The Kite Runner by Ali Hosseini
Great story - highly recommend it. It's not what I'd call a "happy" story. There are some sad and dark undertones, but while the ending isn't overtly positive it is satisfying. Waiting for the sequel to become available in the library now.
The Brotherhood of the Blade By Diana Gabaldon
Always enjoy DG's writing. Though in terms of story I prefer her Outlander series perhaps because it appeals more to me. I found the continual reference to Lord John's sexual orientation a tad wearing by the end of the book. I know it is an essential part of the story but it did seem to intrude where (IMO) it wasn't necessary. But maybe that is more to do with me and MY tastes than the writing! LOL! Nonetheless, Lord John kept me captured throughout, and I'll be reading the sequel when she's written it.
both by Deborah Challinor
Blue Smoke is the final in a trilogy. As such, it ties up a number of loose ends but in doing so it tends to fall down as a cohesive story. It jumps from one character to the next like a flea from dog to dog and you never feel like you're getting into their skin. I read it to finish the trilogy and mildly enjoyed it.
Fire was something different. The story flowed better although it had multiple characters because it dealt with one time, one place, one incident. I liked it that it is set in Auckland, and I like the kiwi flavour. Some of the "issues" peripheral to the story were dealt with in a rather heavy handed way rather than subtly permeating the relationships between the characters. I thought the ending was a tad unrealistic but seeing as I like a happy ending I wasn't complaining! Recommend it.