Books that made me go wow in 2016

you-cant-buy-happiness

I’ve had a great year of book reading and would like to share a few books that I’ve read this year that to me gave me the ‘wow’ factor.  A few of the books I have chosen stretched my reading and took me out of my comfort zone but I was so pleased that I trusted in the publishers and authors to open my eyes to new words.

I would like to say a big thank you to all the publishers and authors who kindly sent their books for me to voluntarily review.  I’ve also purchased a fair few books this year there have been so many great new releases that I’ve been excited to add to my TBR pile.  One of these days I will get to the bottom of this pile, or maybe not!?  I’d also like to add my thanks to the great book blogging community.  It is a wonderful arena of likeminded people sharing the love of books and reading and the support is amazing, thank you all 🙂

the ballroom
The Ballroom by Anna Hope

“This was a truly beautiful love story, a unique one, one that I’ll never forget. I was totally heartbroken at the end and couldn’t control my emotions. A stunning, poignant story that left me shattered with emotions. I’m expecting The Ballroom to be a huge success for Anna Hope, this story is just beautiful.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ballroom-Anna-Hope/dp/0857521969/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1482586120&sr=1-1

 

Dear Dad by Giselle Greendear dad

“This was a beautiful story, well written dealing with some difficult subjects. Although the storyline was very raw and emotive at times the underlining current was heartwarming, inspiring and full of hope.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Dad-Giselle-Green-ebook/dp/B01D7E5GPY/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482586456&sr=1-1&keywords=dear+dad+giselle+green

the curious charms of arthur pepper

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

“This was such a remarkable story and has been one of my favourite reads so far this year. I believe it would make a great movie and would love to see the actor Bill Nighy play the character of Arthur.  A wonderful, charming, quirky, life affirming story.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Curious-Charms-Arthur-Pepper/dp/184845435X/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1482586766&sr=1-1

 

Valentina by SE Lynesvalentina

“The story takes lots of twists and turns that keep you gripped and guessing to the very end. To read a book in a genre I don’t normally read and to be gripped by the complexities of the characters and storyline is the sign of a great author. A very promising start to a debut author’s career. I’m so pleased I stepped out of my comfort zone.”

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Valentina-Hauntingly-Intelligent-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01EVRUUMU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482587061&sr=1-1&keywords=valentina+by+s+e+lynes

sunshine over wildflower cottage

Sunshine over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson

This was such a wonderful feel good story about love, loss, friendships, new beginnings with a touch of magic and mystery. From the first sight of the sunny, gorgeous illustrations on the cover of this novel you can expect an equally delightful read. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Milly’s previous books and this book was just as good, if not better, than her others.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunshine-Wildflower-Cottage-Milly-Johnson-ebook/dp/B0151VOGD4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482587216&sr=1-1&keywords=sunshine+over+wildflower+cottage

valley of the dolls

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

“Just as the young stars were drawn to drink and drugs I felt myself as a reader ‘drugged’ by the words on the pages. I couldn’t get enough. I was eager to know what happened next. On the one hand Valley of the Dolls was shocking, tragic and heart breaking BUT on the other it was also glamorous, sexy and very indulgent!”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Valley-Dolls-Anniversary-Jacqueline-Susann-ebook/dp/B01E1QW4KC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482587461&sr=1-1&keywords=valley+of+the+dolls

devastation road

Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt

“This was a very poignant, engaging read that throws no punches and shows the raw side of people trying to survive a war that has shaken the world to it’s core. Jason Hewitt manages to open your eyes and feel the hidden sights and sounds in a landscape torn apart. Such a horrific time for all but humanity remained and the tender, heartrending moments felt more intense. This is a story that I won’t forget in a long time.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devastation-Road-Jason-Hewitt-ebook/dp/B00O65XA5C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482587628&sr=1-1&keywords=devastation+road

late summer in the vineyard

Late Summer in the Vineyard by Jo Thomas

“This story was so beautiful and warm hearted however, there were some quite poignant, tender moments that took over my emotions. The author was so detailed with her descriptions of the setting, the vineyards, the food I was enthralled throughout. With chemistry sizzling between several characters the story was given even more charming moments. When I finished this gorgeous novel I wanted to go back to the beginning and read it all over again. A warm and welcoming read with enough depth and sparkle to leave you hungry and thirsty for more.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Late-Summer-Vineyard-Jo-Thomas-ebook/dp/B0113JMEZ0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482587837&sr=1-1&keywords=late+summer+in+the+vineyard+jo+Thomas

someboy-elses-boy

Somebody Else’s Boy by Jo Bartlett

“Jo Bartlett has written a wonderful tale set around an idyllic coastal bay in the south of England with characters that are easily relatable and you find yourself loving as each page is read. I instantly fell for little Toby. This story subtly deals with grief, loss, betrayal, abuse, new beginnings all with such a warmth that you get enveloped in the emotions the characters are feeling but you don’t feel depressed … a story with hope and strength emanating from new beginnings mixed with a big dose of love.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Somebody-Elses-Boy-Nicholas-Bay-ebook/dp/B01IDPQBSI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482588119&sr=1-1&keywords=somebody+else%27s+boy

Moondance by Diane Chandlermoondance

“I’ve never read a story based around IVF before and initially you would imagine it to be quite depressing but Moondance was an altogether different story. Diane Chandler has created a masterpiece in wrapping a highly sensitive, emotive storyline with scenes of warmth and humour. This raw, honest story will tug at your heart and will never leave your mind.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moondance-WINNER-PEOPLES-PRIZE-FICTION-ebook/dp/B01K0LA8KU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482588245&sr=1-1&keywords=moondance+by+diane+chandler

the-shoguns-queen

The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer

“This was such an epic story that sent my emotions soaring high and dramatically cascading low. I was enchanted by the author Lesley Downer’s beautiful words describing a colourful world. I felt instantly transported to a land far, far away to a time where legends and rituals were significant and paramount. To a time were the unknown were feared. A time when sacrifices had to be made for the sake of the countries survival.”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shoguns-Queen-Shogun-Quartet-Book-ebook/dp/B017DIJ2ZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482588405&sr=1-1&keywords=the+shogun%27s+queen

 

Cedarwood Lodge series by Rebecca Raisin

Cedarwood Lodge has been such a treat. I’m now feeling quite hungover with book love for the friends I’ve grown to love at Cedarwood Lodge. I do hope Rebecca Raisin will revisit Cedarwood Lodge in the future. I could happily read the whole series back to back again!”

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Celebrations-Confetti-Cedarwood-Lodge-hilarious-ebook/dp/B01JNHHDP0/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1482588636&sr=1-2&keywords=rebecca+raisin

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brides-Bouquets-Cedarwood-Lodge-Christmas-ebook/dp/B01I9AEIEQ/ref=pd_sim_351_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RCK7P1N5SE6NE5NE6139

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Midnight-Mistletoe-Cedarwood-Lodge-uplifting-ebook/dp/B01JBIQOOC/ref=pd_sim_351_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=DA7NGZMEM5VJ52DM7F0Q

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I’d like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Healthy, Prosperous New Year … keep the books flowing 🙂

Dear Dad by Giselle Green book review

dear dad

Dear Dad by Giselle Green, publisher Yule Press, is available in ebook format and part of the kindleunlimited subscription scheme from THURSDAY 31st March 2016.

To pre-order/buy link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Dad-Giselle-Green-ebook/dp/B01D7E5GPY/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459240606&sr=1-3&keywords=dear+dad

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

yellow balloon

This is the first book I’ve read by Giselle Green and I’d like to thank her for the arc in return for an honest review.  Her debut novel Pandora’s Box won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Award in 2008. Her third novel, A Sister’s Gift achieved best-selling number one slot on Amazon kindle in 2012. When I heard Giselle and a fellow book blogger talking about this novel, Dear Dad, I was instantly drawn to the storyline.  They were very enthusiastic about the book and I wanted to learn more and join in with this enthusiasm.  Within the first few chapters of the novel I soon started to appreciate their passion for this book.

I loved this very emotive story following three people struggling to cope with what life has thrown at them.  They are by chance brought together by a special young boy called Adam.  Can the mismatch trio fix each other?

Adam is a 9 year boy who has no mother, no idea of the whereabouts of his father and has been left in the care of his grandmother.  Just recently his gran’s health has been failing and Adam has then turned into the carer.  He has been doing his best for his gran but who is doing their best for Adam?

Nate is a frontline war report, following a very traumatic event with his job he has suffered badly.  He is afraid to leave the safety of his home and when he does venture out he has debilitating panic attacks.

Jenna is a qualified teacher and tattoo artist.  She’s recently fled Sicily following a break-up with her boyfriend.  Jenna has history of not dealing with tough situations and tends to run away from them.  She has returned to Rochester to find work and make a new home.

When Nate receives a handwritten note pushed through his letterbox from Adam saying “Dear Dad … Please Help”.  He is automatically drawn to these two words ‘please help’ and wonders how bad a situation can be for someone to write to an unknown asking for help.  As far as Nate is aware he isn’t a father to any child and assumes Adam has mistaken him but when another note arrives and Nate catches Adam in the act of delivering it he starts to find out more about the young lad.

Jenna in the meantime manages to acquire a supply teacher’s post at Adam’s school.  Sadly, although fortuitous for Adam, she catches him being physically and mentally bullied by some older boys.

We follow the lives of Adam, Nate and Jenna unravelling each other’s situations and ultimately helping Adam.

I was instantly drawn to the heartache and plight Nate was suffering with his PTSD.  I felt for him and my emotions could understand and appreciate the torture he was going through.  It was hard to hear but also enlightening and inspiring, I was willing him on to overcome these barriers.  When Adam’s story was revealed my heart felt broken and I also became quite angry that he had been overlooked by many.  I felt a sort of magical quality emerge within him to seek out help from these two adults who also needed fixing and ultimately helping them would be benefitting himself.

This was a beautiful story, well written dealing with some difficult subjects.  Although the storyline was very raw and emotive at times the underlining current was heartwarming, inspiring and full of hope.  I will certainly be checking out Giselle Green’s back catalogue after this brilliant read.  5/5*

To find out more about Giselle Green and her books please visit the following links:

http://gisellegreen.com/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Giselle-Green/e/B0034PMCRC

https://twitter.com/gisellegreenuk