Posted in Books I have read

Top 10 Books published in 2013

2013 was a great book reading year for me, I have read many great books of a variety of genres, although as usual the majority were crime fiction! It has been a real struggle to whittle this list down to 10 but here they are, in no particular order!

Click on the book covers to read my reviews.

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

My list starts with a book set in a bookshop. This was a great book for this booklover, with references as diverse as Paddington Bear and 1984 littering the pages, great characters and a bookshop I wanted to work in!

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them…
The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.
A superb psychological thriller set in Devon over one claustrophobic weekend in November 2013 this book rivals Barbara Vine for one of the best books in this genre.

Dot by Araminta Hall

Women's Fiction 5*
Women’s Fiction
5*

a long-forgotten photograph of a man, his hair blowing in the breeze. Dot stares so long at the photograph the image begins to disintegrate before her eyes, and as the image fades it is replaced with one thought: ‘I think it’s definitely him.’
Secrets and female relationships dominate this book. Full of delightful characters with an undertone of humour to lighten the emotions that must surely melt the hardest of hearts.

Apple Tree Yard
by Louise Doughty

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

Safety and security are commodities you can sell in return for excitement, but you can never buy them back.

This powerful book was my surprise find of 2013. A women in court but how and why? At its core this is a book about how we perceive ourselves, through our own eyes and what is reflected back to us in the eyes of others.

Entry Island by Peter May

Crime Fiction  5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

I had the final part of the Lewis Trilogy down as a favourite of 2013 but have decided Peter May can’t have two books on the top ten (but if you haven’t read the Lewis Trilogy I suggest you do!) so have decided his latest book set between a past on the Isle of Lewis and the present in Canada was the winner for fantastic characters along with a well plotted tale of a woman accused of murder and a past that must be found.

What Lies Within by Tom Vowler

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

when a convict escapes from nearby Dartmoor prison, their isolation suddenly begins to feel more claustrophobic than free. Fearing for her children’s safety, Anna’s behaviour becomes increasingly irrational. But why is she so distant from her kind husband Robert, and why does she suspect something sinister of her son Paul? All teenagers have their difficult phases…

This was another great find part psychological thriller but containing elements of so much more; a mystery, a crime and relationships.

A Funeral for an Owl
by Jane Davis

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

Times have changed since Jim Stevens chose to teach. Protocol designed to protect children now makes all pupil/teacher relationships taboo – even those that might benefit a student.

This is one of those stories that stays with you long after you have closed the book. Jane Davis Davis really does bring characters to life, mothers, fathers, friends, teachers are all perfectly described along with their actions and reactions to events. (oh and if you have copy I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements!!)

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Women's Fiction   5*
Women’s Fiction
5*

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in – and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.
Lisa Jewell really knows how to write a great story, her books never fail to delight me as they are so much more than ‘chick-lit’ they deal with serious issues without becoming depressing. This is my favourite (I think) of all her novels.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Women's Fiction 5*'s
Women’s Fiction
5*’s

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read
My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Another great story-teller (I read What Alice Forgot after this one) with all the ingredients included; a believable plot, characters that are well-developed and writing that pulls the reader in from the first page, plus this isn’t the story you think it is going to be!

The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

Psychological Thriller 5*'s
Psychological Thriller
5*’s

He’s gone. And telling the truth won’t bring him back…
When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.

A lot of tension in this book, this is definitely not light reading but it is certainly absorbing and haunting.

What did you think of these books?

Does your list contain any of them?

I’d love to see your links to your best reads of 2013 (as I always need more books to add to that TBR!)

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Dot – Araminta Hall

Women's Fiction 5*
Women’s Fiction
5*

Everything and Nothing was one of those books I didn’t simply love at the time of reading it, I still remember it now over two years later. Why did I love it so much? Because it was written so skilfully that I felt like I was actually viewing the story as it was revealed so I put Dot on my wish list, and kept my fingers crossed that after the long wait the next offering would be just as good. In my opinion it is. Reading this book gave me that magical feeling that I really knew the characters I was reading about.

Dot is a young girl, playing hide and seek in her Grandmother’s house with her best friend Mavis, when we first meet her. This is not just Dot’s story though. Araminta Hall expertly weaves many stories into a satisfying read with each one narrating their own part in an everyday if often tragic drama of family life. Dot, her beautiful mother Alice and her Grandmother Clarice all struggle to communicate with each other which is not the same as not loving each other. Mavis’s mother Sandra is trapped in a life of endless cleaning to stop her life falling apart and Dot’s absent father also has his own story to tell.

This is fundamentally a story about female relationships and how it can be hardest to reveal our secrets to those closest to us all told with an undertone of humour; `his lungs felt useless, as if he’d got them cheap in the Primark sale.’ The girls take on life had me smiling as I read the tragedy of lives not lived to the full.

This is such a beautiful story that I had tears rolling down my cheeks when I turned the last page.

My review of Everything and Nothing on Goodreads
Everything and NothingEverything and Nothing by Araminta Hall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came across this book as recommended by Amazon, one of those I was glad I looked into this psychological novel is even more eerie for the way the story slowly increases in tension.

It all begins when Agatha attends an interview for a position of Nanny in a chaotic household where both parents work.

She is determined to become indispensible and takes over the running of the household and managing the children wonderfully. Ruth (the mother) feels she is strugggling with motherhood, work and wonders if she was right to take her husband Christian back after he had an affair whilst she was pregnant, and life goes on with Agatha managing everything perfectly…. so what could possibly go wrong?

The book is so well written, the characterisation is brilliant, you feel like you are looking through the window at a real family as you read this.

This is not a book I will forget in a hurry!

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