Reading has almost become like meditation for me. Losing myself within the pages of a great book allows me to wind down, calm my racing mind and relax. Nothing feels better than being swept away by a beautiful story and then there’s the bittersweet moment when you finish a book that you’ve loved, and you don’t want it to end.
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.
I am a sucker for a light-hearted romance but at the end of the day I enjoy any book with a great plot that practically turns the pages itself and leaves you wishing for more. I also like to throw in the odd non-fiction as well.
I’m often searching for my next page turner, so I’m sharing what I’m reading and loving in case anyone else is in need of a little inspiration. (This is all in the hope that you repay the favour of course, so please let me know what pages you’ve devoured and loved recently.) Here are the best books I’ve read in the second half of 2020 (so far). Take your pick and let me know what you think.
LOVE AND OTHER BATTLES By Tess Woods – 2019
“But now, standing face to face with him, she didn’t feel any desire to hurt him. She didn’t have the urge to scream at him. When she looked into his eyes, all she felt was nothing” – Tess Woods | Love & Other Battles
An unforgettable story that follows the heartbreaking choices of three generations of women living in Melbourne. Moving and emotional, this is a tale of life and love with many elements at play. From the elation of first love to complex social issues and the crashing lows of heartbreak. Tess Woods thoughtfully addresses key issues of our time in a respectful and informed manner. Although there is a serious tone to the novel, there are plenty of moments where the light shines bright with hope and delight.
Tess Woods has great talent for sculpturing characters with emotional depth and realism. The story also switches between characters and timelines in such a way that we are able to empathise and deeply connect with all the characters in the novel equally.
This novel reflects the lives of Australian women. The battles we have fought in the past and will continue to fight for today and into the future. It is an outstanding piece of fiction and I could not put it down.
Buy Love And Other Battles on Amazon
WHAT THE WIND KNOWS By Amy Harmon – 2019
“But the wind and water know all the earth’s secrets. They’ve seen and heard all that has ever been said or done. And if you listen, they will tell you all the stories and sing every song. The stories of everyone who has ever lived. Millions and millions of lives. Millions and millions of stories.” – Amy Harmon | What The Wind Knows
A historical romance set during the Irish revolution, this story tells the tale of Anne Gallagher and her journey to her beloved Grandfathers childhood home. This is a magical, heart-wrenching tale and a beautiful love story that transcends time. Told so uniquely and with exquisite detail, the story is woven with fantasy and captivates as you are immersed in another world. I simply couldn’t put it down.
This is a beautiful book that will stay in my heart long after I closed the final page. Your heart will break with sorrow for the people who lived and died for Ireland and for a love pre-destined, A must read if you love historical fiction or fantasy romance!
Buy What The Wind Knows on Amazon
THE BEST KIND OF BEAUTIFUL By Frances Whiting – 2019
“Florence Saint Claire is a loner. Albert Flowers is a social butterfly. Good friends who think they know each other. But, somewhere between who they are, and who people think they are, lies The Best Kind of Beautiful.” Frances Whiting | The Best Kind of Beautiful
This book is the story of two loners who find each other; two people with difficult pasts who find a way to connect. This is a story of acceptance for those who don’t fit the mould. It explores the hidden depths behind our public personas, being true to yourself and appreciating people for their less beautiful moments, their flaws and vulnerabilities.
I adored this subtle and poignant book with its engaging and quirky characters and beautiful Australian Imagery. Whiting writes about family dynamics and the human experience in a way that is witty, light-hearted, warm and uplifting.
Buy The Best Kind of Beautiful On Amazon
MY SWEET REVENGE By Jane Fallon – 2016
“I want to make my husband fall back in love with me. Let me explain … I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life, he’ll care. I want it to hurt …” Jane Fallon | My Sweet Revenge
A darkly comic tale of one woman’s quest to get even. This devious plot of high passion, infidelity and revenge made me laugh out loud. It’s a light and entertaining read, a cautionary tale of friendship, double-dealings and divided loyalties, filled with twists and turns.
If you want a fun, light read this will definitely entertain. I found it a little drawn out at some parts, but everything comes together for a great ending.
Buy My Sweet Revenge On Amazon
THE WINDFALL By Diksha Basu – 2017
“I’m not serving anyone cold soup.” Mrs. Jha said. “I don’t care what the fashion is in Australia or America, but in India, serving someone cold soup is rude.” – Diksha Basu, The Windfall
A heartfelt comedy of manners, The Windfall is the story of the Jha’s from East Delhi discovering what it means to ‘make it’ in modern India. As they move from a cramped housing community and gossipy neighbours to a quiet wealthy neighbourhood where status is everything, the Jha’s are ultimately forced to discover who they are and what really matters to them.
This book highlights the instability of social status, the fragility of pride and the human drive to belong. The writing immersed me into another world. It gives you an amusing glimpse into the Indian culture and the insecurity and discontent of human kind. A completely enjoyable and enlightening read.
Buy The Windfall On Amazon
THIRTEEN WEDDINGS By Paige Toon – 2014
“Look at the light shaft. The dust motes are like fairy dust. They’re magical.” He frowns. “What are you going on about”. “Can’t you see them?” “No.” “Maybe you have to move out of the light to see how beautiful it is.” – Paige Toon | Thirteen Weddings
Thirteen weddings is the story of Bronte, a heroin with an unfulfilled life and a dark past. When she obtains a side job as a wedding photographer, she has to re-think everything she has ever thought about love, marriage and commitment.
I was hooked from the beginning of this unpredictable romance. The book has such a quick and easy flow and although light-hearted, it also has intensity and takes the reader on an emotional journey. It is pure sun-drenched escapism, full of tension, surprise and of course the wit and humour that Paige is known for. A perfect summer holiday read.
Buy Thirteen Weddings On Amazon
Now, please don’t forget the most important part of a book club! Please, please let me know what you’re reading and loving. I can’t wait for all your tips.
WHILE I WAS SLEEPING By Dani Atkins
“I don’t remember what happened or what has changed. I can still hear your voices but you can’t seem to hear me. I was about to be married and had everything to look forward to. Now I have to find a way back – to you, to our family, to us.” – Dani Atkins | While I Was Sleeping
After a terrible accident Maddie wakes up in hospital and discovers she has been in a coma for six years. This is a beautiful tale about love in all its forms and what transpires when time stands still.
I was enthralled from the beginning and the characters in this novel captured my heart. It was beautifully written, full of twists and turns, humour and incredible sadness. I loved this book and could not put it down.
Buy It On Amazon
BECOMING By Michelle Obama
“Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same.” – Michelle Obama | Becoming
Michelle Obama’s memoir is a personal story that invites you into her world and gives you a new understanding of her journey. She chronicles the experiences that have shaped her and given her a voice, from her childhood to meeting Obama and becoming First Lady of the United States. She writes with honesty and wit and shares a little wisdom on the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this biography. It is beautifully written and left me in awe. You can’t help but be inspired by Michelle’s humble nature – her empathy and dignity.
Buy On Amazon
ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE By Gail Honeyman
“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.” – Gail Honeyman | Eleanor Oliphant
Brilliant but socially awkward Eleanor Oliphant has a lonely existence but could that all change?
This is a special story about scars that run deep, about being different, about loneliness and human relationships. It is at once hilarious, heart-warming, heart-breaking, hopeful, inspiring and completely unforgettable. A great debut novel.
Buy On Amazon
BIG LITTLE LIES By Liane Moriarty
“They say it’s good to let your grudges go, but I don’t know, I’m quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.”― Liane Moriarty | Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, gossip and the little lies that can turn lethal. I’d class this as women’s fiction/mystery, not romance.
This was my introduction to Liane Moriarty, and I loved it so much that I devoured it in a weekend and recently re-read the book. The characters are so relatable that you feel like they could be someone you know. Her writing is honest, detailed, observant and multi-sided and the characters reinforce that you never really know what someone else is thinking or going through, what they’re capable of or what secrets their keeping.
The novel begins with a death, but you are kept guessing who the victim is until the very end. This left me in a state of constant anticipation as I discovered the history of the characters and uncovered the tangled web of jealousy, gossip, different perspectives and lies. It’s smart and witty, serious and tender and sometimes a little scary.
Buy On Amazon
WHAT ALICE FORGOT By Liane Moriarty
“Each memory, good and bad, was another invisible thread that bound them together… It was as simple and complicated as that. Love after children, after you’ve hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you’ve seen the worst and the best…-well, that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.” ― Liane Moriarty | What Alice Forgot
After an accident, Alice wakes with amnesia and like a detective she has to carefully reconstruct the events of a lost decade of her life she cannot remember. Alice soon realises that she doesn’t like the woman she has become and must determine if it’s possible to change the direction of her life.
This is without a doubt one of my favourite books by Australian author, Liane Moriarty. She manages to weave emotional themes into a story that remains humorous and uplifting. It is a though provoking story that will have you questioning what you’ve done in the last 10 years? What did you want to become? What would you change if you had the chance?
Buy On Amazon
LOST WITHOUT YOU By Rachel Johns
“A man is lucky if he is the first love of a woman. A woman is lucky if she is the last love of a man.” – Rachel Johns | Lost Without You
I first picked up a book by Rachel Johns in lockdown. Libraries had shut, I’d downloaded a book to my phone but became desperate for some physical pages. I’ve since read three of her intricately woven tales about life and relationships.
Lost With Out You is set around the stories of four very different women and the secret that binds them all. The novel centres around relatable, flawed characters and some pretty heavy emotional themes that are woven amongst the lighter storyline of a much-loved wedding dress.
Above all, this is a touching, heart-warming story of how our lives intertwine and touch each other in unexpected ways and how one decision can have far reaching consequences.
Buy On Amazon
YOUR DREAM LIFE STARTS HERE By Kristina Karlsson
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What would you do with your life if you had all the time and money you needed? This takes you to another level altogether – giving yourself permission to cast off the restraints of everyday life and dream big. To reimagine what is possible for you.” – Kristina Karlsson | Your Dream Life Starts Here
Kristina Karlsson is the woman behind the inspiring global success story, kikki.K. This book is easy to read and full of inspiring stories and wisdom from people who’ve dared to dream big. It uses simple ideas to show you how to harness your dreams and goals to transform your life in small, simple steps.
I know what you’re thinking … another self-help book! But I found this one inspiring and full of practical tips. I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the exercises. It is a motivating and practical guide with easy techniques to discover your dream life and achieve it.
Buy at Amazon
Statista claims that on average Australians spend 1 hour and 39 minutes using social media each day! Can you believe it? If you spent just half that time reading you would plough through over 60 books per year.
Now, don’t forget the most important part of a book club is reciprocating! Please, please let me know what you’re reading and loving. I can’t wait for all your tips on the best books you’ve read this winter.