Sunshiny spring greetings from bookloverland and thanks for dropping by for the latest edition of My Favourite Reads.
I had a fabulous reading month in September and finished eight books. Unfortunately, there were a couple of DNFs (did not finish) on top of those, and one that won’t be making it on my favourite reads list despite me enduring to the end.
That latter book had some fun elements, including a gorgeous hero, great setting and entertaining side characters. Alas, I struggled with its heroine. All I wanted to do was smack some sense into her! From its gazillion five-star reviews, it appears I’m in the minority. That’s books for you though.
Anyway, of the books I read, I pretty much loved all of them. Like, really loved. I had planned to choose an overall favourite but… too hard. So I’m giving two books my favourite of the month title.
The first is…
Wow. What a cracking read. It was lucky (?) we we’re in lockdown when I started Billy Summers because there wasn’t much else getting done once I did. I spent a delightful weekend lounging on the back deck unable to lift my head from its pages.
As always with a King novel, the characters are completely compelling. Billy is a hit man who’s on his final job but it’s proving to be one with problems. Four hundred plus pages of storytelling brilliance follows. I can’t tell you how invested I was in Billy. He was wonderful company.
Equal favourite read with Billy Summers is Once There Were Wolves.
This was another stunning read from McConaghy. Migrations, which I read last year (my thoughts on that here), blew me away with its beauty and power, and Once There Were Wolves did the same. Gorgeous writing, wonderful, complex characters, and a fascinating setting and subject (the re-wilding of wolves into the Scottish Highlands), all wrapped in a murder mystery.
Fabulous, fabulous stuff. I can’t recommend McConaghy enough. She’s now cemented on my auto-buy list.
I quite enjoyed this psychological thriller set in Cornwall. There were plenty of twists and I liked how many of the characters start off appearing well-balanced and normal but end up far from it.
At the heart of The Reunion is the mystery of little Eleanor’s disappearance. Left in the charge of her teenage sister Clare, Eleanor heads off by herself to buy an icecream only to never return. The family remain anchored to the family farm, clinging to the hope that she’ll somehow find her way home. Except that never happens and when the family patriarch’s Alzheimer’s worsens, the decision is made to sell the farm. As a last hurrah, Clare invites all the friends that were present when Eleanor disappeared to a reunion. Then things start falling apart.
Lots of secrets, some shocking events, and plenty of intrigue to kept hooked. I did guess the culprit but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the ride. So much so I’ve already bought Hayes’ latest release, The Trapped Wife.
A page-turning young adult thriller that was a bit ‘Silence of the Lambs’ movie and set in the early 1980s. I’m showing my age here, but that time frame gave me a lot of pleasure. All that forgotten pop culture!
I’ve read Australian author Ellie Marney’s Circus Hearts: All The Little Bones and Every Move and enjoyed them both but None Shall Sleep is definitely my favourite so far. There’s a serial killer on the loose, two clever teens with dark histories seconded to the FBI’s newly established Behavioural Science section, a Hannibal Lector type character for extra creepiness, and a plot that gallops and twists along.
Hugely entertaining with a satisfying, drama-packed climax.
Another Australian author and a seriously close contender for favourite read.
This gothic Australian novel was very disturbing and hung in my mind long after I turned the final page. Definitely shades of Wuthering Heights in Sargasso.
The titular Sargasso is not the sea but a house designed by the heroine Hannah’s brilliant architect father. The story moves backwards and forwards between Hannah’s childhood and the present. We learn of her friendship with Flint – an intense friendship that is as disquieting as it is strong, and which is only broken when tragedy strikes the family. When Hannah returns to Sargasso as an adult, her friendship with Flint is rekindled. To the point of obsession.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for Kathy George’s next book.
A story within a story, Horrorshow is a novel about a man who returns to his hometown for his sister’s wedding, only to find the town has become even weirder than he remembered. Then the bodies start piling up.
Horrorshow was a bit of a mind-twister and quite bonkers, and if you’ve followed My Favourite Reads for a while, you’ll know that puts it smack in my zone.
Even though it was quite light on the horror slasher-ing and even poked fun at the genre, Horrorshow reminded me hugely of the movies I used to watch as a teenager. Films like ‘Friday 13th’ and ‘Evil Dead’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’. And ‘Scream’, although I’d kind of moved on by the time the ‘Scream’ franchise got going.
A beautiful and moving story set in two timelines, one contemporary and the other just before the outbreak of the First World War. Think old houses and secrets and lots of atmosphere. If you like Kate Morton, you’ll probably enjoy this.
Unashamedly romantic, The Letter covers many aspects of love, from its creation to its loss, the sometimes impossibility of it, and how it can entrench loyalties as well as tear them apart.
Lush writing and sympathetic characters, The Letter made me cry. A lot.
I’ll be checking out Ruth Saberton’s other titles. The Promise looks a good place to start.
What have you read lately that’s got you excited?