As the end of the year is fast approaching, I thought I’d share with you my 5 favourite reads of 2017. There’s something wonderful about this time of year; cosy in PJ’s, curled up in the armchair by a roaring fire, lost in the world of a good book, don’t you agree?
Like most of us labelled ‘bookworm’, there is always a mountainous pile of books to be added to my Christmas wish list. I’m excited to say that my list has been delivered to family members; now all I have to do is read those books I promised myself I’d have finished by Christmas.
While I’m not one for reading a book more than once, a good story that I get totally immersed in will stay with me for years. We all have our favourite genres of fiction; I tend to be drawn to crime, psychological thrillers, family and friendship relationships, and on occasion a little believable romance. I have to say that I find Twitter and Facebook a great source when it comes to choosing my next read. There are many books, often by authors I’d not come across before, that I’ve picked up on in this way.
Looking through the year’s kindle and paperback purchases there is a good mix of crime, family, and relationship stories, with a little humour thrown in for good measure. With books by Adel Parks, Amanda James, Julie Cohen, Penny Parkes and Julia Crouch, choosing my 5 favourite reads of 2017 was pretty tricky as all were terrific reads!
So here they are in no particular order, my 5 favourite reads of 2017
Somewhere Inside of Happy – Anna McPartlin
It’s every parent’s nightmare – Maisie’s sixteen-year-old son Jeremy has gone missing. Sweet, caring, loving Jeremy went out one evening and didn’t come home. The despair and hope as the family search for him, is both heartbreaking and heart warming. Anna McPartlin has a brilliant way of bringing humour to even the darkest moments. Throughout the book I hoped for a happy ending for Jeremy, who knew he was different and struggled with being different. But stories aren’t always about happy endings – Somewhere Inside of Happy is about love, resilience and a life-changing power of hope.
Oh Dear Silvia – Dawn French
Recommended to me by a friend I have to admit I was sceptical as to whether I’d enjoy this book. While I like to see humorous elements in a book, a Dawn French novel seemed like comedy overload for me. The Story of Silvia Shute, who lies unconscious in a hospital bed after falling from a balcony, unfolds through the visitors to her bedside. The independent daughter, ex-husband, bohemian sister, best friend and others all share their stories and a piece of their mind with the unconscious Silvia. There were moments in this book that made me laugh out loud in a public place and prompted me to read exerts to my husband. I also found the bedside visitors’ stories evoking feelings of sadness and anger that Sylvia can’t talk back. An emotional rollercoaster of a book with dysfunctional family dynamics that many can relate to, it is definitely not a barrel of laughs but it is a damn good read.
I’m Travelling Alone –Samuel Bjork
An impulse airport buy this book is testament to the theory that the cover will sell the book. I was hooked by the cover, the title and the quote ‘That’s when he saw her hanging from the tree. A satchel on her back. And a tag around her neck that said I’m travelling alone.’ A terrific crime thriller with a complex plot that every time I thought I had it sussed there was another twist and a surprise at the end I just didn’t see coming. When police investigator Holger Munch has to assemble a special homicide unit to track down the killer of a young girl found hanging in a tree, he knows he needs his former partner, Mia Kruger on board. Mia is a brilliant detective but has her own issues too. When she finds new evidence, a thin line carved into the dead girl’s fingernail; the number One, she has to find a way to cast aside her own demons to save other children from the same fate. Scary reading from a talented Scandinavian writer.
When I was Invisible - Dorothy Koomson
I love Dorothy Koomson and have read many of her books. The dynamics of the relationships she creates are always believable and this one lived up to my expectations. This is a powerful story of two young girls, dancers destined for great things and how easily you can lose your whole world. Sometimes books that jump between characters and years can be confusing or break the flow. Dorothy, as always makes the story run seamlessly. The part following the story of the homeless situation gave a realistic insight that it isn’t only drug addicts or alcoholics, but people with realistic causes who are put into homeless situations. I turned the pages hoping for some inkling of a happy ending, the question is, will their new ‘invisible’ lives be the ones they were meant to live, or will it be different when they are reunited twenty years later?
I See You – Clare Mackintosh
If you’re looking for a chilling, edge-of-your-seat thriller, this is it. London tube travellers, if you read this book you will never step into the underground again without being conscious of those around you. When Zoe sees her photo in the classifieds of a London newspaper she is determined to find out why it’s there. Day after day there is a photo of a different woman. Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make? Tension grows when Zoe recognises a murder victim as one of the women in the adverts. Will she be next? I won’t tell you more – if you love a psychological thriller read this book! Seriously scary it feels like it really could happen.
Now I’m off to that beckoning armchair to read more chapters of my current read, Never Say Goodbye by Susan Lewis.