Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Authors' Top Reads of 2015 - Part 2

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

Today, I have Nicky Black, Julie Blackie, Theresa Talbot, Beth Miller, Barbara Copperthwaite, Yusuf Torpor, Thomas Enger, Rob Boffard, Sarah Hilary and Daniel Pembrey telling us their ONE top pick for a book they read in 2015.

Pop over to Liz’s place ( to see who SHE has talking about their books of the year!

Nicky Black, co-author of The Prodigal, published in July 2015.

Claire Mackintosh, I Let You Go. It just had that great combination of elements that make a fabulous book: intelligently written, believable dialogue, suspense, plot, characters you can relate to, and a realistic story that could happen to you or someone you know. I didn't see the twist at the end of part one coming at all. Very clever. Enjoyed it immensely.”

Book blurb
A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn't have prevented it. Could she?
In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

Click here to purchase I Let You Go, published in paperback by Sphere in May 2015.

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

Julie Blackie, co-author of The Prodigal, published in July 2015.

"Small Wars by Sadie Jones. It reminds me of living in Cyprus with my forces husband back in the troubles of the 70s, and how much life choices have changed for women since then (thank god!)."

Book blurb
Hal Treherne is a soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Impatient to see action, his other commitment in life is to his beloved wife, Clara, and when Hal is transferred to Cyprus she and their twin daughters join him. But the island is in the heat of the emergency; the British are defending the colony against Cypriots - schoolboys and armed guerillas alike - battling for union with Greece.

Clara shares Hal's sense of duty and honour; she knows she must settle down, make the best of things, smile. But action changes Hal, and the atrocities he is drawn into take him not only further from Clara but himself, too; a betrayal that is only the first step down a dark path.

Click here to purchase Small Wars, published by Vintage in April 2010.

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

Theresa Talbot, author of Penance, published in Strident Publishing in October 2015.

Douglas Skelton's Blood City. Captured the dark side of Glasgow perfectly. Brilliant character studies where the reader genuinely sympathises with Glasgow hard-men and some thoroughly unlikable gangsters. I fell in love with Davie McCall and my heart went out to him! Skelton writes very difficult and at times gory scenes in a very 'matter of fact' way that we can see this is a way of life for the central characters and the author's experience as a true-life crime writer is evident in his portrayal of police procedure - one wonders how much is true!

Book blurb
Meet Davie McCall - not your average henchman. Abused and tormented by his father for fifteen years, there is a darkness in him searching for a way out. Under the wing of Glasgow's Godfather, Joe 'the Tailor' Klein, he flourishes. Joe the Tailor may be a killer, but there are some lines he won't cross, and Davie agrees with his strict moral code. He doesn't like drugs. He won't condone foul language. He abhors violence against women. When the Tailor refuses to be part of Glasgow's new drug trade, the hits start rolling. It's every man for himself as the entire criminal underworld turns on itself, and Davie is well and truly caught up in the action. But an attractive young reporter makes him wonder if he can leave his life of crime behind and Davie must learn the hard way that you cannot change what you are. Blood City is a novel set in Glasgow's underworld at a time when it was undergoing a seismic shift. A tale of violence, corruption and betrayal, loyalties will be tested and friendships torn apart.

Click here to purchase Blood City, published by Luath Press in September 2014.

Follow Theresa on Twitter (@Theresa_Talbot). And if you’d like to try her novel, click here.

Beth Miller, author of The Good Neighbour, published in Ebury Press in September 2015.

“Wendy Cope's 'Life, Love and The Archers.' It's a book of her essays. They're mostly very short, more like musings really, and only one even touches on The Archers! Wendy Cope is so funny and wise; reading this book makes me feel like everything is just that little bit better, and more sorted, than it was before.”

Book blurb
Wendy Cope has long been one of the nation's best-loved poets, with her sharp eye for human foibles and wry sense of humour. For the first time, Life, Love and the Archers brings together the best of her prose - recollections, reviews and essays from the light-hearted to the serious, taken from a lifetime of published and unpublished work, and all with Cope's lightness of touch.
Here readers can meet the Enid-Blyton-obsessed schoolgirl, the ambivalent daughter, the amused teacher, the sensitive journalist, the cynical romantic and the sardonic television critic, as well as touching on books and writers who have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.
Wendy Cope is a master of the one-liner as well as the couplet, the telling review as well as the sonnet, and Life, Love and the Archers gives us a wonderfully entertaining and unforgettable portrait of one of England's favourite writers.

Click here to purchase Life, Love and The Archers, published by Two Roads in April 2015.

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

Barbara Copperthwaite, author of Flowers of the Dead, published in September 2015.

“My crime book of the year would have to be The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson. It sucked me in from the start, and had me guessing all the way through - it has enough twists and turns to give a reader whiplash!”

Book blurb
Delayed in London, Ted Severson meets a woman at the airport bar. Over cocktails they tell each other rather more than they should, and a dark plan is hatched - but are either of them being serious, could they actually go through with it and, if they did, what would be their chances of getting away with it?
Back in Boston, Ted's wife Miranda is busy site managing the construction of their dream home, a beautiful house out on the Maine coastline. But what secrets is she carrying and to what lengths might she go to protect the vision she has of her deserved future?

Click here to purchase The Kind Worth Killing, published in paperback by Faber & Faber in September 2015.

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

Yusuf Toropov, author of Jihadi: A Love Story published in Orenda Books in e-book now and available in paperback in February 2016.

“Louise Beech's remarkable debut How To Be Brave follows two paths that might at first seem not to intersect: twenty-first-century juvenile diabetes and World War II ... yet the commonalities of courage and the power of storytelling connect powerfully, and the novel that results is compelling and unforgettable.”

Book blurb

This is a novel about how stories bring magic to our lives. Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat where an ancestor survived for fifty days. Natalie struggles when nine-year-old daughter Rose is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and refuses her life-saving injections and blood tests. When they begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar they realise he has something for them - his diary. Only by using her imagination, newspaper clippings, letters and this diary will Natalie share the true story of Grandad Colin's survival at sea, and help her daughter cope with her illness and, indeed, survive. This is a haunting, beautifully written, tenderly told story that wonderfully weaves together a contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child's life through the medium storytelling with an extraordinary story of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War.

Click here to purchase How To Be Brave, published by Orenda Books in September 2015.

Follow Yusuf on Twitter (@LiteraryStriver) and find out more about him hereAnd if you’d like to try his novel, click here

Thomas Enger, author of Cursed and Killed, the next in the Henning Juul series, published by Orenda Books in 2016/17

“John Green’s Looking for Alaska. Smart, witty and thoughtful. Green is a magnificent storyteller.”

Book blurb
“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
Miles Halter’s whole life has been one big non-event, until he meets Alaska Young.
Gorgeous, clever and undoubtedly screwed-up, Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and irrevocably steals his heart. For Miles, nothing can ever be the same again.

Click here to purchase Looking For Alaska, published by HarperCollins in February 2013.

Follow Thomas on Twitter (@EngerThomas) and find out more about him here and his novels with Orenda Books here.

Rob Boffard, author of Tracer, published in Orbit in July 2015

“Golden Son - Pierce Brown. There are a few writers I think of as freak geniuses: Stephen King, JK Rowling, Hunter S Thompson. No-one else can do what they do. Pierce Brown is elbowing his way into that category. Golden Son is the literary equivalent of a triple somersault with a twist. It's crazy impressive to watch, and you have no idea how a human being can even move like that. Golden Son - the whole damn trilogy, actually - is just so, so badass.”

Book blurb
Darrow is a rebel forged by tragedy. For years he and his fellow Reds worked the mines, toiling to make the surface of Mars inhabitable. They were, they believed, mankind's last hope. Until Darrow discovered that it was all a lie, and that the Red were nothing more than unwitting slaves to an elitist ruling class, the Golds, who had been living on Mars in luxury for generations.

In RED RISING, Darrow infiltrated Gold society, to fight in secret for a better future for his people. Now fully embedded amongst the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his dangerous work to bring them down from within. It's a journey that will take him further than he's ever been before - but is Darrow truly willing to pay the price that rebellion demands?

Click here to purchase Golden Sun (Red Rising Trilogy 2), published by Hodder Books in September 2015.

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

Sarah Hilary, author of No Other Darkness (DI Marnie Rome 2), published by Headline in July 2015

“If I Should Die by Matthew Frank. Anyone who was at CrimeFest in Bristol in May will know that I was hand-selling this book like a maniac. Not only because it was a debut and not just because it's terrific but also because it's the start of a new police series. A really, really good one. I'm in love with its hero, Joe Stark, and with the writing - snarky, sparky dialogue, to-die-for action sequences, visceral descriptions of London - it's rare that a book hits all my buttons simultaneously but this did it, and hard. Waiting for book two is bringing out the worst in me. Impatient, much?”

Click here to purchase If I Should Die, published by Penguin in January 2015.

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

Daniel Pembrey, author of The Candidate and The Lion Hunter (published as Kindle Singles) plus The Harbour Master (to be published by No Exit Press in 2016)

"John Harvey’s Lonely Hearts, set in my native Nottingham: it’s the first in the Charlie Resnick series and was named by The Times as one of the 100 Greatest Crime Novels of the Century. How did I not read it before? While operating in a different era, Resnick’s (the lead copper’s) social conscience is bang up-to-date."

Click here to purchase Lonely Hearts, published by Arrow in March 2013.

Follow Daniel on Twitter (@DPemb) and find out more about his books hereAnd if you’d like to try his 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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