Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Authors Top Reads 2016 - 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 first group of authors telling us THEIR top reads of 2016.

Today, I have Angela MarsonsFiona CumminsSteph Broadribb, Susi Holliday, Michael GrothausRagnar Jonasson, Lesley Allen, Deborah Bee, Sam Blake and Kati Hiekkiepelto telling us their ONE top pick for a book they read in 2016. Well, actually, some authors are rather rebellious so they've given us more than one top read - you'll find all of their recommendations below.

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

If you missed them check out our Monday blog posts too for some more Authors' Top Reads 2016.

Angela Marsons, author of Blood Lines, published by Bookouture in November 2016

My recommendation would be Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan. I thought the storyline was unique and I learned a lot about Vlogging and it kept my interest from the first page. When I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it.

Book blurb
Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she's missing. She's an adult - nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video's uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.

Who better to head up the investigation than the Met's rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She's leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It's time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris - poster boy for multiracial policing and the team's newest member - has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he's around, can she trust herself?

Ruby's millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares.

And the videos keep coming . . .

Click here to buy Cut to the Bone, published by Twenty7 in November 2016.

Follow Angela on Twitter (@WriteAngie) and find out more about her hereAnd if you’d like to buy Blood Lines, click here

Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle, published by PanMac in January 2017

"After much deliberation, I have chosen The Dry by Jane Harper. This knockout debut novel, set in rural Australia, delivers on story, pace, atmosphere and style. It's an intense, vivid tale about the sins of the past, of guilt and regret and dirty secrets. It is brilliant."

Book blurb
I just can't understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn't rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke's death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend's crime.

Click here to buy The Dry, published by Little Brown in January 2017.

I realised too late that The Dry isn't out until January, so it's just as well Fiona was rebellious and gave some more recommendations - all of which are available to buy NOW!

"I know I'm cheating here, but honourable mentions must also go to Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, one of the few books that has managed to frighten me, The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn, Himself by Jess Kidd and Stasi Child by David Young."

Follow Fiona on Twitter (@FionaAnnCummins). And if you’d like to buy Rattle, click here.

Steph Broadribb, author of Deep Down Dead, published by Orenda Books in December 2016 (e-book) and January 2017 (paperback)

Reacher Said Nothing by Andy Martin - it's a captivating observation and narration of Lee Child's writing process, showing how his life and writing feed into one another as he crafts his best seller Make Me. It's a super witty and entertaining read.

Book blurb
On September 1, 1994, Lee Child went out to buy the paper to start writing his first novel, in pencil. The result was Killing Floor, which introduced his hero Jack Reacher. Twenty years later, on September 1, 2014, he began writing Make Me, the twentieth novel in his number-one- bestselling Reacher series. Same day, same writer, same hero.
The difference, this time, was that he had someone looking over his shoulder. Andy Martin, uber Reacher fan, Cambridge academic, expert on existentialism, and dedicated surfer, sat behind Lee Child in his office and watched him as he wrote. While Lee was writing his Reacher book, Andy was writing about the making of Make Me.
Reacher Said Nothing is a book about a guy writing a book. An instant meta-book. It crosses genres, by bringing a high-level critical approach to a popular text, and gives a fascinating insight into the art of writing a thriller, showing the process in real time. It may well be the first of its kind.

[Spoiler alert: if you haven't read Make Me yet, this book contains spoilers]

Click here to buy Reacher Said Nothing, published by Bantam Press in November 2015.

"If I was allowed a second book - top fiction book - I'd say Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker. It's quirky, original and has revelations towards the end that totally floored me. Brilliant!"

Book Blurb
When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town. Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.
Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures.
Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake.
Photographer Jerry, who's determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all.
And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . .

Click here to buy Tall Oaks, which was published by Twenty7 in September 2016.

Follow Steph on Twitter (@crimethrillgirl) and find out more about her hereAnd if you’d like to buy Deep Down Dead, click here

Susi Holliday, author of The Damselfly, published by Black & White Publishing in February 2017

A hidden side of London, and the ghosts that walk among us. This is a terrific novel formed from elegant writing and filled with humour and many dark things. An exploration of grief turned into an intriguing story full of crime and the supernatural, with some genuinely terrifying images. And mudlarking… Who knew? I can’t stop thinking about this book. Read it.

Book blurb
Maria King knows a secret London. Born blind, she knows the city by sound and touch and smell. But surgery has restored her sight - only for her to find she doesn't want it.
Jonathan Dark sees the shadowy side of the city. A DI with the Metropolitan Police, he is haunted by his failure to save a woman from the hands of a stalker. Now it seems the killer has set his sights on Maria, and is leaving her messages in the most gruesome of ways.

Tracing the source of these messages leads Maria and Jonathan to a London they never knew. Finding the truth will mean seeing a side to the city where life and death is a game played by the powerful, where everyone is lost but nothing is missing, and where all the answers are hiding, if only they listen to the whispers on the streets.

Click here to buy Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts, published by Orion in February 2016.

Follow Susi on Twitter (@SJIHolliday) and find out more about her hereAnd if you’d like to buy The Damselfly, click here.

Michael Grothaus, author of Epiphany Jones, published by Orenda Books in May 2016

My favorite is The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul Hardisty. It’s an in depth look at the horrors perpetrated by Big Oil masked as one of the most riveting thrillers I’ve read in years.

Book blurb

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is as it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead.

Click here to buy The Abrupt Physics of Dying, published by Orenda Books in December 2014.

Follow Michael on Twitter (@michaelgrothaus) and find out more about him hereAnd if you’d like to buy Epiphany Jones, click here.

Ragnar Jonasson, author of Rupture, published by Orenda Books in December 2016 (e-book) and January 2017 (paperback)

"I read some amazing crime novels in 2016. One of them was The Girl in the Dark by Dutch writer Marion Pauw. This is a very cleverly constructed and well written mystery which keeps you guessing and turning the pages. The book won the Icepick Award for the best crime in translation this year in Iceland."

Book blurb
A single mother and lawyer, Iris has a colorful caseload, a young son with behavior issues, and a judgmental mother.
She also has a brother—shocking news she uncovers by accident. Why did her mother lie to her for her entire life? Why did she hide the existence of Ray Boelens from her?
Curious about this sibling she has never known, Iris begins to search for long-buried truths. What she discovers surprises—and horrifies—her. Her older brother is autistic—and in prison for brutally murdering his neighbor and her daughter.

Visiting Ray, she meets a man who looks heartbreakingly like her own son. A man who is devoted to his tropical fish and who loves baking bread. A man whose naiveté unnerves her. There is no question that Ray is odd and obsessive, unable to communicate like the rest of us. But is he really a killer?

Click here to buy The Girl in the Dark, published by William Morrow in February 2016.

Follow Ragnar on Twitter (@ragnarjo) and find out more about him hereAnd if you’d like to buy Rupture, click here.

Lesley Allen, author of The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir, published by Twenty7 in April 2016.

It’s been tough choosing just one title as I’ve read so many exceptional books this year, but my top pick has to be The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett.  An intricate and emotional tale of roads taken, others avoided and some hesitated over, this book made me neglect my life while I was reading it, and has become one of my forever favourites. I am envious of those yet to read of for the first time!"

Book blurb

Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future - together, and apart - as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.

Click here to buy The Versions of Us, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in May 2015.

Follow Lesley on Twitter (@Lesley_Allen). And if you’d like to buy The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir, click here

Deborah Bee, author of The Last Thing I Remember, published by Twenty7 in February 2016

"I went to that amazing book shop in Paris, Shakespeare and company, and bought a stack of books that were recommended. My Name is Lucy Barton is a conversation between a woman and her mother. It’s so cleverly written. It’s what’s not said that’s important. The silences are taut with tension."

Book blurb
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her faltering marriage, her love for her two daughters.

Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. In My Name Is Lucy Barton, one of America's finest writers shows how a simple hospital visit illuminates the most tender relationship of all-the one between mother and daughter.

Click here to buy My Name is Lucy Barton, published by Penguin in February 2016.

Follow Deborah on Twitter (@BeeDeborahbee1). And if you’d like to buy The Last Thing I Remember, click here

Sam Blake, author of Little Bones, published by Twenty7 in May 2016.

"Another brilliantly twisted novel from the pen of the internationally bestselling creator of the utterly compelling bi-polar Special Agent, Ren Bryce. When Bryce is called to Tate, Oregon, to investigate the disappearance of twelve-year-old Caleb Veir, she discovers a town in mourning whose secrets are buried deep."

Book blurb
When Special Agent Ren Bryce is called to Tate, Oregon to investigate the disappearance of twelve-year-old Caleb Veir, she finds a town already in mourning.
Two other young boys have died recently, although in very different circumstances. As Ren digs deeper, she discovers that all is not as it seems in the Veir household – and that Tate is a small town with a big secret.

Can Ren uncover the truth before more children are harmed?

Click here to buy The Drowning Child, published by Harper in December 2016

Follow Sam on Twitter (@samblakebooks). And if you’d like to buy Little Bones, click here

Kati Hiekkapelto, author of The Exiled, published by Orenda Books in  2016

I'm reading this book of conceptual instructions every now and then to widen my thoughts, open my mind, explore every day things from unusual perspectives. Yoko Ono is a genius.

Book blurb

"It's nearly 50 years ago that my book of conceptual instructions Grapefruit was first published. In these pages I'm picking up where I left off. After each day of sharing the instructions you should feel free to question, discuss, and/or report what your mind tells you. I'm just planting the seeds. Have fun." - Yoko Ono
Legendary avant-garde icon Yoko Ono has inspired generations of artists and performers. In Acorn, she offers enchanting and thought-provoking exercises that open our eyes-and all of our senses - to more creative and mindful ways of relating to ourselves, each other, and the planet we cohabit. Throughout this beautifully designed book are 100 black-and-white line drawings by Yoko. Like this legendary woman herself, the book is wildly original, stimulating, and hard to label: call it purposeful play, call it brain poetry, call it guided motivation, call it Zen-like incantations, call it whatever you want. But read it. Acorn may change the way you experience the world.

Click here to buy Acorn, published by Virago in November 2013.

Follow Kati on Twitter (@HiekkapeltoKati) and find out more about her hereAnd if you’d like to buy The Exiled, click here

Remember to pop by Liz Barnsley's blog (http://lizlovesbooks.comto find some more Authors' Top Reads of 2016.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these amazing book suggestions by some of our favourite authors. 

And that, as they say is THAT. What a FANTASTIC year for reading this has been, and 2017 is shaping up to be even better, if that is possible!

Join us this time next year, as we are sure to do this all over again. 

Liz and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We’ll both be back in 2017 with more book reviews, author interviews and author guest posts.

Read Part 1 here

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