My 5 Favourite January Reads

favouriteI don’t know quite what happened in January but I only managed to read eight books last month (although one of them was 500 pages long). Not a good start given my Goodreads Reading Challenge target for 2020 is 120 books. However, on the upside it did make choosing my five favourite a little easier.


Let’s start with the first in a terrific new crime series from husband and wife writing duo R.C. Bridgestock. Payback introduces readers to newly-promoted DI Charley Mann and is a compelling police procedural. You can read my full review here.

Next, we turn to historical fiction and The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson. It’s a fictionalized account of the life of Joan Vaux, lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII. It uses the legend that the nation will be secure so long as ravens inhabit the Tower of London to highlight the political intrigue and turmoil of the time. You can read my full review here.

TBR#7KatherineMore historical fiction but this time a classic of the genre, Katherine by Anya Seton. Telling the story of the love affair between Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, it was the book chosen for me for the latest Classics Club Spin. I loved it and you can find out why here.

We move forward in time now to World War Two and Hitler’s Secret, the latest in Rory Clement’s Tom Wilde historical thriller series. I’ve loved all the previous books in the series and this one didn’t disappoint either. Read my full review here to find out why.

Finally, the latest thriller from the pen of J.S. Monroe. The Other You is a gripping story blending the latest technology with more ancient legends of doppelgangers and changelings. You can read my spoiler-free review here.

What were your favourite books you read in January? Have you read any of my picks?

My 5 Favourite September Reads

5 Favourite September Reads

I read eleven books in September including a number of 5-star reads so it was easier than usual to pick out my favourites.

You can keep up to date with all my reading in 2019 here with links to my reviews.  If we’re not already friends on Goodreads, send me a friend request or follow my reviews.


Wicked by DesignMy first choice is Wicked by Design by Katy Moran, the follow-up to Hester and Crow (previous published as False Lights).  Set in 1819 and continuing the alternate history premise introduced in the first book – that Wellington lost not won the Battle of Waterloo – Wicked by Design transports the reader from the rugged coastline of Cornwall to the salons of St. Petersburg.  I loved every suspenseful, breathless minute of it, especially the riveting final chapters.  Read my full review here.

The Mermaid's CallNext up is The Mermaid’s Call by Katherine Stansfield, the third book in her ‘Cornish Mysteries’ series featuring female detectives, Shilly and Anna.  The case they are engaged to investigate takes them to Morwenstow in Cornwall and the curious household of Parson Hawker (based on a real life character).  I described it as ‘a story of love, secrets, betrayal and revenge, sprinkled with a hint of the supernatural and full of twists and turns’.  You can read my full review here.

the mathematical bridgeMy next choice is The Mathematical Bridge by Jim Kelly. It’s another book that is one of a series and again it’s a historical crime mystery, this time set in World War 2 Cambridge. I loved it just as much as the first book, The Great Darkness, and thought it would be perfect for those mourning the demise of TV’s Foyle’s War or for fans of James Runcie’s ‘Grantchester Mysteries’ series.  Read my review to find out more.

cover171547-mediumI think you see a pattern emerging here because my next choice is also a historical crime mystery.  This time, however, it’s the first in a new series. The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis imagines that, before they became famous writers, the Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne – were female ‘detectors’ and the case of the vanished bride was their first investigation.

I thought readers familiar with the works of the Brontës would have great fun spotting allusions to their novels.  However, I found plenty of other reasons to love the book.  Read my full review here.

Eight Hours From EnglandMy final choice is Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle, one of the books in the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Wartime Classics’ series published to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the start of World War 2.

The book is a fictionalised account of Anthony Quayle’s own wartime experience with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) behind enemy lines in Albania. Read my full review here.

What were your favourite books you read in September?  Have you read any of my picks?