The year 2017 in books!

As we move to welcome the new year of 2018, I would like to take a quick look at 2017 and the books that stood out to me over the year. Even though I managed to read about 58 books (2 less than 2016; much much less than my original target of 75), I am quite happy with the kind of books I found over the year.

Read on the know about my favorite books of the year 2017 (in no particular order). All the books mentioned below have been previously reviewed on my blog. I have included a part of the review for each book as well. Click on each title to be directed back to my review of the respective book.

Many of the books mentioned below were given to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review, while others I found on NetGalley and Goodreads and jumped at the chance to expand my horizons and tastes. I was certainly enchanted and happy with my choices since the list below seems to go on forever! But, please be patient and take a look at these wonderful books!

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An overall thrilling and compelling read, this is another book in the style of Gone Girl that will have the reader hooked until the very end with an ending to shock. The starting may seem strange, the finish line stranger and in the middle, the reader is sure to get lost on the never ending journey of life much like that of the train.

Life takes unexpected turns, introduces new people to us, and in the end everyone has a role in shaping who you are. The author gives enough importance to all the relationships in this story and the feelings of the people involved. A well-written story with a moving plot, there is no doubt that the reader will fall in love with everything about this book.

The story is filled with heart-break but brings out the importance of family and the lengths to which people will go to rescue the ones they love. It also shows us the ways a persons ideas can affect and influence their decisions. I recommend this book mainly for the plot line and idea that the author is trying to portray and make us aware of.

The story brings out many issues, including the role of a woman in a marriage and the man as the sole earning member of the family, contrasting the various points of views through character perceptions. Through Massimo, we see a competitive streak, the Alpha male, someone who needs to always be above everyone else. He is driven and expects his son to be macho and athletic while the child is more oriented towards the arts. Nico on the other hand is more artistic and understands a child’s need to have fun and be themselves. As the story unfolds, these differences come into prominence, further defining their relationship with their respective wives and children.

The simple tones and calm manner in which things are dealt with make this story all that more pleasing. This was a wonderful read and I fell in love with every aspect of this story. The title, used extensively as demanded by the plot, will help the reader see that there is no need to end a relationship of any kind, there are times when it can just be postponed, with some understanding, care and love.

This story is filled with adventure and some interesting points of view that the author expresses but doesn’t preach about. It is thought provoking and the story is an enjoyable read!

The author will force the reader to think and experience each of the feelings through the stories and inspire them to think. There is so much food for thought and introspection. As a result of reading this anthology, the reader will come away affected, but much more human, stemming from a realization of sorts. It is difficult to describe this as it will differ from person to person, but it is clear that the reader will experience a vast number of emotions in this collection of stories. Read this for a rare and interesting experience.

With each characters account becoming more outrageous than the other, the entire story is one fun-filled ride that will have the reader in splits. A must-read for everyone, there can be no age limit to enjoying Marko’s stories!

The author’s writing is bold and to the point and she doesn’t hold back on her descriptions. There is no stone left unturned in the journey of the sisters and Emma finally learns that you move on – “When smiles fade”! The title is apt and the reader understands this eventually. The story has a lot of smaller plot lines, with each encounter giving us a different glimpse into the characters who support this story and take it forward. The characters are well developed and clearly defined, giving the reader a clear idea of their personalities and at the same time helping us understand how they fit in.

The Boy from Pataliputra is a well-written story with some wonderful messages of learning. The story flows well and is simply written. It’s a refreshing and enjoyable read, not only for history buffs, but for those who would love to know more about a time in India’s history that isn’t generally touched upon in books!

Beautifully written and crafted, there is a lot for the readers to learn out of this book and is something that will stay with you long after reading it. The book is gripping and though slow at times, the pace is understandable. A refreshing new novel from Catherine Ryan Hyde, this will only seek to inspire the readers to pick up more of her books!

Hold on to your seats and emotions as you are in for an interesting and thought provoking time with this book! It is worth the read, touching upon some rather pertinent topics related to family, relationships and a persons psyche as a result of tragedy as the truth comes out.

This prequel has a lot of subplots and twists, bringing out the darkness of the times and the conspiracies and corruption behind the doors of the kingdom. Everyone has an agenda and something to hide. The characters are all portrayed in shades of grey, making us believe that they aren’t as bad as they actually are. Though the story is well written, there are many times when many of the characters introduced do not inspire empathy, in-spite of the dire circumstances. There is so much that seems to be cluttered together into this first part. It feels more like a rant on the system than a portrayal of emotions that arise due to the circumstances, with the nobles and the slaves, and then those who take advantage of and abuse their power!

Pushing these flaws to the side, the story has immense potential and brings out a feeling of nostalgia and a slight sense of satisfaction of knowing who these characters are. Of course, this is just the beginning, there is more to come!

A well-written novel, the author brings out the truth behind every person’s life, the hardships they face and the ease with which they can handle it when surrounded with people who love and support them. The simplicity of the plot and the depth of the characters make this a brilliant read.

A well-written novel, this book proves to be fun to read and is more mature in the nature of the plot as compared to the previous story. There the focus was on introducing the characters and making us familiar with them and the world. Now, it is more focused on the emotional depth of the characters and the plot. The story moves quickly and it is nice to read about a developing relationship between Bernie and Susie, which most of you would have seen coming. An entertaining concept, the author brings out a different perspective on life and creation.

This story is filled with people whom we can easily relate to, their troubles become our troubles and their pain is ours too. Such is the beauty of the author’s story telling. This book is worth a read for all the lessons it brings out and the life experiences along with the bonds between people. Even though people change in life, their journey shapes them, some bonds are forever and family is always there by your side no matter how bad it gets! That’s a message every reader will take away from this book!

The story moves across time as it unravels, going back and forth to give us a complete picture. The characters are well developed and deep, with the supporting characters playing major roles and contributing to this beautiful tale.

An inspiration, this story brings out the strength of women and how the love and support of those around them, helps them achieve wonders!

The book on the whole is wonderful and as usual written in Suanne’s unique style of being to the point, and being an emotional roller-coaster. You will love them, hate them, cry with them, but you will not be able to put down the book until you know what happens in the end!

The choices a person makes at different stages in life shapes their life and this is seen clearly through the decisions of the people in the book. This story will stay with you until the end and after, leaving behind a deeper impact and food for thought.

In reality, unless you have had to deal with such a situation by yourself, it is not easy to relate to the shock, pain and horror of someone having cancer. The author has brought out the feelings and emotions very well, making sure that the reader is able to understand them. We are taken on an emotional roller-coaster afterwards, as we follow Kate and her family as they deal with the cancer. The way it affects everyone and how Jessica deals with it form the crux of the later half of the story. There is a lot to learn from Jessica, who though a child, has an “old soul” and wisdom that goes beyond her years.

The final question that this book prompts is this: Would you love someone enough to let them go? and, if you do, can you live with the truth? These questions are food for thought and this well-written story is a gripping read to the end.

How do you recover from the pain and shock of the burns to living a normal life again? How does someone accept that they no longer look the way they used to, they are different in many ways? All this is covered and shared in great detail. The strength and support of the family and the people around them is wonderful and this story of hope and healing tells us that we are not alone, as long as we do not hesitate to ask for help. There is always someone out there who has gone through what you are going through and there are support groups and help if we seek it out.

This is a story of growth and healing of not only of Kilee but also of her family and her mother who stood by her and supported her. They treated her as a normal person, in spite of her burns and the difficulties she faced initially. She had to re-learn to do all the everyday things by herself and I think Lori deserves a huge amount of credit for her unwavering faith and support. The idea to help people deal with the trauma of burns and healing makes Kilee’s story worth a read!

The reader will marvel at the subtle hints the author drops about the issues raised and how the simplest gesture can hold more meaning than a big grand one. A story of trust, acceptance and learning, ‘The Wake Up’ will leave the reader with a lot to think about and maybe the concept of being sensitive to other people’s feelings if not other beings.

 

Please do share your thoughts and book recommendations for this year are definitely welcome.

Moving on from that, I look forward to 2018 being a much better year for books. I hope that you all continue to support me and give me the same love that you have shown this year.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and trust.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

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Guest Post by author Andrew Joyce

This is a guest post by author Andrew Joyce to promote his upcoming book – Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups! Read on to know about him and the book! It is indeed a pleasure to host Andrew on the blog once again!

About the Author:

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story.

Here’s what Andrew has to say…

Hello, my name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Well, I mean … I write books in between marketing my books, which is what I’m doing here today. I’m down on bended knee, asking you to check out my new offering. If nothing else, it’s a good buy—700 pages of genius prose. And if you buy the print copy, it will make a dandy door-stop once you’ve finished reading it. My stuff ain’t half bad. I’ve won a few awards for my writing and obtained best-seller status on Amazon a couple of times … blah … blah … blah.

Anyway, the blurb is below, and somewhere on this page I’m sure there’s a link to Amazon so you can read the first few stories and see if my writing might be your cup of tea, so to speak.

Thank you for your time.

About the Book:

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

His book Yellow Hair was awarded Book of the Year by Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 by Colleen’s Book Reviews.

A glimpse into SWEEK, a mobile platform whose motto is that stories never end!

Nowadays, people are moving more towards ebooks instead of investing in a physical copy of books. This is proving to be quite useful in many ways, making it easier to carry books around. With Sweek, reading books on mobile devices is made easier and more user friendly. An interesting concept, read on to know more about the app and how it came to be.

About Sweek:

Sweek is a mobile platform which allows anyone to read, write and share stories. All over the world. In an instant. For free.

It allows the user to read from a number of options, write or publish their own work and reach a large reader base, as well as share their favourite stories with friends via the various social media platforms.

Sweek’s mission statement:

‘Sweek stimulates community based writing and reading on a global scale by enabling everybody to easily publish, read and share stories with the world at no cost. By providing mobile and online reading, Sweek contributes to a more sustainable future.’

History of Sweek:

Sweek was incubated by Mybestseller, the European market leader in self-publishing. The founders of Mybestseller saw an opportunity in the rising trend of mobile publishing. Key were changing reading habits, serialization of content and short stories. After some research and deliberation, the Sweek concept was born!

In September 2015, Sweek was formally established. Since then the team grew considerably  and now consists of 14 members.

Now, since June 2016, Sweek has been available to the public on both Android and iOS platforms!

Publishing perspectives:

By introducing Sweek, Mybestseller offers publishers a comprehensive proposition and innovative tools for self-publishing and mobile publishing that can be easily integrated in their strategy in the fast changing publishing world. The focus is on creating synergies between traditional, mobile and self-publishing.

Benefits for publishers

Next to directly increasing sales via the marketing tool, publishers can benefit in other ways from using Sweek. Big data is very important to publishers, as it gives insight in reading behavior and trends, and in the reader demographics of their writers. Publishers can also use Sweek to scout upcoming writers with a large online follower base, who have already proven themselves: the new rockstars of writing will arise from mobile publishing.

Sweek self-publishing

Next to the Sweek mobile publishing platform, users are offered the opportunity to publish their paperbacks or e­-books via Sweek self­-publishing. For free. The state-of-the-art publishing platform enables any author to easily publish, promote and sell books. All relevant sales channels and a variety of additional services are available to the user. The best thing is, there are no costs upfront and authors receive a royalty per sold copy. Even though stories are available for free on Sweek, the team is convinced that fans would love to have an e-book or a printed copy.

Connect with Sweek:

If you want to read more about the Sweek story and the team, just check out the Sweek blog.

Further you can connect on social media at:

facebook

twitter

instagram

pinterest

In Conversation with Dane Cobain

Here at redpillows, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with author and poet, Dane Cobain.

Dane Cobain

His work is quite diverse and spans fiction, non-fiction and poetry. His first work No Rest for the Wicked was released in the summer of 2015.

Read on to know what Dane would like to share!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Dane! I’m a British writer who works across all sorts of genres, from horror and literary fiction to non-fiction and poetry. You can check out my work over here: www.danecobain.com/amazon

  1. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I suppose it all started when I was six or seven years old, singing parodies of popular songs with my own lyrics. When I was a teenager, I started to take it a lot more seriously, and the rest if history (and sweat, a lot of that too).

  1. You write such diverse things, novels and poetry, how do you manage that?

Honestly, I just don’t stop. I constantly work on finding ways to optimise my time and to cram as much productivity in as possible. I write a poem a day during the week, and I work on them while on cigarette breaks. Because my poems aren’t too long, I usually also get to spend a little time outlining stories, novels, marketing plans and other things that are stuck in my head. I write longer form things at the computer, while switching between other activities in a ridiculously specific routine I call ‘The Schedule’.

  1. Where do you find inspiration for your poetry?

Life, mainly. But my poetry is unique in that I only include maybe 5% of the poems that I write in the published collections. Sometimes, there isn’t much inspiration, but I still write poems – I just don’t share them.

  1. What are your favourite genres and your favourite books?

I like to read modern classics and ‘alternative’ books, as well as plenty of indie books and new releases thanks to my book blog (SocialBookshelves.com). Some of my favourite writers include Graham Greene, Charles Bukowski, Phillip Pullman, Terry Pratchett and, lately, Stephen King.

  1. Which kind of writing (genre) do you prefer?

They all have their pros and cons and, to be honest, when I’m writing, I don’t usually have a genre in mind. That comes when I get to the marketing stage. I don’t think I can answer this – sorry!

  1. Tell us a little about your research process while working on a novel.

It totally depends upon the novel, but I’m trying to carry out quite a lot for a current project. Unfortunately, the project itself is a bit of a secret, but it involves interviewing subject matter specialists from charities, reading books and documentaries and spending a hell of a lot of time looking at photos and videos that I’d much rather not look at.

  1. Who is your favourite character among those you have created and why?

Hmmm. It’s a tough one to call, but it’s probably Maile O’Hara from my upcoming series of detective novels. She’s basically me, if I was a woman and had specialised in computer stuff instead of writing.

  1. Describe a perfect writing day for you.

I wake up whenever I wake up and stay at home, working until I go to sleep while watching Netflix and chillin’ with my girlfriend. She’s only able to put up with me because she’ll quite happily play Skyrim while I’m working and we both have good taste in documentaries.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

Getting started during the planning stage. The more you plan, the more it all starts to come together, but the early days can be overwhelming. Once you’ve got a plan in place, it just becomes a case of endurance. You just need to stick with it.

  1. What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

There are no rules. It’s just you and a blank piece of paper. It’s liberating, but it’s also terrifying – especially if you’re like me and you hate rhyming poetry

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel/poetry?

You just need to be prepared for heartbreak, do your best and stick at it. And you’d better make sure that you work with a decent editor if you want your book to be at its best.

Connect with the author:

Goodreads, Twitter

Author Website

Inkitt’s Novel Writing Contest

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Read about a new Novel writing contest that is currently running on Inkitt. It is an exciting opportunity for aspiring writers to get their work noticed and even published.

Inkitt is a free platform where a writer can upload their work and reach a wider audience. It is extremely user friendly. Under the on-going competition, the Novels which gain the most popularity among Inkitt’s readers, win and stand a chance of getting published.

Why should Inkitt publish you?

They invest Minimum $6,000 in Your Book Marketing via a Proven Strategy (read about some of their book successes here) with a dedicated marketing team, professional editing & 25% in Royalties.

Note: Submit a work of fiction at least 20k words, without having any works on Inkitt before, language must be English in all genres.

Exception to kind of submission: no Fan-fiction, no short-story collection

Read about it further and sign up here. (Also clicking the banner will take you to the sign-up page)

Review: Latina Authors and their Muses

Promo blurb:

LatinaAuthors_med

An inspirational, entertaining, and informative book focusing on the craft of writing and the practical business of publishing, one that provides aspiring authors with the nuts and bolts of the business. A book that not only showcases prominent figures but emerging voices as well, writers working on a wide range of genres from the literary to the commercial.

In spite of their different backgrounds, education levels, and jobs, two factors more than any others bind these writers together: their passion and commitment to their craft and to sharing their stories with the world in spite of the odds.

Latina Authors and Their Muses is a celebration of creativity, the writer’s life, the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom.

From the Foreword by Leticia Gomez

Latina Authors and Their Muses is a celebration of creativity and the creative writing process, but it also offers savvy information about the industry itself, as well as agents and publishers. It also provides helpful hints and strategies regarding promotion and marketing, whether you are a fledgling Latina writer just getting started or a multi-published, seasoned author who has been around the publishing block once or twice.”

Purchase links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Latina-Authors-Their-Muses-Calvani-ebook/dp/B015T99EE4

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/latina-authors-and-their-muses-mayra-calvani/1122707628?ean=2940151127851

About the editor

Mayra Calvani

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The WriterWriter’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.

Connect with Mayra on the Web:

Website: www.MayraCalvani.com (newsletter signup: http://www.mayracalvani.com/signup-newsletter)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mcalvani

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Mayra-Calvani-162383023775888/

 

Book info:

Title: Latina Authors and Their Muses
Author: Mayra Calvani, Editor
Author web sitehttp://www.mayracalvani.com/
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
url: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/
Genre: Reference/Writing Skills
*Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-063-0
Format: 6×9 trade paperback; 340 pages; $19.95 USD
Distributors: Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Brodart, Follett, etc.
*eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-062-3; $6.50 USD
Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc.
Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; BN.com Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit; OverDrive, etc
Release date: September 25, 2015 ebook; December 15, 2015 print
LCCN: 2015952662
Chapter excerpt:
http://twilighttimesbooks.com/LatinaAuthors_ch1.html

My Thoughts:

This is a wonderful idea for a book and is a unique way of publicity and marketing. There are about 40 compilations and they follow a general common pattern, starting off with a photograph, followed by the author’s details, education, profession and then styles of writing. This is then followed by an interview. It was interesting to note that though the basis of each interview was the same, many questions were very specific and personal and seem to have been formed after careful and meticulous research. The entire compilation for each author is very informative and provides a good insight into what makes them tick. The authors also talk about the hardships they face while writing a book, after it is completed and then the process of publishing and marketing. One thing that is common is the emphasis on a good agent, who understands the author’s style of writing and knows the correct way to market the same.

This intriguing concept of bringing together author interviews as a book makes it for a great read. There are many books to pick out from here and I must admit I have already compiled a list of my own from this. There are a mix of authors who are already famous and well-established and then some who have started out and are sure to get there. We come to know of the struggles they face and the effort they put in to achieve their dreams. They also emphasize collectively on the need for someone or more than one person who continuously supports the person through their writing process.

This book will not only have an impact on readers, but also on other authors out there. It is a great effort and a lot of research and planning has gone into this book. I recommend this to all readers out there. I am sure that every one of you will find something to take away from it, however small the information.