With each new year comes a flourish of new books and authors vying for one of those coveted positions on a best-sellers list – whether that be the New York Times, Amazon, Goodreads or any other number of tables readers now go to when selecting their next big read.
2018 is no different and whilst many writers will have competed during the Festive period for top spot, there does seem to be a significant increase in great books coming out this January.
In fact, I could probably spend the entire year reading the books and novels due out in the next 31 days, there is that many! However, I have whittled them down to what I believe, after reading synopses, reviews from other likeminded bookworms and through pragmatic picking of favourite book cover designs, that I have a definitive list of what people should be picking up from their local book shops this January.
What to Add to Your ‘To Be Read’ Piles This January?
#1 I’ll Keep You Safe (Peter May)
Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the company, Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.
Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder sending Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.
#2 A River in Darkness (Masaji Ishikawa)
Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.
In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life.
#3 The Woman in the Window (A.J. Finn)
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russell’s move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
Want to know more about this novel? Then read our full review on The Woman in The Window now!
#4 Dangerous Promise (Megan Hart)
Nina Bronson used to be all human — until the experimental surgeries and internal technology that saved her life and enhanced her as a soldier also forced her to leave the army for private service. Now she and her peers are facing slow, painful deaths unless their technology is upgraded and the one man keeping those upgrades illegal and unavailable is an obnoxious billionaire.
Ewan Donahue is the public voice speaking out against the enhancement procedures of injured soldiers. But when his lobbying leads to death threats, he needs someone to protect him around the clock. He doesn’t want to rely on an enhanced soldier and Nina’s tech goes against everything he stands for.
Want to know more about this novel? Then read our full review on Dangerous Promise now!
#5 The Widows of Malabar Hill (Sujata Massey)
Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s rights.
Mistry is handling the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. As Perveen goes through the papers, she notices something strange: all three have signed over their inheritance to a charity. What will they live on if they forfeit what their husband left them?
The Farid widows live in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate and realizes her instincts about the will were correct when tensions escalate to murder.
#6 Just Between Us (Rebecca Drake)
Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather are four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady and their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.
This is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbours can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets highlighting that you never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.
Want to know more about this novel? Then read our full review of Just Between Us now!
#7 The Chalk Man (C.J. Tudor)
In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank–until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.
#8 Robots vs Fairies (Dominik Parisen & Navah Wolfe)
A unique anthology of all-new stories that challenges authors to throw down the gauntlet in an epic genre battle and demands an answer to the age-old question: Who is more awesome? —robots or fairies?
Rampaging robots! Tricky fairies! Facing off for the first time in an epic genre death match!
#9 The Wife Between Us (Greer Hendricks)
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
You should assume nothing.
#10 The Immortalists (Chloe Benjamin)
If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children, four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness, sneak out to hear their fortunes.
Their prophecies inform their next five decades.
Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
#11 Anatomy of a Scandal (Sarah Vaughan)
Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.
Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.
Who is right about James – Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience?
Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.
#12 The Boat People (Sharon Bala)
When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life.
Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing centre, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada’s national security.
As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son’s chance for asylum.
#13 Life of Crime (Kimberley Chambers)
Sometimes crime does pay, but at what price?
Dragged up on a council estate, Jason Rampling was determined to change his lot. Jason’s a chancer, shameless with his good looks and his gift for earning a few quid. Life is easy when the money rolls in.
Melissa thought she’d struck gold marrying Jason. Being on his arm meant she was finally someone. But there’s no glamour in waiting for your husband to come home, or waiting for a knock on the door. Melissa made her bed the day she made her vows – will she lie in it without a fight?
After a stretch inside Jason wants to pull off just one last job, the biggest of all, it could solve all of their problems. But this is a game that could cost them everything.
#14 If I Die Before I Wake (Emily Koch)
Everyone believes Alex is in a coma, unlikely to ever wake up. As his family debate withdrawing life support, and his friends talk about how his girlfriend Bea needs to move on, he can only listen.
But Alex soon begins to suspect that the accident that put him here wasn’t really an accident. Even worse, the perpetrator is still out there and Alex is not the only one in danger.
As he goes over a series of clues from his past, Alex must use his remaining senses to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him, and try to protect those he loves, before they decide to let him go.
#15 When They Call You a Terrorist (Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele)
This is a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity from one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful.
In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and Asha Bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.
#16 Red Clocks (Leni Zumas)
In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty and property to every embryo.
In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.
Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro’s best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, who brings all their fates together when she’s arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.
#17 The Wife (Alafair Burke)
When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer.
For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.
Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.
#18 Still Me (Jojo Moyes)
Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles.
She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.
Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. When matters finally come to a head, she has to ask herself – Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?
#19 This is How it Ends (Eva Dolan)
Ella Riordan is a community activist who became famous when she was beaten by police during a social protest. Now Ella is a squatter in a building where the owners are evicting tenants so they can convert it into luxury condos, and she’s determined to stay and defend the few holdout tenants, despite death threats.
One night after a rooftop party with her fellow holdouts, Ella finds a horrible scene awaiting her in her apartment. In a panic, she calls her neighbour Molly, who convinces her that the police won’t believe she’s innocent. Together the two women concoct a gruesome plan to hide the body down the building’s elevator shaft.
But the secret won’t stay buried for long. As truth hangs in the balance, a neighbour tells Molly he had heard Ella arguing with a man in the hallway and mistrust grows between Ella and Molly, as repercussions of that night threaten to change both women’s lives forever.
#20 Perfect Death (Helen Fields)
Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.
But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar?
#21 The Hazel Wood (Melissa Albert)
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get.
Her mother is stolen away by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
Final Thoughts on January’s Reads…
Regardless of you genre preference – whether you prefer crime, suspense, psychological thrillers, personal memoirs, magical realism, romance, fantasy, fictional struggles or books with an underlying feminist theme – there is a book being published for you this month.
Have you spied a book launching this January that you believe will be a best seller? Perhaps we have failed to mention it in the above list but you feel others should know about it. If so, please leave the details in the comments below and we will be sure to check it out.
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