My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Welcome to another edition of My Favourite Reads. Where book sharing rocks.

Woah, the year is getting away. Which is a good and a bad thing. Good, because it’s been a crappy year and bad, because I don’t like wishing time away. As I write this, I’ve read 83 books so far in 2021. Not as many as last year but I should end up with close to 100 for the year. Not bad.

October helped. It was a pretty solid reading month. The best bit? Most of my reads were faaaabulous.

The most fabulous though was…


Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

Holmes on the Range by Steve HockensmithOh! This was so much fun!

I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes stories so when I spotted Holmes on the Range in one of those daily book deal newsletters, I snapped it straight up. I am so glad I did because it turned out an absolute hoot!

Holmes on the Range is set in the U.S. wild west, in the late 1800s, and features cowboy brothers Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer. Old Red is obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and his methods of detectin’. With no other family, and determined to keep Old Red safe, his younger brother Big Red goes along for the ride.

Absolutely brilliant. Full of twists, excellent writing and characters, and laugh out loud humour. Love, love, loved it.

Next stop: On the Wrong Track. Then again, I might just buy the 5-book boxed set and go on a binge.

Incidentally, Hockensmith is the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, which were hits several years ago.


The Silent Listener by Lyn YeowartThe Silent Listener by Lyn Yeowart

We’re completely spoiled for choice with Australian fiction right now, especially with darker fiction, and I’m loving it.

The Silent Listener is a terrific Australian gothic, loaded with atmosphere and feeling. Not happy feelings either – you have been warned. This is a story of family violence, secrets, revenge, hardship and small towns. Which sounds depressing and is in a way, but the story is so compelling, so sad and so interesting I couldn’t look away.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for Yeowart’s next book.


Threadneedle by Cari ThomasThreadneedle by Cari Thomas

A lovely fat and gorgeously covered magical young adult fantasy and a very close contender for favourite read.

Friendless orphan Anna is on the cusp of having her magic “bound” when Attis and Effie enter her life. The two of them introduce her to a side of magic she never knew, and which her “binder” aunt would condemn. But Anna’s magic seems to have problems…

What happens after that is kinda mind-blowing. My eyes were boggling by the end. Threadneedle was not just twisty, it was completely twisted too. Just the way I like it.

The first book in a trilogy. YAY!


Tall Bones by Anna BaileyTall Bones by Anna Bailey

Usually I read two books at the same time – an ebook and a paperback – but as soon as I started Tall Bones I forgot all about the paperback I intended to start and read this exclusively to the end.

Tall Bones (titled Where the Truth Lies in the US) was intense. Intense, claustrophobic, and at times harrowing. If you’re looking for feel-good fiction, this is not it. On the other hand, if a compelling dark mystery floats your boat, then Tall Bones might be for you.

In a way it was a bit like The Silent Listener, although set in the USA. Both feature an insular and isolated small town, there’s family violence, gossip, and a church community that is far from Christian in behaviour, and both swing between time periods. In Tall Bones’ case, it’s between “Then” and “Now” as opposed to The Silent Listener’s more specific dates.

Very enjoyable.


The Whispering Dead by Darcy CoatesThe Whispering Dead by Darcy Coates

I’ve read a few Darcy Coates horror novels now and had fun with them all. The Whispering Dead is the first in her new Gravekeeper series and it’s a fab start too. I found it a bit lighter on the horror and frights than the others I’ve read and, weirdly for this horror-lovin’ gal, I actually enjoyed that more. I think because the book focused more on the characters than scaring the pants off me.

Sadly, I now have to wait until March next year for book two, The Ravenous Dead. Not to worry, I have Hunted already on my e-reader ready to amuse me. I’m looking forward to that one. It sounds a bit Blair Witch Project. Rah!


Tree of Life by J.F. PennTree of Life by J.F. Penn

Like many authors, I’ve been following Joanna Penn’s writing adventures for a fair while now. Her Creative Penn blog posts and podcasts and books are excellent and cover the full range of the writing and publishing industry.

I’ve always liked the premise of her ARKANE series and Tree of Life sounded an entertaining place to start. This wasn’t a long book, but it is full of action and adventure and plenty of pace. A bit like The Da Vinci Code crossed with Indiana Jones, with paranormal elements, thrills and world travel.


The Midnight Library by Matt HaigThe Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library has been a major hit. Naturally, I had to see what the fuss was about.

I was a bit worried when I began the story. Nora, the main character, is severely depressed, her life going from bad to worse in quick succession, which sounded like a complete downer. If I want something cheerless I’ll read a gothic novel. But then Nora reaches the Midnight Library and is given the chance to undo her regrets one by one and test drive a bunch of new lives. The result is a deeply moving story about how to live.


An Unwelcome Guest by Emily OrganAn Unwelcome Guest by Emily Organ

Book 7 in the Penny Green mystery series and another solid mystery featuring journalist Penny and Scotland Yard’s Inspector James Blakely.

An Unwelcome Guest was rather fun, especially the opening where Penny has been invited to dinner at the soon to be opened (and rumoured to be cursed) Tempesta Hotel. The next morning someone is dead and Penny is the prime suspect.

I do find Penny’s impetuousness a bit annoying at time but James is lovely, the mysteries are entertaining, the times interesting and the other characters amusing so I don’t mind.

Next stop: Death at the Workhouse.


The Other Emily by Dean KoontzThe Other Emily by Dean Koontz

Watchers still reigns supreme as my favourite Koontz book (with the Odd Thomas series after that) but The Other Emily was still an entertaining thriller with a clever premise and more than a few surprises.

Lots of mystery, a bit of a love story, creepy houses and some sci-fi. Nice.


What have you read lately that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear!


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