Here’s the best ones and why I loved them.
Bestseller by Olivia Goldsmith
It’s a big fat 700 page blockbuster of a book about a series of interlinked stories about the book industry. There’s an editor, an aspiring author, a well-established author. All the archetypes are there. And it’s told with such razor sharp wit that I literally couldn’t put it down. Such enormous fun.
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Three sisters getting to know each other through being forced to live on the farm of their late father, sexy cowboys. Romance and conflict oozing out of every page. Twists and turns in the plot. And a big squishy happy ever after. It was glorious.
Octavia by Jilly Cooper
She wrote this before her bigger doorsopper style books, and I adored every single page turning moment. Wonderfully witty characterisation, perfect word choice. Something happens on every page. Zipping dialogue. I almost started to read it again once I’d finished it, but then I had the next book on my faves list to read…
The Dilemma by Penny Vincenzi
I save these 800 plus page glitzy contemporary fantasies for holidays. I’d take about 6 weeks otherwise to read one. A rich man and his wife, she’s made to make a choice of questionable moral standing. Affairs. Wayward children trying to get revenge on their father, with their step-mother. Fabulous fizzing dialogue. Simply delicious. Everything I want in a book of this type.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Having watched the TV series I wanted to go to the original. I don’t normally enjoy literary fiction because it feels rather too ponderous for my liking. This was perfect. Clear imagery. Brilliant characterisation of Offred. Clever ways of delineating between the now under the Gilead, and the then, before the totalitarian regime took over. The ending was a bit of a let down but I know it wasn’t heading for a HEA, so…
Romancing The Wrong Twin by Clare London
I don’t normally read m/m romance; for a whole host of reasons I won’t go into now, it’s just not for me. However, having been recommended this by the author – who – FULL DISCLOSURE – is a dear friend of mine – I enjoyed it tremendously. The mistaken identity. The comedy. The gradual romance of the two guys. Even the sex scenes (and I’m not one who enjoys a sex scene in a book, because often in some genres it’s simply added for filler rather than plot or character progression) but these were perfect. The portrayal of the two heroes was well-rounded, realistic, and interesting, with clear differences in their dialogue and thoughts. And the secondary characters, with the mistaken identity and the photo shoot scene! Laugh...I nearly fell off my chair!
That Despicable Rogue by Virginia Heath
I don’t read historical romances. I used to think they would be ponderous, and rather like that well-known author whose name sounds the same as an old British car make beginning in A (whose books I have tried to read and abandoned twice). Also – FULL DISCLOSURE – the author is another dear friend of mine, but I needed to share how much I loved her book too. Anyway...how wrong could I be about my historical romance pre-conceptions? Even Himself - who not only doesn’t read romance, he also doesn't really read fiction – enjoyed this. The plot zipped along. The friction between the hero and heroine zinged off the page, and the romance developed beautifully. Plenty of wit too. The descriptions gave a great sense of the period setting, but didn’t get in the way of the actual story – which used to be a worry of mine when reading historical novels. Wonderful.
How to Enjoy Writing by Asimov
Some great tips about simplifying your life to prioritise writing. A wonderful analogy about two different types of writing either focussing on the story, or the words themselves, and some really inspirational quotes throughout. It was clear, well-structured, and I shall be using some extracts in my marketing for romance authors non-fiction book.
Gentlemen Prefer Brunettes by Liz Fielding
This is the 4th book I’ve read from this prolific Mills and Boon author. I’ve loved them all, but this one, for some reason was simply gorgeous. It’s contemporary. It has a female famous chef pitted against an arrogant male womaniser. Sparks fly. Nieces and nephews are involved. A wonderful French farce-eque scene with the chef cooking on behalf of the man who’s entertaining another woman (he’s not interested in, but we don’t know this yet). I laughed at the wit, and cried at the big squishy HEA. Perfect.
Back in the Headlines by Sharon Kendrick
This was the first of this author’s books I’ve read. She is a prolific Mills and Boon author, selling more than 20million books and writing over 100. As soon as I knew it had a girl group member fallen on hard times as the heroine I. Was. There. And she’s combined with an arrogant (but ultimately very kind, and tight-trousers-gorgeous) rich Duke who helps her out in her time of need. Sizzling chemistry. Great sex scenes showing even in a modern romance there’s no need to show every single in and out of the act to write an emotional, satisfying romantic sex scene. Great dialogue, clever descriptions to give you just enough to see things, but not to stop the story. Such enormous rollicking fun!
A Very Special Midwife by Gill Sanderson
Since the sad passing of Roger Sanderson (the author of this book) in late 2017, I thought I’d read one of the Mills and Boon medical romances he’s famous for. Two very dedicated hospital professionals meet and fall in love. The obstacles they overcome had me crying. It’s so clever with hanging back about the happy ever after, because I wasn’t sure if it really would all be well in the end. Also, a master class in understated, emotional, plot-forwarding and character-showing sex scenes. Without all the need for the ins and outs. Lovely.
All In The Mind by Alastair Campbell
A moving portrait of a man battling with depression, who is a therapist, trying to help his clients do the same. The clients are from a variety of backgrounds, including a MP who’s trying to get help for his alcoholism – that he’s very much in denial is true; includes an extract of a diary he’s asked to keep detailing the amount of alcohol he’s drunk during a day. Such strong emotional conflict between what he believes to be the case and what is actually the case. No happy ever after. In fact a really rather sad ending. However, the writing style is so accessible and simple in its journalistic recounting of the story on every page, without needless filler to bog things down, I didn’t mind.
What were your best reads of 2017?
Love and light,