My Favourite Reads of January 2020

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My Favourite Reads image

It’s time for My Favourite Reads again, coming to you a bit late this month. I’m on deadline with Serenity’s Song (working title) and those words must come first.

Ooh, where to start on my reading for this month? I loved every book I read but my favourite was…

Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score

Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy ScoreOh, I cannot express how much fun I had with this Rock Bottom Girl. It was a HOOT!

Funny, sexy and completely page-turnery, this small-town romance had me laughing, happy-sighing, occasionally sniffling, and whoop-whoop cheering.

I loved the eccentric characters. They were completely over the top but that’s what made them so brilliant. I adored the heroine Marley. She had hang-ups but she was tough and funny and nice, and smokin’ hot hero Jake was just delicious.

The moment I finished Rock Bottom Girl I went and bought Protecting What’s Mine. Can’t wait!

The Unquiet Bones by Mel Starr

The Unquiet Bones is the first in a medieval whodunnit series and a very good read.

Our hero Hugh de Singleton is the fourth son of a knight. Normally he’d be expected to take holy orders. Instead, Hugh decides to become a surgeon. Soon after starting up business he’s befriended by a local lord who asks him to investigate the death of a young girl.

This was a well-written, interesting and entertaining historical mystery, with plenty of twists and a lot of atmosphere. Most enjoyable.

The Christmas Party by Karen SwanThe Christmas Party by Karen Swan

I picked this up after reading a review from online magazine Beauty and Lace, and thought it sounded smack in my zone. And it was!

A contemporary women’s fiction novel set in Ireland, The Christmas Party follows three sisters as they cope with the fall-out from their father’s death and their own secrets and mistakes. Subtle romances add extra zing too.

Highly recommended. I’m going to keep an eye out for Swan’s 2020 Christmas story when the time comes.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient has been a blockbuster release and sold a bazillion copies around the world. Naturally I had to find out why for myself!

Loved it. Great voice and wonderfully twisted and the ending? Faaaaabulous.

A very close contender for favourite read of the month but was pipped by Rock Bottom Girl because… romance!

The Maid, the Millionaire and the Baby by Michelle Douglas

So… my favourite Michelle Douglases so far have been A Baby in His In-Tray and The Million Pound Marriage Deal (my thoughts on both these books here) but I think The Maid, the Millionaire and the Baby has now taken the lead.

This book was simply gorgeous. Wonderful island setting, great heroine who was funny, sassy, capable and compassionate, and a gorgeous hero I wanted to hug to bits. I love it when alpha type heroes find themselves completely discombobulated. Warms my heart!

The Whisper of Silenced Voices by CJ ArcherThe Whisper of Silenced Voices by CJ Archer

Regular readers know what a CJ Archer fan I am. I’ve been gobbling down her books since I picked up and was hooked by The Last Necromancer.

This After the Rift series is my favourite so far. I just love it. It’s a bit grittier than the other series I think, and I’m a bit disappointed to learn that the series will be finishing soon. But that’s okay. I’m sure that whatever CJ releases next will be even better. Total fangirl, that’s me!

Anyway, The Whisper of Silenced Voices was as fab as I expected, and I look forward to seeing how Josie and Dane fare in The Temple of Forgotten Secrets.

Afraid by JA KonrathAfraid by JA Konrath

Gawd, I love JA Konrath’s dark thrillers. They are such a blast. You can read my thoughts on his previous novels here.

Like the other Konrath novels I’ve read, the premise of Afraid is completely bonkers. A helicopter crashes outside a small isolated town and the killing starts soon after. The tag for the book reads: WELCOME TO SAFE HAVEN, POPULATION 907… 906… 905… I reckon that gives you the picture.

Loved it. Afraid may not be everyone’s thing but it’s absolutely mine. Next in my sights is Trapped.

Trouble in Nuala by Harriet SteelTrouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel

I’m a sucker for a cosy mystery and Trouble in Nuala was lovely.

Set in Ceylon in the 1930s, Trouble in Nuala introduces us to Inspector Shanti de Silva, a local man married to a former English governess and who must balance the needs of his Ceylonese kinsmen with that of the country’s British administrators.

Nuala is a sleepy town but like Midsomer (from the famous Midsomer Murders series), there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface.

I really enjoyed this and have bought the next three in the series.

Ooh! Looks like you can pick up Trouble in Nuala for free right now. Go get ’em!

For the writerly

The Secrets of Story by Matt BirdThe Secrets of Story by Matt Bird

This is now my favourite writing craft book. I cannot recommend it enough. It’s brilliant.

The Secrets of Story is not only full of practical advice, it’s also inspirational and the checklist at the back is a real bonus. Unlike a lot of the craft books I own, this won’t be stuck on a shelf and ignored. I plan to refer back to its wisdom often.

This is what my copy looks like – sticky notes and underlining everywhere.

My copy of The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird

Go buy The Secrets of Story. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

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What were your favourite reads of January? I’d love to hear!

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Never Miss a New Release meme

18 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads of January 2020

  1. AvatarRosilyn Kinnersley

    ‘The Horsekeeper’s Daughter’ by Jane Gilliford Lowes

    Utterly brilliant. Best crafted book I’ve ever read…and there’s only one short sentence of dialogue. Amazing. First book and a family historical one at that.

    ‘White Horses’ by Rachael Treasure

    Many ideas and concepts very close to my own heart. Loved this.

    These are my best recommendations of the 17 books I read through January 2020.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I went and googled The Horsekeeper’s Daughter and it does sound fascinating, Rosilyn. Lots of great reviews too. Thanks for sharing that one.
      Seventeen books read in January? That’s GREAT going!

  2. AvatarAnnie West

    I’ve written down some of these titles to try, Cathryn!
    I’ve just finished Katherine Arden’s Russian fairytale trilogy, ending with the Winter of the Witch – engrossing. Like you, I had a ball with Michelle Douglas’s ‘The Maid, the Millionaire and the Baby’ – yes, that setting is a place I want to go back to – maybe she can write a sequel… I’ve also finished the Jackson Lamb series of black-humoured spy stories by Mick Herron (what a writer!) and have begun my first CJ Sansom book ‘Dissolution’ – murder mystery set in the reign of Henry VIII and so far it’s intriguing.

    1. AvatarAnna Campbell

      Annie, so glad you enjoyed the Katherine Ardens. I thought they were brilliant. I read Real Tigers over Christmas and loved it. Did you see there’s a 7th book just released called Joe Country? Love his voice. I tried a CJ Sansom a few years ago and couldn’t get into it – might be me. Should give him another go.

      1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

        YAY! That’s really cool to hear about the Winternight trilogy. That series was so good. Especially the final book. That was amazeballs.
        Between your and Anna’s raves about them, I’m really going to have to get onto those Mick Herrons. A library thing, I think. The ebook prices make me cranky. Or I might buy them in paperback so I can pass them on to my mother-in-law. She might enjoy them too.

  3. AvatarMichelle Douglas

    I LOVED Rock Bottom Girl with all of my madly beating heart! Hilarious, touching, and with the best supporting cast ever! I’m so looking forward to delving into more Lucy Score books. And I’m over the moon you loved The Maid, the Millionaire and the Baby. I so want that Brazilian island to be real…and that I owned it. 🙂

    I’ve just finished a 2-in-1 Mills & Boon Forever. Liz Fielding’s The Billionaire’s Convenient Wife (Liz never fails to deliver all the feels) and Jessica Gilmore’s Honeymooning with Her Brazilian Boss (Brazil, again, yay!). Before that I read Magda Szubanski’s Reckoning which I’d highly recommend.

    And now I *so* have to get that Matt Bird book!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Whoop! Love it when another reader loves a book as much as you do. So glad to hear you enjoyed Rock Bottom Girl, Michelle. Sooooo much fun.
      And yes you do on the Matt Bird book. I’ll loan you my copy, if you like. Although it’s very messy.

  4. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Wow, Cathryn, you’ve been busy. I’m reading a really charming and very sexy book called Scarlett and the Model Man – I really think you should check it out. I’m about halfway through and loving it!

    I’ve had a good reading month too. These were the highlights:

    Daisy Jones and the Six which I just loved. Great for Fleetwood Mac fans because it’s a riff on a Stevie Nicks kind of character.

    Salt Lane by William Shaw, the first in a new mystery series that I think you might like.

    Less by Andrew Sean Greer. This won the Pullitzer which means I was rather surprised when it ended up being huge fun.

    Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer. She wrote Echo North which I was raving about last year and I think this one might be even better.

    Skin by Ilka Tampke. This is the first in a series about pre-Roman Britain just as the Romans decide to turn up. Amazing world building. Loved it.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Awwwww, aren’t you lovely, Anna? I can’t tell you how chuffed I am to hear you’re enjoying Scarlett and Sam.
      I have heard marvellous things about the Daisy Jones book too. Will have to add to my to-read list. It sounds like a lot of fun.
      And that’s very interesting about Less. I usually steer clear of those books (I used to read Booker winners every year until I finally gave it up) but this one does sound good.
      Jim might like Skin. I’ll check it out for him.
      I just went to add Echo North to my wish list and discovered it’s already there!

  5. AvatarMel

    Great list!
    I”d just finished The Silent Patient – with its ending that made me sit up and take notice with its twist!
    And Rock Bottom Girl is next.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Wasn’t the ending clever, Mel? Glad to hear you enjoyed it too.
      You’ll have to let me know how you got on with Rock Bottom Girl. I hope you have as much fun as I did!

  6. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    I’m yet to read a Karen Swan book I do have a couple sitting on my unread shelf though, just need to find the time to read them, I have heard that they are wonderful, might add one to the backlist challenge next year. The Silent Patient is on my TBR list and Michelle’s book is lined up next all other Mills and Boon books, one of Michelle’s is ready to read for the 2020 backlist challenge.

    Due to all the many reading challenges I’m in I’m getting through the books a lot quicker I guess I have no choice as I want those challenges completed by December. I read 10 books and they were all pretty tasty LOL. Here they are:

    *A Dog Called Hope by Victoria Connelly – a novella and such a cute story.
    *Judge and Jury by James Patterson & Andrew Gross – another page turner.
    *Live the Dream by Josephine Cox – so-so but still enjoyable.
    *Behind Closed Doors by Katherine X and Sue Smethhurst – a shocking and heartbreaking story. Autobiography. Listened to the audio version.
    *The Slap by Christos Tsolkias – fantastic story but the language, yikes!
    *City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – never gave her books a thought but an author, reviewer and blogger highly recommended them so I thought might as well give the series a go. Gobsmacked at how much I love this series.
    *Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy by Cathryn Hein – What can I say, wowser, so beautiful and such a gorgeous story!
    *Silver Clouds by Fleur McDonald – so good but her books always are.
    Rain by V.C. Andrews – First book in the Hudson series. Gotta love a bit of dark gothic weirdness every now and again.
    *The Stretch by Stephen Leather – my first read by this British thriller author and I can see myself reading another one of his books. Loved this gangster crime story.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Ten books? That’s seriously impressive, Sue.
      I am SO GLAD you enjoyed Chrissy and Nick’s story. Super chuffed to hear that. Thank you!
      Interesting about The Slap. I hated that book with a passion. But I’m more interested in the Cassandra Clare. I’ve been resisting but I can see I’m going to have to give her a go. All those rave reviews can’t be for nothing.
      Thanks for sharing!!

      1. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

        I hated and loved The Slap in equal measure, Cathryn. April is reading it at the moment and one of the characters irk her no end so I can’t wait to see what she thinks by the books end. I’ve just finished Cassandra Clare’s second book in the series and I really enjoyed that one too although I listened to the audio version, it was terrific but I’ll be picking up the physical copy when I start the next instalment, I want to read the words! Some books are amazing on audio and some, well, you just want to see and read the words, and this is one of them. Yes yes yes, give her a go, would love your thoughts on City of Bones.

        You’re welcome, Cathryn, you’re a brilliant and entertaining writer!

        1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

          Aww, shucks. Thank you! It’ll be interesting to hear what April thinks of The Slap. It definitely wasn’t my thing. But I suspect Cassandra Clare will be. Not that I need any more books. I bought another two yesterday!

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