More greatest hits of 2017, I highly recommend these fun and quirky reads.
Life Law and Not Enough Shoes – Judith Fordham
Do you need a good Evanovich?
The unputdownable new adventure for Stephanie Plum in the latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.
As I read the Stephanie Plum sagas I am transported into a world of mad cap adventures, over the top situations, zany characters that I know and love and a heroine that is ditzy but always manages to come out on top. Part of the enjoyment facto when reading this series is you know to what to expect – a light, fun, entertaining, unpretentious read that is guaranteed to have laugh out loud moments, a fast paced plot, a few misadventures, a continuing love triangle situation and a bit of crime thrown in.
And that is what Janet Evanovich does best – she transports the reader to another place – where laughter and action go hand in hand, where the good guys always win. This is pure escapism. Enjoy.
And what a task to try and narrow this field down – some exceptionally good reads in 2016.
And here they are in no particular order:
It has been a great year for Aussie authors and readers alike. Here is guest reviewer Brenda’s Top Ten picks of 2016. In no particularly order ( click on links to see Brenda’s reviews on Goodreads.)
The Last Crocodile Hunter
Bob Irwin and Amanda French
The Chocolate Tin
The Art of Keeping Secrets
The Wife’s Tale
The Game You Played
Thanks Brenda, there have been some awesome books written by Australian authors this year, it must have been a real task to choose just ten.
Great Australian talent and a read that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Death By Sugar
Jesse Clarke #1
Private investigator, Jesse Clarke, thought sugar was such a friendly substance, until it appears in two of her cases for all the wrong reasons. Traces of sugar were connected to a bomb that blew up her client’s Mercedes. Was the bomb meant to kill or was it just a warning of what is to come? And could sugar have duped the immune system of a client’s mother over thirty years ago, resulting in death? Juggling the two cases-one in the present and one in the past-Jesse finds herself talking to the living and the dead to get results.
Looking for an enjoyable way to escape the everyday? Then this book is for you! Fun, entertaining with a sparking dialogue and great easy interaction between the protagonists – this book was a delight to read. There are a couple of mysteries to solve; one cold case that has some interesting science behind it, one current case full of larger than life characters, there is a business to run and boyfriend to placate and dog. (Every good read needs a happy, playful dog in the story). This little book (216 pages in all) has a lot to offer.
If you are a fan of Kathryn Ledson or Janet Evanovich (though Jesse Clarke is a lot more reliable, sensible and doesn’t over share her personal life as does Stephanie Plumb) you will love unravelling the mysteries in the Jesse Clarke series.
Now that wasn’t so hard was it? It is the reviewing 200 books that is the hard work.
Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’ fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.
When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy. So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.
The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.
Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.
In the words of the author this book is “urban-noir/paranormal-lite/mystery/romance mash up” and I would add PI in the mix, and a great mix it is too. This is a great contemporary feel good romp that had me smiling and laughing out loud. The characters are quirky, flawed and very very real. I had visions of Tom Selleck’s Magnum PI as the male protagonist, the female lead – hmm, maybe a young tough version of Rachel Griffiths works for me I think. (And when I am reading I don’t usually visualise the characters but I did with this book!)
This is a book you read for the pure pleasure, indulgence and enjoyment. The language is colloquial and so very Australian – so conversational and real. The settings – dark dingy bars, rural towns, urban decay, a mortuary, a brothel and the next door home office all work a treat; they seem so real I recognise all of these places from previous lives (yes I worked next door to a brothel once upon a time –outer city, next door to a welfare rights organisation, just looked like an ordinary house – though the limousines that stopped out the front weren’t too ordinary!) The crimes – kidnapping and murder handled respectfully and lightly – there are no gruesome, blood soaked walls covered in brain splatter here, no psychopaths or serial killers lurking in the dark. Surprisingly you even end up feeling a little sorry for those involved in these crimes, the choices they made were terrible but you can understand, though not condone, their action. There is nothing black and white in this story – so many shades of grey.
At its core this is an urban romance so be prepared for a few hot and steamy sex scenes.
I think the strength of this book is the author’s ability to present characters that are so realistic and likeable, even the minor characters in this book are well drawn, quirky and with back stories that engage and leave you asking to know more about them. I particularly liked the power given to Eve to run a brothel that actually catered to the choices and lifestyles of the woman working there- the employees are treated with respect and have rights the same as those in any other job – the right to work in a safe environment and without harassment, fear or pressure. If only that was the case everywhere, in every occupation.
“Amy Andrews is a multi-published, award- winning author of 50+ romance novels across both traditional and digital platforms. She writes for Harlequin Mills and Boon, Entangled, Harper Collins Australia, Momentum Publishing, Escape Publishing and Tule. She’s sold in excess of a million books worldwide and has been translated into over a dozen languages”, (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1128457.Amy_Andrews)
If you are a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series you will love this read!