My Favourite Reads of July 2019

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to my favourite reads for July 2019.

Not many books this month, mainly because I was busy with the Fictionally Yours, Melbourne booksigning event (check out my post on that here) but also because a couple of the books I read were big fat ones. And big fat ones take time!

Choosing a favourite was very hard – they were all excellent – but the gong goes to

The Wych Elm by Tana French

The Wych Elm by Tana FrenchHooly-dooly, what a read!

The Wych Elm was long – 500+ pages – and rather slow to begin with. There were more than a few moments when I wondered if it was going to be worth it, but it absolutely was. The story is still with me. I can’t seem to shake that climax. It shocked me completely.

The Wych Elm is a thriller/mystery that twists and turns and completely mesmerises. Which is interesting because there aren’t that many likeable characters, really. Even Toby, our narrator, is a bit of a twat. Likeable because he’s good-looking, charming and easy-going but otherwise pretty shallow. Life just seems to fall into place for him. Until it doesn’t.

A slow burn, but one I found worthwhile in the end.

Miss Prims Greek Island Fling by Michelle DouglasMiss Prim’s Greek Island Fling by Michelle Douglas

Oh, this was lovely! Hard to go past Greek island fling at the best of times but this was made extra special by the gorgeous characters.

Audra – the Miss Prim of the title – has suffered a terrible betrayal and retreated to her brother’s home on a Greek Island only to find her brother’s reckless best friend in situ. Much fun ensues as these two lovelies do their best to not act on their sizzling attraction.

Friends-to-lovers awesomeness. Read it.

Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildRelic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I’ve wanted to read one of these Lincoln and Child novels for aaaages. They sound smack in my happy reading zone. Then Relic, book one in the Special Agent Pendergast series, came on sale and I snapped it straight up.

What a blast! This galloped along, with loads of thrills, some cool science, adventuring, good guys and bad guys, and a monster running riot in a revered institution. Great fun, great characters and as for Special Agent Pendergast, he was wonderful. Nice twist at the end too. I’m going to have to read more.

The Chain by Adrian McKintyThe Chain by Adrian McKinty

A veeeery close contender for favourite read of the month.

The Chain is generating lots of buzz in the book world at the moment and with good reason – it’s a cracker of a read. What a premise! And the opening… woah. It’s going to be an awesome movie when they make it.

I love books that make me anxious, even though they’re only fiction. It takes a skilled writer to create a physical reaction in a reader and McKinty managed that aplenty with me. I really liked the characters too, they were tough cookies and admirable despite their flaws.

A thrill ride that might make you rethink your social media activities.

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What wonderful books have you read lately?

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11 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads of July 2019

  1. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Cathryn, what a fabulous column, as ever! By the way, I somehow seem to have missed last month’s – I just put Wakenhyrst on order from the library. Sounds right up my dark, creepy alley! I’ve heard of the Chain – not sure I can handle that level of suspense! I’ve read Relic. Must say it wasn’t 100% my thing although I can see why people love it. Too much action and not enough character development for my tastes. Although speaking of action, I’ve recently discovered Nicci French and I’ve read the first two books in her Frieda Klein series, Blue Monday and Tuesday’s Gone. Will definitely be reading more – lots of great characters in those books! My fave read of the last 6 weeks or so is Echo North which is a Cupid and Psyche retelling by Joanna Ruth Meyer. Thought it was just brilliant – and a really nice romance front and centre, too. Also loved the Scholar by Dervla Tiernan, even more than her very well received debut, The Ruin. In nonfiction, really liked The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St. Clair and The Incurable Romantic and Other Tales of Madness and Desire by Frank Tallis (who writes the wonderful Leibermann Papers historical mysteries that I’ve recommended here before). He’s a psychiatrist in real life so these are stories from his practice, a bit like Oliver Sachs. Because I spent my life writing about love in all its many forms, I found this absolutely fascinating!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing, Anna! That’s really interesting about The Scholar. I liked The Ruin but didn’t love-love it and wasn’t planning to read her second. Looks like I’ll have to change that now.
      Love the sound of the Frank Tallis non-fic. Maybe good for ideas/inspiration?
      On to Nicci French… I used to be a huge fan but for some reason that dropped off. I haven’t read the Frieda Klein series at all, but their book Killing Me Softly was a cracker and one that I still remember.
      Looking forward to hearing what you think of Wakenhyrst!

  2. AvatarDB Tait

    I love Tana French! Have you read her others Cathryn? I haven’t read a bad one. Really looking forward to The Chain. I’m reading AM Stuart’s Singapore Sapphire at the moment and really enjoying it.

    And Anna, I have had a recent obsession with the Nicci French Frieda Klein series. I’ve read them all now but I think I’ll have to buy them all in print and re-read them, although the woman who read them (Beth Chalmers) on the audio books did a masterful (mistressful?) job.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I have Singapore Sapphire on my to-read list, DB. I just love the sound of it and Alison is an excellent writer.
      I’ve only read the Nicci French stand-alones, but it looks like I’m going to have to resurrect my fandom with the Frieda Klein books.
      Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    I had an excellent reading month but that could be due to 7 of the 12 books I read were short stories, kids stories and audiobooks.

    A Summer Lease by Liz Fielding
    Between the Lines/My Story Uncut by Jason Donovan (memoir) – fantastic and so very interesting.
    The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark
    The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – this was a bit icky, disturbing and depressing.
    A Pocket of Pebbles by Catherine Evans – really cool short stories.
    Love, Unrequited by Kathryn White – short but really good, love anything Kathryn writes.
    Sweet Juliet by Madeleine West
    Ogre in a Toga by Geoffrey McSkimming (Audio)
    Clock Dance by Anne Tyler (Audio)
    The House on the Hill by Susan Duncan (Audio)
    The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville (Audio) – very informative and incredibly interesting.

    Michelle’s books are on my TBR list, love her books. The Tana French books sounds right up my alley, must check it out soon.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      You always read such a wide range of books, Sue. They all sound fascinating.
      I remember Of Mice and Men (and others by Steinbeck) from school. It was a compelling read, that’s for sure, but I don’t recall enjoying it or any of the others, and I loathed Grapes of Wrath. So depressing!
      Thanks so much for dropping by to share your reads. I hope you get to read Michelle’s Miss Prim soon. It was adorable.

        1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

          I do too, Anna, the title had me intrigued I just had to have a listen, it’s a book of rhymes for young readers. They’re a bit wacky and perverse but very funny. Oh Anna, I’m so glad you enjoy the Nicci French Frieda Klein series as I have most of them on my unread shelf, can’t wait to start them!

          Cathryn, it was my first book by John Steinbeck and probably my last, definitely not a fan.
          I’ve read a couple of Michelle’s books and they are so lovely I’m looking forward to reading them all. I think I might go and buy me Miss Prim for my Kindle right now.

          1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

            You’ll love Miss Prim, Sue! And can I also recommend Michelle’s Rita finalist book The Million Pound Marriage Deal and personal favourite A Baby in his In Tray? Those two are gorgeous stories.

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