Top Ten Of The Year 2018

Here is my Top Ten Books Of 2018. These aren’t books that were released in 2018, they’re the ones that I read. Some of them I have reviewed and will link in those reviews with the respective books.

Going off my Goodreads challenge I read forty-nine books in 2018. I had a few moments during the year where I was finding it hard to read so hopefully this year I’ll hit and pass the fifty books I’ve set in my challenge for 2019.

Lets get stuck in to the list:

Number Ten: Off Season By Jack Ketchum

I brought this one on audio after Jack Ketchum sadly passed away. I’d heard about him and an interview with him on The Horror Show With Brian Keene podcast. It was a choice between Off Season and The Girl Next Door. I kinda tossed a coin and went with Off Season which I’m really happy with, although The Girl Next Door will be checked out this year. Off Season is a fantastic tale that isn’t scared to give gut punches and as a reader you take it because Ketchum writes the story beautifully and you just keep turning the pages, or listening in my case.

Number Nine: The Malignant Dead by CL Raven

The Malignant Dead brought tears to my eyes but it also made me laugh. That’s something CL Raven do, they flip that coin really well and The Malignant Dead does that very well. They also transport you into the city of Edinburgh beautifully, you feel you are there and can easily picture these characters in these locations. It is a heartbreaking story but thats because CL Raven bring these characters to life so thoroughly.

Number Eight: Forest Underground by Lydian Faust

This was one I went into without no real knowledge of it. I’d seen people speaking nothing but good things about it and I saw that Pippa Bailey was the narrator of the audio book. I’d met Pippa at the launch of the Sparks anthology that we both have stories in and I wanted to support her as well. The story itself is two that are woven together very well and gives a great outcome at the end of the book, but it still left me wanting more. The characters keep you guessing and there were a few moments where I wasn’t sure what one characters reality was.

Number Seven: White by Tim Lebbon

White was a fun and fast story to read. Tim Lebbon gives a very tight and well told story of an apocalypse that has left people stranded and how these people deal with their plight. The bleakness of this one struck me. If something is bleak it doesn’t tend to get my attention but Tim Lebbon puts in just enough hope to keep that bleakness at bay.

Number Six: The Log House by Baylea Hart

I first heard of The Log House while at Bristol Horror Con in 2017. Baylea Hart was on a panel and gave a brief description of her book and it sounded good. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a post-apocalyptic story which has a protagonist who I didn’t like as a person, but I was quickly hooked on the journey she was taking and the world she was part of and what happened in the characters past. Baylea Hart builds a world that is very seductive and easy to fall into.

The author who I read the most in 2018 was Brian Keene: City of the Dead, The Complex, Ghoul and Dark Hollow.

Number Five: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski

Where do I start with Billy and the Cloneasaurus? In my review I said it was 1984 meets The Lego Movie, and I still stand by that. It’s got this optimism to it that masks the real problems. This book had me hooked from the first sentence. It’s got a great energy to it, and has left a lasting impression on me. Even if the ending was a kick in the gut!

Number Four: Dark Hollow by Brian Keene

There are so many reasons why Dark Hollow spoke to me. From how the story is structured and paced to the multiple conflicts of the protagonist. Brian Keene really does build this character beautifully and its also very raw in many places. I’d recommend reading this one and then listening to an episode of The Horror Show with Brian Keene were he talks about this story. The big bad of this story is something I’d not come across before and found it fascinating. This is another story where the ending was a blow to the gut. So far it’s my favourite Brian Keene story.

Number Three: What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher

Okay, where do I start with What Good Girls Do? Like Forest Underground I went into this one blind. Part of it was I saw it was getting a lot of praise, another part is again I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the narrator, Tara Court, and wanted to show some support to her. Another part was it’s a The Sinister Horror Company book, like Forest Underground and I was impressed with that one. So I went in blind. This is the most brutal book, movie, tv show, that I’ve even consumed. It doesn’t hold back and deals with a topic that most people blatantly ignore. Those who do know about it don’t want to talk about it. Jonathan Butcher doesn’t baulk with this story, and in lesser hands I think it would have been a disaster. But Butcher handles such a delicate topic with a skill that I think few have. This is a fantastic book, but not one I’d say I enjoyed but. It is one I’m pleased I listened to because it is so beautifully written and deals with something I think we as a society need to be more aware of.

Number Two: The Human Santapede by Adam Millard

A big change of pace from What Good Girls Do, we have The Human Santapede by Adam Millard. This is a book I find myself reluctant to talk too much about because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. All I’ll say is Santa has a problem and sends an elf off to figure out the mystery. Adam Millard goes full speed with this one. It’s like he wanted to write the most out there Christmas book ever and had fun while doing it. I think I laughed at something on every page! This was definitely the funniest book I read in 2018, probably ever. If you want a giggle, buy this book!

Number One: The Silence By Tim Lebbon

Here we are, number one in my top ten of 2018. I brought The Silence on audiobook when I learnt there was going to be a movie of it and I wanted to check the book out first. This book rattled me. There was three distinct moments where I had to hit pause and stop listening to it for that day. I think part of the reason it struck me so hard was because it is set in the UK and peoples reaction to the threat in the story felt very real. It is strikingly well written with very real characters whose pain you feel as they make their journey. It’s written with a skill that I admire. Lebbon tears the lives of these characters apart with such a deft hand that it’s still brutal but the build up to the hardness of the story is as smooth as silk and this brings you into these moments without missing a beat. Its become an instant favourite of mine, I even brought a paperback which I’ve gotten signed.

There it is, my top ten books of 2018. 2018 was the first year I really started reading horror and it was quite a year. Lets see how 2019 compares.

Just to wrap up the post I wanted to give a few honourable mentions. If this had been the best fifteen books of 2018 these would have made the list.

In no particular order:

Bleeding Empire- CL Raven

Aliens:Bug Hunt- Edited by Jonathan Maberry

Fur- Matthew Cash

IT- Stephen King

Never Forget- Lisa Cutts

 

 

 

 

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23th of December 2018

I’ve had a few busy days between work, our works Christmas Party and a few bits and pieces that needed to get done today.

I have written a few words in the last few days though, not many but a few. Friday I didn’t write anything, but I did watch Bird Box on Netflix which is based on the book by Josh Malerman. I listened to the book a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, and I think the film is a good adaptation of the book. The odd change felt a little unnecessary but it still worked overall, and it stayed loyal to the ending of the book.

Yesterday I managed to get 260 words written, god knows when because it was a damn busy day and then the Christmas Party. I’m not much of a drinker but did have a fair few last night, but no hangover today! So that’s a win if you ask me.

Today I had a bit of running around to do so didn’t really have a lot of time to spend at the keyboard but have managed 386 words for the day. I probably added another hundred or so but did some editing which meant a few words were deleted but I’m happy with what I did today.

I tried to read a DC Rebirth comic the other day, and I just couldn’t get into it. I was only a few pages in but it just didn’t hook me. I’m a comic book latecomer and I’ve liked some of the Marvel and DC stuff  I’ve read but the last few pieces I’ve not been gripped by. This is something I’ve been thinking for a while, that Marvel and DC comics really aren’t for me. I’ve got a few on my to-read shelf so I will check those out, and I really want to re-read DCs Hush again next year.

I’m not giving up on comics though, I’ve really enjoyed the 2000AD ones I’ve read, mainly Judge Dredd ones so far but I’ve begun Insurrection by Dan Abnett and Colin MacNeil. I’m a huge fan of Dan Abnett and I like that this one is set in the Judge Dredd universe but I don’t believe he appears in it. So far I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to really getting stuck in over the next couple of days.

Book Review: In Ashes Born by Nathan Lowell

I’ve listened to all six preceding stories of the life of our protagonist Ishmael Wong and I have pretty much loved each one.

With Nathan Lowell’s handling of these books I know I’m getting a quality story. What makes them really stunningly crafted is the fact that rarely does something hugely dramatic happen. In Ashes Born is no different. It’s just the next part of Ishmael Wong’s life and I was hanging on every word! In another writers hands none of these stories would work. Lowell keeps the same pace, tone, and quality of the previous six novels.

This is a solid continuation of this story, and I am looking forward to the next chapter in the life of Ishmael Wong.

I will just say I was worried about having someone other than Nathan Lowell narrate this universe, but Jeffrey Kafer got it absolutely bang on perfect!

Book Review: Fur by Matthew Cash

Fur tells the story of a group of pensioners who have their worlds turned upside down by a revelation that one of their number isn’t what they seem.

This book I really enjoyed. There is a pretty broad group of characters that have their own identities and motivations. The core group of senior citizens pretty much all have something about them that made me like them, with one exception. That one exception, causes their lives in a small town to change massively and the journey Matthew Cash takes is on with them is at times hard to take, infuriating at others, and heart warming in places. I felt the love many characters had for each other, even in some unexpected cases.

I couldn’t guess how it was going to end, and even as it was coming to its conclusion I still couldn’t peg how Matthew Cash was going to wrap it all up. I like how he did, even with part of it coming out of the blue somewhat.

Please check Fur by Matthew Cash out. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Thomas Bestwick. Bestwick did a fantastic job with a narration that had multiple accents in as well as getting some real heart and emotion into the sorry as a whole.

I’d also recommend reading the prequel story Werwolf also by Matthew Cash. You can see my review for it here.

Book Review: King’s Justice by Maurice Broaddus

I’m liking this world that Maurice Broaddus has created here. I like how he’s weaving the myth into this world, it’s very finely done which works well and is nice to see.

The characters have some good depth to them, you get the feeling that each one really does have an agenda they’re trying to push.

I’ll definitely be checking out the final book in the trilogy in the near future.

Book Review: Dark Hollow by Brian Keene

Wow, Dark Hollow blew me away! My favourite Brian Keene story so far. I liked the characters, they felt very real and like they really were friends. The way Keene fleshed them all out was really impressive, even Big Steve the dog had an amazing character and story arch.

Having the characters so well fleshed out made it a hard listen when it all hit the fan. The ending had me chocked up with teary eyes.

Chet Williamson’s narration only added to making these characters real.

Book Review: Ghoul by Brian Keene

Ghoul both struck at the heartstrings and made my skin crawl!

Keene gives a story of three young friends who are trying to deal with leaving childhood and on the cusp of being teenagers and what the world around them is really like.

Each one of these lads has their own demons they are living with and to make matters worse something ancient has woken up in the middle of their summer break.

Brian Keene really does pull out an ace of a story here. I felt for these three boys each step of the way. Some elements reminded me of my own childhood of making camps with friends and biking through fields. Thankfully I never had to deal with anything these kids did.

A fantastic book, that is done justice by Chet Williamson’s narration.