My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Welcome to another excellent edition of My Favourite Reads, actually on time this month. Rah!

There are two things lockdown has been good for: finally testing out recipes I’ve had on my to-make pile since forever, and reading. While the former has been a bit hit and miss, the latter has been kicking goals. Everything I’ve been reading has been fab.

My favourite read of April though was…

Well, actually it was Watchers by Dean Koontz but that’s a re-read so I’m not counting it.

So the title goes to…

The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon

The First Girl Child by Amy HarmonI’ve been a huge fan of Amy Harmon since reading her fantasy novel The Bird and the Sword, which was just magical. It’s sequel, The Queen and the Cure, was good too and I have LOVED her other novels (read From Sand and Ash, folks – my thoughts on that here), so I was expecting a lot from The First Girl Child.

It delivered, giving me all the emotion and rich writing and romance I expect with a Harmon novel. The worldbuilding was fabulous. It was like I was there with Bayr and Alba and Dagmar and Ghost on Temple Hill, and the tension with King Banruud was fantastic.

Think Norse mythology with curses, romance, mystery, blood runes, incredible heroism, and beautiful writing. Sighworthy.

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So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon RonsonSo You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

My second favourite read of April, missing out on the title only because it was such a frightening book.

No, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is not a horror, it’s a must-read non-fiction title that examines the devastating impact of social media shamings (and other contemporary and historical methods of shaming) on individuals and society. Oh my god, some of the instances Ronson investigates are awful. Those poor people. As for the misogyny of much of the carry on… grrrr.

This book made me want to delete my Twitter account. Seriously scary.

The Crossing Places by Elly GriffithsThe Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Friends have been urging me to try this series for years. I read Griffiths’ The Stranger Diaries last year (my thoughts on that here) and enjoyed it and had intended to borrow The Crossing Places from the library. Then recently I spotted the ebook on sale and naturally snapped it up.

I’m glad I did because The Crossing Places was a very enjoyable read with great characters and a fabulous setting. I’d be borrowing book two, The Janus Stone, from the library right now, but He Who Shall Remain Nameless is hogging the iPad and gobbling down Rachel Caine’s brilliant Great Library series, so it will have to wait.

Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea PenroseMurder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

I’m a sucker for historical murder mysteries and I couldn’t resist buying this one when I spotted this Regency period mystery. The blurb and cover sounded smack in my zone.

Murder on Black Swan Lane proved an entertaining read. The heroine Charlotte’s (aka AJ Quill) occupation as a satirical cartoonist was something I hadn’t come across before and I thought it clever how that was woven into the plot. Charlotte also had plenty of courage and proved a feisty match for her unlikely partner-in-investigation the Earl of Wrexford, which made their interactions a lot of fun. In fact, there are a lot of fun characters here, including Wrexford’s valet and Charlotte’s little scallywag friends.

This is book one in the Wrexford and Sloane series.

edemption of the Maverick Millionaire by Michelle DouglasRedemption of the Maverick Millionaire by Michelle Douglas

Another highly satisfying Michelle Douglas romance. The characters in Redemption of the Maverick Millionaire were gorgeous and the romance… ooh! When I discovered what the hero Damon had done in the past I was like, “There is noooooo getting back from that, buddy.” But having read quite a few Michelle Douglas romances I had every faith she’d get me, Damon and Eve through this conflict. Which she did, with impressive skill too.

The NSW north coast setting was completely dreamy, but it was the community feel of the coastal village that really got to me. I really hope there’s a return to Mirror Glass Bay. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming and healing place.

Oh, and the book’s opening is an absolute cracker.

A fab romance that had me seriously worried for the hero and heroine. Gotta love that!

Watchers by Dean KoontzWatchers by Dean Koontz

I bought Watchers in paperback in the 90s when it first released and adored it so much I read it several more times, turning my copy rather tatty. Eventually, I bit the bullet and let it go during one of our many house moves, telling myself that I’d just borrow Watchers from the library if I wanted to read it again.

Ah, but this is now the time of ebooks and when it came on sale I was all YES!!! and immediately snapped up Watchers because… this book! It has a dog! A golden retriever doggy! The most special doggy in the world! And a wonderfully gentle romance featuring a couple who will do whatever it takes to keep Einstein and each other safe.

It’s brilliant. And so is the author’s Afterword, where Koontz laughing laments that Watchers is so beloved that even when he’s at a booksigning in the twilight of his life, with an IV line and a nurse, drooling and holding an ear trumpet, a significant percentage of fans will tell him that while they’ve enjoyed all his other works, Watchers is still be the best thing he’s done.

I can’t help but agree. Watchers is awesome. Go read.

By a Thread by Lucy ScoreBy a Thread by Lucy Score

The new release from Lucy Score, an author who first came to my attention with Pretend You’re Mine and Protecting What’s Mine, but cemented my fandom with Rock Bottom Girl (read my rave about that book here).

I love how when she was writing this book Score called it Grumpy Grump Face, a title which became so adored by fans that there’s a specially commissioned Grumpy Grump Face cover on the inside of By A Thread. It’s apt too because Dominic proved a very cranky hero indeed. In fact, he’s a complete arsehole, getting the heroine Ally sacked from her waitressing job on their first encounter. But this is a romance and of course beneath that grumpy exterior lies a heart of gold, even if is deeply buried.

It was interesting that these were older characters too. Dominic is 44 and Ally is 39. I have Score’s Undercover Love on my e-reader waiting for me now.

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What fab books have floated your boat lately?

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