This time last year…

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This time last year…

  • I didn’t know what ARC meant. Some kind of mathematical concept? What Indiana Jones went in search of? Now I know it’s a chance to read and review wonderful books before they’re published
  • I’d never heard of NetGalley and the last badge I got was in the Brownies – now I have three! I know, the rest of you already have loads, but it’s tickled me
  • I had few followers on Twitter and one of those was my sister! Now I have – well, not that many still – but I’ve discovered what a great way it is to connect with other bloggers, readers and publishers
  • I’d never written a blog or thought it was the kind of thing I could do and here I am, posting away
  • I didn’t know my widget from my plugin and, although I’m only in the reception class when it comes to WordPress, I have a working blog!
  • I’d never heard of a blog tour and would have thought – how can that work?
  • I didn’t realise what a massive book blogging community was out there, full of passionate readers who love to share reviews and recommendations
  • I was stuck in a rut of my preferred genre – historical fiction. Now through ARCs, other bloggers’ reviews and recommendations, I’m reading all kinds of books and finding new authors to love
  • I didn’t think I’d have read 65 (and counting) books and would be anticipating increasing that figure in 2017

What book-related achievement has given you most pride or pleasure in 2016?

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Top Reads of 2016

Here are five favourites from the books I read this year:

 

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The moving story of one woman’s experience of early-onset Alzheimer’s and the effect on her family and career. Terrifyingly realistic, devastatingly heart-breaking and utterly compelling.

The Blue Room by Georges Simenon

Before Gone Girl Simenon was showing how you write a psychological thriller. A passionate affair comes back to haunt the womanising Tony.  Taut, tense, sexy and stylish.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A tale of survival amid the Second World War. Exquisitely constructed, like one of Papa LeBlanc’s models. Beautiful writing, engaging story, real quality.

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never before acknowledged,  Harry Cane is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. Beautifully written – a moving, at times unutterably sad story which is ultimately heart-warming and uplifting. Highly recommended.

The Ashes of Berlin by Luke McCallin

Cracking historical mystery set in post-war Berlin. Inspector Gregor Reinhardt hunts a serial killer amid the political turmoil of a ravaged, divided city.

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And here are three to look out for in 2017 that I was lucky enough to read courtesy of NetGalley:

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

Yejide is smart, sassy, well-educated and runs her own business but doesn’t have the one thing she desires and her family expect. The pressure to conform to the demands of her family and culture will have unintended and dramatic consequences. Played out against the backdrop of political events in Nigeria, this is an intimate family drama and assured debut.

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson

London, November 1965.  American star Iolanthe Green finishes a performance, walks out onto the Charing Cross Road and disappears. Her dresser, Anna, sets out to find her plunging her into a world of underground music clubs, back street abortionists, seaside ghost towns and police brutality.

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

A strange, imaginative but ultimately moving story that is space adventure, chronicle of recent Czech history and love story all rolled into one. An impressive first novel.