Thursday 31 December 2015

My Favourite Reads of 2015 .... and some to look out for in 2016

2015 was a fantastic reading year for me. I've read over 150 books, I've started more, I've given up on some, others I have adored, some I will remember for many many years.
My blog has almost hit the 300,000 view mark, I have lots of followers, both on here and on Twitter. I've done lots of work with Book Connectors; helping Bloggers and Authors to connect. I've shouted about books, I've cried over books, I've been completely consumed by books.
I've been to lots of book events. I've met new authors and new publishers. I've made friends, I've drunk wine and eaten canapes.
2015 has been a very good book year. It's difficult to choose favourite books, and like last year, I've made a list of my top fifteen reads. These are the books that had the most impact on me, the books that I've remembered the most, the books that if I had the time, I would sit down and read all over again. There were many other books that almost made the list, and it's incredibly hard not to include all of them.
I've also read a few books that are due to be published in 2016, and I am certain that some of those will go on to be smash hits. I've mentioned them at the beginning of my post. 
I'm sending a huge thanks to all of the authors and publishers who continue to feed my book hunger, and to my fellow bloggers and the authors who are so supportive and helpful and have made Book Connectors the most fabulous, funny, and connective no-rules group on Facebook  ... and to my special book friend Nina, my 'book sister' who adds a touch of sparkle to bookish events and has shown me how to cross the busy London streets, even when the green man is not flashing!
Here's my 2015, get ready for 2016!                        Anne xx 

As a blogger, I'm really lucky to get hold of books well before their publication date, and I've read some of the early 2016 releases already. I don't want to add these in my 2015 list as they're not 2015 books, but do want to give four of them a very special mention. Each of these four books are very special, they are all very different, and I'd recommend them all highly. Watch out for these in 2016:

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Published by Borough Press on 28 January 2016

The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is quite extraordinary. It is a very special novel that should be savoured. This is an ambitious story, but also a beautiful story.

Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

Published by Mira on 11 February 2016

B A Paris is a very very gifted author. This story is incredibly well written and deals with the darkest and most evil of issues.

Look At Me by Sarah Duguid

Published by Tinder Press on 25 February 2015

Look At Me is beautifully constructed, the characters are flawed but keenly observed.  Sarah Duguid's writing is polished, precise and sensitive

The Long Room by Francesca Kay

Published by Faber & Faber on 7 January 2016

Francesca Kay's writing is distinctive and forceful. Her sense of place is impeccable and her characters are carefully created.  The Long Room is elegant, sensitive and intelligent. I enjoyed it so very much.

My favourite books of 2015, listed in the order that I read them. Please click on the title of the book to read my full review.

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin

Published by Black Swan (Transworld)

Paperback 1 January 2015

This really is a beautiful book. At times it is bleak, but it is incredibly moving and funny, there are times when you will feel like your heart is breaking, you will read the final page and feel like you have been punched, hard, right in the face. You will also recognise the kindness of humanity, the importance of family, and the benefit of laughter.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Published by Faber & Faber

Hardback 5 February 2015
Paperback 3 September 2015

The Kind Worth Killing is a study of the human psyche, it is also psychologically challenging and an excellent thriller.  Intelligent, surprising and incredibly moreish.

The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah

Published by Doubleday

Hardback 12 March 2015
Paperback 27 August 2015

James Hannah writes with a bluntness that can be startling, but coupled with the setting and the extraordinarily likeable characters, it really does work. The story is sad, yet uplifting. The characters are flawed, yet human. The setting is a place of endings, yet it is beautifully calm, and at times filled with humour and lots of love.

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

Published by Tinder Press

Hardback 24 March 2015
Paperback 27 August 2015

A Place Called Winter is emotive and beautiful. Patrick Gale is a genius storyteller, he has created one of the most stunning and moving novels that I have read in many, many years. His sense of timing, his ability to create a setting that engulfs the reader is a triumph.

Letters To The Lost by Iona Grey

Published by Simon & Schuster

Paperback 23 April 2015

Iona Grey handles issues with grace and elegance, her story telling skills are very impressive, she has written a novel that is quite stunning and very memorable.

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

Published by Penguin

Paperback 9 April 2015

..... I loved it. It's one of those books that stay there, in the corner of your mind, niggling away, making you think and wonder, and yes, making you feel a little bit uneasy.  This really is perfect storytelling, warm and funny, and mysterious, and downright terrifying in places.

The Silent House by Cesca Major

Published by Corvus (Atlantic Books)

Ebook / Trade Paperback 4 June 2015
Paperback 4 November 2015

Cesca Major is a huge talent. She has an incredible way with words, and has created a love story that is memorable. This is an incredible story, one that will affect the reader for a long time after the final page is turned.

The Followers by Rebecca Wait

Published by Picador

Hardback 21 May 2015
Paperback 21 April 2016

The Followers is written simply, it is incredibly easy to read which only makes it more extraordinary in how brilliant it is. It is gripping, clever and so wonderfully told. Another triumph for this incredibly talented young author. 

Flight by Isabel Ashdown

Published by Myriad Editions

Paperback 21 May 2015

Flight is exquisitely written. Isabel Ashdown is a very accomplished author and has created a complex, yet beautifully woven story of love and relationships that is both heart-breaking and thought-provoking.  Her characters are imperfect, somewhat flawed, but oh so human. The story flows perfectly and the ending is unexpected, yet quite perfect. 

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Published by Picador

Hardback 2 July 2015
Paperback 5 May 2016

Her writing is honest, and breathtaking, and touching and incredibly moving, yet it is not in the least bit dramatic or self-pitying. Cathy doesn't gloss over the facts, or try to hide her feelings, she is quite brutal with herself at times. 

After You by Jojo Moyes

Published by Michael Joseph

Hardback 24 September 2015
Paperback 2 August 2016

After You is a triumphant return for Lou Clark, for Jojo Moyes, and for her readers. I loved every page, it is thought-provoking, totally absorbing and extremely satisfying. 

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Published by Quercus

Hardback 3 September 2015

Asking For It is a bang up-to-date story. Louise O'Neill the issues that remain in our society today. This book is an incredibly well written, very brave and extremely important one.

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

Published by Black Swan (Transworld)

Paperback 19 November 2015

Once again, Louise Douglas has produced a captivating, intelligent and beautifully written story. I became totally lost in the plot, adored the characters and feared the cottage and the lake. An absolutely superb read

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

Published by Avon

Paperback 31 December 2015

There are moments where my heart beat so fast, I actually felt quite sick. The author hooks you and reels you in, and it is almost impossible to get this story out of your head.  Twists and turns a plenty. This is a totally gripping and engrossing story.

Somewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin

Published by Penguin Ireland and Transworld

Paperback 3 November 2015 (Ireland)
Paperback 7 April 2016 (UK)

She expertly and cleverly combines humour with some of the darkest, most emotional subjects. Somewhere Inside of Happy is warm, often funny, emotionally draining and quite heartbreaking. It is also hopeful and contains a message that is so very important


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