Books I’m loving right now

Like most writers, I read – A LOT, sometimes to the point of it eating far too much into my writing time. My usual genres are romance, thrillers and the psychology of business, but every so often I delve into something a little different.

Here are four of my latest recommended reads, which you may like to give a go – depending on your mood! And don’t worry, no spoilers.

If you’re in the mood for: a meaty read with romance, drama, and packed with emotion, then try A Hundred Pieces of Me, by Lucy Dillon.

I’d normally go for something more lighthearted but my mum recommended this to me. It sat on my bookshelf for quite a while before I finally picked it up, but I’m delighted I did – I could hardly believe the similarities between the character’s life and my own. Her name is Gina (great name!), she has a lovely old school friend called Naomi (hi, Naomi!), she studied at Oxford (okay, getting a little spooked now…), and her mum’s name is Janet (erm, what the…?) who lives in Leominster (has Lucy Dillon been hiding in my wardrobe?!). There are other similarities too, which I won’t go into as I don’t want to give the story away.

Just when I started to think I was reading a biography, things took a turn in Gina’s life, which thankfully haven’t happened to me, and I got totally sucked in to this emotional page-turner. It was so lovely to read about Gina’s relationship with her best friend and her new pet at a time when her life was going totally awry.

I can’t explain the impact this book has – at a risk of sounding dramatic, it is rather life-affirming. If you like a book that makes you cry one minute and smile the next, then this one could well be for you. It has one of the best endings I’ve ever read.

If you’re in the mood for: a sweet romance with a unique, down to earth hero, then try Please Don’t Stop the Music by Jane Lovering.

I loved that this book was set near to where I grew up in York. Living far away, it’s easy to lose touch, so it’s always nice to step back in, even if it is through the pages of a novel. This is the second Jane Lovering book I’ve read, and I really like her style of light and shade, culminating in a happy end.

I listened to this one on Audible, and the narration, by Penelope Rawlins, flows well and is easy on the ear – always a bonus! The sub characters (I love a good sub character) add great colour to the story and offer pockets of emotion and humour throughout.

Definitely a good option for lovers of light romance packed with emotion and conflict.

If you’re in the mood for: breaking free from the 9 to 5, then try Be a Free Range Human by Marianne Cantwell.

My top read of recent months, Be a Free Range Human is packed with advice, ideas and cool exercises for anyone who wants to explore the possibilities of going it career solo and needs some inspiration.

Marianne has a very unique approach, which is fascinating and refreshing. Far from being a run-of-the-mill ‘how to’ business book, she steers clear of the dull bits and focuses on the individual behind the business, ie you.

The book contains helpful tips and loads of real-life case studies, showing Marianne really knows what she’s talking about. I love this book. Love it.

If you’re in the mood for: a lighthearted and cosy romcom then try The Picture House by the Sea, by Holly Hepburn.

Sexy hero, picturesque location, likeable heroine and cute story line – what’s not to love?

This is the first Holly Hepburn I’ve read, but I liked it so much that I’m now halfway through another of her books, A Year at the Star and Sixpence (which is also very good – but that’s for another review another day).

Holly Hepburn has an interesting and quite unusual way of writing. Each of her novels is made up of four novellas. The novellas are released sequentially when she’s finished writing each one, and later are compiled into a full novel. In both cases, I’ve just read the whole caboodle in one. It makes for a fairly long read, but one which certainly captures your interest and keeps you wanting more.

I love a book with female friendships, and the relationship between Gina (I don’t just choose books where the main character has my name, honestly!) and Carrie, the owner of the vintage clothes shop is really nice to read. But the best bits are when the hero and heroine are together – burning tension, an undeniable attraction to one another, and a big reason why they can’t be together – make for a super dose of therapeutic romance.

Gina’s boyfriend (God, I hated him so much) pops up occasionally to throw a spanner in the works, and the local nasty girl (grrr) doesn’t help matters either.

So much fun – give it a go!

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