Top Eleven Reads of 2019 – An amazing reading year of reading. #FavouriteReadsof2019

It is never easy to pick a favourite list of books read during any year, but this year it has been particularly hard. I have been incredibly lucky to read some stunning novels as shown by my favourite reads series of 2019 that have been published on Booksaremycwtches throughout December.

Those posts reflects all the books I have read this year and loved, so why not look them up?

But it is a tradition I like to keep up and so here is my top eleven reads of 2019.





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Favourite Book Series of 2019 – Soho Noir series by T J Hunter #SohoNoir #LGBT+

I just had to do a special one off favourite reads of 2019, for the best series of books I have read in quite some time.

The Soho Noir series is stunning.

It features a wonderful cast of LGBT+ characters.

It has been written by an author of immense talent.

The stories are funny, emotional and are exciting.

Set during the 1980s they reflect the style of the period and give a voice to LGBT community of the time.

Everyone should read them.  EVERYONE.



It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town where Joe and Chris grew up.
When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as just another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.
Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?
A noirish whodunnit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.



It’s the summer of 1985 in London’s Soho, and Joe Stone is settling into his new life living in the heart of London’s developing gay scene.
When Danny Devraux—the compère they’ve hired to host their charity ball, The Frock Show—is found dead backstage, it falls to Joe and his friend and flatmate, Russell, to figure out what happened.
All they have to go on is a broken stiletto found near the scene, and the briefest glimpse of a mystery woman fleeing the club. But who was she? And why did she kill the most loved man in cabaret?
Past secrets, bent coppers, drag queens and old lovers all play their part in this noir murder mystery, set in the 1980s.



It’s 1986, and Adam Cave, lead singer of the pop sensation Loose Lips, is struggling to stay in the closet, especially as his group is going through a messy split, and media speculation about the reasons behind the break up are high.
Joe Stone has been assigned to Adam as a runner for the behind-the-scenes, warts and all expose of the recording of the band’s last album, and an unlikely friendship begins to form.
But when the band’s manager, Jack Eddy, is found dead in Adam’s hotel room in what looks like a sex game gone wrong, Joe turns to his flatmate, Russell, to help him clear the pop star’s name, and keep his secret.
Russell, meanwhile, has a secret of his own—he’s just been for a test, the results of which may change his life forever.



It’s 1987, and Soho is in the grip of another hot summer. While working part-time in The Red Lion, Joe finds himself agreeing to help a notorious gangster search for her missing girlfriend.
Antonia The Gecko Lagorio is daughter to the ruthless but ageing gang boss, Tony The Lizard Lagorio. When her girlfriend, Charlotte Fenwick, goes missing, Antonia turns to Joe for help, believing her to have been kidnapped by a rival gang.
Charlotte Fenwick is daughter to multi-millionaire, Charles Fenwick—who also happens to be one of Freddie Gillespie’s bigger clients. Keen to keep any hint of a scandal out of the public eye, Charles Fenwick had already asked Freddie to recruit Russell and Joe to help him find his daughter discreetly.
With both of them on the case, Joe and Russell find themselves trying to stop a turf war between the two rival gangs while uncovering all manner of dark secrets about the missing heiress and her troubled life.
Meanwhile Freddie Gillespie has a run in with an old foe that could see him lose both his job and his relationship with Russell.




It’s 1988. A mild summer after a turbulent political year for LGBT rights. While working as an assistant to a successful Theatre Director, Joe Stone finds himself unwittingly embroiled in another murder investigation.
Lexi Goode, a young, up and coming actress has her bright future cut short when she is found murdered in her exclusive top floor apartment in the posh end of Soho. Knowing that the police are as racist as they are homophobic, Joe and Russell inevitably take it on themselves to investigate what happened to the young woman.
Along the way they discover illicit liaisons, a string of admirers, a secret life that was helping to pay for the glamorous lifestyle no young actress should have been able to afford. But who would want to kill Lexi?
Finding the answer to that question puts Joe in mortal danger and a young police officer in an awkward position.




It’s Christmas Eve, 1988 and Russell and Joe are among the guests at a lavish party in a celebrity mansion in the heart of Soho.
Television presenter and national treasure, Nathan Bentley has a formidable reputation for legendary parties—with wall-to-wall celebrities, drink flowing, drugs, dancing, ill-tempered Cordon-Bleu chefs laying on the food and world famous musicians providing the entertainment. What could be better for a bunch of waifs and strays on Christmas Eve?
But when a body is found in the courtyard garden before the dessert has been served, questions begin to fly. Did he fall or was he pushed? And who of the many guests and hangers-on had either the means or motive for murder?
Hidden pasts and present jealousies all threaten to destroy a life carefully built in this festive crime caper set in the heart of London’s Soho.


Stay Mad Sweetheart by Heleen Kist #FavouriteReadsof2019



Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.
Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.
Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.
As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.
But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?


People often ask me why I still love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, citing it as portraying women in an age where they had such little power over their own lives? I was a teenager when I read it and fell in love with this determined brave heroine. Bronte had given us a female lead with an indomitable spirit, who courage knew no bounds. Stay Mad, Sweetheart especially in the female characters, gives us a engrossing thriller, with twists and turns that keep you reading, cheering them on, at the same time provides readers the same type of female character that Jane Eyre championed, determined, passionate and brave. It’s the type of literature I want my god daughters and niece to grow up and read, because it gives a voice to women that refuse to be silenced or side-lined and does it within an exciting, thrilling story.

About the author 


Throughout her life, Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, a feminist tale of revenge, out November 19th 2019.Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of insidious harassment and discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.
Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, ‘In Servitude’ won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.
A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.
Heleen hopes you enjoy her writing, and would love to hear from you on twitter (@hkist), Faceboook (@heleenkistauthor) or Goodreads. You can also sign up to her newsletter on


A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone #FavouriteReadof2019


Three generations of women from the Skelfs family take over the family funeral home and PI businesses in the first book of a taut, page-turning and darkly funny new series.


I can’t say a lot because I’m due to review this book as part of the blog tour in January, but having read it a few weeks ago, I couldn’t not include it in my favourite reads of 2019.

It is funny, touching, full of a stunning ensemble of female characters and seriously one of the best books I have read this year.

I can’t wait to publish my full review in January.

About the author 

Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His seventh novel, The Jump, was published by Faber & Faber in August 2015. Gone Again (2013) was an Amazon bestseller and Hit & Run (2012) and was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. Smokeheads (2011) was nominated for the Crimefest Last Laugh Award. Before that Doug published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008). His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

In September 2014 Doug took up the position of Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Doug was writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. Doug is currently also working on a number of screenplays for film and television. He is also a mentor and manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released two solo EPs, Keep it Afloat and I Did It Deliberately.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars.

He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. #FavouriteReadsof 2019

Nothing Important Cover

Nine suicides
One Cult
No leader
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.
How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?
A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.


It’s dark yes, its thrilling indeed, a thought provoking and provocative thriller, but what makes it different, is the place it took me as a reader! I was scared reading it! I normally avoid books that scare me, that force me to face my inner demons, that take me to dark places I would prefer to avoid. Nothing Important Happened Today took me to those places, it left me feeling shaken and chilled, it made me sit back and think, not many books do that.
It made for a read that will forever stay with me, that is so perplexing, so haunting, I may feel tormented by it forever. As A Song For Achilles will always be the book that broke my heart, this novel will always be the book that troubled me and that is a magnificent thing to say about any book. It made me feel and I adored it for that.

About the author 

Will Carver 2

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood #FavouriteReadsof2019


‘Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’
A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.
Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.
As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scrabble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…
The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.


The sense of atmosphere. Ross Greenwood gives us a story in The Snow Killer that feels threatening and claustrophic, by using a killer, who only attacks their victims when the city is blanketed by snow. It’s inhabitants trapped not only by the weather, but by a killer they can’t see and fearful of the next snowfall. It makes the story feel closed it, oppressive, chilling and as a reader that panic which simmers below the surface of the story, made me feel exposed and vulnerable. It made for a compelling read, one I refused to be torn away from, virtually consuming it in a few short days.

About the author


Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and he lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.
He found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually when things had gone wrong. It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. He still a little stunned by the pace of it now.
Fifty Years of Fear book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then after working in sales management all my life, he randomly spent four years as a prison officer. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave me the opportunity to finish the book as he unable to get back to sleep, completing it in the early morning hours.
He now written five further books. His second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by a publisher, and Lazy Blood is also out. All his books are thought provoking, and are told with a sense of humour.
The first three books are stand alone, however, some of the characters cross over, and you can see how at times, their lives overlap.
Abel’s Revenge is something a bit different. It’s a modern day love story set against the backdrop of an escalating serial killer. There’s a whodunnit element to it, and some smiles along the way.
Shadows of Regret was inspired by his time on the women’s side of the jail in Peterborough, and analyses the close relationship between victim and villain. You won’t have read a book like it.

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller. #FavouriteReadsof2019



One rainswept winter’s night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain’s disastrous campaign against Napoleon’s forces in Spain.
Gradually Lacroix recovers his health, but not his peace of mind. He will not – cannot – talk about the war or face the memory of what took place on the retreat to Corunna. After the command comes to return to his regiment, he lights out instead for the Hebrides, unaware that he has far worse to fear than being dragged back to the army: a vicious English corporal and a Spanish officer with secret orders are on his trail.
In luminous prose, Miller portrays a man shattered by what he has witnessed, on a journey that leads to unexpected friendships, even to love. But as the short northern summer reaches its zenith, the shadow of the enemy is creeping closer. Freedom, for John Lacroix, will come at a high price. Taut with suspense, this is an enthralling, deeply involving novel by one of Britain’s most acclaimed writers.


This novel is absolutely stunning. I felt an emotional connection that was quite affecting to Lacroix, who though is not perfect, comes across as kind and compassionate. All the characters are beautifully drawn, so well that the story feels like an ensemble of finely tuned personalities. Each gives to the drama a unique and powerful presence and they all in some way left an impression on me. The story though spanning over a more than one period of times flows seamlessly and is full of tension and you feel as if you are there in 1809 living the journey with them all, so perfect is the historical detail.

Superb and masterful.

About the author

Andrew Miller was born in Bristol in 1960. He has lived in Spain, Japan, Ireland and France, and currently lives in Somerset. His first novel, INGENIOUS PAIN, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour prize in Italy. He has since written five novels: CASANOVA, OXYGEN, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Booker Prize in 2001, THE OPTIMISTS, ONE MORNING LIKE A BIRD, and PURE, which won the Costa Book of the Year award in 2011. His most recent novel, THE CROSSING, was published by Sceptre in 2015.


The Edge Of The Orchard by Tracy Chevalier #FavouriteReadsof2019

Everyday through December I’m publishing a blog post with a short review of one of my favourite books of 2019. Then I will publish a post with my favourite top ten at the beginning of January.

Today it’s The Edge Of The Orchard by Tracy Chevalier 


In the inhospitable Black Swamp of Ohio, the Goodenough family are barely scratching out a living. Life there is harsh, tempered only by the apples they grow for eating and for the cider that dulls their pain. Hot-headed Sadie and buttoned-up James are a poor match, and Robert and his sister Martha can only watch helplessly as their parents tear each other apart. One particularly vicious fight sends Robert out alone across America, far from his sister, to seek his fortune among the mighty redwoods and sequoias of Gold Rush California. But even across a continent, he can feel the pull of family loyalties…


I admit this book had been on my bookshelf for quite some time. I’m not sure why, because I love the author’s writing, but recently I pulled it off the shelf and I loved it.  It is a remarkable tale about a family eking out a life in the Black Swamp of Ohio and the effect waring parents have on their young children. It is also a story about Robert who manages to escape this toxic environment. His life is one of adventure, but he never forgets where he was running from. Tracey Chevalier manages to capture the violence and claustrophobia of a marriage that becomes poisonous and the stunning landscape of Robert’s journey across America.

About the author 

Tracy is the author of 10 novels, including the international bestseller GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, which has sold over 5 million copies and been made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan #FavouriteReadsOf2019

Everyday through December I’m publishing a blog post with a short review of one of my favourite books of 2019. Then I will publish a post with my favourite top ten at the beginning of January.
Today it’s Washington Black by Esi Edugyan


When two English brothers take the helm of a Barbados sugar plantation, Washington Black – an eleven year-old field slave – finds himself selected as personal servant to one of these men. The eccentric Christopher ‘Titch’ Wilde is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor and abolitionist, whose single-minded pursuit of the perfect aerial machine mystifies all around him.
Titch’s idealistic plans are soon shattered and Washington finds himself in mortal danger. They escape the island together, but then then Titch disappears and Washington must make his way alone, following the promise of freedom further than he ever dreamed possible.
From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy wastes of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness and mystery of life. Inspired by a true story, Washington Black is the extraordinary tale of a world destroyed and made whole again.


The magical thing about this book, is that it is part adventure story and part, a tale about the search for freedom, even after the shackles of slavery have been escaped. It talks of how Washington Black taken away from the crippling cruelty of the plantation, still finds himself trapped by the damage slavery has done to him, so dependant on Titch the brother of the plantation owner, that he seems forever in search of the man that freed him. It is both moving, thrilling and a deeply telling tale of the devastation wrought by slavery on those it exploited.

About the author 

Esi Edugyan is a Canadian novelist. She has twice won the Giller Prize, for her novels Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black.


Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir #FavouriteReadsOf2019

Everyday through December I’m publishing a blog post with a short review of one of my favourite books of 2019. Then I will publish a post with my favourite top ten at the beginning of January.

Today it’s Cage by Lilja Sigurdardottir

Cage Cover Image


The prison doors slam shut behind Agla, when her sentence ends, but her lover Sonja is not there to meet her.
As a group of foreign businessmen tries to draw Agla into an ingenious fraud that stretches from Iceland around the world, Agla and her former nemesis, María find the stakes being raised at a terrifying speed.
Ruthless drug baron Ingimar will stop at nothing to protect his empire, but he has no idea about the powder keg he is sitting on in his own home.
At the same time, a deadly threat to Sonya and her family brings her from London back to Iceland, where she needs to settle scores with longstanding adversaries if she wants to stay alive.
With a shocking crescendo, the lives of these characters collide, as drugs, smuggling, big money and political intrigue rally with love, passion, murder and betrayal until the winner takes all … in the masterful, explosive conclusion to the award-winning Reykjavík Noirtrilogy.


I have loved these books and characters from the first book and Cage not only lived up to expectations, it blew them right out of the stratosphere. At the end of the first chapter, I sat bolt upright and said Wow! It opens with a scene with such an emotional kick, that it’s like a punch to the soul and the shock left me reeling! From this point your caught in a whirlpool of emotions, you heart breaks, it recovers, your scared, then shocked and my little reading heart was left both bruised and hopeful.
It is a real rollercoaster of emotions, but not only is it worth every single penny Orenda are asking for this book, double it, no triple it and your getting a bargain.

About the author 

Lilja Author Picture

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.