Oh dear, after 2016’s bumper reading year (I read a record 88 books in 2016 – you can find them all listed on my Goodreads shelf), 2017 started with a bit of a whimper. Travelling kept me very busy, then later in the month my package of books to judge for the Romance Writers of America Rita awards arrived and I had to get stuck straight into those. Neither of those things left a lot of room for recreational reading.
I did manage to finish four wonderful books though. I’m not going to nominate a favourite because they were all very different and all enjoyable in their individual ways, and picking one over another is just too hard. Last year, because I finished so few books due to the clash with my Rita reading, I combined the January and February My Favourite Reads post, but a lot of people look forward to this series so this year I’ll stick to the monthly schedule.
Anyway, here are my reads!
The uber alpha males of the Harlequin Presents category romance lines aren’t normally my thing (I tend to feel a strong urge to smack the arrogance out of them) but Annie West’s are a different breed. They’re still ridiculously rich and powerful men, and capable of the same ruthlessness I’ve seen in other Presents heroes, but when it comes to the women they love, they’re sensitive and kind, and you can’t help falling for them. I particularly liked how Arden, the heroine, grew into her strength throughout the story and became more than a match for Idris.
A sexy sheik, a secret baby, scandal and all the glamour of a desert palace. Wonderful, escapist fun.
Regular readers of My Favourite Reads will know what a CJ fangirl I am. I adored The Watchmaker’s Daughter, the first in this new Glass and Steele series, and have been hanging out for The Mapmaker’s Apprentice ever since, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
India, with her clever mind and courage is the perfect match for Matt, and I’m really enjoying the slow burn of their romance. I’m finding it as tantalising – perhaps even more so – than the romance between Charlie and Lincoln in the Ministry of Curiosities series, which is saying something because I was completely addicted to that. Still am, which is why I’ve just bought book #7, Of Fate and Phantoms.
Book three in the Glass and Steel series, The Apothecary’s Poison, will be out in April. Yeah, baby!
Wow. How to describe this book? Stunning is one word thanks to the incredible writing (so visceral!) which mesmerised me from the get-go. Fascinating is another because of its big themes, and the questions the book poses. And thanks to the ending (which I admit I found hugely frustrating) there are plenty of those.
The Natural Way of Things reminded me of The Lord of the Flies by William Golding (one of my all-time favourite books) in that it’s an isolation and survival of the fittest type story, but it’s also about misogyny, manipulation and brutality. And probably a load of other things I didn’t pick up on.
A group of women wake up in a compound and have their heads shaved before being forced into uncomfortable, debasing clothing. Chained together like slaves, their lives from then on are at the mercy of a pair of guards who see them as nothing more than a bunch of worthless sluts. As time passes, the women learn each has been involved in a sexual scandal – most of which I recognised from real events. Is this punishment for their supposed sins? When will it end?
To everyone who knows them, Grace and Jack (a lawyer who specialises in defending abused women – oh the irony!) are perfect, ridiculously so. But what really goes on behind the shutters of that immaculate house after their faultlessly hosted dinner parties are over and the host and hostess are alone?
We learn fairly early on that nothing is as it seems, which you’d think would spoil the mystery but mystery isn’t what this book’s about. It’s more a thriller that focuses on Grace’s struggle for escape when every move she makes is countered. There are serious stakes in play, which makes Grace’s fight all the more desperate.
A 2016 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee in the Mystery & Thriller category.
What were your favourite reads of January?