Books that made me go wow in 2016

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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

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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 🙂

The Gift of Christmas Yet to Come by Jo Bartlett book review

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The Gift of Christmas Yet to Come written by Jo Bartlett, publisher Accent Press, is available NOW in ebook format and is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gift-Christmas-Yet-Come-Nicholas-ebook/dp/B01MF553ON/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481551034&sr=1-1&keywords=the+gift+of+christmas+yet+to+come

Product Details (as per amazon page)

As a special ed teacher in beautiful St Nicholas Bay, Kate Harris is used to taking the sensible approach. So when she decides that all she wants for Christmas is a family of her own, it seems there’s only one solution.

What Kate hasn’t considered is how the opinion of her friends might de-rail her plans, and almost everyone seems to have a view on what she should do for the best. But when a psychic suggests her destiny is already mapped out for her in red-and-white, Kate’s not sure if she can put her scepticism to one side to listen to any more advice.

There’s a special little boy, Kate hasn’t even met yet, whose whole future hangs on her decision. As Christmas approaches once more, time is running out for St Nicholas Bay to work its magic. Will Kate make the right decision and get the ready-made family she’s never dared dream of, or will it disappear – along with her oldest friend – as Christmas Eve closes in?

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This is such a delightful, heart warming festive read with a special, precious storyline.

I loved returning back to St Nicholas Bay, we meet some new characters this time as well as revisiting old ones.  St Nicholas Bay is a fictional village on the coast of the south of England.  Legend has it that Charles Dickens wrote part of a Christmas Carol in St Nicholas Bay so many of the village premises and businesses hold an affinity to the places and characters taken from this festive classic.

The story focuses on a year in Kate’s life.  Kate is a special needs teacher at the local primary school.  Kate is desperate for a baby and is fed up of waiting for the right man and the right moment and is making plans for a sperm donor.  A chance glance at an article in an old local paper has given Kate inspiration for a different route into motherhood.

We follow Kate on her journey to becoming a parent with some laughs and smiles and some sad and tense moments along the way.  Kate has a close knit friendship with 3 friends from her childhood in the village.  One of these friends is Will, who is slowly getting his life back together following the breakup of his marriage.  However, will his new life take him away from the quartet and the village?  I loved this bond of friendship the quartet had.  They all had different stories with their lives but were there to support each other.

A truly lovely read that is a gift in itself with it’s heart warming storyline.  Jo Bartlett’s novels are becoming a firm favourite of mine.  5/5*

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel.

To find out more about Jo Bartlett and her books please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.jobartlettauthor.com/

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

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JoBartlettAuthor/

Somebody Else’s Boy: St Nicholas Bay series by Jo Bartlett book review

someboy-elses-boy

Somebody Else’s Boy: St Nicholas Bay series written by Jo Bartlett, publisher Accent Press is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Somebody-Elses-Boy-Nicholas-Bay-ebook/dp/B01IDPQBSI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475259677&sr=8-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Will Nancy and Jack be allowed to embrace the future, or will their histories forever bind them to the past?

Drama teacher Nancy O’Brien puts her ambitions on hold to support her family, and returns to her idyllic seaside home town, St Nicholas Bay. Jack has his own reasons for heading to the Bay; a young widower desperate to come to terms with his loss, he hopes setting up home there with baby son, Toby, might just enable him to survive the future.

As Nancy and Jack become closer, not everyone is thrilled, in particular Toby’s grandmother, who can’t bear to see her late daughter ‘replaced’. When Fraser – the only man Nancy’s ever really loved – reappears, her living arrangements with Jack seem set for disaster.

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I’d like to thank the author, Jo Bartlett, for an arc in return for a review.

This is the first book I’ve read by Jo Bartlett and after reading this novel Jo will be going straight onto my favourite author’s list.  Somebody Else’s Boy is book one in the St Nicholas Bay series.  I was initially drawn to this novel by the gorgeous cover with it’s quaint illustration of a coastal community.  I do prefer illustrated covers to photographic ones, they appeal more to me.

Within the first few pages of this novel Jo Bartlett takes you on an emotional journey with the two main characters Nancy and Jack experiencing such tragic events in their personal lives that change their outlook forever.  My heart was breaking for them both.  Their situations were quite different but they were both experiencing great losses in their lives.  A chance encounter brings the two strangers together and a solution to one of their most recent dilemmas is resolved.  Nancy and Jack are joined together in a community project bringing a theatre group to the local community centre.  Jack helps with the screenplay for a new pantomime.  The community is brought together for the pantomime with some comical results.  However, the panto does not bring happy times to all of the residents in the community as one of their own is faced with a terrifying ordeal.  Friendships and families are put to the test with events from the past and present changing the course of the future for Nancy, Jack and their close-ones.

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.  5/5*

I am really looking forward to continuing falling in love with the characters in the St Nicholas Bay series.

To find out more about Jo Bartlett and her books please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.jobartlettauthor.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Jo-Bartlett-1561636457477078/?fref=ts

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