With longer nights drawing in, there’s no surer pick-me-up than curling up on the sofa with a cuppa, a slab of chocolate and some thoroughly entertaining reading.
While there’s a plethora of good reads on the market, sometimes you just crave something easygoing that’s guaranteed to make you laugh or flip pages in excitement.
We’ve done all the hard work for you, taken a look at some of the major hits over the last 15 years and sought out something comparable that’s a bit more recent.
Say hello to your new favourite novels.
You loved: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)
Now try: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (2013)
Now we’re not going to spoil things for anyone, but let’s just say that there’s a mighty big twist that completely turns the plot of Flynn’s Gone Girl on its head, bamboozling millions of readers worldwide and resulting in a big-screen adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as the slightly suspicious hubby to Rosamund Pike’s missing wife.
Fowler’s intriguing novel also features a missing person and this time it’s protagonist Rosemary’s sister. But there’s a doozy less than 100 pages in that changes everything you think you know about this scenario.
You loved: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003)
Now try: Meet Me In Atlantis by Mark Adams (2015)
Brown’s thrilling conspiracy yarn combining the rich history of the Knights Templar, clandestine religious sects and the famous artist was pretty schlocky, but amused countless millions on their holidays as well as spawning a so-so film with Tom Hanks as the be-tweeded Robert Langdon.
On a bit of a tangent, we recommend New York Times best-selling author Weaver’s equal parts gripping and hilarious real life quest to uncover the whereabouts of the fabled sunken city of Atlantis by poring over secret codes in the works of Plato. Barmy but fun.
You Loved: 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James (2011)
Now try: The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine by Krissy Kneen (2015)
You can’t argue with millions of mommy porn devotees globally, with the clunky erotica of the Twilight fan fiction-turned-novel selling by the truck load and earning a blockbuster big-screen incarnation starring The Fall’s Jamie Dornan as the titular Mr Grey alongside Dakota Johnson’s simmering Anastasia Steele.
If, however, you prefer your smut with a little more sass, a lot less cringe and a great deal of intended laughter, Brisbane-based writer Kneen’s got you uncovered. Holly is saving herself for marriage, but things go awry when she unwittingly joins an erotic book club… A hoot.
You loved: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (2005)
Now try: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Shwab (2015)
Between Meyer’s blood-sucking epic, the sexy antics of the deep south vamps in True Blood and Game of Thrones’ dragons and white walkers, supernatural novels have been enjoying something of a popular renaissance of late. Twilight also made it okay to read books aimed at teenagers, sorry, young adults.
British author Schwab has created a captivating world in A Darker Shade of Magic. Our 21-year-old hero Kell can cross the divide between four parallel Londons – Red, where magic is celebrated, Grey, where it doesn’t exist, White, where murder is the key to success, and the mysterious Black.
You loved: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008)
Now try: Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers (2015)
As with the spooky stuff, sci-fi has also been on the up and up, particularly in the young adult field. Collins’ brutal Hunger Games saga is the inarguable winner, aided in no small way by the unstoppable force that is J-Law portraying heroine Katniss Everdeen on the big screen.
Unbreakable also stars a kick-arse young woman with depth in marine corp lieutenant Promise Paen. Faced with familial tragedy, she signs up to protect the citizens of her homeworld, the niftily named Montana. But the peace is about to be shattered as the neighbouring Lusitanian empire gears up for war.
You loved: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (2003)
Now try: Between You & Me, Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (2015)
Truss was the host of BBC Radio 4’s Cutting A Dash program, a pedants’ paradise of punctuation perfection. Exasperated at popular mangling of the English language, she took to print in the huge best-seller Eats, Shoots & Leaves, with the title a nerdy joke that highlights just how important that comma is.
If it tickled your literary funny bone, you’re sure to giggle at Norris’ good-natured defence of grammar without resorting to snark. She knows her stuff after spending more than 30 years proofing pages at The New Yorker, and it’s also a fabulous insight into the inner workings of those hallowed halls.