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!

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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.

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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… May 2020!

I can’t believe that May has been and gone and now it’s June already! It’s now almost twelve weeks since I last left the house as I’m in the high risk group for Coronavirus and my last trip out of the house was a couple of weeks before lock down. It’s been okay. I feel lucky that we have a small garden so I’ve been able to get fresh air most days. My husband is still on furlough at the moment so it helps that I’ve not been on my own. We’ve been enjoying the sunshine when it’s here and we’ve caught up on a few films and TV shows when it’s been too cold to sit outside.

The biggest thing that happened in May is that my reading mojo finally returned, closely followed by my bloggging mojo! I’ve read more books than I thought I had in May so I’m really pleased. I still need to remind myself to pick up a book when I’m in the house but when I’m in the garden I only take a book or my kindle outside and that stops me wasting time on my phone.

Here is my May in Books and Blogging!

Reading

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley Phillips

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

The Catch by T. M. Logan

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Afraid of the light by Alex North

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

Blogging

I managed to post fairly regularly on my blog in May which I’m really happy about. I started with my April wrap-up where I shared how that month had been. This was followed by a book haul. Then I shared a post with four mini reviews of recent reads: Dear Edward by Anna Napolitano, Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross and I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks.

Mid-week that week I shared my WWW Wednesday post and on the Saturday I posted another book haul. Next up was my next mini review post with four more books featured: The Alibi Girl by CJ Skuse, The Last Flight by Julie Clark, The Guest List by Lucy Foley and The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again!

My next post was a book haul and this was followed by another selection of mini book reviews: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, Made to be Broken by Rebecca Bradley, Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain, and An Almost Zero Waste Life by Megan Weldon. On the Wednesday of that week I shared my review of The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman and my regular WWW Wednesdays post. Then it was time to stack my shelves again with a new book haul.

On the Monday I shared another mini book review post featuring Just My Luck by Adele Parks, One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips, The Catch by T. M. Logan and A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. Towards the end of May it was time to decide what my 20 Books of Summer TBR was going to be! Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again. And my final post in May was another book haul!

How was your May? It’s such a weird time at the moment and I hope you’re all doing as okay as you can be. I’d love to hear about the books you’ve been reading or if you have any TV/Netflix recommendations.

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

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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! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

The Catch by T. M. Logan

This is a gripping novel and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s follows a man who is immediately suspicious of his daughter’s new boyfriend and sets out to find out more about him. I’m only about 20% into it at the moment but I’m definitely intrigued about where this is going to go!

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

This is such a heart-wrenching look at one young lawyer’s experience of the American justice system. The cases he works are really get under your skin and are hard to read at times. It’s so well-written though and it’s such an interesting and eye-opening book.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I’ve only read a few pages of this one since last week and to be honest I’m struggling with it. I’m getting a bit fed up of reading about this man and his sex life and the way he talks about women. I do want to persevere for a bit longer but it may end up being a DNF. Have you read it? Is it worth continuing with?

A Fabulous Creation by David Hepworth

I haven’t listened to anymore of this one this week as it’s an audio book that my husband and I are listening to together and we just haven’t made time to listen to anymore this week. We’re both enjoying it though so will be listening to more this week.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

This book had my engrossed and intrigued by the end of chapter one! I was so curious to know what was going on with these children that seemingly hadn’t grown at all in twelve years. I had many suspicions as I was reading and not a single one was correct! I did feel the ending was a little bit of a let down but it didn’t spoil how much I enjoyed the rest of this rollercoaster novel!

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is an incredible book and I recommend it to everyone. Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner and this is her story. She is so open and honest throughout this book and that makes it such a powerful read. I could really identify with a lot of what Chanel thought and felt and I admire her so much for telling her story.

 

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

This is another stunning book. I bought it on a whim ages ago knowing nothing about it (it’s since made the Women’s prize list this year) and finally picked it up a few days ago. I read the whole novel in one day as I just didn’t want to put it down. It’s about a disparate group of people who all live in the same tower block when one day something awful happens. The novel is told in the before and the after and I just adored the writing. I’ll definitely be looking out for more by Luan Goldie in the future.

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This is a NetGalley book that I got recently and have been waiting for the right time to pick it up. It’s a novel in verse about a teenage boy whose mum was very ill and later died. I thought this would be an emotional read, and it really was in moments, but it was also a very believable book about being a teenager and all that comes with that. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

I’m very much reading by whim at the moment and don’t know what I’ll be in the mood to read in the coming week but these four books below are ones that have caught my eye on my Kindle. The first three are review books so I’d really like to try and read them so I can review them. The fourth book is one I treated myself to recently after reading fab reviews and I’m really keen to read it!

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

 

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. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (13 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

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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! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan A. Stevenson

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a really long time so I was really pleased to discover the audio book on BorrowBox this week. I immediately downloaded it and started listening last night. I’ve read so many positive reviews of this book so I’m sure it’s one I’ll find interesting.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is a tough read but I’m so glad I picked it up. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was raped by Brock Turner and for a long time she was anonymous until she decided to tell her own story. I’m only a few chapters in but Chanel is so open and honest in the way she’s telling her truth and I’ve found it such an emotional book.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I’m glad I had a sense of what this novel is and how it flips things when I started reading because I’m only on part one and at the moment it’s just a man bragging about his sex life since his divorce. The writing is good and I’m intrigued to see where the novel goes. The fact that it made the Women’s Prize longlist gives me hope that it will go somewhere worthwhile in the end!

A Fabulous Creation: How LPs Saved Lives by David Hepworth

This is another audio book that I got on BorrowBox and my husband and I are listening to it together. It’s such an interesting book about the history of the LP (it begins with Sgt Pepper and ends with Thriller). I love the social history and the way music evolved as artists took more risks after seeing what others were doing. We’re both really enjoying this one.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book! It’s incredible! I’ve been reading it over the last couple of days and loved every single second of it. I feel quite sad to have finished it and already want to read it again. If you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend you do so as soon as you can.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book was also excellent. It follows a group of teens and their parents in the aftermath of an horrific car crash. We see the parents at the hospital waiting to hear if their child was okay, and through the book we see what they were like before the accident and what the repercussions are for everyone involved. I got so invested in these characters, they felt very real to me. This is a stunning novel and I highly recommend it!

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker

This is another brilliant novel that I read this week. This is such a beautifully written, and also deeply emotional read. I cried a few times as I was reading. It follows a community, but two children and a police officer mainly, in the years after a terrible crime has been committed. There are repercussions rippling through time, through generations and it’s heartbreaking how things that happen to a parent can come to damage a child so much. There is such brutality in this novel but moments of such heart-aching kindness too. I loved this book and keep finding myself thinking about it and wondering how Duchess, Robin and Walk are doing. I whole-heartedly recommend it!

 

What I plan on reading next:

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

I adored Alice Feeney’s first novel Sometimes I Lie but didn’t really get on with her second book. This new one sounds so good though so I’m hoping this will be a thriller for me. It sounds very intriguing!

The Catch by T. M. Logan

I think I’ve read and enjoyed all of T. M. Logan’s previous novels but his last one The Holiday was my favourite so far. I’ve read some fab reviews of The Catch and have very high hopes for it, I feel like I’m going to love it!

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This sounds like a very emotional read as it explores grief and loss but it’s one I’ve very much wanted to read so I’m going to try and pick it up this week.

 

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. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (9 May 20)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it so I decided to treat myself this week. I don’t think this will be waiting on my TBR for too long!

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Know My Name by Chanel Miller

 

This is a book that I have read so many positive reviews of so I’ve been wanting to read it. I had a credit on my Amazon account this week and so decided to buy it. I really want to read it right away so I may have started it by the time this is posted.

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One by One by Ruth Ware

I really enjoy Ruth Ware’s books so when I saw she had a new novel coming out I immediately requested it on NetGalley. I was thrilled to be approved to read it this week and can’t wait to get to it.

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Invisible Woman by Caroline Criado Perez

This is another book that I’ve been curious about for ages. I actually requested it on NetGalley a long time ago and so it was a nice surprise to be approved to read it a few days ago. I’m really keen to pick this up.

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It’s All in Your Head by Nikki Smith

I bought this book in the Kindle sale as it just sounded like a fast-paced and gripping thriller. I’ve since read some great reviews so think I’ll be reading this one soon too!

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I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel

I read about this book on Jill’s Book Cafe and it sounded like such a lovely book that I decided to buy it. It was only 80p on Kindle and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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Preparations for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

I’ve been going through my very long book wish list this week and deleting books that no longer interest me. At the same time I’ve been spotting books that I’d forgotten about but when I read the blurbs I was still so keen to get the book. This is one of them and I’m really hoping to read this one soon.

Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂