10 Favourite Books Read in 2018
01. The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Synopsis: Isabella Riosse is the daughter of a cartographer who lives on the island of Joya: an isle both steeped in mythology and shrouded in mystery. For the last thirty years, a strict Governor has forbidden the island inhabitants from venturing beyond their small township.
Isabella is fascinated with the ancient myths of Joya, which is said to have once floated freely over the seas. Preoccupied with the ideas of exploration and inspired by the far-flung places her father once documented, she yearns for adventure. When her best friend Lupe runs away, disappearing into the forbidden forest, Isabella volunteers to bring her back. With only her knowledge of ancient myths and one of her father’s maps to guide her, Isabella ventures into the perilous world beyond, where monsters lurk and magical rivers run.
H – I found this book to be so captivating that it had stolen my heart within the first couple of pages. It is beautifully written and a tale of the important of friendship and family. The adventure runs deep and takes you on many twists and turns that’ll have you on the edge of your seat. Isabella is a compelling character and you’ll find yourself wanting to see her through her adventure.
02. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Synopsis: Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School of the Magically Inclined. Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’d bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined – animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner – a practitioner of dark, flesh magic – invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart – and reveal the very soul of the man.
H – When I started reading this, I didn’t realise what an impact it would make on me, nor that it would worm its way into my heart. The Paper Magician is a compelling tale of disappointment, comfort, connection, love and loss. I didn’t know it was the first in a series, of course I had to buy the second and third book when I realised. Ceony was not easy to love, at first I resented the character but I grew to love her ad the pages turned and I learnt about her character. The dialogue between Ceony and Thane warms my heart and I thought this book to be truly unique in its plot.
03. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spend most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone in her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen, by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world from her grandmother’s stories. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began.
H – I read this book while in hospital awaiting surgery. It was just the book I needed to allow me to escape what surgery I was about to have. One moment I was in the boringly dull hospital ward and the next moment I had been transported into a vibrantly coloured world of intrigue and mistrust. I thought this book was fantastic. It sucked me into a world of fairy tales where things aren’t as ‘happily ever after’ as they seem and where family is what you’d go to the ends of the earth looking for. I was continually surprised with this book, I never guessed where it was going or what the ending would become. It was exciting to read something which constantly left me guessing at the answer.
04. Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin
Synopsis: Long ago, Carl Feldman was acquitted of murder. Now he lives alone in Texas with a few fading memories. Until the day his daughter arrives and takes him away. Only she’s not his daughter…This woman is sure Carl’s a murderer, and that he’s killed others. Including her sister Rachel. Now they’re visiting old crime scenes to see if Carl remembers any of it. To discover what happened to Rachel. Has Carl really forgotten what he did or is he only pretending? Has this young woman made a terrible mistake? Because if Carl really is a serial killer, she’s in a very bad place.
H – When I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to buy it and read it. It only took me three hours to read because I was totally engrossed in it. The idea of searching for secrets in a mind that had forgotten them was captivating and powerful. To see a sister, go above and beyond to find her missing sister was beautiful and dangerous. Wonderfully creepy and utterly compelling. An excellent read that has made my favourites list.
05. Throne of Glass by Sara J. Maas
Synopsis: This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.
Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince’s message has spread across the desert – and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible. Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl’s instinct for survival. For the Sultan’s palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper’s nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive…But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani’s past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.
H – Second in the Rebel Sands Trilogy, I had been waiting ages to read this because I wanted to read the second and third books back to back. It had been a while since I read the first book, but I plunged myself back into the world of Demdji and exiled Princes with gusto. I learnt more about Amani through the actions she took and got to learn more about the other characters involved. Traitor to the Throne was the perfect sequel to Rebel Sands and I would recommend the fans of the first book to continue with this trilogy.
07. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Synopsis: Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board, A boy called J. Their only communication is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love. Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…
H – I found this book on Amazon and have been dying to read it for a while now. I found the synopsis to be intriguing and chilling in a hungry sort of way. This was completely different from anything I’ve read before and took me on a tantalising journey through space. I got to experience love and science in a new way and I got to see fandom woven into a struggle of growing up alone and needing some normalcy. My heart beat strongly for Romy and ached with such intensity through her story.
08. The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
Synopsis: ‘Before you reject me, before you hate me, remember: I never asked to be Hel’s queen.’
But being a normal teenager wasn’t an option either. Now she’s stuck ruling the underworld. For eternity. She doesn’t want your pity. But she does demand that you listen. It’s only fair you hear her side of the story…It didn’t have to be like this.
H – This book sent me up and down in waves of enjoyment and creepy cringes. It was monstrously interesting, rather funny and quite dark. I promise that whatever you think this book will be, it’ll surprise you. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The Norse Mythology was something new for me because I don’t know a lot about it and was able to learn a little within this book. Hel isn’t necessarily a likeable character – which is interesting in a children’s book – but she is more human-like than God-like in what she desires in life. Her cruel outer shell hid the part of her that wanted to be loved, accepted and comforted. This book is filled with Hel’s emotions, thoughts, dreams and fears. At heart she feels crippled for her disability and also the situation she has been forced and abandoned in. Francesca Simon allows us to see this character in a new way and discover the girl behind the myth.
09. The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin
Synopsis: On top of the Yorkshire Moors, in an isolated spot carved out of a barren landscape, lies White Windows, a house of shadows and secrets. Here lives Marcus Twentyman, a hard-drinking but sensitive man, and his sister, the brisk widow, Hester. When runaway Annaleigh first meets the Twentymans, their offer of employment and lodgings seems a blessing. Only later does she discover the truth. But by then she is already in the middle of a web of darkness and intrigue, where murder seems the only possible means of escape…
H – This book was creepy and thoroughly freaked me out! It was interesting and went in a completely different way than what I expected. Dark and moving, it was a proper page turner. It was cleverly plotted with twisting lies and surprises.
10. The Silence Between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe.A
Synopsis: Passengers boarding the 10:35 train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.
Holly had just landed her dream job, which should make life a lot easier than it had been, and Jeff is heading for his first ever work interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. Onboard customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things as he collects rubbish from the passengers.
And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family who are driving him crazy; pensioner Meg and her partner setting off on a walking holiday and facing an uncertain future; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother, and Rhona, unhappy at work and desperate to get home to her small daughter. And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack…How do you survive the unthinkable?
H – This was so captivating to read and made me feel for all the characters involved. It offers a unique perspective and clarity to a subject not spoken about. I was absorbed from beginning to end. The story was powerful and intelligent, emotionally engaging and scarily haunting. It’s a book that makes you think and makes you view things from a perspective that you would usually ignore. In my book, it’s definitely worth a read.