A belated welcome to 2020 and best books of 2019.

How come it is the middle of February already? It feels as if it should still be October last year. As time is galloping on, I am late sharing with you my favourite reads from 2019. I always enjoy looking back at my Goodreads challenge to see what I read in the past because it gives a warm feeling similar to meeting old friends in the street and likewise, you promise you will catch up with them soon but never have time to.  It was a year for some gems which I would not have discovered if it wasn’t for Rachel’s Random Resources and social media, so thank you Rachel Gilbey, other bloggers and NetGalley for their recommendations. These are the my favourites.

Favourites Reads from 2019

The Woman in the Photograph

By far, for it’s characters, passion and eye opening subject matter my book of the year has to be The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland. My review can be read here but it blew me away and one book, I recommend to many people. Feminism and its history was a topic I thought I had some knowledge about – I was so wrong.

 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Boy, the Mole and the Fox by Charlie Mackesy was a surprise gift from fellow blogger, Julie Morris from A Little Book Problem blog. Its sweet, honest and full of wisdom reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh. It made me cry and give everyone a big hug.

 

The Lost Ones

 

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. A delightful Gothic ghost story; it is perfect for a winter’s night.

 

 

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

 

Dead and Talking: A Porter and The Gliss Investigation by Des Burkinshaw was an unexpected gem with a thrilling story and characters I enjoyed getting to know. It has the potential to be a series I will eagerly follow. Click here for the review

 

Tell ne your secret

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson. Her books never fail to impress but this one has a darker edge I didn’t anticipate but wow what a read.

 

 

 

Dyed Souls Cover

Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella was another book that surprised me by its intensity and deep characterisation. It wasn’t the easiest topic to read but Charlie wormed himself in my heart and  I will never forget him or the life he led. The review is here.

 

 

the passage

 

The Passage by Justin Cronin. This was a reread after I watched the TV adaptation on Sky and I constantly kept saying “Well I’m sure that wasn’t in the book”. My enjoyment of the series grew but the epic novel is out of this world. It’s dystopian horrors kept me enthralled and petrified as I could see how a similar scenario could unfold and devastate the world.

 

Closer than you think

 

Closer than You think by Darren O’Sullivan for it’s ability to keep me awake at night with the horror potentially following me into my dreams.

 

 

Songs of UsThe Songs of Us by Emma Cooper was one of the first books I read in 2019 but it still holds a special place in my heart. Music is threaded into the story with a playlist available on Spotify. It is impossible to listen to The Beatles  Can’t Buy Me Love and not think of Melody, the main character in the opening chapters. The audio version of this book is perfect too. Get your tissues ready.

 

An author I discovered last year was Jenni Keer. I fell in love with her books as they have magic threaded through them and her characters have a knack of staying with you  If you haven’t read them yet do as they uplift these grey, winter days. The review for The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is here.

Also, the lovely Sharon Booth who has a back catalogue I have added to my TBR. With my love of witch books, how can I not fall in love with the witches of Castle Clair.  My Favourite Witch tingled with a delightful magic that made me smile. The last of the series, To Catch A Witch is out in April so watch this space for a review.

Which were your favourite books from last year?

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Blog Tour and Book Review: Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella

The blurb of this book sounded different to many I have read recently and I loved the unique cover so when I was offered a place on this blog tour by Rachel Random Resources I had to accept.

Book Review: Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella

Dyed Souls Cover

Dyed Souls Book Cover

Title: Dyed Souls

Author: Gary Santorella

Publisher: Matador

Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, General fiction

Release Date: 6th February 2018

Blurb

Described by John Lloyd of The Bookbag as “Catcher in the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dyed Souls is a gritty coming-of-age literary novel, set in a residential treatment center in 1980’s California.
Charlie Lyle loves science, natural history, and the world of the mind, and it is his refuge and salvation as he copes with his drug-addicted mother and a world of circumstances well-beyond his grasp. More a work of philosophy than psychology, “For the teen it has a galling coming-of-age, redemption quest. For the adult it has that, as well as a literary look at a singular fictional life.”

Purchase Links

Troubadour – https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/contemporary/dyed-souls/

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dyed-Souls-Gary-Santorella/dp/1788038096

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Dyed-Souls-Gary-Santorella/dp/1788038096

 

My Thoughts

From the moment my stomach lurched with Charlie’s and I felt every swerve of the car as he is driven to the residential treatment centre I knew this author had written one of those books that stays with you for a lifetime. I was not wrong. I loved this hard-hitting, gritty sometimes disturbing novel. All the kids have troubled backgrounds, and it does not shy away from the consequences of these. For those who look for trigger warnings this may not be the book for you but the depth of all the characters and use of language is wonderful and gives an eye opening insight into their lives. It was refreshing to read a male perspective of a screwed up childhood and Charlie’s voice leapt off the page giving the emotional connection a book needs. He is intelligent, and he uses his love of Darwin to make sense of his chaotic world as he discovers love for the first time and who he is. Usually I would say “grab a box of tissues”  but this novel is too intense for that, I was gripped to the end and I could not help feeling I was a different person after closing the book. It is hard to believe this is a debut fiction novel and look forward to discovering what Gary Santorella writes next.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. It is one of those books for my forever shelf that just looking at the cover will transport me back to Hawthorne. It is a powerful book that I can see as being seen as a classic in the future and I feel privileged to have it on my shelf.

Author Biography

Gary Santorella

Gary Santorella, Owner, Interactive Consulting is a Lean implementation, organizational development, conflict resolution, and team-building specialist. He has a BA in Behavioural Psychology from Providence College, Providence, RI (1980), a Master’s Degree in Occupational Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (1990), and is a licensed cognitive-behavioural therapist in the State of California. His book: Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible & Committed Project Teams 2nd Edition was published by Productivity Press (a division of Taylor & Francis) in 2017. His first novel, Dyed Souls, was published by Matador Publishing in 2018.

Social Media Links 

https://www.facebook.com/Dyed-Souls-577806782579433/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://twitter.com/dyedsouls

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38451700-dyed-souls

Dyed Souls has won two awards:

Silver in the 2018 Global eBook Awards – Young Adult Fiction Category

Chill With a Book Readers Award.

Thank you Rachel Gibley and Matador and Gary Santorella for the copy of this novel to read to give an honest, unbiased review.

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