Saturday, 27 December 2014

My favourite reads of 2014

Wow! How quickly 2014 has passed by! At the start of this year I was so ill, lost and totally useless. Its been a crappy year, but it has also been the year that I have not only re-discovered my passion and love of reading, but also a year that I have found out just how powerful and positive social media can be. You have given me hope, inspiration, laughter and escapism at times that have been incredibly bleak.

I have also gained the confidence to start this blog and share my love of books. Thank you to each and every one of you. Authors, publishers, bloggers and fellow book lovers, your company and support has been so amazing I cannot tell you how much it has meant. Thank you!!!

I have managed to read a whopping 112 books this year, so whittling down to my favourites has not been easy at all. But I have just about managed it. What I havent been able to do is rank these 10 in order. They are all special in their own way.

Hope you enjoy my list and I would love to hear what books you have enjoyed this year.

Beyond Grace's Rainbow by Carmel Harrington

Wow! What a book!! This was one of the first books I read this year and it has stayed with me ever since. An incredibly moving and powerful story of a young mother diagnosed with cancer. Ok, I admit it had me sobbing. But its not full of woe. It is also funny, with a strong cast of characters, as we as being uplifting and inspirational. It packs a punch and I found it a reminder of the importance of love, friendship, strength and family.

One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

This is the latest book I have finished, and am currently writing my review. Alice Peterson is one of my favourite authors. I love her strong storylines and characters, and how she never shies away from delicate subjects or gritty storylines. One Step Closer to You is no exception. I was gripped from the start and found it hard to put down. Filled with strong storylines and wonderful characters that I loved this book is close to perfection.

I'll Take New York by Miranda Dickinson

A beautiful cover, a storyline set in New York, and two people who are intensely likeable.....this is a recipe for a wonderful book in my view. I love Miranda and her books never disappoint, This being no exception. I not only loved the storyline, but I loved some of the quotes and events that I could relate to. Perfect book at the perfect time for me. A feel good, love story which whisked me on a romantic trip to New York.

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

This is one of the most moving and emotional books I have read. It follows a lady in her forties who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. We follow not only her journey, but that of her family. I was an emotional wreck reading it, but it is written with such love and affection I couldnt put it down. It was so insightful to look at how life may feel for the person suffering from the disease, as well as for those coping with caring for them. I also passed this on to my Mum who loved it just as much. We both came away really caring about the characters, and an urge to check up that they were ok. I can see why it has been chosen as part of the Richard and Judy book club this winter.

The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife's Handbook is a debut novel by Hannah Beckerman, and what an amazing debut this is. I am so excited about reading more from her. This book took me over and I honestly couldnt put it down. I lay up reading to the small hours more than once. The book is incredibly clever, not only following a family as they come to terms with losing their mother / wife / child. It also tells the story through the eyes of the young woman who has died. It follows the five stages of grief model and I was totally taken over by the emotion of each stage as though I was there experiencing it with them. Such clever and skilful writing told with love and compassion. I cant wait to see more from Hannah.

Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner

Phew, this is a rollercoaster of a book. Another gritty book that doesnt shy away from difficult subjects. This book centres around mental health and it is fantastic. We meet three main characters who, for various reasons, are struggling with their mental wellbeing. They each begin attending a clinic to try and get some help. There they come across eachother as well as some other great characters. We follow their battles to overcome their demons. I loved One Moment, One Morning by Sarah so when I was offered a review copy of this book I almost leapt in joy. I would love everyone to read this book and understand more about mental health, and just how disabling it can be. Sarah obviously has a great understanding of mental health issues and this book was written with great insighr and affection. I loved it.

Letters to My Daughters Killer by Cath Staincliffe

I am a massive fan of thrillers and this was one of the best I have read this year. It had me totally engrossed and turned me into detective as I was trying to pull the pieces together. It also had some really likeable characters which connected me even more to the story. As a Mum the thought of anyone harming my daughter is unimaginable, so when this characters daughter is murdered leaving behind a young child I donned my detective hat and joined her on her quest for justice. A great, tense, and gripping thriller.

The Accident by C L Taylor

Another debut author who has blown me away with a fantastic book, so skilfully written. It is a mothers quest to find out what really happened to her daughter, who lies in bed unconscious after being hit by a bus. I was totally sold on solving the mystery with the Mum, and trusted no one. I spent the whole book trying to unravel the mystery, just like a massive game of cluedo. Totally loved it and cant wait to see her new book which I believe is out soon.

Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley

This book is due to be released in paperback in Spring 2015, but being a kindle owner I have been lucky enough to read it this year as a four part serialisaion. I absolutely loved everything about it. The characters are wonderful, the storyline is brilliant, and it just gave me such a warm happy feeling when reading it. It revolves around Tilly who moves to the area after heartbreak. She gets a plot at the local allotment, and from then on we meet a load of wonderful characters, read some fabulous storylines and I fell in love with it. Each season ends on a massive cliffhanger, and I did find myself trying to second guess what has happened to Tilly to bring her to Ivy Lane. I loved it so much I have even begun gardening and will be out to buy a paperback copy on publication day for me and my friends.

The Guestbook by Holly Martin

What a clever and funny book this is. I was laughing right from the start. I loved the idea of this book. It is set in a guesthouse, run by a young lady who has lost her husband. However, what is so quirky is that the book follows not only this lady, but her guests, who each tell their story by filling in the guestbook when they stay. It made me laugh, had me fascinated, but also moved me and made me feel all gooey and warm. I loved it (and the other work Holly has published since - a great author!)

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