This year I set myself a challenge to read 52 books.
Why would you do that? I hear you ask.
Because I can.
Because I should.
But mostly because staring at a screen binge-watching TV isn’t good for my tired eyes, or my occasionally exhausted mind (and because 90% of the time that I’m watching TV, I’m also scrolling through social media or looking up online stores researching trends).
Plus, I have great difficulty winding down, and calming my overly busy mind. Seriously, it’s like there’s 104 tabs open at all times, so this is my meditation.
I also genuinely love to lose myself in the characters and their story and there’s always that bittersweet moment when you finish a book you’ve really loved because it’s like your friends stopped telling you a story part-way through.
So, here I am, three months into the year and I can proudly say, I’ve already finished 11 books and I’m halfway through my 12th.
Because I’m frequently asked what I’m reading, I thought I’d keep a running tally incase anyone is after inspiration (with a little synopsis of what the book is about)—plus I figure it’s a good way to stay accountable. TT
What I’ve read this year:
On a special night that is supposed to be a celebration of new beginnings, Paige MacRitchie’s joy quickly falls away when her mother collapses during the speeches at her book launch. In the aftermath, and terrified of losing her, Paige decides she wants to make the ultimate tribute to her parents’ perfect marriage: she will wear her mother’s wedding dress for her own big day. There’s just one problem – her mum, Rebecca, no longer has the dress. As Paige tries to track down the elusive gown, she discovers that Rebecca has a long-hidden secret that, if revealed, could blow her whole family apart. Her new friend Josie is at a crossroads too. She met her husband Nik when she was singing in an eighties-themed bar, but now she’s lonely, yearning for a family and wondering if Nik understands her at all.
The retreat at health and wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages. Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds. These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.
To say Laura is unlucky in love is an understatement. Her first boyfriend died in a horrific accident, and now she’s just discovered that her husband of six months has been hiding a terrible secret. Devastated and unwilling to face reality, she escapes on a girls’ holiday to Key West with her best friend Marty. But a deep and instant attraction to a sexy Cuban scuba diver takes her completely by surprise. When her two weeks in the sun come to an end, Laura doesn’t want to go home again. But she can’t run from real life forever. Can she?
A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars. Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets. But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it.
Facing life alone, they turned to crime together. Dolly Rawlins, Linda Perelli and Shirley Miller are left devastated when their husbands are killed in a security van heist that goes disastrously wrong. When Dolly discovers her husband Harry’s bank deposit box, containing a gun, money – and detailed plans for the hijack – she realises that she only has three options: 1. Give up and forget she ever found them; 2. Hand over Harry’s ledgers to the police, or to the thugs that have been hassling her for information they think she has; 3. She and the other widows could carry out the robbery themselves
A wild heart beats within New York City. Amid concrete and skyscrapers, the Wildlife Conservation Society works to preserve and protect the animal kingdom both within and beyond the borders of the five boroughs. But dangerous creatures don’t always have claws and fangs, as Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and NYPD detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace know all too well. Predators lurk close to home, and in the aftermath of the shocking assassination of an iconic public figure–someone Alex has worked with for years–the trio must unravel the motive behind the shooting to discover who is the bigger snake: the killer or the victim.
Despondently driving around the back streets of Woolloomooloo one night, Lucy happens upon an old, empty terrace that was once the city’s hottest restaurant: Fortune. One minute she’s peering through grimy windows into an abandoned space, the next she’s planning a pop-up bistro. When Lucy fires up Fortune’s old kitchen she discovers a little red recipe book that belonged to the former chef, the infamous Frankie Summers. As she cries over the ingredients for Frankie’s French Onion Soup, she imagines what Fortune was like in its heyday. It’s strange, Lucy can sense Frankie beside her, almost see him there … This fiery chef, who lived with a passion for food and women in almost equal measure, just might help Lucy cook herself up a better life. But is she brave enough to believe?
Five teenage girls have been viciously attacked. One survived. Only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence.
Three brothers, one death, a fenceline stretching to the horizon. Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland. They are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cam. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…
All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the Job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.
If you fall too fast, you just might crash. Daisy has been dumped, unceremoniously jilted. Not by any ordinary guy, no … Daisy has a secret in her past that she won’t even tell her best friend, Holly. She’s given up on men – and on her own family. But life still has to be lived and where better to recover than as far away from home as possible. Grabbing a chance to see the world, Daisy packs her bags and joins the team catering to the world’s highest-paid, supercharged racing drivers on the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit. From Brazil to Italy, from Melbourne to Monte Carlo, life passes in a dizzying whirlwind. But nothing – and no one – can stop Daisy from falling again…this time for a man who is prepared to risk his life, and his heart, for the sake of speed, danger and ultimate success.
As you can see, I tend to bounce between gritty crime thrillers (the more gruesome the better) and easy chic lit beach-style reads.
Occasionally I’ll throw in a non-fiction, but in most cases it also needs to be crime-related.
One of my favourite non-fiction books is
Marching Powder by Rusty Young which tells the tale of Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia’s notorious San Pedro prison.
Finally, here are a few books I read towards the end of last year that I also enjoyed:
These were all great easy reads, although I particularly loved
While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins, I couldn’t put it down and read the whole book in a day.
If you’ve got any books you can recommend, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.