The love of a good book
I’ve read some brilliant books this year. I’ve read so many good books that I struggled to choose the best out of an excellent bunch.
I have always tried to leave reviews for books I’ve read either just on Amazon or sometimes on a general blog I’ve had for years. However I no sooner finish one book than I’m excited to start the next so quite often I’ve dived into the next book in my to be read pile, read half of it and the details of the previous book start to get vague so they end up not reviewed.
Leaving reviews, especially on Amazon helps authors no end. After all, constructive feedback helps all of us with our ideas, but it’s especially important to authors as it helps their sales. For most authors, as much as writing a book is more a labour of love than a means of earning money it’s still important to know that your months, maybe years of writing have been worth it and are much appreciated and enjoyed.
Keeping the memories alive….
“Oooh, that was a good book – what was it about again?”
As a reader, at least where I’m concerned it’s annoying when your memory fails you. There’s nothing worse than looking back through my ever growing Kindle book shelf of “good books read”, seeing a book cover and thinking oooh that book was so good but not having a clue what it was about. I’ll even go back to Amazon and read the blurb to try to jog my memory but sometimes even that doesn’t help. Then if it’s from a few years ago it might even have had a cover change. That really throws me then, because it’s often the cover that will remind me of how much I loved a book.
This is partly why in September of this year I decided to make a dedicated blog for book reviews, so I can look back and remember what it was about a book that I enjoyed so much. But also because I love writing myself, as you might have noticed – I’ll shut up waffling in a minute, I promise – and have so much enjoyed setting up this blog, from creating the graphics to thinking about how best to get across what made a book so good to read.
It has also been very much highlighted recently, that reading is a good way to combat loneliness and is all round good for our mental health. I’m not so sure myself to what extent reading can help with loneliness but it sure keeps me out of mischief.
……..And so to the point
Without further ado here are five of some of the best books I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year, though pst *whispers* I’ll let you into a secret, if I didn’t write a review then I might have forgotten a few of the details, but rest assured it is one of the best:-
5. The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley
This was the first book I received as an ARC from Netgalley. It is the only book out of the following five that I have reviewed on this blog, and is the only book I’ve read via Netgalley that has been published this year. An absolutely brilliant read. I really enjoyed this one but I’m going to be incredibly lazy and since I’ve already reviewed it, here is the link to the post.
4. A Grand Old Time by Judy Leigh
I’ll admit this is one that I never reviewed and it was April when I bought it. It probably wasn’t much later than that when I read it so on this one I may be a little bit lacking in detail. I do remember how much I enjoyed it. It was funny, fast moving but also very touching in places especially near the end. Evie Gallagher is 75. She runs away from the care home she willingly moved into as she realises there’s more to life than sitting around waiting to die. She goes off on an adventure after luckily winning a substantial amount on the horses and buys an old campervan with her winnings. She goes off to France, with her son and daughter-in-Law in hot persuit. She gets herself into some dodgy scrapes as she tours France. In between Evie’s escapades we hear of the somewhat more sedate life of her son and his wife as they scurry across France trying to find Evie. I’m really starting to like these books with people well past retirement age as the central character, they have so much fun – can’t wait to get old.
3. The House We Called Home by Jenny Oliver
Don’t you just love that cover? – my ideal cottage. I read this during our lovely summer. Which is quite fitting really as this book was set by the seaside, Cornwall to be precise. It did move on to somewhere else but I can’t remember where, when the whole family went on a trip to find their lost Husband/Dad/Grandad. They stayed at a kind of hippy type commune owned and run by their mum’s erm….’friend’. I know I loved this book because I did leave a review on Amazon and said things like:-
“This was brilliant. I was really sad when it came to an end….. I really enjoyed the writing, sense of humour and the story…..
It kind of reminded me of the TV program At Home with The Braithwaites. Anyone even remember that from way back 15 or so years ago? I liked all the characters in it perhaps with the exception of Graham – the missing Dad, husband, Grandad. It tells the story of a somewhat estranged family who are suddenly all brought back together at their childhood home when Dad goes missing. There’s never a dull moment, with the odd surprising revelation thrown into the mix. The root of the story is quite sad really but a great read.”
There’s that “never a dull moment” phrase again. I keep saying that in book reviews, and whilst it is always true, I think maybe I need to think of other ways of putting it in 2019 to stop things getting repetitious. Anyway, I still have recollections of this book and I know I really enjoyed it and thought it was funny, though it did have its serious moments too.
2. The Legacy Of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington
Sadly I never wrote a review of this amazing book. There is a true fact I learned from this story, it’s one that I can’t divulge as I would hate to spoil the story for anyone who might not have read it yet and would like to. However it is something that I was quite shocked to learn and had never realised. I would go as far as to say it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, not just in 2018 but ever. It is also why I bought “A Miracle on Hope Street”, Emma’s book for Christmas and one that has been much publicised this year. I haven’t read that yet, it may well be summer before I get to it, but I have to read it as so many good things have been said about it. I’m not really that fond of Christmas themed books but this is one that I have made an exception for.
Rather than make this post even longer than it already is by writing the synopsis, here is a link to The Legacy Of Lucy Harte on Amazon. Do take a look and maybe read it? You really won’t be sorry.
So to my top book of 2018. This isn’t a fictional book. It’s real, which makes it all the more poignant. With this I’m not experiencing the emotions of a fictitious character but a real person. A person who comes across as kind, caring, both passionate and compassionate.
1. Your Life in My Hands by Rachel Clarke
The book is about life as a junior Doctor. Rachel Clarke started out as a TV journalist, her Father was a Doctor and her mother, I think was a district nurse, if memory serves me correctly. In her late 20’s she decided she couldn’t ignore her calling to want to help and care for people and decided to switch career and started medical school to train as a doctor.
The book documents her time working as a junior Doctor at a time when morale amongst NHS staff is at an all time low. Her experience in journalism certainly makes this an even more compelling read, as every argument and criticism is backed up by hard facts and figures.
Some reviewers on Amazon were less than complimentary, I think mainly because they were expecting something along the lines of “This is going to hurt” by Adam Kay. The blurb however never sets out to portray this book as anything less than a serious observation of life on the front line of our crumbling NHS.
Further to other Amazon reviewers criticisms, this book is not a “biased political rant”, it is a cry for help, for people to sit up and take note, take action and try our very best to save an incredibly valuable service that is rapidly being handed over in large chunks to the big, heartless corporations.
I had total respect and admiration for every page written in this often heartbreaking and very real account of life as a life saver. After Rachel Clarke qualified she went on to specialise in palliative medicine in order to give those who’ve reached end of life the best quality care possible.
I am sure you will understand why for me, this was my number one choice for best book of 2018.
So there they are. After joining Netgalley in September I’ve read some absolutely brilliant books towards the end of this year but most are not out for publication until 2019. What a year that’s going to be, this time next year it will probably be a review of my top 50 best reads of the year!
♥ Happy reading and all the very best of books and everything else for 2019 ♥