How was everyone’s Christmas?! I had a blast celebrating with family and friends and have since been relishing having the week between Christmas and New Year’s off for the first time in over a decade! It feels like such a luxury to be able to sleep in after a busy holiday season and I am loving it.
My previous post shared my favorite backlist books I read this year and now it’s time to talk about my top ten new releases from 2018! While I was surprised at the wide range of genres in my favorite backlist books, this list does include a fair amount more of mysteries and thrillers. There is some variety here, though, and I’m really glad to have read each of these books.
Let’s see my picks now, shall we?
Only Child starts out with first grader Zach squeezed into a closet with his teacher and classmates while gunshots ring out in his school. The rest of the book deals with the aftermath and how Zach and his family handle this traumatic event. Not only is this topical but it’s also superbly written, evoking a full range of emotions. Powerful and poignant, I highly recommend this one.
Sometimes I Lie is about a woman who is in a coma and can’t remember how she got there. It alternates between three perspectives: her paralyzed present; the week leading up to the accident that induced the coma; and childhood diary entries from twenty years prior. The multiple timelines and short chapters always leave you wanting more, making this hard to put down.
Jar of Hearts is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years. This dark and intense thriller is absolutely riveting. It isn’t for the faint of heart, though, dealing with some tough subjects and including brutal scenes involving rape and murder. Fans of Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter will most likely find this to their taste.
The Last Time I Lied follows Emma, a rising star in the New York art scene, when her past comes back to haunt her and she revisits the summer camp she attended fifteen years ago where her bunkmates disappeared. The atmosphere created is tinged with uneasiness, adding a creepy tone to the already eerie setting of a summer camp in the middle of nowhere. With superb storytelling, clever plotting, and perfect pacing, this book was unputdownable!
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a thoroughly unique and atmospheric mystery that is reminiscent of both Agatha Christie and Groundhog Day. The reader is pulled into this story just as the main character forgets everything from moments before, making this an intriguing and confusing story from the start. This isn’t what I’d call an easy read, but it is an original and clever puzzle for readers who enjoy trying to piece everything together.
In Leave No Trace, a man and his son went into the wilderness that is the Boundary Waters of Minnesota ten years ago and when their campsite was found ravaged they were presumed dead. Until the son makes an appearance robbing an outfitters store and is sent to the local psychiatric hospital. But he refuses to talk to everyone except the assistant language therapist. Not everything in this book is entirely realistic but it’s strong on both characters and plot, making for a well rounded read.
Vox imagines an America in which females are no longer allowed more than 100 words per day and if they exceed that limit they experience an electrical shock by the bracelets they are now required to wear. This book addresses many important issues, many of which really hit home for me. The concept, characters, and writing were strong here and kept me thinking about it long after finishing it.
Inspired by the true story of two young girls who stabbed a friend 19 times in honor of a fictional character, Mister Tender’s Girl follows Alice, who over a decade ago was viciously attacked by two of her classmates and left to die. With exquisite writing, impeccable plotting, and perfect pacing, this book keeps you on your toes and always wanting to know more. The last 10% or so was slightly underwhelming and out of character with the rest of the book but it was still overall a thrilling read.Taking place over the course of a week during a massive snowstorm, Drift Stumble Fall follows the perspectives of two men who live across the street from one another. Both appear to be in domestic bliss but facts and nuances develop over time to reveal the truth about each household, showing that things are not always as they appear. This character driven story is realistic, relatable, and compelling. Once Upon a River is a story about stories, combining historical fiction with fantasy and folklore centered around the Thames river. Much like the river itself, it’s a bit meandering, taking its time to build up the world and the characters before weaving them together. Although there is a mystery at its core with plenty of suspense and tension, this is largely character driven and therefore a slower read to be savored.
There you have my top 10 newly released books I read this year! Have you read any of these? What did you think? What were your favorite books published in 2018? Let me know in the comments – I’m always looking for new recommendations!