A Year In Review – Favourite Books Read In 2017.

I’ve seen lots of blog posts and Instagram pictures showing everyone’s best books of 2017 and I’ve really enjoyed seeing what people think.

I love it when you see some choices on there that resonate with your own personal choices, like hell to the yeah dude I loved that one too! Likewise I see other choices and think really??……but the world would be a very dull place if we all liked the same books right? Whatever blows your frock up!

So I thought I’d do a hella quick post showcasing my favourite books of 2017 because I felt the need to jump straight aboard that bandwagon as we roll into 2018. Now I must specify that these books were not all published in 2017, most were but not all. A couple are old school and one hasn’t even been published yet. But these were the books I read and enjoyed the most during 2017.

I thought it would be easy to do…..in fact I found myself a collage grid of 9 squares and boshed 9 images of books in there. Quite happy with my choices until I realised that I’d used images from my bookstagram Insta account……which I only started a few months ago so yeah…….books I’d read in the early part of 2017 were completely overlooked. Dumb as F!

So…..I returned to my personal insta account and trawled back through that for clues. I should point out here that I’ve only just recently started using Goodreads properly so I couldn’t even rely on that.

It was tough! I have a clear head and shoulders number one victor but the other 8 books? Man it was hard to fill those boxes! (And yes I did 9 not 10 because that’s the only collage grid I could find! 9 is a good number though right?, it’ll have to be!)

I’ve also tagged on a few books that I agonised over and at the end of the day are probably quite interchangeable with any of the ones I eventually chose so they are defo up there with the best.

So what are the books? Stop rattling on and get on with it!…..

1. The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Boyne

2. The Crimson Petal And The White by Michel Faber

3. Tin Man by Sarah Winman

4. The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (out in Jan 2018)

5. The Visitors by Catherine Burns

6. Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders

7. Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary

8. Honour Thy Father by Lesley Glaister

9. The Haunting Of Henry Twist by Rebecca F John.

Now aside from the numero uno spot (and possibly numero deux too) the other 7 are not ranked in any order of preference. I ain’t got time to sit down and ruminate over that one I’m afraid! Just take my word for it that they are fab.

I also need to mention these;

Where possible I’ve included the link to any reviews I might have done, be it a full singular review or a reading wrap up.

So that’s my list done! Have you read any of these? Did you love them or loathe them?

Happy New Year to you bookish lot.

Peace out and see you in 2018.

Bookish Chat

Xxx

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Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit – A Review

I was sent a proof copy of this book by Orion Publishing and also had a Netgalley arc BUT I will forever be a ‘real book you can hold in your hand’ kinda gal over Kindle reading any day so I read the actual physical proof.

Going into this I had heard very little about it, but what I had heard had been very mixed. I try not to let other people’s views affect my reading and will always give something a go and judge for myself. We can’t all enjoy or dislike the same things can we? Oh no sirree!

I think I pre-judged this book a little. With a title like ‘Fear’ and a blurb like:

Your neighbour is threatening your family. Nobody will help – not even the police. There’s nothing you can do. Is there?…’

I was expecting a fast paced, action packed thriller which this soooo was not. Now I don’t mind a slow burner, a building of tension etc but in this case I think it maybe progressed a little too slowly and with not as much focus on the neighbour causing the issues as I would have liked. But maybe I’m a weirdo? Who knows?…

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the beginning. So we have a family living in an apartment in Berlin and their downstairs neighbour Dieter Tiberius is effectively ‘stalking’ the family and has developed a fixation on the wife Rebecca. He then goes on to make some shocking accusations against the way the mother and father of the family treat their children.

The narrator is Randolph, the father of the family and we are told the story from his perspective. Not only that, we are given a history of his childhood, growing up in a house with a father who has a fascination with guns.

For me, I didn’t connect with Randolph. He wasn’t a likeable character for me and I’m not saying all characters in books have to be likeable, I’m just pointing out that I found him to be a little too selfish and self involved. So much so that I struggled to have any empathy for his plight which is awful when you consider the things he and his family were experiencing.

I did enjoy the moral dilemma element to this story and quite enjoyed the twist at the end. This was nicely done.

I understand that this is intended to be a slow burner with a building of atmosphere and tension and if you like that kind of thriller as opposed to a fast paced action packed page turner, then this book is most probably for you.

It wasn’t really my bag but I appreciated the opportunity to read it and form my own opinion.

See you soon.

Bookish Chat.

Xxx

Montpelier Parade By Karl Geary – A Review

I hold up my hands right now and admit that this book had not even entered my radar until it was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards in the First Novel category. I’d read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and The Haunting Of Henry Twist, which have also been shortlisted in the same category and enjoyed them both. I have The Clocks In This House All Tell Different Times on order from the library and I bought Montpelier Parade as I couldn’t wait that long to read it.

So what’s it about?

Set in 1980’s Dublin (at least it feels like the 80’s even though I don’t think the time period is ever referred to!) we meet Sonny Knolls, a teenage boy living in a working class family with his Mum, Dad and two brothers. He has earned a place at the local grammar school but struggles to fit in there due to his background. He spends his time helping out at the local butchers shop and riding the buses, drinking alcohol with his friend and admirer, Sharon.

He has a lonely home life where it feels like nobody really understands him and he struggles to find his place. His parents relationship is somewhat strained and living at home is not easy.

One day he is helping his labourer Dad fix a wall when he meets the enigmatic and mysterious Vera, an older woman who he becomes instantly mesmerised and smitten by.

Vera is a complex character with her own demons but she too finds an affiliation with this young boy for her own reasons. Reasons which are not revealed until pretty much the end of the story.

Now I have to admit when Sonny and Vera’s relationship developed, a part of me hoped it wouldn’t go down the most obvious route. When it did I was pleased that it was very well written and sensitively handled.

The writing style is fluid and easy. Nothing is flowered up which I enjoyed. I had reservations at first as this book is written in the second person which is not something I’m used to. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever read a book written this way….however once I got used to it I got along fine.

This was a quick easy read for me. Not least because it’s quite short! But because it is a story you get caught up and swept along in, eager to find out how it will all pan out.

Gritty and raw but also very tender, I definitely give this book 5 stars.

Get your hands on a copy if you can.

My money is on The Haunting Of Henry Twist winning the prize but I’d be happy to see this one win too.

See you soon with another review.

Bookish Chat

Xxx

Honour Thy Father By Lesley Glaister – A Review

I know, I know, I’ve only just read and reviewed a Lesley Glaister novel, The Squeeze. BUT I’ve been sent on a Glaister binge and I’m dragging you lot along with me. Buckle up! I make no apologies for the amount of Glaister novels I’ve read and will read in the coming weeks.

On the back of one of her novels is a quote which hits the nail right on the head in terms of her forte:

Lesley Glaister specialises in domestic horror. Skeletons fairly rattle in her fictional cupboards.

And that describes Honour Thy Father perfectly, ‘domestic horror’. This book is only slight but boy oh boy does it pack a punch!

We meet 4 sisters Agatha (the eldest) Milly (who’s perspective the story is told from) and the young twins Ellen and Esther who are actually referred to as Ellenanesther because they are so close it’s as if they are one person. We have two timelines of narrative, the sisters childhood growing up in an isolated house on the Fens with their domineering, controlling father and their mother who they lose quite early on in their lives, and the present day. In the present day the four sisters are still living in the same house all together. However they have let the house go to pretty much rack and ruin and they have the addition of ‘George’ who they keep locked in the cellar.

Their childhood is a very lonely one due to their father expressly forbidding them to leave the house and make friends with anyone from the local village. Their father quite often goes away for long periods of time leaving them to fend for themselves. Woe betide them if he arrives back home unexpectedly and they are not there, or worse, they have any boys around at the house.

This isolation means that this family has some particularly horrific secrets to bear, which quite obviously have far reaching consequences into their adult life. They are bound together by the things they have done and kept hidden from the real world. A family loyalty keeping them all imprisoned in their old decrepit house.

This story has all the elements of a really creepy family saga. On old house, lies, death, creepy twins (who doesn’t love those!) and a fairly hefty secret hidden in their cellar. ‘Domestic Horror’ is probably my new favourite genre! (If there is one!)

If you enjoy a story which creeps inside your brain and makes you think ‘no, surely not?!’ Then you will love this. It gave me vibes of The Visitors by Catherine Burns, another crackin creepy read.

If you get the opportunity to get your hands on any of Lesley Glaister’s novels then do it! You won’t be disappointed. If you start with this one I guarantee you’ll go on a buying spree like I did.

If you’ve read any of her stuff let me know.

See you soon.

Bookish Chat xxx