My Favourite Reads of February 2020

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My Favourite Reads image

It’s My Favourite Reads time. Whoop! A tad late again this month because of my Serenity’s Song deadline, which is only eleven sleeps away. Eleven, she says shakily. Eeek!

I’m not going to choose a favourite this month because I can’t choose between the first four books listed. They were SO GOOD and deserve to be lauded equally.


The Vine Witch by Luanne G SmithThe Vine Witch by Luanne G Smith

Oh, I LOVED this book! The Vine Witch is what I guess you’d call a historical fantasy? Whatever genre it is, it totally floated my boat.

Where to start with all the goodness? Well, it’s set in France – tick! It’s set in a vineyard – tick! It has romance – tick! It has dastardly deeds and betrayal – tick! It has good witches who do marvellous things with wine and beer – tick! It’s beautifully written and page-turnery – tick! It has friendship and love and magic – tick! It’s… oh I could go on and on.

Superb. Go read.

And book 2, The Glamourist is releasing in June. YAY!!

The Work of Art by Mimi MatthewsThe Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

I really enjoyed Matthews’ Christmas themed story A Holiday By Gaslight (which I talk about here) and was eyeing off her other historical romances when The Work of Art appeared on sale. Perfect timing. And a wonderful read too.

The Work of Art had a gorgeous, heart-warming romance, lots of mystery and intrigue, dashing heroic deeds, and dogs.

In other words, everything. Highly recommended.

The Greek’s Forbidden Innocent by Annie WestThe Greek’s Forbidden Innocent by Annie West

Best. Annie West. Ever.

This book had me from the opening page and did not let go. The premise is fantastic – to save her friend from an arranged marriage, Princess Mina steps into her place and ends up captive on the hero’s private island. So brave! So swoony!

I also really liked that I got to catch up with Mina’s sister and brother-in-law who I met in The Desert King’s Captive Bride (another fab read that I talk about here). But most of all I loved the hero and heroine and their stories. They were brilliant.

If you love a sexy Mediterranean hero, a strong, relatable heroine and an enemies-to-lovers trope… Actually, no. Scrap that. If you love romance, read The Greek’s Forbidden Innocent. It’s fantastic.

Love Lettering by Kate ClaybornLove Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Speaking of fantastic, Love Lettering rates that accolade too. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. This was so un-put-downable I read it while doing chores, eating, whatever. Any chance I had this book would be in my hands.

It was so unusual too. The hero was like nothing I’ve ever come across before. Reid was sad and quiet but also beautiful, super smart and very, very heroic. I loved him. Really, really loved him. I also adored how Meg and Reid helped each other in small but significant ways. It was so heart-warming and kind. And in a delightful bonus, I learned bucketloads about hand lettering and calligraphy.

Total winner.

I’m going to read more Kate Clayborns. Oh yes, I am!

The Inspector de Silva Mysteries boxed set by Harriet SteelDark Clouds Over Nuala, Offstage in Nuala and Fatal Finds in Nuala by Harriet Steel

Those who caught up with January’s My Favourite Reads post will know how much I enjoyed the first book in The Inspector de Silva Mysteries series, Trouble in Nuala, so it’s probably no surprise to hear I bought the boxed set and gutsed down the next three in this series this month. They’re simply nice cosy mysteries, set in an interesting country at an interesting time.

Lovely books.

For the writerly or creative…

The War of Art by Steven PressfieldThe War of Art by Steven Pressfield

More a motivational book than a craft one, The War of Art looks at what stops you from being creative. I know a lot of authors rate this book highly. I quite enjoyed the single page chapters with their short paragraphs and sentences. It made for a fast read and one that I could put down and pick up at any time without losing the thread.

Unfortunately, The War of Art just didn’t resonate with me. That happens with how-to books. Sometimes they hit home, sometimes they don’t.


What did you enjoy reading last month?


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6 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads of February 2020

  1. AvatarAnna Campbell

    Cathryn, always love this column. I’ve picked up so many good reads as a result of looking at it every month. I’ve read Annie’s – it’s great, isn’t it? And such a great premise! Haven’t read the others although I’ve got the mystery boxed set on my Kindle.

    I’ve had a pretty good month again which is nice. Absolutely outstanding piece of fiction was The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I’ve read her nonfiction before – she’s got a wonderful book about writing out there – but never her fiction. This was just mesmerising and so beautiful. Highly recommended.

    Another book I enjoyed was American Gods by Neil Gaiman – took me a while to get into the swing of this one but ended up just loving it. Never read NG before but someone gave me a set of those online masterclasses for Christmas and I did NG’s class and decided I should read something he’d written.

    Read a couple of really good nonfiction books too. Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd is a memoir by Britain’s top forensic pathologist. Amazing stories. Travels with a Mexican Circus by Katie Hickman was really entertaining and ultimately very moving.

    Currently reading the new Ben Aaronovitch, False Value. Got about 100 pages to go and I’ve really enjoyed it too.

    See you next month!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I think you’d enjoy The Vine Witch, Anna. Maybe one for your want-to-read pile?
      That Anna Patchett is getting rave reviews everywhere. I’ve never read her either and should probably remedy. Same with Neil Gaiman, although I do have his The Graveyard Book. By the way, what a wonderful Chrissy pressie with the online classes.
      That Ben Aaronovitch series is so much fun. I must catch up on my reading too. I think I’m up to book six. Will have to check.
      Thanks so much for sharing. Some very interesting titles in there!!

  2. AvatarAnnie West

    Oh, oh, oh! So chuffed by your comments on The Greek’s Forbidden Innocent, Cathryn! Yippee!!! I’d so like to be on that beautiful tropical island right now, Cathryn. Though perhaps without quite so much drama. Colur me happy.

    My reading at the moment is the CJ Sansom series of mysteries set in Tudor England. Fascinating and great reads. I also, finally, read Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ on the recommendation of my family. Lots to think about in that one – it surprised me.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I loved that book so much, Annie. And I’m really looking forward to Contracted to Her Greek Enemy. It has the most amazing dedication!!
      I haven’t read Brave New World either but now I want to. Hmm… off to investigate.

  3. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Love the sound of your first four books although I do have all of Annie’s on my TBR list and some on my shelf of course, I will check out the other three.

    I read 8 books and listened to 3 audiobooks, they were all lovely reads bar two which were exceptional.

    *A Summer Fling by Milly Johnson – exceptional
    *Boying Up by Mayim Bialik – (audiobook) exceptional – she plays Amy on The Big Bang Theory and she was awesome to listen to, I also borrowed the book but it’s not the same as listening to her speak. It’s a book for young boys but I found it fascinating. I loved that she adds some personal information about her life as well. When I have time I’m going to buy all her non-fiction books from Booktopia.
    *Water Under the Bridge by Lily Malone – a fun read
    *Lightning Strikes and Eye of the Storm by V.C. Andrews – 2nd and 3rd book in the Hudson series – not as dark and gothic as the earlier books. Many people are complaining about Andrew Neiderman the Ghostwriter that the books aren’t up to scratch anymore but I think his writing is superb.
    *Through the Eyes of a Foster Child by Daryl Brougham – we’ve just gone through assessments to be respite carers for April and Craig’s foster child and learned a few things about foster children but wow, this book was an eye-opener.
    *Born Bad by Josephine Cox – an unexpected ending which left most reviewers with their mouth agape including me. Fantastic storyline but she contradicted everything she wrote about this one character in the last few pages. So wrong and it so doesn’t make sense to do something like that.
    *A Room Swept White by Sophie Hannah – love this crime series of hers.
    *Promise by Sarah Armstrong (audiobook) – a fantastic story about kidnapping but for all the right reasons.
    *City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (audiobook) – excellent narrator but I’m looking forward to picking up the next one in print.
    *Silent Fear by Katherine Howell – sadly there are only three book left in this series, I’ll have to savour every word as there are no other books by Katherine Howell, the publishing house quit on her. A shame as I loved reading about the homicide detectives and the paramedic thread Katherine Howell weaved into each of the stories.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Wow, that’s a great list of reads, Sue. You get through some really interesting titles. I was crazy about Virginia Andrews as a teenager. The Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina and Casteel series were like drugs. Could not get enough! But when I re-read Flowers later I couldn’t understand why I loved it so much. I do adore gothic books though. so maybe I should try some of these newer one, if the writing is so fab. One for the TBR pile!
      Thanks again for sharing.

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