My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Aaaaaand we’re back for another year of My Favourite Reads. Whoop!

January turned out to be a reasonable reading month. We travelled for the last two weeks of it and I always think I’ll read a lot on the road and then never do. This time, though, I managed quite a few books (along with three or four DNFs – did-not-finishes). It was a mixed bag too, with everything from horror to women’s fiction to thrillers. Most entertaining!

My favourite though was…


The Summer Party by Rebecca Heath

The Summer Party by Rebecca HeathWhat a cracking read!

This South Australian set psychological thriller had me hooked from start to finish. The landscape was fabulous. Now, being a born and bred South Australian I probably would say that, but it really was well done. I’ve had more than my share of exposure to that nasty Southern Ocean wind and pelting rain (and also the dry, pounding heat of summer) and Rebecca Heath described it perfectly.

What was also very well done were the characters. They were fascinating. Every person in The Summer Party had their secrets, some of them more dangerous than others.

The ending was a beautiful thing too. Very thrilling!

A total page-turner. Highly recommended.


The Hike by Susi HollidayThe Hike by Susi Holliday

I was in two minds whether to include The Hike in My Favourite Reads but in the end I decided it belonged. It takes serious skill to create a story where every single character is awful and yet the book remains readable. Not only readable, in the case of The Hike, but compelling. No matter how much I wanted to put this down at times, I just couldn’t. I had to see where it went.

There are lots of twists in this thriller and the Swiss Alps setting is stunning – it made me want to trek there too, although definitely NOT with this group of hikers. Yikes!

One to keep you guessing, although you’ll probably want to toss every person in the group off a cliff.


Rule of Wolves by Leigh BardugoRule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Rule of Wolves is the second book in the King of Scars Duology – I talk about the first book, King of Scars, here – and one I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. I wish I’d got to it sooner. Bardugo writes brilliantly complicated stories and with so long between books it took me a while to get up to speed.

But get up to speed I did, and I had a rollicking time. I’ve loved the Grishaverse since reading Shadow and Bone and then gutsing down the next two books like lollywater, followed by the Six of Crows duology. The King of Scars duology has proved equally as wonderful, with amazing characters facing impossible conflicts and a plot that grabbed and wouldn’t let go.

Looking forward to seeing what Bardugo does next with the Grishaverse!


The Retreat by Nicola MarshThe Retreat by Nicola Marsh

I’ve read some of Australian author Nicola Marsh’s romances and they’ve always been entertaining. When I saw she had a gothic thriller I was in. I looooove gothic tales!

Told across dual timelines, The Retreat tells the past story of Cora, a runaway who finds sanctuary in the too-good-to-be-true Arcania, an isolated property on a coastline renowned for its shipwrecks. Then there’s the future story of Lucy, who comes to Arcania to learn about her mother who, Lucy discovered only after her death, had a strange tattoo on her foot – the symbol of Arcania.

Fantastic setting, wonderfully creepy atmosphere, lots of secrets and lies and satisfying ending. Good stuff.


Saltwater Wishes by Monique McDonellSaltwater Wishes by Monique McDonell

I really enjoyed the first two books in the Marlin Shores series and have been looking forward to Saltwater Wishes and Tony’s story. I was also keen to see how the three brothers involved solve their ongoing problem. Satisfyingly, is how I’d put it. Very satisfyingly indeed!

Tony and Mary were childhood sweethearts for whom things went very wrong. Now Tony’s back in town for a year and hard to avoid, and, wowsers, does their reunion make for an emotional story. It’s also wonderfully dramatic with an evil property developer making life difficult for the family.

A great end to an excellent series.


Stigmata by Colin FalconerStigmata by Colin Falconer

Stigmata is an historical adventure thriller set in France during the Albigensian (Cathar) Crusade, a traumatic period in history and having travelled through that part of France, one I’m a bit of a sucker for reading about.

It tells the story of Philip of Vercy who returns from the Holy Land to find his son desperately ill. When Philip hears of a miracle healer, he sets off to find her, only to run straight into the crusade at its worst, and up against a church he no longer believes in.

Much drama and battling ensues. There’s even a touch of romance. Great fun.


Exiles by Jane HarperExiles by Jane Harper

Another atmospheric and solid read from Harper. I found Exiles a lot slower than her previous books but no less compelling, and it was a good send-off for her Aaron Falk character.

The landscape was beautifully done as always but it was the intensity of the families and friendships that really struck me in Exiles. They were so well drawn. I also liked the way she wove two mysteries into the one story, both of which were nicely resolved.

I only had one niggle about the mystery but it was minor. The journey was still fun and I look forward to Harper’s next book.


Daughter of the Home Front by Jennie JonesDaughter of the Home Front by Jennie Jones

Daughter of the Home Front is a lovely story, one that’s quite emotional at times, occasionally awful, especially during the heroine, Ellen’s, incarceration (there can be no other word for it) in the “fallen” girls’ home, but one that is ultimately hopeful. It’s a story about strength and love and female friendships set against the backdrop of World War II and the social upheaval that came with it.

I had the added joy of reading Daughter of the Home Front while I was in Townsville, which is where a lot of the story takes place. It gave it extra poignancy.



The Exorcist’s House by Nick RobertsThe Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts

The Exorcist’s House is another horror novel that’s been scoring rave reviews on the Books of Horror Facebook group I’m a member of. Naturally I had to check it out.

A city couple buys a country house on acreage in an up-an-coming area with the aim of flipping it for a tidy profit. What they don’t know is that the house was previously owned by a local exorcist who just happened to fail his last job.

An old-fashioned horror with demonic possession, a battle between good and evil, well-written gruesome bits, and a super cool ending. Good stuff.


What are your favourite reads so far this year?


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