My Favourite Reads of November 2019

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Welcome to another scintillating edition of My Favourite Reads.

I had a record reading month in November, with TEN books to tell you about (long airport stopovers are excellent for ploughing through your to-be-read pile).

There were some beauties too and it was hard to choose a favourite, but I’m going to give that title the first book I finished and that was

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine ArdenThe entire Winternight trilogy was brilliant (I talk about book one, The Bear and the Nightingale, here) but The Winter of the Witch? Woah! That took the biscuit, with one scene leaving me so heartbroken I bawled, while the ending providing lots of smiles and sniffles.

This had everything – drama, magic, romance, battles and stunning world-building. I adored the way Russian folklore was brought to life. Our heroine Vasya is so cool. She’s brave and smart and fallible and I loved her, and it was such fun to cheer her on. Morozko was sigh-worthy too, and don’t get me started on Solovey and the Firebird. I even thought the Bear was fun.

Historical fantasy at its finest. LOVED.

When It All Went to Custard by Danielle HawkinsWhen It All Went to Custard by Danielle Hawkins

Since her first book Dinner at Rose’s, Hawkins has been an auto-buy author for me. I’ve loved every one of her books – think New Zealand-set rural romance – and When It All Went to Custard is no exception.

This was different in that the story centres around a marriage breakdown, which sounds a bit ick but Hawkins treats even horrible situations with gentle humour.

When It All Went to Custard has laugh-out-loud moments and teary moments and was simply lovely. Highly recommended.

The Institute by Stephen KingThe Institute by Stephen King

I was very unsure about this when I started reading it. The first quarter of The Institute wasn’t terribly compelling and it had me wondering whether I’d even go on. Except… a did-not-finish Stephen King? Unimaginable!

Which is why I persevered and I’m glad I did because I enjoyed this a lot in the end. I guess you’d call The Institute a thriller more than a horror, although it did have some nice squirmy moments. I think for me it was mostly it was a story about courage.

Sword and Pen by Rachel CaineSword and Pen by Rachel Caine

Sword and Pen is the final book in the Great Library series and a cracking tale, wonderfully told. But that’s hardly a surprise. All the Great Library instalments have been excellent.

Honestly, this series has been so cool. A story where the Great Library of Alexandria not only survives but is powerful? A story about saving books, with a gorgeous and brave hero and a team of talented and selfless characters all fighting for a just cause? With subtle romances for extra spice? Gimme, baby!

Wonderful finish. Wonderful series.

The Stranger Diaries by Elly GriffithsThe Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Author friends have been urging me to read Elly Griffiths for ages, so when The Stranger Diaries came on sale I snapped it up. I also grabbed The Stone Circle, book one in Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series while I was at it and look forward to reading that over summer.

The Stranger Diaries is a stand-alone crime novel and an enjoyable one. I adore Gothic reads, and this had plenty of atmosphere and intrigue.

Good stuff.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine AddisonThe Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Okay, so a goblin-elf fantasy novel would not normally be my thing, but after reading so many fab reviews for The Goblin Emperor it was hard to ignore. Then author buddy Anna Campbell read it and loved it, and I figured I’d better give it a go too.

This book was so charming!

I don’t know what else to say about it. Maia was the loveliest company and while it took a while to get used to the imperial plural language, even that became charming too.

Surprising and absolutely gorgeous.

Emily Chambers Spirit Medium series by CJ ArcherPossession by CJ Archer and Evermore by CJ Archer

I read the first book in the Emily Chambers Spirit Medium series (my thoughts on The Medium here) a few years ago and have been meaning to finish it but for some reason never got there. Probably because I became so distracted by Archer’s Ministry of Curiosities, Glass and Steel and After the Rift series (all of which are fab).

Possession and Evermore were terrific reads, with lots of plot twists and worry over whether Emily and Jacob would get their happy ever after, and some nice side characters too.

The Wrong Callahan by Karly LaneThe Wrong Callahan by Karly Lane

Karly is one of my favourite rural romance authors. Her books are always happy reads and so easy to relax with.

The Wrong Callahan starts off Karly’s The Callahan’s of Stringybark Creek series and I foresee lots of fun with future books. The Callahan in this case is Linc, a former soldier who now runs a security company and who has returned home to the family farm for Christmas and a wedding. He’s deliciously sexy and it’s no wonder Cash can’t help herself with him. Sounds fine but this is a romance, and nothing is meant to be easy for our hero and heroine, which means lots of emotional adventure for us.

Covers some serious territory with the PTSD issue. Great setting too.

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi MatthewsA Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

LOVED this! A Holiday by Gaslight is a sweet Christmas historical romance novella guaranteed to put you in a romantic festive mood.

Aristocratic Sophie is being courted by dour but rich merchant Edward Sharpe and it’s no fun at all. But with a profligate father sending the family broke, someone must take one for the team. Except Sophie can’t do it and she breaks off the relationship. That’s when the trouble really starts.

I adored this so much I immediately bought Matthews’ book The Work of Art.

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What did you enjoy reading in November?

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10 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads of November 2019

  1. AvatarAnnie West

    Cathryn, as usual you’ve got a great range of titles here and I’m off to see which ones I can snaffle. Thank you! I particularly like the sound of the sweet Christmas novella – just the thing to get me in the Christmas spirit! I might start with that one. 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ooh, I hope you get to read A Holiday by Gaslight, Annie. I’d love to hear what you think. I thought it was a lot of fun and just the thing to put me in the Christmas mood.

      Thanks for dropping by!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ooh, how lovely, Debbie! Karly writes wonderful books. I’ve read quite a few but the one that still stands out for me is her first book, North Star. That had a scene in it that always makes me smile when I think of it.
      Thanks for visiting and sharing.

  2. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Some great titles there, Cathryn. I loved Medium by CJ Archer, I really must get onto the last two books.

    I read some goodies last month and my favourite of all was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – half way through the book I went out and bought the movie which I will watch in the next couple of days, can’t wait. I finally have a book boyfriend lol, love that Atticus Finch!
    White Thorn by Bryce Courtenay, Cherry Season by Trish Morey, The Playground Mafia by Sarah Tucker and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott were all top reads.
    I thought I’d get a lot more read on our 5 week holiday but nope, it didn’t happen, nonetheless, it was an excellent holiday.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Great to hear you had an excellent holiday, Sue! Funny about the reading time. You always think you’re going to do heaps on holiday and then it doesn’t happen. Too busy doing holiday stuff/adventuring maybe.
      Some great titles there. I really must read To Kill a Mockingbird. Sometimes I feel like everyone did it in school except me!
      Thanks for dropping by and sharing. Always lovely to see you here.

  3. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Cathryn, love this column. And extra love that you took my advice about a couple of the books on this list. Isn’t the Katherine Arden amazing? I’ve become rather used to the third book in a series being a bit of a fizzer because all the threads have to be tied up so it gets a bit pedestrian. This one just built and built and built. And I loved the romance – beautifully done. Loved the Goblin Emperor and loved the Ellie Griffiths. So glad you liked them too. By the way, the first book is The Crossing Places, not the Stone Circle. They really are better read in order – hope I’ve cut you off at the pass with starting with the Stone Circle. I’ve got the Mimi Matthews – looking forward to reading it over my break. I so agree with you about the Goblin Emperor creeping up on you a bit – when I started it, I wasn’t sure it was my thing and I finished absolutely enthralled and enchanted.

    I’ve had a good reading month. Got through lots – not being on a desperate deadline has definitely helped. Can highly recommend the second Slow Horses book by Mick Herron, Dead Lions. Just finished This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay which was a wonderful medical memoir, sad and funny in equal proportions. They would be the two standouts.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Fab to see you here, Anna! So glad you like the column. I love sharing what I’ve been reading and love even more hearing what others have enjoyed.
      Never fear on the Elly Griffiths. I just checked and it is The Crossing Places that I have. Not sure why i wrote The Stone Circle. Weird.
      The Mick Herrons sound really good. Will definitely keep my eye out for those and I’ve read lots of good stuff about This Is Going To Hurt.
      Am with you on some trilogies fizzing. That can happen a lot but not with the Winternight series. Book three was amaaaazing.
      I’m still charmed every time I think about The Goblin Emperor. It was just so endearing. Did you see there’s going to be a sequel? Wheeeee!

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