My Favourite books of 2020… so far!

Last year I decided to do a post about my favourite books of the year so far (as of 30 June) and whilst this year I haven’t read quite as many books as last year at this point I decided to still do it. It’s always lovely to have the chance to celebrate amazing books!

At the time of writing this post I’ve read 115 books and have 20 five star reads that I simply can’t narrow down any further. These aren’t necessarily books published this year but the books I loved most that I’ve read this year. The books are in no particular order, I loved them all!

So here are my top 20 books of 2020 so far!

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

A new spin on It’s A Wonderful Life and it’s gorgeous. It doesn’t shy away from the severity of depression but manages to still be a feel-good novel. I loved this one and will re-read it again one Christmas!

dead wrong noelle holten

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

A brilliant crime novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is fast becoming a favourite new crime series!

Containment by Vanda Symon

This is the third book in the Sam Shephard series and she is now one of my most favourite characters. I love spending time with her in a new novel and I can’t wait to read more!

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I haven’t managed to review this one as yet but I absolutely recommend it. It’s a novel about a teenage boy called Justyce who’s dealing with the racism in the society around him – from the police and from people in his school. He deals with it by writing letters to Martin Luther King. It’s a prescient novel and I still find myself thinking about it.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

This is my new favourite Sarah Vaughan novel. It’s a novel about toxic friendships, about not feeling like you can be your true self with even your closest friends and what happens when suspicion sets in. I loved this book!

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

This is a stunning novel that looks at what caused a man to stop talking to his wife for six months, and what happens when she suddenly stops talking to him. We learn about what happened from both of their perspectives and it’s so moving. I adored this book and I already want to re-read it!

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

This is a stunning, claustrophobic novel about the immediate aftermath of a teenage girl going missing. It has a dream-like quality to it and I got swept away in this book.

Black and British by David Olusoga

I haven’t reviewed this book yet but it’s a brilliant and eye-opening non-fiction book that I recommend to everyone. It’s the forgotten history of black people in the UK and I learnt so much from this book. It helps you join the dots of the things you learnt at school and the full story of why and how things happened.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book is heartbreaking but it’s a book I couldn’t stop reading (I read it in just two sittings). It follows the aftermath of an horrific car accident as the survivors come to terms what happened and the impact it’s had on their lives. I loved this book and it’s one that is really staying with me.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is a brilliant novel that packs so much into it’s few pages (it’s only around 200 pages long). It follows a doctor as she deals with race issues in her life in South Africa. Her struggles with her periods were so relatable in a way that I’ve never found in a novel before. Later something horrific happens to her and it was hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. This is such a powerful and compelling book.

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This novel follows a disparate group of people on a normal morning but who get caught up in a hostage situation. I loved learning about the characters in this book and how they coped in the terrifying situation they found themselves in. It’s an excellent novel and I recommend it.

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

I’ve not reviewed this book as yet but it’s one that I read as I was trying to get out of my reading slump and I just got completely engrossed in this story. It follows a few characters who live in a tower block in London before and after a terrible event occurs. I loved these characters, and how the novel explored how the event affects them. I recommend this one and can’t wait to see what Luan Goldie writes next!

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I read and loved The Roanoke Girls a few years back so was keen to read the author’s new novel. I devoured it! It’s such a dark, unsettling novel but one that I just couldn’t put down. I still keep finding myself thinking about this book, it’s one that haunts you. I loved it.

dear edward ann napolitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and it absolutely lived up to my hopes for it. It follows Edward in the aftermath of a plane crash where he was the sole survivor. His parents and brother died in the crash so he has to live with his Aunt and Uncle. The novel also shows what happened on the day of the plane crash – you get to know, briefly, the people onboard, which makes it even more heartbreaking. I adored this novel and want to re-read it one day.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is such a powerful and moving memoir, I’m so glad I read it. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner. This book is her telling her own story in her own words and she is such a courageous woman. I recommend that everyone read this one.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I had this novel on my TBR for ages before I picked it up, which I’m kicking myself about as when I did pick it up I read it in just a couple of sittings. This is such a beautiful novel, one that makes you wonder about fate and destiny, and also makes you want to live in the moment. It’s a book you need tissues for but it’s such a gorgeous read.

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

I’m a huge fan of Carol Lovekin’s writing and this novel was another stunning book. It explores grief and the loss of a mother, and it’s so beautiful. I highlighted so many paragraphs as I was reading it and I keep thinking about it. I know I will re-visit this one of these days.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This is another stunning book following a teenage girl in the present whilst also filling in her back story with chapters about her mum, dad and grandparents. She knows her mum was her age when she was born and that is the catalyst for everything that happens down the line. This book is short and at times spare in the writing but it packs such an emotional punch. I recommend it.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

This is one of my most favourite books of this year so far. I wanted to read it because it’s premise is intriguing (an engaged woman dreams of a different life with a different man and five years later she bumps into this man) but the real love story in this is the one between the two women who are the best of friends. It’s an incredible book, one that made me cry but also made me smile. I adored this one!

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

If I had to pick just one book that was my favourite of 2020 so far it would have to be this one. Before reading I felt a little intimidated by it but from a couple of pages in I was gripped. I love all the interweaved stories running through this book, I love the characters and the surprises along the way. It’s a stunning novel and one I will never forget.

Okay, so I said I had a top 20 books of 2020 and I do… all of the above. I always like to sit with a book for a while before I put it on a list of favourites but I read a book on the very last day of June and it just feels like it should be on this list. So I’m adding an honourable mention at the end. I know I’m cheating but it’s my blog, my rules! So the 21st book in my Top 20 is…

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

This is a stunning novel, one that I’m struggling to write about as yet because I loved it so much. It’s set on the North Yorkshire Moors and follows Jake, a man on the run from a murder charge. It explores his memories of his relationship with his late wife, and his lost son. It also looks at his complicated relationship with his new love. I’m originally from this part of the country and I felt I was right back there with Jake. This novel mixes utter desolation, hardship and violence with such beautiful, poetic writing. I loved this book and I highly recommend it!

What are you favourite books of 2020 so far? I’d love to know. 🙂

That Was The Month That Was… June 2020!

June was one of those strange months that has sped by whilst also going really slowly. Does that even make sense?!

I’m still shielding and it looks like I will be until 1 August so nothing has really changed for me even though from what I see on the news a lot of the country is slowly returning to some kind of normality. I haven’t left the house yet, mainly because my asthma is really bad at the moment and it’s impossible to wear a mask when my breathing is already bad. My husband is still on furlough and we still don’t know when he’ll be returning to work, we’re waiting to hear.

Football is back so we’re enjoying watching that. It’s great having all of the matches televised although it does mean that some days we’re in danger of having square eyes! The waiting to see what’s happening with Newcastle United is getting endless now but what can you do?! At least it looks like we’re not going to be relegated!

My reading mojo is back in full swing and I read 30 books in June! It was helped by some sunny days in the garden where I only take a book out with me (no phone or laptop!) so I’m not distracted by anything. I also treated myself to some new wireless headphones so that I can listen to more of my audio books.

The Books I Read

The Posts I Blogged

Mini Book Reviews: The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper, The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel, His and Hers by Alice Feeney, and Funny Weather by Olivia Laing

Monthly Wrap-Up: That Was The Month That Was… May 2020

Mini Book Reviews: The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan, One Split Second by Caroline Bond, Living My Best Life by Claire Frost, and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Mini Book Reviews: You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell, When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill, Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa, and Born Lippy by Jo Brand

Review: Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

Mini Book Reviews: The Old You by Louise Voss, Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan, While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins, and Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Review: Be Careful What You Swipe For by Jemma Forte

Mini Book Reviews: Heatstoke by Hazel Barkworth, Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie, All The Lonely People by David Owen, The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

Review: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

How was June for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that June has been okay. What was your favourite book from June? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 🙂

Book Review: The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves | @AbbieGreaves1

About the Book

A lifetime together. Six months of silence. One last chance.

Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.

For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.

Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet.

But it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.

Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?

My Thoughts

I picked this book up to read in the garden one sunny afternoon and I literally didn’t put the book down until I’d finished reading it. I was enthralled by it and needed to know how it was all going to end!

Maggie and Frank have been married for over forty years. They love each other dearly but one day, six months ago, Frank stopped speaking. He was still every bit as loving towards Maggie but he hasn’t spoken a single word in all that time. Maggie struggles to understand what is going on and the novel opens with her writing her journal and taking some tablets.

What follows is Frank’s distress as his wife has now fallen silent and he slowly sits with her and begins to tell the story of their lives together and how he got to here. Alongside this Frank finds Maggie’s journal and he beings to understand how she got to where she is.

Maggie has always wanted to be a mother and it becomes a big focus for her, but it seems like it’s never going to happen so her and Frank have to accept what they have – each other. Then one day Maggie discovers she is pregnant and is delighted. Motherhood isn’t quite the dream she imagined it would be though, it’s so much harder and there is so much scope for miscommunication and misunderstanding. Maggie and Frank love their child but sometimes that isn’t enough, and they have to deal with the way their child wants to live her life her own way.

This is a novel about a beautiful and loving relationship that has faced hugely difficult times. Maggie and Frank have tried so hard to do the right thing for each other and for their daughter, and each in their own way has tried to protect the other from heartbreak. This is the thing that was almost their undoing though because when the worst happened neither could tell the other their story of what happened.

I love how this is such a believable story of a marriage, and I love how Frank and Maggie never stop loving each other even through the most difficult of times. Everything they do is out of love, even when it’s inadvertently pulling them in different directions.

This is such a moving, and at times utterly heartbreaking, read but the writing is stunning and you get so invested in Frank and Maggie’s story that you just can’t stop reading. I miss these two people, they felt so real to me and I wanted to climb into the book and make everything okay. I finished reading this book a couple of weeks or so ago and I still keep thinking about them. I adored it.

The Silent Treatment is one of my favourite books of the year and it’s one I think I’ll re-read in the future. It’s one that I highly recommend!

The Silent Treatment is out now and available here.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

WWW Wednesdays (17 Jun 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

The Old You by Louise Voss

I’ve only read the first couple of chapters of this novel but I’m already gripped. This is about a married couple – Lynn and Ed. Lynn gave up her career when she married Ed and now he’s been diagnosed with early onset dementia. But as strange things begin to happen, she wonders if it’s her mind playing tricks rather than Ed’s. I can’t wait to read more!

All the Lonely People by David Owen

This book has been on my NetGalley shelf for a lot longer than it should have been but I finally picked it up a couple of days ago and am enjoying it. It is following two teenagers – Kat who has been the victim of a horrible campaign to get her to delete her blog and all of her social media, and Wesley who played his part in the campaign but is already feeling guilty about it. Kat suddenly begins to literally fade and become translucent and I’m so intrigued about what is going on!

Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

This is a fascinating social history of black people in Britain. The author has researched all the way back to roman times and it’s such an eye-opening and interesting book. It’s a book that I’m learning a lot from but at the same time it’s incredibly readable. I highly recommend this one and I’m keen to keep picking it up.

Recent Reads

While I was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

I picked this book up from my 20 Books of Summer TBR yesterday and read the first couple of hundred pages while sitting out in the garden. By then I was too gripped to put it down so I read the rest last night! This book follows Maddie as she wakes from a come after being hit by a car. Life has change quite a bit for her and she has a lot to get used to. It also follows Chloe who is a hospital volunteer who gets to know Maddie’s fiance Ryan. This book was so much more than I thought it was going to be and I very much enjoyed it.

When the Time Comes by Adele O’Neill

I enjoyed this book, which I picked from my NetGalley shelf last week. It’s about Liam who moves back into his ex-wife’s home when she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. When Jennifer dies Liam is convinced it’s suicide but the police think it’s murder. I’m intrigued to read more and to find out what did happen to Jennifer and who, if anyone, is involved. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find out more here.

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

This was another pick from my 20 Books of Summer TBR and is another book that I read in one sitting. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking read that I utterly adored. It follows a couple who have been married for over 40 years but Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for the last 6 months. The novel opens with Maggie attempting suicide and what follows is the story of their lives, of why Frank stopped speaking and why Maggie took those pills. This book is stunning, I was enthralled the whole way through it and I still keep thinking of Frank and Maggie. I highly recommend this one.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I’ve had a copy of this book on my TBR for around a year but I’ve seen so many recommendations of it that I picked it up this week and I read it all in one go. It follows Justyce, a black teenager who one night finds himself wrongly arrested because of the colour of his skin. He then begins writing letters to Martin Luther King and he tries to live more as Martin did. This novel explores so many aspects of racism, and of how insidious it is. This is a book that will smash your heart into a million pieces but it does leave room for hope. I can’t put into words how brilliant this novel is and I’m so glad I read it.

Picky Eaters by S. J. Higbee

This is a short story that is being published this week (my review will be posted in the coming days!) and all proceeds are being donated to NHS charities. This is a story about grumpy grandfather dragon who just wants a quiet life but now he has to look after his grandchildren, and they want to do their own thing. It’s a great escape of a read and I recommend it!

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

I listened to this book on audio and I definitely recommend this medium as it follows Bri who wants to become a top rapper and throughout the audiobook you hear the raps she has written and performed. Bri is such a great character, she truly believes in herself and her music and doesn’t want to let anyone stand in her way. She faces a battle when people assume her lyrics are saying things she didn’t mean and then is judged as being an another angry black girl. She continues to fight her corner and to stand up for herself and her music. I recommend this one!

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is an incredible novella that explores xenophobia through the viewpoint of Masechaba, a young doctor in South Africa. This book packs so much into its few pages and I was spellbound by it. Masechaba’s struggles with her own body through her periods was so visceral and relatable, and later the horrific thing that happens to her along with the aftermath was so hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. I very much recommend this one!

What I Might Read Next

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

On the morning of Monday 23rd December, Jamie Buckby takes the commuter riverboat from his home in St Mary’s, southeast London, to work in Central London, noting that his good friend and neighbour Kit Roper has not turned up for the 7.30am service they usually catch together. At the London Eye, where he disembarks for his job in a café behind the South Bank Centre, Jamie is met by the police. Kit has been reported missing by his wife. As Jamie is taken in for questioning, he discovers someone saw him arguing with Kit on the boat home late on Friday night. The other passenger believes Jamie committed murder. But what really happened? 

I’ve enjoyed Louise Candlish’s previous novels and the blurb of this one sounds so good and I can’t wait to read it!

The Gin O’Clock Club by Rosie Blake

Lottie is always in a hurry, rushing through her days ticking tasks off her to-do lists. Teddy is worried about his granddaughter – and he knows that his late wife, Lily, would have known exactly what to say to make things better. Now that Lily has gone, it’s up to Teddy to talk some sense into Lottie. With the help of Arjun, Geoffrey and Howard, the elderly reprobates who make up his Gin O’Clock Club, Teddy makes a plan to help Lottie find her way back to the things that really matter – family, friendship and love. But as Lottie balances a high-powered job with her reluctant attendance at whist drives, ballroom dances and bingo, Teddy wonders if she’s really ready to open up her heart to the possibility of true happiness…

This sounds like a fun summer read so I’m adding it the TBR of books I hope to read in the coming week.

How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister

You can run, you can hide, but can you disappear for good? Lauren’s daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara’s identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back. The only choice is to disappear. From their family, their friends, even from Lauren’s husband. No goodbyes. Just new names, new home, new lives. One mistake – a text, an Instagram like – could bring their old lives crashing into the new. As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy. Staying hidden is much harder . . .

The blurb of this book sounds so good and so intriguing so I’m keen to get to it as soon as I can.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet. 

I was very lucky to receive an ARC of this book and have been so looking forward to reading it as I’m a massive Maggie O’Farrell fan. I didn’t want to pick it up in the midst of my reading slump so I’ve been waiting until I was back on track and now I simply can’t wait any longer to read it!

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

My 20 Books of Summer 2020 TBR!

Today it’s time to put together my TBR for the 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. I love taking part in this easy-going summer reading challenge as I use it as a chance to push me to read the books that seem to be languishing unread on my book shelves. I’ve had mixed results in previous years – I usually manage to read 20 books but they’re often not the books I chose, or in the format that I wanted to read.

Last year I decided to challenge myself to read 20 physical books and I did achieve it (only just in the nick of time though)! Even though this year I’m only just coming out of an awful reading slump I’ve decided to attempt the same again as I really need to focus on reading some of my physical TBR. Ultimately I just want to read more of the hardback and paperback books on my shelves so if I end up deviating from this list I don’t mind as long as I read as many physical books as I can!

So, here are my picks for the 2020 Books of Summer!

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I was delighted to be sent an ARC of this book as I’m a huge Maggie O’Farrell fan. The only reason I’ve not already read it is because of the horrible reading slump I’ve been in. Thankfully I’m coming out of that now and this book is the one I most want to get to!

The Confession by Jessie Burton

I got this book for Christmas last year and have been saving it to read as it’s a novel that I want to pick up and get completely engrossed in. The summer months feels like the right time for that so I’m putting it on my TBR!

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

I’ve had this book on my TBR for five years and I don’t know why it keeps getting left on the shelf as I really enjoy Jill Mansell’s writing. I definitely want to get to it this year so it’s on the TBR!

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

I was delighted to be sent a copy of this book before it was published as I adore Ruth Hogan’s writing. I feel like this is another book that will be perfect to read on a summer day in the garden so here’s hoping for some lovely sunny days.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is another book that I’ve had on my TBR for a long time, and I don’t know why as when I picked it up this week to read the blurb I immediately wanted to read it. It’s a short novel so I should definitely get to this one.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

I was so excited to read this short story collection when it was first published and so was thrilled to get a copy of it for Christmas that year and yet somehow have still not read it. I think it’s good to have short stories on a TBR, something you can dip in and out of, so I’m picking this collection and I’m really looking forward to picking it up.

The Old You by Louise Voss

I was sent a signed copy of this book by the lovely Meggy and I’ve been so keen to read it but somehow haven’t picked it up yet. I’m a big fan of Louise Voss so still very much want to read this one and will be making a priority to read it this summer.

While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

I got sent a copy of this book from the publisher a long while ago and I just haven’t managed to read it yet. I’ve loved all the other books that I’ve read by this author so am looking forward to getting to this one.

Spring by Ali Smith

I loved the first two books in this seasonal quartet and was delighted when my husband bought me a copy of spring when it came out in hardback. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet but I know I want to get to it before Summer is published so I must make sure to get it in the coming weeks.

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

I received a surprise copy of this book from the publisher a few weeks ago and have been looking forward to picking it up so it seemed right at add it to my summer reading plans.

The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page

This is another book that I was lucky to receive for review and I’m so looking forward to it. I loved The Lido by this author so I really am keen to get to this one very soon. It feels like it’ll be a lovely summer read.

Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester

I’ve had this book on my bookcase for around three years now and during a recent cull I read the first chapter of this one to see if I still wanted to read it and it was so good that I kept it. I’m looking forward to reading more soon.

Born Lippy by Jo Brand

A lovely blogger friend sent this book to me a little while ago and I’ve been meaning to get to it so I’m putting it on my TBR for summer as it’s good to have some non-fiction on the list. I think I’m going to enjoy this one!

Where We Belong by Anstey Harris

I was sent a copy of this from a lovely publicist at the end of last year and after reading a fab review on Linda’s Book Bag recently I was reminded of just how much I want to read this novel.

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

I got this book for Christmas last year and have deliberately kept it to read in the summer as it sounds like such a wonderful, nostalgic novel. I can’t wait to get to this one and it may be one of the first books of this list that I get to!

After Dark by Dominic Nolan

I read and enjoyed the first novel in this series and have been eagerly anticipating the follow up ever since. I was thrilled to receive a proof copy and am definitely going to get to this one in the next few weeks.

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper

My husband got me this book for my birthday this year and it’s a book I’ve heard such good things about so I’m keen to read it. I’ve seen Megan on Louis Theroux’s documentaries so I’m interested to learn more about her and her life.

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek

I was sent this book near Christmas last year by a lovely publicist and have been intrigued by it ever since. I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner but I’ll definitely try and get to it over the next three months.

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

My husband bought me this book for my birthday after we’d been gripped by the Chernobyl TV drama series and I wanted to know more about what happened. I’m still keen to read this so hope to get it over the summer.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

Given my concentration levels come and go at the moment I think it may be a bit odd that I’m adding this doorstop of a book. I’m not sure I’ll be able to read this one at the moment but I so badly want to read it so I’m adding it to my TBR in the hope I can feel more able to read it later on in the summer.

So here are all the books I hope to read this summer!

Are you taking part in the 20 Books of Summer? What have you got on your list? Have you read any of the books on my list and recommend them? Feel free to share a link to your Books of Summer post below. 🙂