Hello and thanks for stopping by to take a look at my TOP TEN Fiction Reads of 2018.
AS this will be a little too lengthy for one post, I’ll be sharing it in two parts. Today I’m delighted to share with you Numbers 10 thru 6. Tomorrow I’ll share the Top Five.
It was such a difficult task selecting My Ten Favorite Fiction Reads of 2018. I have read and reviewed many books in this rapidly disappearing year. I select my reads from diverse places. Yet it doesn’t surprise me at all that many of those I ranked in my top ten Indie-books of the year are to be found at Rave Reviews Book Club. Why? Because the standard of excellence of each book is outstanding. That is what I’ve come to expect with each book I purchase. The reviews are always honest and constructive.
What is the X Factor for me? Ah! For me it’s that shining place outside of myself, a wonderous reality that some authors take you to as willing captives. A place where the story has me so utterly committed to it that putting it down would be followed by a rebellion against my need for sleep.
It’s when an authors words linger in your memory in a voice you could clearly hear as their characters voices.
It’s those pristine moments when you find yourself invested in the outcome of the journey.
It’s when ALL of your senses become heightened, it’s when the pleasure of reading it comes to an end, and you feel richer for having read it, yet bereaved by its absence.
That’s MY X-Factor.
Counting down from
Number 10: Slivers of Life by Beem Weeks.
These twenty short stories are a peek into individual lives caught up in spectacular moments in time. Children, teens, mothers, and the elderly each have stories to share. Readers witness tragedy and fulfillment, love and hate, loss and renewal. Historical events become backdrops in the lives of ordinary people, those souls forgotten with the passage of time. Beem Weeks tackles diverse issues running the gamut from Alzheimer’s disease to civil rights, abandonment to abuse, from young love to the death of a child. Long-hidden secrets and notions of revenge unfold at the promptings of rich and realistic characters; plot lines often lead readers into strange and dark corners. Within Slivers of Life, Weeks proves that everybody has a story to tell—and no two are ever exactly alike.
My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Beautifully captured moments in time. A must read.
Moods of darkness and light within these pages take the reader on an emotional roller coaster. Author Beem Weeks first captured my attention with “Jazz Baby” a full-length novel which introduced me to his marvelous and gritty writing style.
“Slivers Of Life” grabbed my attention from paragraph one and held it throughout. This collection is at times devastatingly honest in its portrayal of man’s ability to disown some emotions and replace them with a more acceptable truth.
Author Beem Weeks has crafted tales reflective at times on the outcome of human disinterest and a thirst for vengeance, or the craving for a connection to each other that humankind needs … and he has done it beautifully.
His innate ability to hear every nuance of spoken dialogue and reproduce it so well is his gift to us as readers.
These stories touched me, they evoked thoughts and remembered feelings so strongly that I was saddened when the collection reached its end. That for me is the X Factor! That intangible something that will have me reading and re-reading Slivers of Life for the pleasure it brings and the questions I ask myself when it’s done.
Contact Beem Weeks:
NUMBER 9: The Convict and The Rose by Jan Sikes.
Award winning Biographical/Fiction sequel to Flowers and Stone. Luke and Darlina find their love severely tested as they struggle to overcome enormous odds.
When Texas veteran musician, Luke Stone, finds himself behind bars with a seventy-five-year sentence, he is filled with hate, anger, and rebelliousness. He’s lost everything that he treasures, including the woman who holds his heart.
How has it come down to this? He’s spent his entire life writing songs and making music, filling dance halls and bars from Texas to California. But, when he refuses to tell the FBI what he knows about certain bank robberies that he possesses knowledge of, they make sure he pays dearly.
Broken and alone, in a prison of her own, Darlina Flowers struggles to find a way to live without the man she loves so completely.
Over the next sixteen years, Luke and Darlina each search for ways to somehow survive the fate life has hurled them into.
In an effort to dull the pain of living with only half a heart, Darlina gets involved in drugs, then follows a guru and tries different relationships, but nothing fills the void.
Several years pass before Luke makes up his mind that prison will not break him. He crawls up from the bottom one tiny step at a time, determined to be and do something worthwhile and discovers artistic talents he never realized he had.
The Convict and the Rose inspires hope and shows how anyone can turn a negative dark situation into a positive one. But more importantly, the story portrays a love that goes beyond earthly confines and proves how persistence and faith come with their own sweet reward.
Join Luke and Darlina as they continue their epic journey with love as their constant North Star and freedom as the driving force.
MY REVIEW:🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Some books reach in and take your soul into their keeping. This book is one of them.
I have read and reviewed Flowers and Stone and was delighted to do both. The book lingered in my memory long after I completed reading.
Some books reach in and take your soul into their keeping. Flowers and Stone was one … and The Convict and The Rose has captured me again.
This journey towards growth and a deeper understanding is one very special reading experience.
The anguished struggle of two-fallible, and all too human people as life hands out its own deranged sense of justice is at times painful to read.
This book provoked anger, sadness and a deep sense of empathy in me. It in turn delighted me, and made me cry, and then continued to invade my senses long after the ending.
There is a depth of love between these two damaged souls that defies the limitations of time.
The drug abuse is a road many of us have taken in times of the darkest despair, the struggle to overcome it and move clearly distant is an epic one, as is the final understanding of the violent reactions of Luke to his imprisonment.
Life knocked these valiant people to the ground again and again. BUT they didn’t stay down for the count.
It takes guts to do that, and to keep right on doing it.
We are permitted to glimpse inside their darkness and anguish …and grow with them as the love and faith that they share takes them from that darkness and into the warmth and the light.
A wonderful, moving and intensely memorable story of love!
Facebook: Author Jan Sikes Books
NUMBER 8: Into Spring by Larry Langraff.
“Into Spring: The Next Generation (Four Seasons Book 2) by Larry Landgraf @riverrmann
Twenty years after Into Autumn, Sean and Robbie leave Peaceful Valley for Corpus Christi, hoping to find women who will join their fiercely protective group back home. What they find is a fight to survive the violent dictatorship of ruthless Sandra Hawkins. Meanwhile, a new family joins the group in the Valley, except that what seems like a safe addition might bring the worst kinds of change. Into Spring continues the Four Seasons saga about building a new life in Texas after the collapse of civilization.
MY REVIEW of “INTO SPRING”
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Larry Landgraf delivers again with a story both complex and fascinating.
I was eager to begin reading “Into Spring” having read and enjoyed the first book in this series so much. There are times when the next book in a series can let me down. This is NOT one of those times.
Larry Landgraf delivers again with a story both complex and fascinating.
‘Into Spring” picks up the story twenty years after the ending of book 1.
Society had already broken down irreparably. Long-held belief systems suffer at the hands of a cruel fate, in a place that has no room left for dreams. Survival is the paramount purpose of the character’s existence.
The male children introduced in book 1 learn fast that the survival of not only themselves but their species is dependent on the availability of females to carry the next generation.
Robbie and Sean are both afraid and excited when they leave the familiarity of Peaceful Valley behind them. They have hope, good instincts and the vague imaginings of what life may turn out to be with a female to share it with.
Corpus Christe beckoned. Nothing in Robbie and Sean’s experiences of life could have prepared them for the nightmare that followed.
Author Larry Landgraf enriches his writing with well-developed characters that the reader may empathize with … and still other characters that I learned to loathe as they displayed their loss of humanity.
This series has me hooked. I recommend it to anyone that enjoys a well-written journey into a darker vision of our future.
NUMBER 7: The Neon Houses by Linda Mims @Boom_Lyn
Murder, mayhem and suspense abound in this action packed page-turner set in 2087 Chicago. Our heroine, Dr. Noel Kennedy hears screams inside her head. They are the screams of her young friend, 20-year-old Zarah Fisher. She’s miles away and screaming for her life!
Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath because Noel has a secret that not even her husband, handsome mayoral aide, Richard Kennedy, shares.
As the youngest Deputy Chief of Schools of Gang Territory, Noel has perfected her life. She is a solid, middle-class citizen from New Chicago, Incorporated. New Chicago and Gang Territory have become vastly different societies since the early Urban Wars. Now, year 2087 finds New Chicago’s military-trained police determined to enforce laws that keep “gang people” out.
Harlem Pierce, a New Chicago police detective, has been warned to stay away from Zarah Fisher’s murder investigation and he urges Noel to let it go, too. But a new killing involves Noel’s cousin and her boyfriend and links Noel to it in a startling way.
Who can Noel trust? Should she turn to Warren Simpson—the menacing, treacherous boss of Gang Territory? Or … could he be the killer?
If you like flying cars, robots, androids, dystopia and utopia mixed in with your thriller then this is the story for you!
MY REVIEW:🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 A delightful read that any lover of Dystopian & Paranormal fiction is certain to enjoy.
Finding a book that blends the genre’s of Dystopian/Paranormal and Thriller together is rare enough, finding one as well written as this one most assuredly is pure delight for an avid reader such as myself.
Author Linda Mims has woven intricate threads throughout this book, luring the reader down one path and suddenly throwing a curveball that was not anticipated, keeping me relentlessly turning pages right from the first chapter.
Although set in a Chicago of the future time of 2087 this book is highly relevant right now, if we are honest about the monstrous differences our world already permits to exist between those that ‘Have’ and those that ‘Have Not”.
I rate the believability factor into my enjoyment of reading any book. Everything this author has created within these pages it utterly plausible and as such believable.
From protagonist Dr. Noel Kennedy’s strong, resilient, and determined persona, to the convincingly portrayed streets of the ‘Gang Territory’ this talented author weaves a tantalizing scenario.
All the characters portrayed here are multi-dimensional, they are each flawed by the lives they have had no choice but to live.
There are many characters to meet along this journey, but the author has done a remarkable job with each of them, one of my personal favorites is the treacherous Warren Simpson, head of ‘Gang Territory’ his presence is menacing, threatening, and decidedly dangerous.
The many plot threads are handled well and the book is not difficult to follow. I loved being constantly surprised by a character’s actions.
A delightful read that any lover of Dystopian & Paranormal fiction is certain to enjoy.
NUMBER 6: Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree @Lizzie_Chantree
BOOK REVIEW: “Ninja School Mum” by Lizzie Chantree
Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.
Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.
Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?
When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.
MY REVIEW: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Utterly captivating and intensely readable!
I believe we are all a little wary of stepping outside our usual reading comfort zone. I wasn’t certain what to expect when I sat down to read this book.
What I found within its pages was pure entertainment. Author Lizzie Chantree has gifted the reader with some marvelous characterizations.
The stand out for me was Skye. I love strong female characters, especially those who stand tall and fight back. Skye is a wonderfully blended character. The author has woven her with a fine hand and a keen observation of human behavior. Skye has a delicious sense of humor and times of intense tenderness. I fell for the character totally.
This author has introduced us to the others such a Thea and Zack, and allowed us to both visualize and hear them. A perfect example of, show … don’t tell.
I laughed often during this read, only to find myself suddenly thrust into a world where survival comes at a cost.
The twist caught me unprepared! That in itself made the book worth reading.
Author Lizzie Chantree has a winning combination in this her latest book.
I found it utterly captivating and intensely readable.
LINKS TO THE BOOK AND THE AUTHOR.