December is an exciting time, especially when you’re a panellist or finalist of the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award. Last Monday, the winners were announced and I’m so proud of everyone involved with the organisation. The teams behind the scenes, the panellists, and also the authors. I’ll say it again, every book listed below, even if they didn’t win, are absolutely worth reading. The scores in this final round are so close. Two of the books might have gotten the same score from me but they’re not close in the rankings at all. So don’t let their rank fool you. All of these are worth picking up. Congratulations to all the finalists!
Now, onto the winners!
Winner: May Day by Josie Jaffrey
I’m so happy May DayMay Day being the first book, is her best yet. A short disclaimer, I didn’t score Josie’s entry because of my bias and in our team chat we didn’t talk about the specific books we read. It’s great to see so many agree with me that it’s a fantastic book. A worthy winner.
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.
It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.
When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does. To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.
Second place: Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden
I haven’t read anything from Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden because it’s not a genre I read often but if my crime/thriller loving friends love it so much, it must be good, right? I’m curious about it now.
TRAUMA RUNS DEEP
When her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity… and her life.
TRUTH WILL OUT
With her world unravelling around her, Rebecca clings to her determination to make Lucas pay, whatever the cost.
FORGIVE HIS SINS
But someone must pay for the sins of the father…
A chilling page-turner from a sharp new Scottish voice.
Third place: The KC Warlock Weekly: Accused by M N Jolley
I haven’t read anything from this one either, but it had peeked my interest. I’m definitely taking part in the blog tour for this one. The blurb sounds absolutely amazing!
My name is Levi. I’m a journalist, I’m autistic, I’m bad at magic, and I swear I didn’t kill her.
Research for the paper usually falls into a few basic patterns. Someone in the city says there’s a troll under Buck O’Neil Bridge, or they’ll call just so a friendly ear will listen to them complain about a pixie infestation.
That sort of content carries me through slow news weeks. It’s rare that I uncover a murder.
Being framed for murder, though? That’s a first.
With the Wizard’s Council hunting me for a crime I didn’t commit, I’ve got no choice but to solve the murder and clear my name. If I don’t unravel this case, nobody will, and I’ll go down for it so hard I might never see the light of day again.
Our Bloody Pearl by DN Bryn
The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.
That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.
Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?
Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.
This adult fantasy novel featuring an nonbinary disabled protagonist is a voyage of laughter and danger where friendships and love abound and sirens are sure to steal—or eat—your heart.
Odriel’s Heir by Hayley Reese Chow
The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….
As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.
But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.
With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.
And time is running out.
Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen
After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. But when Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.
As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.
As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.
Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire
It was only supposed to be one little job – a simple curse-breaking for Mennik Thorn to pay back a favour to his oldest friend. But then it all blew up in his face. Now he’s been framed for a murder he didn’t commit.
So how is a second-rate mage, broke, traumatized, and with a habit of annoying the wrong people, supposed to prove his innocence when everyone believes he’s guilty?
Mennik has no choice if he wants to get out of this: he is going to have to throw himself into the corrupt world of the city’s high mages, a world he fled years ago. Faced by supernatural beasts, the mage-killing Ash Guard, and a ruthless, unknown adversary, it’s going to take every trick Mennik can summon just to keep him and his friend alive.
But a new, dark power is rising in Agatos, and all that stands in its way is one damaged mage…
Octavia Bloom and The Missing Key by Estelle Grace Tudor
One tiny discovery can have enormous consequences…
Almost 10-year-old Octavia Bloom is looking for adventure, but when it comes it’s in the shape of a tiny fairy door.
Dragging her reluctant sister and cousins into the mystery, Octavia discovers her family are hiding not ONE but TWO life-changing secrets.
Why is her mother searching for an elusive flower? And does she have what it takes to reunite her fractured family?
Octavia’s certain the answers lie behind the fairy door, if only she could just find the key…
Bravery, secrets & magic intertwine in this fantastical adventure.
Wilthaven by Oli Jacobs
elcome to Wilthaven!
A quiet English town that thrives on local produce, old fashioned values, and survival against the rule of an Eldritch Abomination. Here, you will enjoy endless walks, soothing sounds, forceful avatars, and the kind of joys that only an English township can bring!
(Please note: this dossier has been compiled by the BPD based on materials found relating to P1983 – or Wilthaven as you know it. Treat every sentence, word, image, and syllable with the utmost paranoia. Be safe.)
Wilthaven is a horror comedy by Oli Jacobs, who previously mined scares & chuckles from the likes of The Children of Little Thwopping, Filmic Cuts, and Bad Sandwich. As always, he hopes you enjoy.
The Nine by C. G. Harris
Gabe is recruited to join the most dangerous organization the world has never heard about. As a double agent he has to fight within their ranks to stop them, all with no training, no experience and no support. If he’s caught, they will tear him apart. But that’s not the real twist.
Gabe is dead, he lives in Hell and Judas Iscariot just became his new boss.
Judas assigns Gabe a beautiful new partner with plans to sow a disease that could wipe out the modern world. Without revealing his true identity, he must find a way to deal with insect wielding super agents, firestorms, and worst of all, the nauseating envisage travel to get Topside to save the earth.
Voice of War by Zack Argyle
The Lost Sentinel by Suzanne Rogerson
The Love Trap by Caroline Goldsworthy
The Knight’s Daughter by S.H. Cooper
Evolving Elizah by C.J. Hall