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The ‘I haven’t updated my blog in a while’ Wrap-Up

It was the year 2095, cars could fly, aliens ruled the world and Jess had finally ruffled together an update for her blog. Are you all shocked? Because I am. You’d be even more shocked if I told you that I had the time to write this post and pull together my ‘top reads of 2018’ post but you know the answer to that already, don’t you… I haven’t had the time.

If it helps ease your pain some of my highlights of 2018 include Baby Teeth, The Binding, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Dry, Thunderhead, The Death of Mrs Westaway… I’ve talked a lot about some of these books below and in my previous wrap-ups.

I promise I’ll be better in 2019 (or I’ll try at least). I’ll definitely try and do more book talk over on my twitter if my blog lays neglected for a little while.

1. The Phantom Rickshaw by Rudyard Kipling ● rated 4 stars
2. The Striding Place by Gertrude Atherton ● rated 3 stars
3. The Veldt by Rudyard Kipling ● rated 4 stars
4. The Doll by Daphne Du Maurier ● rated 5 stars
5. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss ● rated 2 stars
6. Lullaby for a Lost World by Aliette de Bodard ● rated 4 stars
7. Fourteen stories from Shirley Jackson’s Dark Tales ● rated avg. 4 stars
8. An Occurance at Owl Creek by Ambrose bierce ● rated 4 stars
9. Premium Harmony by Stephen King ● rated 4 stars

1. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton ● rated 5 Stars
8 days. 1 Plague doctor. A house full of suspects. Murder on repeat. It’s time to dress for dinner. Turton’s debut is masterful, brilliantly plotted and utterly mind-bending. Please read it, it’s so so good.

2. Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb ● rated 5 Stars
1 suicide bomber. 11 dead. Families devastated. A Family tortured. After 47 books, J.D. Robb still manages to deliver these books with a bang and none of the whimper. Read my full review here.

3. Melmoth by Sarah Perry ● rated 4 Stars (ARC Copy)
Losely inspired by Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, Perry’s latest novel follows Helen Franklin, a English translator who did something she cannot forgive herself for. Melmoth is there to witness every cruelty and violation created by man, luring them to spend life at her side. A book riddled with darkness, despair and hope, I’d highly recommend this literary tale of the macabre.

4. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson ● rated 5 Stars
The Haunting of Hill House is a tale of quiet horror and narrative unease. Claustrophobic and disorientating, Shirley Jackson proves why she is the Queen of Horror and the Queen of my Gothic Heart because I loved this. Read my full review here.

5. Vengeful by V.E.Schwab ● rated 5 Stars
So here’s the tea: Victoria Schwab can’t write a bad book. I don’t know what else you need to know? This series is superpowers and vengeance and morally grey humans with a penchant for violence and super stabby female characters. What more could I ask for? Don’t ask any more questions… just read it. You won’t regret it.

6. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White ● rated 5 Stars
Written for the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, White pens a beautiful feminist and haunting retelling of the horror classic.

7. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor ● rated 4 Stars
4 out of 5 stars because I can’t stomach the utterly cringe and nauseating scenes between Lazlo and Sarai. I wanted a war between humans and demi-gods and everything was just too nice and easily solved and smothered in Lazlo/Sarai love feels and odd demi-god/ghost sex.

8. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas ● rated 5 Stars
My little band of warriors, I’ll miss them. Whilst this one fell a little flat for me at the end and was cheesy as hell (booooring!) I still had to give it 5 stars… out of loyalty. I’m a sucker for this series (and anything SJM writes). Don’t judge me.

9. Empress of all Seasons by Emiko Jean ● rated 3 Stars (ARC copy)
An expansive world steeped in Japanese mythology, Mari must conquer the enchanted seasonal rooms to marry the prince. Fiesty, feminist but sadly suffering from carbon-copy syndrome. While the premise was fresh, the characters were not. I would still recommend as this will definitely appeal to many.

10. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier ● rated 5 Stars
No year is complete without reading at least one Du Maurier novel. Chock full of intrigue and scandal, Du Maurier crafts a beautiful love story between Dona, a discontent noblewoman confined to the expections of the 17th century woman, and the ‘Pirate’, handsome and well-read, your very own French version of Robin Hood. I’m still bitter about the ending though.

11. A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan ● rated 4 Stars (ARC Copy)
Set against the backdrop of World War I, a group of people convene at Blackwater Abbey, off the Devon coast, for a spiritual gathering. Only things aren’t what they seem, and they soon find themselves trapped on the island when murder strikes. Ryan creates the perfect mix of espionage, mystery, supernatural and that little dash of romance. I’m practically begging for this to be turned into a series.

12. Dry by Neal and Jared Shusterman ● rated 5 Stars
Doomsday preppers are seriously on to something. This book left me thirsty as hell and with the extreme urge to walk into my closest supermarket and stockpile as much food and water as I can. If you’re into apocolyptic type stories then this is the one for you.

13. The Binding by Bridget Collins ● rated 4 Stars (ARC copy)
A beautiful and haunting piece of magical realism with an unexpected love story between a poor farmer’s son and the nephew of a wealthy aristocrat. A book bound by themes of unwanted memories, trauma and morals – books are objects of fear in this immersive tale. This is one book that will definitely live up to its hype, and if it’s not on your radar… it should be!

14. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage ● rated 5 Stars
Baby Teeth is the type of story many authors (and readers) would shy away from. Divisive, uncomfortable and chilling, Stage explores the relationship between a 7 year old girl with psychopathic tendencies and the mother she intends on killing. One of the best books I’ve read so far this year and one that will definitely stick with me for many years to come.

How was your bookish 2018?
Read any of the books above or a choosing to in 2019? Got a book you think I’ll be interested in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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