Favourite Reads of February 2017

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Welcome again to My Favourite Reads. Considering I’ve been madly reading books for the Romance Writers of America Rita Awards (none of which I can tell you about, sorry!), I’m surprised that I still managed four personal reads. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t be because every one of them was un-put-downable and I’m hard-pressed to choose my favourite.

Seems like I say that every month but, seriously, these books were CRACKERS and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Of the four, I think my favourite – only by a whisker, mind – would have to be…

Beyond The Orchard by Anna Romer

Beyond the Orchard by Anna RomerThis is Anna’s 3rd book and while I adored Thornwood House and Lyrebird Hill (find my thoughts on the former here), Beyond the Orchard was on a whole other level.

The writing was beautiful and atmospheric, the characters real, the setting incredibly vivid but the story… oh my god, THIS STORY! It had me hooked from page one and didn’t let go.

Beyond the Orchard is a layered mystery set across different timelines. Actions from one era echo into following generations, but it’s our heroine Lucy who is determined to unravel the past. In doing so, she hopes to set herself free of the turmoil that has haunted her from childhood, and created a restlessness that drives her constantly to run.

Think mystery, romance, a big old guesthouse on the windswept Great Ocean Road (with the wonderfully creepy name of Bitterwood), and characters with dark secrets. If you’re a fan of Kate Morton or Susanna Kearsley you will love this one. It’s fantastic. Go buy it or borrow from your local library. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Extracted by RR HaywoodExtracted by RR Haywood

This was one of those Kindle First deals where, for a limited time, Amazon offers six editor’s picks in advance of release date for only $1-99 each. I’m not sure I would have discovered Extracted otherwise. I spotted it while trawling for something non-romance to give me a break from my RWA reads and it sounded a hoot, so I bought it and I’m glad I did. What a ride!

This was a funny, thrilling, violent, sweary and intriguing time-travel/sci-fi with characters that I pretty much fell in love with on introduction. Safa and Ben were awesome, but Mad Harry cracked me up completely. He was just too cool. They all were, really. I can’t wait to see what they get up to next.

A word of warning: this is book one in a trilogy and ends on a cliffhanger but the good news is that book 2, Executed, isn’t far away.  I’ll be snapping that baby up as soon as it’s released. Huge fun. Huuuuuuge!

 

Dark Water by Robert BryndzaDark Water by Robert Bryndza

If you pay any attention at all to the ebook best-seller charts on sites like Kobo and Amazon you wouldn’t have missed Robert Brydza’s previous titles The Girl in the Ice and The Night Stalker (you can read what I said about both here). They’ve been mega sellers for months now (The Girl in the Ice has sold over a million copies alone) and there’s a good reason for that – they’re completely compelling.

Dark Water is the third in this Detective Erika Foster series and doesn’t disappoint. I feel like I should have seen the twist coming but I didn’t, probably because I was too wrapped up in this fast-paced book to dwell too much on the clues. Hmm. That sounds a bit weird given this is a whodunit, but Bryndza’s books don’t give you much time to breathe, let alone think, and I’m more than happy to let myself be swept away in the story.

The next one, Last Breath, is out in April… better mark the date in my diary.

 

Making Faces by Amy HarmonMaking Faces by Amy Harmon

I cried in this. A lot. Like The Bird and the Sword, which I loved (and talk about here), it was gorgeous.

Making Faces is an incredibly touching small-town story about inner beauty, friendship and love, and I guess about war too. At times it had an almost Christian romance feel to it – which is not my thing at all – but it’s not classified as such, and the spiritual side didn’t bother me in the slightest. It felt right rather than preachy.

Ambrose, our hero, is the goods – beautiful, sporty, smart, and Fern has loved him forever. But boys like Ambrose don’t look at ugly duckling girls like Fern. Except Fern is as special as he is, perhaps even more so, and how Ambrose learns this will take your breath away.

The heartbreak and heroism in Making Faces will have you reaching for the tissues but never fear, this is a romance. A happily-ever-after ending is always there.

Next stop on my Amy Harmon reading journey is From Sand and Ash, already locked ‘n loaded on my e-reader and ready to go. Whoop!

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What were your favourite reads of February?

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14 thoughts on “Favourite Reads of February 2017

  1. Ros Simmonds

    Oh dear. I shouldn’t read your Tuesday Teasers. My Kobo library has just been well and truly added to. I should be sewing, embroidering, heaven forbid even doing housework as well as working full time.

    But is’s my day off and with a few hours due at the hairdresser for my 6 weekly touch up I am well and truly set for a pleasurable day.

  2. Jessy

    Hi! Cathryn,

    Got to read only two books in February and a picture book. The books are— The house at the bottom of the hill book 3 of the Swallow’s Fall and The Mother’s promise by Sally Hepworth. The picture book is My silly Mum by Monique Mulligan.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Jennie will be delighted to hear you read The House at the Bottom of the Hill, Jessy. She’s such a lovely person and it was a joy to catch up with her on the weekend at the Australian Romance Readers Convention.
      I’m hearing excellent things about Sally Hepworth’s books. Must try one out.
      Thanks so much for sharing. I adore hearing what others are reading.

  3. Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Thought you might have loved Beyond the Orchard and found it spellbinding, Cathryn. I loved the many timelines and could follow the story and the many characters with no worries. Brilliant book!

    Ooh, all those books sound fantastica and already added to my to read list. But I’m particularly interested in the book Making Faces. In 2008 a friend loaned me a book titled At the Scent of Water by Linda Nichols, a christian romance book and it was superb. I would love to find more books by this author so the one by Amy Harmon would be right up my alley. I do love reading books with a spiritual side to them they’re always so sweet.

    I read 6 books last month only one I wasn’t so keen on which was My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. The other five were pretty good – Murder Most Unusual by Michelle Somers, Love Anthony by Lisa Genova, The Long Paddock by Alissa Callen, A very Special Holiday Gift by Barbara Hannay and Who Killed the Bride by Lily Malone. Lily’s book is a short story but a wonderful and fun read about two friends hosting a murder mystery party. Haven’t read one like that before, very enjoyable.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I agree, Sue. Beyond the Orchard was stunning. Her best.

      I’m so intrigued about your thoughts on the Ferrante. People are RAVING about those books. I keep meaning to try one but I’m not sure it’ll be my thing. Might have to borrow it from the library or just try a sample so I won’t get grumpy if I don’t like it. Michelle Somers was at ARRC and I thought her new one looked really cool. Another I’ll have to try. Alissa is coming on Teaser Tuesday next week with a giveaway for The Long Paddock!

      Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Cathryn, I wrote a review for My Brilliant Friend on Goodreads if you’re interested, I must tell you though it’s not a favourable review. We’re friends on Goodreads but I’m not sure if you see any of my reviews as you may have many friends that add things and some friends posts are easily missed.

    You might not want to start the book Cathryn as there are four in the series. The girls only reach the age of 16 in My Brilliant Friend so to know their entire story I guess all four must be read. I’m hoping the second one is better. I’m peeved when a book I find not to my taste, read it and then to discover it belongs to a series.

    Michelle’s book is amazing, very long but an easy read but oh so spine-chilling. I want it in print so bad. Steven and I are hoping to meet up with Michelle this year sometime and I’ll grab a copy off her then. Love the cover.

    Oh, if I had of known I would’ve held off buying The Long Paddock, but as I haven’t any of her books on my shelf I just had to buy one as soon as it was released. They don’t stay on the shop shelves long enough.

  5. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    I should be able to check out your review, Sue. I’m interested in what you have to say because people rave about these books but my gut is telling me they won’t be my thing. You never know, though. I could end up a raver too.

    Sorry about The Long Paddock! You can still enter and win a signed copy for yourself or April.

  6. Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Did you see my review, Cathryn? What will it be, a yay or nay on the books? Lol.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I did read it, Sue!! Definitely sounds like a book where I should either try an ebook sample first or borrow from the library, just in case. Must admit, it doesn’t sound my thing but when there are so many people raving it’s hard not to at least give it a go.

      1. Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

        It’s hard to believe that so many people gush about this book but it possibly could be that I wasn’t into it because I wasn’t ready to read it but had no choice. When I pick up the second one I’ll make sure it’s when I’m ready for it and it will be interesting to see if I feel any different.
        If you don’t give it a go, Cathryn, you’ll always be wondering…

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