Well, 2016 sure went out with a bang (or was that with a "swoosh and flutter of pages")!
It really was a great reading year and even though I'm still trying to catch up on outstanding 2016 reviews, I didn't read as much as in previous years. That being so, there were definitely some memorables as well as a few hot new favourites that popped up on my reading list and ... I also made my debut as a beta-reader.
In terms of lists, a Top Ten has to be one of the hardest for any book blogger to make but without any further rambling, here's my official list of top ten reads in no particular order (click on the book title which will take you to the novel's Goodreads page):
The Drifter by Anthea Hodgson (review coming soon)
Told with emotional tenderness and filled with our trademark Aussie humour, wit and charm, Anthea's writing is wholly readable, totally absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable, making The Drifter an engaging and uplifting read that captures the rural life and communities through the eyes of someone who has lived it.
With her vivid characterisation, magical sense of place, heartfelt emotion and a dash of hope where hope has been lost, Rural Fiction's Favourite Daughter gives us a moving story about family, betrayal, love and the power that the past can hold over our lives. You will laugh, you will cry but most of all, you won’t want to put this heart-warming Aussie Christmas tale down.
As usual, the intensity of Jodi’s storytelling is convincing and she never pulls any punches in the aspects it traverses, and I had real trouble putting this one down, even though there were times in Turk’s narrative where I found the story to be somewhat confronting, especially in relation to his and his wife’s prejudice against people who were “different” to them. ... Everyone has a story to tell and Jodi Picoult isn't afraid to tell it for them!
Katherine’s storytelling is breathtaking and you will find yourself immersed in the bold and majestic landscape as she takes the time to note the world and all its lush details around her characters, making it a fully formed character in its own right.
With all the messiness of real life, the intricacies and limits of marriage and the depth of love and friendship, The Art of Keeping Secrets is a complex and tumultuous story with moments of tear-jerking catharsis, for both the reader and the characters, as emotions and years of hidden feelings bubble to the surface.
A compelling psychological drama about best friends caught between family and friendship, envy, truth and lies and what happens when the lies begin to unravel, Blame shifts between sheer anguish and an uneasy mystery, is brutally honest, thought-provoking and somewhat disquieting. Do yourself a favour and put it on your reading list.
Well-paced and, with its fictional seaside setting of Watercolour Cove creating more than just mere ripples in the water and distorted reflections for everyone involved, this novel is ideal for those blustery wintry days when you want to curl up in a quiet sunny corner and let the queen of small-town stories leave her own memorable imprint on you.
Touching on the jazz age, prohibition and the many economic and social changes taking place during the period, Natasha’s third novel is historically detailed and nuanced, capturing the world of speakeasies, glamour, exuberance and glitz of the 1920’s with beauty and elegance.
As Dean takes you on an adrenaline-fuelled ride that twists to a kicker of a climax, ultimately uncovering a tale of human horror that is all too real, he will keep you guessing throughout as you try and figure out just who the good guys and the bad guys are. A word of warning – trust no-one as you race towards the very satisfying conclusion of this gripping psychological thriller!
If you’re in the mood for a great rom-com with an issue at its heart that this accomplished author has delicately and sensitively dealt with, then Georgina Penney is definitely an author you need to seek out. Her books are guaranteed to give you lots of reading fun and leave you with hope in your heart and a smile on your face.
Here's to another fabulous year of reading!