So, it's midway through June and almost halfway through the year (how does it fly by so quickly). I have been reflecting on 2014 has been an awful year so far between bad health and losing my beloved Father in Law recently. I'm hoping the second half of the year can only get better. I am fortunate that I love reading and have read some amazing books so far this year that have helped me escape some tough times. I would like to share my ten favourite books with you (in no particular order), and thanks to the wonderful authors who have written such brilliant books.
1) Beyond Grace's Rainbow by Carmel Harrington
This book had been on my kindle since late last year, and there was alot of positive tweets about it so this became one of my first reads of the year. Oh wow! What a read it was. There is a serious theme to the book that Grace is a single Mum newly diagnosed with cancer. However, don't let that put you off. The book is full of love, hope, laughs and affirmation. I won't lie, have lots of tissues at the ready buy seriously, do read this book. I love it!!! Oh, and her new book, The Life You Left is out on 19 June and is equally as good.
2) The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
Another moving and life affirming book is this debut novel by Hannah Beckerman. The story revolves around Rachel, a young Mum who has died unexpectedly, and her young daughter and Husband who she has left behind. Again, a serious storyline and incredibly moving, but there is lots of humour. What I really loved is how it explored bereavement and 'moving on'. I can be quite headstrong and had some ideas on my thoughts, this book challenged this and really had me thinking.
3) The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman
This is the first book I have read by Rowan Coleman but it won't be my last. The book is about Claire. Claire is only 41 and has a family but is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Like the previous two books, this is moving and is a tragic tale, but is told with humour and compassion. The majority of the story is told from Claire's perspective as well as her eldest daughter and her Mum. It gave some al insight into what it might be like to be affected by the disease either yourself, or a loved one. There is such warmth in the writing and I cared very much about them all by the end...I was totally transfixed.
4) The Accident by C L Taylor
Another uber talented debut novel. This time I have chosen a thriller that really kept me on the edge of my seat and found unputdownable. We meet Sue whose teenage daughter has been knocked down and is in a coma. Things don't feel comfortably with Sue and she thinks there is more to the accident than meets the eye. Sue begins a search tracking down clues to uncover the truth. I loved this book, it was tense, the style of writing was brilliant and I really was on the edge of my seat trying to second guess throughout.
5) The Guestbook by Holly Martin
This is a great feel good read. Once I started I couldn't stop, and read the whole book in less than a day. I found the format of the book very original and it had me hooked. The main character is Annie who has been widowed at a young age. She runs Willow Cottage which is a guesthouse. The key to the magic of this book is the Guestbook which visitors all write in. The Guestbook allows us to meet and get to know each of the guests, their stories and their thoughts. Such a clever idea. The book is so funny and Annie is enchanting. You will read with a big smile on your face.
6) The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello
This is a great summer read to pack for your holiday, sit in the garden and read and just anywhere really. The story follows a group of girls, led by Imogen as they head off on a VIP trip to Barcelona to get away from it all. Imogen is a big of a workaholic and finds it hard to switch off. She encounters disaster after disaster during the trip, most of which are hilarious, and of course there is a love interest as well. I love books which have groups of friends as by getting to know them you can almost imagine yourself being part of the group. This book was one of those and I loved it.
7) Take a Look at Me Now by Miranda Dickinson
Again, I had never read anything by Miranda Dickinson before this book, I now have them all loaded on my kindle and ready to get started over the summer. I loved this book. The style of writing brought the characters to life and made the story come alive on each page. Nell loses her job and decides to get away from it all for a while to rediscover herself. Cue a trip to San Francisco and a journey for readers that will make you laugh (lots) and perhaps, if like me reevaluate your own life. It has also left me really wanting to go the San Francisco, infact just travelling full stop. Love, laughs and lots of escapism made me fall in love with this book.
8) Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon
I haven't read a Paige Toon book in ages and Thirteen Weddings has renewed my desire to read her other books. I love a good wedding and for a book to feature 13....well perfect! I loved the main character Bronte. She is really likeable and I spent the book wanting her to be happy. There is of course a love interest, or two, in the form of Alex and Lachie and the battle of two men for her affections. I liked the flow of the story, the supporting characters, and the ending! This is a great holiday read and I am sure will be popular on the beaches this summer.
9) The No Kids Club by Talli Roland
Before Twitter I had never heard of Talli Roland but since seeing other people rave about her I have read a couple of her stories. This new book is brilliant. I really loved it. The premise is that Claire, who is turning 40 doesn't want children and is sick of all her friends continuously talking only about their offspring. Claire sets up a group for likeminded people who want to socialise without talking about children all the time. She meets two other women. During the book we get to know more about all three of them, and there are lots of surprises in store. I loved this book and lapped it up in no time at all. It has a mixture of humour, love, exploration of life and ambitions and of course, love. I would urge you to give this a go over the summer.
10) The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington
Ok, so I would usually only put one title by an author in a top ten, but I feel I have to make an exception in this case as I have read 2 titles by Carmel Harrington and I couldn't choose between them. By sneaking this in at the bottom I am hoping to get away with it :-)
The Life You Left is out on 19 June but I have been lucky enough to have received an early review copy. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It is very different to her first book, but brilliant all the same. The book revolves around Sarah who receives an email from her husband telling her that he needs some space and is leaving her. We meet Edward who is her angel and plays a secondary role in the book. I fell in book love with her brother James. He is perfect and would love to track down a real life version ;-) I found the book addictive and had it finished within 24 hours. In my opinion it is a sure summer hit. I have written a proper review which I will be putting up on the blog on publication day.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my favourite books of 2014 so far and would love to hear about yours.