Tag Archives: Favourite Reads

My Favourite Reads of October 2018

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Welcome to my favourite reads for October.

An eclectic list of reads this month, ranging from horror to murder-mystery, time-travel and historical fiction.

Once again I found myself stumped over my favourite book for the month. Usually I do my best to choose but today I’m going to sit on the fence. They were all enjoyable reads. Whether they’ll be as enjoyable for you remains to be seen!

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi TaylorJust One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

What a blast of a book! Number 1 in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series and totally bonkers but oh so much fun.

While not quite the same, Just One Damned Thing After Another reminded me a lot of The Extracted Trilogy by RR Haywood, which I also adored (and wrote about here). It has that same wonderfully madcap feel.

Expect adventure, history, infighting, outfighting, a touch of romance, eccentric characters, double-crossing, nutty situations and huge doses of humour.

Book 1 in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series and if you love this one, there are plenty more to keep you going.

Darkbound by Michaelbrent CollingsDarkbound by Michaelbrent Collings

Darkbound is horror with a capital H. Six people get on a New York subway train but it soon becomes clear this isn’t any normal train and these sure aren’t normal people.

I really enjoyed Collings book The Deep (which I talked about here). It was fast-paced and fun, a fab combination of horror and humour, and excellent characterisation. Darkbound had its darkly humorous moments and great characters but focused more on the violence and gore. Not scary as such but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

The Word is Murder by Anthony HorowitzThe Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Gah! I’m still on the fence with this one, which surprises me because I’ve loved Horowitz’s previous novels, especially his Sherlock Holmes books House of Silk and Moriarty.

Horowitz writes intriguing murders, as you’d expect from someone who created Foyle’s War and has written for Midsummer Murders, and he’s created another beauty here with the She planned her own funeral, but did she arrange her murder? premise. But The Word is Murder was strange in that Horowitz inserts himself as the main character and narrator. I found that aspect both fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating because I was intrigued by the idea and process from an author-y point of view, and frustrating because I didn’t like either the Horowitz character or Hawthorne, the detective he was following. Not liking the detective was fine but to not like Horowitz felt completely wrong!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate MortonThe Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Morton has been an auto-buy author for me since her debut title The Shifting Fog (aka The House at Riverton). Naturally I snapped up The Clockmaker’s Daughter on release.

It’s another lovely fat book full of history, romance, intrigue and gorgeous writing. Morton is a master at creating atmosphere, especially the slightly creepy gothic feel I adore. There’s a lot going on in The Clockmaker’s Daughter, with multiple points of view told across multiple time settings, and several times I was left wondering how she would pull all the threads together. I knew she would, though. She’s Kate Morton!

Fab read but The Shifting Fog and The Distant Hours remain my favourites.

Greenlight by Benjamin StevensonGreenlight by Benjamin Stevenson

Regular My Favourite Reads readers know I’m partial to an Aussie crime novel or two. Even better, Greenlight is set in Hunter Valley wine country. How could a girl possibly resist? News has it that Greenlight has also sold into the US and UK, and is attracting a lot of attention from film and producers. I can understand why. This has hookiness written into its DNA and would make a cracking film or TV series.

Think thriller/crime with lots of plot twists and featuring a flawed hero who has an interesting personal story of his own. With its true-crime podcast/tv show hook, Greenlight’s premise is smack in the moment.

Playing By Her Rules by Amy AndrewsPlaying By Her Rules by Amy Andrews

Like every other Amy Andrews book I’ve read, this was a blast. Playing By Her Rules is a lovers reunited story featuring two very sexy, sassy and smart lead characters who spark off each other from the get-go. And the hero is a professional rugby player with a body that the heroine wants to lick harder than the world’s best icecream. We’re talking swoonland, my darlings. Swoonland.

The dialogue is fabulous, the sizzling slow-burn of Tanner and Matilda’s relationship delicious. Romance, fun and with plenty of awesomely written action and it’s not all on field. Oh, and the opening scene with the panties is brilliant.

The first in the six-book Sydney Smoke Rugby series. You’ll want them all.

What reads did you enjoy in October?

 

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My Favourite Reads of September 2018

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Welcome to My Favourite Reads of September 2018.

A pretty cool month’s reading for September, with a mix of old and new-to-me authors and reads from a couple of adored series. As always, it was hard to choose a favourite and I was very tempted to fence sit and choose none. But choose I will, and it’s…

Silk and Shadows by Mary Jo Putney

Silk and Shadows by Mary Jo PutneyI’ve wanted to read a Mary Jo Putney for a long time. She’s been recommended to me multiple times by author buddies and is a giant in the historical romance genre.

Oh, boy was this book a beauty. Not only was Silk and Shadows wonderfully written, the story had MEAT. I was amazed by the places it went. Pretty dark places too, and yet the central romance remained uplifting and hopeful.

Basically it’s a revenge novel. Our mysterious but charismatic hero Peregrine has one goal only, or he does until he meets clever Sara. Their relationship buzzes from the start, surprising them both and changing their life plans in huge ways.

Great characters and nicely twisty storyline that surprised and sometimes discomforted. Very enjoyable.

 

Scrublands by Chris HammerScrublands by Chris Hammer

Woah, did this have atmosphere, with the heat and hopelessness of the setting wrapping its cloying arms around me as I read.

Set in around a dying, drought-ravaged western Victorian town, Scrublands is more a why-dunnit than a who-dunnit. We know from the dramatic opening who the killer is, but it’s the why that makes this a compelling read. That and the characters. I thought they were really well done.

Journalist Martin Scarsden thinks he’s on an easy assignment, writing about how Riversend is coping a year on from the original shooting, but he soon discovers the town is full of secrets and more danger than he ever imagined.

We’re spoiled for choice with solid Aussie crime at the moment.

 

Fly by Demelza CarltonFly: Goose Girl Retold by Demelza Carlton

This is the second that I’ve read in Demelza Carlton’s retold fairy-tale series (my thoughts on Enchant here) and like the first it proved an entertaining read.

I don’t know why, but I expected an alpha hero in Fly and was delighted to find that Prince Yun was far from that. I don’t mind those kinds of heroes when they’re not being alpha-holes (as they’re sometimes nicknamed in Romanceland) but my heart will always tick faster for a beta. They’re just nicer! Yun was plenty brave though and a good match for our equally courageous heroine Ava.

Short, with plenty of action and a touch of violence, Fly gave a very pleasant afternoon’s reading.

 

The Ink Master’s Silence by CJ ArcherThe Ink Master’s Silence by CJ Archer

My second favourite read of the month, which is no surprise. Regular followers of My Favourite Reads already know I’m a huge CJ Archer fan and snatch up every new story on release. The storylines are full of intrigue and action, the characters wonderful, and I’m drawn into every story from the first page.

After the dramatic events of The Convent’s Secret I’ve been wondering where this series would head but if The Ink Master’s Silence is anything to go by it looks like there’s plenty of more drama for the Glass and Steele gang to be had.

The Palace of Lost Memories, the first book in CJ Archer’s new After the Rift series releases this week and it looks brilliant. Can’t wait!

 

The Italian’s Marriage Bargain by Annie WestThe Italian’s Marriage Bargain by Annie West

This series is such a godsend. Whenever I’m in one of those “I don’t know what to read” moods I know I can pick up one of Annie’s Hot Italian Nights novellas and be left very, very happy. For short reads they punch well above their weight in the emotion stakes.

The Italian’s Marriage Bargain is a lover’s reunited story, a trope I’m a bit of a sucker for. I like that Massima and Gina are married, although long separated. It’s harder to put a marriage back together I think – the stakes feel higher – and this gave the story extra intensity.

Look out for Book 8, Burning for the Italian. This one sounds HOT!

 

Picture Me and You by Susan SeyPicture Me and You: A Devil’s Kettle Romance by Susan Sey

I picked this up after a bunch of readers on the Australian Romance Readers Association loop raved about Susan Sey’s books.

If you like quirky, this one’s for you. But Picture Me and You is more than a quirky romance set in an insular, strangely named town. Like Silk and Shadows, Picture Me and You wanders into some deep territory. There’s grief, belonging, some serious family conflict and plenty more layering the story.

Picture Me and You is book one in the Devil’s Kettle series and currently available for free on Amazon. As is A Taste for Trouble, the first in the Blake Brothers Trilogy and which comes even more highly recommended. Guess I’ll have to try that one too!

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of August 2018

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Welcome to my favourite reads of August.

Not a huge list this month but what reads they were! Each of them is highly recommended but my absolute favourite was

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

The Silent Companions by Laura PurcellThe Silent Companions is the best horror novel I’ve read in donkey’s. Damn clever and brilliantly creepy, and the Victorian time period is one I adore too.

Purcell knows exactly how to unsettle the reader and keep the tension rising. Our heroine Elsie is kept on her toes with the goings on at The Bridge, the ominous, isolated country house where she’s been sent to wait out her pregnancy and where her husband recently met his death. As for the ‘silent companions’, they were just plain scary.

Love, love, loved it. Purcell’s new one The Corset releases on September 20th. Gimme!

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin KwanCrazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I picked this up in ebook way back when it first released in Australia and though I tried a couple of times I just couldn’t get into it. That happens sometimes and is often a mood thing.

With the movie just released and looking like a blast I figured it was time to give Crazy Rich Asians another go, and this time I had a ball!

Completely over the top and great fun, with drama and fashion, romance and a LOT of food, Crazy Rich Asians was a satisfying read. The only thing that disappointed me was the end. It didn’t give me the closure I craved but I (kinda-sorta) forgive it because I believe this is the first in a trilogy.

Can’t wait to see the movie.

 

The Dark Before Dawn by Jaima FixsenThe Dark Before Dawn by Jaima Fixsen

Another historical read, this time in 1840s Vienna and featuring the cracking character of Kasper Stark, a secret police officer with a very big secret of his own.

From the setting to the murder-mystery to the romance, The Dark Before Dawn was very enjoyable. There are crosses and double crosses, fascinating characters, wealth and poverty, lots of drama and more than a bit of derring-do.

Huge fun, and if you hurry you can pick it up for under $2 on Kindle.

 

The Nowhere Child by Christian WhiteThe Nowhere Child by Christian White

Talk about unputdownable. The Nowhere Child was an excellent read from start to finish. Loved the twists, loved the concise writing, the small-town goldfish bowl and its social divisions, the split timelines, but most of all I loved Kim’s/Sammy’s bravery. She was cool.

Good stuff.

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of July 2018

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Welcome to another friendly edition of My Favourite Reads.

Ooh, I read some cracking books in July. Without further ado, let’s see what they are.

My favourite was…

Return to Roseglen by Helene Young

Return to Roseglen by Helene YoungWith Return to Roseglen, Helene Young has moved away from the romantic suspense she’s renowned for and stepped seamlessly into women’s fiction. Now, women’s fic isn’t normally my thing. I enjoyed it when I was younger but not so much these days. I expected Return to Roseglen to be good – it’s a Helene Young book, after all – but it turned out more than good. It was fabulous!

There was so much I loved – the excellent writing, the vivid setting – but mostly I adored the characters (Ivy was brilliant, as was Georgina) and their all too believable family dramas. And there are plenty of those to be had in Return to Roseglen. Some of the elder abuse scenes had me seething. Our vulnerable elders should be protected not exploited, yet there are those in society who think nothing of taking advantage, and usually for no other reason than greed. The bastards. I’m glad Helene tackled such an important topic. It needs more airing.

Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of Return to Roseglen. Yes, I’m friends with Helene but I honestly loved this story and I think you will too.

 

Smoke and Iron by Rachel CaineSmoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

Book 4 in the Great Library series and probably the best book since the first, which is saying something because every book has been fantastic.

Jess and the gang are in serious strife this time. It seems impossible that they won’t all be dead by the end, but our heroes and heroines are people of courage, brains and multiple talents. They’re book lovers. We expect no less!

Apparently, this is meant to be a 5 book series. If that’s true, then the next will be the final. I don’t even want to think about that. It’s too horrible. This series is the best.

 

Holly’s Heart by Fiona McArthurHolly’s Heart by Fiona McArthur

Holly’s Heart is book 4 in the Outback Brides series, which includes my own Elsa’s Stand.

This is such a sweet story. There’s nothing like the pain of unrequited love, and our hero Ben suffered badly in his youth when he fell for Holly. Now life has brought him back to Wirralong, grown up, a doctor with a newly established surgery, and looking to settle down to country life. Who should he find in town also? Yup, his Holly. And the attraction hasn’t faded a scrap.

A gentle and emotional second-chance romance.

 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine ArdenThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

A magical historical fantasy set in northern Russia, where winters are harsh, long and dangerous, and the locals hold on to their superstitions. Or they did until an ambitious and charismatic priest arrives and determines to change their ways.

The heroine of the story is Vasilisa and she’s a beauty. Wild, tough, stubborn and brave, she defies the priest and her step-mother, who want her married off and her strange talents out of sight. The villagers begin to think her a witch but this stubborn girl might be the only one who can save them.

I didn’t realise this is going to be a trilogy. Book two, The Girl in the Tower released recently and now I’m torn over whether to gobble that down straight away or wait until closer to the third book’s release. Decisions, decisions!

 

Inherited for the Royal Bed by Annie WestInherited for the Royal Bed by Annie West

What a premise! Sayid has only been sheikh a short while when he returns, exhausted, to his rooms to find he’s inherited not just a war-weary country but the former ruler’s young concubine.

Being a man of decency and honour and liking Lina’s fight, Sayid makes Lina his ward and sends the tempting girl away to receive the education she’d always dreamed of. Four years later, Lina returns and this time she’s all woman – smart, cultured and even more irresistible.

This was fun and emotional, and I loved it. As for the ending… wowsers!

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of June 2018

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Welcome to the bookish joy that is My Favourite Reads. I didn’t get much reading done in June. We had visitors and lots of stuff going on, and that left little time for couch-potatoing or bed-lazing with a book.

The books I did complete were all beauties and, as is so often the case, choosing a favourite proved tricky. In the end, it was the old master who came out on top.

The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider by Stephen KingThe Outsider is one of the best King books I’ve read for a while, and that’s saying something because I pretty much enjoy all his books (except Duma Key – that one didn’t do it for me).

The suspense of the opening made my heart race, only for a shock plot twist to stop it completely and leave me wondering how the hell he was going to make the book work.

He did, of course. King’s a master storyteller.

Great premise, wonderful characters, plenty of tension and mystery, and a nice amount of icky horror. The pages (and there were a lot) flew by. Loved it.

 

Defy the Worlds by Claudia GrayDefy the Worlds by Claudia Gray

I adored Defy the Stars (which I talked about here) and have been hanging out for the second in the series. Defy the Worlds didn’t disappoint.

I love how Gray keeps raising the stakes. Just when you think our plucky heroine Noemi might catch a break, she’s put in even more peril. And Abel is so cleverly written. I’m amazed I believe in these two when one is basically a robot, but I can’t help it.

Ends on a doozy of a cliffhanger but I kind of expected that. Bring on book three!

 

Maggie's Run by Kelly HunterMaggie’s Run by Kelly Hunter, Belle’s Secret by Victoria Purman

Of course I’m going to be hugely biased about my Outback Brides buddies’ books, but it’s no lie to say these were terrific reads and you should all go buy the entire series right now.

Maggie’s Run proved a wonderful start to the series. It had all the emotion and snappy dialogue I expect from a Kelly Hunter book and don’t get me Belle's Secret by Victoria Purmanstarted on how sexy our hero Max is. My fingers are still itching to smooth his hair. I’m a terrible sucker for a hero who’s known the heroine for years and always shown protectiveness. It’s so romantic and Kelly pulls this off perfectly. Sighworthy.

Which is what Belle’s Secret was too. I loved the premise of this one – a runaway bride. But not any old runaway bride. Our Isabella just happens to be a marriage celebrant and skipping out on your new husband is not a good look. She has her reasons though. Except she married a special man, and Harry isn’t one to let go easily.

Yep, I have a vested interest but these books have all the feels. Grab your copies today!

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of May 2018

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Welcome to the latest edition of My Favourite Reads. A tad late again, but regular blog readers will know from recent Teaser Tuesdays that we had to take a short-notice journey to north Queensland and that has put me a bit off schedule. Not to worry, I’m home and making amends!

I am not, however, enjoying the cold weather. I’ve been donning a thick beanie for my morning walks, and it was so bitter when I was out running chores on Tuesday I had to pull my fleecy hoody over my head. Neither is a good look, but at least beanies and hoodies keep my ears from freezing.

Enough of my cold weather woes. Let’s get on to my favourite reads of May.

I’ve been thinking quite hard on my favourite and the truth is I can’t really choose. Yeah, that’s a bit of a cop-out but all the books were enjoyable, suited my mood at the time and made me happy. Given what was occurring around me, that’s exactly what I needed.

Here they are.

The Alchemist’s Secret by Scott MarianiThe Alchemist’s Secret by Scott Mariani

I’ve had this book on my e-reader for at least four years now and could never get into it. That happens, as I’m sure you understand. It doesn’t matter how good a book is, sometimes you’re just not in the mood.

This time round I had no trouble and found The Alchemist’s Secret a great ride. If you love a Dan Brown style action-adventure-mystery-thriller, then this is smack in your zone.

The first in Mariani’s long-running Ben Hope series that so far tallies 17 books. Clearly he’s doing something right!

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book has been a blockbuster seller of late so naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about.

It’s a wonderful story about a damaged but strong – if socially clumsy – woman making her way in a world she doesn’t quite relate to. Eleanor is a great character, but I adored Raymond. He’s my kind of hero.

A read to make you feel good and smile at the joy of friendship.

 

Extinct by RR HaywardExtinct by RR Hayward

I’ve raved about this totally bonkers series before in previous Favourite Reads (Extracted here and Executed here).

Extinct is the last in the trilogy and it didn’t let me down. The plot is funny, action-packed, potty-mouthed, violent, sort-of sexy, and completely over the top. The characters no different. They are so cool! But old-fashioned, decent and ridiculously brave Harry is my favourite.

A rollicking ride. Loved it.

 

The Convent’s Secret by CJ ArcherThe Convent’s Secret by CJ Archer

This series is so comforting. I know when I grab a new Glass and Steele book that I’m in for a hugely entertaining read, filled with mystery, romance and characters I fell in love with from first meeting.

Things have really moved along for Matt, India and the gang but I suspect there’ll be several backward steps in future books. I hope so. Journeying with this group as they tackle all the many obstacles thrown at them is what makes it fun.

Yeah, I’m a total fangirl, but I can’t recommend this series enough.

 

Deadly Secrets by Robert BryndzaDeadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza

Another comfort read that hit the spot. Deadly Secrets was a cracking addition to the Detective Erika Foster series. Maybe even my favourite.

The mystery in Deadly Secrets was very tangled – so many suspects to choose from – and Erika’s life took a few interesting turns too.

I’ll be auto-buying the next when it comes out.

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of April 2018

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Welcome to another edition of My Favourite Reads. There are few positives to being sick, but one of them is reading time. Thanks to me catching a horrid lurgy that required lots of miserable fevery hours in bed or on the couch with my blanky, April was a great reading month.

I enjoyed some excellent books too, which made it very hard to choose a favourite, but my favourite is a story that continues to resonate in my mind, and that story is …

The Juliet Code by Christine Wells

The Juliet Code by Christine WellsI’ve adored all Christine’s books so far. The Wife’s Tale and The Traitor’s Girl were wonderful reads, so I was super keen to get into the The Juliet Code. Obviously, it didn’t disappoint!

This book had everything I adore – intrigue, romance, atmosphere, fantastic characters and a plot loaded with delicious twisty-turns. There’s love and betrayal, heroics and evil. And, if that wasn’t enough, The Juliet Code is also beautiful to look at. That cover just demands to be stroked lovingly.

Snap up a copy for yourself today. You won’t regret it.

 

The Family Next Door by Sally HepworthThe Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

Fans of domestic thrillers will love this one set in a “nice” suburban street where everyone looks successful and normal. Except hiding behind their veils of normal are families thick with secrets, and they’re about to be exposed.

The Family Next Door was a compelling read with a cool plot twist.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernanThe Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

A terrific crime novel set in Ireland and introducing Cormac Reilly, an interesting new detective who I’ve read we’ll also see in a second book, and more after that I’m sure.

The Ruin was a nicely atmospheric, gritty and solidly plotted murder-mystery. Also topical.

Enchant by Demelza CarltonEnchant by Demelza Carlton

I read this one when I was under the weather and it was the perfect pick-me-up. Enchant is the first in Demelza’s Romance a Medieval Fairytale series, this one based around Beauty and the Beast. It’s fast-paced, with a cool female lead and fun plot. Perfect for an afternoon blanky snuggling with a book.

You can pick Enchant up for free on Amazon.

Redemption Point by Candice FoxRedemption Point by Candice Fox

Ooh, I enjoyed this one, probably even more than the first, Crimson Lake. It was so good to catch up with Ted and Amanda again, and to see how their lives were progressing. Pretty rockily, but that’s exactly what makes this series so page-turnery. That and the great writing.

Candice Fox’s stand-alone novels remain an auto-buy for me. Can’t wait for the next.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Apart from writing craft books, of which I own a ridiculous amount, and books bought specifically for story research, I’m not a big reader of non-fiction. Most of the time I either don’t finish the books or skim-read until I get to a good bit, but I read The Tipping Point the entire way through.

Gladwell’s argument for why some things reach a tipping point and take off was compelling. I also liked his entertaining style. There were some eye-widening examples given too.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth HoganThe Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This was a lovely book, filled with warmth and gentle English humour. It’s more like two stories, really, related but not parallel, and each as charming as the other. I loved Bomber and Eunice. They were fun (although I found their story bittersweet). Anthony’s, Laura’s, Freddy’s and Sunshine’s tale is a bit more complex, but no less entertaining.

I enjoyed the ‘lost things’ stories, too. They were clever and some had real bite.

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn HamiltonHero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

The final book in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy. I’m sad to leave this world! It was such a richly built one, loaded with magic and mayhem, heroes and baddies, and others that could slide either way, depending on circumstances. Amani was a terrific heroine, and the other characters wonderfully realised. Shazad was brilliant. Loved her.

Overall, a satisfying way to end the series.

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of March 2018

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Welcome to My Favourite Reads, a tad late this month because I’m still trying to recover from the rotten lurgy I caught over Easter and which hammered me flat for over a week. I’m like a koala at the moment and can’t stop sleeping. All very nice – I do enjoy a good nap – but it’s not doing my writing production any good at all.

But on to lovelier things, like books!

Without further ado, my favourite read for March was…

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffOh, what a brilliant ending to a brilliant series!

I thought Illuminae would be hard to beat – it was so clever and exciting and fresh – then came along Gemina and it was fantastic too. Which meant Obsidio had a whole lot to live up to. As expected from these two expert authors, it did just fine. More than fine. I gobbled this down and then was left bereft when it was over.

Every book in the The Illuminae Files was a joy. The female characters were the best – strong, sassy and super smart. It was no wonder the heroes loved them so much. In fact, all the characters were fantastically drawn, even Aiden, the bonkers artificial intelligence.

Honestly, even is sci-fi isn’t your thing, give this series a go because it’s really, really cool.

Magpie Murders by Anthony HorowitzMagpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Horowitz has quickly become one of my favourite authors. His Sherlock Holmes books, The House of Silk and Moriarty, were excellent. As soon as I saw Magpie Murders I put it on my to-be-read list.

This was so cleverly done. A book within a book, with murder and mystery and red-herrings galore. I’ll admit that I spent quite a few pages wondering where Horowitz was heading with the Atticus Pund story, but my trust in him kept me reading, and the book turned out huge fun. I do love a good twist and Horowitz does them very well.

His new release, The Word is Murder, recently hit shelves and I snapped it up straight away.

Hot Italian Nights by Annie WestBound to the Italian’s Boss by Annie West, The Italian’s Bold Reckoning by Annie West, At the Italian’s Bidding by Annie West, Falling for the Brooding Italian by Annie West

As I mentioned in last month’s Favourite Reads, I’ve been having a wonderful time devouring Annie’s Hot Italian Nights series. They were perfect during the tumult of house moving, but even when things settled down I couldn’t stop reading them. They’re so deliciously addictive!

I’d caught up with the series – which you can buy as a boxed set – about midway through the month, but I read in Annie’s newsletter this week that book 7, The Italian’s Marriage Bargain, has just hit shelves. Rah!

If you love sexy, glamorous romances that tug at your heartstrings (and make you long for travel), grab this series.

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of February 2018

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Welcome to another edition of My Favourite Reads. February was a difficult month for reading. I had a couple of contest entries for the Romance Writers of Australia’s prestigious Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) award to get through, plus, as many of you are aware, we were moving house. That didn’t leave much time for sleep, let alone picking up a book.

I can’t tell you about the Ruby books but I can tell you about the others, of which my favourite was…

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy HarmonSet in Italy in World War II, From Sand and Ash is the impossible, sweeping tale of a Catholic boy and Jewish girl. It’s heartbreaking, hopeful, traumatic, passionate and beautiful.

Much of the country is under Nazi rule, putting Eva and her family in terrible danger. Eva is a survivor though, brave, resourceful, and incapable of remaining passive in the face of evil. Angelo is no less courageous, doing all he can to help Eva, her people and others facing unspeakable fates.

Though Angelo and Eva’s love is forbidden on so many levels, it’s so strong they’ll protect each other with every ounce of themselves. But how can love be enough at a time like this?

I was worried sick all through this book that it wasn’t going to give me a satisfying ending. The odds seemed too impossible, but this was an Amy Harmon story and having read a few of hers now, I had faith. Eva’s and Angelo’s treacherous journey remained believable and satisfying, even if it did make me bawl. A lot.

The Woman in the Window by AJ FinnThe Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

There’s been a lot of hype around The Woman in the Window and with good reason – it’s an excellent read. Fast paced, tricksy, and full of mystery and drama.

I enjoyed trying to guess who was telling the truth and who wasn’t, and I particularly liked the portrayal of Anna’s illness. As for the opening pages, they were rippers. Made this author very jealous.

Nightmare House by Douglas CleggNightmare House by Douglas Clegg

Regular readers of My Favourite Reads will know how much I adore a horror tale and this book has been sitting on my e-reader for a while. What better time to give yourself house issues than when moving into a new one?

Set in the 1920s, Nightmare House follows Estaban (or Ethan as he’s known) as he ventures into the countryside to claim his inheritance – a creepy old house that’s even creepier, more mysterious and labyrinthine inside than it looks from the outside. Weird gothic fun with bonus strange locals.

BackBack in the Italian’s Bed by Annie West in the Italian’s Bed by Annie WestBought by the Italian by Annie West

Annie’s Hot Italian Nights novella series has proved perfect for this busy time. They’re wonderfully pacy, skipping along with lots of action and attraction and, of course, passion. Think uber wealthy and uber hot Italian playboys being turned inside out emotionally by smart, sassy women who match them at every level, and lots of gorgeous countryside.Bought by the Italian by Annie West

I’ve been devouring these books like lollies – they’re bargain priced at major ebook retailers – so expect to see more featured in next month’s Favourite Reads.

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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My Favourite Reads of January 2018

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome to the first edition of My Favourite Reads for 2018!

I thought I’d get lots of reading done in January but nup. Too many other things going on. I also seem to have had a bit of a crime/thriller/horror binge. No idea why. Usually there’s at least one romance on my reading list but not last month. Guess I must’ve been in a thrillery mood.

VERY hard to choose a favourite though, because all four reads were excellent, but I nominate…

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The Chalk Man by CJ TudorThis was a fantastic read. The Chalk Man hooked me from the opening pages and didn’t let go.

It’s a bit cross genre. A thriller mixed with crime, mystery and horror, and just the kind of thing I adore, especially when the storytelling is of this quality. The writing was brilliant too. If the author had been listed as Stephen King I wouldn’t have been at all surprised. Yup, it was that good.

Set in a small village in England, The Chalk Man swaps between the present and the mid-eighties, when Eddie, the narrator, was a young boy, riding his bike around town with his mates, doing all the things that young boys do. When they discover a dismembered body, life is never the same for any of them.

Cool plot twists, well-written characters, great writing and a satisfying ending. Loved it.

The Mayfly by James HazelThe Mayfly by James Hazel

Another cracking read, also featuring the discovery of a mutilated body in the woods. The Mayfly also switches between time periods, in this case between the present and World War II, and has the same cross genre elements as The Chalk Man along with lots of plot twists. That’s where the similarities end though. This is a very different book.

The Mayfly introduces us to Charlie Priest, a far from average lawyer and who I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of in future books. Charlie suffers from dissociate disorder which adds extra challenge to his already highly challenging predicament, i.e. he’s a suspect in a gruesome murder.

Great stuff.

The Deep by Michaelbrent CollingsThe Deep by Michaelbrent Collings

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a couple of years now, after I heard horror writer Michaelbrent Collings speak about writing on a webcast. I was so impressed with what he had to say it left me determined to read one of his books, and The Deep seemed popular and something I’d enjoy. It just took me longer to get around to than I thought!

And enjoy I did. I adore horror novels anyway, but what made The Deep such fun was the storytelling. The pace made it very hard to put down, and every character was intriguing. I LOVED Haeberle. He was brilliantly bonkers.

I’m going to have to read more of Collings’ books. Like J.A Konrath’s, they are smack in my zone.

he Marsh King's Daughter by Karen DionneThe Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King’s Daughter has a fab premise. The heroine Helena’s mother is an abductee, lured off the street as a teenager and taken into the Michigan wilderness where she’s forced into sexual and domestic servitude. Brought up in a home where violence and brutality are normal and survival skills learned early, Helena eventually gets away. Her father is caught. Helena buries her past as deep as it will go and tries to make a normal life.

Then her father escapes.

High stakes, great setting, a fantastic strong heroine and a page-turning plot. A blast.

 

What reads have you enjoyed lately?

 

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