I’ve been putting this off, lots of other bloggers have posted their top ten (or twenty) books of the year weeks ago. I’m not quite sure why I’ve been putting it off but part of me has been thinking that the year isn’t over yet and I’m still reading. But I think that mainly I’ve been putting pretty much everything to do with Christmas and New Year off. I only put my tree up this morning (it’s the 22nd December!) after finally giving in to my children’s demands, for whatever reason, I am not ready for this year to end and the next to start.
So it is with some trepidation that I’m going to attempt my top reads of the year. They aren’t in any particular order, that would just be too difficult but I have given one book my Book of the Year 2016 award!
So to kick off we have The Optician’s Wife by Betsy Reavley, a fab read that just wasn’t anything that I was expecting. It was shocking and gruesome and sad and, well, shocking. If you think that your stomach is strong enough then read it!!
Next up is Nina Is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi. I thought that this was a brilliant book and described addiction, or more specifically, alcoholism, so well. I think that this should be required reading for everyone, every teenager should read it as should anyone who knows or loves someone who struggles with addiction.
M.J.Arlidge released two books and one novella this year, spoiling us really! While all of them were good I’m putting Little Boy Blue in my top reads. His detective, Helen Grace, is a great character, strong yet flawed. In Little Boy Blue someone uses those flaws against her with shocking consequences. If you haven’t read any of the Helen Grace books then do, I’ve reviewed a lot of them on the blog.
So while the Helen Grace series is definitely one of my favourite detective series, Kim Stone edges slightly ahead. While the Grace series has had some amazing books it has also had some average books, whereas Angela Marsons’ Kim Stone books are consistently good. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of them and although they are written so that they can be read as standalone books I’d definitely recommend reading them from the start (Silent Scream). This year I read two Kim Stone books and I’m adding Play Dead by Angela Marsons, and I can’t wait to read the ones to come in 2017. I was also lucky to have Angela Marsons stop by for a fab Q&A, she really is one lovely lady.
The next book wasn’t the best written book, but it was definitely one of the most fun to read. Although calling it fun seems kinda wrong given the death count in the book. But it was definitely one of the most gripping books that I’ve read this year. The Killing Game by J.S. Carol is without a doubt one of my top reads. I loved it, what a rollercoaster!
Next up is one of my favourite authors from years ago, I absolutely loved Jodi Picoult and her books but at some point, she seemed to lose her way and I stopped reading her books. That changed when I heard about Small Great Things, it all seemed positive and so without knowing much at all about the story I started to read it. Soon I was emersed into a world that I had been largely unaware of. I knew that prejudice in America was a problem in many areas, that black people are often treated differently, that parents worry about their black sons being shot by the police. But Small Great Things opened my eyes and my mind up in a way that not many books are able to. I think that many are put off from reading a book about prejudice, but please don’t be. While it’s a thick book it is such a worthy read, especially in the world today with hate crime all over increasing. I was also lucky enough to hear Jodi Picoult talk about Small Great Things and I wrote about that too Jodi Picoult: Talking about her latest book, Small Great Things.
The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse is another book, a bit like Nina is no OK and Small Great Things, that I think that people should read because you will have your eyes opened to something that you were perhaps unaware of before. This time the subject is anorexia and the author has written an incredibly well-researched book with well-formed characters that show the reader the reality of anorexia.
My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal was the first book that I reviewed on my blog and so will always be a bit special to me. But it is also special in itself. Leon is a little boy who broke my heart, set in the 1980s it frequently reminded me of my childhood, but thankfully my childhood was nothing like Leon’s. With a mother unable to care for him Leon and his baby brother are thrown into the British care system. This was such a lovely book, but incredibly sad too but the wonderful characters made this a book to remember.
Goodness, this is harder than I expected! Too many good books to choose between and for the penultimate one I’m torn between two books, My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor and The Caller by M.A. Comley and Tara Lyons. Both are good in their own right, My Husband’s Son tells the story of a couple brought together by the loss of their children, one was murdered and the other kidnapped and missing. But has the wife finally found her husband’s son? This is an impressive debut novel by O’Connor and I look forward to seeing what she does next. The Caller tells the story of the police hunting for a team of criminals who are murdering women in their own home, gaining access under the pretense of having a delivery. The Caller gave me the heebyjeebies and when I found myself receiving the same phone call that the women received before being murdered I likely came across as more than a little bit crazy to the poor woman on the phone but there was no chance that I was giving her the information that she wanted!
So I guess that’s both of them included in my top reads of 2016 but I’ve still got one more book to go!
I think that the book that I have spent the most time thinking about after reading it has to be Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, I loved this book in so many ways even though at times it was very hard to read and quite distressing. When I finished this book I literally wanted to throw it across the room as I just did not want it to end. I managed to restrain myself (mainly because I was actually reading it on my Kindle), but this was a wonderful book. The author has a new book, The Breakdown, out in 2017 which I cannot wait to read, unfortunately, my request to read it wad turned down on Netgalley, something that I still haven’t quite recovered from, but I will be reading it as soon as I possibly can!
So, my book of 2016 is without a doubt, Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris.
There’s also a couple of books that I need to give a mention too, even if they don’t make my top ten. The Goblin Princess: Smoky The Dragon Baby by Jenny O’Connor was the most wonderful children’s book that I have read this year. I enjoyed reading it and my children loved listening to it too. The illustrations were beautiful too and made it even better. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi was also a very worthy read, it was touching and inspirational in so many ways, I’d really recommend reading it. Finally, Tom Bale wrote two cracking reads, See How They Run and All Fall Down which just miss out from a place too.
I could go on and on but I’m going to stop here. I hope that if you’ve got this far I have inspired you to pick up some of these great books. I hope that 2017 will be another bumper year of great reads too.