Best of the best in 2017

tea n book quote

I’ve had another wonderful year of reading and managed to finish 120 books.  From the 120 books read 52 of them were from new authors to me, so you can say 2017 was the year of discovering new talent.

It’s always very difficult for a book lover to choose their favourite reads of the year.  I enjoy many books from a wide variety of genres and tend to rate them by my overall enjoyment.  However, I would like to highlight a few that I particularly loved:

The Wild Warriners series by Virginia Heath.  Mills and Boon Historical writer Virginia Heath created a new series for us this year and I completely fell in love with it.  The Warriners are four brothers trying to escape the bad reputation that their late father has left them with.  We have been introduced to two of the brothers to-date and shortly in the new year we will be treated to another instalment from the Warriners.  I would say it’s like a 19th century rural middle England ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.’

the-bear-and-the-nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.  The Bear and The Nightingale is a grown up version of a fairytale set in Russia dealing with loss, grief, family struggles, forbidden love with a wonderful mystery of mythology and unknown magical creatures.  This book and it’s story would look impressive with a big movie budget bringing all the characters and creatures to life, a blockbuster in the making.

all the good things

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher.  A very moving, insightful story that was full of real life raw emotions, there was no sugar coating around the edges of life’s turbulent at times bumps in the road. A wonderful, inspiring debut that I feel should be read by all that have any involvement with young people. The words from this book will stay with me for a long time.

bamboo heart

Bamboo Heart by Ann Bennett.  The author, Ann Bennett, wrote with such passion and honesty. She left no scene without telling the shocking truth of a young man’s struggle to survive in the most terrifying of ordeals. The story sounds quite oppressive but it wasn’t as you were dealing with real people’s emotions and even during times of war love always found a way to bring sunshine and hope to your days.

the woolly hat knitting club

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club by Poppy Dolan.  This was a joy to read.  Poppy Dolan has created the most delightful, charming romcom that leaves you with a wonderful warm cosy feeling.

summer of impossible things

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman.  This novel got me from the start to the finish. I was captivated by this almost other worldly love story. A story of a love between a mother and a daughter; a story of a love that seemed almost impossible to believe but the consequence of never feeling the strength of this love is almost too heart breaking to think about.

the secret life of alfred nightingale

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale by Rebecca StonehillThis was such a profoundly moving novel that evoked many emotions in me. A story cleverly told in two different time frames from two generations of one family going through a pivotal time in their own lives which would leave a lasting impression forever.

walking wounded

Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osborne.  This was such an emotive story that deeply moved me, at one point I had to stop reading due to the tears blurring my vision.  The author takes you on a very emotional journey, one that millions took that had no choice but to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ but behind the smiles lay troubled souls and broken hearts.

teacup border

As many of you will know I love my loose leaf tea and some my favourite blends this year have been:

  • William Wilberforce Blend by The Tea Shop, Hull.  A lovely blend of African black teas.  To find out more details and buy http://teashophull.co.uk/
  • White Bellini by The Tea Experience, UK.  A gentle white tea that’s fruity and refreshing.  To find out more details and buy http://www.teaexperience.co.uk/
  • Cinnamon Bun by Jollybrew Tea.  A festive blend of black tea with a warming taste of cinnamon.  To find out more details and buy https://www.jollybrew.co.uk/
  • Ceylon Decaff by Tea Shirt Tailored Refreshments.  A lovely well-rounded black tea without caffeine.  To find out more details and buy https://tea-shirt.co.uk/
  • Lemongrass and Ginger by Chai Kai Tea Company.  This is a perfect combination to drink at any time of the day but especially comforting when you are suffering with a cold.  To find out more details and buy http://chaikaitea.com/

I’d like to thank you all for the support I’ve received this year sharing the love of reading and books.  Wishing you all a wonderful, happy, healthy 2018.

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Bamboo Road Trilogy by Ann Bennett blogtour

bamboo road trilogy blogtour poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Bamboo Road, which is volume three in a Southeast Asian WWII Trilogy.  The trilogy includes Bamboo Heart, Bamboo Island and Bamboo Road and can be read in any order.

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Bamboo Heart – is available in ebook, paperback and audio download format.

Set in the Far East before and during the Second World War, Bamboo Heart captures the suffering and courage of prisoners of war of the Japanese. It tells the story of Tom Ellis, a prisoner enslaved on the infamous Death Railway in Thailand, and charts the journey of his daughter, Laura, who turns her back on her yuppie existence in eighties London to investigate her father’s wartime experience.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bamboo-Heart-Trilogy-1/dp/9814423734/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=N92RM8EE04KMXMZWCG93

Bamboo Island – is available in ebook and paperback format.

A stranger appears on Juliet s plantation in Malaya, inspiring a journey to Singapore and Indonesia to uncover family secrets hidden since World War Two Juliet Crosby has lived a reclusive life on her Malayan rubber plantation since the Second World War robbed her of everyone she loved. However, the sudden appearance of a young woman from Indonesia disrupts her lonely existence and stirs up unsettling memories. Juliet is forced to recollect her prewar marriage, her wartime ordeals in Japanese-occupied Singapore and the loss of those she once held dear.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Bamboo-Island-Trilogy-Ann-Bennett/9814625175/ref=pd_bxgy_14_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=XYPK5PWQTXVKC1YVBY99

Bamboo Road – is available in ebook and paperback format.

Thailand 1942: Sirinya and her family are members of the Thai underground, who risk their lives to resist the World War Two Japanese occupation and to and help British prisoners of war building the Thai-Burma railway. The events of those years have repercussions for decades to come. The book tells Sirinya s wartime story and how in the 1970s she returns to Kanchanaburi after a long absence abroad, to settle old scores from the war years.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Bamboo-Road-Trilogy-3-Ann-Bennett/9814625256/ref=pd_bxgy_14_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=GSJ331533N34V58KH76C

MY REVIEW OF BAMBOO HEART

Bamboo Heart is one of the books in the Bamboo Trilogy written by Ann Bennett, publisher Monsoon Books.  The books can be read in any order however, I chose to read Bamboo Heart first and I was soon captivated by this time slip historical fiction novel with the idea of the story coming to Ann Bennett whilst she was researching her father’s history who had been a POW on the Thailand-Burma Railway.

A fascinating, insightful story travelling back to 1938 to a young man starting out in the working world.  His career started out in the legal field and returned back to law many years later but what happened in between these years will stay with this young man forever.  A time during a pivotal moment in history.  A time that was kept hidden to the rest of the world as thousands of men were tortured and even killed in POW camps in Burma.  This was a truly terrifying time that was equally shocking, distressing and so traumatising.

Bamboo Heart’s time slip story journeys from London 1986 with Laura Ellis, a young career girl in the law industry taking time out to trace her father’s history.  We then travel back to 1943 to when Thomas Ellis was captured by the Japanese and held captive in a POW camp and forced to work on The Death Railway.

The author, Ann Bennett, wrote with such passion and honesty.  She left no scene without telling the shocking truth of a young man’s struggle to survive in the most terrifying of ordeals.  The story sounds quite oppressive but it wasn’t as you were dealing with real people’s emotions and even during times of war love always found a way to bring sunshine and hope to your days. 

A truly compelling historical time slip work of fiction that will stay with me for a long time 5/5*

About the Author Ann Bennett

ann bennett

Ann Bennett was born and raised in a small village in Northamptonshire, UK. She read Law at Cambridge and qualified and practised as a solicitor. During a career break, to have children, she started to write. Her father had been a prisoner of war on the Thailand– Burma Railway and the idea for a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy came from researching his wartime experiences. The research took her back to Asia, a place she loves and has returned to many times. She lives in Surrey with her husband and three sons and works in London as a lawyer.

To find out more about Ann Bennett and her books please visit the following links:

Website: http://www.bambooheart.co.uk

Blog: http://www.annbennettbambooheart.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/annbennett71

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Ann-Bennett