Tuesday, 11 December 2018

My Top 10 Reads for 2018

By Iola Goulton @iolagoulton



What are your Top Ten Reads for 2018?

Every year I volunteer to write a Top Ten post ... and every year I regret it. How can I possibly condense a year of reading into ten books? Last year I decided to cheat a little, and posted only my top ten contemporary Christian romance reads.

I'm cheating again this year. I've already posted my five favourite new-to-me authors, and my top five romance read. So today's post (which is cross-posted on my website) is my top ten Christian reads, excluding romance.

Strategem by Robin Carroll


An excellent thriller with a unique hook: a woman dies playing an escape room-type game designed by her husband, which makes him the prime suspect. He didn't do it, so who did?

Click here to read my review.




Shadows of Hope by Georgiana Daniels


An infertile woman working in a pregnancy support clinic is counselling the woman pregnant to her unfaithful husband ... only none of them know it. A gripping novel which explores those problem areas where there are no right answers.

Click here to read my review.

Grace in the Shadows by Christine Dillon

Grace in the Shadows is a poignant and thought-provoking novel from Australian author and missionary Christine Dillon, one that is designed to challenge our thinking at the same time as giving us a good story with great characters.

Click here to read a review by Fiction Aficionado.



Life After by Katie Ganshert


What would you do if you were the sole survivor of a train accident that killed twenty-two people ... but you can't remember it? That's the premise of this gripping and emotional novel.

Click here to read my review.

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrell


The recipient of a heart transplant meets the donor family, and is challenged to get out and live the life she has been gifted ... by ticking off the donor's bucket list, the 24 things she didn't get to do before she died.

Click here to read my review.



Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson



A powerful dual-timeline stories connecting a rare book, a second-hand bookstore, and pre-World War II Austria as Hitler comes to power and begins his persecution of the Jews. Plenty of twists and tragedy.

Click here to read my review.

Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

Charles Martin novels always pack an emotional punch, and send down the rain is no exception. Yes, there's a slow build, but the payoff is more than worth it in this exploration of love, loyalty, and family, a story of sacrifice and second chances.

Click here to read my review.



No Less Days by Amanda G Stevens

David Galloway can't died. He's tried, but he can't. He's always thought he was alone, but he's watching TV one day and realises that he isn't alone ... Yes, No Less Days isn't your typical Christian fiction. It's more like Forever meets Highlander, part science fiction and part urban fantasy.

Click here to read my review.

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Savannah's husband of twenty years has left her for another woman, the children are in boarding school and college and don't need her, so she does what any sensible woman would do: she runs away. It's a tough yet touching story about what women do when life disappears.

Click here to read my review.



Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate


I seem not to have reviewed this (probably because I bought it, and I'd already filled my reviewing schedule with review copies). It's a dual timeline story, with the past timeline telling the story of a family that is broken when the five children are stolen, shipped off to an orphanage, and adopted out. It's a compelling story, made all the more compelling and horrifying by the knowledge it's based on the real-life scandal of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society.

Conclusion

As I was compiling this post, I realised what all these novels have in common: a great hook.

Yes, they all also have great characters, a strong plot, and excellent writing, but so did a lot of the novels that didn't make the list. These are the novels that have lived in my memory long past reading them and writing the review ... and that's because of the hook.

Characters placed in unusual and often difficult situations, and being forced to work through issues and problems most of us will never face. Because that's the attraction of fiction: the way story can teach us how to deal with things in the real world.

So what's the hook for your work in progress? What challenges do you give your characters?

What about you? What are some of the best novels you've read this year? Do your choices have a theme, like mine did?


About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and currently works as a freelance editor. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, two teenagers and one cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

2 comments:

  1. Thrilled to make your list. I see a few more on here that I need to read. I'm hoping that I'll actually have ten for my list this year.

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  2. I don't know how you can manage to pick favourites from all the books you read in a year, Iola! I think they would begin to blur together for me - I have a terrible memory like that.

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