Welcome to the latest edition of My Favourite Reads, where I share the books I’ve loved over the past month and invite you to do the same.
What a cracking book month July turned out to be. I ended up reading nine books, eight of which make the list below. The ninth was a beauty too, but it was an advance copy of a young adult book from a member of my writer’s group and I can’t yet talk about it. It was amazing though.
My favourite for the month, even though it was an incredibly uncomfortable read, was…
I could not put Yellowface down. It was completely compelling. And that’s despite the unlikability of most of the characters. It was just such an extraordinary story, like a disaster that you can’t look away from. It stayed with me for quite a while afterwards too.
What is Yellowface? I’m not sure what I’d classify it as. Literary fiction? Satire? I don’t know. What I can say is that it was dark and biting and anxiety inducing, but also hugely entertaining. It’s about writing and publishing, and friendship and rivalries, and cancel culture and cultural appropriation and racism, and greed and hunger for fame. And people behaving deliciously badly.
Twisted and a whole lot of awful, voyeuristic fun. I can’t recommend Yellowface enough.
I have RF Kuang’s historical fantasy novel Babel on my ebook to-be-read pile. Think I’m going to have to crank it to the top of the list.
Book two in Anna’s Scoundrels of Mayfair series – my thoughts on book one, The Worst Lord in London, here.
Oh, I enjoyed this gorgeous historical romance featuring lovely rake Toby Sutton, the Earl of Renfrew, and reclusive but clever Viola Frain. Theirs is the most charming of meet-cutes, with Toby literally falling at Viola’s feet.
Toby and Viola’s story – Toby’s especially – had me choking up and sniffling several times. The Trouble with Earls had some really touching scenes, especially when Viola plays hero, and at dismal Brazey Castle where Toby is reminded of his difficult past. There’s also some lovely banter and plenty of heat. Actually, make that lots of heat. Viola certainly gets an excellent sensual education. Lucky girl!
Another wonderful story from Anna. I look forward to more in this series.
I’ve loved every Candice Fox I’ve read, especially the Hades series. That was awesome. Fire with Fire is a stand-alone thriller and an absolute cracker too.
What a premise! A husband and wife who believe the police haven’t done enough to find their missing daughter take hostages at a forensics laboratory and give the police 24 hours to find Tilly or they will destroy vital crime scene evidence. Charlie Hoskins spent five years undercover in a savage gang collecting some of that evidence and he’s not going to let it be sacrificed. If the police won’t search for Tilly, he will.
An absolute roller-coaster of a read, with brilliant characters, fast pacing, and a whole of twists and turns.
I read Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea early last year and absolutely adored it (my comments here) and had high hopes for Under the Whispering Door. Fortunately, it was wonderful. Perhaps not as charming and adorable as Cerulean (so hard to beat those gorgeous little monster children) but still a pretty amazing, uplifting read.
There was so much to love about this – cute setting and even cuter characters. Even Wallace, as awful as he starts out, becomes funny. And I just adored Nelson.
A book to melt your heart. I now have In the Lives of Puppets on my want list.
Cinderella’s Secret Fling is the companion novel to the fabulous Unbuttoning the Tuscan Tycoon (my comments on that here). The two books feature cousins, both on Italian summer adventures at the behest of their adored late Nonna. In Cinderella’s Secret Fling it’s Audrey’s turn and doesn’t she have a time of it!
Sigh. This was such a gorgeous book. Artist Audrey is not someone to be pushed around and it made her hugely admirable. Her new-found relatives might be incredibly wealthy and privileged, but they have the same issues and dramas as any other family, and Audrey is determined to see them come together. What she doesn’t count on is cynical sculptor Gabriel complicating things. And he’s a complication indeed!
Different in tone to Unbuttoning the Tuscan Tycoon but soooo gooood! Highly recommended.
CJ Tudor has been an auto-buy author for me since The Chalk Man (my thoughts on that story here). Her books are creepy mystery-thrillers, perhaps even edging toward horror, and pretty unputdownable.
The Drift was no different in the page-turnery stakes. Where it differs is in the time setting. The Drift occurs in the near future, during a period of enormous change and upheaval, with society crumbling and everyone fighting to survive. Not quite post-apocalyptic but getting there.
It’s hard to express how brilliantly this story was told without giving the twists away. Just believe me when I say that it’ll make your head spin with its cleverness and tension.
I loved it. The violence and inhumanity won’t make The Drift for everyone, though.
As always with an Annie West novel, Reunited by the Greek’s Baby begins with a wham. My eyes bugged out when I saw where the heroine was. Like… wowsers!
From there, the goodness just kept on coming. Theo – who thinks he can waltz right in and take over because he’s … Theo – is a wonderful hero. But I adored Isla. Her inner strength is amazing and she’s more than a match for Mr Bossy Britches. It’s this dynamic that has the relationship sizzling. That, and a slight background thrum of danger and mystery.
If you love second chance romances (and don’t we all), you’ll adore Reunited by the Greek’s Baby. It’s a beauty.
I can’t remember how many books in this James Acton Thriller series I’ve read now, but every one of them has been a blast. They’re action-packed, filled with historical titbits, humorous, fast-paced, and just fun. And you can read them in any order. Bonus.
Wrath of the Gods sees our intrepid professors visiting an archaeological site in Mexico – a site that could turn a thousand years of history on its head – only to end up the targets of a drug cartel. Much madness ensues.
I loved how J Robert Kennedy made Laura the real hero in Wrath of the Gods. She’s normally portrayed as a tough, brave and clever character, but she really shone in this episode. Total girl power.
I have the very first book in this series on my Kobo. I should probably get onto it!
What have you read lately that’s got you excited?