Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Authors' Top Reads of 2015 - Part 1

It's Day ONE of the special feature that Liz Barnsley (Liz Loves Books) and I have had GREAT fun putting together – with the first group of authors telling us THEIR top reads of 2015.

Today, I have Louise Beech, Mel Sherratt, Laura Treacy-Bentley, Matt Johnson, Jane Isaac, David Young, Mari Hannah and Rebecca Bradley telling us their ONE top pick for a book they read in 2015.

Pop over to Liz’s place (http://lizlovesbooks.com) to see who SHE has talking about their books of the year!

Louise Beech, author of How To Be Brave, published by Orenda Books in September 2015.

“The Silence of the Sea by Ysra Sigurardottir.  Very very hard to pick only one, and could easily have had ten.  But this one lingered long after.  I'm drawn very much to the sea, and read a few books set there this year, but this one was also a bit of a mystery, had a dash of the ghostly, and was beautifully written.”

Book blurb
'Mummy dead.' The child's pure treble was uncomfortably clear. It was the last thing Brynjar - and doubtless the others - wanted to hear at that moment. 'Daddy dead.' It got worse. 'Adda dead. Bygga dead.' The child sighed and clutched her grandmother's leg. 'All dead.'
A luxury yacht arrives in Reykjavik harbour with nobody on board. What has happened to the crew, and to the family who were on board when it left Lisbon?

Thora Gudmundsdottir is hired by the young father's parents to investigate, and is soon drawn deeper into the mystery. What should she make of the rumours saying that the vessel was cursed, especially given that when she boards the yacht she thinks she sees one of the missing twins? Where is Karitas, the glamorous young wife of the yacht's former owner? And whose is the body that has washed up further along the shore?

Click here to purchase The Silence of the Sea, published by Hodder & Stoughton in February 2014.

Follow Louise on Twitter (@LouiseWriter) and find out more about her hereAnd if you’d like to try her novel, click here

Mel Sherratt, author of Written the Scars, published in October 2015.

“The Lie, C L Taylor. Everything stopped until I had finished it. Edge of your seat thriller stuff - couldn't read it fast enough.”

Book blurb
This was no accident…
Haunting, compelling, this psychological thriller will have you hooked. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Daughter.
I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.
Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves . . .

Click here to purchase The Lie, published by Avon in April 2015.

Follow Mel on Twitter (@writermels) and find out more about her hereAnd if you’d like to try her novel, click here.

Laura Treacy-Bentley, author of The Silver Tattoo (April 2013) and Night Terrors (April 2015)

“The Miniaturist is beautifully written, a page-turner, mysterious, enchanting, elegant, surprising, transporting, and suspenseful. Some things are left unanswered, but it sparks your imagination in so many wonderful directions.”

Book blurb
On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . .

Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?

Click here to purchase The Miniaturist, published by Picador in January 2015.

Follow Laura on Twitter (@LauraTBentley) and find out more about her books hereAnd if you’d like to try The Silver Tattoo, click here

Matt Johnson, author of Wicked Game, published by Orenda Books in e-book now and paperback in March 2016

The Bees. Laline Paull. Gave a wonderful, imaginative insight into the workings of 'the hive’.”

Book blurb
Enter a whole new world, in this thrilling debut novel set entirely within a beehive.
Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.
Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.
Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden…

Click here to purchase The Bees, published by Fourth Estate in May 2014.

Follow Matt on Twitter (@Matt_Johnson_UK) and find out more about his books hereAnd if you’d like to try his novel, click here.

Jane Isaac, author of Before It’s Too Late, published by Legend Press in June 2015

“Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton - a hauntingly, tense thriller set in the Falkland Islands. I love books about people set against an interesting backdrop, so this ticked all the boxes for me.”

Book blurb
What's the worst thing your best friend could do to you?
Admittedly, it wasn't murder. A moment's carelessness, a tragic accident - and two children are dead. Yours.
Living in a small island community, you can't escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you've lost - your family, your future, your sanity.
How long before revenge becomes irresistible?
With no reason to go on living, why shouldn't you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?
So now, what's the worst thing you can do to your best friend?

Click here to purchase Little Black Lies, published by Corgi in November 2015.

Follow Jane on Twitter (@JaneIsaacAuthor) and find out more about her books hereAnd if you’d like to try her novel, click here.

David Young, author of Stasi Child, published by twenty7 in e-book now and paperback in February 2016

"Gilly Macmillan. Burnt Paper Sky. Utterly gripping account of every parent's worst nightmare - the disappearance of a child. A beautifully written and structured debut"

Book blurb
Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.
But what really happened that fateful afternoon?
Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?
The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.

Click here to purchase Burnt Paper Sky, published by Piatkus in August 2015.

Follow David on Twitter (@djy_writer). And if you’d like to try his novel, click here.

Mari Hannah, author of The Silent Room, published by Macmillan in November 2015.

“Carol by Patricia Highsmith. I reread this groundbreaking 1950s classic ahead of the much anticipated film of the same name starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. A lesbian love story, it’s a tale of secrets, heartbreak and sacrifice, originally written under a pseudonym. Highsmith was a pioneer. She made it possible for me to be who I am; to create and write about a lesbian detective torn between her job and the woman she loves – and to do so in my own name.”

Book blurb
Therese is just an ordinary sales assistant working in a New York department store when a beautiful, alluring woman in her thirties walks up to her counter. Standing there, Therese is wholly unprepared for the first shock of love. Therese is an awkward nineteen-year-old with a job she hates and a boyfriend she doesn't love; Carol is a sophisticated, bored suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce and a custody battle for her only daughter. As Therese becomes irresistibly drawn into Carol's world, she soon realizes how much they both stand to lose...

Click here to purchase Carol, published by Bloomsbury Publishing in June 2010.

Follow Mari on Twitter (@mariwriter) and find out more about her books hereAnd if you’d like to try her novel, click here

Rebecca Bradley, author of Shallow Waters, published in December 2014

"Normal by Graeme Cameron. I read Normal quite early on in 2015 and even back then I knew it was going to be my book of the year. I had never read anything like it. It has such a unique voice. The voice of a serial killer. We don’t even know his name as it’s written in first person and he never introduces himself – well, why would you when you’re about to kill and dismember someone? But it’s the amusing side to the novel, the relationships that this killer strikes up, the humanity that sneaks up on our killer that really hooked me in. Here he is cold and calculating one minute and then wrestling with emotions and thoughts he doesn’t quite understand and they’re frustrating for him, they get in the way of what he’s doing. It really gives the novel and the character real depth and I just couldn’t put it down. Normal was Graeme Cameron’s debut and I really can’t wait to see what he comes up with next."

Book blurb
He lives on your street, in a nice house with a tidy garden.
He shops at your local supermarket. He drives beside you, waving to let you into the lane ahead of him.
He also has an elaborate cage in a secret basement under his garage.
The food he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will – one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.
This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal…and it works. Perfectly.
But this time it’s different…

Click here to purchase Normal, published by Mira Books in March 2015.

Follow Rebecca on Twitter (@RebeccaJ Bradley) and find out more about her books hereAnd if you’d like to try her novel, click here

Remember to pop by Liz Barnsley's blog (http://lizlovesbooks.comto find some more Authors' Top Reads of 2015.

Join Liz and I again tomorrow for some more great picks!



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