is our best hope.

He is our last hope.

On a lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.

Each is a sacrifice, a summons.

And something in the shadows has heard the call.

But another is coming: Parker the hunter, the avenger. Parker’s mission takes him from Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border; from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London – he will track those who would cast this world into darkness.

Parker fears no evil.

But evil fears him . . .

Review snippet:

Connolly is the puppet master as he pulls the strings and leads his cast of characters on the macabre merry-go-round that is his masterfully crafted and totally absorbing opus A Book of Bones. At times, the supernatural is understated, at others, it is brought to the forefront of the story. Regardless, it always feels right, fits with the story that is being told and never seems out of place. It blends together with the natural, feels organic, two sides of a coin, different but together forming a whole.

The story has many twists and turns and goes down some dark and stormy roads, it is never overly visceral, leaning towards the more cerebral but there are some gruesome scenes depicted throughout. There is a darkness to the story, one that runs throughout the pages, an ominous feeling throughout, malevolent forces, harbingers, portents of things to come, forces beyond our comprehension, an evil lurking, sleeping, biding its time, voices whispering of what once was and of what will be again.

A Book of Bones is a book to be consumed, to lose yourself in, to immerse yourself with and a book that I could have read forever. There is something mesmerising about both the story and the way that Connolly writes and even at 700 pages, it wasn’t long enough for me, it was over far too soon and I wish that it hadn’t ended.


Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech.

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Link to my full review – !!HERE!!

Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

Review snippet:

With Call Me Star Girl Beech has created a captivating and chilling story. It is a story that will thaw the ice in the veins, that will thaw the coldest of frozen hearts, a dark story but it is a darkness that is infused with heart. There is a beauty to the way that Beech writes, a beauty that is found within the darkness and one that contains an emotional undercurrent. Her words ebb and flow, waxing and waning like a candle flame, flickering, caught in a breeze. There’s something evocative and poetic about both her writing and her way with words. Something alluring, something hypnotic, casting you under her spell, charming you, drawing you in, grabbing you and ultimately pulling you under before allowing you to resurface changed at the end of the book.

There are many layers to the story in Call Me Star Girl, many emotions too, that fall, that cascade like rain, pulling you one way and then another, twisting and turning with the story.

Call Me Star Girl isn’t just a story about secrets, neither is it just a story about uncovering a killer. It’s a story about bonds, about family, about the ties that bind, that are severed, that are reconnected. It’s a story about abandonment, about desire, about love, about loss, about those who are most important to you and it is a story about the relationship between a daughter and her mother.


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50 thoughts on “My Favourite Books of 2019 (so far). #BookBlogger #BookBloggers #Blogger #Bloggers #Books #Mustreads

  1. Great list and glad to see John Connolly here as he is my favourite author. Still haven’t read A Book of Bones as I’m trying to practice some delayed gratification haha. Really enjoyed Boy and His Dog and One Word Kill too. I also have Child In Our Stars and Taking of Annie Thorne on my TBR!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Really want to do one of these best books so far posts but every time I sit down to do it I feel overwhelmed by all the brilliant books I’ve read, and can’t think how to start picking…. this is a great post with some fab-sounding books! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great list Drew! I’m particularly interested in One Word Kill, The Girl Who Could Move Sh#t With Her Mind, and A Boy and His Dog at the end of the world! I read my first Mark Lawrence book last week (Red Sister) and LOVED it! I am definitely looking forward to finishing the Book of the Ancestor series and his other works.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Haven’t heard of any of these books! I don’t have enough time or eyes for reading all the cool books my fellow book bloggers discover. So thankful for round-up posts like this that keep me attune to all the cool books I’m missing! “The Girl Who Could Move Sh#t with Her Mind” really sounds like something I should check out soon. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How many posts did I miss this week?! Sheesh. Great picks. Our Child of the Stars sounds really interesting, I haven’t seen that one before.

    Also- I feel like the only human on the planet who disliked The Gutter Prayer. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Three more for my tbr. Thanks. The can’t deal with all these great sounding books, does my head right in.
    (The girl who could move shit, the taking of Annie Thorne and the John Connelly has one) my poor tbr 😩 Great post 😁👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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