Wednesday 13 December 2017

My Top Ten (Extremely Eclectic) Reads 2017

By Andrea Grigg

Talk about a variety, but why not? Make sure you read right down to the last one because it may change your life like it did mine! So, here we go, in no particular order.

1.     Story Genius – Lisa Cron (Non-fiction)
Okay, so this was in my last year’s Top Ten. And guess what? It’ll be in next year’s too. I don’t think a writing craft book has impacted me more. I asked a friend recently if she’d heard of this book. She said of course she had because I hadn’t shut up about it. Guess who’s not shutting up about it now either? Yes, it’s time-consuming, but oh-so-worth-it. The strategies Lisa Cron introduces brings an incredible depth to fictional characters, and a fiercely-sought-after connection with readers. Definitely number one on my writing craft list. (By the way, I’ve made a Facebook page for us Story Geniuses – feel free to join if you’d like to)

2.     The Emotional Wound Thesaurus – Angela Ackermann and Becca Puglisi (Non-fiction)
These two ladies have written a bunch of brilliant craft books eg. The Emotional Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus etc. But this one? This one fits in perfectly with Story Genius. Each wound, eg. being the victim of a vicious rumour, living in an emotionally repressed household, is explained, and the consequences and behaviours which could occur are described. The things my poor characters are being put through …

      3.     The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck – Bethany Turner (romance, Christian fiction)
A steamy romance writer becomes a Christian and then falls for her pastor? I had to read this book. (Thanks for the alert, Iola!) The bits I liked the best? The emotional connections, the raw honesty, the realness of Sarah’s journey.

4.     All This Time – Melissa Tagg (romance, Christian fiction)
I’ve read all Melissa Tagg’s books and not one of them has disappointed me. I love a good series, and this one is the last in the Walker Family series. Like all of them it’s also a stand-alone novel. Brilliant summer reading.

5.     The Catching Kind – Bria Quinlan (romance, general market)
Amazon recommended this one to me, and when I saw the cover I got quite a shock - it’s the same image as the one used on Kara Isaac’s ‘Close to You’. (Another discussion for another time) There are lots of things I loved about this book. It’s a romance, it’s quirky and funny, it’s full of great lines. Best of all, Bria Quinlan has written a bunch more books. But best best of all, it’s a sweet romance, and devoid of swear words. A rare find in today’s general market 

6.     The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah – (Women’s fiction, general market)
This one sat on my TBR pile for ages, but I wish I’d read it sooner. Kristin Hannah is a gritty, emotionally hard-hitting writer, which is essential as far as I’m concerned. The Nightingale is a dual timeline novel set in World War Two and the 1990s. If you enjoy stories of bravery, endurance, and relationships, this is a must read. It’s also being made into a movie. I can’t wait!

     7.     One More Song – Nicki Edwards (romance, general market)
Ok, so I might be a bit biased here because I’m Nicki’s critique partner, but believe me, if it wasn’t a great story, One More Song wouldn’t be in my Top Ten. Nicki is a consummate storyteller, and her latest release is just fabulous. I love the country setting, the musical aspect, the family dynamics, the medical dramas, and of course, the romance. And as for the cover … oh boy! Highly recommended.

8.     Poison Bay – Belinda Pollard (suspense, general market)
Again, a fantastic suspense novel by one of our own. Apart from the story itself, I loved the ensemble cast, the often short chapters, and, naturally enough, the New Zealand scenery. My 90-year-old dad has been a lifelong reader of suspense novels, and he thoroughly enjoyed Poison Bay – a great recommendation. Personally, I think it would make a terrific movie. (Anyone know who to talk to about that?)

     9.     Finding Solace – Catherine J Hudson (romance, general market)
Weird cover, huh? There’s a reason for that. Finding Solace isn’t published yet. But when it hits the e-book shelves, make sure you grab it! Feel free to call me biased, because Catherine is another of my critique partners, but I know brilliant writing when I read it, and this ticks all the boxes. Deep emotional connection? Tick. Excellent word imagery? Tick. Sigh-worthy romance? Double tick! (No pressure to get it out there Cat, nope, none at all …;) )

10.     Slow Cooker Central 2 – Paulene Christie
Yup, this is the book that changed my life. My culinary life, that is. I stumbled across it back in May, I think it’s fair to say my husband has had more dinner varieties in the last six months than in the last thirty-three years! (Steak Diane is slow-cooking as we speak … mmm …) Seriously, why hasn’t someone told me about these books before? Perfect for readers and writers and busy people and foodies-who-don’t-really-like-to-cook. Maybe I should put in a word to Santa for the first book :) 

Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom. Hopefully you’ve found something to pique your interest over the summer holidays. See you in 2018!

Andrea Grigg lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and is the author of two contemporary Christian romance novels, and a novella. She would love to connect with you via: 


  1. Ahhh ... eclectic indeed, Andrea. But you have me rushing off to fill my TBR stocking. Blast these “Best ofs “

    Thank you for sharing your faves for the year, Andrea. Now slow cooked steak Diane. Intriguing. Uses a gravy beef or similar rather than a premium cut, I presume?

    Blessings, my friend.

    1. Hi Ian - sorry about the TBR stocking problem. Not. And yes, I used chuck steak and it was fabulous. Highly recommend that book!

  2. Oh that’s so sweet!! Thank you dear friend, I look forward to sharing Finding Solace with the world. In the meantime I’m off to read The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck!

    1. Can't wait for the world to get their hands on Finding Solace! Looking forward to discussing Sarah with you :)

  3. Lots of great books! I loved The Catching Kind (after you recommended it), and have since worked my way through most of Bria Quinlan's backlist.

    I've just finished the third book in Melissa Tagg's Walker family series, so I guess now is the time to read All This Time!

    1. We so enjoy the same books don't we? I like that :)

  4. Thanks so much for including Poison Bay, Andrea!! I'm particularly honoured that your dad liked it. �� And now I've got a bunch to add to my towering TBR pile... xx

    1. It was my pleasure to include Poison Bay :) Sorry about adding to that pile!

  5. The only one I have read is Story Genius. Thanks for the heads up on the group related to! But I do like the sound of a couple for my reading group -Poison Bay & The Nightingale.

    1. Hi Rhonda - both those books would be great for your reading group! Glad to be of help :)

  6. I've had The Catching Kind on my Kindle for a year after I first saw our shared cover image! But I hadn't read it yet because I wasn't sure how *ahem* steamy it was and hadn't gotten around to checking. Now it's bolted right up my TBR list :)

    1. Hi Kara - you'll love The Catching Kind! As she mentioned, Iola and I have both gone through Bria Quinlan's back list. I tend to read her stories with a permanent smile on my face :)


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