The Annual Bookend: Volume 2 (2019)

28 December 2019
The Annual Bookend: Volume 2 (2019) Book Cover The Annual Bookend: Volume 2 (2019)
Annual Review
Peter Donnelly
The Reading Desk
December 28, 2019

This year I set a few goals alongside the general book tally challenge of 100 books. I wanted to read at least two self-published/Indie authors every month, so I can give a little feedback and exposure to authors that need our help. I also wanted to read a wide variety of genres and I’ve managed to include; literary fiction, historical fiction, women’s fiction, crime murder mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, horror, humour, young adult, middle grade, poetry, short stories, flash fiction, memoirs, business, and nonfiction science and history. I’ve loved them all!

Here is a shortlist of my favourite fifteen books of 2019

Olive, Again – Elizabeth Strout @lizstrout
Elizabeth Strout returns after 11 years with her sequel to Olive Kitteridge with another 5 star novel and a book set to reach best-seller status. Olive is one of the most perfectly defined characters in literature.

All the Rage – Cara Hunter @CaraHunterBooks
Cara Hunter publishes her second book of the year with the fourth instalment of the DI Adam Fawley series. One of my favourite police procedural that is so cleverly structured.

The Line Between – Tosca Lee @ToscaLee
This book surprised the hell out of me and it quickly became a favourite with our team. Mixing a cult backdrop with a doomsday scenario was brilliantly delivered by Tocsa Lee.

Whisper Man – Alex North @writer_north
Many consider this debut novel from Alex North to be the best thriller of the year. It certainly is a dark, gripping story that will hit bestseller status.

Gifts of the Dead – Joan Schweighardt @joanschwei
A wonderful book of historical fiction that created a plot and world that I didn’t want to leave.

Catch the Moon, Mary – Wendy Waters @wa_waters
This is a special book that is heaven sent and mixes fantasy with deep meaning that is just awesome. How can music help in the most difficult of circumstances.

I Looked Away – Jane Corry @JaneCorryAuthor
My favourite Jane Corry book that was amazing and caused us to think about so many issues in our society. Full of suspense, guilt and fear.

Black Summer – Mike Craven @MWCravenUK
Mike Craven’s second book in his detective partnership of Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw – an amazing partnership filled with suspense and humour.

Night Boat to Tangier – Kevin Barry
The beautiful poetic writing of Kevin Barry is a joy to read in this story packed with atmosphere, observation and reflection.

The Devil Aspect – Craig Russell @TheCraigRussell
I loved this mix of a psychological thriller, horror tones and the historical setting of Czechoslovakia at the dawn of the second world war.

The Lives Before Us – Juliet Conlin @JulietConlin
A fantastic story that told of love and friendships in the direst circumstances of Jewish people fleeing Nazi Germany to Shanghai at the beginning of WWII. Shocking, merciless and inspiring.

The Wait for Shadows – Karl Holton @KarlHolton
The second book of the Shadow Series was totally enthralling and builds a unique puzzling thriller with an excellent set of characters and devious plotting.

The Corpse Played Dead – Georgina Clarke @clarkegeorgina1
The second book in Georgina Clarke’s historical fiction series, sees Lizzie Hardwicke, the most unsuspecting sleuth in 1759 London, steal the show in a story full of atmosphere.

Three Hours – Rosamund Lupton @Rosamundlupton
A sensitive and absorbing story of a school campus held hostage by a gunman that is so delicately and tensely written, it was just mesmerising. Rosamund Lupton at her best.

Little Lovely Things – Maureen Joyce Connolly @MConnollyAuthor
Every parent’s nightmare comes true when two children are abducted and the frantic search to find them before the worst happens. Unique, tense and terrifying.

If there are books on the list you haven’t read, I can only say that I would highly recommend them. I’m also delighted to say there is a mix of traditionally published and self-published authors on the list.

I have met so many book friends online that have inspired me, encouraged me and made me laugh, often out loud. The capacity to share book thoughts and recommendations through our site and social media is amazing, and the capability of so many readers and writers to devour books and provide insightful reviews and entertaining material is mind-blowing. I bow to you all and thank you for sharing your works and reading experience with us.

I am also thankful and feel quite privileged that many authors and many of the great publishing houses have engaged with us directly and provided incredible feedback that The Reading Desk is providing a professional and necessary service.

May the new decade bring you all health, joy and friendship, and many many 5 star books to keep us captivated and enthralled. Guí maith.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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