Aaaand the award for my TOP TEN READS OF 2016 goes to…

Hi, everybody! 

Hasn’t 2016 unearthed some splendid reads? Goodreads tells me I’ve read over 100 of them and SO MANY were special for one reason or another, making it incredibly difficult to choose the ones that will sneak into my ‘top ten’.

Well, I’ve been keeping a list and checkin’ it twice, and you’re gonna find out which book held me in its vice (sorry folks, that’s just appalling). Anyway, I’ve decided the only way I can do this is  to ruthlessly whittle down any 5 stars I’ve awarded to titles published in 2016 and select those that have continued to hold my attention looong after closing the cover.

Okay then. Here we go, in no particular order other than their chronological appearance on the Blog


By Monica Wood

Reviewed on:  7th March 2016  

Publication date:  4th April 2016

I was lucky enough to win a Goodreads giveaway for this book which features a special little boy. He has a profound effect on those around him, including an elderly lady and her Guinness Book of World Records challenge…

One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

Review snippet:

“This exceptionally bewitching marvel of book is itself one-in-a-million.

Every word, every phrase, every dialogue exchange with its acute sense of timing throughout, gives new definition to the word perfection. When I’d finished reading I was reluctant to close the cover, as I wanted to hold onto the story just that little bit longer.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .




By Ralph Spurrier

Reviewed on:  18th March 2016  

Publication date:  4th April 2016

Hookline Books asked if I’d like to review this book and generously provided a paperback copy. I had no idea at the time how utterly gripping it would be with its most unusual and totally unexpected plotline where the accused, an experienced hangman, and an old pre-execution diarised account of events collide. This book deserves more attention.

A coin for the hangmanReview snippet:

“One small spark creates a historically disturbing, yet incredibly absorbing work of fiction. It has a morbid beauty as it is written in an entirely believable manner, which left me engrossed until the early hours to see if justice was indeed ever served.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .





By Caroline Barry

Reviewed on:  21st March 2016 (As my stop on the Blog Tour)

Publication date:  17th March 2016

With a review copy provided by Black & White Publishing wrapped in a sheet of mysterious historical newspaper depicting an evilness that roams the streets of Dublin, I was intrigued before I started reading! I can only hope there will be more to come from the perfectly drawn characters of Merriment O’Grady, Solomon Fish and little Janey Mack in the future. It was a pleasure being part of the Blog Tour too.

The Dolocher Kindle Cover

Review snippet:

“It’s perfectly suspenseful, grisly in all the right places, and has characters with personalities that leap from the page. It’s a seriously epic read, in every magnificent sense.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .





By William Thacker

Reviewed on:  12th May 2016

Publication date:  16th May 2016

Aaah, The Legend 100 Club. A paradise of quirky and thought provoking reads is organised by Legend Press and is one of THE best things I have taken part in during 2016. Each book is gratefully received and one I will treasure for their ability to hold me in their grip, every single time. Lingua Franca is no exception, as renaming towns in of the UK with well known sponsored brand names leads to an unexpected turn of events…

Lingua Franca Kindle CoverReview snippet:

Lingua Franca is absurdly original. This stunning book uses the power of words to make or break the world of farcical logic. One particular man’s world, to be precise.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .




By Beth Lewis

Reviewed on:  27th June 2016

Publication date:  30th June 2016

The narration is superb in this dystopian / crime fusion where Elka discovers concerning  things about her guardian, The Trapper. It has the most astounding ‘voice’. Heck, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Humongous thanks to The Borough Press and the Fiction Pub Team for the review copy – I ADORED this.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis - Kindle CoverReview snippet:

“I’ve read some good books, and some great books. The Wolf Road surpasses both of those descriptions. This isn’t just a book, it’s an experience.

The Wolf Road is a unrelenting journey of discovery in a place where the truth is as harsh as the elements … I sensed every shadow, heard the snap of every twig, and saw Elka’s misty breath rising in the cold air as she speaks of her expedition into unchartered territory.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .



By Liam Brown

Reviewed on:  14th June 2016 (As my stop on the Blog Tour)

Publication date:  13th June 2016

Another Legend 100 Club read (feel a trend starting?!). To say I was overjoyed to be kicking off Liam Brown’s blog tour back in June would be an understatement, as I have book love galore for Wild Life! This incredible treasure has been described loosely as ‘Lord of the Flies for adults’. Can’t argue with that.

Wild Life by Liam Brown - Kindle CoverReview snippet:

“It takes an enormous talent to place the peculiarities of fictional characters on trial and make you believe in each every one of them, for better or for much, MUCH worse…

…with it’s wicked brilliance, sharp pace and darkly satirical delivery I can safely say it’s one of those books I could happily read again tomorrow, as it sits superbly in a class of its own.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .



By Agnes Ravatn

Reviewed on:  1st September 2016

Publication date:  1st September 2016 (Paperback)

This haunting offering arrived courtesy of Orenda Books and the atmosphere can only be described as intense. Minimal characters. Maximum impact. Highly recommended.

the-bird-tribunalReview snippet:

The Bird Tribunal is heaving with a detached dreamlike quality that edges under your skin and lingers there causing time to stand absolutely still. My only wish would be that there was some way I could unread the pages so I could have the pleasure of devouring them all over again. “

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .


By P I Paris

Reviewed on:  14th September 2016

Publication date:  8th September 2016

Black and White Publishing strikes again with the simple brilliance that is Casting Off, a book that earns its tag line of ‘The Feel Good Book of the Year’ a thousand times over. Take a care home for the elderly, an adult chat line, and a assortment of quirky personalities and you get a perfectly crafted tale of humour and camaraderie set in the Scottish Highlands.

Casting Office by P I Paris - kindle CoverReview snippet:

“What a wonderfully spirited story that proves there is life after youth.

This uplifting, mischievous, and brilliantly written tale is one that has left a huge impression on me, for ALL the right reasons.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .





By Chris Whitaker

Reviewed on:  22nd September 2016

Publication date:  8th September 2016

Wow, wow, and thrice wow! When a surprise review copy dropped through my letterbox courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre I didn’t know just how jaw droppingly good this would be. A child goes missing, a mother is distraught, the police chief takes of the town’s grief, and that damned clown… It’s pretty awesome – yes, all of it!

Tall Oaks by Chris WhitakerReview snippet:

Tall Oaks is an evolving tragedy with an uncompromising moody vibe and remarkable quick wit.  Its sharp writing and snappy dialogue channel the undertow of deception to absolute perfection.

Make no mistake, it’s a THUMPINGLY good read.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .




By Jean-Paul Diderlaurent

Reviewed on:  21st November 2016

Publication date:  10th March 2016 [Paperback]

I saw this one day when I was trundling around Waterstones and decided to buy a copy as I looked like the perfect, lighter alternative to my usual ‘the end of the world is nigh’ reads. Saving fragments of books destined for destruction by ‘The Thing’, a machine that pulps redundant reading material to be recycled, Monsieur Vignolles improves his fellow commuter’s rail journey each morning by reading aloud from fragmented pages that have survived ‘The Thing’s’ jaws, and opens the door to possibilities he hadn’t considered. Ah, just sublime.

the-reader-on-the-6-27Review snippet:

“By immersing myself in The Reader on the 6.27 I found a little corner of the world where words, either spoken or written, bridge the gap between loneliness and hope. For the briefest moment it can be the most rewarding experience there is.

With its quirky humour giving a second chance to everything that is thought to be lost, The  Reader on the 6.27 is a pure delight.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .



By Fiona Cummins

Reviewed on:  14th November 2016

Publication date:  26th January 2017

I count myself as lucky as hell to have been selected to receive a limited edition ARC for this one courtesy of the author and Pan Macmillan. It’s a crime thriller worthy of all the praise heaped upon it. Yep, excellent storytelling drums atmosphere into every chapter, and as the book summary goes: He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.


Review snippet:

“There is a distinctive, malevolent streak in Rattle that is not to be missed. It’s the kind of book that cackles with delight as it confidently struts passed the realm of crime thriller and into a territory where only the darkest mind can thrive, ominously gathering pace with the rustle of every page turn.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .




By Claire Fuller

Reviewed on:  28th November 2016

Publication date:  26th January 2017

After reading and reviewing my own copy of Claire Fuller’s debut (Our Endless Numbered Days) waaay back in 2015 I was incredibly humbled to be asked if I’d like to read an ARC of her new book, Swimming Lessons. It was such a wonderful opportunity as I have fallen in love with this author’s writing.

Swimming Lessons carries the tag line ‘Gil Coleman looked down from the window and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below…’ which is a superb catalyst for everything that is to follow. It’s perfection, pure and simple. 

swimming-lessons-by-claire-fullerReview snippet:

Swimming Lessons has  a distinctive grace – the enchanting quality of such exquisite writing is nothing short of an emotional ambush.

Every raw and touching detail harvested from the Coleman’s turbulent lives is delicately mined with finesse, making Swimming Lessons quite possibly the most perfect book I have had the privilege of holding this year [2016].”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .



And here they all are one last time. The top ten books that have taken centre stage for me in 2016:


There’s just one last thing, if I may. I can’t sign off this post without saying how truly grateful I am for the generosity of every publisher, author, blogger, reader, and especially to everyone that has helped to share these amazing books around the Twittersphere. And to anyone who spreads the word on Facebook or elsewhere (where I don’t hang out) – huge thanks to you too, it’s ALWAYS appreciated!

All the best,

Wendy sig