My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Welcome to another scintillating edition of My Favourite Reads.

May proved to be a big reading month with ten books read and three DNFs (did not finish). I was saddened by those DNFs because two were by authors I adore and the other had a fantastic sounding premise. I gave them all a good go too, reading between 50 and 100 pages before giving up.

I suspect it’s a mood thing though. Sometimes books, even those by favourite authors, don’t hit the spot because I’m not in the right place for them. Then later I’ll pick up the book again and carry happily on, wondering why I’d set it aside.

Does that happen to you?

Anyway, with so many books it’s hard to choose a favourite, but the book I adored the most in May was…

The House by the Sea by Louise Douglas

The House by the Sea by Louise DouglasOh, this book!

It’s been a while since I read a Louise Douglas. I read The Secrets Between Us several years ago and was mesmerised. The same with In Her Shadow. I remember saying to a friend at the time that I was so in love with these books I was going to glom Douglas’s entire backlist. For some reason I never did, but after reading The House by the Sea, it’s on my reading agenda again. Louise Douglas is awesome.

Part thriller, part lover’s reunited romance, The House by the Sea is an atmospheric, heart-wrenching story of intrigue, love, tragedy and forgiveness set in a crumbling villa in Sicily. I bawled.

Can’t recommend this one enough. Go read.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy VanderahWhere the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

A very close contender for favourite read. Very, very close.

This book has a bazillion five-star reviews on Amazon and was a Goodreads Choice finalist and sounded amazing. It was also just what I was in the mood for – a heart-tugging story with a gentle romance and a mystery for extra spice.

Gorgeously written and featuring two damaged characters and a mysterious little girl, Where the Forest Meets the Stars drew me in from the first page. All I wanted to do was wallow in it, except I couldn’t because I was too busy turning the pages to find out what happens.

Clever, interesting, romantic, and lovely. A beautiful book. I wish I’d written it.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

This is a young adult novel set in a dystopian world where an illness has swept the country infecting children on the cusp of teenagerhood. Those that survive are left with strange and terrifying powers and shipped off to rehabilitation camps. Ruby, our heroine, manages to escape her camp and so begins her journey.

This was a good read, with plenty of action and a nice romance thread, although to be honest I was annoyed at the cliff-hanger ending. I really wanted my happy-ever-after! Oh well, I guess I’ll have to read the next in the series to get it. Or hope the movie delivers, when it comes out.

We Sold Our Souls by Grady HendrixWe Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

I read a review of this book in a Saturday newspaper aaaaages ago and it sounded nutty-horror enough to be smack in my zone. Unfortunately the ebook price was ridiculous and for a long time I resisted buying, but I loved the idea so much I ended up caving in and buying the paperback (at less than half the ebook price – figure that one out).

Yup, it was as crazy as I thought, but in an entertaining way. As the title suggests, We Sold Our Souls is another version of the age-old story of selling your soul for fame and fortune. This time heavy-metal rock-god fame and fortune.

The guitar playing, rock-chick heroine Kris Pulaski was awesome.

Limelight by Emily OrganLimelight and The Rookery by Emily Organ

I’m a sucker for Victorian-era mysteries. Limelight, book one in the Penny Green Mystery Series and book two, The Rookery, hooked me with their dramatic covers and interesting sounding heroine, so I bought both at once.

Penny Green is a Fleet Street reporter – one of the few female reporters of the era – who is called upon to help Scotland Yard when an actress friend of hers is murdered. She teams up with Inspector James Blakely to investigate and much sleuthing ensues.

I liked both Limelight and The Rookery a lot and I especially appreciated the hint of (impossible) romance. The Maid’s Secret is next in the series. I think I’ll have to indulge.

Revelations of a Secret Princess by Annie WestRevelations of a Secret Princess by Annie West

This one made me teary, it was so lovely.

Revelations of a Secret Princess has a wonderful premise: Princess Caroline has found the daughter who was stolen from her at birth, except she’s in billionaire Jake Maynard’s care. And Jake isn’t about to give up his adorable niece.

Caro and Jake were gorgeous together. There were scenes that had me cheering out loud, especially the scenes in the royal palace. As for the locations… faaabulous.

Another satisfying and sigh-worthy romance from Annie West.

Fluffy by Julia KentFluffy by Julia Kent

How could I not buy this book? Mallory is a house fluffer – someone who stages houses for sale. When she sees an ad on Craigslist for a fluffer, she jumps at the chance for employment. Except it’s not that kind of fluffer and suddenly Mallory is caught by the police in a house that’s being used for a porn film. A house that belongs to the parents of her high school crush, Will. Mayhem ensues.

A romantic comedy about shedding the past and finding who you are. And fluffing.

The Wife and the Widow by Christian WhiteThe Wife and the Widow by Christian White

I loved White’s debut novel The Nowhere Child (I talk about that here). It galloped along and was a fascinating read. The Wife and the Widow had the same excellent pacing and intrigue. So much so I was rating it better than The Nowhere Child.

Then came the total WTF twist. I kept blinking at my e-reader going, “What the hell just happened?” I thought there’d been some stuff-up in the production and I’d missed a bunch of chapters but no. It was a mind-bending twist.

In the beginning I hated the twist, but that was just the shock of it. Once my head cleared, I realised it was completely brilliant.

Clever, so clever.

Endurance by JA KonrathEndurance by JA Konrath

Konrath’s horror novels are completely bonkers – just the way I like them.

Endurance was particularly nutty, featuring a creepy, isolated inn deep in a forest. The sort of place that screams loud and clear that nothing good is going to come from staying there.

I love how over-the-top Konrath’s characters are. The baddies are nuts in quirky ways and often funny because of it, but I also appreciate the strength of his female characters. They were particularly strong in Endurance and had me barracking loudly for their survival.

Icky, crazy fun. If you like that sort of thing!

What books got you excited in May?

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