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  • Writer's pictureAmy Quick Parrish

My 10 Favorite Reads This Year

Updated: Jul 8

Last June I splurged on a new Kindle Scribe that came a free three month trial for Kindle Unlimited. With July and August ahead of me and summer vacation beckoning, it was the perfect time to try it out, and wow, did I get my money's worth! I dove into the Wild Irish/Mystic Cove series by Tricia O'Malley and ended up bingeing the entire series. Then I read all of her Enchanted Highlands series. Sticking with Tricias, I moved on to Tricia Levenseller's Daughter of the Pirate King. I re-read my favorite YA books from when I was a kid, some fun non-fiction and added a ton of books to my TBR list. In a nutshell, here are my favorites (not in order):

Wild Irish Sage - Mystic Cove Book 10 by Tricia O'Malley

This book had everything that I loved about the first nine books in the series -- gorgeous setting in "is that Dingle?" Ireland, fun characters, good craic, and a lot of strong women. This new character who happens to have the ability to talk with animals and cute otters in particular brought this one over the top for me. Lovely Irish escapist romance and it lit the cove blue for me when I got to the otters scampering back and forth and responding "Friend."

Wild Irish Renegade - Mystic Cover Book 11 by Tricia O'Malley.

This felt like the missing episode of Ted Lasso that we never knew we wanted. A woman with telekinetic powers has a "meet cute" with a famous rugby player who ruins her laptop, buys her another and soon has the two of them splashed all over the tabloids. He scoots her away to Grace's Cove in hopes of escaping the "paps" but they find love instead.

Wild Scottish Rose - The Enchanted Highlands Book 4 by Tricia O'Malley

I started with the Irish books and then crossed over the water into Scotland - just as my grandfather's family did. Although many of these books could stand alone, it's best to read them all because a) they're good and b) you'll be less surprised when Scottish folkloric beings appear in the story. This one had a character with a gift I hadn't considered before -- the ability to work well with plans. (Alas, I definitely do not have this gift!) There were adorable little hedgehogs which somehow really charmed me -- again, I'm here mostly for the scenery and escapism and this hit both categories right in the center of the target for me.

A Woman I Know: Female Spies, Double Identities, and a New Story of the Kennedy Assassination by Mary Haverstick

I devoured this 500+ page book in less than a week. A filmmaker excited to make a documentary about female pilots gets a mysterious warning not to dig too deep into one of the pilot's past. So, of course, she digs. She uncovers a woman who is very likely a former CIA agent, possibly a double agent, who may have worked as a secretary to Fidel Castro and who may have been the infamous "babushka lady" from the grassy knoll on November 22, 1963. Incredible read.

Storyteller by David Grohl

As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost I'm a certified, card-carrying Slacker anointed by filmmaker Richard Linklater himself. The 90s were probably one of the best times of my life -- grunge music, Doc Martens, plaid shirts and Ann Arbor's Blind Pig -- where I was fortunate enough to see Nirvana before Nevermind. Unfortunately, this was also before author David Grohl was drumming for them. This book was fun. From his weird little drummer-from-Rush ceremony to the numerous times he was almost killed (who gets hit in the head with a golf club??) to having his daughter choose a Joan Jett doll and then have the real Joan Jett come over for dinner, this was a fast, fun read that I can't recommend enough.

The Amplified Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana by Michael Azzerad

This was a fast read - which is good, because it was a really long book. Very sad. Lots of reflection on what led to Kurt Cobain's pain and so on. I'd call it a must-read for any fan of the band and/or the time period.

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

This is not the kind of book I think of myself as reading, but my niece told me she'd been reading books about pirates and mermaids while we were on a trip to the ocean, so I started reading and I read the first two immediately. Fun, strong women but with a YA vibe.

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

In this sequel we turn everything we learned in the first book on its head-- there's a reason the protagonist's mom is AWOL and it's no giant surprise that she's a mermaid. What is a surprise? Well, I'll leave those elements to you. A fun, fast read.

Snowed In by Catherine Walsh

There's another book that comes before this book -- it's called Holiday Romance. I read these out of order and LOVED Snowed In. The protagonist opens with this awesome day she was planning to have (a mundane day even to this teacher/writer) and it all went awry so now she's stuck in a bar and runs into someone from her hometown. One thing leads to another, and they begin a fake-dating relationship so they can both safely return home for the holidays. Funny book, great characters and set in Ireland by an Irish author (so less about fairies and magic and more reality based.)

Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh

This was a cute Christmas romance that was kind of "Same Time Next Year" meets "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." Every year two Irish expats fly from Chicago back to the Emerald Isle for the holidays except this year it gets complicated and everything changes. I recommend both books in any order and I can't wait to read more by Catherine Walsh.

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