My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Welcome to another scintillating edition of My Favourite Reads, where I do my very best to add to your to-be-read piles and excitedly wait for your recommendations for mine.

Because book sharing is good sharing.

I’m a reading roll at the moment and making particular use of my local library’s ebook collection, which is nice, not to mention saving the credit card. Ten books all up in February and no “Did Not Finishes”, although there was one I read to the end and still wish I hadn’t wasted my time. It’s hard to stop sometimes. There’s always that optimism a book will redeem itself. Alas, this one didn’t. Naturally, you will not be reading about said book in My Favourite Reads!

There were several I could have easily given the My Favourite Reads gold star to, and for a while I pondered not awarding one because choosing was so tricky, but in the end I’ve decided to go for…


The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

The Prison Healer by Lynette NoniWowsers, this young adult fantasy was good.

Everyone who passes through Zalindov’s gates is meant to die behind its highly protected walls but as its resident healer, Kiva does her best to ease her fellow prisoners’ lot.

Then the recently captured Rebel Queen is brought under Kiva’s care. She’s at death’s door yet still expected to face a Trial by Ordeal. Aware the woman has no chance of surviving even the first challenge, Kiva volunteers in her place. If Kiva can conquer all four challenges, both she and the Rebel Queen will go free. But no one has ever made it that far. Ever.

Oh, you clever, clever author, Ms Noni! The end twist in The Prison Healer was masterfully done. Now I’m going to have to read The Gilded Cage to see what happens. Then I’ll be ready for the third and final instalment, The Blood Traitor, in June.

By the way, Lynette Noni is an Australian author.


The Watchers by A.M. ShineThe Watchers by A.M. Shine

I’m not sure how I came to pick up this horror but I’m glad I did. The Watchers has a great premise – after becoming lost in an decaying and impenetrable Connemara forest, Mina finds unexpected sanctuary in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall. Dark is when the Watchers come above ground to observe their captive humans.

The Watchers was claustrophobic and menacing, just the way I like my horrors, and I enjoyed the Irish folklore theme too. A couple of bits could have been tighter but overall this was a clever story with excellent characters, good suspense, and wonderfully murderous critters. I particularly appreciated the ending too.


Demon by Matt WesolowskiDemon by Matt Wesolowski

Regular readers will know how much I adore Wesolowski’s Six Stories series. Demon is the sixth book so far and given the ending I fear it may be the last. Please don’t let this be so!

In Demon, Wesolowski’s podcaster protagonist Scott King investigates the 1995 murder of a child by two other children. As with all the Six Stories books, things are never as cut-and-dried as they seem. What no one can work out is why the “Demonic Duo” killed. King digs into this with his six interviews and things get creeeepy.

Changeling is still my favourite of the Six Stories and Deity too, but Demon was an excellent read and I’ll be buying the next. If there is one. If there isn’t, I’ll probably buy whatever Wesolowski releases anyway. His writing is fabulous.


The Crack in the Lens by Steve HockensmithThe Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith

The Crack in the Lens finds our ‘deducifying’ duo Old Red and Big Red investigating a tragedy from Old Red’s previous life as a cowpoke. Naturally, much mystery and mayhem ensue.

It’s hard to express how much I love this quirky series. The Amlingmeyer brothers’ antics make me laugh out loud and the mystery is always compelling too, as is the wild west action, and don’t get me started on Otto’s (Big Red) narration – so funny. But it’s the characters that keep me coming back. They are truly wonderful. Not just the brothers. All of them. And we had all sorts in this one, from an evangelist preacher with an eye to saving Old Red, to hard working cathouse girls, gangsters and more.

I can’t recommend The Holmes on the Range series enough. It’s a blast. Next up: World’s Greatest Sleuth.


House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A CraigHouse of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig

I really enjoyed this gothic young adult fantasy. Highmoor is Annaleigh’s family’s isolated island mansion, but it has been the scene of too many tragedies for it to ever be a happy place. Annaleigh’s sisters keep dying and whispers of a curse abounds. Annaleigh decides to investigate…

Hooly-dooly, House of Salt and Sorrows was loaded with twists. Just when I thought I had a grip on what was going on, the story shot in another direction. It made for a page-turnery ride, that’s for sure, and some of the scenes were deliciously icky.

I have my beady eye on Craig’s latest release, Small Favours. I have a feeling it might be even better than House of Salt and Sorrows.


Death in Delft by Graham BrackDeath in Delft by Graham Brack

This 17th century murder mystery was a lot of fun. Three girls go missing in Delft, with the body of one later found in a shallow grave. The mayor calls on Master Mercurius, a university cleric from Leiden, to investigate.

From Death in Delft’s opening lines we get the full impact of Mercurius’s wonderful narrative voice. He’s an intriguing and somewhat irreverent character harbouring a significant personal secret, and was excellent reading company as he followed the meagre clues on offer.

Atmospheric and fascinating with even a cameo by artist Vermeer. Excellent. I’ve already bought the next two in the series.


Three Times Tempted by Anna CampbellThree Times Tempted by Anna Campbell

From the moment I finished Two Secret Sins I’ve been hankering for Three Times Tempted and Imogen’s story. With her mad passion for garden design, she’s such a lovely character and deserves a happily ever after. Mind you, anyone who had to suffer under Lord Deerforth deserves one. That man is horrid.

Caleb… sigh, sigh, sigh. What a gorgeous hero. I couldn’t have asked for a better match for Imogen. He’s brave and kind and loves garden design as much as she does. Watching these two court in secret was a delight. Even in the face of terrible danger Caleb protects her. But that’s love, isn’t it?

Adored the ending. So much drama! So much swashbuckling fun! So much excellent comeuppance-ing!

Very much looking forward to whatever Ms Campbell produces next.


The Cane by Maryrose CuskellyThe Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly

When The Cane popped up as a new edition to my library’s e-book collection I couldn’t click fast enough. I’d had it on my paperback to-buy list so I could share it with my mother-in-law but an insta-read was too irresistible.

Set in north Queensland in the 1970s, The Cane digs into the workings of a small rural town left on edge when a local girl goes missing. This was a slow burn of a book in which the canefields become a (sinister) character themselves, and the racism and sexism of the era are exposed in all their awfulness.

Well written and interesting, with a fast and furious climax.


Floating Staircase by Ronald MalfiFloating Staircase by Ronald Malfi

I was very excited to see this backlist title from Ronald Malfi on sale and snapped it up straight away. December Park, Bone White and The Night Parade were awesome reads and I was confident Floating Staircase would be the same.

So it proved to be.

Floating Staircase was an atmospheric and superbly paced story that had me hooked from beginning to end. I guess you could call this a haunted house story but maybe it’d be more accurate to call it a haunted person story.

Whatever you call it, Floating Staircase was bloody good. LOTS of chills.


What books have given you the chills or warm fuzzies lately?


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