On Friday I wrote a blog post about the 2016 book releases that I was most looking forward to (you can read that post here), then after posting it realised that there are a lot of books published prior to this year that I am equally excited to make time to read. So this post is about some of the books that I’ve already bought and just ran out of time to read last year so am definitely going to make time for this year.
How to be Brave by Louise Beech
This is a book that I got in 2015 and was very keen to read but it felt like a book that I should keep until I had the time to read it slowly and really absorb it. So I’ve saved it and plan to make time for it very soon.
All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known.
When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.
The Hidden Legacy by G. L. Minett
I bought this book on release day but had to hold off reading it as I had a lot of review books to read at the time. I still haven’t managed to read it but I’m going to make some time for it soon. I reckon it’ll be one of those books that once I start it I won’t be able to put it down until I’ve finished it!
1966. A horrifying crime at a secondary school, with devastating consequences for all involved.
2008. A life-changing gift, if only the recipient can work out why . . .
Bearing the scars of a recent divorce – and the splatters of two young children – Ellen Sutherland is up to her elbows in professional and personal stress. When she’s invited to travel all the way out to Cheltenham to hear the content of an old woman’s will, she can barely be bothered to make the journey.
But when she arrives, the news is astounding. Eudora Nash has left Ellen a beautiful cottage, worth an amount of money that could turn her life around. There’s just one problem – Ellen has never even heard of Eudora Nash.
Her curiosity piqued, Ellen and her friend Kate travel to the West Country in search of answers. But they are not the only ones interested in the cottage, and Ellen little imagines how much she has to learn about her past . . .
Graham Minett’s debut novel, The Hidden Legacy, is a powerful and suspenseful tale exploring a mysterious and sinister past.
Katherine Carlyle by Rupert Thomson
This book just sounds so intriguing and I know it won’t be on my TBR mountain for very much longer!
Katherine Carlyle is Rupert Thomson’s breakthrough novel. Written in the beautifully spare, lucid, and cinematic prose Thomson is known for, and powered by his natural gift for storytelling, it uses the modern techniques of IVF to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about identity, the search for personal meaning, and how we are loved.
Unmoored by her mother’s death and feeling her father to be an increasingly distant figure, Katherine Carlyle abandons the set course of her life and starts out on a mysterious journey to the ends of the world. Instead of going to college, she disappears, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scène for a courageous leap to true empowerment.
Dear Cathy… Love, Mary by Catherine Conlon and Mary Phelan
This book just sounds (and looks) gorgeous! I really wanted to read it last year but I had so many review books that I kept having to leave it for another day. This year I will definitely make the time to read it, it’s calling to me already!
A warm, funny and nostalgic insight into two girls coming of age in more innocent times.
In 1983 in a south Tipperary town two 18-year-olds take a tentative step into the future: Mary to study accountancy, Cathy to become an au pair in Brittany. For the following year they exchange long gossipy letters.
Their letters are touching, funny, tender and gutsy, showing them sustaining a friendship across the miles, starting to grow up and to realise that the world is a more complex, challenging and exciting place than they had imagined. The letters also capture an era — the time of Kajagoogoo, Culture Club, Dynasty and Ronald Reagan — with charm, humour, pathos and a sense of wonderment about the future
The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister
The title of this book is what originally caught my eye, it’s excellent! When I read the synopsis I was sold, it sounds like something a bit different to what I’ve been reading and I can’t wait to read it.
FIND YOURSELF IN VALLEROSA, A PLACE LOST IN TIME
Vallerosa is every tourist’s dream – a tiny, picturesque country surrounded by lush valleys and verdant mountains; a place sheltered from modern life and the rampant march of capitalism. But in isolation, the locals have grown cranky, unfulfilled and disaffected. In the Presidential Palace hostile Americans, wise to the country’s financial potential, are circling like sharks …
Can the town be fixed? Can the local bar owners be reconciled? Can an unlikely visitor be the agent of change and rejuvenation this broken idyll is crying out for?
Full of wisdom, humour and light, THE MUSEUM OF THINGS LEFT BEHIND is a heart-warming fable for our times that asks us to consider what we have lost and what we have gained in modern life. A book about bureaucracy, religion and the people that really get things done, it is above all else a hymn to the inconstancy of time and the pivotal importance of a good cup of tea.
The Silent Room by Mari Hannah
I love Mari Hannah’s writing – her Kate Daniels’s series is brilliant and I’m always eagerly awaiting the next book. The Silent Room is a departure from Kate Daniels but I’m just as keen to read it, I’m sure it’ll be a great read!
A security van sets off for Durham prison, a disgraced Special Branch officer in the back. It never arrives. On route it is hijacked by armed men, the prisoner sprung. Suspended from duty on suspicion of aiding and abetting the audacious escape of his former boss, Detective Sergeant Matthew Ryan is locked out of the investigation.
With a manhunt underway, Ryan is warned to stay away. Keen to preserve his career and prove his innocence, he backs off. But when the official investigation falls apart, under surveillance and with his life in danger, he goes dark, enlisting others in his quest to discover the truth. When the trail leads to the suspicious death of a Norwegian national, Ryan uncovers an international conspiracy that has claimed the lives of many.
My Everything by Katie Marsh
I bought this book the day it was released and was very keen to start reading it immediately. Unfortunately real life got in the way of reading for me quite a lot last year and so I simply didn’t get a chance to read this, it absolutely had to be in my top picks to read in 2016 though!
A thought-provoking, emotive and page-turning debut novel: Hannah’s thirty-two-year-old husband has a stroke . . . on the day she was going to leave him.
On the day Hannah is finally going to tell her husband of five and a half years that she is leaving him, she finds him lying on the floor by their bed, terrified and unable to move. He’s suffered a stroke.
It’s unbelievable – Tom’s only 32. And now Hannah has to put all her plans on hold to care for the husband she was all but ready to give up on, only now feels she can’t. Tom can’t walk, carry out basic tasks, or go out to work, but after months of neglecting and disconnecting from his wife, the long period of rehabilitation he’s faced with does mean one thing: he has the time and fresh perspective to re-evaluate his life. He decides he must make his marriage work: Hannah is the love of his life.
But can Tom remould himself into the man Hannah first met? And can Hannah let go of what she thought she wanted – the new life she had planned – and fall in love with him again?
Forever Yours by Daniel Glattauer
I loved Glattauer’s earlier novels Love Virtually and Every Seventh Wave; in fact, Love Virtually is one of my favourite books! So I bought Forever Yours soon after it was released but then I’ve held off reading it, I’m not sure why though so this is definitely one to read this year!
Judith, in her mid-thirties and single, meets Hannes when he steps on her foot in a crowded supermarket. Before long he turns up in the exclusive little lighting boutique that Judith runs with the help of her assistant Bianca.
Hannes is an architect – single and in the prime of life. Not only is he every mother-in-law’s dream, but Judith’s friends are also bowled over by him. At first Judith revels in being put on a pedestal by this determined man who seems to have eyes only for her. But as time goes by, she finds his constant displays of affection increasingly wearying and his intensive attention becomes oppressive and overwhelming.
In the end she feels cornered, controlled and stifled. All her attempts to get him out of her life fail. He seems to follow her all the way into her dreams, and when she wakes up he’s already waiting on her doorstep to pamper her afresh…
183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan
I’ve kept hearing about this book on twitter and was intrigued enough to buy it. I just didn’t get a chance to read it last year when it was released but it’s definitely one I want to read soon. It sounds like it’ll be a fab read!
Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life.
Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud.
16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course.
However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way.
Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.
The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen
This book showed up on my Amazon recommendations one day and I just couldn’t resist buying it once I read the synopsis. So many times I’ve wished my mum was with me, especially during the hardest times but also during the happiest times, so this book appeals greatly to me. I plan to read it this month as I think it will be a book that offers real solace.
For the first time in decades I’m remembering Mom, all of her–the wonderful and terrible things about her that I’ve cast out of my thoughts for so long. I’m still struggling to prevent these memories from erupting from their subterranean depths. Trying to hold back the flood. I can’t, not today. The levees break.
Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen’s mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most.
Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice approaches it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood and allow herself to be a daughter once more in order to take care of her own girls. Understanding and forgiving her mother’s parenting transgressions leads her to accept her own and to realize that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good mother.
The Prodigal by Nicky Black
I always love finding a new crime series and this one set in the North East sounds just like my kind of book. I’m very much looking forward to starting this one.
Exiled from his beloved Newcastle sixteen years ago, Detective Sergeant Lee Jamieson is returning home in search of the teenage daughter he’s never met. With a good promotion under his belt and his parents gone, he’s ready to return to his roots and the warm Geordie spirit he has missed so much.
Much to his surprise, his first assignment is in Valley Park, a forgotten sink estate and home to some of the worst social deprivation in the country – the estate where he grew up, and where Nicola Kelly, the wife of a renowned local villain, calls home.
As Lee and Nicola’s lives become entwined through a series of dramatic events, they fall in love and embark on a dangerous affair that will change both of their lives forever. Nicola’s husband, Micky, has few scruples, and, as he feels her slipping away, tightens his grip on her affections.
In order for Lee and Nicola to be together, Micky Kelly has to go.
A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah
I love Sophie Hannah’s Culver Valley series so when I spotted that she had written a standalone book, I was intrigued to see what that would be like. I’m sure it will be brilliant and hope to read it soon.
Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…
After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen’s homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family’s new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine’s alarm turns to panic.
Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big ones and a smaller one for a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…
I’m also contemplating a year (or more likely a two-year) long re-read of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. I discovered this series a few years ago and devoured them up until the then latest book, which I think was R is for Ricochet. I adore this series but I feel like I’ve left it so long since I read R that I want to go back and start again – maybe reading one or two books a month until I catch up to the latest book. I’m not a big re-reader but I just feel like I’d really enjoy re-visting Kinsey Millhone from the beginning! It seems like a good time to do it it with only Y and Z left to be published – by the time I’ve completed a re-read and catch up they are likely to already be out and I can read right through to the very end of the series!
Are there any books that you’re planning to make time for this year? Any books that you wish you’d read before now but just haven’t had a chance, or any books you’ve loved and plan to re-read? Please share in the comments below. 🙂