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

 

 

 

 

Zero Words Saturday

Yesterday I wrote nothing aside from a few random notes for different projects. Saturdays are quite often a miss day for me when it comes to writing. Between work, cleaning out the henhouse, going out or staying in and blitzing a few movies or a boxset I just don’t seem to be able to get myself into a mindset to write on a Saturday. As I think about it I really need to do something about that. In On Writing by Stephen King, King says that he writes every day and that is something that I’m working on. Even if I can just write 250 words (my daily minimum) then that is words written.

On to today though. This morning, in about fifteen minutes, I’ll be off down to Owen’s so we can go through The Space Watch re-write outline. We’ve also got to skim through some Beta Readers note on two short stories from this universe as well. Then I’m going to get that minimum word count done for the day and then I’d like to say I’ll be starting the next draft of last years NaNoWriMo, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. I think It’s more likely I’ll start the early outlining process for what could be the next story after The Space Watch.

A story idea that has been circling my grey matter is one which I was using as a bit of a frustration exercise where I was writing my frustrations with a few of life’s elements into this story. My friend and writing partner Chrystalyn recommended it, but after a few thousand words the story sizzled out and I left it. It’s coming back though, I’m seeing ways to expand it, I’m seeing more of the characters and the background setting its in. I’m at the point now where I think I’m going to have to create a file to be putting notes in. I’m thinking this’ll be my second to next solo piece I work on.

That’s me done rambling for now. I’m not proof reading this as I haven’t got time, so feel free to point out the typos, and have a great day everyone!

What I’m Reading: 4/3/16

Last night I finished reading The Man In The High Castle by Phillip K. Dick. Overall I liked it a lot; the plot was very subtly woven into the lives of the characters. The universe building was done much the same way; everything that Dick needed to get across to the reader was done through the characters.

There’s obviously a lot more to the story than I’ve written so far, but its a story where I think I’m going to be thinking it over for a while. There’s so much going on in it that I don’t think I’ve quite got a handle on yet. I’m thinking about getting it as an audiobook so I can go through it again.

Speaking of audiobooks I’ve just started listening to The Dark Tower, the final book of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’m really eager to see how King finishes this series. I’ve got a few ideas of how it is going to end; but seeing that it’s a book by Stephen King, and it’s his Dark Tower series then anything is game.

I’ve not got stuck into Deadpool and Cable just yet, but I’m going to try and get into this coming week.

I’ve now got the hard decision of choosing what book to read next. I’m prioritising the books that I got at DemonCon a few weeks ago, but I’m not sure what I’ll go for first. If I’m honest It’ll probably be one of the Dan Abnett ones, but I haven’t decided yet.

 

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What I’m Reading

I haven’t spoken much about what I’ve been reading much in the last few months so I thought I’d write a quick post about what I am reading or listening to at the moment.

At any one time I’m reading a novel, a comic book, and listening to an audio book. The novel I’m reading at the moment is The Man In The High Castle by Phillip K. Dick. This book has been on my bookshelf for a couple of years now but I’ve only just now gotten round to reading it. One of those reasons is that It’s been adapted for a TV show that I really want to watch, but in these cases I always try to read the book that’s been adapted first. So far I’m liking what I’m reading. It’s the first Phillip K. Dick book I’ve read and I can see why people like his work so much. His story telling, in this book at least, is really quite discreet and it doesn’t feel like he’s telling a larger story. At the moment it’s more individual storylines but with a bigger storyline being teased in the background.

The comic I’m reading is Bitch Planet: Book One by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro. This is a really interesting comic book. I’m liking how the world is set up and how the story is being built up. The artwork is pretty cool as well. I’m about halfway through this and I’m looking forward to seeing how this first one wraps up.

And finally, the audiobook I’m listening  to is Song Of Susannah: The Dark Tower Book Six by Stephen King and read by George Guidall. This is a series which is taking some fascinating turns and I’m trying to power through quickly so I can get to the end and see how it all wraps up.


  

What I Want To Read In 2015

I didn’t read any where near enough last year. I can think of a half a dozen books that I really wanted to read but just didn’t get around to (Wool, Pandemic, Feed, The Man in the High Castle, Soul Asylum and The Earthsea Quartet). Those are just the ones off the top of my head. Lets add in some shorter pieces by Dan Abnett (set in his Gaunt’s Ghosts series) and J.C. Hutchins novella series, The 33.
Then I’ve got novels by Justin R. Macumber, Terry Mixon, Paul E. Cooley, Armand Rosamillia, Mimi Black and Christopher Stocking. (Dan Abnett also has a full length Gaunt’s Ghosts novel out this year too, yes I’m excited!).
I’d also like to read the second Lincoln Rhyme book, The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver and the first Harry Potter book read early on this year as well.
I’d really like to get start on the fourth Dark Tower book as I finished the third recently, but as it’s taking me a while to get through this series by Stephen King I’m a little reluctant to make a start on Wizard and Glass while I’ve got so many other books that I’m itching to read. That said, if I get through enough by the mid-point of the year then I may dive into it. I was thinking about giving it a go as an audiobook but these Dark Tower books seem so complex I’m not sure I’ll absorb them as much as I would do if I read them. I am a big fan of audiobooks, but I do miss the odd thing while listening (interruptions while at work) and also, I’ve read the previous three books and I think it’ll feel weird not reading the other four.

These are all books I’ve already got, either on my bookshelf or on my Kindle app or my iBooks app.

I will be listening to a lot of audiobooks this year as well. I’ve got eight or nine in my Audible library already.

I’ve set a Goodreads target of 60 books this year. With the audiobooks, comic books and the shorter pieces I’m planning on reading I think I’ll manage that. If I’m well ahead of target early on I may increase it but I’ll see how I’m doing.

Good Morning Tuesday

I was off out doing a little christmas shopping last night, so by the time I got home and sorted out it was 9pm that I started writing. Hitting that minimum of a 1000 words a day was hard last night but I still managed it.
Just a few months ago I wouldn’t have written at all, I would have just got home and put my feet up thinking that I’ll just carry on tomorrow(today) and put my feet up for what was left of the evening.
I’m trying to get some writing done every day. Stephen King says in his book On Writing that he writes everyday, regardless of what the day is. That’s a habit and mentality that I’m trying to stamp into myself. Even with the Christmas season coming this is something I’m going to do. If I can easily make an hour to write on a busy day like it was yesterday then I can sneak off for a cheeky hour on Christmas day to get some words written.

Speaking of being busy, I’d better log out and go and get ready for the day job. What ever you’re all doing today I hope you’re productive and successful.