Monday 11 December 2017

My Costa Book Awards 2017 TBR*

Costa Book Awards First Novel Shortlist
This post is a paid collaboration with Costa. All words, images and opinions are entirely my own.

Sheltering from the snow with a hot drink and a good book, is there a better way to spend these winter months? Probably not. Which is why it's the time of year to shout out some excellent books that are perfect for cosy winter evenings. So therefore...*drumroll*...I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that this year I'm working with Costa and the Costa Book Awards to discuss some truly awesome books with you all!

In case you have no idea what I'm on about, the Costa Book Awards have been going since 1971 (!) and are one of the UK's most prestigious book prizes, second only to the Man Booker. They aim to recognise outstanding and enjoyable books that the general public actually *want* to read, rather than feel like they should. These books are all from authors living in the UK and Ireland and recognise the most enjoyable books across five categories - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Books - so there's something for everyone in there.

This year, I'm going to be reading and reviewing the four books in the First Novel category before the category winners are announced on January 2nd. The First Novel category celebrates authors who have published their first novel, now that seems rather obvious, but it might be that they've written other things (non-fiction, poetry, essays etc.) before and this is their first novel! So this is a really exciting category for me to be reading as I absolutely love discovering brand spanking new novels from authors I've never read before!

So that's enough waffling from me, let's have a look at the First Novel shortlist, or in other words, my Costa Book Awards TBR...

Costa Book Awards 2017

The Haunting of Henry Twist by Rebecca F. John
London, 1926. Henry and Ruby Twist are newly married with a baby on the way. But when Ruby is killed in a tragic accident, Henry, consumed by grief, is left to look after his baby daughter alone in a world without single fathers. Soon after Ruby's death, a mysterious man appears in Henry's life. He claims he has no memories except for his name, Jack Turner, and the fact that he wants to befriend Henry Twist. Henry is both terrified of and irresistibly drawn to Jack - why does this man seem so familiar, so magnetic? Why has he come to Henry under such strange circumstances? And could he be offering Henry a life to replace the one he lost when Ruby died?  

This is the first book I've picked up and so far, it's absolutely fantastic. I love reading historical fiction, especially literary historical fiction, and this one seems dark and twisty and I can't wait to find out what happens. I've read very few novels set in 1920s London so I've no doubt it's going to be full of mystery, Bright Young Things and fascinating insights into post-war life.

The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks
Summer 1923. Every Sunday, young orphan Lucy Marsh climbs into the back of an old army truck to go and see 'the funny men’ in the woods. Named after characters from The Wizard of Oz – the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, Toto and the Lion – these men are, in fact, horribly damaged war heroes. But when these mysterious encounters in the woods come to an abrupt end, Lucy leaves her grandparents' house behind for a new adventure. If Lucy can survive the hazardous path ahead of her, she might just survive into a bright new tomorrow.

The synopsis sounds quite strange, in the most brilliant way. I think this is going to be another, quite different, look into the effects of World War One on the people of Britain and the void that was left behind when a huge chunk of the population didn't return home.

Costa Book Awards 2017

Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary
Sonny is a young man growing up in Ireland, living a lonely life of dreams and quiet violence. When he's working on the garden of a house on Montpelier Parade with his father one Saturday, he meets the owner of the house: Vera. There's a spark between Sonny and this sophisticated older woman. But what is it that Vera isn’t telling him?

Montpelier Parade sounds wistful and exhilarating - I love reading about small town lives and the things that can so dramatically disrupt them. I think I'm going to race through this one.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Her life is simple, she is happy and absolutely nothing is missing from her carefully scheduled days. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself.

This is the only book of the shortlist which I'd already heard about as there was quite a bit of buzz around it on booktube this summer, so I'm really excited to be finally reading it. The narrator sounds fascinating and it seems like there's going to be lots of twists and turns along the way. I have a feeling that it's going to be one of those that I can't put down and read all in one go over a glorious, cosy weekend - let's see shall we?


So those are the books that I'm going to be devouring this month! There will be another post up nearer the end of the month where I'll share my thoughts on all of these books along with my prediction for which one is going to be the category winner! There will also be an exciting giveaway in that stay tuned for that!

Which one of these books are you most excited to read? If you've already read them, which one is your personal winner? Let me know in the comments!


*This post is part of a series of posts that are sponsored by Costa. All words and images are entirely my own and 100% honest.

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