The Ones To Watch: Must Reads in 2019 (Part Two)

If you remember back in January I set myself a New Year’s resolution to write a blog post every couple of months to give you a heads up of new books that just can’t be missed.

And crikey, here we are in March already (where is the time going???). I have been reading a lot lately and although some of the reads due to be published soon are good, in my view, they just aren’t great (harsh maybe, but true) – so I haven’t included them in this post. But fret not, there are some absolutely brilliant books due to be published very soon.

And here they are…

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff

I have literally just finished Last Ones Left Alive – with my shoulders tense and my heart pounding hard, I have to say that I absolutely loved it. It it tense, raw, visceral.

Full of short, succinct, action packed chapters, this is a novel that will leave you gasping for breath as you keep on reading ‘just one more chapter‘ followed by ‘just one more chapter.‘ Before you know it, you’ll have finished it.

Last Ones Left Alive is Orpen’s dystopian story of desperation, love and survival. Raised by her Mam and Maeve on an isolated island off the West coast of Ireland, her childhood is full of love. As Orpen grows older she is taught how to fight and defend herself. She also learns that her family live under the constant threat of the skrake, a deadly menace that will bite you, consume you and host your body till there is nothing left of you alive.

When Maeve is bitten, Orpen faces a chilling choice – kill Maeve before she transforms into a skrake or go in search of a cure and try and save Maeve.

I’m so lucky to have been invited to be on the UK blog tour of Last Ones Left Alive and review this sublime read in more detail (which I’ll be posting on 19 March, so watch this space). But in the meantime what I will say is that this is a beautiful debut novel from a brilliant and fresh new voice.

Last Ones Left Alive is published today (7 March). You need to read it – it is raw, it is heart wrenching, it is brilliant.


Absolutely Smashing It by Kathryn Wallace

OMG – this book is brilliant! It had me howling with laughter, and I really mean HOWLING! Gemma, a single mum is seriously regretting her decision to tell her kids the ‘honest answer to questions to whatever age they asked them‘ when her seven year old daughter makes up a song with the only lyric being ‘LABIA! LABIA! LABIA!‘ Gemma is just about to turn 40 and when she confesses to her next door neighbour Becky that she’s not had sex for two years, Becky is determined to rectify that before the big birthday. As you can guess, Gemma finds herself in comedy dating situations (you need to read this book for yourself to appreciate how hilarious the fixes Gemma finds herself in – wine and gin don’t help!).

Becky has her own challenges, particularly trying to finds a flexible job that will intellectually stimulate her while she juggles her marriage to her workaholic husband and bringing up two young children. It’s not entirely helped as she also has to look after the family dog Boris, affectionately referred to as ‘Boris, the fucking liability‘. When Gemma is alarmed to notice that Boris’s toy is a certain type of sex toy Becky explains:

‘I know. I know. We had an Ann Summers party a couple of years ago and the party host left it behind. He thought it was a dog toy and won’t be parted from it. Luckily he’s chewed it so much the – shape – has been worn down. Although clearly not that much, if you can still recognise it as a dildo.’ She caught Gemma’s eye and they both creased over laughing.

There are so many hilarious moments in this book, I continuously seemed to have tears of laughter streaming down my face. But this is more than a comedy novel as it skilfully tackles serious issues affecting modern day society, particularly flexible working for parents, racism and the impact of bullying in the workplace. It is so well written.

I would urge everyone to read this. It is simply brilliant. It’s out today (7 March 2019) so go and get your copy now! Go, go, go!


The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis

The Girl in the Letter is a haunting story that will never leave you. It is fast paced, thought-provoking and emotionally charged.

Juxtaposed between present day when a letter from the past sparks Samantha Harper’s professional journalistic interest; and 1956 when pregnant Ivy Jenkins is shamefully sent to St Margaret’s, a brutal mother-and-baby home for unmarried women. Against her will, Ivy’s baby is adopted, yet Ivy will never leave St Margaret’s.

What is so fantastic about The Girl in the Letter is that the story is so unexpected. It is really hard to fit this novel into a genre; partly historical fiction, partly thriller, partly mystery with echoes of ghost stories. However what is so powerful and tragic about the novel is that the crux of the story is based on shocking truths.

The Girl in the Letter will be released on 4 April. However, for those of you with a Kindle you can read it now as the Kindle version is available.

This is a unique, gripping story that will have you hooked.


One More Lie by Amy Lloyd

This is a novel that will lure you in, grip you tight and then wham – emotionally punch you hard. One More Lie is definitely one of my top reads of the year – an emotive character driven novel from a disturbing angle, it challenged me, shocked me and kept me guessing throughout.


I feel I can’t say too much as I could easily reveal spoilers. However it was delivered to me wrapped in wrapping paper designed as the front cover of the Daily Post with the massive headline Evil Duo Released from Prison.

This book is Charlotte’s story, a vulnerable, almost child-like woman who has recently been released from prison. Although she is scared by the outside world, she is desperate to start fresh and forget her past. But her past still haunts her, especially memories of her childhood best friend, Sean.

When her past catches up with her and traps her in a present fuelled by revenge, Charlotte is forced to face memories that she can’t hide from any more.

This is a book that I couldn’t put down as Amy Lloyd brilliantly took me down a twisted emotional path. In all the many books I’ve read, I don’t think I have ever found the last sentence of a novel to have so much chilling power as the last and very short sentence of One More Lie.

Amy Lloyd’s writing is sheer brilliance.

One More Lie will be published on 4 April.


That’s my book recommendations for now. I really hope you’ve been inspired as these really are unbelievable reads.

Enjoy and happy reading! 🙂

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