My Favourite Reads of April 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to My Favourite Reads for April 2019. Coming a tad late to you this month. Sorry! My excuse is that I’m desperately trying to finish edits for Eddie and the Show Queen and that’s meant blogging must play second fiddle.

I’m fence-sitting and bowing out from choosing a favourite this month. With such a diverse range of stories it’s hard to single one out and even harder when I enjoyed them all.

So here they are…

Blackstone and the Rendezvous with Death, Blackstone and the Great Game, Blackstone and the House of Secrets by Sally Spencer

Blackstone and the Rendezvous with Death by Sally SpencerOoh, I like this series, as you can probably tell from my 3-book mini-binge. I’m a sucker for Victorian-era set books, especially crime and mystery, and the Blackstone stories are a pleasure to read and well done. Late-Victorian and a bit different from the gaslight gloominess of earlier period stories, they still contain plenty of atmosphere and quite a large dollop of social commentary.

Blackstone is an intriguing character. A war veteran who’s been clearly changed by his experiences, Blackstone can be borderline disrespectful to his ‘superiors’ but is tolerated because he’s so good at his job.

Interesting mysteries set in even more interesting times. I’ll be reading more.

PS. If you want to give the series a try, Book 1, Blackstone and the Rendezvous with Death, is currently only 99c on Amazon.

The Undying by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The Undying by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerThe Undying is the concluding story of the Unearthed Duology. I really enjoyed the first book, Unearthed (which I talk about here), and have been hanging out for this one. It didn’t let me down.

Lots of action, a lovely splash of romance, and plenty of tension as Mia and Jules try to save the world from alien invasion. Honestly, after reading the Starbound Trilogy (find my thoughts on that here) and this duology, I think I’d read anything by Kaufman and Spooner.

The Year of Eating Dangerously by James Scott Bell

The Year of Eating Dangerously by James Scott BellBook two of the Mallory Caine series, this is total gross-me-out zombie fun with a cleverly bonkers plot and great characters. Mallory is a brilliant heroine. She’s a lawyer who’s also a human brain-craving zombie, which you’d think would make her completely unlikeable but she’s a hoot – courageous and possessing a fantastically  snarky voice.

The first book, Pay Me In Flesh (I chat about that here), was witty and smart and The Year of Eating Dangerously proved no different. Loads of action and rising stakes. I’ve already bought the final book, I Ate The Sheriff, and will be hopping in veeery soon.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensWhere the Crawdads Sing went on my radar after a book blogger whose reviews I respect raved about it and awarded it a rare 10/10 score. On reading the blurb it sounded like something I’d enjoy. And enjoy I did.

It’s no wonder this book has so much buzz; it’s beautifully written and atmospheric. You can really feel the harsh beauty of the marsh, the terrible disadvantage of Kya’s life, and the appalling discrimination of the times. I did find the beginning a bit slow but that didn’t mean I wanted to put the book down. The story, characters and setting were too intriguing for that.

Think coming of age story crossed with a murder mystery.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Once Upon a River by Diane SetterfieldI adored Setterfield’s debut, The Thirteenth Tale, when it came out, which was over ten years ago now. It was a gorgeously written gothic story about an abandoned house, a pair of mysterious sisters and storytelling. The latter also features strongly in Once Upon a River. As a writer, this subject always makes my ears prick.

One winter’s night, a young girl is carried into the Swan Inn (a ‘storytelling’ inn), her saviour almost immediately collapsing from his efforts and injuries. The girl is dead… then she isn’t. Who is the girl? How can she be dead then alive?

Sometimes uplifting, sometimes creepy (I am not good with water and water is a dominant theme in this), sometimes sad, Once Upon a River was a lovely read.

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14 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads of April 2019

  1. AvatarMarilyn Forsyth

    Where the Crawdads Sing is getting rave reviews everywhere. Another one to add to my endless pile. 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I know what you mean about endless piles, Marilyn. I feel like I add two books for every one I read! I’m a bit conflicted about Crawdads, to be honest. No question it was stunningly written and I admired that hugely, but I did find it slow going at the start. I couldn’t bring myself to set it aside though. It was just too compelling. Or, I should say, Kya was too compelling. She was a fantastic character. So strong!

  2. AvatarDebbie

    I read a few great books, Elsa’s Stand, Home At Last by Meredith Applegate. Then went to Non fiction and read Walking Free and Going Back by Munjed Al Murdis.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh, you are kind, Debbie. Thanks so much for the Elsa love.
      Sounds like you had a mixed bunch of reads too. It’s good to mix things up, isn’t it? Keeps us fresh and also learning.
      Thanks for sharing your reads!

  3. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Hi Cathryn! Always love seeing where your reading adventures have taken you during the month so thanks for putting this up. Very rarely, I’ve read NONE of these apart from one of the Blackstone books which I have to say wasn’t quite my cup of tea for various reasons although I can see why people like them. I haven’t read Diane Setterfield but she sounds right up my alley so I’ve put that one on my list. I checked on Goodreads to see what I read in April and realised I’d had a good reading month. A couple of standouts were Ruining Miss Wrotham by Emily Larkin (she’s such a fabulous voice in historical romance), Death and the Maiden by Frank Tallis (fabulous series set in Vienna in 1905), Spilling the Beans by Clarissa Dickson Wright, the autobiography of one of the Two Fat Ladies TV cooks. That’s just so Regency – life in the upper classes clearly hasn’t changed much! I also really enjoy a set of erotic short stories called Tales of Freya by Sarah Dahl set during the Viking era. Something a little different and really compelling! See you next month.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I highly recommend The Thirteenth Tale, Anna. I hope you get a chance to read it because I’d love to hear what you think.
      I MUST read an Emily Larkin! You’ve recommended her so many times and I do love a good historical romance. Oooh! I just checked my Kindle and have Unmasking Miss Appleby. No excuses now not to read.
      The Clarissa Dickson Wright bio sounds a hoot and that Frank Tallis series sounds good too.
      Thanks for sharing. Some cool reads there!

  4. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    I had another good month of great reads, loved them all except perhaps the spine-chilling one but on the other hand it was interesting. Here are my reads:

    Beauty in Thorns by Kate Forsyth – absolutely breathtaking, my first read of hers and definitely not my last.
    City of Evil by Sean Fewster – ghastly non-fiction short stories about psychopaths and crazies rather spine-chilling it was.
    A Savage Garden by Chris Muir – this was action-packed from beginning to end and a little scary as the story is set in Africa and man that country scares the cr*p out of me.
    Home Before Sundown by Barbara Hannay – always love stories set in Far North QLD and this one was gorgeous.
    Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard – A heartwarming story about a gorgeous stray dog and a kind and caring man that went to incredible lengths to save Gobi.
    Fifty Bales of Hay by Rachael Treasure – I’m not into erotic reads but these short stories were hilarious.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      You sure did have a good reading month, Sue. And eclectic too!
      The City of Evil book sounds fascinating. Being South Australian, we used to joke about Adelaide being home of the serial killer/weird murderer. There seemed to be so many when I was growing up! Truro, the Family, and later Snowtown. City of Evil looks like it has even more weirdness.
      I like the sound of A Savage Garden. I’ll have to keep my eye out for that one.
      Thanks so much for sharing. Always fascinating!

      1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

        That’s right, I forgot you’re from South Australia, did you bolt your doors with many locks? I would have, lol. It’s hard to believe that some of the most heinous crimes have been committed in Adelaide/South Australia, such a pretty state and a city of churches no less!

        1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

          No barring of doors in my part of SA! I’m from Mt Gambier, 400km south-east of Adelaide. No serial killer weirdos down there – at least, none I’m aware of. It seemed like they preferred Adelaide and the north.

          1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

            LOL. And here’s me thinking it was all of South Australia not just Adelaide. All I can say is thank goodness as we were going to wipe that state off our bucket list bahahahaha. Nah, we’re looking forward to visiting Mt Gambier one day!

            1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

              I hope you make it , Sue. But try and go in the summer when the Blue Lake is putting on its spectacle. That has to be seen to be believed.

              1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

                Ooh, sounds good, and yes, definitely in the summer, I’m not a winter person at all and winter down that way would be too freezing for me. We’ve had to cancel our two month caravaning holiday as I have had stomach issues for the last three months, extremely nauseous every time I eat certain foods, have had many tests done to rule things out so now my naturopath is helping me and next week I’ll be on an elimination diet and a three month Bi- Phasic diet. I’m positive by the end of three months I’ll be healthy again and can start traveling with Steven in September!

                1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

                  Oh no! That’s so disappointing about your holiday. Wishing you all the best and a speedy recovery, Sue. It’s time for some adventures!

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