Let’s Talk about #Books

It’s been a busy year for authors and I am no exception.

Whilst busily writing a compilation of new stories, I can proudly boast that I have probably read more books than ever before in 2018. It’s good to discover new authors and all the while I’ve been devouring books, I’ve been developing my own writing skills along the way.

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Before I list my favourites though, I’ll make one announcement. My debut novel, Beginnings is now permafree on all ebook platforms. Not a time limited promotion. It really is FREE. After a thrilling blog tour in January I read enough positive reviews to realise Beginnings had potential, so for anyone who fancies a dark thriller set in London’s criminal underworld of the 1970s, go download a free copy now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook), Kobo, Apple i-Books, Playster, Scribd or 24 symbols.

But without further ado, I will now list the books I most enjoyed throughout the year; let’s just say that these are the stories that stayed with me long after I finished them.

Six StoriesSix Stories by Matt Wesolowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Most books I read build up to a momentous storyline. In this book however, that ‘event’ has already happened. The beauty in the story telling is in the unravelling to discover what actually DID happen. A mystery retold through the interview podcasts of an investigative journalist.

I will add that this book was so good, with such amazing insights into the human psyche and teenage dynamics, I listened it on audio book too!

See more of this review

The Towers: DS Connolly - Book One (East End Noir Series)The Towers: DS Connolly – Book One by Natalie Hames
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the moment I started reading this I got straight into it the plot. It was fast, gripping with some really compelling characters. The main storyline involves two brothers, one who is easily led, the other more feisty and determined to stand up against bullies. This novel depicts the true predator and prey environment of people forced to live in high rise tower blocks; a story of conflict, organised crime and fighting for the underdog.

I really enjoyed this so much, I read the whole series back to back.

See review

Billie JoBillie Jo by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard lots about this author and this book was great. The characters felt so real they almost leapt off the page and combined with an amusing East End dialect throughout, it was a pleasure to read. I would describe it not as a gangland thriller, but a deeply moving story in a gangland setting. The central character, Billie Jo is one I really came to care about, with scenes that stirred my emotions.

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Silent VictimSilent Victim by Caroline Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last year I read ‘Witness’ which blew me away. Once again, Caroline’s writing skill comes beaming out of the pages with every chapter. It shook me to the core with its intense plot and intricately woven characters.
The concept of grooming can be a harrowing topic but it is handled sensitively, intelligently from the perspectives of both victim and sexual predator.

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I See YouI See You by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Clare’s first book ‘I Let You Go’ immensely though the domestic abuse left me chilled. This book on the other hand, ticked so many boxes. For a start, I love the setting of the London Underground (having researched it myself for scenes of suspense) so I felt right at home. For me, this was a suspenseful thriller that reeled me in and had me gripped to the end.

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The Purrfect Pet Sitter: A heartwarming romantic comedy, filled with friendship and loveThe Purrfect Pet Sitter: A heartwarming romantic comedy, filled with friendship and love by Carol Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was saving this for my holiday and so pleased I did. It turned out to be a great choice, filled with romance, laugh out loud humour, lots of amusing animal/pet sitter anecdotes, and a heartwarming friendship.

I am so pleased I saved this for my holiday, a perfect companion to enjoy whilst lazing by the pool in the sun and sipping cocktails!

See more of this review

Some others I would recommend:

Ranter's WharfRanter’s Wharf by Rosemary Noble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This stirring tale of ordinary folk set in 17th C Lincolnshire is passionate, inspiring and a joy to read. It tells of the struggles of a rural community and the various reforms which control their lives.

This book portrays many human emotions from jealousy, love, anger, fear and compassion, it is well researched and beautifully told and I learned an interesting piece of history as well.

Connectedness (Identity Detective Book 2)Connectedness by Sandra Danby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An intriguing story on many levels. This is the story of an artist, whose past is filled with trauma. In between the modern day setting is an underlying story set in Malaga, with beautiful descriptions that capture the essence of Spain.

Another YouAnother You by Jane Cable
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mystery suspense interwoven with interesting war-time history in an atmospheric Dorset setting. The emotions of love, hate and passion weave their way around this cleverly written novel, a very good book overall with spooky undertones.

Everybody's SomebodyEverybody’s Somebody by Beryl Kingston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Atmospheric, beautifully written with characters who feel like real people. From the day Rosie starts work in domestic service aged twelve her eyes are opened to the harshness of life. A moving tale of love, loss and heartache, coupled with the horrors of World War I. Very thought provoking read so far and I have yet to finish it.

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So those are my top ten for now. I chose them as much for the author’s skilful writing, as well as the characters and plot and have much to learn from these fine authors.

Next year I hope to bring out a new book of my own. Currently titled Rosebrook Chronicles (The Hidden Stories), these are very character driven stories and quite different from my thriller series. Next month I hope to publish a synopsis and perhaps a cover reveal but there is much work to be done yet!

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About Helen J. Christmas

I am an English author and have written a series of novels, titled 'Same Face Different Place. Beginnings is a gangland thriller set in the criminal underworld of 1970s London. The second Book 'Visions' is a psychological thriller, set in Kent; a mystery that ensnares the owners of an historic, English Country House. Book 3 Pleasures contains suspense, thrills and YA romance, set in a backdrop of organised crime and at the advent of the British rave culture. There are 2 final books in the series, Retribution (Phase One) and Retribution (End Game) where the saga reaches its dramatic conclusion.
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4 Responses to Let’s Talk about #Books

  1. carolthomasauthor says:

    Wow, I am delighted to see The Purrfect Pet Sitter listed here, thank you, Helen. xx

  2. Angela Petch says:

    Lovely to see a fellow Chindean in your favourite lists – and your comment about reading a lot to improve one’s writing is SO true.

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