Can you even imagine how long it’s taken me to settle on my favourite books of 2017? I’d planned to share five, but I found I couldn’t narrow it down to so few, then I remembered that I am writing this post and can choose how many I like! So these are my eight favourite books of 2017…
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend by Jenny Colgan
Sophie Chesterton is a girl about town – she knows all the right people, goes to all the right parties, and wears all the right clothes. But deep down she suspects that her superficial friends and lifestyle don’t amount to very much. Her father is desperate for her to make her own way in the world, and when after one shocking evening her life is turned upside down, she suddenly has no choice.
Scraping a living as a ‘glamour’ photographer’s assistant, living in a hovel on the Old Kent Road with four smelly boys, eating baked beans from the can, Sophie is desperate to get her life back. But does a girl really need diamonds to be happy?
I liked all of the characters, the story line had the perfect balance of believable with chick lit magic sprinkled throughout and the ending was just perfect.
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
The Danish word hygge is one of those beautiful words that doesn’t directly translate into English, but it more or less means comfort, warmth or togetherness.
Hygge is the feeling you get when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, in warm knitted socks, in front of the fire, when it is dark, cold and stormy outside. It that feeling when you are sharing good, comfort food with your closest friends, by candle light and exchanging easy conversation. It is those cold, crisp blue sky mornings when the light through your window is just right.
Denmark is the happiest nation in the world and Meik puts this largely down to them living the hygge way. They focus on the small things that really matter, spend more quality time with friends and family and enjoy the good things in life. The Little Book of Hygge will give you practical steps and tips to become more hygge: how to pick the right lighting, organise a dinner party and even how to dress hygge, all backed up by Meik’s years’ of research at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.
This year live more like a Dane, embrace hygge and become happier.
Loved this, it inspired me to bring hygge into my life and it really has made a difference. I also read and enjoyed The Little Book of Lykke, but Hygge just edged it for me.
The Cadaver Game by Kate Ellis
When the decaying body of a murdered woman is discovered in a suburban house following an anonymous tip off, DI Wesley Peterson has problems establishing her identity. But as he digs deeper, he has another more disturbing case to investigate – the naked bodies of two teenagers have been found with shotgun wounds at the foot of a cliff.
Both cases become stranger when Wesley realises they are linked to a sinister manhunt, mirroring events from the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Why did the teenage victims take part in an online game called Blood Hunt, which they were eventually persuaded to play for real?
Then a skeleton is found near the place where the dead teenagers were last seen alive and Wesley finally has to face a terrible truth . . . and a hunt to the death.
My first Kate Ellis book, and I have since read several and I’ve another sitting on my TBR pile now. Any one of them could have made this list, brilliant thrillers, with the likeable DI Peterson and the throwbacks to historical crimes.
Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles unzips a body bag and gets the fright of her life. The corpse opens its eyes. The woman is rushed to hospital, where she murders a guard and siezes hostages, including a heavily pregnant Detective Jane Rizzoli.
No one knows who this woman is, or what she wants. Only Jane, trapped with the madwoman, can solve the mystery.
Gerritsen is one of my favourite authors so I have read several of her books this year, but this one stands out as my favourite. As with any of her books, they are guaranteed to be pacey and enjoyable.
After I’ve Gone by Linda Green
You have 18 months left to live . . . On a wet Monday in January, Jess Mount checks Facebook and discovers her timeline appears to have skipped forward 18 months, to a day when shocked family and friends are posting heartbreaking tributes to her following her death in an accident. Jess is left scared and confused: is she the target of a cruel online prank or is this a terrifying glimpse of her true fate?
Amongst the posts are photos of a gorgeous son she has not yet conceived. But when new posts suggest her death was deliberate, Jess realises that if she changes the future to save her own life, the baby boy she has fallen in love with may never exist.
I wasn’t too sure about this book from the blurb or the first chapter, But a couple of chapters in and I could barely put it down. A thrilling read, with a different premise to anything I’ve read before.
The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson
When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.
As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?
Believable characters that drew me in, in a lovely setting. It had that chick lit mix of feel-good warmth with harsh realities, which really allow you to connect with the characters, all written perfectly.
Unquiet Souls by Liz Mistry
What is the link between the abduction of a little girl and a dead prostitute?When the body of a prostitute is found, followed by the discovery of children locked in an attic, DI Gus McGuire is handed the case. But what at first appears to be a simple murder soon turns into an international manhunt for the members of a twisted child trafficking ring.McGuire who is suffering with his own emotional problems, must pick his way through the web of deceit and uncover the truth in time before the body count rises.Can McGuire identify The Matchmaker before it’s too late? And can he trust those he is working with?
This was actually my only Kindle read of this year. We were on holiday and I’d run out of books to read so I borrowed the Husband’s Kindle and chose this one as it was a free download. It was brilliant, utterly gripping. I am now on the lookout for more by this author.
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyland, but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries.
What is the secret to their success? Are happy Danes born, or made?
Helen decides there is only one way to find out: she will give herself a year, trying to uncover the formula for Danish happiness. From childcare, education, food and interior design (not to mention ‘hygge’) to SAD, taxes, sexism and an unfortunate predilection for burning witches, The Year of Living Danishly is a funny, poignant record of a journey that shows us where the Danes get it right, where they get it wrong, and how we might just benefit from living a little more Danishly ourselves.
This book made me want to move to Denmark. Yes, there was a time when the Husband thought I’d gone insane as I tried to hunt for jobs for us there! An inspiring read which shifted my perspective on family life and yes, made me want to live in Denmark.
Looking back over my book journal, I predominantly read thrillers, horrors, chick lit and historical fiction in 2017, which seems a pretty typical year for me. I delved into a few paranormal and fantasy reads, which I enjoyed, and a few non-fiction books that have inspired.
It seems that I read 71 books in 2017, not including re-reads of favourites, which I’d guess would add around another 20 to that total. Not a bad year. Though I am still studying until May this year, I’ll then be finished for the rest of the year, so just imagine how many more books I could read in 2018?!
Have you read any of these? Or have I tempted you to pick one or two up?
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