Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.img_0698Hi everyone! Welcome to another fun Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s topic is a great excuse to look back at the books I’ve read so far this year and attempt to pick my ten favourites! So in no particular order here we go…

1. Circe by Madeline Miller

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Summary: from Amazon

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.
When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Why:

I love Madeline Miller’s incredible lyrical writing and I love Greek Mythology so this book is just perfect for me! Miller is the absolute queen of mythology in my humble opinion! My full review of Circe is here if you would like to read it!

2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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Summary: from Amazon

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

Why:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of the best books about the Holocaust I have ever read. I listened to the audiobook version of this over the course of three weeks. It’s based on a real person and his very personal and heart wrenching story of living through World War Two and seeing the very worst of humanity. The story is so beautifully written and the audiobook was read by the actor Richard Armitage who did such an amazing job bringing these characters voices to life. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough – it’s a truly amazing story.

3. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

img_0981Summary: from Amazon

Beartown is dying . . .
Tucked in a forest in the frozen north, Beartown’s residents are tough and hardworking. They don’t expect life to be easy, but they do expect it to be fair.
Which is why the sudden loss of their hockey players to the rival town of Hed hurts. Everyone needs something to cheer for in the long winter nights. Now they have nothing.
So when a new star player arrives, Coach Peter sees an opportunity to rebuild the team – to take on Hed and restore Beartown’s fortunes. But not everyone in town sees it his way.
As the big game between both towns approaches, the rivalry turns bitter and all too real. Once the stands rumbled with threats to ‘kill’ and ‘ruin’ each other, but the residents didn’t mean it. Now they do.
By the time the last goal is scored, someone in Beartown will be dead . . .
Us Against You is the story of two towns, two teams and what it means to believe in something bigger than yourself. It’s about how people come together – sometimes in anger, often in sorrow, but also through love. And how, when we stand together, we can bring a town back to life.

Why:

Basically this sequel to the amazing Beartown is everything I hoped it would be. It was so good to return to the people of Beartown and see how the events of the first book affected the characters and the town. It is a novel about how people can have both light and darkness in them and as with all of Backman’s novels it is superbly written and filled with emotion. My review of it is here if you fancy reading!

4. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

img_0459Summary: from Amazon

New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care.

In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties-including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life-and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.

Why:

Every book I have read by Roxane Gay has been an incredibly emotional experience and this one is perhaps her most personal. I both read this and listened to the audiobook which the author narrated herself. Hearing this heartbreaking and brutally honest story in her own words made the book have even more of an impact. It is a story about how the world treats people who do not meet society’s expectations of what ‘normal’ is and how devastating this can be. It’s also about Gay’s own life story and it is a difficult but important book. Full review here!

5. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews

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Summary: from Amazon

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Why:

I loved this young adult book! Despite it being very focussed on a very dark and disturbing topic it is still so hopeful at times and full of humour. The characters are great and the story is so original and interesting and although I’m not really a music fan – the love of music was the perfect vessel to tell Beck’s story. I would definitely recommend it if you like reading YA and even if you don’t! My review is here!

6. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

f4aaf310-84a4-4f6a-b43a-3bcf025a4fbbSummary: from Amazon

Two centuries ago, in the small, isolated town, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return from the depths, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them down to their watery deaths.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything…

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Why:

This book is just so perfect in so many ways. I love books about witches, magic and folklore and The Wicked Deep ticked all these boxes! It is gorgeously written – the prose is evocative and lyrical and melancholic all at the same time. The town of Sparrow was a perfect setting and the ghostly and dark ocean was like a character in itself. Just a great read! My full review is here.

7. Kill The Angel by Sandrone Dazieri

img_0422Summary: from Amazon

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.

Why:

Kill the Angel is the sequel to the fantastic Kill the Father and I was so happy to return to the characters of Dante and Colomba. This book is well written and fast paced, I read it so quickly because I had to know how it was going to end. Kill the Angel is dark, gritty and vey clever – I cannot wait for the next instalment of this series and if you love complex, fast thrillers then I highly recommend this series! My full review is here!

8. The Hunters by Kat Gordon

fdf6f72a-be3d-4029-845a-7576bfda6d1bSummary: from Amazon

Sweeping, evocative and sumptuously told, The Hunters is a dramatic coming-of-age story, a complex portrayal of first love and family loyalty and a passionate reimagining of the Happy Valley set in all their glory and notoriety.
Theo Miller is fourteen years old, bright and ambitious, when he steps off the train into the simmering heat and uproar of 1920s Nairobi. Neither he, nor his earnest younger sister Maud, is prepared for the turbulent mix of joy and pain their new life in Kenya will bring.
Their father is Director of Kenyan Railways, a role it is assumed Theo will inherit. But when he meets enchanting American heiress Sylvie de Croÿ and her charismatic, reckless companion, Freddie Hamilton, his aspirations turn in an instant.
Sylvie and Freddie’s charm is magnetic and Theo is welcomed into the heart of their inner circle: rich, glamourous expatriates, infamous for their hedonistic lifestyles. Yet behind their intoxicating allure lies a more powerful cocktail of lust, betrayal, deceit and violence that he realises he cannot avoid. As dark clouds gather over Kenya’s future and his own, he must find a way back to his family – to Maud – before it is too late.

Why:

The Hunters is such a great story set in Colonial Kenya in the 1920s, which is not somewhere I’ve read a lot of books about. The setting is fascinating and the characters are so interesting to follow as they grow up and begin to see things clearly. This book has seeds of truth to it which gives it even more impact and the plot progresses with an increasing intensity and a growing disenchantment with the ‘glamour’ of the Happy Valley set that this book describes. My full review is here if you want to give it a read!

9. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

ffd25ea9-a7f7-4301-ab28-6303c84e4819Summary: from Amazon

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer – the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade – from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.
‘You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.’
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.
Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called the Golden State Killer. Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

Why:

I really enjoy reading true crime and I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is one of the best I’ve ever read. I had never even heard of the Golden State Killer, not being American or old enough to remember his reign of terror. Despite this, I was totally obsessed with this case. The author’s passion for uncovering the truth is evident on every page of this book and I wish McNamara had lived to complete the book and see the recent events concerning the case. This book really scared me at times – I finished it at 1am when I was alone in my house and I was terrified to even glance out a window. It is a fantastic book – my longer review is here!

10. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Summary: from Amazon

An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.

Why:

Sing, Unburied, Sing is one of the most elegantly written books I have ever read. The story is full of darkness and hopelessness at times but the power of love and compassion are also present which stops this from being a depressing read. My heart just broke for main character, JoJo and his little sister, Kayla. This is an important novel that deserves to be widely read – it’s full of emotion and depth.

Honourable Mentions!

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

The Gods of Love by Nicola Mostyn

The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke

Well there it is! These are my favourites of 2018 so far – hopefully there will be many more during the rest of the year. I would love to know your thoughts on my picks and please do link to your own list so I can read about your favourites too! Happy Tuesday!

54 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far)

  1. curlygeek04 says:

    This looks like a great list! I really need to read Circe and I loved Sing, Unburied, Sing. I’ve heard so much about I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, now I need to read it. (And I’ll be seeing Patton Oswalt live in a few weeks!) Happy reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. bookgirlsecrets says:

    Okay, so you have some amazing recommendations, but can we talk about your photography?! These are so gorgeous they deserve to be framed! I’m in awe of your talent!

    Alright, so the books: I’ve heard nothing but good things about Circe, and I’ve seen I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on so many lists this week. This is the first I’ve heard about Sing, Unburied, Sing but that one is definitely going on my TBR list as well.

    Lauren @ Bookgirl Secrets

    Liked by 2 people

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      That’s honestly so so kind of you to say!! Thank you 💛💛💛 I really hope you enjoy Circe and I’ll be Gone in the Dark – they are both great. Sing, Unburied, Sing is really beautifully written – I’m so happy it’s going on your TBR! And again thank you for such a kind comment – I really appreciate it ! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jolien @ The Fictional Reader says:

    I’ve been tempted to buy The Tattooist of Auschwitz a couple of times in the bookstore, but I haven’t yet. Next time I see it, I’m purchasing it! I’ve never heard of Sandrone Dazieri before, but I’ve been wanting to read some mysteries lately and I always want to read more translated books. That’s definitely going on my TBR as well!

    Liked by 2 people

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