30 December 2017

Book of the Year Revealed


chosen by #DDRevs Founder, Helen Hollick
If choosing a Book of the Month was hard 
- this was even harder!
('Why did I decide to do it?' I asked myself!)
As I do not review many of the books submitted to Discovering Diamonds, I thought it would be an idea to set aside a shortlist of books that I personally wanted to read, and to pick a monthly choice of the one I enjoyed the most. From there, decide on one winner for Book of the Year. 

I must stress that these choices are entirely personal to me - there is no reflection on quality or content of those books I did not select.

For my own enjoyment I want a book to be, above all else, entertaining. I write - novels, articles, newsletters blah blah - for a living. I am  often at my keyboard all day every day. When I read, in bed at night, I look forward to meeting new (and old!) friends and becoming engrossed in their world which is sandwiched between the covers of a book, (or in my case, on my Kindle screen.) When reading for pleasure I do not read to critique, make notes of typo errors, spelling or grammar mistakes, pick out anachronisms or point of view changes - if a novel is well written I often do not even notice the occasional blooper. What I want is a good story with believable characters enacting believable situations, even if these are fantasy or alternative, science fiction or set in the distant past. 

Yes, quality of writing, and production of the book, are important - too many errors spoil the reading pleasure, as do typos if they occur too frequently. Anachronisms can jar, as can blatant historical inaccuracies - but the occasional blooper can be overlooked if the story is absorbing enough to effectively overshadow these. The better written the story, (which also means the better edited!)  the better it will read. 

The books I've read from my selected shortlist, therefore, are the ones that have been entertaining. My choices for Book of the Month were the novels that I enjoyed for the story/adventure, for that 'what happens next' need to turn the page and find out. 

My final choice for Book of the Year was a difficult decision - I love Alison Morton, Anna Belfrage, Lucienne Boyce, Antoine Vallar, Annie Whitehead... but how to decide on one of these above the others?

One of my Book of the Month selections, outside of these 'top' writers on my personal list, however, has stayed with me because the three main characters have, through the absorbing series, become good, fictional, friends. I find them believable, plausible and very likeable. The plots are well constructed and I felt that I'd learned something after reading each one of the series, in addition to be entertained and enthralled. 

So, my choice for Book of the Year is....





13 comments:

  1. Looking through the list of contenders, I didn't envy you one bit trying to pick a winner. But you have and its a great one because, when I read it, I felt the same affinity for the characters. A great book and congratulations to Susan, the first recipient of the award ...

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    1. I enjoyed all of the novels, but Sam and Martha Plank have very much endeared themselves to me - and I can't wait to meet them again!

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  2. A tricky choice to make but a worthy winner (as would lots of the others have been!) I've been lucky enough to have "discovered" Sam and Martha Plank when the first book in this series was launched, and I've been hooked on them ever since! Well done to Susan Grossey and to those shortlisted too - and a happy new writing year to you all!

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  3. Congratulations to Susan Grossey for taking this amazing accolade and a HUGE congratulations to you Helen for this wonderful site. Happy New Year to you all.

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  4. I haven't read your choice, but i have read most f the ones you mentioned above. So i trust your decision. Will be putting this at the end of my list.

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  5. Sounds like an excellent recommendation! Congratulations to Susan Grossey!

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  6. (This is me, Susan - heaven only knows what I am signed in as!) I am still reeling! Move over, Barry Gibb and other winners of lesser honours recently announced: this is the biggie! I am so thrilled, I cannot tell you: I am currently working on "Plank 5", and this is just the fillip I need to get through those "mid-book blues", when you question why you ever thought you could write a whole book. Sam is of course preening quietly, and Martha is campaigning for a new hat to mark the occasion. Thank you, Helen, and to everyone who has encouraged and supported me through the first four books - you are an amazing community and I am so lucky to have found you.

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  7. Many congrats to Susan. On my TBR list. In fact, I'm off to Amazon now to download it. (And thank you for the mention, Helen.)

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  8. Congratulations to Susan! Inspector Plank is a great character. And I'm chuffed to be on the "hon mention" list!

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  9. Congratulations to Susan Grossey for this splendid achievement - I've got her winner on my TBR list.

    And congratulations - and thanks - to Helen, for her herculean work in establishing Discovering Diamonds and for maintaining momentum. It was an honour to make her shortlist as much as it is a delight to know her.

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    1. Thank you, Antoine - I very much hope you enjoy meeting Sam, Martha and the rest of the Plank crew. And yes, Helen deserves all our thanks - she is a marvel. I don't know how she manages to do all that she does.

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  10. Congratulations Susan, a fab achievement. And massive thanks to Helen for giving indie authors this wonderful platform. You work so hard, and we all appreciate it.

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    1. Thank you, Loretta - I am still floating on air! I was asked (well, I asked!) to talk about the award on our local radio station, and they have just put up the podcast. I've tried to promote Helen and the DD website as much as I can: https://cambridge105.co.uk/leigh-chambers-04-01-2018/

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