My Favourite Reads banner 2020

It’s My Favourite Reads time again, where I share the fabulous books I read over the previous month and (usually) pick a favourite.

No favourite today though. I’m not in a choosing frame of mind!

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The Cylon Curse by J. Robert KennedyThe Cylon Curse by J. Robert Kennedy

Kennedy’s James Acton Thrillers (of which there are nearly thirty) are a blast. Mythology, archaeology, and bad dudes trying to steal history, these books are real page turners. I can bowl one over in a day or so.

In The Cylon Curse, Acton and his wife Laura are called to a dig in Athens where objects have been going missing. As usual, mayhem quickly ensues, and all the gang arrives to sort the mess out.

Adventure and action and lots of entertainment. Pure escapism.

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The Clockwork Crow by Catherine FisherThe Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher

When I spotted this children’s novella on sale, I just couldn’t help myself. What’s not to love about an orphan being sent by train deep into Wales to a house made dark with mourning and secrets?

The Clockwork Crow was a fast and delightful read. Seren was a terrific heroine, clever and brave, and the vain clockwork crow was a lot of fun. There’s kindness and grumpiness and fairies and a missing boy and locked rooms that just beg to be opened. In other words, all the good things.

A fabulous adventure.

Book two, The Velvet Fox is also available. I may have to indulge…

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If It Bleeds by Stephen KingIf It Bleeds by Stephen King

An enjoyable collection of four novellas by King. The only story that left me a bit frowny was The Life of Chuck but the rest were great. I especially enjoyed seeing what Holly (from Mr Mercedes etc) was up to in If It Bleeds. She’s such a great character. King says in his Afterword how much he loves Holly and I think it shows.

But my favourite was Rat. The main character Drew is trying to write a novel, something he’s attempted a few times. When Drew described his struggles, I could totally relate.

“Sitting hunched over the laptop, sweating, resisting the urge to pound his forehead until he jarred the right descriptive phrase loose.”

Yup. Totally relate!

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Hidden City by Alan BaxterHidden City by Alan Baxter

I’ve been following British-Australian author Alan Baxter on Twitter for a while now. As a horror author, he was smack in my reading interest zone and when he announced a special offer for Hidden City, I snapped it up.

I mean, what’s not to want with a creepy fungus zombie story?

Such an interesting premise too, with our hero Steven Hines harbouring a special connection with his city. The kind of connection where he and the city “talk” to one another. Except the city is ailing, chaos has broken out, and to save her – and himself – Hines must take action.

Skin-crawly atmosphere, really cool characters, bonkers fungi and eeeeviiiiil. Fab.

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The Survivors by Jane HarperThe Survivors by Jane Harper

Couldn’t put it down.

I’m not sure I need to say much more. Those who have read Harper’s The Lost Man are already familiar with how brilliant the author can be and while I think that book is still my favourite, The Survivors was undoubtably a cracker too. I honestly could not stop reading.

Next please!

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The House Next Door by Darcy CoatesThe House Next Door by Darcy Coates

What a serendipitous discovery. Darcy Coates is not only a talented horror/thriller/mystery author, she’s Australian! With a juicy backlist!

The House Next Door is, as you can probably guess from the cover, a haunted house story and I do love one of those, even if they tend to keep me awake at night thinking fretty things about my own house.

Wonderfully atmospheric, The House Next Door was sinister, tense and a complete page turner. It even had creepy dolls to freak me out even more. So much to love.

I’ve already added a couple more Darcy Coates titles to my ebook collection. Yay!

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Marry in Secret by Anne GracieMarry in Secret by Anne Gracie

Honestly, this Marriage of Convenience series is such a delight. As with all the Anne Gracies I’ve read, the characters are complete joys to be with.

In Marry in Secret it’s Rose’s turn for a wedding but it turns out she’s already married. And what delicious drama and scandal ensues when that’s discovered!

Another fab edition to the series, loaded with Anne’s trademark humour but covering plenty of meaty topics too and a nice mystery for extra spice.

Next up: Marry in Scarlet.

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Spinning Silver by Naomi NovikSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver has been on my ‘want to read’ list ever since its release. I absolutely adored Uprooted, it was one of my favourite reads of 2015, and I enjoyed the first three books in her Temeraire dragon series too. Spinning Silver would have been an auto-buy but the ebook price was a bit up-there and I’ve been waiting for it to come on sale. Which hasn’t happened. Sigh. So I caved in and bought it.

While Uprooted remains my #1 Novik favourite, Spinning Silver was a good read. Its Russian folktale feel reminded me a lot of Katherine Arden’s brilliant Winternight books. What I really like about Spinning Silver, as with Uprooted (and the Winternight series), was the strength of the heroines. They’re smart, resourceful and brave. Much cheering on was had!

Novik’s new release, A Deadly Education, has just hit stores. I’ll be buying.

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What wonderful books have you read lately?

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8 Responses

  1. As usual, I’m impressed by the range and number of your books, Cathryn. I’m waiting to get my hands on Jane Harper’s latest, in particular.

    My newly discovered author is Katja Ivar. Missed her first book but read the second in her series about Finnish detective Hella Mauzer in 1050s Helsinki, called ‘Deep as Death’. I’ll have to go back and read the first one now. I do love female protagonists who are individuals!

    • I really like the sound of that Katja Ivar series, Annie. I never went to Finland and a story set there would be fascinating, especially one set in THAT period. So much going on! The other day I snapped up a paperback set during the Hussite wars simply because I don’t know anything about the period. I’m hoping it’ll be worth it.
      Ooh, just checked. Those Katja Ivars are well priced in ebook. I may have to indulge!

  2. I’ve been eyeing the Naomi Novik books ever since you mentioned them, and her newest one “Deadly” looks fab as well. It’ll be on my Santa list. But I might have to indulge in Uprooted before then.

    I’ve been enjoying the Anne Gracie series too. My favourite recent read was The Last Migration thanks to you recommendation. Utterly extraordinary book!

    • I’m so glad you loved The Last Migration too, Michelle. It was such a powerful read and so beautifully done.
      Ooh, I hope you read Uprooted. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
      Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Always fun checking out your favourite reads, Cathryn. I have 2 of Jane Harper’s books on my shelf, if only I had time to start reading her first one but it won’t be happening any time soon as I made a list of 24 authors I need to read next year, you being one of them 🙂
    I must tell April about The House Next Door, she’s always on the lookout for haunted house stories, she loooves them so much, and add creepy dolls to the mix… she’s going to be in seventh heaven lol. She collects old creepy looking dolls.

    I read some good and some first rate books last month:
    Identity Crisis by Ben Elton – love his satirical sense of humour. His voice on audio is awesome.
    The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride by Annie West – not bad but sheikh stories aren’t my thing, I have a few more of Annie’s sheikh’s to get through but looking more forward to reading her Italian and Greek stories.
    A Beautiful Place to Die (Book 1) by Malla Nunn – a crime story set in Africa – really enjoyed it but it’s brutal and sad. Humphrey Bower’s narration is excellent though.
    Marge and the Pirate Baby by Isla Fisher – whacky adventures and Isla narrating is a hoot.
    One Step by Andrew Daddo – a YA novel about a teenager and bullying. Another book read by the author
    A Man Called Yarra by Stan Yarramunua – A genuine rags-to-riches tale (audio)
    The next four books are beyond outstanding, can’t rave about these enough…absolutely stunning. Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (audio), Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (audio), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (audio) and Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry.

    • Oh, I am so happy you read Malla Nunn, Sue! That series was amazing. Sadly, she seems to be no longer writing it but, gawd, they were good stories. Such a fascinating period and an even more fascinating character. I hope you read the rest in the series. They’re well worth it.
      As usual, a fantastic range of books for you. You’re really getting into audio, aren’t you? I have Boy Swallows Universe in ebook and have yet to read it, but I have read Where the Crawdad Sings and enjoyed it too, and I’ve heard wonderful things about Seven Husbands and Nineteen letters. As usual, so many books and not enough time!
      Thanks so much for sharing. I really enjoy hearing what you’ve read.
      And I hope April gets on to Darcy Coates. The House Next Door was fun and it’s nice to promote a fellow Aussie author.

      • Ooh, you’ve read Malla Nunn’s series, that’s so cool. I sure will, once I start a series I must finish it, I have all the Detective Emmanuele Cooper books bar the last one which I’ll probably listen to on audio. Such a shame she is no longer continuing with the series.
        Yeah, the more I listen to audiobooks the more I love them, it took about 10 audiobooks to get the hang of listening and not tuning out now I can listen to a 12 hour book within two to three days and they’re so much fun and helping me get through my TBR faster.
        If I can’t find The House Next Door on my op shop book travels I’ll borrow it from the library and once I’ve read it I’ll pass it onto April.

        • That’s great about your audio reading, Sue. I really should give it a go but the most workable time for me to do so would be on my morning walks and that’s when I try to think about my own stories.

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