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Thursday, 31 December 2015

My Top Ten Reads of the Year

I still have a few reviews to complete and post, but thought I'd fit in one last blog post of 2015. So here (in no particular order) are my top ten reads of the last year:

1. Shtum - Jem Lester

I still need to post my full review of this amazing book, but wow, this book really did blow me away! 'Shtum' isn't due for release until April 2016, but I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from Tracy Fenton at TBC on Facebook - and I'm so glad I did! It's possibly the best book I've ever read about life with a disabled child and it touched me on a very personal level. Outstanding debut novel and Jem Lester is an author I will look out for in the future.

2. We Are All Made of Stars - Rowan Coleman

After reading Rowan's wonderful 'The Memory Book' last year, I didn't think she would be able to top it, but oh my goodness how wrong was I! 'We Are All Made of Stars' made me laugh and made me cry. I fell in love with each and every character, and even slowed down my reading as I wanted to savour every beautifully written word. I could have read about these characters forever and so didn't want it to end! A beautiful and moving novel that was one of the highlights of 2015 for me.

3. Moving - Jenny Eclair

This was my first Jenny Eclair novel, but it definitely won't be my last! I don't know quite what I expected when I picked up 'Moving', but it certainly wasn't the emotionally charged, beautifully written novel I got. The story is narrated by several different characters and spans the lifetime of one of the most memorable characters I've come across in a long time. A book that will stay with me for a long time to come.

4. Silent Scream - Angela Marsons

This is an author I would never have found if it hadn't been for TBC on Facebook. 'Silent Scream' introduces the wonderful DI Kim Stone and is the first of a series of psychological thrillers. There have already been two more instalments that are every bit as good (if not better) than the first, and I hope to see much, much more of DI Kim Stone and her team in the future. Excellent books with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and a fascinating lead character who never ceases to surprise you. Another author I hope to see much more from in 2016.

5. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry - Fredrik Backman

I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this book! One second I would be laughing, the next I would be sobbing; the emotions it evoked in me were unexpected and all consuming. Anything I can come up with to say would not do this book justice, and to say I loved it would be an understatement. 'My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry' by Fredrik Backman made me feel so many emotions I can't even begin to describe them. It's a book about Elsa, a seven year old girl who is different from most of those around her. It is also a book about her eccentric old granny and the magical fairy tales she shared with the granddaughter she adores. It's about family relationships and how each one is different but still as important in very unique ways. And superheroes. We should never forget the superheroes!

6. No Other Darkness - Sarah Hilary

The second in the DI Marnie Rome series, 'No Other Darkness' is every bit as good as its predecessor. Another strong and memorable female character, who I look forward to seeing more of in future books. The supporting cast are also interesting in their own right, and the story has enough twists and turns to keep you in suspense throughout the book. I like the fact the villains are also three-dimensional characters and not just cardboard cutouts. Excellent book and highly recommended.

7. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes - Anna McPartlin

Emotional and (especially considering the subject matter) strangely uplifting book about the last days of Rabbit Hayes. A beautifully written book that makes you think about the things that really matter in life. Loved it and it's an easy choice to be included in my top ten reads of 2015.

8. A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

My second Fredrik Backman book to be included in my top ten and his debut novel. Ove is a difficult man to like at the beginning of the book, but I soon came to love the old curmudgeon. I don't know what it is about Fredrik Backman's writing that moves me so much, all I know is that it moves me in ways many other books couldn't. I don't think I've ever  sobbed as much reading a book as I have readin this and 'My Grandmother...'. Brilliant author and one that I will look forward to reading in the future.

9. After You - Jojo Moyes

'After You' is the much awaited sequel to 'Me Before You', a book I both loved and hated with equal measure. It's difficult to say too much about 'After You' without spoiling the first book, but suffice to say I loved it! A fitting sequel to the rollercoaster of emotions that was 'Me Before You' .

10. I Let You Go - Clare Mackintosh

Another book that it's difficult to say too much about, but wow, this book really did blow me away. There are moments you just don't see coming that give you the shock factor very few books are able to do. Just wow!

And that brings me to the end of my top ten reads of 2015. There are so many more I could have added, but these are the ones that stood out the most for me. Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read, comment or tweet me this year. Thanks to all the wonderful authors, without whom my life would be a much darker and duller place. 

Here's to 2016!

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