WINTER READS 2018

winter reading 2018

2018 is here and the excitement of a new reading year brings many, many potentially amazing reads for us all to discuss and share. I love scouring all the various lists and putting together my own little rundown of the winter reads I’m excited about. I can’t wait to see what books will become my new favorites! I’ve put together some of my top picks for this winter and I hope you’ll find some that you’d like to preorder, add to your wish lists and/or request from your library before everyone else does. I’d love to hear which ones stand out to you!

JANUARY  

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The Immortalists (Jan 9, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Four siblings seek to answer the question..If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

**I’ve read and loved this one, review coming soon**

 

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The Girls in the Picture  by Melanie Benjamin (Jan 16, Delacorte Press)

Hollywood, 1914. Frances Marion, a young writer desperate for a break, meets “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, already making a name for herself both on and off the screen with her golden curls and lively spirit. Together, these two women will take the movie business by storm. *I’m becoming more interested in old Hollywood historical fiction after loving The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo *

 

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Need to know  By Karen Cleveland (Jan. 23, Ballantine Books)

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.  *lots of positive buzz for this one*

 

FEBRUARY

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How to Stop Time  by Matt Haig (Feb 6, Viking)

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live *I’m drawn to love stories with time elements & this is getting awesome ratings on Goodreads*

 

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An American Marriage  by Tayari Jones (Feb 6, Algonquin)

A unique marriage story…a happily married, successful young couple are torn apart when Roy is convicted and sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit…his wife moves on (with his best friend), then he gets out! *Love the premise & this publisher*

 

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The Great Alone  By Kristin Hannah (Feb 6, St. Martin’s Press)

Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable.
And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit. *I recently read & loved The Nightingale so I HAD to read this one*

 

 

 

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Sunburn By Laura Lippman (Feb 20, William Morrow)

A novel about a pair of lovers with the best intentions and the worst luck: two people locked in a passionate yet uncompromising game of cat and mouse. But instead of rules, this game has dark secrets, forbidden desires, inevitable betrayals—and cold-blooded murder. *Positive early buzz, I love the premise & the cover*

 

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The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard (Feb 27, Blackstone Publishing)

Alison Smith falls in love with attractive, charming Will Hurley at an elite college in Dublin. What follows: Will is found to be Ireland’s most notorious serial killer and is put in a psychiatric institution. Fast forward 10 years and Alison is pulled back into his orbit. *Last year I read & loved Distress Signals and this sounds equally unputdownable*

 

MARCH

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Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman (March 6, Dutton)

The first definitive, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes cultural history of the Bachelor franchise, America’s favorite guilty pleasure *Guilty pleasure alert, I just might be most excited about this book! Outside of Reality Steve, I don’t think anyone has attempted to go behind the scenes of this hush hush show and I for one can’t wait to read Amy’s take on it. If she narrates I’m definitely going with the audio

 

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The Eight Mountains By Paolo Tognetti (March 20, Atria Books)

A modern Italian masterpiece, The Eight Mountains is a lyrical coming-of-age story about the power of male friendships and the enduring bond between fathers and sons. *I really like coming-of-age stories and I like that this examines male friendship and is set in Italy. I saw somewhere it’s described as a saga which was how my fav book of the year The Heart’s Invisible Furies was described so I’m sold!*

 

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Tangerine by Christine Mangan (March 27, Ecco)

Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless. *This very much seems to be a friendship gone wrong novel and I like the sinister sound of it and also the Moroccan setting sounds fantastic*

 

Many of my most anticipated mysteries/thrillers are sequels and you can find those on my Most Anticipated Sequels list…

I’d love to hear what winter reads made your most anticipated lists!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

Hosted by Katherine at Bookdate

I can’t believe we’re just about halfway through December! I’m pretty sure I’m done with my Christmas shopping and almost done with all the present wrapping so the rest of the month I hope to relax and enjoy the season. I’ve been jumping all around in my reading life so I feel that this month is a toss up of backlist reads with some 2018’s thrown in. Speaking of 2018 reads…I’m not having the best of luck with them. In fact, two of my highly anticipated reads were a bust for me last week, while another one I wasn’t sure about turned out to be a hit more me. I know I’m not alone, but what’s happening with the 2018 reads? Thoughts anyone?

RECENTLY READ…

 

I was very excited about both of these 2018 reads (coming Jan 9th) but expected I would like The Chalk Man better since it’s a mystery and partly set in the 1980s which always appeals to me. Turns out, I wasn’t impressed with The Chalk Man for several reasons, the biggest being that the alternating time periods and the character development didn’t work for me. I’ll have my full review up the first week in Jan and yes, I know I’m in the minority for this one! I suspected I would like The Immortalists based on the premise of siblings visiting a psychic and learning the dates of their deaths and in the end I REALLY enjoyed it. It started off a little rocky for me but I’m so glad I stuck with it because I truly enjoyed the characters and story. Review also coming early January

TRIED BUT DIDN’T FINISH…

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This is another 2018 release (Jan 2) that’s being talked about everywhere and while it seems the majority of people on Goodreads are loving it, I only made it to 26% before I called it a day. The weird thing was I started off really liking the premise and the voice of Anna and I found the writing to be snappy and fast. However, the farther I got the more I found myself reading ALOT of details about Anna’s fascination with (& watching of) black and white movies as well as lengthy email exchanges between her and others and I became bored. Another psychological thriller that didn’t hit me.

UPCOMING READING PLANS…

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I was seeing favorable thoughts about this one from trusted bloggers so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve only read the opening chapter but I have to say while very disturbing, it grabbed me! One feeling I have right off the bat with this read is that this author’s writing is excellent, I love the way it’s flowing and the initial character development. Stay tuned:)

What’s on your reading agenda this week? 

Have a great reading week everyone!

 

 

 

 

A 2018 REVIEW: FORCE OF NATURE By Jane Harper

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Publication Date: Feb 6th, 2018 by Flatiron Books

Short Summary: Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Did she purposely disappearance or was it murder? Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?

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You may remember that this book was recently one I featured as one of my most anticipated sequels of 2018. I’m starting to dip into some of my 2018 reads and this was just calling to me. I loved The Dry and couldn’t wait to catch up with Aaron Falk. I did, however, read a couple reviews that weren’t all that favorable so I was anxious to see if I agreed with them or not…

The story basically centers around two groups (a men’s and a women’s) employed by the same company who’re sent on a professional team building retreat. The retreat consists of 3 days and nights of hiking and camping in a fairly remote wooded range in Australia. We find out right away that only 4 of the women return and when they do they are hours late and look much worse for the wear. So, the immediate question is…what’s happened to Alice?  Regarding the plot, the narrative structure, and the characters involved there honestly wasn’t that much that worked for me and it’s disappointing because I expected to love this.

What worked…

  • The descriptive details for the setting. Jane Harper can write wonderful setting details. While I didn’t find this to be as atmospheric as The Dry, I did feel like I was there in the woods with the cold and rain and darkness
  • The short chapters created a very fast reading pace and I was able to read this in one sitting
  • Aaron Falk. There’s something about this character that I really like. He’s somewhat of an enigma but just seems like a really good guy. I just wish the author would’ve done more with him in this story. To me, it seemed like he was an after thought and his character didn’t seem to evolve too much in this book.

What didn’t work….

  • The entire plot premise that a professional team building company would send inexperienced hikers out with no phones, no walkie talkies, no flares, no emergency provisions whatsoever and then never check to ensure they reached each campsite just made no sense to me and tarnished my ability to believe the story.
  • The characters. I felt the group of women were not only unlikeable but also thinly drawn. There were times I couldn’t remember who was who, they didn’t seem to be all that individualistic. And I found hard to care about any of them
  • The structure of the narrative. The story is told in present time from Aaron’s perspective as they are investigating and alternates with flashbacks of each day of the women’s journey. This seemed odd to me because we already know what happens so it often seemed unnecessary to retell some parts. For me, opening the book with the ending took away quite a bit of suspense.
  • The mystery. I found it to be pretty underwhelming and the red herrings were too obvious in my opinion.

Unfortunately, there was more that didn’t work for me than did in this story and I’m bummed about that because I think Jane Harper is a very talented writer. Maybe it was a case of rushing the second book as others have speculated, I’m not sure. I did enjoy seeing a little spark with Aaron at the end and I will definitely still give the next book in the series a try because I want to see what she does with Aaron’s character moving forward. If you haven’t read The Dry, I do highly recommend that one!

Many thanks to Flatiron Books for my copy

 

 

 

MY MOST ANTICIPATED SEQUELS OF 2018

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My ongoing reading slump got me thinking about and researching whether there would be any 2018 sequels to some of my favorite books from the past. I found so many that I want to share today and while I’m positive there will be more, I’m so excited about these…2018 can’t come soon enough for me in terms of anticipated reads!!  I’ve included the preceding book’s title (with my review if available)  before the 2018 sequel in case you missed it…

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Publication date: January 23, 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

This is book 3 after Me Before You (book 1) and After You (book 2), both of which I read before blogging. I absolutely loved Me Before You but I wasn’t at all crazy about the path the author made for Louisa in After You. I’m really hoping she brings back the Louisa we loved from Me Before You…after all she is calling it Still Me so I’m super hopeful

 

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Publication date: Feb 6th, 2018 by Flatiron Books

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – in just a matter of days she was to provide the documents that will bring down the company she works for.

Falk discovers that far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. But does it include murder?

Book 1 was The Dry and was one of my favorite debuts of 2017. Jane Harper can weave a fantastic puzzle and her setting details make you feel like you’re THERE!

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This seemingly anonymous book is Hangman by Daniel Cole! I couldn’t find a pic of this cover anywhere but I HAD to include this gem in my lineup

Publication Date: Feb 8th (I believe this is the UK pub date, I couldn’t find one for US so if anyone knows it let me know) 

Eighteen months have passed, but the scars the Ragdoll murders left behind remain.

DCI Emily Baxter is summoned to a meeting with US Special Agents Elliot Curtis of the FBI and Damien Rouche of the CIA. There, she is presented with photographs of the latest copycat murder: a body contorted into a familiar pose, strung up impossibly on the other side of the world, the word BAIT carved deep into its chest.

As the media pressure intensifies, Baxter is ordered to assist with the investigation and attend the scene of another murder to discover the same word scrawled across the victim, carved across the corpse of the killer – PUPPET.

As the murders continue to grow in both spectacle and depravity on both sides of the Atlantic, the team helplessly play catch up. Their only hope: to work out who the ‘BAIT’ is intended for, how the ‘PUPPETS’ are chosen but, most importantly of all, who is holding the strings

Book 1 is Ragdoll and was such a creative take on the serial killer novel. If you think (like me) you’re not in the mood for a serial killer book but you like intriguing puzzles, give this a try. It was one of the most entertaining books I’ve read all year!

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Publication date February 20th by Scribner

A high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome, and an horrific discovery in one carriage rocks the city. Preliminary investigations are put in the hands of Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli.
     
The police receive a message claiming responsibility for the act and announcing more murders to come, and they duly turn their attention to a small terrorist group of Islamic extremists. But investigator Dante Torre does not believe this angle. For him, this feels like a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has a far more terrible motivation to continue.
     
The trail leads to Berlin and Venice, where the waters of the Venetian Lagoon will turn blood red …

Book 1 was Kill the Father which had an intriguing Italian setting and such an intricate puzzle, along with 2 of the most likable detectives I’ve come across in recent crime fiction. I really can’t wait for this one!

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Publication date: Feb 27, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

It’s been ten years since the events that changed Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Since then, Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, but books have been written of his exploits; he has fans, groupies. Living alone in the wilderness beyond town, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his old friend, Jack. They’re not boys anymore, but the bonds remain. What they shared. What they lost.

But Jack sees danger in the wild places Johnny calls home; he senses darkness and hunger, an intractable intent. Johnny will discuss none of it, but there are the things he knows, the things he can do. A lesser friend might accept such abilities as a gift, but Jack has felt what moves in the swamp: the cold of it, the unspeakable fear.

I can’t recommend John Hart enough! Book 1 is The Last Child, one of my all-time favorite books and if you enjoy your mysteries with gorgeous literary writing you MUST read that one.

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Publication date: March 8 by Transworld

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift. An endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to The Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling.
The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…
But even as Waits puts together the pieces of this stranger’s life, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.
When the mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move.
And to discover the smiling man’s identity, he must finally confront his own.

Ok, I have a little explaining to do for this one:) Book 1 is Sirens and is so fantastic that I find myself still thinking about the main character,  Aidan, and the jaw dropping mysteries of this one 8 months after reading it! Sirens  will likely have a place on my top 10 reads of 2017 and will actually be published in the US for the first time on Feb 20, 2018. However, if you just can’t wait that long (and why should you:) you can get your copy from Book Depository (free international shipping) right now and then you’ll be ready for the sequel The Smiling Man in March. I’m going to be pre-ordering that one from Book Depository myself because there’s no way I can wait for the US publication to find out what’s in store for Aidan Waits. This one is worth it guys, it’s just that good!

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Publication Date: June 2018 by Orenda 

Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault. Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted? Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-waited finale of the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned but always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and one of the most chilling, dark and moving crime thrillers you may ever read.

This is book 5 in the Henning Juul series but WAIT, the absolute best part about this series is you don’t have to read every title to catch up with the series. In fact, I’ve only read 2…Pierced and Cursed which are both amazing Nordic crime fiction books. Now, I also have book 3 Scarred which I will go back and read soon. What’s so great about this series aside from brilliant writing and a main character you will root for is that each book has a different mystery to solve while at the same time having the common mystery thread of who started the fire that killed Henning’s son. I’m so glad I discovered this author in 2017, I highly recommend this series if you enjoy crime fiction.

***I tried so hard to find out if Jane Casey has another Maeve Kerrigan book coming out next year but I couldn’t find anything…I hope that doesn’t mean she’s skipping a year:( This is an outstanding detective series and currently my very favorite so if anyone knows if she has a sequel coming out in 2018 please let me know!

Are you looking forward to any of these sequels? What am I missing? Feel free to let me know in the comments. 

HAPPY READING!