MY TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2015
2015 was a phenomenal year for debut books and it was a tough decision getting it down to only 10. I chose a variety of books from different genres for different reasons and here’s my Top 10 (in no particular order).
A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman – Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Humour
Blurb: At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.
But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?
In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…
My Review: My favourite book of the summer. I laughed, I cried and I laughed whilst crying. I have fallen madly in love with Ove and anyone who has this on their TBR list…move it up to the top NOW!!!! 5 BIG FAT STARS
I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh – Genre – Psychological Thriller/Mystery/Suspense
Blurb: In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.
Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .
My Review: wow. .so I read this book after being told about it on my book club by some of my favourite authors and what can I say… at about 40% I scream out Omg game changing plot twist…to looks of frustration from the family. A brilliant twisty twist with great characters. loved it and highly recommend 5 BIG FAT STARS
Shtum – Jem Lester – Genre – Contemporary Fiction
Blurb: Powerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships.
Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.
When Ben and Emma fake a separation – a strategic decision to further Jonah’s case in an upcoming tribunal – Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben’s elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.
My Review: OMG, I have laughed and cried and cried whilst laughing and am writing this review with tears running down my face. Simply charming, beautiful and gut wrenching. This would appeal to anyone who is a parent or has a parent! Told from the point of view of Ben a 30-something father of a severely autistic boy, this book grabs your heart strings, pulls them sideaways and then snaps them back! This will stay with me for a long time. JUST STUNNING! 5 BIG FAT STARS
Tuesday Falling – S Williams – Genre – Thriller
Blurb: A relentless thriller that will grip you by the throat and refuse to let go.
You’ve never met anyone like Tuesday. She has suffered extreme cruelty at the hands of men, and so has taken it upon herself to seek vengeance. She wants to protect and help others like her, to ease their suffering. A force to be reckoned with, she lives beneath the streets of London in the hidden network of forgotten tunnels that honeycomb the city – and this is her preferred hunting ground.
When Tuesday is connected to a series of brutal attacks on gang members, DCI Loss takes on the investigation. A burned-out detective still suffering the devastating effects of the unsolved murder of his daughter three years earlier, the case starts to hit close to home. Because soon Loss will discover that Tuesday could hold the key to uncovering the truth about what happened to his daughter…
My review: I can’t begin to explain how much I loved this book. Firstly it grabbed me by the throat on the first page and did not let go until the last page. This is a brilliantly, clever and witty book which would appeal to anyone with a sense of humour. The main character Tuesday makes Lisbeth Salander seem like a techno-phobe. This book is like the love child of Kill Bill and Kick Ass and I absolutely loved it. If you like dark humour and enjoyed Normal by Graeme Cameron, then I am pretty confident that you will love this too. 5 BIG FAT STARS
First One Missing – Tammy Cohen – Genre – Psychological Thriller
Blurb: There are three things no-one can prepare you for when your daughter is murdered:
– You are haunted by her memory day and night
– Your friends and family fear you are going mad
– Only in a group with mothers of other victims can you find real comfort.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join.
My Review: Firstly a huge thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
I need to point out that I am a huge Tammy Cohen fan and so far have loved everything she has written.
This new book does not disappoint either. The author has an incredible talent of getting under the skin of each and every character she creates making them believable and genuine. The storyline revolves around the serial killing of young girls in Hampstead Hearg and hints at paedophilia which is not a easy topic to digest. Tammy Cohen covers this incredibly honestly and doesn’t go for the shock factor other authors do when writing about paedophiles. Each characters individual storyline was gripping and I’m not ashamed to admit I even shed a tear at the end. 5 BIG FAT STARS
The Girl in 6E – A R Torre – Genre – Thriller/Erotica
Blurb: I haven’t touched a human in three years. That seems like it would be a difficult task, but it’s not. Not anymore, thanks to the internet.
I am, quite possibly, the most popular recluse ever. Not many shut-ins have a 200-member fan club, a bank account in the seven-figure range, and hundreds of men lining up to pay for undivided attention.
They get satisfaction, I get a distraction. Their secret desires are nothing compared to why I hide… my lust for blood, my love of death.
Taking their money is easy. Keeping all these secrets… one is bound to escape.
What if you hid yourself away because all you could think of was killing? And what if one girl’s life depending on you venturing into society?
My Review: Last week I decided that I would be more selective when awarding 5 stars… the fact that within the first 2 chapters of this book I was hooked, although it is a very explicit book about “Camming” (online cyber sex), I quickly became attached to Deanna/Jessica, feeling so sorry for her and actually wanting to be her friend!. This book is certainly not for the prudish and is very very graphic, but underneath is a sad, confused young lady who has experienced a life-changing horrific event and is surviving as best she can. I smiled, laughed and even shed a tear towards the end. I read this book within a day and now have the desire to tell everyone to read it and I just found out a sequel is due out soon. Happy Days! 5 BIG FAT STARS
Normal – Graeme Cameron – Genre – Thriller
Blurb: “The truth is I hurt people. It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done.”
He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him.
What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.
This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal… and it works. Perfectly.
Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room… the others. He doesn’t need any of them anymore. He needs only her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage.
Discovering his humanity couldn’t have come at a worse time.
My Review: OMG. I have “NEEDED” to read this book from the second I saw it on Netgalley and went to incredible lengths including stalking and begging to finally receiving a copy from the publishers last week. This did not disappoint.. it was deliciously dark and sick and twisted and funny and wonderful and disgusting and just perfect in everyway… except the ending….! Noooooooo… I want more….. I need more… don’t leave me like that.
I will be following Graeme very carefully (be afraid Mr Cameron) and reading everything he ever writes in the future. Absolutely fabulous and a well deserved 5 stars from me.
The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson – Genre – Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Blurb: On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”
From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda’s demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse–one they both cannot survive–with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.
My Review: a gripping intelligent twisted psychological thriller with so many plot changes I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. highly recommend this book and was disappointed when it ended. fab read 5 Stars
We are All Made of Stars – Rowan Coleman – Genre – Contemporary Fiction
Blurb: What if you had just one chance, one letter you could leave behind for the person you love?
What would you write?
Stella Carey has good reason to only work nights at the hospice where she is a nurse. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, Stella leaves the house each night as her husband Vincent, locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
During her nights at the hospice, Stella writes letters for her patients containing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings – from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent – and usually she delivers each letter to the recipient he or she has died.
That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time to give her patient one final chance of redemption…
My Review: I am finding it difficult to write this review through the tears. OMG, this is one of the most thought-provoking, heart-breaking books I have read in a long time. Stella works in a hospice and writes the last letters for the dying patients whilst dealing with her own emotional issues, Hope is a young CF sufferer dealing with her own immortality and confusing love life, Hugh is just minding his own business plodding along trying to survive life. Rowan Coleman has brilliantly interwoven this characters stories, the last letters between each chapters are sad, funny, shocking, warm and moving and add a whole level of emotion to this book. I absolutely LOVED it and it will stay in my head and heart for a very very long time. 5 HUGE STARS
Welcome to Wherever You Are – John Marrs – Genre – Fiction
Blurb: How far would you run to escape your past?
For eight strangers in a Los Angeles backpacking hostel, even the other side of the world isn’t far enough.
The craving for a new identity and the chance to start again is something they have in common. But the search for a fresh start isn’t as easy as they’d imagined.
And they soon discover that it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are – if you can’t lay the past to rest, coincidence, fate and deception have a way of catching up with you when you least expect it.
My Review: Here is my review for Welcome to Wherever You Are. I read The Wronged Sons about a year ago and was utterly blown away by the storyline, twists and turns and actually contacted the author on Goodreads to let him know, which is the first time I had EVER done that. After making contact John and I became “online” friends and I was so excited to hear that he was writing another book. Infact I was one of the extremely fortunate people to read an early extract months ago and last week I read the final copy in a day!. Firstly I need to point out that this is nothing like The Wronged Sons and I don’t think it should be compared to it either. This is about 8 strangers who are all running away from their past and end up in a back packing hostel in LA. The author has an incredible talent for telling stories that weave in and out, merging the past and present, leaving the reader baffled by making you despise a character one chapter and then break your heart the next. I loved this book and highly recommend it. A solid 5* from me!