Best Books of 2017 #BookTrailAdvent
Welcome to BookTrail Books 2017 – a celebration of all the good books out there – and this year we’re going to do a countdown to the top 15 books most loved this year. This was done as part of BookTrailAdvent but here is the list of 15 in all its glory! Plus a few extra…
First book award – Top 15 reads of the year (in no particular order)
Best book for locations and scope
Day 1 : THE PEARL SISTER – LUCINDA RILEY
This is an epic part of the overall journey Lucinda takes you on as part of the Seven Sister series. This time it’s over to Australia and what a journey! First Thailand, Edinburgh, and several places across Australia and it really is a journey of discovery for its main character.In the other books of the series, adopted daughters living in Geneva have taken journeys one by one, mapped out by their father, recently died. This episode in the story is my favourite so far. Gripping and memorable.
DAY 2: Best book for creepy characters and bugs in a gothic house- THE NIGHT VISITOR – LUCY ATKINS
Set in a museum surrounded by old things and then there’s beetles too. A gothic house in the country. Two women in a war of wits…. this is a creepy read and I remember having to steal someone’s proof copy, not being able to finish it before I had to hand it back and the demanding the publisher to send me one asap for fear that I would not be able to sleep until I’d read it. When I did, I had trouble sleeping thinking of those beetles and the weird twisty stuff that this novel is packed full of…
Day 3 – Best journey Women Enters Left – Jessica Brockmole
This was a great roadtrip of a film. Loved the dual timeline stories of women making the journey years apart. I called it ‘an elegant, sit down and relax in a vintage cinema with the lights dimmed kind of read and I can’t think of a better way to describe it long after I’d read it. It’s a poetically multilayered novel about women finding out about themselves, a journey of so many meanings and the difference between travelling and reaching your destination in life. Lots to this novel, lots to explore and talk about and it’s stayed with me which is always a mark of a good novel.
Day Four – Best creepiest and most claustrophobic setting..THE LOST VILLAGE – NEIL SPRING
Loved this one. It’s a real life ghost village brought back to life by Neil Spring. This is the setting you might not even have heard of – it’s a village and a landscape which really was bought and then abandoned by the army. It’s still held by them and you can only go there on special open days. The villagers who lived there really did have to move from their homes and land and were abandoned. There really were stories of loved ones buried in the local church coming back to haunt the area. Whatever you believe in, this was a great story and creepiest of settings!
Day 5 – Best historical event recreated in a novel – Love and Other Consolation Prizes
A story of wonder and heartbreak set at the time of the Seattle World Trade Fair in 1909 and the fair of 1967 and the stories between them – this is like a snapshot of Seattle and world history between those years and so much has happened – on the cultural, political and scientific levels. You will feel that you’re at the fair, with the excitement, anticipation and wide eyed wonderment. What was a major historical event hide some dark moments and the stories of what was celebrated and that which was hidden in shame creates a novel of varied emotions. Recommended to get a unique view of an event you’ve heard of, but not in this way!
Day 6 – Best kick ass adventure – Deep Blue Trouble – Steph Broadribb
This and the first in the series DeepDown Dead are two of the most thrilling and gripping novels I’ve read in a while. There are chases across deserts, quick visits to towns in the middle of nowhere and cross country flights. Phew! The action is just as fast paced and exciting and the storylines top notch. Add to this, thrilling andrealistic characters and a lead characters who the author creates from her time when she trained as a bounty hunter and you’ve got a winner!
Day 7 – Best rural setting with a sense of menace – The Dry
This novel stands out for many reasons for me this year. Evocative and descriptive from the outset. Memorable and wonderfully written. So realistic I had grit and sand in my hair when I closed the pages. The strongest sense of foreboding Ive read in a novel in a while. Brilliant. And then I met this lovely author at Harrogate and my reading year was made.
Day 8 – The Christmas book which brings even more sparkle and magic to France
This book is unique in many ways. It’s written in the form of letters from a girl in England to a boy in France when the war breaks out and they, friends through her brother, just write to pass the time. But then things change and events take over and their letter become more frantic but also more deep and then romance blossoms, but can love or anything else for that matter flourish when war is all around?
This is such an emotional read – letter writing is a lost art form -this allows you into the mindset and emotions of two people, growing and finding themselves in world full of confusion and war. Then in 1968, the man pays one last visit to Paris…..You will sob your heart out!
Day 9 – Best unique premise and setting of a dark and creepy wood – Six Stories
This is a great book on so many levels – never been have I read a novel written in the style of a podcast. A murder has taken place and the culprits are interviewed one by one by a podcaster to examine the inner thoughts of every person who was at the wood camping area when one of the group went missing.
Each voice is unique, the style of the whole mystery utterly compelling and have you heard the audio version? Even more mind blowing. Matt’s second book is on its way – Merry Christmas indeed
Day 10 – Best historical setting and true life tale
This was the winner of the HWA Historical Writers Debut Award winner but I’d loved it and championed it before then. The other judges loved it too for the way it evoked the flavours and atmosphere of the past stood out and it not only drew you into the past but sucked you in right away. I loved this as it was based on a real historical figure and got me googling and researching the past. It really is a stunning novel and eerily creepy when you realise this horrific witch hunting really took place. A book you never forget
This photo was taken with the lovely Ian McGuire who also won an award at the HWA ceremony in London in November. Also a great book!
Day 11 – The book setting I most want to live in – Three Pines
Despite the obvious high murder rate in Three Pines, I really really really want to live there. I would even like to work with Mr Gamache himself I think. I never tire of retuning to Three Pines and exploring Quebec when I read these books. This year I was able to read and review early and fire some questions at the lovely Louise Penny herself. One of the highlights for 2017 for sure!
Day 12 – Best closed environment in a book
Joy of Joys! – Not since the Roald Dahl story about a man who makes a bet on a ship in the middle of the ocean have I been so excited about a story of a ship in the middle of the ocean with some very dubious characters on board. Rachel Rhys aka Tammy Cohen nails the drama, suspense and the 1930s with ease and I was on that journey with her every step of the way!
Day 13 – Book for best use of an attic in a novel….
Ooh this was creepy and intriguing! A box in an attic, an undisturbed box with secrets inside. Carol Lovekin was a new author to me this year but you know the feeling when you’ve found an author who suprises and delights you at the same time? Great setting and a special sense of darkness and foreboding. This was the kind of novel you have to immerse in, turn off any tv or radio so the modern world doesn’t invade. This novel brought me Angharad and her story and I’m so pleased it did!
Day 14 – A great historical novel about a real life figure
This was a great find and really brought the period of 1630s-1640s Amsterdam. Descartes comes to live in the city and meets a local maid. Both their lives will never be the same again. Even if your view or knowledge of the art world isn’t strong, then don’t fear, this is a real insightful and interesting book.
Day 15 – Best debut – and book set on an island
This is one where the location plays a major role and it makes its presence felt and more. Cracking plot, history, intrigue, setting to die for (quite literarily!) and sprinkles of ghosts and folklore and you have a novel which delivers on every level and leaves you wanting more. Definately on the list for 2017!
Agree or disagree? What’s on your list?