Tag Archives: Best Books Read

Tales Post – Best Books Read In 2017


It’s time to share my best books read in 2017!

I have really struggled this year not to just read, but to actually finish books!  You can read about it here

Now again this was not because there were no brilliant books to read, it was all down to me.  I feel I have been so busy with work, fitness, family and blogging that my mind and body just wouldn’t take anymore.  Anyway, needless to say that I have failed any challenges I set myself, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much.

Whilst I only appear to have read 11 books this year this does not include the 20 – 30 plus books that I started and did not complete *rolls eyes at self*.

Anyway, even out of the books I have read I still had an amazing reading year and have picked some of my favourites below (you can see all of the books I have read here )

These will be listed in no particular order.

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support yet again in 2017!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome, all the publishers who have sent me books and everyone who has supported me through my third full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. )


I started the New Year off with such enthusiasm and excitement for all the bookish delights that were awaiting me and the book I decided to start with has ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017!  Caraval by Stephanie Garber captivated me from the very first page.  I don’t normally read a lot of fantasy, but the premise of this book with a circus theme, mysterious feel and set in a magical fantasy world really appealed to me.  I followed Scarlett as she left her tiny isle of Trisda after receiving an invitation from the mysterious Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.  I was mesmerised by the bright and vivid imaginary of Caraval.  I fell in love with characters who made my heartache and turned pages as fast as I could to pull myself further into its magical world.  And yes… I did fall in love with a mysterious, caped man called Legend even though it should have been forbidden and soon realised that I have a problem “thing” for men in capes!  Caraval was a marvel from start to finish and I literally cannot wait for the next book, Legendary, to be released….and yes maybe that is partly because of its namesake *swishes cape* , but mainly because this book was fantastic!

I am a huge slasher horror film lover so this book immediately appealed to me.  The story of a girl who survived a massacre that killed all of her friends and was the Final Girl who managed to escape.  I enjoyed the premise of this book and how being a Final Girl has affected our main character Quincy.  You also got glimpses into the past with flashbacks to the fatal night with the lead up to how the events unravelled right up to the climatic ending which had me on the edge of my seat.  The flashbacks for me had more pull and appealed to the slasher horror lover in me and Sager does not hold back on the shock factor when the events start to unravel.  I can’t wait to see what Sager does next as I will definitely be picking it up!

This book immediately intrigued me as I heard a lot of people talking about it on twitter and as the book is based in a cult it peaked my interest.  I immediately became drawn into the book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out all about Moonbeam’s story.  And what a story indeed.  The about of compassion I felt for Moonbeam made be root for her all the way.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

A am a huge fan of Rhian’s already and when I heard about her new book Hope I just couldn’t wait.  From the tag line “Sometimes the end is just the beginning” to the way Rhian deals with subjects like organ donation, PMDD, friendship, family and love.  But most of all this book is about hope event in the darkest and most testing of times when you feel that all is lost.  There is a touching scene in this book that had me in tears which involves a group called Singing Medicine who are based on a real life group that work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who I had the pleasure to meet when I chaired Rhian’s launch for Hope this year.  They bring so much joy by singing to children who are in need of a smile or indeed some hope and even just to watch them myself bought me some comfort and complete joy.  This is expressed completely in Hope and is just wonderful to read.

This gorgeous book has the makings of an instant classic that will be read to children Christmas after Christmas.  It’s heart warming and full of joy.  One Christmas Wish tells the story of Theo and what happens one Christmas Eve when his Christmas decorations spring to life.  The gorgeous illustrations by Emily Sutton reminded me of Raymond Brigg’s Snowman and bought Katherine’s wonderful, delightful words to life on the page.  This is like the best Christmas present all wrapped into one.  Just wonderful.

I adore Holly Bourne and I absolutely adored this book from start to finish.  I loved everything about it.  I loved Audrey and her project about how love is not as it is portrayed in the movies.  I loved Harry the loveable, funny love interest and I loved the cinema setting especially as I have been spending a lot of time in the cinema myself this year.  There were references to movies some of which I had heard of and some of which I am now going to seek out and discover, but most of all Holly’s writing is an absolute delight and this book made me smile from ear to ear.


So there you have it! My best books read in 2017! I highly recommend all of these books!
2018 looks set to be a fab year and I simply can’t wait to get back on track and read all of the fab books!

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2017 were? Are any of them the same as mine? Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

Tales Post – 15 Best Books Read In 2016


It’s time to share my 15 best books read in 2016!

I’ve not had the best reading year personally this year.  This was not because there were no brilliant books to read, it was all down to a huge horrible reading slump I hit around May time.  I had a lot going on personally at the start of the year and if I’m honest it all got quite on top of me and began starting to affect my mental health and thus my concentration levels were shot.  As the months passed it got a little better, but did not improve my reading levels.  One major problem I found was that I would start a book, really enjoy it, get halfway and then put it down unable to finish it through my own doing.  This happened often and was super annoying!

Whilst Goodreads states that I only read 37 books this year (and therefore failing my Goodreads challenge) I know I have possibly read more as I have not kept up to date with tracking my reading very well this year (one thing to make sure I do next year) and Goodreads does not include all those books I half read either.

Anyway, even out of the books I have read picking just 15 has been tough as I have read some AMAZING books this year (you can see what books I have read here )

Also check out my 2016 End Of Year Book Survey here

These will be listed in no particular order.

I still have so many amazing books from 2016 yet to read!

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support in 2016!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome, all the publisher who have sent me books and everyone who has supported me through my second full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. it was tough enough picking just 15!)



 

 

 

 

 

 

Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery

This book had me turning page after page as quickly as I possibly could and I speed through it because I just HAD to know what was going to happen next.  In a world where justice and the fate of those accused of murder is decided by the public through a reality TV Show over 7 days Cell 7 gives us a scary dystopian view of the world without a justice system and possibly a world that is scarily not far from the future if you really think about it.  Told in a unique way of two different narrators and a reality TV show transcript Cell 7 was intense, gripping, addictive and I basically I can’t wait for the sequel!

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

I am way way late to the party on this one, but I listened to this on audiobook earlier on this year and thoroughly loved it.  An adult thriller with a gritty edge and very unreliable narrator The Girl On The Train tells the story of Rachel who whilst on her daily commute see’s something shocking.  I loved how this book told the story from three different points of view and three different women’s voices and although I did guess the reveal at the end it still shocked me to the core.  I found myself craving every next chapter as I was completely hooked.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmidt

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which have stayed with me for quite some time.  Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.  The ending in the book broke me completely.  Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.

You can find my full review here


 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting For Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill

Waiting For Callback tells the story of Elektra who is discovered by an acting agency and right from the very first line I laughed and laughed and laughed.  I loved this contemporary YA read.  We follow Elektra as she auditions for roles and the ups and downs of her friendships and crushes and all of the embarrassing moments that fall upon her.  It made me smile so much my cheeks hurt long after the last page!  I cannot wait for the sequel!

The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

The Sleeping Prince was high up on my most anticipated list since I read the first novel in the trilogy The Sin Eaters Daughter last year.  I was blown away!  The Sleeping Prince starts where The Sin Eater’s Daughter left off thereabouts, but this time from the perspective of Errin who although we had not met prior to The Sleeping Prince we had heard of her through Leif’s stories in The Sin Eater’s Daughter as Errin is Liefs sister.  With the Kingdoms at war following The Sleeping Prince being awoken we are thrown straight into Kingdoms in turmoil.  With an unforgettable prologue that crushed my soul we are thrown straight into the action and the feeling of fear is instantly felt.  The pace of the book really made the story flow page after page.  It’s completely stunning and breath-taking.  The imagery that is created and the feelings Melinda makes you feel through her characters are truly amazing.  The last book in this series is out in 2017 and I can’t wait…..its going to destroy me…but in a good way!

You can find my full review here

The Next Together by Lauren James

Another book I was very late to the party on.  I absolutely adored this book about time travel and love over years and years of time.  Imagine always finding your true love over and over only to be separated each time as fate takes it’s course all with a mix of sic fi!  Yes you heard me right!  I fell in love with each version of the characters and raced through to the end.  I loved how cleverly Lauren James writes jumping from year to year, backwards and forwards without confusing the reader.  I also loved the mixture of story, emails, diary entries etc. which really cemented the story together.  I really wanted to read the sequel this year too but time was against me….but next year it is at the top of my list!


 

 

 

 

 

 

The Girl Of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

This book is stunningly beautiful.  I think I could probably end my brief summary there, just with that one line as that is simply what this book is.  It’s like poetry in book form and every sentence that Kiran writes feels like its perfectly crafted and so meaningful.  The Girl Of Ink and Stars tells the story of Isabella the daughter of a cartographer who dreams of lands far away from where she is.  When Isabella’s friend goes missing she volunteers to join the search for her across the island and discovers the islands secrets, beauty and dangers.  This is a stunning book which I think will become an instant classic in the future if it isn’t already.

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Jennifer Niven’s and I was super excited to read her second book Holding Up The Universe this year.  The story is told from two points of view.  Libby who is trying to get her life back on track and Jack who has prosopagnosia (face blindness).  What pursues is a story of love and being wanted and loved.  Personally I related to Libby a lot and I really liked her as a character.  Jennifer Niven’s writing again is just beautiful and so heart felt that it oozes love and warmth off the page….just like one big hug.

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

Oh my gosh!  Where to start with this book!  Sometimes a book comes along that makes a footprint on your memory and your heart for a long long time.  Sometimes forever.  Paper Butterflies is that book for me.  It tore my heart completely and left me crying, thinking about the book and its characters long after finishing.  An emotional tale of an abusive childhood, growing up, friendship, love, forgiveness and choosing left or right.  Paper Butterflies tells the heart-breaking story of June who following her Mother’s death years earlier and following her Father’s remarriage, is being physically and mentally abused by her step mother , Kathleen.   With a broken heart I was left with Paper Butterflies in my tummy!  This story will stay with me for a very long time to come and never fails to bring tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  I highly recommend this book with all of my heart.  Go and read it and fall in love, laugh, cry and go and grab all of the people that you love and hold them tightly.

You can find my full review here


 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Awkward by Beth Garrod

I’m smiling already before even typing this and that is because this book made me laugh on every single page.  Super Awkward tells the story of Bella Fisher who has some very super awkward and hilarious moments!  Under awkward and again funny circumstances she meets a super fit boy who Bella decides she needs to convince to come to prom!  This book is just hilarious and will give you smiles and laughs a plenty.  Loved it!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This year seems to be the year that I discover books that have been out for a while but I seem to have not read them.  A Monster Calls is exactly one of those books and oh my how emotional was this book.  I was in pieces by the end.  A Monster Calls tells the story of Connor who is struggling to fit in and who calls for a Monster and a monster in the form of a huge tree in his back garden appears.  This story is about grief and coping with grief and unconditional love and is just beautiful.  I’m welling up just thinking about it!

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

I LOVED this book!  A book about female friendships and the ups and downs that this group of friends goes through and significant life events.  Sara Barnard is seriously a writer to watch her writing is gorgeous and she takes you on a huge rollercoaster of emotions as you become swept away by this group of friends friendship.  I can’t wait to see what’s next from Sara as I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Unboxed by Non Pratt

I love Non Pratt’s books….she has this way of making the characters so relatable and like you have know them for ages and ages.  With unboxed Non does exactly this again and its an emotional touching book about a group of friends who meet up to retrieve a time capsule following their friends death.  What follows is an emotional story full of fond memories, laughter and tears.  It’s just perfect.

In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

I loved this adult thriller set on a hen weekend, in the woods, in a creepy glass house.  Another books that I listened to in audio book form and the narrator of this book was just fantastic.  She really pulled the brilliant words and story by Ruth Ware out of the page and really took you on a journey.  I loved the twists and turns and mystery to this book which the writing and the story takes us on.  A brilliant thriller which I should have read sooner than I did.

The Deviants by C J Skuse

This book!  Just drop everything and go and grab a copy.  I will never ever forget this book in many years to come.  It was completely different to what I expected it to be, but what I read was completely absorbing, shocking, emotional and brilliant.  The Deviants tells the story of a group of friends who call themselves The Fearless Five.  Years have divided some of them and the story brings them back together like they are all bound to each other by a secret.  By the time I reached the end of this book I was an absolute emotional wreck!  C J is undoubtedly one of the best UKYA writers out there!  Breathtakingly brilliant!


So there you have it!  My 15 best books read in 2016!  I highly recommend all of these books!

2017 looks set to be a fab year and I simply can’t wait to get back on track and read all of the fab books!

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2016 were?  Are any of them the same as mine?  Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

Tales Post – 15 Best Books Read In 2015


2015

It’s time to share my 15 best books read in 2015!

I ran a little poll on twitter to see if this list should include just 2015 releases or any releases that I have read over the year of 2015…here are the results…

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I’ve read 63 books this year and picking just 15 has been tough as I have read some AMAZING books (you can see what books I have read here )

Also check out my 2015 End Of Year Book Survey here

These will be listed in no particular order.

I still have so many amazing books from 2015 yet to read!

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support in 2015!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome and everyone who has supported me through my first full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. it was tough enough picking just 15!)


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7 Days by Eve Ainsworth

This book had me smiling, shouting no! at the characters in the book and with my bottom lip trembling and eyes welling up very often I realised what a powerful, important thought provoking book Eve Ainsworth has written and I really encourage every one to read it!  Everyone should read this book!  If your being bullied, doing the bullying, a parent concerned for their child or just to get an understanding or sense of what people go through when being bullied then please read this book.

You can find my full review here

Panther by David Owen

Panther is a raw, powerful read that tackles serious subjects mainly about depression and how depression is still widely misunderstood, the damage that it does, the effect it has on the sufferer and the people around them and the stigmas of depression.  In some ways a hard read, but in a good way. You feel the struggles of Derrick and his family and as a reader you feel so many emotions! It is truthful and honest and does not gloss over any aspect of depression and that’s what makes this book so very special and important. 

You can find my full review here

The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Wow!  This was my first read of 2015 and what a way it was to start 2015.  Right from the offset, page one, this book gave me goose bumps!  Straight away I knew it was going to be something special.  Such an important, stunning beautifully written debut.  I loved every single page, every single feeling and every single message.  Most importantly this book, for me asked the question What Is Normal?  And my own answer to this is everyone is normal in their own unique ways and we should stand proud.

You can find my full review here

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Darkmere by Helen Maslin

I LOVED this book from start to finish!  It pulled me in and wrapped me around it’s pages and did not let me go until the very end leaving me craving more!  Like ghost stories?  Like romance and mystery?  Like great friendships and castles?  Like dual narratives past and present?  Then I cannot recommend this book enough!  A brilliant chilling, romantic, heart thumping debut with two distinctive voices and stories that intertwine perfectly!

You can find my full review here

Jessica Cole Model Spy – Catwalk Criminal

Super spy Jessica Cole was back with a bang in this third instalment of this brilliant series and I loved every page of it!  With many twists, turns and action it was impossible for me to put this book down!  I really would recommend this book and the whole trilogy to any one looking for an action packed adventure with a hint of mystery, humour and a kick ass heroine!

You can find my full review here

Seed by Lisa Heathfield

I fell in love with this book from the minute I started reading it right through to the heart stopping end and have not stopped talking about it since!  This book is hauntingly beautiful and deals with such sensitive and often rather unnerving subjects and situations including one of the most hated controlling characters I think I have ever read!  Lisa Heathfield’s writing is stunning and beautiful in such a tender way.  Every sentence is enriched with so much care and imaginative description that you fall in love with it.  This is Lisa’s debut!  It’s inspiring.

You can find my full review here

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Black Iris by Leah Raeder

I picked this book up on a recommendation by Jim ( @YaYeahYeah ) after I saw him tweeting about it.  He told me this book would destroy me!  And destroy me it did!  An extremely intense read with an amazing main character who is just as much unlikeable and she is likeable.  This book messed with my mind.  With narration from the past and present, exploration of mental illness, friendships, love (both m/f and f/f) and with twists and turns throughout this book’s ending did exactly what Jim said it would do….destroyed me!

Asking For It by Louise O’ Neill

“They are all innocent until proven guilty.  But not me.  I’m a liar until I am proven honest”

It’s message clear, important, powerful and necessary I was left an absolute emotional angry mess by the time I finished this book, but also very proud of Louise O’Neill for writing it.  A story about rape, consent, the effects of social media and again featuring another character who is just as much unlikeable and she is likeable Louise O’Neill’s writing it truthful and does not gloss over a single detail.  Louise has this way of getting into your mind and making thoughts flash through your mind unconsciously that you hate yourself for it.

Remix by Non Pratt

I loved this book so much.  A story of friendship and how special and amazing that can be.  Set at a music festival I experienced the highs and lows of a friendship, love and laughter and how best friends can know each other better than they know themselves.  Non has this way of making her characters completely relatable and very real and the story just flows between them effortlessly.  I also fell head over heels in love with Sebastian, but that is a whole other conversation.  Also Non introduced me to the best word EVER…. Cockwomble!  Oh Yes!

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The Sin Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Reading fantasy is really out of my comfort zone, but Melinda Salisbury’s debut about a girl who can kill with a single touch drew me into a world full of imagination, corruption and love.  I could actually imagine this world being part of our past and history.  The story lead me to question things happening in this world with a massive twist along the way and left me craving…no actually demanding more!  I cannot wait for The Sleeping Prince in 2016!  Oh and also I’m definitely team Lief *swoons*

You can find my full review here

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

This book is just stunningly beautiful inside and out.  The words, the illustrations, the characters and the story.  I was completely swept away by it.  The setting of a wintery Russia is breathtakingly picturesque and Feo is a feisty character who befriends a young soldier, gains unexpected allies, a terrifying enemy and starts a revolution all for the love of wolves.  The wolves themselves are full of spirit and their own unique personalities.  I found myself smiling, laughing, crying and cheering at this book.  A future classic!

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Yes I know!  I am so behind reading these books and whilst away on holiday I finally had the perfect time to savour and enjoy this remarkable book.  I love a good murder mystery and with Daisy and Hazel I enjoyed it even more.  The first book in the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries was an absolute delight.  I enjoyed discovering the clues with Daisy and Hazel and watching the mystery unravelling before my very eyes.  The 1934 boarding school setting was perfect and the language / writing really captures the time.  It kept me guessing until the very end and I still didn’t guess the murderer!  It also introduced me to #BunBreak *scoffs cake*

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All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“You make me feel like I just stepped out of the wardrobe and into Narnia”

I simply cannot even talk about this book without crying.  I was left an absolute emotional wreck because of it and can feel myself welling up thinking about it whilst typing this.  This book was completely heart-wrenching and tells the love story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die who meet on the ledge of their school bell tower.  Together they embark on a journey and Jennifer Niven writes with complete honesty, beauty and emotion about depression, those suffering and the people around them.  This book made me think and feel so much.  It is lovely and beautiful and will stay in my heart always.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

“I fall in love with these kids over and over again and my heart aches for their tragedies and marvels at their friendship”

Wow!  That above quote from this book basically sums up my feelings about this book completely.  This was the last book I read in 2015.  I received this book from the lovely Caitlin Lomas ( @CaitLomas ) as part of a secret Santa I was taking part in and I had not heard of this book before.  This has now become one of my favourite EVER books.  This book made me cry on the bus and my son told me I was so embarrassing.  The story of friendship, family and love that all happens around the Jellicoe Road. I highly recommend.  Taylor the main character is a reluctant leader in the towns territory wars with Cadets and Townies and with flashbacks to a past story unfolding as we read hit me right in the heart and I cry just thinking it about it.  The writing is powerful and full of emotion throughout and also introduced me too one of my favourite YA boys ever….Jonah Griggs!  To him my heart will always now belong.

You can find my full review here

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This is a 2016 release which I am lucky enough to have already read.  This book made my heart beat with every page and eyes sting with tears!  I felt emotionally connected to all of the four characters telling the story and I loved the sense of friendships, family and community that push themselves to the forefront due to the situation that arises.  Although a hard painful read full of emotion it is written brilliantly and with care.  A brilliant book from start to finish!  A brilliant debut to look out for in 2016.

You can find my full review here


So there you have it!  My 15 best books read in 2015!  I highly recommend all of these books!

Before I go I just want to mention a book that I read in 2014 that was released in 2015 and certainly would have made this list had I read it in 2015!

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The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone

I loved this book….. a lot!  Since the end of Harry Potter I have been looking for a book and / or book series that could fill that Harry Potter void in my life.  A book that has the right mix of great characters, humour, magic and action!  Right from the start of the book debut author Abi Elphinstone captures the atmosphere and pace of the book perfectly.  The sense of good and bad is fantastically built up in the readers imagination.  This book has everything!  Magic, talismans, woods, tree spirits, rituals, voodoo wax figures, tree houses, oracle bones, witch doctors, riddles and puzzles, touching friendships, fab characters and an adorable wildcat!  This book is a real magical adventure.  The keywords that jumped out to me from this book were friendship, family, community and courage.  A fantastic, magical debut novel that I have not stopped talking about all year! The Dreamsnatcher is a dream to read!

You can find my full review here

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2015 were?  Are any of them the same as mine?  Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

Happy Reading!

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