This year has been a wonderful year for discovering new Authors, revisiting previous favourites and diving into new genres. We also branched out into meeting Authors – starting with Daniel Cole visiting our book club back in May, to then meeting, across the final six months of the year, 15 Authors on Zoom! Throw in our visit to the Romantic Novelists Association Industry Awards and Winter Party and it has been very much an incredible year.
It’s very hard to narrow down top titles from the 100 books read this year, but from my list there are ten notable ‘standout’ novels to share…
These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant
‘Books that leave you wanting more! Of the story, the characters, the setting, and more of the Authors writing. Kimi Cunningham Grant, you’ve just made it into my top books read this year! So far anyway… I don’t see many knocking this one off the pedestal to be honest.
The settings is also beautifully remote, chilling and will have you shivering even on the hottest day. I know this because I read it it in thirty degree heat in a swimming pool! It’s an evocative novel of suspense, and I can see why it was chosen as the Barnes and Noble monthly read. It will prompt a lot of book club discussions!’
End of Story by Louise Swanson
‘Move over Louise Beech, there’s a new writer in town… And wow, does she have a story to tell. Louise Swanson is the new penname for Louise Beech as she does what we’ve always hoped she would do and dives into the darker side genres. And never, ever, ever, has an Author adopted the persona of their alter ego quite as well as Louise has done with her foray into writing as Swanson.’ You can pre order from us here.
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
Jodi writes with her usual dignity, grace and very well researched expertise. Without a doubt you learn things about a craft, an issue or a historical moment when you read her books. But you also learn things about yourself. Throw in Jennifer’s style, emotion and compassion… and you have the perfect mixture of humour, reality, and one liners that will stop you breathing for a second or two.
The Lighthouse Witches by C J Cooke
‘One of those ‘read it in less than 24 hours’ situations. This was truly brilliant – full of suspense, intrigue and darkness. Based on true stories as well, I loved the historical fiction element. The atmosphere that C J Cooke has created in this book is so full of tension that it’s actually at times, hard to read alone!’ We have stock with signed book-plates – order yours here.
Impossible by Sarah Lotz
‘There’s heart-break, humour, mind-bending plot twists and storylines, confusion, clarity, love… but it’s not a love story. It’s absolutely impossible. This is the book that will make all Authors envious and wish they’d written it – and all those who aren’t Authors too. I wish I’d written it. It’s bloody brilliant.’ We have the hardback in stock and you can order here!
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
‘I knew it would be good. I wasn’t expecting it to be absolutely-bloody-brilliant! Set in the 1950s and 1960s, it is a book that highlights inequalities that we thankfully no longer have to endure, and some that have yet to be left behind in the past too. It follows the story of an absolutely brilliant mind in the body of a woman. Which throws up all sorts of restrictions and setbacks in that era of time.’
The House at Helygen by Victoria Hawthorne
‘If you’ve read Vikki’s book, Return to Blackwater House, also published this year, you’ll now what I mean when I say the house is a character in itself. It has charm (a little), suspense (a lot) and lots of dark secrets to unravel. And they unravel in a very theatrical way through the generations of families who have lived in the house since the 1800s. I was absolutely hooked on getting to the end to find out exactly what was going on but at the same time I didn’t want it to finish.’ You can order a signed copy here.
Mimic by Daniel Cole
‘Mimic is a balance of theatrics, making this a very cinematic read, with humour and underlying tension. It was great to revisit a lesser known character from the Ragdoll series too, but this was very much a standalone that doesn’t require you needing to have read other books by Daniel. This is a book that will have you astounded, shocked and laughing, all in equal measures. Plus you’ll likely have the urge to research some of the happenings because Daniel introduces some fascinating elements in his books – and in locations that might be familiar to some.’
The Secret Voices by M J White
There’s a new favourite Crime Thriller Author to move straight to the top of my list! This is book one (book two is now OUT!) in a new crime thriller series from author MJ White, aka much loved, bestselling romantic novelist, Miranda Dickinson. If you’re like me, and feel slightly worried when an Author steps into another genre, fear not! This is very firmly, 100%, absolutely brilliant. It has everything that we know and love Miranda for (yes, even a little hint of a romance…!) with the added elements of suspense and ‘fighting for your life’ tension rather than ‘will they or won’t they…?!’ We gave just a couple of copies left – signed – here!
Nothing Else by Louise Beech
‘This is such a beautiful book – incredibly tender, it’s like an extended piece of the most beautiful classical music you ever heard, played on the piano. Throughout I was torn between wanting to read on and wanting to sit down at my piano and play beautiful sounds.
This is a story of trauma & grief, and the power of music to escape devastating and challenging times. It explores the powerful and often fragile bond between sisters, and the courage and love to continue in the face of the darkest times.’ There are a few signed copies still in stock here.