As we say goodbye to 2016, and usher in 2017, I can honestly say that it has been a good year in the book world! We have had some amazing books published this year, and some awesome new authors have emerged. We have also suffered some great losses. It was a wonderful reading year for me, personally, as well. I think that I read more this year that I ever have in a single year before, and I was introduced to some wonderful new authors that I look forward to reading much more from in the future.
I have taken the majority of this week to try and determine what was actually my best of this year, and I had a very difficult time with it! I had to break it down in to categories, because I wasn’t able to pick just one!
Favorite Overall Read of the Year: There was a tie in this category!
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Blood Curse by Quincy J. Allen
Favorite Thriller of the Year: In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Favorite YA of the Year: Looking for Alaska by John Green
Favorite New Author of the Year: J.D. Spikes
I’m looking forward to an awesome new year with all of you!! I hope you all have a wonderful new year!! As always, thanks for reading!!
Author: P.J. Mayhair
Genre: Horror/Psych Thriller
Jeremiah really wants to helps the girls that he finds. They should be more clean, more pure. There’s only one problem, he keeps killing them in the process. His latest target, Rachel, may be the perfect girl. Jeremiah believes that she may be just the woman that he has been looking for, that is until she turns the tables. Suddenly Jeremiah may become a victim of his own madness.
I’ll start this review by saying that the premise for this book is fabulous! This is a story that I don’t think that I have heard written in another way, so it was fresh, and I love that. That being said, Mayhair is a relatively new author, and that shows a bit in this book. The story jump a bit in some places, so it could have been helped a little more editing to even out the flow a little more. It also could have used another round of proofreading. Overall, though, I would definitely say that it was an enjoyable read. I really look forward to seeing what will come out of this young author in the future. He has a great mind!
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Crime fiction author Leonora (Nora, as she now goes by) is taken aback to be invited to the hen of an old school friend, Clare, whom she hasn’t seen in ten years. She is really debating as to whether she is going to go, but decides that she will go if another of their school friends whom she has kept in touch with goes as well. When they arrive, they soon begin to regret their decision as they are thrust in to a glass home in the middle of the woods, in an unfamiliar area, with people that they do not know. Nora decides to go for a run, and meets Clare in the drive as she is returning to the house. While in the car, Clare informs her of the reason for her invitation. This drags up many old memories and hard feelings that make Nora want to bolt from the house immediately, but she doesn’t have her own vehicle, and she would have to contend with Clare’s new BFF who is just a touch on the insane side! She, instead, joins in the party and drinks and drugs her way in to dealing with the weekend. Throw in one home invasion, one murder, one car accident, and one bout of amnesia (Nora’s), and you have the rest of In a Dark, Dark Wood.
I will admit that this book began just a bit slow for me. It took me a couple of chapters to really get in to it. Once I did, though, I didn’t want to put it down! I had to know what happened. Ware’s writing in this novel has been compared to Christie, and I guess that I can see where they were coming from in some areas of her writing- she placed the characters in a contained space where it would be difficult for them to escape, etc. She has her own style, though, and I really enjoyed it. The suspense was drawn out, and had me changing my mind about who I thought the murderer was until the last couple of chapters, which is rare for me. That was incredibly enjoyable. If you’re looking for a fun psychological thriller, I would recommend this one!
Author: L.S. Hilton
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Judith, by day, is an assistant at one of London’s top art houses. Judith, by night, is a hostess at a champagne bar…or so it starts out. When Judith’s top champagne bar client offers to take her and her friend to France for a weekend getaway, they both jump at the chance (circumstances have put Judith in need of some money in reserve). That’s where things begin to go sideways in her life. The events in France turn Judith in to a lethal combination of the high class woman that she has taught to be and the rage filled girl that she was. This version of Judith will do whatever she has to do, with whomever she has to do it with, to get what she wants.
I will admit, at the beginning of Maestra I wasn’t sure if I was really going to be in to it. It started off a little bit slow for me. Once all of the events began to unfold, and “anti-heroine Judith” started to emerge, I was sucked in to this story and rooting for the anti-hero. The story is told from Judith’s perspective, so we get a bit of an unreliable narrator in her. It turned in to a really wonderful psychological thriller, which I am a fan of. I will definitely add a warning tag on to this one, though: If you are squeamish about multiple descriptive erotic scenes in your novels, you may not enjoy this one! There are several places where this borders on erotica. While this may not be in my top five novels of the year, it will definitely be close to the top!
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Horror/Psychological Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow
After a night of hard partying and doing a bunch of terrible things, Ig Perrish wakes up to a rather unpleasant discovery: he has grown horns…like devil horns. As odd as this revelation is, it gets worse. The more people that Ig runs in to the more that he realizes that he has taken on characteristics of the Devil. People are not actually taking notice of the horns, but are spilling their darkest truths instead. At first it is very disconcerting, but Ig realizes that he can use this new “gift” to his advantage- he can find out what really happened to his girlfriend, who he is believed to have murdered.
This is the second Hill novel that I have read, and I enjoyed it more than the first! He is amazing! Not only is this a twisted psychological thriller/horror, but the way that he writes the scenes and dialogue makes it border on a dark comedy, as well. You wouldn’t think those would really work together, but he makes it work flawlessly. I was captured and entertained from the beginning to the end of this novel, and I can’t wait to read another one.
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Horror/Psych Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: William Morrow
Ever since she was a young child, Vic McQueen has been able to find things- either material possessions, people, or answers. She could get on her bike and ride across an old covered bridge that would take her to what she was looking for.
Charles Manx also had a vehicle that would magically take him to places that he wanted to go: a vintage Rolls with the plates NOS4A2. Unfortunately, where he wanted to go was to “save” children from their bad futures, and take them to a terrifying one with in in a place called Christmasland.
One day, after a fight with her mother, Vic went looking for trouble and found Manx. She became the only child to ever escape from him, and he was arrested. Once she grows up and tries to forget about him, though, he and his Rolls are rolling again and the game begins…this time, with her own son as the pawn.
Wow…just wow! This was creepy with a capital C! Hill’s mind works in a very different and twisted way, and I like it. The story was told from several different vantage points and the story told in several different time periods, so it can be a bit difficult to follow at times, if you aren’t really paying attention to what you are reading. It is a very captivating story, though. It holds our attention to the end, and you really don’t know until the end what is going to happen. For a rather long book, it didn’t take as long to get through as I thought it would, so that was a very nice surprise. I highly recommend it, if you are a fa of good horror/psych thrillers! You will never hear Christmas carols in the same way again!