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?

Love

Meet the Author: Sharon Booth

Meet the Author: Sharon Booth

Halloween is days away and I have been catching up on spooky or witch related books. I am excited to introduce Sharon Booth, author of the wonderful Witches of Castle Clair series to my blog to talk about her books, writing and other things.

Meet the Witches of Castle Clair ...

Meet the Author: Sharon Booth

Sharon author pic for blog

Author Sharon Booth

  • You have written two books from the Witches of Castle Clair series, what gave you the inspiration for this trilogy?

Probably the town of Castle Clair itself – or Knaresborough as the rest of the world know it! In North Yorkshire, not far from Harrogate, it’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever visited, but there’s also something really different and special about it. Maybe it’s the legend of prophetess, Old Mother Shipton; or the petrifying well that turns everyday objects to stone; or the ruins of the magnificent castle, complete with ravens; or the River Nidd; or the shrine set into the cliffside … or maybe it’s all these factors combined, along with the atmosphere in the town itself, the cobbled streets, the delightful charms of Ye Oldest Chemist Shoppe in England. Every time I visit Knaresborough my imagination goes into overdrive! Plus, I’m a huge fan of Bewitched so put those two things together and there you have it.

  • It follows three sisters who are also witches. Who is your favourite sister?

Oh no, what a cruel question! I absolutely love them all, and my favourite is probably the one I’m featuring at the time. They’re all very different, after all. Right now, I’m beginning to learn more about the middle sister, Celeste, as she’s the star of the third and final book which I’m currently plotting. Ask me again at the end of the series!

  • I have a bookcase full of books I will keep forever and regularly reread them. Do you reread books or do you only read them one?

I have so many books that were childhood favourites, particularly pony books and Enid Blyton books. I’ve been known to reread those many times. They’re like chicken soup when I’m feeling low or unwell. I’ve also reread the Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend more times than I care to remember. I don’t reread many books these days, as I have so many new ones to get through, but I have plenty that I’ll never part with.

  • Do you have a favourite spooky book for Halloween?

Anything by Phil Rickman! I thought that Curfew was especially creepy, and I have a soft spot for The Chalice, which was the first Phil Rickman book I ever read. Unlike just about every Phil Rickman fan I know, it’s his standalone books that I love. I’ve only read one Merrily Watkins novel, although I own them all. When I have time, I will start making my way through the rest.

  • What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Christmas at Wynter House by Emily Harvale, which is a lovely, cosy Christmas romance. So, for a complete change of pace I’m going to read some Golden Age crime — maybe Whose Body? by Dorothy L Sayers, or Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party.

  • If you could perform one spell, what would it be?

A Never-Get-Fat spell! Too shallow?

  • What is your favourite book?

Jane Eyre

  • Who is your favourite author?

Aarrgghh! I’ll say Enid Blyton because she was the one who gave me my love of reading and made me want to write stories of my own

  • Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

Probably, in the sense of learning from other writers, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and why. It’s all a learning experience, isn’t it? I used to worry that I’d copy the voice or tone of an author whose book I was enjoying, but I never worry about that now, as I’ve realised I have my own voice and I can’t help but use it!

  • Where is your favourite place to read or write?

Writing, in my own little office. Reading, downstairs on a reclining armchair, with a cup of tea to hand.

  • When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember but took it up seriously in 2011. I suppose being published came about thanks to the Romantic Novelists’ Association and my Write Romantics’ friends, who took me seriously and made me think that, actually, maybe it would be okay if other people read my stories.

  • If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

It just came naturally. I always thought I’d write sagas or historical fiction, but somehow my stories were always contemporary with lots of humour. I’m quite happy with that. If I put a smile on someone’s face, I’ve done my job.

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sharonboothwriter

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Booth/e/B00PP5S1X8

Website: www.sharonboothwriter.com

Biography

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes uplifting women’s fiction — “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. She now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their much-loved German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time IS a “proper” job and she HASN’T taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

You can sign up to Sharon’s newsletter at smarturl.it/sharonsnewsletter

Thank you, Sharon for visiting the blog. I now have even more books added on my TBR pile and I look forward to reading Celeste’s story in the future.

Happy Halloween and reading!

Love