Like most authors, I love reading. This year, I’ve enjoyed many an evening curled up on the sofa with the dogs, reading for escapism, comfort, inspiration, all sorts of reasons. I tend not to read a lot when I’m writing, particularly when I’m working on a first draft, otherwise whatever it is I’m reading seeps into my work. Of course, what I’ve read over the years has some influence on my own writing but when I was writing my pacifist healer character and she started acting more like the vampire hunter character in the novel I was reading, I had to put the vampire hunter aside for a bit.
So, I wanted to share my favourite three books of 2020. These weren’t necessarily published this year but these are what I’ve read in the last twelve months. Unfortunately, when I started thinking about it, I couldn’t choose just three books, so here are my three favourite books/series/authors.
Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
I re-read the whole series this year, all 11 books back-to-back. I don’t usually like re-reading books but this was totally worth it and reading the whole series through in one go made it all come together in a way that it hadn’t the first time I’d read the books with several months or longer between each one.
I’ll warn you now, the story is brutal. Terrible, awful things happen to the characters. It’s heart-wrenching stuff. But the darkness is beautifully balanced by the bright splashes of light, the humour, the friendships, the love, the honour. The characters are flawed, complex. They make mistakes. There are surprises, challenges, twists and turns. Oh, and a happy ending.
Lizzie Grace series by Keri Arthur
Keri Arthur is one of my favourite authors. Her Australia-based urban fantasy series are gripping, gritty. She writes genuine heroines; tough, no-nonsense women who can look after themselves, but who nevertheless remain compassionate, loving, honourable. They stand up against the bad guys, fight injustices and protect the vulnerable.
I’ve read several Keri Arthur series, including the Riley Jenson Guardian series, the Dark Angel series and the Damask Circle. This year, I discovered a series I hadn’t read before, the Lizzie Grace series. I love it when I discover more books from an author I admire. I’ve only read the first two books so far, with another six still to enjoy.
The Endarian Prophecy by Richard Phillips
I hadn’t read any Richard Phillips before I started reading Mark of Fire, the first book in the Endarian Prophecy series. It’s an epic fantasy, with multiple opposing factions, world-spanning journeys and elemental magic. There’s a whole host of interesting characters, all with their own in-depth back stories.
My favourite bit was where the main character is trying to learn a new type of magic but she keeps being swept away under the influence of competing forces. She finally masters the magic by establishing a protective barrier between herself and the external influences. This was a great visualisation for establishing healthy barriers in our everyday, real lives.
So there we have it, my favourite books of 2020. Stories to comfort and inspire, to sweep you away on an adventure and to make you pause and think.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. Here’s to 2021.