Sunday, December 24, 2017

My favourite fiction books of 2017

Wishing you all the best this festive season!
I'm not a book blogger but as a writer myself, I read a lot, especially when we're faring or travelling and I always like to do a round up of books I've particularly enjoyed at the end of the year. This post covers the fiction I've read but I'll do a separate post later on on my memoir review blog about the non-fiction. There are far more of those to sift through to find my favourites!

Anyway, many of the fictional books I've read this year have been really good reads, but I had to narrow it down to those I've found unputdownable (my criteria for star rating as well). I must say I don't tend to read many of the big names, other than John Le Carré and Deon Meyer, and I haven't read any of theirs this year at all (except J le C's memoir, which will be in my other post). So below are the books and authors that have really stood out for me in the past twelve months. You'll probably notice I am a big crime mystery and detective fiction fan!

Carol Hedges: Rack and Ruin; Wonders and Wickedness
I read both books this year and just loved them. Carol Hedges' ability to evoke Victorian London, mix it with social comment, a few grisly crimes and some wonderful lead and cameo characters is just superb. I love Stride and Cully, Lilith and all the other 'regulars' as well as the new stories and characters each book brings.

Terry Tyler: Tipping Point; Lindisfarne
I've read all Terry Tyler's books and for me, these two are just amazing, the magnum opus of her writing. I never read post apocalyptic books as a rule, but since these are so character driven, I found them utterly compelling. The first, Tipping Point, is about what happens to survivors when a deadly virus kills the majority of the British population; the second continues the story of those survivors when they attempt to form a new community on the island of Lindisfarne. Incredibly realistic and so well written!

L M Krier:  Only The Lonely; Wild Thing; Walk On By
DI Darling and his crew have become huge favourites of mine, and I romp through every single book. These three are 5, 6 and 7 of a series of nine books (so far). They all deal with topical issues and are, I think, very real portrayals of police procedures. I've become very fond of Ted and Trev, not to mention the others in the cast of characters!

Lynn M Dixon: Gardens of Green
Gardens of Green is the last of the Tyre and Phoenix series. Lynn Dixon's writing is strangely addictive. It's like meditation in words. Inspirational, calm and rhythmic, she focuses on details that should be tedious, but somehow aren't. I enjoyed this one the most of the whole series.

Christina James: Rooted in Dishonour
I've followed Christina James' DI Yates series from the first and this was a very absorbing read. I'm never sure if I really like Tim Yates, but that makes him very real. As always, an unputdownable read. This book focused on the very topical problem of sex slavery.

Deborah Crombie (sorry, quite a big name! I forgot): Garden of Lamentations
The Kincaid and James novels are my all time favourite crime fiction books. I have loved every one of them and this one was just as gripping as the previous books. Deborah Crombie's powers of describing modern London are as good as Carol Hedges' skill at its Victorian version.

Diana J Febry: The Skeletons of Birkbury and The Point of No Return
Again, two detective novels I've romped through; this time set in the west country, which I love because it was where I grew up. I thoroughly enjoyed them both, particularly Diana Febry's cast of country characters who strike me as being totally authentic.

Stephanie Parker McKean: Bridge to Texas; I'm the Grasshopper
These two of Stephanie Parker McKean's rollicking mysteries are set in Texas. Her sense of place is wonderful and all I want to do when I'm reading them is go there, explore the Texas hill country and meet all the colourful people who occupy her books. Great escapism and great story telling.

Lucinda E Clarke: Amie Cut for Life
This is the fourth in a series of action adventure books about an English girl caught up in undercover operations in Africa. Set partly in real southern African countries and partly in a couple of fictional countries, Amie's adventures are fast paced, edge of the seat stuff that are really enjoyable. What makes them even more special, however, is the author's knowledge of Africa: its terrain, wildlife and people. I love them because I can be there, in Africa, while I am reading.

Jan Ruth: Midnight Sky
I read this early in the year and remember I could barely put it down. Jan Ruth's family dramas are excellent and this one, involving an interior designer and a horse whisperer within the magical setting of north Wales, is totally gripping. Her love of animals is a very appealing feature of these novels.

Apologies for the lack of pictures, but with most authors having more than two books in this list, it would have been too much!

Okay, that's really me done on my blog for this year, so Happy Christmas reading allemaal!


  1. I have found a new to me author this year Belfast born Adrian McKinty, who books once opened I find hard to put down until finished. Also in a local give away library, I picked up a selection of fifteen books out of a collection of twenty of the Irish Independents 2002 Great Irish Writers.
    I consider my self very fortunate !

    1. Ah Mel! I shall have to look those up! I have a fondness for writers from both Ireland and Scotland too!

  2. Thanks Valster. Honoured. Deeply.

    1. Stride and Cully will become classics, I’m sure! Xx

  3. I am very honoured to be included Val, thank you :)

    1. No one writes about Africa as you do, Lucinda!

  4. Thank you, Val for including Gardens of Green. So glad you enjoyed it. Lynn

  5. Wow! Thank you! I've read a few of the authors you recommend but not all. So many books, so little time. I am finally happy with the first draft for my next book. Wishing you a brilliant 2018.

    1. Woohoo! Another DI Hetherall book for me to read?! I shall look forward to that!

  6. Oh, my goodness, Val! Thanks! I confess to blushing. I am so honored to have been included...and twice! I am jumping for joy. (And perhaps a bit higher than normal since it's cold and I'm still celebrating being able to jump again!) Really, thanks so much. (Steph)

    1. These two just sum up what I love about your books, Steph. They had to be included :)

  7. Only just seen this posting Val - interesting! I've got most of the Carol Hedges books but not started them yet, so they're my next read and I've read Jan Ruths' three books and thoroughly enjoyed them, can't wait for another one of those. I'm just reading Carol O'Connell's Kathy Mallory books (book 11) at the moment and find them riveting! Looking forward to trying out some of your suggestions too. Happy New Year to you and Koos.


Apologies for switching on comment moderation, but this is to make sure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops!

However, anonymous comments will not be published, so please would you sign your name. Even if you leave a nice, relevant comment, I won't publish it without a name.