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Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Top 10 Reads of 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, I thought I'd fit one final book post in to finish off the year. And what better way to end 2016 than with my top 10 reads of the year!

So (in no particular order) here they are:

1. Death Stalks Kettle Street by John Bowen

A brilliant murder mystery that keeps you guessing right up until the end. With lots of twists and wonderful character moments throughout, this is a book  to remember. I simply adored it!

2. The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer

Beautifully written with a storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat, this is Belinda Bauer at her very best. Taut thriller that gets your heart racing, mixed with the very real and human story of Eve and her life with her father who is battling dementia, makes for a thrilling and emotional read.

3. 600 Hours of Edward/Edward Adrift by Craig Lancaster

I'd heard so many good things about these books (from my fellow TBC members) that I went into them with really high expectations. After the first few chapters I felt slightly disappointed and wasn't sure if they were going to be for me, but then, oh then, I got to know Edward and fell head over heels in love with him and these lovely books. I honestly can't recommend them highly enough!

They're beautifully written books about Edward, a 39 year old man with Asperger Syndrome, who has a difficult relationship with his father and who lives his life strictly adhering to the many lists and routines he has made for himself. What follows is the moving story of Edward as he tries to navigate his way through day to day life and difficult family relationships, whilst also learning about the importance of love and friendship along the way.

I have the final book in the trilogy to read in 2017, so I don't have to say goodbye to the unforgettable Edward Stanton just yet.

4. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult 

Wow, what a powerful, moving and thought provoking read! I felt privileged to have been given the opportunity to read an early copy of such an outstanding book. It makes you question everything you thought you knew about yourself and is a real eye opener to the reality of life in modern day America. It tackles racism with a brutal honesty that is rarely seen in fiction, and is a book like no other I've ever read before.

'Small Great Things' is a special, brilliantly written book that everyone should read. It is an uncomfortable and painful read at times, but is also an important one, especially in light of the current climate of the world right now. The easiest 5 star rating I've given this year.

5. Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite

A fantastic nail biting read that had my emotions see-sawing from one extreme to the other. I can't think of any other book that has ever had me rooting for the serial killer one moment and then hating him and wishing him dead the next. Brilliant storyline with a cast of memorable characters, this is a book I won't easily forget. Spellbinding.

6. Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

This is a book that made me laugh, made me cry and ultimately broke my heart. From the outset you know that Maisie Bean lost her teenage son, Jeremy, 20 years ago, but even so you find yourself desperately hoping for a different outcome. The characters are brought to life on the page and the use of language is so remarkable that it draws you in from the very first word. I felt bereft to have to say goodbye to these characters, so much so that I didn't want the story to ever end.

I knew the denouement would be hard to read, but I had no idea just how much it would move me; that I would gasp out loud and cry buckets of tears, feeling every painful moment along with Maisie and her family. There are no words to describe the affect this book had on me when I read it, so much so that even thinking about it now can bring me to tears. Simply remarkable.

7. Bloq by Alan Jones

A novel with twists and turns aplenty, 'Bloq' never ceases to bring surprises right through to the final page. Bill's search for his daughter and the emotional turmoil he goes through are palpable as you feel every painful moment along with him. Highly recommended.

8. The Fireman by Joe Hill

I'd been eagerly awaiting the new novel by Joe Hill, so was thrilled to be approved to read an early copy of it. And wow, what an amazing read it is! I already knew as early as March that 'The Fireman' would make it into my top 10 reads of 2016, that's just how insanely good this book is.

I was sucked in from the very first page, and loved every word of this exhilarating rollercoaster of a read. Outstanding.

9. Tastes Like Fear by Sarah Hilary

I'd already read the first 2 books in this series and had loved them both, but Sarah Hilary completely outdid herself in this third outing for DI Marnie Rome. I'd been looking forward to getting my hands on 'Tastes Like Fear' and it did not disappoint.

It was as fast paced and thrilling as you would expect, with a memorable cast of supporting characters, including the wonderful Noah Jake, who is a breath of fresh air as always. A fantastic psychological thriller.

10. A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

Well, what can I say? I adored this book! Its realistic portrayal of life as the parent of a child with autism is nothing short of astounding. Beautifully written and moving, this is a book I would recommend to everyone! If you loved 'Shtum' by Jem Lester, this book will blow you away in much the same way. Brilliant.

11. My Name Is Leon by Kit De Waal

Yes, I know I said 10, but my list would not be complete if I didn't include this wonderful book by Kit De Waal that I read early on in 2016. It is by turns funny, moving and devastatingly sad, but is ultimately a heartwarming read that stands out from the pack. Filled with memorable characters, this book had a huge emotional impact on me and is one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Books to look out for in 2017:

The fourth DI Marnie Rome book Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary will be available to buy from March 9th 2017. It will be my first read of 2017 as I've been lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publisher, and if the first few pages I've read so far are anything to go by it's going to be amazing!

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman is due for release in May 2017 and is a book I can't wait to get my hands on! Not only is it written by one of my favourite authors, but it's also a book about time travel, one of my favourite genres in fiction. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am by this! If you could change the past, would you? Just that sentence alone whets my appetite. May can't get here soon enough!

And that's it. Wishing all my readers a happy and healthy 2017. And here's to many more wonderful books to come!

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