Welcome to My Favourite Reads! Almost nearly kinda sorta on time this month.
March proved to be a very good reading month, which is probably no surprise. I suspect many of us are taking refuge in the escapism of fiction right now. For some reason I gravitated toward a lot of crime, thriller and horror stories. No idea why. Maybe it was a way of telling myself to cheer up, things could be worse!
Also lots of white-grey covers. Very weird.
Once again I was hard pressed to pick a favourite out of the nine books I read, but after much contemplation I’ve chosen…
I really enjoyed Foley’s The Hunting Party when I read it last year (I chat about that here). I liked the way the book was structured and I also liked how all the characters had secrets, some of them quite nasty. The Guest List uses the same formula but is even more well executed. I couldn’t put it down and gobbled it all in a couple of days.
This is a suspenseful, compelling read that had me whipping through the pages. The setting – an eerie, rugged island off the Irish coast – was brilliant and the danger of its coastline and weather added to the sinister tone. There were some wonderfully awful characters, pretty much all of whom seemed capable of murder and who could have easily also been the victim.
A deliciously atmospheric murder mystery. Highly recommended. Can’t wait to read what Lucy Foley produces next!
A close contender for my favourite read, Charlotte Pass is a terrific crime novel with a lovely hint of romance set in the Australian snowfields. I thought I had the killer pegged about halfway through but nup, totally wrong. I love it when that happens. Discovering I’ve been cleverly duped gives me such a kick.
The snowfields environment and its challenges were excellently depicted and added to the atmosphere and mystery of the book. The characters were interesting and the pacing and writing accomplished. Overall, Charlotte Pass proved a first-class read.
Highly recommended. Lee Christine’s next release will be an auto-buy.
Regular readers will know how much I love horror novels, and I’m particularly partial to those by JA Konrath and Michaelbrent Collings because they’re so marvellously icky and fun. Trapped was fun, but I’m afraid it was a step too far on the icky scale, even for me. I think it’s the cannibalism thing. It’s just too ewwww.
Like Konrath’s other books, Trapped romped along with brilliantly over the top characters and all the other things I enjoy about the genre. If not for the human gobbly bits, I would have loved it and that certainly won’t stop me reading more. I already have the next in the collective, Endurance, on my e-reader.
Another contender for my favourite read. I didn’t realise this was a related book to Pretend You’re Mine (my thoughts on that here), which I read back in 2016, when it first started earning a bazillion 5-star reviews on Goodreads. In fact, when I read the gobsmackingly good Rock Bottom Girl (I rave about that here), I had no idea they were even the same author.
Anyway, Protecting What’s Mine was a hoot of a book. It has outrageous but relatable and hugely likeable characters, LOTS of heroics from both the hero and the heroine, who are awesome people, and so much luuuuuurve your heart will go all squishy-squashy.
One to make you laugh and cheer and swoon. All the good stuff.
Some of you may recall that I read the first in this series, The Gilded Shroud, last year and enjoyed it a lot (my thoughts here). The Deathly Portent has been sitting on my e-reader ever since and as I’m methodically attempting to get through books that have been on my to-be-read pile since forever, this was the next that came up.
Another enjoyable mystery and with the ‘burn the witch’ scenario also a sad reminder of how women were treated in the past.
Broken Glass was one of those deal of the day cheapies that I can’t seem to stop snapping up even though my to-be-read list is a mile long. I liked the sound of it though and let’s face it, you can never have too many books.
This is a thriller set in Munich in winter and is the first book in a series featuring Detective Nik Pohl. Fast paced and with a heavily flawed hero, Broken Glass ventures into some interesting criminal territory. Entertaining, although I did have to suspend disbelief quite a few times.
I really enjoyed this. It reminded me a lot of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men, probably because of the ruthless manhunting that takes place.
November Road is set in the ‘60s and features New Orleans mob henchman Frank Guidrey. Guidrey is as smooth as they come, his life one great game. Then President John F Kennedy is shot and Guidry suddenly realises that the loyalty he’s shown to his mob boss isn’t going to be returned. The question is, what can he do about it?
An excellent thriller with a bit of a love story. Bonus!
This was a cracking read. Intercepts is labelled a horror novel and while there are certainly some icky bits, I found it more spooky and thriller-y than horror.
The premise is a cool one, although also rather sad. Joe Gerhard runs a secret research facility but it seems the facility’s research subjects have found their way into his daughter’s mind and are hell-bent on escaping their torture. Intercepts looks at the power of the human mind and the potential to weaponise it, which is a bit like the premise behind Stephen King’s The Institute (I talk about that here), which I also enjoyed.
I’ll be looking for more from this author.
For the writerly…
What pocket rocket of a book! This is a seriously handy writing craft book specifically targeted at romance writers. There’s no mucking about with Romancing the Beat, just straight in with great advice on how to plot a romance novel by looking at the “beats” you need to hit.
Romancing the Beat can be used during the outlining/plotting phase or afterward as a story editing tool. I plan to use it to outline my next manuscript. Being more of a pantser (I generally don’t outline much and write flying by the seat of my pants), this ought to be interesting. I’m so impressed with Romancing the Beat and its potential to help me write faster that I’m determined to give it a whirl.
What fab books have you read lately?