My Top 10 Books of 2019 (and a Return to Blogging?)

Saturday 4 January 2020
Near the end of 2017 I lost control of my domain due to me not renewing it. Despite many attempts to try and get it back, I had no luck, until a few months ago when it expired again and became available for it to be mine once more. After over two years I was starting to get the blogging bug back again, and missed all of the friends that I had made in the blogging world. I started 2020 asking myself whether a return to blogging was doable.

When I quit blogging back in 2017 and read solely for enjoyment, with no time restraints, no commitments and no having to worry about writing a review, I found it to be extremely liberating and actually found that I enjoyed reading more than when I was blogging. And so, I might make a tentative return to reviewing and see how it goes. For now though I have compiled my Top Reads of 2019, some of the books were released in other years but were read in 2019.

I hope you enjoy reading what books I enjoyed the most in 2019 and will stick with me as I attempt a (probably somewhat quiet) blogging comeback.

10. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016) by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne and J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child wasn't released in 2019 but it was one of the first books I read at the start of the year and I absolutely loved it. I didn't mind reading a screenplay as I found it easy to follow and to picture the scenes in my mind. I loved the whole idea for the story and I would liken it to Back to the Future meets Harry Potter. I would love to see the play one day and I am so glad I finally read this book. I highly recommend it to Harry Potter fans but especially those who might be sceptical about it.

9. Reckless Girl by Emma Tallon

Emma Tallon very quickly became an author to watch for me with the release of her first couple of books. Reckless Girl is the fifth in what is a fantastic series and one of my favourites in the gangland genre. What I enjoy most about Emma's books is their realism and the believability of the characters. I am really invested in their stories and feel almost like they are real people. I also like how Emma manages to make each book different than the last, but still retains the elements of her books that make them all such addictive reads. I always finish the latest book and immediately wish I had the next one to read, which is always the sign of an excellent series.

8. Two Kinds of Truth (2017) by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly is an author who needs no introduction, to me he is the King of Crime and I love his books. Harry Bosch is without doubt my favourite fictional detective of all time, he is an endlessly fascinating character to read about. I can't think of many authors who can keep up the consistency that Connelly has managed to achieve with this series. Most series would be running out of steam after 20+ years but this one only seems to keep getting better, helped along by the introduction of characters such as Mickey Haller. There can't be many crime readers yet to pick up a Bosch novel but if there are then I highly recommend reading them.
7. Dead Memories by Angela Marsons

It's no secret on my blog how much I adore Angela Marsons and her books and Dead Memories was no different. Angela also released Child's Play (and a prequel, First Blood, that I am yet to read) in 2019 but my favourite out of Dead Memories and Child's Play had to be Dead Memories. I don't think I could ever tire of reading about Kim Stone and her team (nor would I want to), and I am always intrigued to see where Angela is going to take them next. In such a crowded genre Angela and Kim stand out and this series is one of the best ever. Judging by the fact these books hit the top spot on Amazon the day they are announced, I don't think there's a crime fan alive who hasn't read these books, but if you are the single person who hasn't, you need to ASAP. I can't wait to read the prequel.

6. The Edge by Jessie Keane

I was thrilled when I found out that Jessie Keane was returning to the world of Ruby Drake in The Edge. I actually remember when the first book in the series, Nameless, was released and I was apprehensive about the new series and whether I would enjoy it. Well, I loved it and the two follow-up stories were no different. Jessie always writes books that completely consume me when I read them and God help anyone who interrupts me when I am hooked on a Jessie Keane book. The Annie Carter series will always remain my favourite, but I do love Ruby and her family and The Edge was another exhilarating and gripping read from one of my favourite authors.

5. Blackout (2017) by Mark Dawson

Mark Dawson's John Milton series is one of my all-time favourites and in 2019 I read 6 books out of the series and agonisingly managed to choose Blackout as my favourite. In a genre where books can often feel similar and leave the reader like they are walking down a path they have done many times before, I have found Mark's books to really stand out and bring something different to the genre. John Milton is a fantastic character, one who it is easy for readers to root for and get behind, despite his many flaws there's also many things about him that make him a likeable and enigmatic character. This is a series I am always recommending to thriller fans and one that I hope continues for many years to come.

4. Blood Secrets by Dreda Say Mitchell MBE

Dreda Say Mitchell is another author who makes me want to take a megaphone and stand outside every Waterstone's across the land and tell everyone passing by to buy her fantastic books. Not only is she one of my favourite people due to everything that she stands for, but she is also one of my favourite authors. I read Blood Secrets and the other books in the series over the course of a week and what a week it was. Dreda writes with gritty authenticity with characters that are totally brought to life and scenes that completely consume the reader and place them right at the centre of the story watching everything unfold. I can't recommend Dreda and her books enough.

3. The Choice by Kerry Barnes

Just before Christmas 2017 I read my first Kerry Barnes book, Cruel Secrets, and knew I had found a new favourite author. Since then I have devoured each of her books and loved them all, rating each of them 5 stars. Kerry is a phenomenal storyteller and I am in awe of her after reading each of her books in just how she has managed to write such incredible stories. The Choice was the third book in a series that had me absolutely gripped to my Kindle. In 2019 I also read her Ruthless series and that definitely lived up to its name. If you love gangland stories and are yet to read one by Kerry Barnes, I highly recommend that you do so ASAP as they are some of the best ever written in this genre. Some authors were born to write and Kerry Barnes is one of them.

2. The Sting by Kimberley Chambers 

It isn't a secret on my blog that I am a huge Kimberley Chambers fan. I can still remember the night I finished The Victim at 2am in the morning and since that night Kim has given me many more sleepless nights. The Sting was one of my favourite books of 2019 because of the lasting impression the book had on me, in particular in how I struggled to get the main character out of my mind for some time after finishing the story. Kim writes authentic stories and she isn't afraid to hold back in where she takes her characters or in the brutality of the stories that she tells. It has been such a pleasure to see the success she has had over the past few years and her books are consistently in my Top 3 every single year.

1. Hunting Evil by Chris Carter

Chris Carter is one of my favourite crime fiction authors and Hunting Evil saw the return of one of the most evil characters I have ever read about (hence the title). Chris's books are not for the faint-hearted, they are some of the most gruesome that I have ever read and that's why I love them. But, they aren't gruesome just for the sake of it, and despite how 'out there' some of his characters and scenes can be, there's real terror felt by the reader as they read because these characters and scenarios aren't actually all that unbelievable. It's almost like Saw in book form but much better. The Robert Hunter series is one of my favourites ever and Chris's books are always in my most anticipated books of the year.

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