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My Top 12 Books of 2017

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve already and I really don’t understand where this year has gone.  I have had some ups and downs blogging wise and haven’t read half as much as I wanted to, but I’m pleased to say all is good with me now and I am feeling very positive.

I’ve read some fabulous books this year and it’s now time to choose my Top 12.


1.  ‘Deep Down Dead’ by Steph Broadribb


‘Deep Down Dead’ was published in paperback in January of this year by the fabulous Orenda Books.  I wasn’t too sure if this book would be for me, but I needn’t have worried as I was soon hooked.  If I remember rightly I think I was slightly late to work because of it, i.e. I couldn’t put it down.  Here is my review:



2.   ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore


March was an incredibly busy month for my blog as it’s when I did my two week Urbane Event.  ‘Fade to Dead’ was published last year and it is the first book in the Jessica Wideacre series.  I absolutely loved it and I want to read more by this author.  Here is my review:



3.  ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski


‘Six Stories’ was published in paperback by Orenda Books in March.  I took part in the blog tour for this book and it was so different to anything I have ever read before.  I just loved it.  Here is my review:



4.  ‘The Lies Within’ by Jane Isaac


I had the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for ‘The Lies Within’ which was published by Legend Press.  Until then I had never read any of Jane Isaac’s books.  I was totally gripped and I loved it from start to finish.  I am really looking forward to reading more by this fabulous author.  Here is my review:



5.  ‘The Wild Air’ by Rebecca Mascull


Rebecca Mascull has done it again with this book, published by Hodder & Stoughton.  It was absolutely incredible and I loved everything about it.  I also was lucky enough to meet Rebecca at her book launch for which I won a ticket.  You can read my review and write up on the launch here:



6.  ‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson


Laura Wilkinson is one of my favourite authors.  I have read and reviewed all her novels so far and was delighted to take part in the blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’ which was published by Accent Press.  This lady is so very talented and can turn her hand easily to writing about different subjects.  I could have cried with joy at being mentioned in the acknowledgements and at having my review quoted inside the book too.  Here is my review:



7.  ‘No Accident’ by Robert Crouch


I was given the wonderful opportunity to take part in the blog tour for this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed ‘No Accident’ and was delighted to discover yet another new author and to start reading another series.  You can read my review here:



8.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines


I was delighted when A.J. Waines invited me to take part in her blog tour.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ is the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series.  I hadn’t read the first one but this didn’t spoil things for me.  I totally loved it and I can’t wait to read more by this author.  Here is my review:



9.  ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia


I absolutely loved ‘No Way Back’ which was published in September by Urbane Publications.  I could kick myself for not having read Kelly Florentia’s first novel.  Kelly’s writing is incredible and I really can’t wait to read her next book.  You can read my review here:




10.  ‘You’re Next’ by Michael Fowler

Until recently I had never read any of Michael Fowler’s books.  But then I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘You’re Next’ and I’m so glad I took part.  Published by Caffiene Nights Publishing, this is the second book in the DS Scarlett Macey series and I really enjoyed it.  I will definitely be reading more of this author’s books.  Here is my review:



11.  ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett


I have read this series from the start and loved every single book, but I think ‘Hell to Pay’ has to be my favourite.  It was a real pleasure taking part in the blog tour.  I can’t wait to read more by Rachel Amphlett.  Here is my review:



12.  ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

When Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in her blog tour I was happy to help as I really liked the sound of ‘Brighter Days Ahead’, which was published in November by Pan Books.  It’s been absolutely ages since I have read a saga and I absolutely loved it.  I now want to read this author’s backlist.



I hope you have all enjoyed finding out what my top 12 books of the year are.  I look forward to reading many more great books next year.



Blog Tour – ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

‘Brighter Days Ahead’ was published in paperback and as an eBook by Pan Books on the 30th November 2017. Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in a blog tour for this book and as I liked the sound of it I was delighted to participate. I would like to thank the lovely Kate Green at Pan Macmillan for my review copy.

This story is set during the Second World War from 1940 onwards. Molly lives with her repugnant father who has betrayed her on many occasions. From a young age, living on the streets of London’s East End, she has seen how harsh life can be. When Molly is kidnapped by gangsters and forced into their underworld her future seems bleak.

Flo spent her early years living in an orphanage. Years later and she is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could turn out to be the best move she makes.

It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve read a saga so I was really looking forward to ‘Brighter Days Ahead’. This is the first book I have read by Mary Wood and I am so glad to have come across yet another author. I somehow had the feeling I would enjoy this book and I wasn’t wrong. I loved the cover and thought it was beautiful. I also liked Mary Wood’s style of writing and the way the chapters were set out. The editing was excellent too and it was obvious that a lot of research had been undertaken.

The story is narrated by a few characters, but mostly by Molly and Flo. Through them the reader gets to follow their lives during the war, meeting a number of other characters along the way. I was so into the story that I actually felt at times as if I was there with Molly and Flo. My heart almost broke when reading about Molly and the abuse she went through. I kept hoping that she would have a happy ending. I absolutely adored Flo. She was such a loving and kind person who gave a lot of her time to people who were in desperate need of help. Even when things were tough for her she still carried on as best she could. Such a strong and charismatic person was Flo. I loved her northern accent too and the way she said ‘Eeh, it’d be grand’ quite often.

As well as the war, this story dealt with a number of other issues including homosexuality which was in those days a crime. I personally thought it was such a shame that people were imprisoned simply for being in love with a person of the same sex.

If you enjoy sagas then I definitely recommend reading ‘Brighter Days Ahead’. Though there is quite a lot of doom and gloom in the story, there is also a real sense of the community coming together during hard times.

I will be waiting patiently for Mary Wood’s next book, but in the meantime I can at least check out her backlist.

I give this book 5 out of 5.


About Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers.



‘Brighter Days Ahead’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-


Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary


Blog Tour – ‘A Country Girl’ by Nancy Carson

‘A Country Girl’ was published yesterday the 10th August 2017 in paperback and as an eBook by Avon.  I am one of a few book bloggers taking part in a blog tour to celebrate its publication.  I have an extract for all of you to read but first here’s what the book is about.


Book Blurb

A must-read sweeping saga, full of intrigue, romance and page-turning drama . . .

Marigold Bingham, though promised to Algie Stokes, the lock-keeper’s son, reconsiders her dreams of marriage when she wrongly believes he has been two-timing her.

With the sudden death of his father, as well as the loss of Marigold, Algie is consoled by Aurelia Sampson, the charming and beguiling wife of his employer, Benjamin. Yet Aurelia merely muddies the waters, adding to Algie’s worries which weigh heavily on his shoulders as head of his increasingly troubled family.

Marigold Bingham is unaware of Algie’s spiralling burdens, yet she is in for a whole series of life-changing surprises.

So too is Algie, the man she once called her own . . .



Chapter 2 p.33-35

Eli was not entirely comfortable with the thought that his second daughter, easily the most appealing of those of marriageable age, could feasibly end up with the inconsequential son of a lock-keeper. He had hoped she would have set her sights higher, but was wily enough to realise that to forbid the liaison would only serve to launch it into more perilous waters, the consequences of which could be devastating and too painful to contemplate. In time, Harriet’s superior education would reveal itself to both of them, and Algernon Stokes would come to recognise his social and mental inferiority – and so would she. Meanwhile, he tolerated Algernon without actually encouraging him at all. Besides, Algernon’s father, Will, used to be Eli’s regular playmate in those far off days of mutual impoverishment. The lad’s mother, Clara, too . . . Indeed, when Clara was a young filly and Eli was a young buck with a weather eye for a potential mate, she had been a feast to the eye and a definite target. The trouble was, she was too preoccupied with his rivals and would have nothing to do with him. So he had to content himself eventually with Mary, who he’d put in the family way. Mary would never fetch any ducks off water. Her plainness, though, had proved an advantage in one respect, Eli pondered; she was never attractive enough to appeal to anybody else, which ensured her fidelity. On reflection, perhaps he had been too hasty in agreeing to marry her. The acquisition of wealth had made him much more appealing to other women – better-looking women – he’d noticed over the years.

Such were the ruminations, contemporary and nostalgic, of Eli Meese as he supped alone in the saloon of the Bell Hotel sucking at his clay pipe, his head enveloped in an aromatic cloud of blue smoke. Because he was an important citizen and a Justice of the Peace, few of the lesser locals these days considered themselves socially fit to sup in the same room with him. One man, however, walked into the hotel some little time after Eli, greeted him as an equal, and asked if he would allow him to buy him a drink.

Eli grinned in acknowledgement. ‘A pint of India pale, please, Murdoch.’

Murdoch Jeroboam Osborne paid for the drinks and took them over to the table where Eli was sitting. ‘You was deep in thought when I walked in, ha, Eli? Summat up?’

Eli swigged the last inch of beer that remained of his first helping, then sighed as if deeply troubled. ‘What d’yer mek o’ Will Stokes’s lad, Murdoch?’

Murdoch pulled a stick of tobacco from his pocket and began cutting it into workable pieces with his penknife as he pondered the question. ‘Can’t say as I know him that well, but he seems a likeable enough lad. Ain’t he a-courtin’ your Harriet? I’ve seen him a time or two come to meet her from the Drill Hall after our rehearsals, ha?’

‘Between me and thee, Murdoch, that’s what’s troubling me. I ain’t so sure he’s quite up to the mark, if you get me drift.’

Murdoch laughed. ‘I seem to recall as his mother was well up to the mark at one time, ha? Still is, if you want my opinion.’

Eli grinned conspiratorially. ‘Aye, you’m right there and no mistake. Proper little poppet, was Clara Bunn. Many’s the time I’ve wished . . .’

‘And the daughter takes after her,’ Murdoch remarked with a twinkle in his eye.

‘Ain’t set eyes on e’er a daughter so far’s I know,’ Eli replied. ‘But is that right? Another poppet? Like her mother was, eh, Murdoch?’

‘The image.’

‘I ain’t surprised. D’you see anything of Clara these days?’

‘Calls in me shop regular.’ Murdoch began rubbing the pieces of tobacco between the palms of his hands to render it into shreds. ‘If there’s e’er a boiling fowl or a rabbit spare I generally let her have it cheap. She’s grateful for that. I’ve always had a soft spot for Clara.’



‘A Country Girl’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Country-Girl-Nancy-Carson/dp/0008173540/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1502389495&sr=1-1

Twitter – @nancycarsonauth


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