Tag Archives: roundup

My Top Fiction Reads of 2017

Oh this is going to be hard to narrow down! I have read 43 non-fiction books this year. A great achievement for me and I’m so happy to be reading a lot again after years of not finding the time (answer: I watch less TV). I am aware the year isn’t done yet. If I read any amazing books in the last two weeks of December I’m going to have to add them to next years list!

Click the images to go to my longer review of each book. Here we go:


The Power – Naomi Alderman

Women develop the power to give deadly electric shocks. Goodbye patriarchy. This winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017 is a visceral, shocking look at a complete reversal in the power balance between men and women. I absolutely loved reading The Power and you would too!



Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

An emotional look at a family who are terrible at communicating with each other. 1970s America, white mother and Chinese Father, with three children. We meet them on the morning that the middle child, Lydia, goes missing and is found drowned. This book was such an emotional read and I loved it.

Also, one of the main characters shares my name, and that was really weird.



Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

Abraham Lincoln mourns the death of his beloved son, Willie. He visits his coffin twice during a night where Willie is residing in the Bardo – the middle place between life and death, along with a host of other ghosts, all with their own shit to deal with before they can move on. A beautiful poetic exploration of grief and parental love. I finished Lincoln in the Bardo feeling uplifted, and much more educated about Lincoln and the American Civil War.

It won the Man Booker Prize 2017 and I am not surprised at all.



Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Firefighters no longer put out fires in this dystopian future. They cause them when someone is found to be in possession of books, any books, they are all illegal. The population have been taught that thinking deeply is a bad thing and they are kept distracted and dumb with frivolous soaps and constant entertainment. Written in 1953, it felt like it could have been written last year. Brilliant.



Living the Dream – Lauren Berry

Late 20-somethings hilariously navigate life and friendship. Sharp and sarcastic, they are a fairly aimless group of friends approaching 30 and dealing with their lives not being what they expected they would be by this age. Funniest book I have read for a long time.



The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad is made physical in this story of Cora escaping slavery from a plantation in the Southern USA. Cora stops off in several states during her journey North and in each one the laws and atmosphere around slavery are different, but equally awful. Cora is trying to make it North, but is being hunted…

The Underground Railroad hits you in the gut with it’s stark and immersive description of Cora’s life on the plantation. It’s part thriller and we have to consider, will Cora ever be free?



Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Man creates monster. Man abandons monster. Monster starts out loving and intelligent but is changed by his treatment by humans and, more devastatingly, his creator. Monster wants revenge. The wretch! #teammonster



Beloved – Toni Morrison

This book will break your heart. Sethe was born into slavery and she will do anything to protect her family from suffering this same fate.

This is the first Toni Morrison book I have read and I’m so glad I did.



The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

A crisis with human reproduction means women capable of bearing children are forced to live with ‘important’ men and their wives. They are raped in an official, state sanctioned ceremony to try and save the population. Fear and control are everything.



Bel Canto – Ann Patchett

I came away from Bel Canto feeling like it was the most beautiful exploration of love I’ve ever read. I didn’t want it to end and yet I needed to know what happens! A group of internationally important people are taken hostage while attending a party in a South American country. I don’t want to give any more of the plot away here!


These are all the fiction books I’ve read this year. Click to go to my longer review of each book.


What were your favourite fiction reads this year?


Books Bought and Read – May 2017


I was looking to buy some inspirational, uplifting, distracting books this month so ended up with:

Killing Floor – Lee Child (paperback) Easy to read, good, popular, thriller.

A Supposedly Fun Thing You’ll Never Do Again – David Foster Wallace (paperback). Funny, apparently.

The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay (paperback). Supposedly hopeful and uplifting.


99p kindle deals strike again:

My Booky Wook – Russell Brand (kindle book). He’s a pop culture person I find interesting for unknown reasons!

The Radium Girls – Kate Moore (kindle book) I’ve not heard of this book before but it sounds really interesting. About women who worked with radium and were told it wasn’t dangerous…

The Manifesto of How to be Interesting – Holly Bourne (kindle book). I read Am I Normal Yet? last year and LOVED it, so I had to get this too.

The Iliad – Homer (paperback). I need a project to read something classic and difficult, to educate myself more and maybe get better at quizzes. Project Iliad has started. I’ve got the Richard Lattimore translation because an evening’s research on the internet told me I should. Also, this one has a cool cover.


Single and Single – John Le Carre (kindle book) 99p deal. Part of the slow ‘read all the John Le Carre books’ project.

I was doing really well this month. Then I went to a local charity shop where they had loads of books for 2 for 99p!!!!!!!!! So this happened:

Sharpe’s Fortress – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Enemy – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Eagle – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Trafalgar – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Havoc – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Regiment- Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Rifles – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Triumph – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Honour – Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe’s Prey – Bernard Cornwell

I have read all the Sharpe books before. I read them when I was in my early 20s and I loved them. I either gave all the books to charity, or they are still in some buried box somewhere in my house. I don’t even know, but I want to give them a re-read. They are like comfort food in book form.


But it didn’t stop there. Just remember, 2 for 99p!!

The Return of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve never read any Sherlock Holmes.

The Revenant – Michael Punke. Husband is reading The Road and enjoying it, so thought he might enjoy this too. Well, he will if it’s as grim as the film.

Dracula – Bram Stoker. Well, why not. I’ve read Frankenstein this year, and I’d like to read Dracula too.

Faust Eric – Terry Pratchett. I’ve only read The Colour of Magic and I thought it was alright, but didn’t feel compelled to read any more in the Discworld series. I’ve always thought maybe I’m missing something, so thought I.d give this a go.

The War of the Worlds – H.G Wells. A classic I couldn’t pass on.

Finally, Vampire Blood Trilogy – Darren Shan. Because the books were 2 for 99p and I had an odd number and the lady said I could pick one more. This was the first to catch my eye.


99p kindle deals strike again:

The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I has suck a beautiful cover and good reviews.

I have been buying a RIDICULOUS number of books so far this year. I’m going to have to have a clear out soon and pass some on to friends so I can fit them on the shelves again!


It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis. Tedious start, but ultimately really glad I’ve read it.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – C.S. Lewis Crazy and short.


The Good Immigrant – ed. Nikesh Shukla. Possibly the best book I’ve read so far this year. LOVED IT.


Lion – Saroo Brierley. Amazing story of a man who got lost at 5 years old and ended up in a big city 1000s of miles away from home.


The Secret to Not Drowning – Colette Snowden. The inner thoughts of a woman being totally controlled by her partner.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain. Another one I’d urge everyone to read. Read it to understand yourself or any introverts in your life.


The Awakening – Kate Chopin. 1890s New Orleans and a rich house wife decides her life is tedious and must be changed!


Books read at bedtime to my children

Matilda – Roald Dahl

Crystallising Chaos – My Little Pony story. My daughter loves this book. I’ve had to read it a lot. *send help*

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling. Still plodding through it around about 2 times a week with my littlest. Harry has got to Hogwarts at last.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling. Finished! We read this every night with my oldest child. It’s taken a long time to get through. I suggested a break from Harry Potter, but he doesn’t want one, hence:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling. Dementors in Little Whinging. And WHO sent Aunt Petunia that Howler!?! 🙂

February 2017 book round up

Books bought

I’ve been on a bit of a kindle book spree this month…

The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World – Margaret Cavendish (kindle edition). I found this book on a list of Amazing feminist sci-fi or something like that. Written by a women, under her own name in 1666. It’s considered the first female written sci-fi novel. Sounds interesting! She sounds great too.


a badass women from the 1600s – Margaret Cavendish

The Toy Dolls: From Fulwell to Fukuoka – Ronan Fitzsimons (kindle edition). The Toy Dolls were one of my favourite bands in my late teens.


Silly, punk rock, probably only known by the wider public for their version of Nellie the Elephant. I’m not expecting literary greatness from this but I’m hoping once I start it I won’t be able to put it down! May be a niche interest book, this one. 🙂

My, haven’t music videos improved since 1984!

Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays – Rebecca Solnit (kindle edition) I’ve wanted to read this for a while. In fact, I’ve been waiting so long to actually buy it I don’t want to read it and it be over really quickly! 


The Good Immigrant – Nikesh Shukla (kindle edition). I heard about this book when it came out last year and saw it on loads of ‘best books of the year’ lists in the run up to Christmas. Especially post Brexit, a small thing I can do is make more effort to support BAME writers. Also, I’ve read Coconut Unlimited and *really* enjoyed it.


How Hard Can Love Be? (The Spinster Club Series Book 2) – Holly Bourne (kindle edition). I read the first book in this series last year (Am I Normal Yet?) and absolutely loved it. It’s about a teenager with mental health problems navigating college life. I highly recommend that one and hope this one is equally as good. 


The Polysyllabic Spree: A Hilarious and True Account of One Man’s Struggle with the Monthly Tide of the Books He’s Bought and the Books He’s Been Mean –Nick Hornby (paperback). Oh wow! a book I both bought and read in the same month!

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Home Cooking – Ramsay, Gordon (hardback). Fiver. Gordon’s usual cooking is a bit fancy for me, so hoping this one will be more accessible.

Beloved: A Novel (Vintage Classics) – Toni Morrison (kindle edition). Another I bought to read straight away. This is one of the few books by a writer of colour on my reading list challenge for this year. I bumped it up the list because I like to try and make sure I read from a fairly diverse group of authors. I don’t always achieve my goals, but I do try. I didn’t realise when I chose my challenge list for this year that it was just so, so white and American and European. Not ideal. 

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng (paperback) – I have heard great things about this book and can’t wait until it arrives. Still waiting though…


photo from myfrenchtwist.com/read-everything-never-told

Wishful Drinking- Carrie Fisher (kindle edition). 99p kindle bargain. I realised I read a lot of biographies of men and want to even it up a bit, so have been looking out for autobiographies of interesting women.


I need to curb  my book buying a little bit.

Books read

Links to reviews, if I’ve done one 🙂

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Beloved – Toni Morrison

The Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling. Bedtime story book for 6 year old – it’s going to take a while to get through!

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – J.K. Rowling. Bedtime story for 4 year old. We will be reading it for a long time I predict – he’s not even had his ‘You’re a wizard Harry!’ moment yet.


Phoebe the Fashion Fairy – Daisy Meadows. 4 year old’s library book choice. Help.