Tag Archives: Susanna Kearsley

Favourite Reads of January-February

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My Favourite Reads image

Welcome back to my favourite reads for 2016. With eight books to read for the Romance Writers of America RITA® Awards – none of which I can tell you about! – I didn’t manage a lot of personal reading in January and February, so it seemed more entertaining to combine the two months into one.

With all those romances to read and to keep my reading self fresh, I mainly kept away from romantic stories. A couple slipped in though. I can’t help it. The genre makes me feel warm and happy, and who doesn’t relish that?

So, of my January-February reads, title of my favourite goes to…

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Named of the Dragon by Susanna KearsleyI’m a total Kearsley fangirl. Total. The Shadowy Horses is one of my favourite reads of all time. Named of the Dragon was so gorgeous it’s challenging The Winter Sea (aka Sophia’s Secret) as my second favourite Kearsley.

Set in Wales, Named of the Dragon has everything – stunning, Gothic location, creepy old house, mystery, sibling rivalry, Arthurian legend, personal tragedy, and British village life. As with all Kearsley novels it’s beautifully written. She immerses you in the atmosphere and makes you feel the characters’ anxieties and desires deeply. I love her treatment of the romance thread too. It’s subtle but very intriguing, as is her usual way.

Loved it. Go read!

I also read:

The Duchess War by Courtney MilanThe Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Milan’s books are great fun and this is no exception. The Duchess War is book 1 in the Brothers Sinister series, although the novella The Governess Affair (a hoot!) is counted as a lead-in story. I’m a sucker for a wallflower character and Minerva, the heroine, was a cracker.

Down and Dusty: Casey by Rachael JohnsDown and Dusty: Casey by Rachael Johns

A short but punchy – not to mention seriously hot – read from rural romance superstar Rachael Johns (and, I had better mention, buddy of mine). Wonderfully sexy escapism in a dusty town. Great stuff.

Kolymsky Heights by Lionel DavidsonKolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

A thriller that takes you from England to Canada to Japan to Russia and places in between. Plenty of action and some fascinating insights into everything from anthropology to shipping to the tough lives of those who reside in Siberian outposts. Completely far-fetched but I couldn’t put it down!

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason ArnoppThe Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

I adore horror novels, so I was delighted to score an advance copy of this book thanks to The Reading Room and Hachette Australia. This book is so far up my alley it could have been written for just for me. Creepy, fast-paced, fascinating and topical with the social media references. I also really liked the structure, with Jack’s narrative mixed with his brother’s and other’s. A page turner.

Disclaimer by Renee KnightDisclaimer by Renee Knight

Oh, this book!! My second favourite read of January-February. When a story makes you feel fretful for fictional characters, the author is doing something right. Fantastic premise – Imagine if the next thriller you opened was all about you. Scary thought. Even scarier read. I devoured this tense suspense-thriller in a couple of days. Highly recommended.

Death in the Dordogne by Martin WalkerDeath in the Dordogne by Martin Walker

AKA Bruno, Chief of Police. I’ve had author buddies nagging me for yonks to read this book, with them promising it’d be right in my zone. Was it? Yeah, baby!  France, food, village life and crime. I’m a happy girl. Loved it.


By the way. if you’re looking for my December Favourite Reads post, I’m sorry to advise that it was one of the posts lost during The Great Website Meltdown of early 2016. Measures have been put in place to protect against this happening again. I hope they work. That meltdown was seriously traumatic. But to recap, my favourite read was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. Amazing book, gorgeous hero, lovely heroine, wonderful set-up. Didn’t want it to end.

What were your favourite reads?


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THIS WRITING LIFE: The Thrill of Discovery

Every month on the Australian Romance Readers Association email loop, members share what they’ve read over the previous month. I love this. There’s something really fun about seeing what others are reading, in the same way perusing another person’s bookshelves provides nosy joy. All those attention-grabbing covers and new authors. Stories to passionately dissect and discuss. The delight in finding common interest.

Just this morning, a member mentioned she’d been loaned two of Jilly Cooper’s early novels, Riders and Rivals. The idea that she was enjoying these books for the first time gave me a twinge of envy. Imagine experiencing that wonderful feeling of discovery again. The thrill of meeting unforgettable characters like Rupert Campbell-Black and Billy Lloyd-Foxe and delighting in all their mischief, then finding that there are more wonderful reads to come, thanks to Cooper’s extensive backlist.

Discovering a new author is such a rush. Last week, book blogger Bree, from 1 Girl, 2 Many Books, convinced me to try a Susanna Kearsley and I’m so grateful she did. I was hooked from about half way down the first page of The Shadowy Horses. Now I’m feeling smug because I know there are a whole lot more Kearsleys I’ll be able to relish in over coming months. I’ve heard romance readers talk about Georgette Heyer in the same way – how they can still remember their first taste of her genius the same way as they can their first kiss. I suspect there are a lot of readers who experienced a similar rush with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, or upon reading any number of the classics or works of our literary and commercial fiction giants. Though it was a very long time ago, I can still recall the absolute squirmy breathless excitement that Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion provided. Amazing how the feeling lingers, even after so many years. But that’s the power of stories.

Which author has left you with that special buzz? The author that makes you wish you could read them for the first time again? I would love to re-experience Paullina Simon’s Tully. That book, with its difficult-to-like-heroine, still astonishes me whenever I return to it. Still, it’d be hard to go past Jilly Cooper’s Riders and Rupert’s delicious upper-class naughtiness. But then I always was a sucker for anything with horses!

Mysty and me 1.0