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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The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman book review

summer of impossible things

The Summer of Impossible Things written by Rowan Coleman, publisher Ebury Press, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover, audio CD and audiobook format.  The hardcover is still available at an incredible price of £6.00 on amazon UK!

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2xrI6yC

Product Details (as amazon page)

If you could change the past, would you?

How far would you go to save the person you love?
Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life.
Even if it means sacrificing her own.

bay ridge bridge sunset

When you finish reading a story that completely overwhelms you and you are left shaken with emotion and feeling almost hungover this is the sign of an excellent novel.  Rowan Coleman’s latest novel, The Summer of Impossible Things, 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.

We follow Luna on her quest, along with her sister Pia, to find out about her mother’s pre-wed life in Brooklyn, NYC.  To 1977 when the streets were filled with a buzz surrounding the making of the movie Saturday Night Fever which brought certain fame to parts of the city.  To a time when the city was filled with a darkness that brought a fear.  To a time that was such a pivotal moment in her mother’s life that it weighed her down.

Such a moving, poignant story that left me spellbound, with my emotions heightened and the anticipation of what was to come was almost too hard to bear.  A book I was desperate to find out what happens next but as each chapter drew on I was fearful to how the author would finish my emotive journey with the characters … I wasn’t disappointed.  Truly outstanding storytelling.

To find out more about Rowan Coleman and her books please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://rowancoleman.co.uk/

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

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

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman book review

we are all made of stars

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman is due out in ebook format and hardcover on 21st May 2015.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/We-Are-All-Made-Stars-ebook/dp/B00SIDCSWE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1431964801

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved… Wherever you look, I will be there.
Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war.
During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones – some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.
Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…
We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.

pretty clipart starsI’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

This was such a special, inspiring story that moved me in so many ways.  I could also relate to certain parts of the storyline and at times it was heartbreaking to read.  Stella, I believe is the cog that keeps this novel turning.  She is such an exceptional woman.   She is brave, kind, patient, compassionate, forgiving, hardworking.  Stella was a nurse at the forefront of trauma saving people in the accident and emergency department.  However, after her military husband suffered a terrible injury during his tour of Afghanistan Stella decides to use her nursing skills in a hospice.  Stella soon becomes a confidante for the patients and she starts writing letters on their behalf, their last words to their loved ones.  This is such an amazing task that Stella has taken on.  These letters are often throwbacks to memorable events, letters of forgiveness, letters that are frank and funny.  During all this time working at the hospice Stella is hiding her own hearbreak.  Since Vincent’s accident in Afghanistan their relationship hasn’t been the same both physically and emotionally.  Both Stella and Vincent are struggling with their emotions of how they’ve coped since this terrible event.  Can they learn to let go of these emotions and move on?

We meet some wonderful characters in the hospice.  Hope, is a young woman suffering with CF, after a particularly nasty infection she was taken to the hospice to recover and gain strength.  I loved how Rowan called this character this name as reading through the novel Hope left me feeling invigorated and optimistic.  I don’t want to give you any spoilers but I loved how the author developed Hope’s storyline, it was courageous and heartwarming.

Another character I enjoyed was Hugh.  He was quite a complex character at the begining but he slowly grew on me and I would love to know what happens next for him.

This novel is one of those special stories that will stay with you for a long time.  It was emotional, tragic, heartwarming, romantic, inspiring and beautiful.  It also had a cat with great ‘catitude’, one of the best cat characters I’ve read in a long time.

An uplifting, beautiful, heartfelt 5/5* read.

To find out more about Rowan Coleman and her books please visit the following links:

http://rowancoleman.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rowan-Coleman/218459815465

https://twitter.com/rowancoleman