My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Welcome to another bookalicious edition of My Favourite Reads!

I’m surprised how much I read in August. Between the Romance Writers of Australia conference (which was a blast, as always) and the first lot of edits landing for The Grazier’s Son, I didn’t have a lot of reading time. Yet, somehow, I managed to read eight books.

Not all are included here. There was a horror that was disappointing, and I probably should have set down but it had rave reviews so I kept on going, and a much-hyped thriller I didn’t find terribly thrillery.

Fortunately the others made up for it. So well that this month I’ve chosen two overall favourite reads. The first is…


Treasure and Dirt by Chris Hammer

Cover of Treasure and Dirt by Chris HammerI read Chris Hammer’s debut novel Scrublands back in 2018 and enjoyed it (read my comments on that here). He’s a skilled author when it comes to creating atmosphere, especially heat and the Australian outback, and Treasure and Dirt had the same quality. But for me, the pacing and mystery of this one was much more compelling.

Set in a fictional opal mining town of Finnigans Gap (loosely based on Lightning Ridge in north-western NSW), Treasure and Dirt follows Detective Sargeant Ivan Lucic and colleague Nell Buchanon as they try to solve the murder of a crucified opal miner. There are twists and turns galore and fantastic characters, including a couple of bogan-style billionaires alongside the eccentric and wholly believable locals. The (self-described) mayor of one of the camps in particular was a blast!

I really enjoyed this mystery and and definitely want to spend more time with Ivan and Nell. Luckily I can because I’ve just bought The Tilt which features both of them. Rah!

Highly recommended.


And my second overall favourite is…


Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Cover of Fourth Wing by Rebecca YarrosFourth Wing seems to be everywhere at the moment. It’s been a massive hit and there’s a good reason for that. It’s fantastic.

Think The Hunger Games with dragons and you’ll get a bit of on idea, except Fourth Wing is set in a war college. A particularly deadly war college that weeds out the weak without hesitation. Violet might be weak physically but she’s strong minded and clever, and makes a brilliant heroine.

As for the hero… delicious!

This is a giant book – my paperback copy is nearly 500 pages long – but at no point did Fourth Wing lag. It’s a total page-turner of a read.

I have the next book, Iron Flame, on pre-order, which is not something I normally do, but gives you an idea of how invested I am in Violet and her story.


Cover of What A Bride Wants by Kelly HunterWhat A Bride Wants by Kelly Hunter

Gawd, I adore Kelly Hunter’s romances. The characters are always gorgeous and the dialogue snaps along.

What A Bride Wants was super cute, especially the beginning when heroine Ella finds her father has put a ‘husband wanted’ type notice in the paper. That was hilarious. Then Sawyer steps up and much gorgeous, sigh-inducing romancing ensues.

This might be a relatively short book, but it was a whole lot of fun with bucketloads of feels. Just what you want from your romances. Go get and read and make yourself happy.


Cover of An A-List for Death by Pamela HartAn A-List for Death by Pamela Hart

I really liked Pamela Hart’s first book in this Poppy McGowan Mystery series, Digging Up Dirt (my comments on that here), and was keen to read An A-List for Death. It didn’t disappoint.

As with Digging Up Dirt, the characters in An A-List for Death were terrific. Poppy’s family are a hoot, especially her Aunt Mary who features heavily in the book. Rock god Nathan Castle, who Poppy is photographed with then accused of having a relationship with, was delicious too. And Tol. Sigh. He’s so lovely.

A delightful mystery with plenty of twists. Excellent fun. I wonder when the next one is coming out…


Cover of The Shallows by Holly CraigThe Shallows by Holly Craig

This was a terrific domestic thriller from debut author Holly Craig.

Set mostly in Sydney, in a super wealthy area, and told over two timelines, The Shallows follows Emma as she tries to befriend her new neighbour Ariella. It appears both families have lots of secrets, and it’s when one of those turns deadly that Emma is forced on the run with her husband and children.

Wonderfully paced, with lots of thrills and suspense and a very satisfying ending. Highly recommended. I’ll be buying Craig’s next book The Rip when it comes out.


Cover of Fake by Kylie ScottFake by Kylie Scott

Kylie Scott’s romances are always brilliant, and Fake proved no exception. A gorgeous take on the pretend boyfriend and grumpy-sunshine tropes, I gobbled this down in just a couple of sittings.

Norah was such a great heroine. A take-no-nonsense waitress with a wonderful outlook on life, you couldn’t help but warm to her. She was perfect for A-list Hollywood superstar Patrick, who was a total babe, of course, even if he was also a broody grump.

Wonderful, wonderful read with lots of feels and fantastic characters. Not just Patrick and Norah, but the rest of the cast too. Grandma was especially fun.

Super cute. Highly recommended.


What books have tickled your fancy lately? Share away!


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15 Responses

  1. Ahhhhh I am so glad you enjoyed both Treasure & Dirt as well as Fourth Wing. I love Ivan Lucic and The Tilt is amazing as well. Very much looking forward to The Seven.

    And Fourth Wing is my favourite book this year for just….sheer enjoyment and read-a-bility. I love the dragons and enjoyed everything that played out with Violet and Xaden. I also have Iron Flame pre-ordered AND I ordered the fancy sprayed edges version as well haha.

    • Ha! You sound like you loved Fourth Wing even more than me! It was a cracking read though. So much action and romance and DRAGONS!
      Looks like I’m going to have to read The Tilt sooner rather than later.

  2. I loved the Tilt too and have just finished Trust – not quite as much my cup of tea but I’m still looking forward to more of his. I was going to try Scrublands but maybe I’ll give Treasure and Dirt a try. I’m currently reading Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson and thoroughly enjoying the stories within the story. Thanks for the recommendation! Plus there’s been Michelle Douglas’s fantastic Cinderella’s Secret Fling (who wouldn’t want to escape to Lake Como?) and a collection of Christmas short stories by Katie Fforde which were fun.

    • I’d read Treasure and Dirt over Scrublands, Annie. It’s good but I think T&D is better.
      Thrilled you’re enjoying Gargoyle. That’s one of my all-time favourite books.
      Isn’t Michelle’s Cinderella fab? Such a joyous read.
      Thanks for dropping by and sharing.

  3. I discovered Chris Hammer reading Treasure and Dirt first then The Tilt, then discovered the Scrublands trio. Excellent books.
    Also discovered S.R. White. Another good Aussie series by an ex pommie cop. Stayed with Hermit, then Ripper and Prisoner.

  4. Ooh, you’ve had a great reading month. I really need to read Chris Hammer. I hear so many good things about his books. And that Yarros is SOOOO tempting. I might put it off until I have some serious reading time up my sleeve, though.

    I’ve just finished two crackers–both that you’ve recommended. The first was The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Mandanna Sangu which was Every Good Thing! Adored everything about that story. And Laura Purcell’s The Whispering Muse, which was just gloriously eerie and suspenseful. Other highly recommended reads for the month were Katherine Center’s The Bodyguard (a wonderful romance), and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. I had a VERY good reading month too.

    • I will loan you my copy of Fourth Wing, Michelle. You’ll love it!
      Delighted that you got to read Irregular Witches. That book is adorable. So much fun and so many feels. Fab to hear you liked Muse too.
      I’m definitely going to have to read The Bodyguard!

  5. Cathryn, always love your recommendations. Sounds like you had a pretty good month! You’re right – Fourth Wing seems to be headed for world domination. I really enjoyed both Pamela Harts – great characters and some laughs along with the murders. I really enjoyed The Tilt. Must check out more of his books.

    My reading discovery this month has been K.J. Charles who writes M/M romantic suspense set in the 1920s. Or at least the Will Darling series fits that description. What a fabulous writer. Really hot love scenes but she gets the whole 20s vibe so right too. Witty and clever and heartfelt and wonderful reads. Looking forward to exploring more of her releases.

    Yesterday, I went to the Elizabeth Gaskell house in Manchester and it was absolutely bloomin’ marvellous. It also made me realise that while I’ve seen several adaptations of her works, I’ve never read one. Planning on starting Cranford today.

    • Ah, you must be having a delightful time, Anna!
      I think you mentioned those KJ Charles books before which prompted me to look them up, and they sound so much fun. I must indulge too.
      I can’t wait to get into The Tilt. Everyone seems to love it.
      Keep enjoying your adventure!

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