My Favourite Reads banner 2020

What a fabulous reading month August turned out to be! I read eight books, seven of which I’m featuring here. (The leave-out was a collection of short stories that was a tad disappointing.)

I’m not going to choose an overall favourite simply because there are too many contenders. So here are my favourite August reads in no particular order.


Dying Fall by Elly GriffithsDying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Gawd, I’m enjoying Griffiths’ Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries series and I especially loved Dying Fall. This is close to the best so far.

Ruth receives news that an old university buddy has died in a tragic house fire, but when a letter from him turns up only a few days later hinting at trouble over one of his excavations, Ruth’s nose twitches. Naturally, she decides to take a closer look.

What follows is a wonderfully twisty tale loaded with danger. The ending, involving one of my favourite characters, had my heart in my throat.

Next stop, The Outcast Dead.


Cradle Lake by Ronald MalfiCradle Lake by Ronald Malfi

Ooh, this was a creepy one, which is exactly what I expect from horror writer Malfi.

When Alan Hammerstun inherits a house from his late uncle, he sees it as a new start for him and his wife Heather. Except things aren’t what they seem in their sleepy new town. Strange birds watch him from the forest edge, an apparently indestructible vine keeps invading his home, and a hidden lake in the forest behind the house keeps calling him. Then things get really weird.

Cradle Lake reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Probably why I liked it.


Beyond the End of the World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerBeyond the End of the World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Woah, this was good! So good I’m rating Beyond the End of the World even higher than the first book in the duology, The Other Side of the Sky (which I talk about here). A fantastic finish, leaving one very happy reader.

I just loved how everything went from bad to worse for poor Nimh and North. So many setbacks and yet there was always that flicker of hope driving them forward, no matter what the expense to themselves.

Sigh-worthy romance, action galore, treachery, friendship, skilled world-building, wonderful characters… Beyond the End of the World was brilliant. I can’t wait to see what Kaufman and Spooner produce next.


The Paris Apartment by Lucy FoleyThe Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

I loved Foley’s previous two thrillers, The Hunting Party (my thoughts here) and The Guest List (my thoughts here). They were twisted tales and it felt like you couldn’t trust any of the characters. The Paris Apartment was a bit the same, except we know the heroine is innocent. Mostly.

When down and out Jess tries to visit her half-brother in his posh Parisian apartment block, she finds him mysteriously missing. Unsettled, she begins to investigate only to find that the apartment block’s inhabitants aren’t impressed with her arrival and that her brother may not be the man she thought.

Although I didn’t love The Paris Apartment as much as the previous two, it was compelling and enjoyable, and I’ll still auto-buy Foley’s next.


The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra PatrickThe Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Gosh, this was a terrific book and I’m so glad I picked it up. Mind you, I always find it hard to resist stories set around libraries or bookstores. They’re lovely!

The Library of Lost and Found is the story of Martha, a middle-aged volunteer librarian who is desperate for a full-time position at her beloved local library. Martha’s a helper, a quality that is appreciated by many and often abused. She gave up love to care for her elderly parents, library patrons burden her with ridiculous chores, her (pig of a) boss loads her with drudge work because she has no other life, and even her sister exploits her as a babysitter. But when a stranger leaves a mysterious book written by Martha’s grandmother at the library, her life changes.

A gorgeous story of self-discovery and family secrets. Highly recommended.


The Gilded Ones by Namina FormaThe Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

This was a cracking read. A young adult fantasy set in a deeply (horribly!) patriarchal world, The Gilded Ones revolves around Deka, a girl sentenced to death when her impurity is discovered – she bleeds gold instead of red, signalling that she is not human but demon.

Given a choice of death or to fight the invading Deathshrieks for the emperor, Deka chooses the later, and so her training and war begins. So do the twists. Lots of them. The Gilded Ones is loaded with surprises, which made this a super page-turner. I think I read it in under two days it was so compelling.

My only whinge is that I would have liked the romance better fleshed out but that’s a minor part of the book and understandable.

Book two, The Merciless Ones, is dead in my sights.


For the writerly…


7-Figure Fiction by T. Taylor7-Figure Fiction by T. Taylor

7-Figure Fiction has been getting some serious buzz in writer loops and groups, as well as rave reviews on Amazon etc. Naturally, I had to find out what the fuss was about.

The book discusses and identifies Universal Fantasies – the X factor(s) that take a good book to the next level and gets readers buzzing. Discovered when the author had three books hit the heady heights of Amazon’s overall top 100 and wanting to know what they had versus her other releases, Taylor calls these factors the ‘butter on top’ and urges you to determine what makes certain books in your genre buttered, with tools on how to achieve that.

To be honest, I’m still trying to get my head around the ideas Taylor presented. I can kinda see what she means about the ‘butter’, but I think a re-read is in order. A re-read and hopefully a discussion with one of my writing groups.

I like the idea though. A lot.


What have you read lately that had that buttered buzz? Share away!


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